Easter Short Fiction – Eggs-treme Measures


Kevin the egg

It was a Friday and Kevin was frustrated, not annoyed, just frustrated. Although he knew himself well enough to know that this frustration could lead to anger. And if Kevin got angry…..well, nobody liked Kevin when he was angry, least of all his co-workers, and certainly not Kevin. He hated himself for it, but sometimes he just couldn’t help it.

Kevin had actually had a very good day up until now. He’d woken up feeling refreshed, the eggs he’d eaten for breakfast were soft boiled to perfection so he could dip every soldier in, he had had a great mid-year appraisal from his boss Jeff, and he had managed to correlate all the figures from last week’s KTS reports. Even with all this joy in Kevin’s life, frustration was threating to get the best of him.

He had just sat down at his desk after coming back from lunch and a smell had caught his attention. It instantly put an image from his childhood in his head. Unfortunately all the memory showed was him looking through the eyes of a mask up at a table full of people who were all looking at something in the middle of the table. What was it on the table? He had to know. Oh he really had to know.

Stuart, one of Kevin’s co-workers, was the first to spot the rising levels of frustration in Kevin. All the usual signs were showing, the scratching of his head just above the right ear, the loosening of the tie, the erratic blinking that looked like Morse code without the sound. And the sweating had begun too, oh the profuse sweating.

Stuart emailed Tom and Kate to alert them, but purposefully chose not to tell Brian, the only other co-worker in their team. Stuart had his reasons for this; past disagreements with Brian over whether the Incredible Hulk could beat Superman in a straight up fist fight was one, the fact that Brian’s desk faced away from Kevin’s was another, but mostly it was because Stuart was a bit of a twat.

Tom looked up from his monitor after receiving Stuarts email and looked over at Kevin; Tom was not in the mood for this. He remembered the last time Kevin had got angry. It was his old colleague James who had got the full brunt it. He really missed James some days. In that particular incident Tom had been casually talking to all his co-workers, about cooking a fancy meal for his girlfriend. Stuart had joked that Tom would burn a salad. Kevin had interjected with, what was in hindsight, a useful tip regarding seasoning fresh meat. James had quipped that Kevin couldn’t boil an egg, and this comment had the effect of turning Kevin in to what Stuart had once coined in an email as Krazy Kevin Kaka.

When Kate saw that Brian was not included on the email, she was very pissed off with Stuart. It wasn’t that she particularly liked Brian, it’s just that Brian had the excel skills she needed to finish the work she was doing. Tom and Stuart were useless at creating pivot tables, Kevin was alright at it, but she wasn’t about to ask him. She was just thinking she ought to forward the email to Brian, when she looked up and saw Kevin shaking with rage and starting to rise from his seat. Tom and Stuart were already pulling the old ‘pretend to be on the phone’ trick that had worked quite well during past outbursts. It had worked well as a deflection of attention when the likes of Mary, Frank and Jerome had left the team. Kate made the decision to look after number one (as she normally did) and picked up her phone and started spouting all sorts of corporate bullshit to a dial tone.

Brian was eating an egg mayo sandwich whilst concentrating on his work. Well it wasn’t so much his work as it was Kate’s. He was sorting all the formulas on a table she had been working on. He did it just because she’d asked. God, Brian really fancied Kate, she was so beautiful to him. He was even putting some nice colours on it to highlight certain data. The first he knew about Kevin having one of his outbursts was while he was applying a lovely shade of vermillion to a set of figures. He heard the Krazy Kevin Kry (another doozy from Stuart) behind him that was so shrill that that he had to shut his eyes. When Brian’s eyes reopened it was with surprise that instead of facing his monitor he was facing towards the beautiful Kate, which was odd as she diagonally behind him. It was nice that he had got to see her one last time before his neck snapped. Kevin instantly relaxed, as he always did after one of his ‘outbursts’.
Kate quickly stood up from her chair. ‘For fucks sake Kevin!’ She exclaimed. ‘I really needed Brian to finish my report.’
Stuart, Tom looked at each other with looks of pure awkwardness.
Kevin hung his head in shame. ‘I’m sorry’ he said. ‘You won’t tell Jeff about this will you?’
The silence continued for what felt like an age until finally Kate said, ‘It’s a good thing you’re a whizz at accounting Kevin. And you’re going to finish my report’ she added. Kevin nodded and went back to his desk.

