Exotic Spice – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Exotic Spice

Leona had thought it would be funny to visit a fancy dress shop in her lunch break, hire something to spice up what had become a rather mundane love life with Neville. Even his name bored her and she’d begun to wonder whether it was worth the effort, whether she’d be better off telling him it was over then escaping to the sun, when she’d remembered the shop and its colourful window.

As she closed the front door to the solicitors, she headed to the small shop at the end of the high street. She’d only walked past the newsagents and bakers when she stopped at the travel agent’s window.

There it was: six-inch-high letters, ISRAEL, next to a picture of an exotic beach and sun loungers with not a soul in sight, somewhere she could pick and choose her place, like selecting a desert from a menu card.

But life wasn’t that simple – she’d always ended up with the sunbed that squeaked or threatened to fold at any given moment.

As she looked at the Mediterranean scene she pictured herself being pampered by a tall, tanned waiter and comparing him to Neville, she burst out laughing.

But that’s what she loved about him… he made her laugh and yes, she was sure she still loved him.

So she kept walking, picked out a nurse’s outfit, and walked back to work wearing a silly grin while imagining wearing the uniform.

She wasn’t to know as she selected the next tape and legal file, that Neville had been a sick child and that when he would come home that evening, see her bending over the dining room table in the shortest skirt she’d ever worn, that he’d start screaming.

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Dowdy is a Let-down – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Dowdy is a Let-down

As you step up to ring the bell, you spot your reflection in the side window. Your mascara’s run and you know you need to make a good first impression.

John thinks you’re swimming and he’s supposed to be at work but you followed him here, then waited until he went inside… then waited a while longer until it was touch and go whether he’d resurface.

You’ve not seen the woman but expect her to be young. And pretty, like you were when you and John first met, before the four children distorted your figure from model to mother, career woman to housewife, for almost fifteen years.

And now the man you love… loved… is separated by a brown wooden door and panes of glass which betray your form.

Dipping into your handbag, you pull out the mirror and wipe away the smudged mascara with the side of your finger. Make-up went years ago but it’s returned today, for the showdown.

Noticing the door is slightly open, you push it a fraction and wait, listening for voices, footsteps, but none are forthcoming. You push the door a little more, then hear the noise; heavy breathing and his voice.

“That was fun,” he says, out of breath. “Let’s do it again.”

You thrust the front door backwards and it hits something. You don’t look at what but stomp through the hallway and into the lounge.

The picture that greets you isn’t quite what you expected; fully-clothed not naked, vertical not horizontal but John is out of breath and red-faced.

“What the hell?” the woman says as she looks at you.

She is younger but plain and that feels worse. You’d expect him to leave you for someone her age but dowdy, even in such a stunning dress, is a let-down.

“Susan!” John puffs, half-bent, palms on his knees, but looking up at you. He straightens and steps forward, but you back away.

“It’s not what you think,” the woman says.

That’s what they always say, you’ve watched enough TV.

“She’s… she’s…” John tries.

You can’t say anything but just stand there shaking your head.

“She’s teaching me,” he blurts.

“I bet she is,” you hiss and can’t remember ever being this angry with him, this hurt.

“The tango,” the woman says coolly. “It was supposed to be a surprise.”

You look from her to him and back to her. “What?”

“He’s bought you a cruise for your wedding anniversary. Doesn’t want to be an embarrassment on the dance floor. He’s very good actually. You’re a lucky woman.”

And as you look back at his big brown eyes, he reminds you of the first dog you had as a child and you whimper, “Yes, very lucky.”

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Cheapskate – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Cheapskate

“What’s the matter?”

“Jim’s dumped me.”

“Again?”

“I know.”

“That’s got to be the… fifth time?”

“Sixth.”

“For good?”

“I think so.”

“Well, you can’t take him back even if he crawls…”

“But I love him.”

“Ruth!”

“I know, but I can’t help it.”

“You’re a doormat.”

“Josie!”

“You are, you know you are… and just before your birthday. Last time it was Christmas.”

“I know.”

“With his birthday in between. Cheapskate.”

“I know.”

“I told you you’d been too generous.”

“But he said we’d be together for ever.”

“No ring or proposal though was there.”

“I know.”

“Plenty more fish in the-”

“Sea. Yes.”

“Just look around. What about him?”

“Bald.”

“Nice eyes though.”

“Look at his teeth…”

“Fair point. What about him?”

“Walks funny.”

“It’s a limp, that’s all.”

“Bet that’s not all that’s limp!”

“Ruth Anne Murdoch!”

“Josephine Marie Willis!”

“So what are you going to do for your birthday now Jim’s not taking you anywhere?”

“Thought I’d go to the beach.”

“Lovely.”

“What to come?”

“Love to. Bus?”

“Thought I’d treat myself.”

“Coach.”

“Taxi.”

“That’s my girl.”

“Well, you’re only eighty once.”

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Legs and Confidence – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Legs and Confidence

Staring at the blank lines, I know I have to write something, anything. But voids and I go together, my life a nothingness; no job, love life.

Loads worse off than me, I know, Maria keeps telling me. She’s my oldest friend… not quite back as far as school but not far off.

With just the TV for company, there’s nothing to do but sit and stare at it… and eat.

“Chins up,” she tells me then laughs as if that would make me feel better.

