Monday, 16 May 2011

Flash Fiction (Fiction)

This is a selection of ‘Flash Fiction’ stories that I wrote yeeeeears ago, when it was all fields and the policemen looked older…

These were challenges from an old writing community I was part of. We’d get a key word or phrase and a limited word-count (between 200 and 500 words, generally), so it was quite an exercise in literary discipline – which I later learnt to apply to Twitter… with punctuation and spelling, too! Hurrah!

Anyway, hope you enjoy some of these. If not, then talk to my hand!


Cocoa Nut


Mary had searched all the cupboards, but there wasn’t a tea-bag to be found. Two days until she could draw her pension and only 14p in her purse… Two days without tea? It was a daunting prospect.

There was a jar of cocoa at the back of the cupboard which her son, David, had bought before he moved to work in Amsterdam.

It was a bugger to get the lid off the jar, with the arthritis in her fingers, but she soon had it and put the kettle on to boil. She mixed two heaped spoons of cocoa with sugar and milk, then stirred it as she added the water.

Settling down in front of the television, she sipped the cocoa as she watched her soaps. Before too long, she felt much more relaxed… even her old fingers seemed to loosen up.

She had six mugs of cocoa before she wobbled off to bed.

David rang in the morning…

“That cocoa is lovely. Very relaxing. I don’t think I’ll be buying tea this week,” said Mary.

“My cocoa?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Mum, that’s for special use.”

“Special?”

 “I crumbled an ounce of cannabis into it. God. Are you okay?”

The End


* * * * *


Briefcase


Omar turned the air conditioning on full and sighed, looking through the windscreen at the traffic jammed up to the junction ahead.

His hand drifted from the gear-stick and rested on the aluminium briefcase, lying on the passenger seat.

He couldn’t be late. They’d planned this for months.

At amber, he lurched the Mercedes into the bus lane, the wheels squealing as he turned the corner onto the main road. Free traffic brought relief. He’d make it.

“You can’t stop here,” said the policeman at the barricade.

Omar shook his head and climbed out of the car. “I am Dr Omar Rahman.” He held up the briefcase. “I have important documents for the Home Secretary and I am late.”

“Dr Rahman!” shouted the Home Secretary’s PA from the conference centre entrance. “Officer, could you park the car? We need to get in.”

“See? I am in demand,” smiled Omar. He gave his keys to the policeman and ran up the steps to the waiting PA.

“Do you have the plans?” she asked, hurrying him along.

“Indeed I do.” Omar unlocked the case as he followed, opening it on his arm. “Wait!”

“What’s wrong?”

“This is not my briefc…”

The End


* * * * *


Flight or Fight


Stan dropped the wrench into his toolbox and closed the lid. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of an oily hand, picked up the box and made his way out of the hangar for the final time.

One last job finished...

After a career spanning almost fifty years, it was all over.

Months back, when it finally dawned on him that he had to retire, he’d shivered at the thought of entering into obscurity. No wife; no family; no friends to speak of. The job was his life. Without it… he would become nothing.

They’d given him a carriage-clock. Sure, the pension was good, but there was nothing to spend it on. His house was fine and he’d seen the world. They didn’t even entertain his request to work on.

He’d have died a rich man, utterly alone.

Showered and changed, he took his suitcase to check-in and boarded Flight 409 – the last 747 he would ever service.

Sitting alone, he looked out of the window, across the wing, then checked his watch.

Eighty-nine minutes.

He’d used the carriage-clock as the timer for a couple of pounds of blasting gelignite, hiding it just above engine three.

The End


* * * * *


I Was So Sure…


“I was so sure it was her,” slurred Jason, one hand pressed against the wall, staring at the ground, unblinking.

Simon hooked his arm around his brother’s shoulder. “I know you did, mate.”

Jason looked up, his eyes glazed and confused. His lips trembled as tears broke and ran down his cheeks. He sniffed hard, rubbed the back of his hand across his face.

“Come on, lets go get a taxi,” said Simon, guiding Jason’s stumble away from the bass boom of the nightclub, to the early morning city centre.

“It looked just like her though, didn’t it?” Jason lightened. “She was gorgeous. The spit of Katie.”

