The Golden Teddy-Bear and the Bloody Shovel
My sincere apologies to everyone I tricked with the Hunt for the Golden Teddy-Bear. Nothing was ever buried in a place teddy-bears might have had a picnic. But I had excuses.
My con was run from China, but targeted England. We later heard rumours that China’s feared Internet Police had spotted it, But had laughed at silly English people losing an entry fee of just 77 pence.
I made the clues easy, cheating my Chinese co-conspirator. He’d hoped to rake in thousands, not the few hundred we got.
Almost as soon as I’d hoped, a nice married couple dug just where I’d wanted. And they were overjoyed to find disturbed ground, not realising it was years old.
They dug down in high spirits.
Screamed and the woman fainted, when they dug up a skull.
It began seven years earlier. I came home to find a stranger arguing with my wife. Threw him out, but learned he’d been her lover and was enraged at being rejected. I was upset – but I still loved her. I forgave her.
He had also hit and threatened her. I ignored her urgent plea to take it to the police. Not a good move.
Fatally foolish – he came back and murdered us while we slept.
Worse, he left her stabbed and framed me. Made it seem I had fled with my passport, much-used laptop computer and a suitcase of clothes. Buried me and my goods in woodlands, but first did further violence to my body with a sharpened shovel he’d made.
Left the bloody shovel with me.
But then I came back as a ghost.
My late grandfather is important in an Afterlife Civil Service. He was evasive about who ran it – maybe aliens. But he bent or broke the rules to help me. Set me up with friends in the Chinese Afterlife, where I was safe so long as I kept out of Chinese afterlife arguments. Things I was anyway ignorant of.
On the internet, no one knows you are a ghost. Or a wanted murderer. I still had ‘glove-puppet’ accounts, and bitcoin funds from paid-for friendly reviews. And was forbidden to simply report the truth, if I’d even have been believed. But I found another way.
My murdered wife was reborn in China. I became her ‘friendly ghost’. At age six, she agreed to ‘channel’ me. Her computer-wise uncle was astonished that his little niece suddenly spoke much better English than he did. Accepted the half-truths I told him, and was impressed by my English social network. So we set up the con.
The rest you know.
The police did a good job. Though since my remains were there, along with my half-rotted passport and my decayed unusable computer, it would not have needed Inspector Morse.
The bloody shovel had his finger-prints on it. He’d been violent before: so he was arrested and processed. An easy match.
They imagined the teddy-bear scam as a repentant confederate. But left it as ‘information received, since the finders wanted no publicity.
He was found guilty, and will die in jail. And then hopefully meets my dead but powerful grandfather.
For now, my reputation among the living is cleared. As is my grandfather’s memory – his blood did not produce a monstrous grandson. Or at least not as monstrous as they once thought me.
The discoverers of my skull kept their names out of the papers, but got a mostly-true book written about it. Ghost-written, naturally, and would you believe that some of them really are ghosts? Regardless, it came out well for them.
My sometimes wife was made to forgot it all. Magic.
Her uncle told the whole story to some low-level officials, with solid evidence. Atheism is the Party creed, so it went no higher. Meantime I closed all my glove-puppet accounts, posing as sorrowful relatives. Few dead men or women get such a nice collection of blogged obituaries.
And now I must forget and be reborn – but nowhere near my former wife. Being a ghost cools the passions, and she did cheat on me. My grandfather has promised me something nice. But first I am allowed write down my story, to share privately with friends in a like condition.
Copyright Gwydion M. Williams
I don’t believe in the supernatural. But intelligent aliens keeping us aware when are bodies are dead is another matter. It could be so, and it makes good stories.
I assume Chinese internet police would act as I described. It could have changed with President Xi’s clean-up, and the story could be before that.
Incidentally, I never believed the stories about a libertarian utopia made by the internet. See Secret Internets and Gullible Fools for why I was saying this as far back as the year 2000.
And ‘The Bloody Shovel’ is the title of an imagined thriller written by a character in Eric Ambler‘s The Mask of Demetrios. That is an utterly different story, but I felt obliged to credit him with a nice idea. A pun on an English joke about ‘calling a spade a bloody shovel‘, itself derived from ‘calling a spade a spade‘: being truthful at the risk of being rude.