100-Word Fiction: Tiddles the House Cat

For the fifth time that morning the little cat pushed her head repeatedly against the old man’s hand in a vain attempt at coaxing it into life. For ten years the lazy tuxedo had wanted for nothing. She had been doted upon to the point of obsession. Her bed had four posts, dinner was always catch of the day… and her ears were the subject of endless poggling. Leaping up onto George’s sallow chest, Tiddles nuzzled tenderly against his cold face and gave it a lick. “Hmmmmm,” she mused with a purr, “I think I’ll start with the face meat.” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Not-So-Original Prankster

If only he’d stuck to gluing pound coins to the floor. But no, he had to go further, and Manchester Printworks on Sunday morning was perfect for it. Placing a small baggy of washing powder on the ground, he stepped back and waited. “Excuse me son,” said the bemused policeman, “are those your drugs?” When all you’ve got is a childishly idiotic excuse, it turns out that walking around with 20 bags of white powder gets you into quite a bit of trouble. It’s also why everyone on the wing greets James with a daily, infuriating catcall of, “Alright Daz!” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Drinking with Graham

“I won’t have a pint,” said Graham moodily at the bar in the pub they always went to. “I’ll have a large water.” This was not what Simon had hoped for, even though drinking beer with Graham could be difficult and this option was cheaper. “I’m having a pint,” he tried hopefully, but Graham didn’t respond. Holding their drinks they moved down the thin, dark space, to the back. The place was empty but their usual table wasn’t, so they shifted the mess next door. Cricket was blasting from the big screen. After a minute Simon said, “I’ve been fired.” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Numbers Game

“I like you. I want you to be my girlfriend.” As the girl on the other end of the phone launched into a response, he stared intently at the mirror opposite his bed. “See, you do remember, yeah. I work with Mark at the Oriental. He gave me your number.” Looking down from the mirror he continued tapping out a text. "Okay, I’ll speak to you later." Glancing back at the mirror he zipped up his black tracksuit top, pushed the white earbuds in a bit further and scrolled down on his phone. “Hey girl, you know who this is?” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Cuddling Panda Babies

They were giant, fat bundles of soft-toy-fluff and all Sarah wanted to do was cuddle them. The trouble was, the panda babies were in China somewhere – on a breeding program – and Sarah was stuck in the accounts office in Macclesfield. “They’d nip you,” said her daughter, concerned over the phone, that evening. The next day, back in the workplace, Sarah tried to hone in on her spreadsheets. Only now the columns were ladder rungs, and half a dozen nearly-extinct baby pandas were clambering up from that bottom line. She found it hard not to focus on their big, blunt cuddle-paws. First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Flight Check

The new equipment had arrived. This time Harry was certain of success. Normally he would have filmed the unboxing for his YouTube channel, but he was far too excited for that. "Power: 98%." "Camera: secure; infrared on; record activated." "Monitor: picture and sound, affirmative." “Flaps: working.” “Rotors: activated.” “Go for flight…” Gingerly, the young pilot edged to the open window and carefully released the drone. Taking the controls with both hands he dodged the craft hard left through the darkness, around the side of his building, and sent it soaring five floors up… "Damn,” he spat, “her curtains are shut." First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

The Christmas Party That’s Never Won

Episode 5:   Song: What a Show It's a mighty fine Christmas shindig And it's packed with party bigwigs The message the Leader bellows: "Give more dough, give more dough, give more dough" And there's lots of festive sniping At the parties they've been imbibing Snooty laughter begins to flow: "Ho ho ho, ho ho ho, ho ho ho!" And they drank long into the night Till the beer it ran dangerously low As two councillors started a fight It really should have been time to go   … [Read more...]

Cream in the Soup: Greg Escapes the Chateau

Monday 13th October 2008 – 18.01 (CET) This afternoon I received an omen so abundantly clear I was almost hurled sideways, Victoria’s words still ringing in my ears, “The chateau is our home, Greg. I refuse to sanction a swarm of insects which could sting our kids to death in their beds.” The line was delivered with Olympian heartlessness. I was extremely shaken, and about to make my feelings clear, when I saw it; a magnificent bumblebee sailing in through the French windows. … [Read more...]

Louis: A Love Story

“Louis, I’m back,” Simon called softly, opening the brown paper bag, removing three newspaper wrapped items and placing them reverently on the envelope-strewn butchers block. Lifting a plastic carrier bag onto the knife-scored surface he set down Champagne, raspberries and a stiff white cardboard cake box. Outside it was sticky hot, but down here was much cooler, the August sun barely penetrating the high unwashed lace of the basement window. Beyond the dull glass, seagulls cawed and cartwheeled over the English coastline, pestering genteel day trippers for their vinegar soaked chips. Inside, the empty kitchen was still and silent. … [Read more...]

Last Night in Benidorm

It was 6.30pm. The sky was still bright blue and the terrace of the Queens Hotel still bathed in neon sunshine. With chairs curving together and chunky calves brushing, Martyn and Diane gazed across the hotel skyscrapers towards the dazzlingly clear Mediterranean Sea. “Once more with feeling…” said Diane lifting her cocktail, putting the straw to her lips and taking a lovely long slurp. … [Read more...]