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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It’ll Be Over Soon – 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…

It’ll Be Over Soon

“Keep calm, Mummy,” Walter said, hiding under the table. “It’ll be over soon.”

Ninety-eight-year-old Ethel wasn’t so sure. Pacing the room, she kept looking up at the ceiling, then out through the windows. She jumped as a plane flew overhead, holding her handbag closer to her.

“Mummy, come under here,” Walter said, patting a section of blanket to his right. “They said it wouldn’t be late tonight.”

“You’d believe anything, Walter!” Ethel snapped, still walking up and down in short, shuffling movements.

“Make her shut up!” a voice from the corner of the room barked. “Get her to sit or something.”

“Sorry, Jeff,” Walter mumbled. “You know what she’s like.”

“I do,” Jeff replied then sang, ‘I do, do, do, do’ to himself.

“It’s lovely and toasty under here, Mummy. You’d like it if you tried.”

Ethel stopped pacing, walked to the table and leaned over, twisting her head to peer at her eldest son. “Cosy?”

Walter nodded.

“Toasty cosy?”

“Very toasty cosy. Come on, give it a try.”

She sighed then crouched down, wincing as she did so. Then on all fours, she padded like a dog until she was sitting on the blanket next to Walter.

“There. Isn’t this nice?” he soothed.

Ethel looked at her watch, shook her head, then reached inside her handbag for her gun.

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Three Keys – 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…

Three Keys

You slam shut the kitchen drawer despite knowing it’ll likely wake him.

It’s the morning after another argument and you’ve not made up yet. Separate bedrooms again… second time this week and it’s getting worse.

Deep down you know you love him and that he loves you but everything about him makes you mad, even the little things you’d not noticed before, like the way he jangles his jacket pocket as he walks towards the front door and you picture the three keys slamming against one another – the keys to the car, house and office – the three places he shares as his job dictates; selling chocolates to shop keepers, pubs and schools.

You lost the box room to his study-cum-store room and you’ve felt its pull over the past few months. He’d never been career-orientated until recently and you just want him back. He says he’s doing it for you, build a nest egg to start a family but you’re not convinced there’ll be a nest to put the egg in for much longer.

Opening the drawer you remember this time what it was you were after: the orange squeezer to make his juice just how he likes it; fresh and natural, just how you felt all those years ago.

You hear him come down the stairs and you fix on a smile, hoping that he’s remembered his.

As he enters the room your heart sinks as he’s fixing his tie. He nods, takes the juice and slips on his jacket, rattling the keys as he pats the pocket.

You watch him place the empty glass on the hall table and slam the front door behind him.

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