Monthly Archives: February 2017

Flash Fiction…

I’m in the process of touting various manuscripts around literary agents at the moment, but am also entertaining a few quirkier pastimes, one of which is Flash Fiction: the practice of telling a story in approximately 50 words. Here are a few of my efforts…

 

Paradox

‘I’m you from the future. Thirty years from now you’ll invent time-travel and prevent nuclear catastrophe.’

‘So, what you’re saying is that I grow up to be a fat, slap-head with horrendous body odour? Screw that, I’m ditching the books and hitting the gym.’

 

‘Serendumbity’

Harry conceived an idea of genuine genius.

‘This will change everything!’

Running to tell the world he tripped, fell and became concussed. He awoke in a hospital with memory loss. A nurse offered him a snack. He’d forgotten the nut allergy. He flailed and banged his head.

‘This will change everything!’

 

Theatre People

As he began his soliloquy Horatio called to mind Freya’s advice: The best way to overcome your stage fright is to imagine the audience naked.

A woman in the lower-circle had loin-conquering breasts and he was subsequently fired for delivering his pivotal death scene with a monstrous erection.

 

Consultancy

‘Tonight’s the night. At light’s out we make good our escape. Tommy, have you acquired the guard uniforms?’

‘Yep.’

‘And Jake – the fake passports?’

‘Check.’

‘And Sebastian – Is the tunnel complete?’

‘About that…the solutioning phase went well, but due to scope creep we’ve only just commenced the spade optimisation phase.’

 

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‘God told me that you’re my future husband.’

Say what you like about political correctness, but watching a fat security guard chasing a thin shoplifter is hilarious! Jump ahead to the guy’s appraisal with his boss stepping through the moral minefield of how to handle a zero success rate.

‘So…addressing the elephant in the room.’

After an initial spurt of adrenaline the shoplifter realised that he was over-egging it somewhat and slowed to a vague jog (whilst still comfortably pulling away). The security guard issued a four-letter tirade (presumably aimed at himself and his inability to to run 100 yards) and was rightly chastised by a young mother.

The incident topped off a surreal day that began with a dream in which I was lying in bed pissed off at having woken up twenty minutes before the alarm was due to go off .

‘You’re dreaming,’ I thought and woke up a full hour before the alarm.

Son of a…FINE…BEVERAGE!

As I waited for the kettle to boil I checked my email and encountered a spurious block of incoherent prose free of introduction or full stops.

Some context: My previous interaction with the sender was 18-months previous and consisted of the following…

‘I need to talk to you.’

‘Sure. What’s up?’

‘God told me you’re my future husband.’

‘OK. Told you how?’

‘A loud voice in my head.’

A BRIEF PAUSE DURING WHICH I CONSIDERED POSSIBLE RESPONSES:

  • OPTION 1: ‘Do you know what the loud voice in my head is shouting?’
  • OPTION 2. Sell house / Change name / Take dystopian-future approach to all subsequent interactions with mankind
  • OPTION 3. ‘God’s playing silly buggers.’

‘How do you feel about me?’

‘Oh, no offence, but I don’t find you attractive in the slightest.’

‘…Then what’s all the fuss about?’

‘Why would God promise me to a man I don’t fancy? That’s why I’ve been speaking with all my friends about it for the last year.’

‘Did God put a time-scale on this union?’

‘No.’

I breathed a sigh of relief.

You (& God)’ll have to find me first.

Omnipresent you say? I shall put that to the test…

…Anyway, that was then. This is now. Amidst the text I saw the phrase ‘…seeing a bereavement councillor even though no one has died…’

My tolerance is not what it once was. Keeping the curtains drawn for fear of being seen through a sniper scope I did the old sociopath shimmy (Delete / Block / Book plastic surgeon / Liquidate assets).

Off to work and to a client interview, during which the interviewer said:

‘I like you. Not sure that you like me.’

‘Yes. I like you. You seem nice.’

‘Nice?’