“Yep, she really was. I think she was a bit freaked out, though.”

Jason stopped, swayed and thought. “Must have been.”

“I shouldn’t have forced you back to a nightclub.”

“No, bro… It’s been more than two years since she died. I should be coping better.”

The End


* * * * *


Shop ‘Til You Pop


Mr Fenwick closed the door behind him and smiled at the shopkeeper as he approached the counter.

"Hello, sir!" said the shopkeeper. "What can I get you?"

"Do you have some rice?"

"Indeed. Which would you prefer? Long-grain or the tuppenny budget?"

"Tuppenny, please.”

"How much would you like?"

"Hmm - I think eight ounces will do."

The shopkeeper weighed the rice into a paper bag and placed it on the counter. “Anything else?”

“Yes, I’d like some treacle.”

“Certainly. And how much?”

Mr Fenwick looked in his leather pouch and poked the coins with a podgy finger. “Eight ounces, thank you.”

The shopkeeper poured the treacle, from a larger container, into a jar, then sealed it with cloth and string.

“How much is that?” asked Mr Fenwick.

The shopkeeper rang it up on the till. “Five pence, please.”

Fenwick emptied his pouch onto the counter. Exactly five pence.

“That’s the way the money goes!” said the shopkeeper.

A loud bang startled both men and they looked to see a cage explode at the side of the shop, sending a spray of blood and guts over them.

“Damn,” said the shopkeeper, “I’d forgotten I’d put that weasel on the hotplate.”

The End

* * * * *

It’s For Your Own Good


Tristram scratched his scruffy, blonde hair and sat down on the couch. “Where the bloody hell could she be?” he asked, palms upturned.

“She never was one for punctuality,” sniffed his mother, Hilary, with distaste.

“Four hours late, though?” said Tristram, frowning. “Are you sure she didn’t phone?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

Tristram looked to his backpack, propped up beside the living-room door. Finally, a chance to take a break from his pain-in-the-arse mother and see the world… but Stacey’s no-show threatened to blow his plans. India, Thailand, Australia – he sure wasn’t missing out because his scatty girlfriend lost her passport.

“If she’s not here in half an hour, I’m going by myself.”

Hilary smiled. “That’s the most sense you’ve made since you met the awful girl.”

“Oh, shut up!” frowned Tristram, stomping through the kitchen to the utility room.

“What are you doing?” shouted Hilary.

“For goodness sake, I’m only getting a pizza,” he said, lifting the lid of the chest-freezer, as his mother appeared at the utility-room door looking uncharacteristically flustered.

“Wouldn’t you rather I phone for a delivery?”

“I don’t have the time,” said Tristram, taking a pepperoni pizza, “Stacy could be here any… argh – what the fuck?” He jolted back, dropping the pizza box which had been covering Stacy’s face. Her frozen grin stared through bags of petit pois.

“It’s for your own good, Tris,” said Hilary, closing the freezer. “Now, Mrs Saint-Claire’s daughter, Jemima, is a lovely girl with a first in English Literature…”

The End


* * * * *


The Sting


“I now pronounce you man and wife,” said the vicar. “You may kiss the bride.”

Applause erupted from behind as Paul moved closer to Jessica, but he knew straight away something was wrong. Her face was pale and creased with discomfort.

She leant against him and whispered in his ear. “I think I’ve been stung.”

Paul’s eyes flashed. He put his arm around Jessica’s waist and guided her to the vestry door.

“Oi! Can’t you wait a few hours for that?” came a shout, accompanied by a rumble of laughter.

David, the best-man, was as their side in seconds.

“Ambulance,” said Paul, then he lead her into the room.

David pulled the mobile from his suit pocket as he sprinted up the isle and outside.

“Your fucking mother,” spat Paul as he took an epi-pen from the emergency bag. “Trust her to go overboard on the flowers.”

“It’s not her fau…”

“Shh!” said Paul. “Don’t speak, just sit.”

Jessica slumped into the leather armchair and Paul lifted her dress and thumped the pen against her thigh, holding it firm, then counted, calmly, to ten.

Paul looked up at his wife, shook his head, smiled, then winked.

“In sickness and in health....”

