Welcome to the ninety-seventh in this daily series that is ‘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 featuring a chap called Bert, so here is my 417-worder.
Popped out for a pint of milk, or something
Rhubarb. Should have asked her to get out a crumble. Or apple. Ooh, or a sticky treacle pudding. Haven’t had those for ages. Or Spotted Dick to think of it. No, she’s not been herself for a while. But crying? She never cries. An ox is my Maureen. Didn’t even cry when she had Thomas, caused us a few tears since then but… I do miss him if I’m honest. Still, only a month ’til Christmas. Time flies and all that.
Suppose we’ll be sending Christmas cards out soon. Lots to organise. Never been good at organising. Leave that to Maureen. Been leaving a lot to her lately. Too much.
That’s all it is. She’s been looking tired. Early nights, that’s what we both need. Make the most of just the two of us before Thomas comes back.
Oh hello, there’s Mrs Hammond. Number 43 or is it 45? Little Scottie dog. Is that the white one? No, Westie.
Bert, you’re losing it. West Highland Terrier. The Highlands, that’s it. We must go there again, for longer this time, once Thomas goes back.
Hello, Mrs… Oh, walked straight past. Ah, I see the white earphones, must be one of those musical phones.
Maureen’s forgotten I’m out here, I bet. The only reason why she’s locked the door. But where does she think I am? Popped out for a pint of milk, or something?
The bell doesn’t seem to work, she’s not moving. I can see her clear as day.
You’d think she’d hear the knocking. Maybe she’s got the radio up too loud.
Wish we had a letterbox instead of one of those wall things, then I could at least shout through it. Seemed like a good idea when Bertie was chewing everything up.
Thomas? What are you doing home already? What’s the matter? Hello? I’m just here…
The bell’s working now. Thomas? Forgotten your key? Typical. Brain like a…
Ah good, Maureen’s heard, at last.
So how’s uni, Thomas? Have I said something to…? Hello!
Thank you, Maureen, I’ve been out here… hello! Am I invisible, or something?
Hello? I’m here! Both ignore me then why don’t you?
Ah, that’s nice, a good hug. Group hug?
Great, she’s ignoring me too.
Came as soon as you could? Why? What’s happened? Died? Who’s died? Hello? Who’s… I can’t feel my toes.
Photography courtesy of morguefile.com.
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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 fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, 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.