Welcome to the thirty-seventh in the series: 5pm Fiction.
Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a story from the prompt of ‘mate’, so here is my 371-worder.
It all started back when… oh you don’t want to hear all about that, you want the action, the here and now, why someone I thought I knew well, someone I’d known from school sixty years ago would turn up on my doorstep declaring his undying love for my wife. I didn’t even know they knew each other. Turns out they met a few months ago buying my Christmas present. Well, Isobel buying mine, Derek buying one for his dog. Not that she bought me a pet toy, they were in the same department store queue, waiting to pay. Isobel behind Derek and she saw what he’d got – can’t remember what she said it was now, doesn’t matter.
She loves dogs. Had them growing up, wanted one, but it was me or a dog so she had no choice, did she?
So anyways, they got chatting, went for a cup of coffee… innocent like and first thing I knew about it is when he turned up. On my birthday of all days! Picked then because he thought… or she thought, I’d be in a good mood. Even if I had been, which I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been for long, seeing him would I? Before or after he told me about him and Isobel.
She said afterwards she’d wanted to tell me. That it had always been just coffee, just shopping. Not Derek’s version but he’d always exaggerated, said she wanted to leave me but that I wouldn’t let her. So he came to ask me. Not that there was much asking involved. Any, actually. Lots of demanding as I remember.
I was holding her back, he’d said. Wasn’t making her happy. She’d be happy with him. Couldn’t even think of anything original.
Of course she won’t leave me. Thinks she was the one to put me in this wheelchair. And I’m not going to put her straight, am I? She does too good a job of looking after me, and she enjoys it, I can tell.
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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.