Questions I Still Have – #NaPoWriMo Day Nine

Was I a plaster

you slapped on

to cover the burns

left by your family?

Something temporary,

to hide the harm.

 

Was he water?

More than you’d seen

all in one place

and so inviting

you were willing

to drown.

 

Did you lose me

on purpose?

Or did the currents

just pull us apart?

 

Either way,

did you notice

that I was gone?

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Lost: One Bench #Throwback Thursday

English: Wooden bench at Marriott's Way, Norfolk

English: Wooden bench at Marriott’s Way, Norfolk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘How can you forget where you left it?’ Samantha demanded, shooting Michael a withering look before closing her eyes and counting to ten. In a moment she would let out a deep sighing breath and give Michael her best, why do you insist on embarrassing me stare before ordering another drink from the bar and forgetting the subject altogether.

1,2,3,4-

‘I mean really Michael!’

Michael blinked, confused as to where the last 6 seconds had gone and why she hadn’t ordered a large glass of red wine. She wasn’t following the natural order.

‘It’s a bench!’ Samantha spluttered. ‘You cannot misplace a bench! Especially not one of yours! They’re massive and made of wood. WOOD MICHAEL! WOOD!’

Everyone else in the pub had fallen silent now, the hum of conversation dying as all eyes turned to stare at the couple having the argument. Or rather, Samantha yelling at her bemused husband since Michael rarely said two words to anyone about anything.

‘I could understand a nail or two, perhaps even your level metre, but misplacing a bench is on a whole other level.’

Michael fixed his stare on what was left of his pint as Samantha continued to berate him for losing the garden bench he had made on commission, for Miss Appleway’s new patio. He really didn’t understand why she was so concerned; he would remember where it was and then collect it. Forgetting the rest of his pint he stood up from the table and headed for the door, leaving his wife purple faced and furious.

Hailing a cab he climbed in, sat down, and nodded when appropriate to the driver’s chatter. He didn’t notice the manila folder sticking out from beneath the front seats until he was almost home. Ignoring the driver’s comments on the weather Michael ducked down, and yanked the folder out.

There were three sheets of paper inside, all gibberish and slightly crumpled. There was nothing to say who they belonged to, or what they were about, just block text and narrow margins.

Rolling the folder up, Michael stuck it into his jacket pocket. I didn’t fit of course, but it stayed where he’d put it. In the morning he’d ask around the town and see if anyone had lost three sheets of nonsense.

‘Here we are mate!’ The driver said cheerfully, throwing a grin back over his shoulder as Michael clambered out of the taxi. ‘Nice looking place!’

Pulling out his wallet Michael paid him, watching him drive off before diving into his trouser pocket to search for keys. His house was one of row of terrace building, set back in tiny manicured gardens with box-hedges and gravel paths. What set his and Samantha’s apart from the rest was the array of strange wooden carving dotting the lawn and perching in the hedge.

‘Excuse me Sir?’ The voice came from an older gentleman stood beside the garden gate.

Michael acknowledged sadly that his house keys were not in his pocket and turned to face the man approaching him instead.

‘May I ask where you found that document?’ The man pointed at the folder sticking out of Michael’s pocket.

‘Taxi.’ Michael responded, gazing up at the front of his house and wondering how long it would be before Samantha got back. She’d probably be late home, thinking that it would punish him for abandoning her.

‘Did you read the content?’ The man asked, glancing at the folder in a way that would seem to suggest he was about dash in and snatch it.

Michael shrugged.

‘Utter nonsense.’ he told the man.

The man in the suit sighed. ‘I’ll take that as a yes then. I am terrible sorry for this, but you never can be too careful in these situations.’

Michael nodded, assuming that whatever the man had said required his agreement, he had been more occupied with the splintered window ledge on the second floor.

