Sunday short short story: Not Red Like I Asked by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, FLASHES,  available in e-book from Morgen’s online store where you not only get the best price but can either instantly download the collection or purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Not Red Like I Asked

Norman will be back soon. I know what he’s up to, you know. Likes to keep me on my toes. I ask for one thing, he gets me another so I started asking for things I don’t want, just to see where his imagination takes him. Only as far as the corner shop usually.

Today though he said he was going to the parade, needed the DIY store. Always building something… to keep himself out my way, I reckon.

The lads are playing on the green again. I know their schooling isn’t up to much but surely they can read the ‘No Ball Games’ sign, it’s large enough. I’d point it out to them, only… well, you know, you hear such awful things on the news. Happened to one of my brother’s neighbours, terrible affair. He was never quite the same after that… the neighbour, not John, although it shook him up something rotten too, as he’d been outside only a few minutes before.

Safest place, your own home, although old Ted Richards had a nasty experience the year before last. ‘Distraction burglary’ the papers called it, but it was more than that, he had a black eye because of them. They got one of them, turned out to be the lad next door to Ted, with one of his mum’s stocking over his head… the pervert. Never did catch the other one, although they knew who he used to hang around with.

So that’s why I keep a vigil, make sure Norman gets home alright. I send him out because he needs the exercise, the allotment’s only a road away and I have to think of something, don’t I? Then I’m so relieved when he comes back, try not to show it but I’m not that good an actress really.

They’ve still not fixed the street lamp outside Mrs Jones’. It’s not got one of those stickers on it so I know it’s supposed to work and when you phone the council you get passed round so many departments that it’s quicker to go to the DIY shop and fix it yourself. Of course they wouldn’t let you if they knew… health and safety and all that.

She’s ninety-three. I keep telling them… the council. Say Mrs Jones will be ninety-four next month, but they don’t listen. I suppose they would if I could get through all the options; press one for this and hash for that. No one there to tell me what the hash is. Some American thing made with corned beef, I thought. Mrs Jones’ grandson could tell me – he’s good with technology.

Oh look, there’s Norman, carrying the plant I asked him to get. Not red like I asked, but then he’s colour blind so not to know, is he?

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