Woke Up With a Monster

This is a story for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-26-2017/, prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by shivamt25.

To read other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Woke Up With a Monster

“What?” Jess asked.

Pete stared at the cup.

“I thought it would make you laugh,” Jess tried again.

“Do it right or you’ll wake it up,” Pete spat.

“Oh,” Jess fumbled with the sunglasses, turning them to sit above the handle, “Better? Now it’s like they’re over the nose.”

Pete winced. “Turn it round, handle at the back, like he’s got a baseball cap.”


“Yeah, do it. Now.”

Hands shaking, Jess rearranged the glasses, burning her fingers on the hot cup. She looked at Pete for approval.

Pete rocked back and forth. He whispered, “Look at the letters, idiot.”

“What? It just says ‘coffee’.”

“Just? JUST? Look – the bridge of the glasses, it’s over the coffee bean.”

“Sorry, but_”

“Coffee has six letters, C, O, F, F, E, E, right? You can see that?”

Jess nodded, biting her lip.

“So,” Pete went on, “The bridge should sit over the FFs, right in the middle. Clearly.”

Jess stood and walked quickly to the door.

“Yeah, run away, now you’ve woken up the OCD. Bitch.”

174 words


Posted in Domestic Dysfunctionalism, Flash Fiction, letter counting, obsessive compulsive disorder, relationships | 11 Comments

Bad sneakers

This is a story for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/20/22-september-2017, prompted by the picture below, kindly provided by Sarah Potter.

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Bad Sneakers

Rick downed tools and admired his handiwork. Where there had been a rough floor with an inspection pit, there was now pristine concrete. Taking construction at night school had worked out, considering he’d gone there to sign up for anger management.

Standing in the pit earlier, Donald had said, “When the foreman said you were meticulous, you know he meant slow?”

Rick had finished on time without Donald’s help, though.

The foreman’s voice took Rick by surprise, “Good job, son. Has Donald gone home?”

“He’s still around,” Rick answered.

“Must be, there’s his shoes.”

Rick realised he wasn’t meticulous enough.

100 words


This is my first story for more than a month and I suspect I’m so rusty that readers might not be able to tell what it’s about.  If that’s the case, I’m sorry and promise to try harder next time.



Posted in Flash Fiction | 14 Comments

Grandpa Told Me So

This is a story for Sunday Photo Fiction, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/sunday-photo-fiction-august-13th-2017/ .  It was prompted by the photo below:

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Grandpa Told Me So

Grandad fancied himself as a sage. When I joined the force he said, “Bend rules, but don’t get caught”. He wouldn’t have disapproved when I failed to declare an interest before setting off to interview a convicted burglar.

It started ok. Sixteen more crimes admitted. When I asked about the victims’ belongings, though, Evans laughed, “Gotta protect my fence.”

“You remember a Tardis money box?”

“Blue thing? Rubbish inside – a big old coin.”

“A 1920 penny?”


“And two medals?”

“Dumped them.”

When Grandad had left me his medals and the coin from his year of birth, his note said, “Look after these. There’s sod-all else”.

I got Evans to sign the paperwork.

On my way out a voice took me by surprise.

“Detective Turnbull?”

It was years since Vince was sent down for cutting up a paedophile.

“You still in?” I asked.

“Nothing out there for me. If parole comes up, I’ll lose my temper with one of the young halfwits. Like that Evans kid – I heard he got caught on prints?”

“His girlfriend grassed him … he got too interested in her little girl.”

I smiled at Grandad’s best advice, “There’s many ways to skin a cat.”

200 words


This is my first story for a while, as I’ve been busy catching up with DIY jobs.  I had to write something for this prompt, though – shortly before I saw the photo, I’d visited a salvage yard and spotted a Tardis money box in the bric-a-brac room.  It had to be a sign, didn’t it?  I’m beginning to worry about my obsession with revenge though.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 7 Comments

Somewhere Under The Rainbow

This is a story for What The Pegman Saw, https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/07/29/cape-town-south-africa/.  This week Pegman took us to Cape Town, South Africa.  My story was prompted by the image below.  Thank you to Karen Lee Rawson for hosting.

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click the link:


Somewhere Under The Rainbow

Two sergeants wait for the results of their promotion applications.

“Ngwenya passed then.”

“New Zealanders always do.”

“He’s from Khayelitsha.”

“Yah – an All-Black.”

“This is the new South Africa. Go with it.”

“Easy for you. You’ve had 400 years of being top dogs.”

“And now we’re right at the bottom.”

“You want to swap houses?”

“That land has been in my family for six generations.”

“Paid for by the sweat of six generations of mine.”

“Look, before Mandela got out, coloureds were number two in the pecking order behind whites. Now affirmative action puts you up there with blacks.”

“Only on paper. We used to be too brown. Now we’re too white.”

“The rainbow nation’s still young. You’ll get your chance.”

“Have you seen the flag? Six colours and none of them’s brown.”

“Good luck anyway. My ancestral passport came though. Pass or fail, I’m joining my kids in Europe.”

150 words


I hope no one takes offence at this story.  In South Africa the term “coloured” is used to describe someone of mixed race.  Although the scenario is fictional, all of the dialogue is based on conversations during which I was present while living in South Africa.  The words were not spoken by me.


Posted in Flash Fiction | 16 Comments

Monet For Nothing

This story is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/26/28-july-2017/phone-booth-jhc/ .  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by J Hardy Carroll.

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Monet For Nothing

En route to interview the gallery’s new curator, the journalist couldn’t help admiring the stunning installation. 

“Whose work is this?” she asked the janitor.


“KC? Who –”

“You not from round here?”

“A local star then?  This piece … genius … it speaks to the conflict between historic modes for achieving interpersonal dialogue and the irresistibility of semi-rooted but evolving means of sharing information.”


“Yes, the artist’s determination to avoid emasculation by technology is subtle yet undeniable.  Is it for sale?”

“Five hundred.  Cash. You know … struggling artist.”


Nobody used the pay phone these days anyway.

100 words

In case anyone wonders, KC used to be the acronym for Kingston Communications, a company that has a monopoly on landline provision in Kingston upon Hull (UK) and the surrounding area. It’s been rebadged as kcom.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 34 Comments

Three Little Words

This is a story for Sunday Photo Fiction, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/sunday-photo-fiction-july-23rd-2017.  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by our host, Al Forbes.

To view other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

© A Mixed Bag 2009

Three Little Words

Greg had reached the pinnacle of his profession. Now he was retiring, it seemed apt that he should treat his family and friends to dinner at the top of the London Eye. It was costing more than he would have dared to charge at his own Michelin-starred restaurants, but it was Mum’s 90th birthday, so hang the expense.

“You’ve come a long way from cooking breakfasts at your parents’ B&B,” his best friend told him, as the dessert plates were cleared.

“Not really. Their place was on the Central Line.”

“Spare me the false modesty. You’ve trained everywhere and opened restaurants in Paris, New York and Cape Town. You didn’t rest till you got 3 stars at the London place.”


“I thought you would have cooked for us tonight.”

“I’ve hung up the hat. Anyway, I baked something.”

At Greg’s signal the head waiter unveiled a magnificent cake, cut a generous slice and put it before Greg’s mother. She took a piece on her fork, placed it in her mouth and chewed slowly.

“What do you think, Mum?” Greg asked.

“I’ve tasted better.”

The capsule began its slow descent. It would reach the ground fifteen minutes after Greg’s self-esteem.

200 words

Posted in Flash Fiction | 12 Comments

What Hurts The Most

This story is a submission for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/.  It was prompted by the photograph below, provided by me.  I’m late to the party this week, as I’ve been away and have abstained from all things Internet-related.  I wasn’t going to write any Flash Fiction this week, but when I logged on and saw one of my photos at FFFAW, I thought it would be bad form not to post something.   Thank you for using the picture!

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link. 

What Hurts The Most

Jim wondered why they were doing this walk again. He’d suggested somewhere flatter, but Dick had been touchy since his birthday. Jim had remarked that 70 was the new 60, but this hadn’t gone down well.

When they’d last climbed these steps, a breathless Dick had asked Jim if he’d been training. Jim knew Dick worked out. He almost lied to protect his older friend’s feelings, but answered truthfully, “No”.

This time Dick said, “Let’s see who can get up and down most times.”

“We’ve another six miles after this.”

“Scared you can’t keep up with an old man?”

