Full Fathom Five


(1300 words) I stood at the railing, gazing out to the haze of the distant level horizon. The sea was calm, low deep blue waves undulating slowly, barely hinting at their potential ferocity. Ahead and far below me was the bow of the cruiser, where people, ant-like, sat by an unusually empty pool. I sighed and thought of Janie. Bitch!  We’d had problems, sure, who doesn’t? But her leaving had come as a shock. It was Valentine’s Day, of all days, and I’d ordered some Adrenaline roses, her favourites. Unexpectedly, a silver BMW had pulled up, and I'd recognised Andy, her gym trainer, his dyed-blond hair swept over in an attempt to look youthful. Obviously it had worked. Janie appeared. “Look Steve, I don’t want a scene. I’m leaving. Me and Andy … I’ll be in touch about my things.” She’d looked embarrassed and hurried out, clutching her sports holdall, before I’d had time to reply. I watched her get into the car and kiss him. They drove off without looking back. Just then the flower delivery van had turned up. I’d taken the roses and thrashed them to pieces in the back garden with tears streaming down my face.

Dreams on Board


(650 words) “‘Clothes horses,’ that’s what she calls ‘em.” “Uh huh.” “That’s all they do, walk up and down the deck, flaunting themselves.” “Uh huh. That a problem, sir?” “Who, me? No … no, it’s just that she … that’s my wife, Josie, doesn’t like me looking at them. Says I shouldn’t ‘gawp at other women’s anatomy’!” The bartender wiped a glass, smiling wryly. “Well, you have to admit, sir, they’re lookers.” “They sure are. Those crazy long legs, long blonde hair, low cleavage showing their ripe mangos! What are they, dancers in the shows or something? I never see ‘em during the day, just the evening, ‘bout seven, I guess. Up and down, up and down they walk, eyes straight ahead. Till about eight.” “D’you ever get to speak to one?” “No, no, I mean, well they look too, er, haughty, I guess you’d say.” “Well, you’re wrong there, sir, it’s not such a big deal. Say hello, pay ‘em a compliment. You’ll get a great big smile. And she’ll be happy to chew the fat with you!” “Really? Well, I guess I’d like to, but there’s Josie you see, she wouldn’t like it. Can’t say as I’d blame her.” The bartender put down the glass he was polishing, took another one from a shelf and poured a large shot of bourbon into each. “Here you are, sir, on the house!” “Why, that’s kind of you!” “You’re welcome, sir.” The bartender took a sip. “Look sir, I’ll let you in on a little secret.” He winked.