Available to buy at https://bathflashfictionaward.com/books/
My interview with American writer Bud Smith is now up at Bath Flash Fiction Award Earnest questions all mine.
(A very slightly different version of this was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award )
My eyes are gnashing in my head like they’re wearing false teeth. The sun bright white, flashing between buildings. I shouldn’t be driving, not this fast.
And the kid behind me’s singing under her breath
“It’s blue o’clock in the morning,
My baby won’t answer the phone,
Won’t somebody knock on his door now,
Tell him I’m here all alone?”
over and over again, and every time my mind sticks on the word ‘blue’. I glance in the rear-view. Her lips aren’t moving. She meets my look, her eyes the colour of peeled grapes. ‘Are you psychic or am I?’ I ask in my head.
‘Talc is good’, she says.
I am sweating a lot. Streams of it running down the valleys of my folds. Pooling in the hollows. I am a landscape.
I think somebody messed with my drink last night.
The bus swings wide behind me and, for a second, the butter yellow back of it’s beside my window, which can’t be right, and the kids are all screaming, out loud.
The bar’s dark, brown. I know the song on the jukebox, Creedence something something, and put a little dance in my moves returning from the john, wiggle my ass, throw a knee out to the side, which makes one of the long haired girls laugh. I laugh back, show her my teeth. She and her friends don’t look like drinkers. The guys have mean smiles in their beards. She pats the stool next to her. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she says as I perch. I hesitate, half my butt still in the air. “You used to drive me to school and always,” dragging the start of the last word out, “made me ride up front. Let me get you a beer, for old time’s sake.”
(First story to win at Ad Hoc Fiction )
Suck on a battery (the copper-headed ones last longer. Throw in a Werthers Original at the same time to really get your teeth rattling.) Run a well-licked finger ‘round a plug socket. Feel alive.
I feel like joylessly microwaved death. My husband’s taken the kids with him to Lidl to give me a break, but they’ll be back eventually, they have to come back eventually. Our flat roars with the as-yet-unborne noise of their return, the front door trembling to be burst out of its frame. Potential energy. I wish that I had the potential for energy.
I put my cheek against the TV screen – Judge Rinder’s on – to feel the crackle against my skin. Everything flickers in the corner of my eye. I hear the door, and swallow something. Hope it was the Werther’s.