How’s Your Mum? – 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…

How’s Your Mum?

Hi Liam, you look well. No.

It’s been a long time. No.

How’s your mum? That’s good, Bridge, start with his mum, he’s close to her.

How are your brothers? No. He’ll think I don’t care about him. But I can’t care too much, he isan ex.

I should have worn a dress. Men like dresses. Something floral, pretty. He used to like… the blue one, he liked the blue one. Too late now. This is OK. Smart casual. It’s not like we’ll be alone.

OK… hair nice? Yep. How he likes it… cascading, feminine.

At least there’ll be no small talk. No “What music do you like? What do you do for a living now?” We both know why we’re here.

Oh great, there’s Anna, only the cutest reporter on the planet. Should have gone with the blue dress – shows off the curves Anna doesn’t have.

Morning, Anna. You’re here early…

And we all know why. And of course she chose a dress, stuffed with chicken fillets by the looks of it.

Ooh, Tim. This should be interesting. As if I needed reminding how incestuous this business is.

Hi, Tim. Two cameras today – serious stuff. Probably going to be a long wait. He’s notoriously… Yes, I suppose you are.

Hi Liam. Good to see you too. How’s your mum?

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The Innocent Brick – 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…

The Innocent Brick

“Throw it, Danny!”

“No.”

“Now! It’ll be gone…”

“But I’ll hit it.”

“That’s the idea.”

“But there’s someone driving.”

“So?”

“What if it hits them?”

“So?”

“I can’t.”

“Ability, Danny.”

“What?”

“You’re capable of doing anything, my Gran tells me. You can do anything, Danny.”

“I can’t!”

“Just drop the thing… Not like that. What did you do that for?”

“I’m not playing anymore.”

“You want to join us, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Then you have to do what I say.”

“OK, but not that.”

“It’s tradition.”

“…OK.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

“I know what makes you tick, Danny. Don’t forget it.”

“OK.”

“There’s another one. No, turning off. This one, Danny, it’s heading for us. Pick up the brick… wait… wait… ready… hold it over the edge.”

“I know the car.”

“Don’t be silly. Now, Danny! Let go! Yeah! Direct hit! Way to go!”

“I’m scared.”

“Look! It’s crashing! Well done, Danny.”

“I feel sick.”

“No! It can’t be. Gran!”

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Just That Extra – 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…

Just That Extra

As you turn the key you wait for something. Anything. The ballerina is lopsided so you don’t hold out much hope. You’ve only wound it a little, knowing how old it is, you don’t want to overdo it – that’s you all over. Unstated. Underrated, according to Fred.

He knows how hard you work, sees you slump down on the sofa every evening, too tired to say much, to eat much, to make love.

It can’t be legal, he says, below minimum wage, but you know you could earn more, higher commission, so you work harder, show houses that have been on the market for weeks, or in this case months.

You think it’s charming but the look on the faces of the viewers says it all; too dusty, too ruined, too expensive to do up.

They’re late today so you reckon they’re not coming and you’re probably right. But you like to think the best of people, give them ten more minutes, twenty at least.

You wander round the house, figuring the doorbell is loud enough to be heard from anywhere.

You wish you could buy this place, just sell a few more ‘normal’ ones, enough for a deposit. You know Fred would love it – all the space for his collection, he’d have the study he always wanted.

A chime goes and you head downstairs and open the door but the entrance is empty, then you realise the chime is still going. Not a chime, a tune, a ballet. So you slam the door and rush back to the little bedroom, the one with the faded pink wallpaper, for the child you and Fred could never have.

Opening the door slowly you see why it’s playing, who turned the key just that extra notch, and you smile.

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Phonetics: A Winter’s Tale – 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…

Phonetics – A Winter’s Tale

“What the…!”

“Sorry! Oh God, I’m so sorry. Me and my bovver boots.”

“Shh…”

“Sorry. Is your foot OK?”

“Fine.”

“I’m so… I couldn’t sleep last night and had nothing to read so…”

“Nothing?”

“No.”

“You don’t keep any books in the house?”

“Flat.”

“Not even classics?”

“No.”

“Shakespeare.”

“Nope.”

“The Bible, then. Everyone has a Bible.”

“God, no… sorry, are you?”

“You say ‘sorry’ a lot.”

“I do, yes.”

“Divorced?”

