Writer, history researcher, biographer

Short fiction #7

June 20, 2013

Jane looked at the old lady in contempt.
She really was the most infuriating person she knew, apart from her own mother, and she was bad enough. Most days it was all she could do to smile when she saw her. But honestly, his mother was the pits. She was all smiles whenever Derek was around but he didn't hear the bitchiness in her voice when she asked if she could help. Jane knew what she meant by help. It was her way of saying that she wasn't bringing up her daughter the same way that Shirley had brought up her precious son. Well damn well no, it wasn't, and it wouldn't be while Jane had breath in her body. Look where that had got her. It had taken her years to knock him into submission, but he knew where his place was now, that's for sure. No more running off to mummy just because she had a concussion, his place was at home, taking Jessica for her piano lessons when Jane had an appointment at the hairdressers. 
She'd caught him more than once throwing longing glances at his golf bag but he knew there wasn't time for that, or money. How could he think membership of the golf club was better value than the family gym membership? If only he used his more, like her. She was getting totally toned since she had hired Antonio as her personal trainer. She loved going to the gym now, it gave her such a buzz, and Jessica was becoming quite a fan too. If only Derek would see the sense of it...
Oh god, here she goes again, she thought, more of the baby pictures coming out. Why does she want to give them to me? I don't want all that scruffy stuff, well, it can go in the garage if I must, on the shelf above his golf bag. Is this torture nearly over yet? Every year we have to do this, just because it's her birthday we must visit he says. It's only right, he says. God, if I'd known I'd have to be this attentive I'd never have got her to mind Jessica while I went to work. Surely she should be glad she got to spend time with her granddaughter? Not many grans get the chance to spend three days a week with their grandchildren but was she grateful? Not so much as a thank you did I get, and she was forever ringing me up to tell me how she was doing. As if I needed to know that before a team meeting. 

Shirley sighed as she turned away from her daughter in law. She really was the most exasperating person she had ever known and if she hadn't been married to her son Shirley would gladly pass her on the street without a word. But she had to try, for Derek's sake, and Jessica's. Without Jane there would be no contact at all and both women knew it. Derek wouldn't dare come to see her without Jane's permission. 
Shirley made polite enquiry after Jane's mother, another hard to like woman very much like her daughter. Jane's response was non committal, a vague alright. Shirley suspected that Jane hadn't seen her recently and she momentarily felt sorry for the woman. Jane didn't seem to care that her mother was lonely. Not her problem, she would say. Shirley wondered if Jane realised that if she carried on that her life would be the same, with a daughter who was too selfish to care for her. If only she would try a little, just relax and be nice. It didn't take a lot once you got into it.

Derek returned into the lounge, wiping his hands on the towel and Shirley blinked as Jane shot up out of her seat, spilling the photos onto the carpet in her haste to leave. Derek scrambled to pick them up, with a speed that suggested an instinctive need to avoid trouble, or from a wish to prevent his childhood being trampled underfoot. Within minutes they had their coats on and Shirley got a perfunctory kiss on the cheek from Jessica, who had barely stirred from her mother's side all afternoon. Jane was at the car before she had called out her goodbye, keys in her hand to make a fast getaway. Sadly Shirley hugged her son as he sheepishly made to follow his wife. As she hugged him she whispered in his ear.
'I love you son but I wish you'd grow a pair of balls.'


Short fiction #6

June 13, 2013

The pain seared through his leg and seemed to connect with every receptor in his body. His leg felt on fire and his brain was telling him to run as far away as possible from this torture but he gripped onto the chair, his fingernails digging into the upholstery as his knuckles glistened white. Everyone was watching him, he mustn't crack, he told himself sternly. It had to be done. As the next wave of pain swept over him he couldn't help himself and he cried out in anguish.
'Ye gods, when i...

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Call Centre Carnage Chapter 5

June 9, 2013
I'm not sure about this chapter so would be interested to hear some comments. I've a feeling it will get cut from the final novel.


X rated

After the break they split up into different rooms. Jessie took the girls group upstairs to the video training department where she managed to get them the recording equipment they needed to make the film. Jo busied herself with the second group, determined to knock them into some kind of shape. As they left the room Matt overheard her offering h...

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Short fiction #5

June 5, 2013
Office politics

Here they come again. John really should check his appearance before he comes in to work in the morning. He's got dried egg on his tie today, Paul is going to give him stick for that, he always does. He thinks he's the office funny man although he's anything but. Even I can spot his jokes coming a mile off. And Jan thinks he's so stupid, I can tell. The way she rolls her eyes every time he opens his mouth, you'd think he'd have noticed by now but if he has, he takes no notice. ...

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Call Centre Carnage Chapter 4

June 2, 2013


The lunch passed in a blur of mad ideas, getting madder with every drink, but back in the training room they managed to agree that their video would be set in a lounge, that Pat would write a five minute screenplay over the weekend, ready to rehearse on Monday and the roles they would each play. They left work knowing which was their individual task, to gather props, source equipment  or arrange fundraising. During his weekend Matt, as director, worked out how to shoot ...

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Short fiction #4

May 29, 2013
April 1st - Who's a fool?

Liz turned over in bed and groaned. Dangling in front of her face was a severed head that looked like her boyfriend Damien. She turned back and buried her face in the pillow, determined to stay there until one o'clock at least. Every April first had been the same since she had moved in with him. Three years on and he still didn't get that she didn't find his jokes funny. Of course, it wasn't the only thing he didn't get about Liz.
She sighed as her thoughts returned to...

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Call Centre Carnage Chapter 3

May 26, 2013

The plot thickens

They continued to discuss the possible sponsors and Don volunteered that as wine was the obvious one he would approach all the wine shops in his area to try to get donations, hoping they would offer him samples to test. Krystal argued it was more obvious to get dairy farmers to sponsor it because it looked like a misshapen cow. Before they could come to blows, the door opened and Jo walked back into the room with Marilyn.
'Okay guys! Can I have your attention plea...

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Short Story #3

May 22, 2013
My Sisters' Birthday

People often ask me what it's like having twins for sisters and I never know what to say to them. I've never known anything else, you see, because they were here when I arrived. In fact, the babies had mum and dad run ragged when mum got unexpectedly caught with me, so in a way we've been like been triplets really. Very often there's no difference between us, except that I don't have their special bond. 
It's true, they really can know each other's thoughts, but I got prett...

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Call Centre Carnage Chapter 2 (cont)

May 19, 2013
Continued. . .

When everyone, except Krystal, was seated at their desks, Jo handed out the DVDs to the front row and asked them to pass them back. A collective groan ran round the room as they recognised yet another batch of Jo's sales videos.
'Okay, enough,' urged Jo. 'You'll learn a lot from my videos and then you get to see what you can do. Are you ready for this? You're going to make your own sales video!'
The reactions rippled back in degrees from the squeals of the almost identical girls o...

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Short fiction #2

May 17, 2013
 This story was inspired by words suggested by the excellent Cakeshortandsweet blog by Sarah Grace Logan in her online Wednesday short story challenge. Thanks Sarah.

The prompts were chloroform, banana split, crackers, stench, shoestring budget
Margo clutched the chloroform bottle under her coat as she bustled along the dark, dismal street, darker in places where the howling gale had blown out the gas lamps. The rain pelted at her face and stung with every drop. Her thin coat was soaked throug...

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Welcome to my page of stories. It will be a mix of short stories and serial chapters of a novel that I am currently editing, a process that isn't going as fast as I want. My intention is to post at least one piece of work per week and your feedback is more than welcome, either here, on Twitter or on facebook. In the case of the serial it may even change the course of the story...

Hope you enjoy.

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