Tom and Stuart breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.
Stuart, who could never resist a quip after an awkward silence said,
‘Well I always thought Brian was a pain in the neck’.
‘Did you get that from an Arnie movie or something? Said Tom.
‘No’ said Stuart.
‘Well it was shit’ said Tom.
‘You’re shit’ said Stuart.
This made Kevin smile, and as he got stuck into completing Kate’s report, he suddenly remembered what was on the table. It was just an egg. Silly Kevin.

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Friday Fiction – Next train in 9 minutes


Village Station

Next train in 9 minutes

The train would be here very soon now and she would be on board.  Laura Pearl, the girl who I grew up with in school, and thinking about it now, I haven’t actually seen in over 35 years.

I’m waiting on this deserted station and I can’t believe just how nervous I am, or is it excitement? I’m really not sure. I haven’t felt quite like this since primary school.

It’s the same feeling I got when Laura, Peter and I would gather together at playtime and just be brimming with nervous excitable energy at being together.

I can remember us in the summer throwing freshly mown grass in the air. All at once I feel incredibly sad. Sad at the time that has passed; sad I can’t go back to that time, sad about Peter and what he had told me before he died.

She sent me a picture so I would recognise her coming off the train. It was hard to process the face in the picture. People often say; “You haven’t changed”, but she had. It wasn’t so much the features or that she had put weight on. It was the smile. In the photo she sent I couldn’t see that insane happiness that I saw every day when I was young. I looked at a photo I’d brought along of when all three of us were young. She was dressed as a Red Indian and Peter and I were dressed as cowboys. She was stood in the middle and had her arms round both of us. Her smile was so joyous, so infectious, actually all our smiles were. We were so happy. It started me smiling and chuckling to myself. I looked around feeling self-conscious, but it was still an empty platform.

Next train in 5 minutes

I’m starting to panic about how I should act when she arrives. Should I behave in a melancholy way out of respect of Peter? Or should I show how happy I was to see her? Would she misconstrue this as distasteful?
I miss Peter so much and I feel so guilty that things didn’t turn out as they should.

When we all moved to secondary school Laura started to find some other girls to hang out with. She would still hang out with me and Peter, but not as much as in primary school.  The longer we were apart the more me and Peter agreed we wanted her around. Then came the point when I told Peter how I was going to go out with her, and that I loved her.
I remember Peter smiling at this when I told him. Although thinking of that smile now, I can see it wasn’t real; it wasn’t even close to the one he wore in the photo I was holding. I think I was too wrapped up in myself to care. God, what a dickhead I was.

I often told her how I felt. She would just laugh at this, but in a way that made me laugh too. I know now the love I had wasn’t the love Peter had for her. She was one of my best friends and I couldn’t separate those feelings properly. She knew how to handle my outpourings of ‘love’ for her whilst keeping us friends.

Next train in 2 minutes

When she moved away from our village with her family to live in France I was sad, but Peter…. I remember Peter not coming out of his house on the weekends or after school for weeks. Even at school he seemed withdrawn, not his normal self.

I went on to love other women and even marry one, for a while anyway. Peter never did. I remember him dating women when we were younger, but I guess none of them ever lived up to Laura.

When he told me in his last days that our friendship meant so much to him that when we were younger he wouldn’t make a move for fear of hurting my feelings, I wept. I resolved to try and find her. I didn’t know if it would do any good, but I wanted her to see him again. I felt like I had cheated them out of true happiness.

My nephew showed me this social media thing and tracked her down, but not in time. I told her about Peter over a fucking email. What is wrong with me?

Next train due

So now here I am with all this guilt and happiness colliding, waiting to see her again.

I hear the screech of the train brakes and look up, it’s arrived.  Only one person is getting off the train, it has to be her right? Who else would want to visit this nowhere village that I never left?

It’s a woman but I can’t tell if it’s her. She looks so classy; she doesn’t fit in with the surroundings at all.

She’s seen me and is walking this way.

My face is blank and my hands are shaking.

Then I see that smile, and without even trying, I’m smiling too.