“How did you know? Oh, saying ‘sorry’. It used to work…”

“That’s a shame.”

“Not really.”

“So you have plenty of time to read.”

“Not really. I’m always on the motorway, or sleeping.”

“Sorry?”

“It’s catching.”

“What?”

“Never mind.”

“You work on the motorway presumably.”

“Spot on.”

“And you work from the minute you get there ’til you finish?”

“No. There are lunch breaks, other breaks… when it’s raining. This is England.”

“Perfect.”

“For…”

“Reading.”

“I suppose, but I’m with the lads.”

“Can’t you get away?”

“Not really. The porta cabins are noisy and the motorway’s… Besides, they’ll think…”

“Does it matter?”

“Don’t suppose so.”

“How many of you are there?”

“40. 50 maybe.”

“Wow. You could…”

“I could…?”

“Start a book group?”

“I don’t think so. They’re very…”

“You could ask.”

“I guess. You like reading, don’t you. Big stack of books you’ve got there. They allow you that many at once?”

“I have two cards.”

“Isn’t that a bit greedy.”

“Not both mine.”

“Old man’s?”

“Yes.”

“Large print. Very old man.”

“Yes. Neighbour.”

“Sorry, being nosey.”

“You weren’t going to say ‘sorry’ again.”

“I wasn’t? Force of habit. Whilst I’m being nosey, and getting away with it…”

“You were?”

“I thought so, but…”

“Go on.”

“What do you do that lets you read so much? The old man… you a carer?”

“No.”

“Librarian.”

“Not even close.”

“Indoors though.”

“Mostly.”

“For a company.”

“Yes.”

“You’re very…”

“What?”

“Skinny.”

“Naturally slim.”

“I should pick my book and go… before I get a parking ticket.”

“What are you going for? The book.”

“Something with action, shortish chapters.”

“James Patterson’s are short, about one or two pages mostly.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“He’s very popular. Most borrowed… or stolen, can’t remember which.”

“People’s steal from libraries?”

“I meant bookshops but yes, they probably do.”

“Isn’t that pointless? Aren’t they free?”

“They are but you need a card.”

“Which is free, or at least mine was.”

“They are. So you’ve guessed I work for a company, indoors and I’m skinny. What do I do?”

“Secretary.”

“Are secretaries skinny?”

“Not necessarily.”

“OK, clue…”

“Your foot. You’re a chiropodist.”

“Nope.”

“Treading on a spot. You squash spiders. Bug exterminator.”

“No. I’m going to have to tell you.”

“One more clue.”

“Swan Lake.”

“You make matches.”

“No. That’s Swan Vesta. I don’t even smoke.”

“Me neither. Disgusting habit.”

“Swan Lake… conservationist… no… oh, man in black tights… baddie, dark music. Yes. Ballerina. Of course.”

“We’re going through early rehearsals at the moment so plenty of time…”

“Where are you playing?”

“At the Royal, do you know it?”

“The wife… ex, took me there once. It was funny. Graham Greene, I think. Not somewhere to go on your own though.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. It’s just… I don’t know. Never think of it, I suppose, like reading.”

“Step on a Crack.”

“Sorry?”

“James Patterson. It’s very good.”

“OK, thanks. And sorry about your foot.”

“No more ‘sorries’, OK?”

“I’ll try.”

“And come to the ballet. You might enjoy it.”

“Sure. What are you doing?”

“You wouldn’t know it, it’s a bit of a classic.”

“Try me.”

“It’s Shakespeare.”

“Oh.”

“Haven’t you got to get back to your car?”

“My car! I didn’t even catch your name…”

“Juliet. Bye then.”

“Bye, Juliet.”

And as Mike watched her walk away, he wanted to run after her, ask for her number, give her his but she wouldn’t have taken him serious had she known, that’s despite everything he’s romantic, that’s he half-Italian, told her the reason why his colleagues make fun of him… that his surname is Romeo.

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Too Beautiful for Words – 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…

Too Beautiful for Words

While all around her bustles, Evelyn McHale lies serene. Still clutching the pearls, a recent gift from her fiancé, she is as elegant in death as in life.

A crowd gathers but she’s too beautiful for words. They wait… not for her to move, they know she won’t, can’t, after a fall like that.

A man, unknown to the others, takes a photograph, the click the only noise, sets someone talking, then voices become a low buzz.