The End

* * * * *

Three’s a Crowd


Mary sat nervously at a table in the far corner of the bar, giving her a discreet vantage point to watch the door. She sipped her orange and vodka, hoping to subdue the tremble in her hands before Stanley arrived.

It was their first live date since they’d found each other in an internet chat room two months previously. From the first moments of their exchange, she felt like an old friend had returned to her. It was love at first type – like the text of others on the screen faded away, leaving only his bold, purple lettering. They made passionate cyber-love that same night, so beautiful that she’d had to buy a new keyboard the next morning.

Just then, the door opened and in he walked, carrying a box on his shoulder. He saw her immediately and made his way to the table,

“I’ve got a problem,” said Stanley, shaking his head.

“Oh…” said Mary. “What’s wrong?”

Stanley cringed. “My brother wants to know if he can join us for a while. He’s been nagging me since I told him we were meeting up.”

She laughed. “That’s fine. It would be wonderful to meet him.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. Is he waiting outside?”

“Erm…”

“He’s more than welcome.”

Stanley hesitated. “Well, okay…”

With that, he lifted the box, revealing cheeky smile on the face of his Siamese twin.

Mary’s jaw dropped.

“Good God,” burst Gerald, “Look at the tits on that! You lucky bastard,” he said, turning to his brother.

“Shut up,” said Stanley. He returned his attention to Mary. “I’m so sorry. He’s always like this. Can you see why I was reluctant to introduce you?”

“It’s… it’s okay,” said Mary with a nervous laugh.

“Thank you, but it’s not. He gets intimidated by beautiful women and overcompensates.”

“Ha!” Gerald mocked. “Beautiful? Idiot. Nice tits – shame about the moustache and the wonky eye. But what do you expect from a porn website? You should mmm-mmm…”

Stanley covered his brother’s mouth with his hand. “I’m sick of you.”

Gerald’s arm wrestled Stanleys wrist away and pinned it to the table.

“He’s got a tiny cock you know?” gasped Gerald, with a wink.

“You bloody hypocrite! So have you!”

“And you would believe how much he wanks…” Gerald continued. “He wakes me up at night - ‘wank, wank, wank’. The bed squeaks like a mouse brothel. It’s disgusting.”

“You lying bastard,” shouted Stanley. He threw an arcing punch, hitting Gerald square on the nose.

“Stop that!” shrieked Mary. She stood, grabbed her handbag and burst into tears. “I can’t do this.”

With that, the two men watched as she fled to the door and out of the bar.

Gerald let out a deep sigh and rubbed his nose. “Really, this is the last time I’m doing your dirty-work for you, Stan.”

Stanley frowned, a look of shame on his face. “Sorry, bro’. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but she just wasn’t my type.”

The End

* * * * *

Clansman


"One hundred and fifty seconds to reach one point five mach - and that's from standstill," boasted Archie to his young apprentice, Den, who loitered beside him.

As the senior technician of Caledonian Aerospace, Archie felt such a swell of pride as he watched the ‘Euroforce Clansman’ fighter-jet - his nurtured fledgling - make her first flight. She rose up from the runway with a roar of freedom, trailing vortices on the tips of her wings as she arced skywards with more grace and majesty than he’d ever witnessed.

“Archie?” said Den.

She pitched into a steeper bank, darting to the heavens, her fuselage glimmering in the morning light.

“Arch?”

“Archie?”

“What is it?” said Archie, quite annoyed at the interruption.

Den looked guilty. Held out in his hand was a greasy lump of metal with colourful wires hanging from it.

“What’s this bit do?”

The End

* * * * *

You Asked For It


Stewart rubbed the lamp frantically. “Come out you little, bastard!” he yelled.

“Sod off!” came a tinny voice from the spout. “The management does not accept responsibility for wishes granted. Read the small print!”

“What small print?” said Stewart. He shook the lamp, trying to dislodge the occupant.

“The small print around the edge of the lid!”

Stewart held the lamp closer to his face. No imperfection marked the shiny gold surface, certainly no wording.

“There isn’t any fu…”

“You’ll need an electron microscope. It’s very small,” interrupted the Genie.

Stewart roared in anger and threw the lamp. It bounced off the bathroom wall and landed in the toilet bowl.

