April’s Fool (short story)

*** April’s Fool is now on Wattpad! **

April’s Fool‘ is a 1,236-word competition-winning third-person story about a long-suffering farmer’s wife from forthcoming anthology ‘Calendar Girls’ – April’s Fool covers a few hours in the life of an unappreciative farmer and his downtrodden wife. After a stomach-churning dinner scene she decides upon an action that will change both their lives. It starts like this…

Her wrinkled right hand clasps the side of the bowl while her left beats the mixture. April thinks of her husband and growls. She pictures him downing his beer, chatting to friends, letching at the bimbos by the bar and smiling, his loose tooth wobbling in its socket.

As she adds the final ingredient, her hand beats faster to match her brain, the spoon clanks against the glass bowl and a small dollop of pudding flies over the top. “Damn it,” she says and grabs a cloth to wipe up the slimy green goo. She stares at the clock and growls again. He’ll be on his ninth pint by now, and never stops at single numbers.

Thumping down the bowl, another blob escapes. This time she grabs one of his clean vests off the chair to her left, wipes up the spillage, then neatly folds the vest with the newly acquired marks hidden, and puts it on top of a pile of freshly ironed clothes. She smiles, turns, and then pulls open the fridge door, oblivious to the sound of the seals peeling apart. She makes a space for the clear Pyrex bowl and dumps it on the shelf, letting it clunk against the plastic-covered metal bars. Grabbing a bag of home-grown mixed veg out of the salad drawer, she slams the door to, reuniting the seals which kiss shut.

Ignoring the greens, she selects the carrots which she peels roughly before slicing them lengthways into delicate strips. They lie on the chopping board in disorderly lines but the regiment leaps to attention as they’re boiled alive, joining the salted peas cowering at the bottom of the saucepan.

Available for free from Smashwords. Reviews received to-date:

  • 4* on Smashwords: “A revenge story sweet to read. Dramatic tension builds from short, terse sentences. The author is skilled at revealing emotion through action. Would like to read more from this author.”
  • 3* on Smashwords: “A bit skimpy on details, but we get the idea.”
  • 5* on Smashwords: “Morgen Bailey is an expert at character-building. This short story builds the tension with memorable characters, the kind you know you could meet on the street. There were several hints throughout as to what was going to happen, but I was so invested in the story I needed to read to the end just to make sure. Professional writing. Well done.”
  • 5* on Smashwords: “Short fiction is truly an art form, and April’s Fool is a fine example. Morgen Bailey manages to get the reader to connect with the main character and understand her actions in a very brief story that leaves you wanting more, but in a good way. Read it… recommend it… it’s perfectly delicious!”
  • (direct email): “I read your book called April’s Fool and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!!! Is there a sequel!? I really HAVE to know what happens next!! What happens to April!? What happens to her husband!? It’s a GREAT cliffhanger!! If there are more books by you, or a sequel to April’s Fool, please reply to me and let me know??” (Needless to say I did :))
  • 5* on Smashwords: “I loved this… Morgen Bailey sketches a scene, builds a mood, and places you in her characters’ worlds so economically, then comes the catharsis at the end. Wonderfully-tight writing, and a great – and deliciously-dark end twist..! – Enjoy!”
  • direct email: “I very much enjoyed reading your short story. Thank you for having it on iBooks for free, I look forward to more of your work!”
  • direct email: “Oh my gosh! That’s so creepy and sad and cool and… Wow. I like that one. Good for April! It’s so sad that stuff like that actually happens … Anyways, thanks for sharing!”
  • 5* on iTunes: “good book”
  • 2* on iTunes: “wished it was longer :0)”
  • 3* on iTunes: “Great book its so nice to have something good to read when on a trip or going anywhere.”

Short stories are my favourite format to write and read so there will be many more to come, either individually for free or $0.99 or as $1.49 anthologies (as the ‘Story A Day May (stories)‘ and ‘Story A Day May (challenge)‘ are) as well as the occasional novella or three. 🙂

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