The man rushes off to his darkroom, eager to catch the evening news then tomorrow’s first edition.

A siren laments in the distance as if to know its prey.

*

A woman returns to her car in the busy urban street but struggles to get through the crowd. As she pushes people aside she sees the black sleek metal crumpled, moulded itself around the body of a woman, just a few years younger than herself. She wants to scream but knows it’s the wrong thing to do. No one around her is reacting, just talking in whispers, pointing to her car and the woman it’s cradling.

She looks up to the Empire State Building imagining the woman’s flight. It would have been silent, the scream as missing then as now.

She wonders what had made her so desperate, what had been taken away from her to leave her no choice. Would she have felt free as she fell? A band of quiet between streams of strangers, those she left behind becoming smaller as those approaching grew.

As she fell into the clutches of aluminium, would she have felt safe? Would she have felt at all?

Blue lights flash behind the woman and a policeman starts talking to her. She just wants to get in her car and drive home, return to her husband, tell him she’s fine, that she wasn’t the woman who threw herself from their local tourist attraction.

And that’s what she’s become. Her, the woman, and their car. Both as attached to it as each other. She knows both will be separated and never see either again, none of them recovering from the impact of such an event.

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Until Daniel – 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…

Until Daniel

You’ve done this dozens of times; tell someone it’s over, watched their reaction – sometimes expected, more often not.

You’ve said it different ways too, as if any way is going to soften the blow. There’s been hysterics, cries of “why?”. To the latter you don’t really have an answer. You’ve been tempted to say “some things are just not meant to be,” but you feel that’s heartless and despite everything you say, that’s not you.

A couple have hit you… one regretted it immediately, the other didn’t, but you knew he’d be a tough cookie; loud, brash… your total opposite.

Sometimes they have relatives with them and that’s really embarrassing, but you know it cushions the blow. You have tissues ready because one of them will need it – they usually do.

Daniel’s the latest, the hardest. You sit him down and go through your usual patter, more gently than normal because you’ve grown fond of him, but you’ve learned that fondness gets you nowhere.

You can’t tell yet whether he’s anticipated this; there’s no reaction. Sometimes you’re doing them a favour, setting them free, but until Daniel they’ve always shown it in their face.

You’re nearly at the end of your speech when he speaks.

“Jeffrey,” he says softly. “It’s fine. I’ve known for a while. Prepared.”

And you wonder how he’s prepared, what he’s done to move on but you know it’ll soon be none of your business. You want to say, “let’s stay in touch”, be corny, but it doesn’t feel right. You never stay in touch with any of them, and he’s the only one you’ve wanted to offer it to.

You nod and he gets up to leave. “Daniel. I’m sorry,” you say and for once you mean it.

“I know,” he says, and you watch him leave.

Through the glass you see him return to his desk, empty an archive box and fill it with his things. He looks around at the other empty desks then puts on his coat. As he walks past your office he smiles and you both know he’ll be fine. Unlike you he’ll quickly get another job while you spend your days circling opportunities, filling forms and sitting in waiting rooms for your name to be called.

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Like Out of Space or Something – 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…

Like Out of Space or Something

“Corr, who’s that?”

“Candy, Sindy, something like that.”

“Looks like a sweet doll to me.”

“You always were a joker, Frankie.”

“Where did she come from?”

“What do you mean? Like out of space or something.”

“No, Stan. You know, where’s she been before here?”

“I don’t know. Ask Eddie. Not from the village that’s for sure.”

“A newcomer, hey.”

“Oh, no.”

“What?”

“She’s married. See, a ring.”

“Oh yeah.”

“As if we had a chance anyway.”

“Half our age.”

“Quarter.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“OK, third then.”

“If she’s not from round here, where do you think?”

“I don’t know, Frankie. Foreign for sure.”

“Philippines?”

“Not quite.”

“Asian.”

“More so, yeah.”

“There’s Eddie.”

“He looks knackered.”

“Doesn’t he. Pub hours finally getting to him.”

“Just back from holiday isn’t he?”

“Thought I hadn’t seen him for a while.”

“Hey look.”

“What?”

“He’s wearing a ring too.”

“The sly old devil.”

“Eh?”

“He’s wearing a ring… she’s wearing a ring.”

“Lucky old git.”

“Mmm.”

“What?”

“Just thinking.”

“About?”

“Whether my passport’s up to date.”

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