The Ramshackle Writer – 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 Ramshackle Writer

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. It looks like any ordinary cottage but it’s the stuff of legends, the owner, the hero of legends.

Or so he thought.

“Tommy!”

No, that’s terrible.

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Wood collected from the forest at the top of the mountain.

Jack pulled the piece of paper from his typewriter, screwed it up and threw it at the bin. It missed, and became just one of a pile of screwed up pieces of paper.

On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood. Inside sits a writer with writer’s block.

“How’s it coming?” Nancy, Jack’s long-suffering wife looked over his shoulder. “Oh dear.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“It’s a bit ‘Dark and stormy night’.”

“I know, but it’s the prompt for today.”

“Can’t you change it?”

“We can but I like to stick with what we’re given.”

“It is only for fun.”

“And to put on my blog. By five o’clock.”

Nancy looked at her watch. Five twenty-five.

“I know. I can backtime it.

“Backtime? Is that even a word?”

“Don’t know. Backdate is.”

“If you used a computer like everyone else, it would underline it if it wasn’t a word.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m a writer, I can make up words.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Why don’t I what?”

“Use a computer like everyone else.”

“It feels… I don’t know. It feels more authentic. Like Stephen King. Very… Secret Window.”

“Terrible movie.”

“I know. It’s all a dream and all that. But I’m more productive this way. My ideas flow better.”

“They’re not flowing today.”

“I know, but that’s not the typewriter, it’s the prompt.”

“Then pick another one.”

“No, I’ll persevere.”

Nancy shrugged. “OK, but don’t blame me if…” The rest was lost as she went into the kitchen.

“Another prompt,” Jack mumbled as he pulled out the paper, screwed it up and launched it at the bin. It hit the edge but fell in. He clapped, laughed and put another piece of paper into the typewriter, twisting down the end, until the paper was sticking out a couple of inches from the top.

“Another prompt…”

He sat up straight, hovered his fingers, claw-like, over the keys and started tapping.

It was a dark and stormy night…

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A Win-Win All Round – 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…

A Win-Win All Round

Money used to mean everything to Sam. The harder he worked the richer he became… and the quicker it went courtesy of Libby, Mrs Sam Chase. Wardrobes stuffed with carrier bags; Prada, Versace and names he didn’t recognise but the lettering gave away their status, the status Libby thought washed off on her.

He’d not told her that he was up for promotion – he knew what she’d want him to do but it meant switching from ‘on the road’ to behind a desk which in turn meant more time at home, more time with Libby.

George had given him twenty-four hours to think about it. Sam didn’t need that long but he knew if he turned it down, George would take longer to ask again but Sam also knew that his colleague Ted was better at his job, a more suitable candidate so it would be a win-win all round if he said “no”.

He left work then drove around for a while thinking about what he should do. Libby was at her dance session so he had plenty of time before she was due home.

Having seen the same shops half a dozen times, he found it wasn’t helping so went home.

There was a light on in the master bedroom when he pulled into his driveway and assumed Libby had forgotten to switch it off before she went out.

Sam let himself in, put his briefcase down in the hallway, read the post and headed upstairs to change. Opening the door, a predictable sight greeted him; stacks of boxes and bags by the chair, piles of clothes on the floor but unexpected was his wife, dressed in bright red and black underwear. Not only was she not at the gym but she wasn’t alone.

Sam took off his jacket and threw it on to the chair. “Hello, Ted.”

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Making Up The Numbers – 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…

Making Up The Numbers

“Bride or groom?”

Robbie looked at the pews. Plenty of space on the left-hand side. Groom on the left. “Groom.”

“Name?”

Robbie went with his usual alias. “Jimmy. Cousin.”

The man with the clipboard looked at the left side of his list. It didn’t take him long. “Sorry, don’t see your name here.”

“Ah yes,” Robbie started his well-worn speech. “I was a ‘no’ because I was going to have to work but then at the last minute. You know…”

The man shrugged and added ‘Cousin Jimmy’ to the list.