 

The Flowerpot Man (a short story by Gary Shaw, aka The Resident Weebler)


Another writting challenge with Sudo One next. We have both written a begining of a stroy for one another for the other to finish. Here is my effort from what Sudo one wrote in green. Check out his effort on SudoOne.Wordpress.com

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Desert Highway

The Flowerpot Man

Hugh shouldn’t have been there, watching the heat haze shimmer off the road in front of him. He was from Oxfordshire; the closest thing you got to heat haze in Oxfordshire was when you turned the Aga up too high.  

As he walked he knew now for certain that the cowboy boots and Stetson had been a mistake. He’d been in Texas for only 5 days, not only had he discovered that everything in the Lone Star State was indeed bigger, but he now knew that cowboy boots were inclined to give one blisters and a Stetson would make an Englishman look foolish.

His feet and foolishness were the least of his worries, he was nervous the gun in the holster on his left hip would go off if he so much as looked in its general direction. One of your own bullets in the toe is not ideal when you are trying to get a job done, or indeed kill a man.

He must have been lost in his own thoughts, for when the truck pulled up beside him, he hadn’t heard it coming. Hugh looked along the length of the shining silver monster of an articulated truck it big bright red lettering on the side of the cargo hold it read ‘Big Bills Haulage’.

He walked up to the cab, the driver was looking at him from his window, and he wore a grin as Hugh approached. ‘Well howdy there partner’ said the driver. ‘D’ya get lost on the way to a fancy dress contest?’ The driver started laughing so hard at what he’d just said that he started coughing. Hugh maintained a pleasant smile until the driver had finished hacking up.

‘Thank you for stopping, Are you heading anywhere near La Plata?’ Hugh asked.

The driver’s happy demeanour shifted somewhat at the mention of this town. ‘La Plata’ the driver said. ‘That’s 50 miles from here, were thinking of walking all the way there boy?’ Hugh looked at the road again and saw that’s all there was, disappearing as it was in to the distance. ‘To tell you the truth’ Hugh said.’ I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m not even sure I want to go to La Plata any more’.

‘Well Cowboy’ the driver said. ‘It just so happens that I am heading through La Plata, so if you want a ride you are welcome’ Hugh looked at the road again and then looked back at the way he had come and saw it looked just as desolate. His decsion made, he climbed up in to the cab, thanking the driver as he did so.

The cab was air conditioned and Hugh felt such relief for coming out of the heat. It also smelt very pleasant; it had clean surfaces and not a mascot in sight. This truckers environment was very different from what Hugh had seen portrayed in the movies.

The driver himself looked more typically movie-esc. He was a rotund man with stubble you could light a match off of. He wore a red and black plaid shirt and had a light blue peaked cap on with Oilers written on the front.

The truck growled as they drove off.  The driver spoke first ‘So what’s your name Cowboy?’ Hugh wasn’t sure he wanted to tell this stranger his name given what he was considering doing. ‘It’s Michael’ Hugh said. ‘I bet I can guess yours’. The driver looked round at him with a slightly worried confused look. ‘Really’, he said. ‘It’s Bill’ Hugh said. A look of realisation came over the drivers face and he smiled and chuckled. ‘Right, I see what you’ve done there. No, my name is Ben. Big Bill is just my employer, but it’s only the two of us who do this.’

Hugh couldn’t help but smile at this ‘so what do haul?’ ‘ Read more of this post

Flash Fiction – Yearning


Park_pond_and_Office_Blocks_-_geograph.org.uk_-_742075

There once was a man, who spent his days basking in the sunlight and relaxing in the park. He had no boss to push his deadlines, he had no deadlines. He had no money worries and had many friends he could share his time with. Everything was easy and fresh and oh so awful.  How he yearned to be inside a stuffy office, he would stand in the park sometimes and just stare up at an office window and try to see through its reflective glass. He thought he could make out a cubicle, with in tray full of papers. Oh the yearning.