It’s alright for her; she’s got a job, a man in her life. She said I could go out with them but who wants to be a gooseberry? She suggested it again today, said they’re going to the cinema but back row for three? No, thank you. Besides, I think Andy’s a little jealous of our friendship.

Maria buys me the local paper every week… for the jobs section, I’m sure, or maybe the dating column, or both.

She says she’s done with it but I know she’s not read it. She’s not careful enough with stuff to leave it that tidy-looking.

She brings me teabags too, knows I get through them too quickly, even at two cups a bag.

Almost at the end of the milk, so better ration it. She takes a lot in her drinks so that doesn’t help but I don’t mind, she’s good to me… said that already, didn’t I?

Some people love being at home all the time but I hate it. I want to work, really I do, but Maria doesn’t understand why I’m hesitant. I suppose she just likes to remember the old me, the sporty me, the pre-Afghanistan me. The ‘me’ with legs and confidence.

“You’ll get new ones soon,” she says, and I’ve seen the Paralympics, I can see what’s possible but it’s years of work, isn’t it.

Maria says I won’t look forward but what is there to look forward to? I lost her when Andy came on the scene. OK, that’s not fair. I pushed her away, but she didn’t leave completely, won’t leave for good, like I told her to… shouted at her to.

I should be grateful. I am, really I am, but…

“Write it down,” she said. “Like an autobiography. It’ll be therapy.”

I shook my head but she put the paper and pen in front of me anyway, kissed me on the cheek and left for her date with Angus Andy.

So here I am. TV switched off, remote at the other end of the room (thanks, Maria) and I have to write. Something, anything…

Legs and Confidence by Tom Butler’.

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Master of the House – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Master of the House

It was when the snow went beige with muddy footprints that Fran hated it most. It compacting and freezing didn’t bother her – she never went anywhere – but virginal white reminded her of postcards, of times when people went places and wished she was there.

The TV took her away, from the humdrum, had strangers talking to her as if she was their friend.

As afternoon turned to evening, she switched on the living room light and swallowed as the bulb popped. She pictured the box of spares under the sink and the torch magnetised to the fridge door but they’d wait. She’d let the TV illuminate the room until she had to do something about it, until something reminded her that Tom had gone, and she was now the mistress and master of the house.

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Sort of Funny – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

Sort of Funny

Tipping up the glass, Ernie proved to his dog Tyke that the beer had gone, all but a layer of froth. Ernie smiled as the dog’s nose edged forward and licked a clump of foam that was threatening to cascade out.

To Ernie’s left, his friend Albert blew out a cloud of smoke. “How are things at home, Ern?”

Ernie frowned. “Not too sure to be honest, Albie.”

“Why’s that?”

“She’s been acting funny.”

“Nora?”

“Yes, the old ball and chain.”

“What kind of funny? Ha-ha funny?”

“No, peculiar.”

“How so?” Albert asked, sucking on his pipe.

“Well, kind of…” Ernie leaned in, and whispered, “Sort of frisky.”

Albert burst out laughing, coughing short bursts of smoke as he did so.

“It’s not funny!” Ernie snapped.

“It’s hilarious!” Albert giggled, like he’d done all those years before, on the playground, when they’d shared pictures of nude women that Ernie had stolen from his father’s beside drawer.

Only now there was only one nude woman, and she had more lines, more wrinkles and considerably more flesh.

Albert looked at Ernie’s glass. “Another?”

Ernie looked at his watch, sighed and shook his head. “Better be going.”

“You’ve got time for another.”

Ernie shrugged. “Go on then, but make it something stronger.”

Albert winked at Tyke who wagged his tail. “Alright mate. Treble coming up.”

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More Laura Ashley Than Magnum P.I. – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s larger short story collection (250 stories), Fifty 5pm Fictions Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

More Laura Ashley Than Magnum P.I.

It was his floral shirt that Vera hated the most. He called it ‘Hawaiian’ but it more Laura Ashley than Magnum P.I.

Ernie had packed it whenever they’d gone somewhere warm – she’d unpack it when he wasn’t looking but he’d find it at the bottom of the airing cupboard or washing basket, assuming he’d missed it the first time round.

His absent mindedness had been one of the things Vera had found endearing when they’d first got to know each other but for forty-eight years she’d had his dithering; going back upstairs because he’d forgotten the car keys or his driving gloves.

She’d never understood why he kept them upstairs.

He’d said for security, which was fair enough for the keys, but the gloves? They were leather, but even so…

This holiday was to Lanzarote, or “Lanzagrotty” as Vera’s sister Glynis called it, having had a ‘make or break’ vacation there with her American husband, that was so broken even keyhole surgery wouldn’t have resurrected it. But it was somewhere that had always appealed to Ernie and last year’s Malta had been Vera’s choice so it was only fair.

They’d booked the trip in February, picking dates to include Vera’s seventieth birthday, and it had felt like an eternity away but as they’d got older time had gone quicker and this year had been no exception.

As Vera stared at the suitcase then the shirt, for once she smiled, folded it neatly and put it on the top of the other contents so it wouldn’t crease.

She looked towards the ceiling and said, “If you can’t be there in person, Ernie, you’ll be there in spirit,” and pulled round the zips as the taxi driver honked his horn.

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