Robbie took an end seat halfway down the aisle then turned to the woman beside him, holding out a hand. “Jimmy.” He then lowered his voice. “The bride’s side really but I thought I’d make up the numbers.”

The young lady giggled softly and Robbie noticed her blush.

He’d woken up that grey and gloomy Saturday feeling equally dispirited but now it looked like it might be a good day after all.

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Dating Paradise – 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…

Dating Paradise

The Brington Chronicle’s lonely hearts advert read ‘gentle giant forties sought for romantic picnics and cinema visits by petite blonde late thirties, reply to Box 147’.

Eve waited for over a week for replies to trickle in but by the second week she’d had fifty.

She sifted through them and found her ideal man, Adam… a match made in heaven!

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Death & Life – 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…

Death & Life

Death

Wonder how long would it take me to reach the ground if I jumped?Ted thinks as he swings his legs in the light breeze. How many bones would I break?Which part of me would hit the sidewalk first?He won’t of course, would have thought about it a year or so ago but he’s turning his life around, working hard, getting off the booze. This is his last bottle of old JD. Mr Daniels and Ted go way back. JD was there when he needed him or thought he needed him but instead of going to the liquor store, he’s started going to the café next door. Hadn’t even noticed it before, in a world of his own, but it’s real cute, a real homely atmosphere with damn fine cups of coffee.

He sits looking at his colleagues, eating their lunch next to him on the girder, chatting away, not a care in the world and thinks, They’re lucky – probably have swell homes, loving wives… gals who make their lunch pails and kiss them off to work. Someone to meet them, hold them, have their supper ready on the table when they get home, someone to care for them… think about them when they’re not there. The ‘old’ him would have felt all bitter and twisted, but he takes a good hard look at them then at himself, and sees they’re no different; just men trying to be happy, getting through life as best they can.

Things on the outside are improving too; the Depression’s easing and the mayor’s got big plans for the grand city of New York. “Do something about the smog,” he says – breathe it in and it chokes you – gonna be a thing of the past. “Look to the future” he says. More high-rise buildings as far as the eye can see, right up to the clear blue water of Rhode Island and out to Martha’s Vineyard. So the city is on the up, literally, and that’s gonna keep Ted in a job, so he’s all for it. Maybe he’ll even get out of the Bronx and move to Queens… and one day Manhattan!

So they’re constructing the great Empire State Building. Making a new piece of history – John Raskob’s vision – he reckons there’ll be a million bricks by the time they’ve finished. Had to be higher than Walt Chrysler’s Building. That Raskob fella must be mad, Ted thinks, doing all this just to outdo his rival. Hey, maybe one day I’ll even be able to buy one of their cars.

This girder is boiling – Ted feels like his arse is burning. Fred’s got the right idea, bare chest and all.

Ted looks down, at all the people, the worker ants, crawling about their business, never talking to their neighbours. Up here, they’re a world away. Ted then spots his apartment block. Could do with a lick of paint.

His mind wanders to the girl in the coffee shop yesterday, thinks maybe he’ll speak to her tomorrow. “What? Yeah, Joe, it’s a fantastic view. Thanks, I’d love a cheese sandwich.”

*

Life

The hospital doors fly open and a woman is screaming out “where’s my husband? Where’s Matthew?”

Twenty blocks away a man kneels down and takes a picture. Little does he know that this innocent snap will be famous worldwide for many years to come. Right now he’s thinking about getting the job done before he rushes home to his expectant wife. Their first child is due any day and he can’t concentrate. So he continues staring through the viewfinder, hoping for clear shots before getting his equipment together and going home. He looks at the people that compile his picture. Eleven ordinary men but with nerves of steel. He marvels at how they could sit on a tiny, narrow ledge hundreds of feet up in the air. He expects them to look fragile – as if a gust of wind could carry them over at any point – but they’re as strong as the girder they sit on. His eye, then lens, focus on a solitary figure at the end. Although he’s sitting next to his colleagues, he seems detached – a bit of a loner – and a liquid lunch it would appear. Looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The photographer wonders what the man is thinking. He puts down his camera and sighs.

