Sunday short short story: Rumbled 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…

Rumbled

“Frankie!”

“What?”

“There’s someone downstairs.”

“Mmm?”

“Frankie, downstairs! I heard something.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. I heard a loud noise, like a window breaking.”

“OK, stay there. I’ll go and have a look.”

“Shall I call the police?”

“Wait until we know for sure.”

“But what if…”

“It’s probably nothing.”

*

“Anyone…? Hello? Who’s there?”

“Hello Frankie. Sorry, did I startle you.”

“Gran? What you are doing down here?”

“I was thirsty.”

“Then why are you…? What’s that noise? Is there someone else here?”

“Er, it’s…”

“Gran, spill.”

“OK. Ernest. You can come out now. We’ve been rumbled.”

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Sunday short short story: Doing A Job I Love by Morgen Bailey

Posted every Sunday, the following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s shorter short story collection, SHORTS,  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…

Doing A Job I Love

It had felt a little odd. Being given something like this for doing a job I love. And you couldn’t really call it that. Playing in a band a job? To receive an award for playing the drums was an added bonus. I’d been given a single drum, just a cheap thing, when I was very young, my mum says two, but I think I was younger than that because I don’t remember getting it, just it being there.

When my name was announced I hadn’t been expecting it so it took Bondie digging me in the ribs for me to realise that they’d said my name. He’s stronger than he thinks. I was rubbing my ribs for weeks after that.

I think he’d been on something; weed, blow, or some such. He was always more rock ‘n’ roll than me. It hadn’t been an issue until that night, when he’d insisted on joining me on the stage. He could play the drums and had never received an award so I thought, “What’s the harm?”

If only he’d stuck to the rules; walked up the aisle, to the podium, said ‘thank you’ to the celebrity who hands you the statue (in our case it was the teen pop sensation Jimmy Penn) but his brain just couldn’t compute that. I don’t think it computes anything these days.

He had to go up there didn’t he and dig, dig, dig. OK, so we’re not a fan of the weak pop music that climbs the charts faster than we ever did in our heyday, but he’s still sore that Jimmy beat us to the top of the album chart when we released our Greatest Hits. A term I use loosely as the record company in their limited wisdom to make it a double CD when we’d only had half a dozen ‘hits’ (top forty) so the rest were more fillers than a tub of sandwich spread. That’s one thing I hadn’t noticed; that he’d not been eating, Bondie, just drinking, picking at his food, fork never reaching his mouth, although it’s big enough.

So there I was, mouth open to say a few unrehearsed words and ended up goldfish-like while Bondie spouted.

Bondie’s real name’s James… Bond, but he hates that. His mum was a real fan and we all reckon that she married a Bond just so she could have a son with the right name. Had the boy straight away, stroke of luck really, then the two of them left when he was still young. Probably why he is the way he is. Needed a father figure to straighten him out.

Anyway. He’d said his bit and I thought we were going to leave… he’d said plenty for both of us, what was I going to do, apologise? Pretend it didn’t happen? But then Jimmy called him by his real name, don’t know how he knew, Wikipedia I suppose, and well, Bondie flipped and went for the jugular, Jimmy’s jugular. Did enough so the damage was done. Only temporary, thankfully, but he had to cancel his tour. Bondie received so many “thank you” letters after we could have wallpapered our bus… the one we toured on not long after the awards ceremony.

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Sunday short short story: Stupid Is 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…

Stupid Is

Billy trudged down the stairs.

“What’s the matter with you?” Emily asked.

“If only I could turn the clock back.”

“Why, what’s happened?”

“Sgt Chambers, that’s what’s happened.”

“Oh, Billy. You’ve not been smoking grass in your car again, have you?”

“No! Gave that up months ago, you know that.”

Emily gave him that ‘look’.

“OK, weeks.”

“So what happened?”

“Said I was speeding.”

“Oh, Billy.”

“I wasn’t.”

“Really?”

“OK. Thirty-eight in a thirty but everyone else does it… was doing it.”

“Just because everyone else-”

“I know.”

“I suppose if he was in an unmarked… Billy? Don’t you ever look in your mirror?”

“Yeah. Mirror, signal, brake.”

“So you only look when you’re turning?”

“Don’t need it just driving. It’s stupid.”

“Stupid is doing thirty-eight in a thirty with a police car following you.”

“I know that now.”

“You knew that the first two times. One more and-”

“I know. My licence.”

“And probably have to take your test again. You’ll be seventy next year.”

“OK, mum. I’ll behave.”

