The Old Fuse Trick


Martha came back from the ladies’ loo, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “You’ll never believe who’s in the Gin Room!” “Who?” “That actor, what’s his name, you know, the one who looks like Tom Hanks.” I racked my brains. “Oh, you mean the one who was in that film, oh, what was it called? About the air force, you know.” “Yeah, that’s the one. Ooh, he’s so dishy.” I took a sip of my vodka and lemon. “Actually, I don’t care for him.” I put my glass down. “I always think Vodka smells like cement glue, don’t you? You know, that stuff boys use to glue kits together.”

Having the Family for Dinner


(900 words) The day had started off fine – an early spring breeze, the snow crisp, its crystals gleaming in the sunshine and little icicles dangling from the pines. The girls were happy, pulling Jacob’s gear and some supplies on a small sled, whilst singing camp songs. “With my hand on my head and what have I here, this is my brainbox, Oh I do declare ….” After photographing an ice-lake and the unexpected success of snapping a pair of bull moose sizing up for a fight over a female, it had suddenly grown dark. Jacob eyed the oppressive snow-laden clouds overhead. “Come on, kids, better head back to the Land Rover.” Charity’s huge brown eyes looked up at him from beneath a green bobble hat. “How far is it, dad?” “Only a mile or so,” he improvised. “Come on, let’s get back.”

What’s in a Name?


(600 words) Dr. Rowina Scott stood at an enormous round window, gazing in awe at the towering pyramidal blocks a thousand stories high that dominated the city. She never grew tired of looking at them nor ceased to wonder at their immensity. Multi-coloured sky pods darted around and between them. A bleep from her pager jolted her out of her reverie. The director, Dr. Abraham Klein, wished to see her urgently. What the hell did the old bugger want?

Deaf Date


(500 words) As a man who’d been almost stone-deaf since birth, meeting women was something out of Christian Brown’s comfort zone. They may have smiled, but from their eyes, and replies, he knew he was less than intelligible. Now he was shown to a seat in the Koh-I-Noor restaurant. He took a deep breath and looked around at the mainly empty seats, then at his watch. 7.55 p.m. His councillor and psychologist, Susan, had arranged a blind date for him with a lady called Stephanie. She’d told him nothing about her, just that she was attractive, divorced and in her early forties.

Pie in the Sky


(1100 words) “Well, lookee here, we’ve got ourselves a midget!” laughed Tanner Sutherland, standing behind her in the dinner queue on her first day. She turned around. “Well, lookee here, we’ve got ourselves an ugly moron!” There was laughter and a few soldiers gathered around to watch the scene. Tanner’s face was red with rage. “There shouldn’t be no women in our army, especially not little shortarses, you’d be no good in close combat.” Rowena pulled out of the queue and stood facing Tanner, balancing lightly on the balls of her feet. “Hey, lay off her, Tanner,” said Norton Breakspear, “it’s brains, not brawn we need in the Corps. You seem to be lacking in the first department, bud.” Tanner ignored him. “Looks like we got us a feisty one!” Rowena knew she’d have her work cut out to beat up this creep. “Tell you what, soldier, you know anything about pie-eating?”

The Moonlit Garden (A Play)


The Moonlit Garden, a play for five voices (2000 words) Martin: Actually, my dear, I had a rather odd dream. Would you permit me to recount it? Rebeca: Of course. I’m intrigued! Martin: Well, there I was in a garden. It was night and there was a gibbous moon in the sky, turning the garden to silver. There was a fountain made of brick, with a large shallow pool around it, the whole set in a large depression off from some lawns. Rebecca: How lovely! Martin: Well, that’s the odd thing, the brickwork was old and the fountain nozzle bent and dry. The cement pool around it was cracked, with weeds poking through in places. Rebecca: How odd. Martin: Yes, as I looked around, everything seemed overgrown, as if time had forgotten the garden. But then I heard singing, soft gentle voices. I walked up from the fountain to a lawn, and there were women in long dresses, and with their hair unfettered and flowing free. They were beautiful, smiling, holding out their hands; wanting me to join with them in a circle.

Danny and the Dolly Bird


(1100 words) “Can I help you, sir?” It was an older man, not one of the ‘dolly birds’ who normally grace the teak-veneered desks of such establishments. He had long grey sideburns, sliver rimmed glasses, short grey hair, cut neatly with a side-parting, and a look of resignation. A desk sign said ‘Mr. Jack Seddon,’ followed by a string of post-nominal initials. Danny looked around. ‘I’d like a house, a big one with a garden, trees, that sort of thing.” Seddon looked the youth up and down. Skinny blue jeans, black loafers, a black T-shirt with the logo FCUK and a black leather jacket that looked like it had previously belonged to a hell-raising ‘Rock ‘n’ Roller’ – or two. “I see, sir, and are you a first-time buyer?”

Discourtesy


(1100 words) “Rumours are, the Jones brothers are coming back,” said Christine, my wife and best friend. I put my coffee down onto the table in slow motion. “Tell me you’re joking.” “Sorry Tony, that’s what Shirley just told me.” Christine had just returned from having her hair cut by a lady with her ear to the ground, and her head up her arse. But Christine’s hair looked nice, I had to admit. “I heard they were doing alright in The Smoke.” “They were, or are, I should say. Shirley keeps in touch with Babs. Says they control south from The Monument down as far as Cannock Town. They’re leaving Smiler in charge. He’s rounded up some new men, … real hard men, she says.” I looked at my face in the mirror. It was almost white. “Oh,” was all I could say. “Yeah, anyone who doesn’t pay on time gets three strikes. The first is on the body, so the bruises don’t show. Second is the face, so everyone knows.” I hesitated to ask what the third was, but Christine told me anyway.

Reba’s Wedding


(800 words) Franklin’s father-in-law, Hamish McLeish, was something else; an ex-Sergeant Major who made his dislike for Franklin no secret. “The day my daughter marries a scatter-brained poofter poet is the day I hope I’ll be six feet under!”

Four Red Roses: A Valentine Story


(750 words) Sandra Malone sat staring at her laptop. On the left side, a heart with a ribbon around it and the words, ‘To My Valentine.’ On the right, a blank page anticipating her inspired verse. She sighed. She’d needed the work and, as a poet – of sorts, had been recommended to Gibson’s Cards to crank out twenty Valentine verses and messages. After a morning’s work, trying to think of original lines using ‘Valentine,’ ‘please be mine,’ ‘heart,’ ‘never part’ and such, she was sorely tempted to rhyme ‘heart’ with ‘fart.’ That’d make Gibson’s sit up!