Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-third piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 582-worder by comic fantasy (“and a little horror”) author and interviewee Will Macmillan-Jones, which will be podcasted (by yours truly) on Sunday 17th June.
Type, type, bloody type. That’s all she seemed to do. All day long, Type, type, type. What she found to type about, I’ve no idea. Suppose someone had an idea, because she kept on blathering some rubbish about a hachette and a contract, but it didn’t mean much to me.
See, I’m a chippie. By that, I don’t mean I have a fish and chip shop, I’m a chippie – a carpenter. A proper trade, making things, things you can touch, stroke, admire. What was it she did? Nothing. Just bloody type, type, type. That keyboard would rattle all day long, sometimes into the evening. Even in the middle of the night, I’ve been woken up by the sound of the keys. Type, type, type. Not even paper came out of it, paper with words written on it, you know? Nothing. Just letters on a screen, which always faded when I went to look at them. Nothing there.
I asked her, I did. Almost begged her. Get a job, a proper job, and stop all this rubbish. Know what answer I got? Got a contract, she said. Well, I know about contracts. You get them, you go to work, you get paid every week, or sometimes monthly. Contract? Never saw no money coming in from it, just type, type, type, bloody type.
I’d had enough that night. Ten at night it were, and I’d been up since five, working me backside off to bring in money, cos she didn’t. Got home late, I were exhausted that day. No tea, no food, just type, type, type. I shouldn’t have done it. I know I shouldn’t have done it. But I just cracked, and the hatchet were in my belt. It were so easy, just to bring it down in anger.
Well, I were sorry at once, and bound her up, put her hands in ice, and got her to the hospital. They’ve sewn them back on, got to wait and see.
But then it got worse. She were in the hospital, not at home, and every time I went to bed, do you know what I could hear? Type, type, type. And I knew I were alone. But as soon as the lights went out, type, type, type.
Well, after the third night, I couldn’t stand no more. So I had the biggest drink I could, and went in to the room she used. There was the computer, it were turned on, even though I had taken all the plugs out of the wall that first night. I were fair shaking, I tell you, as I went to the desk. I looked at the keyboard, but it were silent. Then, the letters started to appear on the screen. How could it do that? It were unplugged, no one were typing! I bent forward to read the letters, because I can be a bit short-sighted after peering at numbers on rulers for work for thirty years.
My hands fell onto the keyboard as I leant forward, and then I couldn’t move them away. What were on the screen? My fingers typed out C O M E I N S I D E. The letters blurred, and then suddenly I were looking at them from the wrong side. The inside. How do I get out? HOW DO I GET OUT?
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I asked Will what prompted this piece and he said…
In the summer of 2011 I was lucky enough to join a weekly flash fiction competition on the Authonomy authors’ website. The judging panel was the other writers who entered the competition, and the only prize the experience of writing a completely new short story every week for three months. But what a prize that was…this was one of them. Some of the other writers liked it. I hope that you do.
I did. Thank you, Will.
Will is a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz. He presently lives in South Wales, and has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill one entire wall of his home office.
Working as a professional tax consultant, he writes to escape the stultifying boredom of his job.
He has an irregular blog, www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com where he “rambles incoherently about writing”.
His publisher’s website is www.safkhetpublishing.com. You can read my interview with Will here (and to know more about Safkhet you can read my interviews with Kim Maya Sutton here and Will Sutton here).
If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical / romance author Kristy K James – the three hundred and seventy-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.