Being Ernest – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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…

Being Ernest

Without a trace of guilt, Noreen Townsend thought it perfectly acceptable to slam the door in the young man’s face. What would an 85-year-old need with a set of encyclopaedias? She knew enough about the world to know she didn’t want to learn any more. She’d never visit the endangered tribes in the remote forests of Outer Mongolia, she’d never need to learn how to make a car that could go 300 miles an hour or know how many breeds of stickleback fish there were. She was a people person, not facts and figures.

To Noreen, her husband Ernest was the skilful one, able to concentrate on his work whilst holding the longest of conversations. He’d been a walking encyclopaedia since they’d first met in the canteen of the electronics factory, until one day, not long after the salesman’s visit, Ernest had paused mid-sentence and stared at Noreen who’d waited patiently for him to continue, unsure as to why he’d stopped.

“A funny thing happened to me this morning,” Ernest had said.

“You’ve told me already, Ernest,” Noreen had wanted to reply but let him tell his tale.

Over the next few months she’d had more repeats, more unfinished sentences until one day he said nothing at all. He’d stare out the window and nod at each truck or car going past. He ate normally, looked after himself, but it was as if he’d run out of things to say.

“Tell me something new,” Noreen had said, tired of the silence, but Ernest would just smile as if there was nothing to tell, which there wasn’t as he didn’t go anywhere, just stare out the window at the trucks.

Then one day one of the trucks stopped. The doorbell rang and Ernest looked round, though said nothing.

Noreen went to the door, led the delivery driver into the lounge where he placed the four cardboard boxes in front of Ernest. Noreen signed with the digital pen, and thanked the man as he left. Returning to the lounge, she peeled off the tape from one of the boxes and took out one of the items. Opening the ‘Hubbard’s Encyclopaedia D-F’ she found the entry for electronics and felt a tear trickle down her cheek as Ernest read out the text.

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I Always Did Hate Biology – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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…

I Always Did Hate Biology

“Stop doing that!”

I’d lost count of how many times I’d told my sister to stop kicking the counter. It was bad enough I was there cashing in my giro but she still wasn’t paying attention. ‘Selective hearing’ my mum had said but we’d been to the doctor so I knew she could hear as well as me.

“Elaine! Do that once more and I’ll…” and that’s when I saw him, the new cashier, so I changed lanes. No surprise that his was the longest, and all women except for Mr Rogers. I didn’t mind being behind Mr Rogers as it meant I got to see him.

I was ignoring Elaine by now which she didn’t like but I didn’t care.

I did wish I’d put on something pretty instead of my dungarees. And when he wasn’t looking, I pulled the bow out of my hair. Bows are for children aren’t they?

I started making up names for him; he reminded me of Charlton Heston from that Ben Hur movie except he had more clothes… sadly. But I imagined him all muscly and sweaty, and racing chariots around in circles with people cheering him on. I’d cheer for him. “Go on, Barry!” I’d say… Charlton’s a silly name, isn’t it?

Then it was just Mr Rogers and me. I moved left a bit so I could see over Mr Rogers’ shoulder and close enough to hear their conversation – boring of course. But his voice was sexy, like caramel, all dark and rich. He was dark too like he’d been on the beach too long.

Then when Mr Rogers finally left, I could actually hear my heart beating – and see his blue eyes up close. I stepped forward, about to speak when he ignored me and pulled down the blind. ‘Closed’ it said, as if to rub it in.

Then I watched him walk behind his colleagues and out the door. In my direction.

He smiled. I smiled. He brushed his hands through his gelled hair. I wished I’d washed mine.

Then he opened his mouth. “Hi,” he said and I went to speak but realised he was looking through me. I turned round and saw my teacher, Mrs Evans, smiling back at him.

I always did hate biology.

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Deadly Serious – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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…

Deadly Serious

It’s not often that we get to exact revenge but for Sarah Fletcher, once was enough.

*

The memory of meeting Peter Blunt was never far from Sarah’s mind but she’d learned over the years to not let it control her. If anything it had made her stronger. And strong, Sarah Fletcher, excelled at… and technology. Success in that area had also made her rich and she lived a very comfortable life on the outskirts of a Hertfordshire town; near enough for convenience, far enough away for people to forget she existed. And hers was an existence to some but the contrast of solitude to her former life made Sarah appreciate it all the more. She didn’t need company, rarely had it, and doing what she wanted when she wanted was all she… wanted.

Until one day a knock at the door changed all that.

*

“Just a minute!”

Sarah put the last mug on the drainer and dried her hands on the tea towel. Walking from the kitchen towards the front door, she pulled open a panel in the wall and looked at the bank of screens. The one she focussed on was from a pinhole camera set in a recess above the porch. It showed an ordinary looking man, not handsome, not unattractive. He could have been anyone, standing out in the rain but to Sarah, who recognised him immediately, he was someone. Someone from a long time ago, someone she never thought she’d see again, until now had not wanted to see but now she had, she knew exactly how to get her revenge.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.”

“No problem. It’s dry under here at least. Sorry to disturb you but my car’s broken down a few hundred yards away and yours was the only light I could see. There’s no mobile reception, could I use your landline?”

Sarah smiled. “Of course. Come in. It is rather out the way here. You could take a wrong turn and never be seen again.”

The man, Peter Blunt, laughed, clearly taking what Sarah said as light banter, but to Sarah she was serious… deadly serious.

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The Quest For The Truth – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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 Quest For The Truth

Tapping the spoon against the side of his mug, Professor Robert Neill, looked over the edge of his spectacles. “Say that again.”