“Dick …”

Dick charged up the steps, turned, ran down again and stared at Jim.

Jim trotted up and down the steps.

They repeated the process until Dick stopped at the summit and bent over, gasping for breath.

Jim jogged up and turned to admire the view below, barely panting.

“It’s true, then,” Dick coughed, “Sex is the best exercise.”


“I came home early last week. I know what you do while I’m at the gym.”

Jim felt a hand on his back, followed quickly by the unforgiving edge of a stone step against his forehead.

196 words

Posted in Flash Fiction | 16 Comments

Lonely No More

This is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  The story was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Janet Webb.

To read other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Lonely No More

Althea looked at the objects in the window and sighed, before opening the pills and cheap wine.

In her younger days her tasteful display had attracted numerous suitors, all of them a cut above the losers who were drawn by the red lights or OMO packets that other women left on show while their husbands were away. Now no one disturbed her evenings.

She didn’t miss the money. The sex had been fun, though … sometimes.

Althea needed comfort. Life without that wasn’t worth living. She gulped down some wine then reached for the phone and downloaded the dating app.

100 words


In case anyone’s curious about the reference to OMO, this is a laundry product that’s been around for decades.  It used to be said that some servicemen’s wives who were lonely while their husbands were away, would leave an OMO packet in a front window to give the message “Old Man Out”, indicating that they were ready to receive company.  Some versions say OMO stood for “On My Own” or “Old Man Overseas”.  I know that some service personnel and their spouses furiously challenge this scurrilous tale.  I’m not claiming that it has any basis in fact, but my gran  (a Navy wife) believed it and strongly disapproved of any woman who used OMO.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 23 Comments

Thank you for being a friend

This is a submission  for Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Al Forbes, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/sunday-photo-fiction-june-25th-2017/  .  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Eric Wicklund.

To view other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link: 

Thank you for being a friend

Reading aloud from To Kill a Mockingbird, the teacher reached the part where Jem finds toys hidden by Boo Radley.

Paul whispered to Tommy, “That’s like when we were little.  Remember – we kept finding cars and stuff in the hollow tree?”

“I don’t remember,” Tommy answered.

“You do. You wouldn’t touch ‘em, but I took a toy soldier home.”

“Shut up. Miss Law’s reading.”

“When Mum saw the soldier she went mad. She marched me back to school, made me tell the headteacher everything. Toys dried up after that.”

“It was you who told?”

“She made me.”

“You screwed up my life.”

“It was only toys.”

“My toys,” Tommy shouted.

The boys didn’t notice as silence descended around them.

“What are you talking about?”

“The toys. My dad put them there.”


“Why do you think?”

“I dunno. I can’t remember him. He left.”

“He went to prison.  Eventually.”

“For taking your toys?”

“Think about it … why would a grown man want children to find toys in a tree?”

“He was a paedophile?”


“So, I did you a favour?”

“Oh yeah … with no other kids to mess with, he used me. I thought you were my friend.”

200 words



Posted in Flash Fiction | 17 Comments

One-way ticket

This is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/. It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Ted Strutz.

To view other people’s stories and add your own please click on the link:

One-way ticket

When Josh came to, he was on a ferry, among strangers, crossing an unfamiliar river.

He thought about Carter’s words at the party, “Forget smoking, use the needle. It’s time to cross the Rubicon.” Maybe Josh was still high.

The ferryman turned and studied Josh, with a grimace on his gaunt face.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “It’s warm over there, real warm.”

“When does the ferry return?” Josh asked.

“Strictly one-way,” the ferryman answered.

“But … ‘crossing the Rubicon’ … that’s just a metaphor, right?”

“You picked the wrong river, friend. No more kicks when you cross the River Styx.”

100 words


I would like to thank J Hardy Carroll for giving me a supplementary prompt (kind of).  I’d given up hope of finding an idea for a story of my own when I read his, On Bainbridge Island.  It described the kind of road trip from Hell that many of us will have been on too many times.  That gave me the idea of writing about a boat trip to Hell.

Plus I must apologise to:

– Charon for referring to him as “the ferryman” instead of using his name, for fear of giving the game away too early.  I know Charon’s mythical, but I live in a superstitious neck of the woods and you can’t be too careful.

– Bobby Troup for the appalling play on the lyrics of Route 66.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 13 Comments