flash fiction, flashfiction, microfiction, short story

‘Time Is A Big Black Hat’




One wisp of hair, a puff, a vapour.  My hand hovers to fix it but I daren’t touch in case it wafts away for good.

“Opens your face up,” chirps Harriet, behind me at the mirror.  “Reveals your eyes more!”

Ah, my eyes.  Tynan wrote of my Othello that a single sideways glance from me could pin the back row to their seats, leave them panting and bruised.  Or was that the Northern Echo?  Harriet used to read the reviews to me while I wiped the slap off after, though I suspect she made half of the quotes up to paper over what she left out.

The bulbs around this mirror are so bright, I can’t see her reflection.  Just this damn face.  Eyes like Bloody Marys.  Her voice comes out of the gloom: “Come on, Captain Hook.  It’s time.  The children are waiting.”  A pirate hat swallows my wisp.

flash fiction, flashfiction, microfiction, short story, Uncategorized

‘Simon Says’



Simon said, “Marry a nice girl, we all do, for appearances,” only now that I have, he tells me he was joking.

Simon said, “Elliot, it’s easily solved.  Leave the gas on when she’s sleeping.  Drive straight over: you were here playing poker with us all night long.  Go home crack of dawn, walk in on a tragedy.”

Simon says all this but there in his flat, I couldn’t stop seeing Leigh, lying in bed, breathing, and now I’m racing across London through the rain, Hyde Park Corner up ahead.  The streets are deserted.  The lights turn red.

Simon says Go.

flash fiction, flashfiction, microfiction, short story

‘The Slider’



Harry’s sat at the top of the slide, refusing to come down.   I’m not even sure that he could if he wanted, having got up there.   I’ll have to fetch a broom, try pushing from behind.  I don’t think the hose’d be powerful enough.

What a forlorn sight, leaves drifting down around him, some settling on his head.  He swipes off a large yellowed maple.  “I’ve got better things to be doing, young Harry,” I tell him.   “The hall needs clearing before Assembly tomorrow, and the teachers have blocked their loo again!”, which gets me a smile.  “I’m sorry, Mr Brown,” he mumbles, trying to tuck that smile away.  I take one last bite and hand up my Double Decker for him to finish, and he reaches down with his trunk to take it.  I can’t wait for the day when he starts to fight those little bastards back.

flash fiction, flashfiction, microfiction, short story, Uncategorized

‘Quality Time’

Afewpics 315


My son Josh and I stood in Tesco’s car park, eating our sandwiches, watching a Ford Fiesta repeatedly driving into the Saab parked in front of it.  Bang.   Reverse a few feet.   Bang.  Reverse a few feet.  Bang.  Josh’s sandwich box blew off in the wind and I nearly told him to go chase it, but the Fiesta was gathering quite a crowd, and I’d rather him there by my side.  I put a hand round his shoulder while we ate, chewing in time to the Saab’s alarm.

I asked the trolley guy what was going on.  He was there before us.  Apparently, the Fiesta driver had written a story and shown it to a colleague at work.  The colleague didn’t get it.  Bang.  I don’t know why they put themselves through it.  “Is that the colleague’s car?” I asked.  “Don’t think so,” said the trolley man, before turning to answer someone else.

Sirens wailed in the distance, then got more distant.  Once we’d finished our sandwiches, Josh suggested going back in to buy some eggs to throw at the Fiesta.  It sort of made sense to me, so we did that, along with some soft tomatoes, and a few cans of fruit,  reduced because they looked like they’d been punched in the gut.  We came back and started chucking.  It caught on with the crowd.  Soon several of us were at it.  Bang.  Reverse.  Hurl.  Bang.  Reverse.  Hurl.

Quality time.

flashfiction, short story

‘From A Slip Of A Thing’



Don’t open the door in your slip, Mum, no matter the salesmen smile.  Each tooth bared in their mouths is a dagger in our hearts. You never buy but still they call.  We even hid the bell; they whoop through the letter box.  Their shadows through the window climb the hall.

Don’t baby that joint up your blouse, Mum, a potato’ll do us just fine.  Baked, buttered, salted, we’ll eat well for England.  The butcher looking and a rib pushing out between your buttons. The butcher and his dog have the same narrowed eyes, the same pant.

Don’t get up to take us to school, Mum.  The wind’s blowing freezing, the sky looks like rain.  Let the poor dads stay in their nice dry cars, the mums at the gate keep their furnace faces turned inside.  You tuck yourself properly in, Mum.  Turn the radio up.

flashfiction, microfiction, short story

‘My Wife’s Perfect Pitch’

( My second winner at Ad Hoc Fiction )



My wife has perfect pitch: flush a toilet, she’ll tell you what key it’s in.  So when she of all people said she thinks my voice is breaking again, in the other direction, there wasn’t much point protesting.  Especially in my embarrassing new falsetto.  It’s like one of those snakes in a can, leaps out when you’re least prepared.  Since she spoke up, in her even, adult tone, I can no longer ignore the way my colleagues flinch when I’m on the phone to clients.  I can’t unsee Des, at the next desk, whose right eye violently tics whenever my jaw drops to speak.

My wife runs a hand over me under the duvet.  She tries to make it seem affectionate but I know she’s feeling for smoothness that wasn’t there yesterday.  Cups here, gently brushes her fingertips there.  I moan a little, politely.  The manliest moan I can manage.