“I bought it in a sale,” his young wife said, holding up a brightly-coloured suitcase.

The professor knew when she was lying, and this was one of those moments.

“Half price.”

He couldn’t help smile at her accent. That was what had attracted him in the first place, when he’d met her on his overseas conference. The others had told him that she was just with him for his money but he’d been too in love with her to care. He was handsome, so he believed she loved him for his looks and personality. And if she didn’t then she’d stay with him for his money. Either way, he had her… and the brother she’d brought back to keep house.

As he sipped his tea, it felt like the first of the day, sweeter than normal but just how he liked it.

“Strong for lots of things next holiday,” she continued, unzipping the main compartment.

That was one thing they had in common; they loved going abroad.

“Where would you like to go next time?” he asked her, resigned to her lavish lifestyle.

“I go nowhere. I pack for you. Angelo not my brother, he my lover. And he very good at sweet poisons. Sleep well, Robert.”

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Bill The Bag Man – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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…

Bill The Bag Man

They say everyone has someone, but there are those few who slip the radar, made someone their everything then lost them, moved area for a fresh start.

Bill’s wife Laura had been the one interested in shopping, he’d just sit reading the sports section until she either bought (usually) or moved on to another shop (or both).

She’d been the one with the good job. He’d never understood what a gorgeous sales executive had seen in a binman like Bill but he made her laugh, they made each other laugh, and when they were told they couldn’t have children it didn’t seem to matter. They used the money a buggy would have cost to go away for the weekend, cot money paid for a London show.

Whenever she bought a new suit she’d call it an investment, but to Bill it looked the same as the one she’d been wearing the day before. “Quality over quantity,” she’d say and she seemed to have both but it was her money and it made her happy, so Bill had no complaints.

“We should do a car boot sale,” he’d suggested, but then agreed when she’d said they’d only get a fraction of the money back and that she still wore or used everything she’d bought, so he’d nodded again.

But then she started buying smaller sizes, seemed paler each shopping trip and when she’d collapsed he’d wanted to cry at how light she felt lifting her in the car.

As she got thinner the trips increased; she’d wanted to explore while she could, then her mode of transport changed from the London Underground to a wheelchair by the sea front. Finally shopping was all she enjoyed but she’d buy things for him, saying she had more than enough to last a lifetime. Bill knew she meant hers.

He’d not wanted all the clutter around the house before but when she’d died, he begun to see its attraction; it kept him company. Inanimate objects they may have been, but every now and then he’d get out a bag and look at the contents; smiling if it was something he’d bought, crying if it was hers. So he kept up the tradition, went in every shop with a ‘sale’ sign then bought regardless of whether reduced or not, adding it to the pile when he got home.

He started having to step over things, cupboard space a premium, but it felt like exercise. He’d become practiced at making mounds that stayed upright despite resembling the leaning Tower of Pisa. They incorporate tunnels and he felt like his childhood guinea pigs nestling through straw. He’d even chirruped and laughed. He wasn’t sure how Laura would have felt about his existence but he knew she wouldn’t have wanted him mourning and having all her things around him was soothing.

Routines kept him sane; Tesco Monday afternoons, picking a different assistant each time, the library Wednesday mornings where self-service meant he could be a no one. Friday lunchtimes were foil-wrapped sandwiches in the park with a bottle of orange juice on a warm day or flask of tea when cold.

He began thinking that retirement wasn’t as bad as people made out and he’d pop into the pound shop on the way home, filling a couple of carrier bags with anything bright and cheerful; toys for grandchildren he’d never have, squeaky bones for a dog long gone, short-date shortbread from a Scottish loch. He’d have them with his cup of tea so he treated himself to the local paper from Mr Patel’s.

Pulling out the shortbread, he started a new layer of bags in one corner of the lounge. He’d put the kettle on and stretch his legs in the garden then work his way back to his favourite chair to see what the outside world had been up to, according to the Holford Gazette.

The kettle was boiling when he remembered he’d left his mug by the chair and nestled his way, knowing every square inch of carpet. He’d just turned round, mug in hand, when his foot kicked a bag and he heard plastic shifting. It was his back that felt the blow first, then his hip, his shoulder, his head.

As Bill took his last breath he saw Laura’s face and he knew everything was going to be OK.

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The Legends Of Louisiana – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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 Legends Of Louisiana

“They’re gaining on us, honey!”

“I know, darlin’. I know.”

“Can’t you make this thing go any faster?”

“Foot pedal’s to the floor.”

“We’re not gonna make it.”

“Trust me. Haven’t I got you out of situations like this before?”

“Sure.”

“Then I’ll do it again.”

“There’s another one. Two more.”

“Relax. They don’t know who they’re dealin’ with.”

“I think they do, that’s why they’re acting that way.”

“Actin’? They ain’t actin’. They mean business, but so do we.”

“You’re funny, honey.”

“No point in gettin’ all serious when–”

“They’re coming up on the left!”

“There’s Oakley and–”

“I love you, Clyde.”

“Love you, too, Bonn–”

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1966 And All That – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May 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…

1966 And All That

Tanya knew the way to get John to propose was football, and what better occasion than the World Cup.

She had a good feeling about this year. If England did well…

She could tell he spoke just to her. It was in his eyes.

She listened to his every word, microphone close to his mouth, the perfectly-formed lips that Tanya longed to kiss. OK, so he already had a family but Tanya knew where they lived, knew their routine.

With the bus ticket buried in her pocket, she opened the cutlery drawer and smiled as she selected the perfect knife.

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