There were days where the sun was out and he had a picnic blanket laid out on the freshly mown grass with a champagne lunch. Whilst sharing joke with a friend, he would laugh so hard his head would tip back a face the warm blue sky, but as his head came back down, his eyes would catch another office vista, this time a meeting room, with people in uncomfortable clothes, looking stressed and mutely mouthing words of anger at each other. How his heart ached to be there. Read more of this post

Fiction, The Billingham Challenge: The Gap between the Willow trees


Sudo One loves a contest, so he set a challenge. A writing challenge. He writes an opening paragraph of a story for me to complete and I write a paragraph to start him off. He named it the Billingham challenge in honour of Mark Billingham the crime writer, who did the same thing for a competition in which I came second. You can see that effort here.

So here is my Short Story with Sudo one’s opener in brown. I’ve called it ‘The Gap between the Willow trees.’ Enjoy…

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The Gap between the Willow Trees – A Short Story by Gary Shaw (AKA the Resident Weebler)

The Willow Trees (Monet)

She waited with baited breath.

With any luck the groundwork had paid off. Tonight was the night it was all going to come to fruition, the stars in the inky night sky were, she hoped, aligned. She deserved it, didn’t she?

It was time... her time, Annie’s time.

Annie had been told about the creatures by Freda Percival, a long time resident of Hillfrome, her place of work, over two years earlier. At first she disregarded the stories as flights of fantasy, even madness. But after what had happened to Freda, what she’d seen with her own eyes, they must be able to do to her what they did to Freda.

Waiting in the woods, which surrounded the Hillfrome Estate, she watched the space between the twisted misshaped willow trees.  It had been a year ago today that Freda had gone missing from the home and Annie had found her here. A year ago today that the creatures had come through the gap in the trees and she had seen those black creatures crawl over Freda.

In her fifties now, Annie had regretted how her life had turned out. She had no real family to speak of. An only child, her parents passed on, she had no children, and the man and life she had always dreamed of had never arrived. She had so much love to give, and now nearing the autumn of her own life, only had the residents of Hillfrome to pour it on.

It was Freda that Annie had warmed to the most. The two ladies would often sit on the wooden bench at the rear of Hillfrome house on warm evenings, looking down on the vast wood that lay at the foot of the hill.  They talked of older, better times and how they both wished they were younger. Annie was reminded of her mother’s kindness as they spoke. So when Freda started to speak of magical creatures in the woods that could make them young again, she felt a terrible heartache. She remembered how her mother had started saying nonsensical things before her mind decayed, and how Annie had to look on as the mother she knew slowly disappeared. Read more of this post

The Envelope – Short Shory – By Gary Shaw (AKA – The Resident Weebler)


Show logo

It came in the post on a Saturday. Yardley barked at the door, as he always did when post arrived. We heard him sniffing something; he let out a low whimper and trotted off towards the back of the house.

The whole family were gathered in the lounge watching The Show, it was my younger sister Lybena who’d picked the large dark red envelope up from the mat after hearing the dog. She announced to the room, ‘It’s for Oliver.’ She brought it over to me on the sofa, passing my mum and dad next to each other in their individual chairs. They saw the colour of the envelope and their attention shifted from the telly to the journey of the envelope towards me. When I had it in my hands they sat forwards on their seats and stared at me. ‘Turn off the telly Brian’ my mum said. My dad fumbled about for the remote, hit a button and the telly muted. ‘Turn it off I said!’ She lent over to grab the remote. ‘I meant to, I meant to’ he said. ‘I just hit the wrong button is all. Calm yourself.’ He was holding the remote at arms length from her and continued, ‘although you know we’re meant to be watching this, there could be an update, it is the rules after all. What if an Enforcer pops by?’ Read more of this post

Save Me – (Short Story / Monologue)


                                                                                Save Me – By Gary Shaw

I don’t think I can do it any more. I’ve already saved five people today, and that was just on the way over here. And now, here you are, just waiting to be saved.  I’ve got to draw the line.

No, please don’t beg, you’re making me feel awful here. I’ve got a life to lead too you know. What you do for a living?

That’s nice. But let’s say you wanted to change careers, what would you do? Join a few recruitment agencies, look around on the internet? Me, this is it, I change jobs, people die.

Well yes, I could just save you and have done with it, but don’t you understand, every victim will keep saying that to me.

Of course you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Given your current situation, I don’t blame you. Although what I do blame you for, is getting yourself in this predicament in the first place. Read more of this post

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