Uncertain as to what superlative she was expecting (magnificent? Unparalleled? Bendy?) I opted for very nice. This was a mistake.

later, during a heated discussion a colleague threatened to insert an empty wine bottle into my bottom (a practice known as making corporate in-roads).

‘You’re having a shocker!’ I said to the aforementioned security guard.

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The Cream of British Justice (You Can’t Handle The Truth: Part 2)

‘Good luck in court tomorrow,’ my colleague deliberately shouted as he stepped out of the train.

I met the gaze of a fellow tube traveller; an enormous mountain of a man. He immediately averted his eyes.

You’re damn right I’m a murderer, I thought. Don’t you be looking at me boy!

There’s a tactic I’ll be utilising again in future!

So today rolled around and found me driving through the drizzle to Oxford Magistrates Court and to the concluding  part of my epic fight for freedom (challenging a speeding fine).

As with my previous court appearance the greatest challenge involved getting into the building. I checked my reflection in the mirror (‘Good, not covered in blood like last time’: A Few Good Men). img_0011Now just the small matter of negotiating a metal detector. Despite emptying my pockets I set off the machine twice. With a queue forming behind me I identified the cause – a small tube with the words ANTI-IMFLAMMATORY emblazoned along the side. In the heat of the moment I could only conjure humiliating reasons why I would need said cream and where it would need to be applied. (To be clear, it’s for my finger. FINE! DON’T believe me!) I shamefully gathered up my things whilst holding up belt less trousers and scurried to the reception.

‘How do you plead?’ asked the receptionist.

‘Not guilty.’

Really? Are you sure? When presented with the evidence most people tend to change their plea. Would you like to change your plea, and would you like to fill in a means form?’

‘No I wouldn’t and what’s a means form?’

‘If you don’t wish to change your plea then don’t worry about the form.’

Now I was worried (Thank God I had that cream!)

To recap: It wasn’t the speeding ticket I was challenging, it was that the only letter I ever received about it was a huge fine for ignoring the previous letter(s). My defence (such as it was) was that I live at number 11, that on my street there is 11, 11a, 11 flat a, and flat b as well as another 11 on an identically named street across town, and that post is going missing all the time.

I was trying to work out whether or not to broach the fact that the other number 11 is a hairdressers without appearing facetious (‘Imagine that…me…a bald man…getting sent bottles of peroxide…for hair…when I haven’t even…is this mike on?’)

My ultimate fallback position was that, in this Post-fact Trump era, I judge my speed by an alternative metric, but if it got to that point I fully recognised that I was in deep shit!

‘MARTIN…’

I stood up.

…A different surname.

I sat down again; my nerves shredded.

(Note: I started writing this bit whilst inside the waiting area, but stopped because A. I thought it might end badly, and B. I kept accidentally turning on the speech functionality on my phone and had horrific visions of standing in the dock and having a metallic voice blurt out of my pocket GUILTY – AS – SIN!)

‘MARTIN KAH…MARTIN KOH…’

Jeez, every friction day! ‘CORORAN,’ I replied and rose to my feet.

I walked into a split level room with two magistrates on a raised platform above me. It was all over in a flash.

‘How do you plead?’

‘Just to be clear, I’m pleading not guilty to not identifying myself as the driver (Double-negative – the vernacular of the criminal fraternity), but as previously stated, I’m sure it was me driving the car.’

‘In that case we’ll forego this charge (6 points / £800) and go with the original speeding charge (3 points / £100). How do you plead?’

‘…Guilty.’

‘Thank you. The court official will show you out.’

I was a little dismayed at not having had the opportunity to trot out my flimsy defence, but mostly I was relieved. Emerging into the reception and meeting the gazes of the other be-track-suited defendants who (let’s face it) ALL did it, I gave serious consideration to punching the air and jubilantly shouting ‘GUILTEEEEEEEEEEEY!’

I can only imagine how many driving offences I committed on the way home…

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