It would take Samantha another three months before she noticed it, and then another five before it was fixed.

~~~~~

Michael Remmet

Aged 29

Died 17th September 2012

Short-Suffered Husband

Has anyone seen his bench?


Written for the writing challenge on http://outwherethebusesdontrun.com/2012/09/14/prompt-this/

My prompt was “The absent-minded carpenter found the top secret document in the taxi to avoid the argument.”

A Girl Called Spider #ThrowbackThursday

She sat smoking three seats away from the door, cigarette pinched between black talons as she waited for the boy in a green apron to bring her coffee.

‘There is something of the devil about that one,’ whispered an old woman standing in line. She leant in so her companion could hear. ‘Something unnatural.’

The pair twisted to stare; peering over round spectacles to examine the girl in black leather and brass buckles.

‘Very unnatural,’ hissed the old woman’s companion. “Not the right sort at all!”

The girl sighed, pouring the smoke from her lips. She smiled at the old women and stabbed out the cigarette on the table-top.

‘Problem ladies?’ she asked.

‘This is a no smoking zone!’ squawked the first, pointing a shrivelling, stumpy finger at the no smoking sign just beside the door. ‘You are no supposed to smoke that,’ she pointed at the crushed cigarette, ‘in here.’

The girl smiled again, teeth bone white against ebony gloss.

‘I must have missed the sign,’ she said, curling her lips back further.

The old women clucked.

‘Smoking in public places is banned completely!’ said the second, shuffling her shoulder and readjusting the fold of her collar. ‘Do you not watch the news?’ she demanded.

‘Not particularly,’ replied the girl. ‘It’s always so depressing. All that death.’

She winked, still smiling as the boy in the green apron scurried over to her table, miniature coffee cup balanced on his tray.

‘Double espresso?’ he asked, trembling as the girl lifting an arm to pluck the drink from its saucer.

‘Exactly what I need,’ she purred, eyes trained on the boy’s face.

He blushed, stepped back and tripped over a table leg.

The old women watched him fall, hands clasped to mouths as they cooed sympathetically. The girl laughed, the sound spilling into the room like ice. The boy shivered as he scrambled to his feet.

‘The poor lamb,’ said the first old woman, placing a hand over her heart.

‘The poor dear,’ added the second.

‘Fool,’ said the girl, grinning.

She threw back the espresso and stood. ‘But just what I need.’

‘Need?’ the boy stammered, clutching the back of a chair for support.

‘Yes, need,’ repeated the girl. ‘I need a distraction. I suppose you could say I’m recovering from a bad break-up of sorts.’

It wasn’t a complete lie. The boy had certainly broken when he hit the street sixty-six stories below.

She slid out of her seat and stepped forward, closer to the boy in the green apron holding the empty tray.

‘Call me Spider,’ she said and caught his cheek in her palm. ‘You and I are going to have some fun.’

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Image By Antonia Brennan

Back in June 2013 (that’s around five and half years ago if you can quite believe it) I wrote a short story ‘A Girl Called Spider’. It was then posted here on Writing and Works.

Now I’ve redrafted and re-posted poems in the past as my poetry has improved, but I have never really gone back to the flash fiction pieces that I wrote ages ago. Part of the reason is perhaps that my formatting style changed after studying creative writing at uni and editing through all the annoying format based niggles in a pain in the bum.

However, it seems a shame to leave these stories to rot in the archive so I’ve decided to go back and dig them out. Each Thursday I’m going to re-post a reviewed, redrafted, and edited piece of flash fiction from back in the day with the aim to collate all the pieces into a PDF that I can then put up for download at the end.

The PDF will be completely free and mostly just a way for me to try and create a sort of anthology of my flash fiction stories. I’m hoping you lovely readers will also enjoy it and like the chance to download a collection of stories which you can carry away on your kindle, or phone, or whatever portable electronic machine you find yourself tied to.

Please let me know if you like the story, if you like the PDF idea, or if you also have a back-file of stories you wrote years ago just sitting on your blog with little to do but collect cyber dust.

Look out next Thursday for ‘Lost: One Bench’, one of the oldest stories that I had on this blog, revamped just for you guys.

Uneasy Footing – #FridayFictioneers

The jetty had rotten clean through in places, creating a hopscotch of holes almost impossible to see in the dark.

Gritting her teeth, Emile slid one foot in front of the other and eased her weight onto it. At the end of the jetty a light flickered and went off.

She paused and steadied her breath.

Patience, she reminded herself. She’d waited fifteen years, she could afford fifteen minutes to get across this dock unscathed.

She ran a hand across the outline of the pistol inside her jacket.

Fifteen minutes, she promised herself.

That’s all she needed.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz