Goodbye Bernie, Hello Samantha


(1100 words) “Say it ain’t so, Joe, please say it ain’t so,” Samantha Muir sang whilst hanging out leather belts in the Ladies’ Clothing department of Jacksons. “That's not what I wanna hear, Joe. Ain't I got a right to know?” She hesitated. Why was she singing that? Her mind flashed back to a scene when she was nine years old, her little brother Joe coming to her with blood pouring from his nose. An older boy, Terry, had punched him in the face at the bus stop after school. “Excuse me, young lady, are you serving or dreaming?”

Never Lovelier


(850 words) It was a beautiful day, thought Mr. FtF as he sat on the patio with his newspaper waiting for his wife to come down. Why did it always take her so long to get ready in the morning, he wondered? All that … preening! He put his paper down and gazed at the canal that flowed past the bottom of their garden. Purple liquid sparkled in the light of the two suns in a way that never ceased to amaze Mr. FtF. It depended on their positions relative to each other he supposed, as he sipped his kaffa.

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?

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?”

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?”

Letters from Reuben


(700 words) I start to go around my apartment, dumping papers and associated junk unceremoniously into the boxes. Box one, a stack of writing magazines that have been cluttering my desk for months. Why don’t I read them? Or write, for that matter? Oh, I don’t have time, of course. Well I guess I could quit watching endless re-runs of Seinfeld, but, well, I wouldn’t want to break the habit of a lifetime. Anyway, out of sight, out of mind!

Ask and It Is Given


(750 words) “Walnut looks good – feast your eyes on this!” Tabby held up a brochure of baby grand pianos. All gloss and gorgeous swirling grain. “Very nice, but you’re forgetting three things.” “What?” “One, we live in a tiny flat, two, you can’t play the piano, and, three, we don’t have any money!” Tabby’s smile faded. “Well, I’m now creating my own reality through the Law of Attraction.” “So you keep saying. I don’t see any changes.” “The universe takes time to give you the things you ask for. They’ll come when they’re ready to come.” “Bollocks!”

Shelly in the Jungle


(650 words) “Where d’you think I’m gonna find that kinda money?” asked Shelly Green, pulling on her dog’s lead. “Sit, Earl, sit!” “Listen Shell’, it’s a chance in a lifetime! I dunno, get a loan from the bank, sell your car, sell your house!” Shelly sighed. “What about Wharton’s. They wouldn’t let me go for a month!” “For Chrissakes, Shelly, you’re only a cleaner. They can get someone else from the agency. No offence.” “Thanks a lot!” She blushed. Her friend, Mavis Enderby didn’t mince words. “But, look, Mave, those pygmies, with their beards and loincloths and sweaty bodies, I mean, what about … y’know, women’s things … I’d be embarrassed!”

Stone the Crows!


(800 words) “‘Course, it might have been a false one, to throw us off the scent,” said the constable. “Maybe. These bastards are clever … Hi, who’s that?” said the inspector. A dark blue Range Rover had just pulled into the car park at Strubby House. A woman in a red coat and matching hat got out, waving. “Cooee.” Thirty minutes earlier, the two policemen, accompanied by a police artist, had taken the path from Strubby House to the Dower House. The latter was a square Georgian pile with tall, narrow windows. Against the gloom of the sinking winter sun it looked like an enormous tomb. The path, an uneven gravel walkway, strewn with wet leaves, was lined by heavily pollarded beech trees on either side. Their stunted, blackened branches reminded the inspector of photographs of Holocaust victims, dumped in mass graves.

Guest Post: Until the Nows Come Home


Until the Nows Come Home by PETER RUNFOLA (400 words) “Honestly, I really just don't feel like doing that – or anything, truly – right at the moment. But ... later? Yeah, sure - I'll do it later.” So says This Moment. “Yeah, right – that's my name – lovingly coined by my dear mother, Here, & equally dear dad, Now.” “And, they're both quite proud of their little brainstorm ... in name anyway. Now {oops, sorry, Dad} if only I could live up to the immediacy imbued into my very being.“