Wednesday, 8 June 2011

SPINDLER'S LIST by Keith Gingell

Spindler’s List

Having a terminal illness has changed my life. Fucking obvious, you might say, and to some extent it is, but what's not so obvious is how it has changed.

The doctors told me I had about three years, but for the most part I would feel no ill effects, but when the symptoms began I would deteriorate very quickly, a matter of months or even weeks. They assured me they would make my final days as comfortable as possible. Naturally, I wasn’t quite sure how to react to this news and I told them as much. They recommended I had a meeting with a councillor. I agreed it might help and they fixed up a meeting for me.

This councillor turned out to be a bit of a knobhead, but it was his advice that ultimately effected the way my life changed. ‘Mr. Spindler,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t go home and brood.’ He told me I had to find an aim to fill my final days. He said, most people in my position concentrate on looking after their family’s future. Sorting out the estate, deciding how much it was worth, how to split it up. In short, making sure everybody I knew, family and friends, got what I thought they deserved. He said it was surprisingly complex and would take up a great deal of my time, maybe all of it.

I thanked for him for his advice, cancelled the rest of my appointments with him and went home and brooded. But then I got to thinking about what he’d said. I don’t have much of a family and I live alone these days, so it didn’t take much time to decide who got what from my estate. Then I thought about making sure the people I’d come across in life got what they deserved. This wasn’t so simple, but eventually I came up with a list of people I’d known who most needed to get what they deserved.

It wasn’t going to be easy, for a start I had to find them and time was not on my side. This wasn’t just my illness, it was also because of what I had in mind. I decided to make a list in order of importance and trace each one in that order, to make sure the most deserving were the first.

This was my list:

1) Craig Dorset ---- Ran off with my first wife and daughter – who I lost contact with.
2) Fred Hill ---- Ex-colleague who came to me begging for a job after falling on bad times and when I got him in, subsequently stabbed me in the back by arse-licking the boss and got promoted over me.

3) Peter Jones ---- The boss, who eventually squeezed me out of the company and forced me to retire early.

4) John McKinley in Toronto ---- With whom I spent nine months over there training him, and then he blocked my request for a lucrative transfer to Vancouver two years later.

5) My second wife ---- Who had an affair with Paulo Sanchez while I was in Canada

6) Paulo Sanchez ---- Who (I found out after seven years) fathered my son.

Just six: not a long list, but plenty to be going on with given the time restraints. Actually I’ve done pretty well. I’ve managed to track down and visit the first three. It was surprisingly easy to do. I quite enjoyed it really and it’s only taken me six months. That means I have at least another eighteen months to finish the rest. However, I think it might be time to take a few months break. Go away for a while; Canada perhaps – y’know – let things calm down at home for a bit.

I have been writing fiction for about five years, firstly as a hobby, but now I am getting serious about it. I have stories published in Volumes 3 and 4 of Radgepacket and one in the, newly released, Volume 5. I also have a couple of stories on the Radgepacket website.


  1. Welcome back Keith.

    Loved this - great title and original approach.

    He definitely needed a holiday - had to be Canada!


  2. Nice to see a man with a mission. Good stuff!

  3. An excelllent read from start to finish.

  4. Love this.. wonderful read to start the day..

  5. Keith,

    Great story, well done. I like the format and how you told it. By the way, I think I know Fred f'n Hill and I appreciate it.

  6. Hi Col,
    Thanks for putting this on TKnC. I'm really pleased.
    I have some more in the pipeline when you start accepting subs in July.
    All the best

  7. Thanks Paul, Give my regards to Peter Ord ;-) (great series).

    Thanks, Sean, McWittle and Skees. Your comment are very much appreciated.

  8. Enjoyed this story, Keith! Especially the corporate backstabbing 'colleagues' getting their own back, quite literally.

  9. Cool story! The man who has nothing to lose is dangerous indeed.

  10. Great narrative pull, a deeply satisfying read. I look forward to more from you.