Live At Her Majesty’s – Jess Doyle

Jimmy’s face ached. They’d both laughed from the moment Tommy Cooper had appeared on the TV screen. Jimmy and his Mum with her convulsive cackles. Him fingering his toy revolver and her with a machine gun laugh. He loved that about her, how laughter would erupt from her in great juttering explosions.

Trick after trick failed for Tommy as always and the audience loved it. His futile fumbling with a set of magic rings had the audience howling. There was a small explosion amongst his props. Jimmy’s mum actually yelped.

‘Alright, who-did-it?’ Cooper asked in his rough comical bark. Jimmy had to wipe away a tear and cradle his aching belly. A blond assistant approached Cooper and helped him into a long red gown. It was the same red as his fez, the same red as the curtain behind him. For a moment Cooper merged with the curtain and Jimmy found he was staring at a sea of showbiz red. He blinked it away.

The plastic gun was still in Jimmy’s hand. His mum crowed like a semi-automatic. Jimmy raised the revolver and aimed at Tommy Cooper. He pulled the trigger. There was a hollow click. Cooper jolted. For a second he seemed to steady himself. Then he fell. He fell back against the red curtain and slumped into a seated position on the floor. The assistant threw an amused smile over her shoulder as she walked away. The audience howled with laughter. Jimmy’s mum cackled and the sound suddenly made him shudder. He gawked at the television, at the huge man slumped against the red curtain and he glanced at the gun in his hand.

Then the words ‘Live at her Majesty’s’ appeared on the screen as the red curtain was pulled around Tommy Cooper. Normality and adverts. Jimmy’s mum struggled to calm herself although she was still grinning broadly and giggling to herself as she walked into the kitchen to put the kettle on.

Jimmy stared at the gun. The gleeful ache inside him had turned to something else. Something icy and rigid. He turned the revolver over and over, saying to himself ‘I didn’t do that. Did I?’


JESS DOYLE is a writer from North Wales. Her stories have been published by Idle Ink, Bone and Ink Press, Hypnopomp magazine and Horror Scribes, she is a Zeroflash winner and has stories forthcoming in Coffin Bell. You can find Jess on Twitter as @jcdoyley

Image via Pixabay

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