Not a sausage

It’s five, nearly time to return to the office.

He’s shown the last prospective buyers of the day the show home, and they seem possibles, even if a bit non-committal. She liked it, for definite, but it wasn’t his kind of thing. Obvs. Maybe she’d talk him into it.

Ease back into the car as you watch them drive off. Nope, body language not saying anything. Ah well, back to the office. Drive off the estate, past the last house, take a left towards town.

He suddenly takes another left down Shaftesbury Close. That house at the end, with the FOR SALE sign. It’s been on the books for a while. Lewis said the couple that last looked at it complained it was spooky, gave them the heebie-jeebies.

Let’s see what’s going on there it before I call it a day.

Russ parks the car in the driveway. Looks quiet in the cul-de-sac. He gets out. Nah, not that quiet, there’s a dog barking somewhere. He hasn’t got a key, but he’ll have a nosey round, see what he can see, find out what all this malarkey’s about.

Down the side alley between the house and garage. Could do with a bit of work, the pebbledash is cracking in places, grass growing between new cracks in the faux crazy paving concrete. Garden’s overgrown — not surprising, it’s been on the market for several months.

He peers in through the dingy kitchen windows. Nothing, not a sausage. Not a sausage, ha! It’s a kitchen, innit? Not a sausage, love it. Smiles at his own joke, and then …

He stops mid-step, craning his neck to listen intently. Is that a child crying? If only that damn dog would stop barking he could hear. Where is that bloody dog? And where’s that crying coming from?


Short story composed from a list with multiple choices. Elements chosen:
crying child — House for Sale — barking dog — 5.00 pm

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We’re all stardust

Catch a falling star, put it in your pocket.
It won’t take you far: for that you’ll need a rocket.
Blast off into space, spaceman that you are. Just
don’t fall, in that case, right back to earth as stardust

Or I’ll catch a falling star …

Ten past ten

He was arrested as he walked by the shop window. It was full of clocks, their faces regarding him dispassionately. Each clock registered ten past ten. Their hands were raised in blessing, a gesture half enfolding, half disclaiming responsibility.

As he gazed at the display Time effected a rallentando.

He noticed the reflections of passers-by slowing to a pause. Is this how time ended, an elastic spring stretching out to the last moment of entropy?

He saw people’s faces suddenly turn towards his, as surprised and unbelieving as his. The window fell in on itself, the clocks leapt in shock.

He was wrong. It wasn’t Entropy at all.

It was the Big Bang.

_____

A piece reflecting on how time seems to slow down after a violent event while our consciousness labours to catch up 

‘Tis the voice of the whinger

 

Winter comes but once a year
Days of darkness soon to bring
Weather cold and storms so drear
Blessed respite brought by spring

But too soon it then gets hot
Summer days we’re bathed in sweat
Autumn’s next as like as not
Mists and storms to make us wet

Now it’s bloody winter come
Starts the cycle once again
Constant change, my brain’s gone numb
Each new season’s such a pain

Two Little Dickie Birds

When I was little our mum used to keep budgies. They were all colours – green, blue, yellow, white – but they were so noisy. My sister and I couldn’t stand it, chirpy-chirp-chirp all day, even at night until the cloth was put over their cage. But she loved them, our mum did, she talked to them, taught them sentences and rhymes, even recorded them on an old-fashioned tape recorder.

She gave them names, too. Georgie was one, and she taught it “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry” – except it never learnt to say the last word and stopped with the words “and made them,” which was annoying.

Mostly they were called Joey. “Hello, Joey!” it would say to itself, and “Who’s a pretty boy, Joey?” This was very annoying.

After one of the Joey birds died she got a pair. She called them Peter and Paul, like in the nursery rhyme:

Two little dickie birds sitting on a wall,
One named Peter, one named Paul.

This didn’t make sense because one of them was a girl and should have been called Paula or Polly, but mum still called it Paul. Peter was blue and Polly (that’s what us kids called it) was green. Peter learnt to say

Fly away Peter, fly away Paul,
Come back Peter, come back Paul.

There was this trick our mum showed us when we were little, with bits of tissue attached to two fingers, but I thought it was silly teaching it to the budgies because I remember thinking it would give them ideas about flying away.

One day it happened. Peter managed to get out the back door while mum was hanging out the washing. It definitely wasn’t my fault. Anyway, mum started shouting and we all rushed out into the garden, me, my sister and my dad. “He’s flown into the trees behind the garages!” she said, and sure enough we could see a bit of blue halfway up a tree. Our dad got out a ladder but I could see he’d only frighten the bird so I said I’d go up it.

So I did go up, and at the top I had to leave the ladder and use branches for my hands and feet. I was just reaching out with my left hand, quietly saying, “Come back, Peter, come back,” when my dad chucked a stone. It hit the branch Peter was sitting on and he flew away. I don’t know why he threw the stone; maybe he was fed up with all the chirping about Peter and Paul flying away.

Anyway, soon after that Polly died – it was from a broken heart, mum said – and mum got another budgie, a yellow one. She called it Joey. It never learnt to talk, just chirped.

Dad seemed to spend more time in the garage after that, but I never found out why.


  • Written for a creative writing class homework on writing for children.
    Budgerigars are also known as parakeets

Fall guy

foxy Guido Fawkes
fall guy for government fail
in gunpowder plot


Guy Fawkes was caught with barrels of gunpowder in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament the day before King James I was due to formally open the new session on November 5th, 1605. Since then autumn bonfires have been enthusiastically lit, ‘guys’ burnt and fireworks exploded to remind us that “gunpowder, treason and plot” should “ne’er be forgot.”

Restart

He sat at the laptop, fingers poised over the keyboard. Minutes passed before the proverbial lightbulb appeared above his head. He smiled, tapped out the first word . . . and the screen went blank. He’d forgotten the scheduled restart for updates. Now the impatient fingers were tapping the table. Pray inspiration wouldn’t run out before . . .


Flash Fiction Fifty Five: a short piece consisting only of 55 words, including the title