The heat of the day hits him. He had thought that it would be cold so high up but it’s baking. The white vested guy manages to look cool, clearly used to the heat. Apart from the outsider, the rest of the group seem very relaxed. One lights up a cigarette for a colleague, two others shut their lunchboxes and get to their feet and all but four head back to their site office, casually strolling back along the solid iron tightrope as if they were part of a trained circus. The four remaining men chat for a while, then to the photographer’s amazement, swing round to face each other and lay length ways along the girder and go to sleep! He carefully takes more pictures – the shutter sounds deafening as it closes. Today has been one of the best of his life.How many people have the opportunity to see life so raw. Up, natural above the clouds? He feels privileged. Here he is…over a thousand feet off the ground, witnessing the building of the eightieth floor of a planned one hundred and two. As he watches the men nap, he realises that he’ll have little sleep from now on but he can’t wait.

As his thoughts drift, his wife is going through the early stages of labour.

Senior nurse, Bertha Albright, applies a damp compress to her patient’s forehead and holds her hand while a colleague tries, again, to get hold of the father-to-be, willing for the day when people will be able to carry telephones with them. Bertha has assisted in numerous births but the moment a baby arrives still amazes her. She is sure that tonight would be no different.

A visitor in the next ward talks to her friend about a customer in her coffee shop the previous night and hopes that she sees him again before too long.

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What Cost A Human Life? – 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…

What Cost A Human Life?

Jack didn’t care that it hurt his shoulder. All he cared about was getting the people out. He’d been to derailments before but this was the first train of the day – he didn’t expect there to be many passengers – but on home territory there was a chance he’d be rescuing people he knew.

They’d arrived in the dark, someone heard or witnessed the crash, he didn’t know but they’d called 999, and now it was just getting light, making the job easier but not easier. He’d see clearer but then he’d really see what devastation the Jeep had caused.

He knew the driver would be dead. No one would escape a head-on like that; head-on car to side-on train. Only one victor in this entanglement. Not that anyone would call this a victory, with all but two of the eleven or so carriages concertinad in various directions down the embankment, the remaining at right-angles to the track.

Jack blamed the council. The locals had been campaigning for better barriers on that bridge for years but it all came down to money. What cost a human life? he thought as he thumped his right shoulder again at the twisted metal.

A shout went up, “I’ve found someone!” so Jack stopped pushing, ran over to join his colleague, just as the man behind the caved-in panel stopped breathing.

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The Last Thing You Think About – 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 Last Thing You Think About

Four hours’ sleep isn’t enough for anyone but you’re used to it. You pretend you’re Margaret Thatcher. RIP.

You’d wanted a Jeep ever since you were a boy, since Uncle Frank had given you the white one on the huge wheels and now you were driving one, your pride and joy. Not white, but red – ‘Fireman Red’, your mother had called it, amongst other names.

Sylvia loves it as much as you do, or that’s your impression from her emails, your webcam late nights, your chatroom banter. You could both talk for England, or Scotland in her case.

And now you’re going to see her, for the very first time. You’d offered to meet her halfway, drive all the way, but she’d told you how much she’d loved going by train so you’d offered to collect her from the station, in the Jeep. You’d got up early to wash it, in the dark you may have missed a bit. You still smelled the shampoo as you’d started the engine, switched on the radio, too short a journey for a CD.

As you drive, about to cross the bridge just a mile or two away, you imagine her chatting to the person next to her, boring him or her rigid about anything and nothing, probably about you, possibly the Jeep.

You wonder what she’ll be wearing, something pretty for sure. She liked to dress up even just for a webcam. Sometimes she’d like to undress too.

You picture her getting on the train at Edinburgh, her floral skirt blowing in the early spring morning breeze, you know it’s too early for the sun on her face, too early for warmth. You’re with her as she settles into the journey, passing through the beautiful Lake District, the not so beautiful West Midlands then gathering her belongings at Rugby… embarking on the last part of her journey at Milton Keynes.

She’s the last thing you think about as you drift off to sleep…

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