Flash Fiction Friday 056: The Main Course by Christopher Farley

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the fifty-sixth piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s welcomes back Christopher Farley with his 661-worder.

The Main Course

He made everyone look up from their meals, both female and male.  He wasn’t good looking; far from it, but he had a certain something.  He was dressed in a blue shark-skin suit, and, strangely, a claret shirt.  It wasn’t this sartorial stew that drew attention though.

His face was fairly pointed and his mouth, unsmiling, seemed a little deformed, as if it had little in common with the rest of his face.  Whatever it was, it had an effect.  People stopped eating to watch him walk by; although his walk also was a little unnatural.  He seemed to glide instead of taking steps.  He was sat at a table toward the dimly lit rear of the restaurant.  He scanned the restaurant, his eyes like black marble holding the gaze of the other people till, one by one, they dropped theirs.

The Maître d’ availed himself immediately.  He arrived at the table; flicking a quick hand across the tablecloth and removing two almost invisible specks of something in one go.

“I feel carnivorous this evening,” said the man.  “I think a plate of bresaola will do me for starters.  I’ll make my mind up on the main course as I chew.”

The Maître d’ nodded.

“A bottle of sparkling water also,” the man said. “I like the way those bubbles go to my head.”

Once again the Maître d’ nodded and, avoiding the seated man’s eyes, made his way to the kitchen.  He sent a waiter with the bottle of water.

The restaurant noise resumed its previous level.  Couples enjoying a romantic for two, a rose placed between them.  Business associates enjoying heated debates over targets hit and missed.  Ernest salesmen continuing their sales pitch between forkfuls of tagliatelle.

The order arrived.  Placing the plate of cured meat in front of the man, the waiter, no doubt briefed by the Maître d’, asked if he’d considered his main course.

“Still thinking,” said the man.  He hinted at a smile, allowing a glimpse of that strange mouth.  The waiter felt a small shiver run down his back but couldn’t put his finger on why it should be.  Returning a professional smile, honed during 25 years’ service, he made his way from the table.

The discussion at a table of hard-nosed marketing execs started getting heated; a little too much wine or possibly after-dinner cognac getting the better of two of them and the argument promised to get out of hand.

The man polished off the starter in less than a minute, all the while keeping his eye on events in the restaurant.  The Maître d’ was standing at the table, imploring calm with his hands held outwards but to little avail.  The shouting reached a crescendo, one of the men, with a fat sweating face and cheeks flush from the booze, was now on his feet and waving his arms around, occasionally pointing a shaking hand at one of his colleagues; a crew-cut kid with the face and neck of a bulldog.

“You’re just an overblown tele-salesman,” shouted the sweating man. “You’ve seen nothing!  We’ve been through the mill, busting our ass, studying what we do.  You arrive, make 50 phone calls and hit a lucky.  What do you know about market analytics or product lifecycle?  You just kiss the right ass in the right place and think you’re God’s gift.”

Crew-cut raised himself out of his seat and leant over the table. Then there came the sound of breaking glass.

“Shit!”

Mr. Waving Arms held his hand to his cheek, blood seeping through his fingers.  Grabbing a serviette to hold against the man’s face, the Maître d’ led him by the arm, pointing to the men’s service area.  As he quickly returned to the table of still-arguing marketing execs, the man in the shark-skin suit, alone in the semi-dark, smiled to himself, revealing a huge set of triangular teeth. He breathed in the smell of blood, and glided from his chair.

Another dark piece… just how I like them. Thank you, Chris.

Christopher Farley.  He lived a sheltered life in the wilds of Kent from where he was saved by the written word.  So much so that he still corresponds with certain people with A PEN AND PAPER!!  Upon moving to London, a bit like Dick Whittington, searching for streets of gold, he happened upon a beautiful Italian lady who later decided to take him to the sunny realm of southern Switzerland, where he can still be found, smiling inanely, continuously in search of Weissbier.  When he is not working or drinking he sits in front of the computer, searching for fictional inspiration. You can find Chris via his blog http://talkingtosh.wordpress.com.

***

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with children’s author C Lee McKenzie – the five hundred and nineteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

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 poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Flash Fiction Friday 035: ‘Revenge is a dish best served…alive’ by Christopher Farley

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the thirty-fifth piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s is a 701-worder by Christopher Farley.