“AAAAAK-A-OOOOOO-A-OOOOOOOOOOOO,” came a piercing screech from outside, so loud it shook the whole house, throwing Stewart to the floor.

“Help me! I’m drowning!” squealed the voice from the toilet.

Stewart scrambled across the floor and recovered the dripping lamp. “Get rid of it,” he hissed.

“No! Rules is rules.”

He submerging the lamp for a few seconds more, then pulled it back out.

“Okay, okay,” spluttered the Genie. “But you asked for it.”

Stewart gritted his teeth. “No! I asked for a huge cock, and you deliberately misinterpreted me.”

The End

28 comments:

  1. Great stories. A couple of them really made me laugh. I love it! Never tried flash fiction before. Might have to give it a go for #SampleSunday.

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  2. Ha - thanks, Shéa! It's a great discipline and a fun challenge between friends. :-)

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  3. I really enjoyed your stories, Les. I only meant to read a sample and ended up reading every one. You have a wonderful talent for creating very realistic characters using impressively few words. It leaves me with the feeling that I have been spying on snippets of their lives. Nicely done.

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  4. Hehe, thank you! It can be quite a challenge being restricted to so few words, but also lots of fun. I'm really pleased you enjoyed them. Perhaps I should make a flash competition a feature of one of my blogs? :-)

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  5. I agree fun stories.

    I love "Weasel on a hot plate"

    I'm up for flash fiction blog "competition"

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  6. Hehe - thanks! I think a comp could be good fun, yeah! Will organise it later this week. :-)

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  7. I liek the twists and the juxapositions of certain emotions. You keep me on my toes reading. That's the best kind of writing.

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  8. Hehe, thank you! I'm going to be launching a Flash competition at the weekend, and I'll publish the 'winners' on here, so hopefully a lot more stories to read, soon. :-)

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  9. was reading clansman. this is what a first flight is really like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRMCykYWreM

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  10. Ha, I would have ejected as soon as I was high enough, rather than risk a landing. :-P

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  11. Are you talking about the video? He couldn't eject, he was not high enough. You have to be 2000+ feet above ground level to eject. He was having stability problems. The stick was too sensitive to his movements. They had to bring down the sensitivity for the next first flight. Also, note that the name of the flight was #0. He was not supposed to take-off. The aircraft pretty much took off on it's own once it reached take-off speed. He didn't pull the stick. Again, a sensitivity problem.

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  12. Yer good at the Flash style, Les!

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  13. Hehe, thanks Jason! As are you! :-)

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  14. "My Cocoa" ROTF! OMG that is hilarious Les!!!! LUV IT! That's my fav one. I like "Three's a crowd" too!

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  15. Hehehe... glad you enjoyed them, and thanks for putting a smile on my face as I head off to dreams. :-)

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  16. the stories are fun..especially the hot cocoa one.. would be fun to drink the cocoa and see what happens lol LNovak

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  17. I'm sure all your aches and pains would leave you, Laura. ;-)

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  18. You have a talent! Made me laugh, all wonderful, I especially loved Cocoa Nut, Flight or Fight, and I was so sure. ;-)

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  19. Thank you, Talei! Glad you enjoyed them! :-)

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  20. Cocoa story reminded me of a story I heard from a friend. She is very straight laced but sells soap at the Oregon Country Fair which is a total hippie fest. One of her helpers makes guacamole dip and it is the worst dip my friend has ever tasted. With each bite she thinks this is truly awful but she can't stop eating it. The more she eats the hungrier she gets. Finally, she says something to her helper about the gross dip. And of course you know the answer because the awful taste was the marijuana.

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  21. You do flash fiction soooo well! I must have another go at it myself...

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  22. Put a smile on my face when I needed something to lift my spirits and occupy my mind. Thank you. Touch of Cinnamon (Adele)

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  23. A frozen smile and a frosty Mother, no wonder he wanted to thaw in Thailand & Ausstralia, brilliantly shocking

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  24. The next O'Henry? Surprise endings are the best endings, and these stories are nice and short.

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  25. Someone on Twitter sent me over here but I don't remember who now - doh! Love your stories!

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  26. Renee Dwarkadas6 March 2013 at 07:40

    Great stories, short, funny, weird.....any more?

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