What Gwen Needs

GwensDesk
photo by Negative Space 

‘Gwen, darling. Is everything okay?’

What Gwen needs is foundation strong enough to cover bruises. What she doesn’t need is a boss nosing around in her private affairs.

‘I’m fine, Cas.’

She puts her coffee on her desk, turns on the computer and sits down. Cassandra keeps watching.

‘You can tell me, you know. I had an abusive boyfriend once.’

Blatant lie.

‘I don’t have a boyfriend.’

Cassandra sighs. She’s bored. She loves nothing more than a vicarious drama. It’s the reason she runs this business, to experience other people’s struggles second hand.

Gwen may also need a new job.

(You’ll find all instalments at the bottom of the Serials page.)

Final Ascent

100 words about dying on a mountain
FFfPP week 3 photo prompt from Public Domain Archive 

I brought Dad’s photograph with me.

The climb is more difficult than I remember. My nine-year old legs didn’t tire as easily as my skinny, 38-year old legs do. I wish I could blame loss of youthful energy.

‘If this was the last thing you saw, wouldn’t you die a happy bunny?’

When the food shortage got worse, I suggested we come back. There’s neither snow nor fog anymore, only relentless heat. View’s still worth it, though.

But Dad didn’t make it, he was too malnourished. He died two days ago, holding the photograph in his hand.

So will I.

With a Spoon

100 words about cutting somebody's heart out with a spoon
(c) Sonya, 2016

The humble spoon. It looks innocuous. Some might call it benign.

Some have no imagination.

I don’t have a lot of time for people who pride themselves on their knife skills. Cutting out your victim’s heart with a knife, where’s the artistry in that? Also, a knife takes away the element of surprise. You pull a knife, people scream and fight and beg for their lives before you’ve begun to have any fun.

I get my spoon out, people laugh. They think they’ve been pranked, look for the camera.

They stop laughing pretty sharpish.

Because it’s dull. It hurts more.

*** Continue reading

Politely Defiant

‘Good morning, Mrs Chamber.’

She ignores me. Always has. At first, I put it down to my unfamiliar face. After six months of meeting most mornings when I leave for work and she walks her obese Yorkie, I’m not an unfamiliar face.

She talks to other neighbours. I’ve heard her greet the bloke from upstairs – the one with the wife who left him after he’d beaten her one time too many.

No, it wasn’t that my face was unfamiliar. It’s that my face is brown. Bigoted old biddy.

Wishing my next-door neighbour a good morning, it’s an act of defiance.

Favourites

100 words about a first date
(c) Etol Bagam for FFfAW 48 

The only free spot is by the pool table – less than ideal for a date. Standing comes with pitfalls, though – too close, too far away – so he sits down. Should he have waited outside? The place’s packed, she’ll have trouble finding him.

He is certifiable levels crazy for her. He’s afraid it’ll show. She arrives late, which, in a way, is good. His nerves have settled.

‘My favourite table. How did you know?’

‘I had a hunch.’

‘We’ll have to play, obviously. Let me win and you’re my favourite guy.’

No trouble letting her win – he’s never played pool before.

What news to wake up to

David Bowie mural in Brixton
CC BY-NC 2.0 photo by Duncan C (mural by Jimmy. C

It’s just gone 7am and you are thinking about waking up. You are questioning the music selection on the BBC 6Music Breakfast Show – how are you supposed to wake up to this subdued stuff? It’s 7:11, it’s January, you don’t need gloom.

You’ve got plenty of gloom yourself.

And then Shaun Keaveny says the words which do two things: justify the musical mood and wake you up with a jolt. You heard that wrong. It can’t be true.

You let it sink in.

And you wonder: Will he sing Under Pressure with Freddie again?

You’d like to think so.

***

Let’s all thank our lucky stars that we were – for a while at least – alive at the same time as David Bowie.

Test Run

100 words about a botched proposal
photo by DGlodowska

‘You’re impossible.’

‘I know. Thanks.’

‘And this is the worst proposal.’

‘It wasn’t real, actually. Just, you know, testing the waters. Given that you’re more upset about the way I’ve done it than about that I’ve done it, it declare the waters favourable.’

‘Hang on, hang on. You didn’t mean it as a joke?’

‘No. I would never joke about this.’

‘You joke about everything. You joke about death.’

‘If you don’t joke about death, it gets too serious.’

‘So if you don’t joke about marriage, doesn’t that mean it gets too serious?’

‘But it is serious. I am serious.’

Street Fighter

It seems I’ve accidentally started a new serial without having it planned out – it might get interesting.

Street Fighter

100 words about learning to fight
photo by skeeze

‘I don’t think that’s a good idea, love. Even the smallest bloke who trains here is twice your size.’

‘Perfect.’

‘Look, I’m trying to let you off the hook. Girl like you has no business here.’

‘Don’t I? Don’t pay attention to the suit and the heels – I’m tougher than I look. You should see my scars.’

‘Only woman I’ve allowed in made me seem small. You won’t last a minute.’

‘Again, don’t let the business casual fool you.’

‘Why? How about you join boxercise at the gym around the corner?’

‘I don’t need fitness. I need real survival skills.’

(You’ll find all instalments at the bottom of the Serials page.)

Double Standards

100 words about dating a younger man
photo from Public Domain Images 

Lena leaves a voicemail. It sends my alarm bells ringing. I text to suggest we meet for lunch at our favourite coffee shop.

Lena’s waiting, looking knackered. She tells my everything. I almost choke on my panini.

‘Why?’

‘Seemed a good idea. Still does, I quite like him.’

‘How old did you say?’

I’m as appalled as I’m jealous. If only I hadn’t pushed her into dating after Eddie left.

‘Lena, he could be your son.’

‘If I’d started too early, maybe. Eddie’s run off with a girl who’s barely even legal. Does anybody bat an eyelid? Of course not.’

***

It’s Week 2 of FFfPP. I’m tired and there’s other stuff that needs writing, so this is the best I could today.

Back to Bug Him

100 words about a hornet drone
photo by Josch13 

‘Bat it away, then.’

He doesn’t bother looking. She’s become too squeamish, coming to her rescue every time a bug scares her won’t help.

‘What if it stings?’

‘Them buggers haven’t hatched, I wouldn’t think. It’s January.’

‘Ain’t no bluebottle, though. It terrifies me.’

She stifles a scream. Exasperated, he goes into the other room. She’s cowering in the corner, shielding herself with a book. He freezes before he sees it hovering above her. It’s the sound out of his nightmares – the sound of a hornet drone. He curses the day he had the idea.

‘They found me. Oh, hell.’

***

Found myself missing Micro Bookends today and had Bat out of Hell stuck in my had all day. Hey presto, DIY Micro Bookends.