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Sunday short short story: Red Velvet Caress 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…

Red Velvet Caress

Tempted as he was, Franz was no thief. He knew no one would see, he was the only one there, but he’d never stolen anything and at 72, he wasn’t going to start.

The diamond glistened, taunted. It would have made a lovely necklace for Doris but she was no longer around to wear it.

He knew with the door already open there’d be no alarm. He could just hold it, he’d gloves on so there’d be no fingerprints, hold it for a minute or two, look for imperfections he knew wouldn’t exist.

He opened the door further, watched for any sign of life, electronic or otherwise, but no lights flashed, no alarm or shouting. He reached inside, leather glove touching gem, and picked it up, out of its red velvet caress and held it as if a newborn, just for a few seconds, then placed it back.

Hovering his hand to one side of the stone, he rested the tip of his index finger into the fleshy mound of his thumb and flicked the diamond off its perch as if it were a Subbuteo figure, and watched it drop on to the velvet floor of the bulletproof glass case. Again he waited for a reaction, someone to witness his mischievousness, but there never was.

He picked the locations carefully, entered at the weakest point, entering but never breaking. Meticulous research, years of experience, at least a dozen visits beforehand, mill amongst the hundreds of patrons. To the guards, the staff, he was just a little old man walking stiffly with a smart black cane. No one would notice him pressing down on the handle, taking photographs of his possible routes, items of interest.

He’d come to the Van Lief Museum for a Winkel painting, turn it round, just for fun, prove to yet another ‘great institution’ that their security was a joke, but then he’d seen the open door to the diamond and that had been an added bonus. Would it be enough? He wasn’t sure, so on his way out went to the Winkel and didn’t turn it round, but tilted it slightly so the river painted on it would ripple, the people on the boat feel the shift, and as he closed the window behind him, he smiled and went out into the night.

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Sunday short short story: It’s ’Ot In ’Ere 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…

It’s ’Ot In ’Ere

The latch clicked on the shop door. Thomas Farrinor put the key in his pocket, patted it and headed home. Though this Sunday had not been a day of rest for Thomas, it had been successful, and he was now just looking forward to peeking at his sleeping children before he and Annie went to bed.

As he walked home, the shop’s next door neighbours started to feel a little uncomfortable.

“Bleedin’ ’ell, it’s ’ot in ’ere! Fanny, open the window!”

“Can’t, Joseph, it’s stuck.”

“You stupid wench, let me ’ave a go. Oh my God!”

“What?”

“There’s a bleedin’ fire outside!”

“Where?”

“Every bloody where!”

At a comfortable home near Westminster, Fire Chief Charles Lombard was hammering on the Lord Mayor’s front door. A sleepy man in an expensive-looking dressing gown appeared at the threshold.

“Sir Thomas, have you heard?” he said frantically.

“Yes, Charles,” he yawned. “A travesty.”

“Sir Thomas, we need action!”

“Er, yes, right. What needs doing Lombard?”

“Everything, Sir. It’s going to take the whole city unless we do something.”

“Er…” He paused, rubbing his chin.

“Sir!” Lombard continued, his voice increasing in urgency. “We need to create firebreaks. Demolish the houses, sir.”

“Isn’t that a bit drastic?”

“We have no choice, sir. People are dying!”

“Oh, yes, well…”

“The Duke of York has offered the Royal Life Guards.”

“Tell him we are grateful, but no.”

“But, sir…”

“You have men, do you not?”

“Well, yes sir, but…”

“Then that’s the end of the matter. Your men will contain it and you shall be praised for their actions.”

“But sir…!”

“Good night Lombard.”

“But…”

“Good night!”

Four days, 13,500 houses, 87 parish churches, 44 Company Halls, the Royal Exchange, the Custom House, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Bridewell Palace, the General Letter Office and three western city gates later, English naval administrator and MP Samuel Pepys was at his desk in Axe Yard, the area later known as Downing Street, scribbling away in his diary.

Meanwhile over in EC3, Thomas and Annie Farrinor, accompanied by their three boys, shuffled through the cinders of the King’s Bakery, Pudding Lane. Thomas hugged his family close to him and wondered, once his bakery was rebuilt, what he’d need to do to get King Charles II’s endorsement again.

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Sunday short short story: A Different Kind Of Speechless 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…

A Different Kind Of Speechless

As Tom tied the scarf round his wife’s neck, he wondered if he could ever tighten his grip, pull hard, squeeze the life out of her, but instead tied it tightly enough to last the evening, easy to loosen when they got back home.