Revenge is a dish best served… alive

Brian saw the legs first. Two of them. Then there followed another, then another.  He counted eight. He was unsure as to why it had come out from behind the wardrobe only to sit on the floor and gaze at him; at least he believed it was gazing at him.

He heard a crash downstairs, Margie was cooking and swearing all at once, he chuckled to himself as a list of expletives, possibly borrowed from the army parade ground, turned the air blue.  It still looked at him.  Frowning, he reached for the remote control and turned on the news.  News?  Death, starvation, natural disaster, murder.  No news there, he thought.

The spider had moved.  He didn’t know where but it had gone, disappeared, hopefully back to the hole it had crawled out from.  He gave a final sweep of the room and turned over the TV.  More rubbish.  He was convinced that evening’s viewing was programmed by people who do anything but stay at home in the evening. After rigorous use of the remote he found a motoring channel and let the host guide his way through the intricacies of some flash sports car.

“Margie”, he shouted, “bring us up a beer love would you?”  He heard the voice below in the kitchen, mutter something or other, muffled by the distance and the walls.  A few minutes passed and still no ale.  The spider was back.

“Margie!” Louder this time. “Get us that beer love”.  It wasn’t a request.

Again a minute or two passed.

“Margie!!!”

The spider disappeared.  30 seconds later the door opened, two hands holding a can and a glass arrived and handed both to him.

“You took your time love”.  Not even thanks.

Margie looked briefly into his face as she turned and walked from the room, closing the door behind her.

“Did you just look at me?” he called after her.  He heard her footsteps on the landing then the top of the stairs, the way the floorboard creaked between the banister and the bathroom door was a giveaway.  Then she was back in the kitchen.

He poured the beer from the can and let it settle, continuing to top up the glass slowly.  Raising it to his lips he let the first mouthful wash down his throat.  The spider was back.  “What an ugly brute” he thought.  He considered calling Margie to bring the fly-swatter hanging up in the kitchen.  “No,” he said to himself, “let’s see what it does next”.

After a further 5 minutes of motoring TV he realised he was hungry. “Margie,” he yelled, “bring me a sandwich love.” The spider regarded him.  For a second or two Brian considered throwing something at it but the only things to hand were his beer and the remote control, both necessities and not available for launch.  The spider turned and disappeared.  A short while later the sandwich appeared. “Cheese?  “You know I don’t like cheese in a sandwich.”

“It’s all I got in the fridge,” came the reply.

“Where does my housekeeping money go?”

“I haven’t been to the shop, I haven’t felt well, remember?”

“You won’t be feeling well if you talk to me like that again. I’m the man of the house.”

Margie went downstairs.  The spider appeared. Brian heard sobs from the kitchen. “Bloody woman,” he said.

As if in response, the spider raised itself up on the back two sets of legs, looking at him.  It charged, racing across the room.  Brian watched fascinated, even when the spider struck, biting his foot.  He didn’t feel anything, just a strange numbness; which then started up his left leg, reached his thigh then started down the right one.  Brian sat following the spider with his eyes as the strange sensation crept into his abdomen, then his arms. Finally he could no longer move his head.

The spider returned to the wardrobe, going backwards under the door, studying the man in the chair.  It disappeared.

Five minutes later Margie came through the door with an assortment of cutlery.  She closed the door behind her.  Looking at her husband she sat down and took the knife and fork in her hands… and waited.

Wow. I loved that, thank you, Chris.

Christopher Farley.  He lived a sheltered life in the wilds of Kent from where he was saved by the written word.  So much so that he still corresponds with certain people with A PEN AND PAPER!!

Upon moving to London, a bit like Dick Whittington, searching for streets of gold, he happened upon a beautiful Italian lady who later decided to take him to the sunny realm of southern Switzerland, where he can still be found, smiling inanely, continuously in search of Weissbier.

When he is not working or drinking he sits in front of the computer, searching for fictional inspiration. You can find Chris via his blog http://talkingtosh.wordpress.com where he says he longs to make a living writing but…

I know that feeling 🙂 As Chris pointed out when he emailed me his photo, doesn’t his picture (the background anyway) look like Edvard Munch’s The Scream (which I wrote about recently).

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical / romance author Kristy K James – the three hundred and seventy-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

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 poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.