He smiled weakly as she turned round, and she went to speak but no words came out.

“We’d better go,” Tom said, then followed her out through the open front door.

As Tom drove to the theatre he wanted to tell her about his day, share his mundane, but pretended to concentrate on the road instead, glancing at her occasionally only to see her steadfast gaze through the front windscreen.

He wanted his wife back, the woman whose shopping basket had overbalanced as he’d walked past, the woman who’d blushed as he’d helped her, while staring at her long black hair… a different kind of speechless.

Pulling into the kerb outside the theatre, he switched off the engine and put the blue card on to the dashboard, setting the timer and pushing it in place, into the fold of plastic joining the windscreen.

As Tom and Arabella entered the foyer, they waited as a man in front of them collected his ticket. Expecting the man to walk into the theatre, Tom pushed the wheelchair forward as the man moved but then halted as he turned round. It was then that Tom recognised him, his hair a little greyer, but there was no mistaking the dark eyes. The eyes full of sorrow as they’d faced each other in court when Tom had listened to Jack Creaton recount how he’d hit the Italian woman crossing the road as she went to collect the cake she’d ordered for her tenth wedding anniversary.

Jack’s shoulders slumped as he looked at Tom, but said nothing.

Tom was debating whether to speak when the woman in the ticket office called ‘next’.

Jack looked at Arabella, bowed his head, coughed and left the theatre.

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Sunday short short story: Thistle 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…

Thistle

“Thistle.”

“Sorry, madam?”

“Yes, young man. I’m after a thistle, the bigger the better.”

“I’m sorry we don’t-”

“Then I want something with thorns. Roses.”

“Certainly madam, we have a wide range of-”

“No, she’s Scottish. She’d get the joke more with thistles.”

“How about-”

“No. It’s got to be thistle… oh alright, anything else Scottish?”

“I’m sorry, madam. I’m not really up on my Scottish varieties but I could get you Tommy. He’s from Scotland, he might know.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll just have a wander and see what you’ve got.”

*

“Excuse me, young man.”

“Hello again, madam. Did you find something to your liking?”

“No. Your haberdashery department is rubbish.”

“Haber…? I’m sorry. I thought you were looking for a plant.”

“I am. Thistle. You have roses, like you said, and heather, but they’re only sew on. I don’t have time for sewing. The dance is tonight.”

“Dance?”

“Line dancing. Every other Thursday night, and it was lovely before Aileen joined, and now she’s hogging all the men. It’s not fair.”

“I don’t quite understand why you want-”

“The blouse she was wearing, had lovely tulips on it.”

“Then I have just the thing for you, madam.”

“You have?”

“Right by the tills. Never sure why it’s there but there it is. A cactus transfer. £1.99. Iron on. Job done.”

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Sunday short short story: Thud On The Floor 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…

Thud On The Floor

“Lifting up the flap, I knew there was no way I was going to get the newspaper through.”

“So what did you do?”

“I took the middle section out.”

“Of the letterbox?”

“What? No, don’t be silly. The newspaper. Wednesday’s property day. Most people throw that bit away anyway. I was tempted but they pay for the whole thing, don’t they, although it would make my life easier. Monday’s my favourite, thinnest of the week. Not much sport on in the winter, so nothing to report.”

“So you took the paper apart and posted both bits through.”

“I tried but made the mistake of putting the property bit through first and it got stuck. Stupid letterboxes on these new houses, they’re so hard they rip the paper to shreds, so I have to be extra careful. It takes ages round the estate but Mr Jeffrey swapped my route with Billy-”

“So you’d put the property section through. What happened then?”

“I tried to, like I said, but it got stuck. Wasn’t sure whether to push or pull.”

“And…”

“I pushed. Didn’t want it back, did I? Went through eventually and didn’t half make a thud on the floor. Most people have mats so you don’t notice but I noticed that thud.”

“And you looked through the letterbox.”

“Yeah. Don’t know why now but something caught my eye, I suppose.”

“Describe what you saw.”

“A body.”

“Mrs Thompson.”

“Yeah, only I didn’t know that’s who she was. I only have numbers on them, not names.”

“And where was she lying?”

“There.”

“By the foot of the stairs.”

“Away a bit, sort of between the stairs and the radiator. All twisted like, like she’d fallen down the stairs but…”

“Go on.”

“But it didn’t look natural. Too much blood. You break things, bones, when you fall down the stairs, you don’t bleed.”

“You know a lot about-”

“CSI. I watch them all, but don’t tell mum will you or she’ll go mental.”

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