Blame the Parents | Microfiction

It was with sheer desperation that Ally called the Life Coach.

“I can’t make friends,” she blurted down the phone as soon as her call was answered.

“You can’t make friends?”

“No matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I strike up conversation, no matter how kind or funny or interesting I try to be, I simply can’t make friends. People can’t get away from me quick enough.”

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

Green | Flash Fiction

The green tinge started in her toes. She was convinced it was a fungal infection, but her Google searches insisted that a fungal infection couldn’t spread all the way up her foot and to her ankles, and certainly not within 24 hours. Continue reading “Green | Flash Fiction”

Faith in a Flash by Kelvin M. Knight | Book Review

Faith in a Flash is a collection of flash fiction in which each snappy, 100-word tale explores aspects of faith and religion. Many of the stories are set in or near churches, but even those which don’t are intrinsically linked with worship and belief. The stories are divided into fifteen chapters, each of which has a central theme such as Charity, Forgiveness, Darkness, Peacefulness and Hope. Continue reading “Faith in a Flash by Kelvin M. Knight | Book Review”

The King of FU by Benjamin Davis | Book Review

The King of FU is a poetic memoir about a boy – a peculiar boy who describes himself as being covered in fur and with horns – who grows up in America in the 90s. It follows his upbringing from birth until middle school as he figures out his place the world and tries to understand what the fuck adults are all about and what it means to grow up. And it’s fabulous. Continue reading “The King of FU by Benjamin Davis | Book Review”

Wild Things My Grandma Told Me | Short Story

Grandparents have secrets. And trust me — you don’t want to know what they are.

My Grandma was 87 years old when she revealed her secrets, but nobody would have pegged her anything beyond 75. She had a few lines and wrinkles here and there, sure, but you’d never guess she was pushing 90. And if you spoke to her without seeing her, you’d think her in her 30s. She could talk a mile a minute and she swore like a trooper. She knew her stuff when it came to modern music and the latest blockbusters. She had an iPhone and a Snapchat account and thousands of followers on Instagram.

So when pneumonia took her down we were all surprised. None more than her, mind.

“I’m too young for pneumonia.”

“You’re 87,” my Mum told her.

“People like me shouldn’t get pneumonia. Haven’t had so much as a cold in decades. Only time I get sick is when I overdo the whiskey sours and that doesn’t count — that’s self-inflicted. Are they sure it’s pneumonia? I don’t believe it.”

“It’s true. So you’ve to keep quiet, be on your best behaviour and cooperate with the doctors.”

“Yes, dear. I will. Best behaviour.” And then she saw me clock her crossed fingers and threw me a sly smirk.

I visited her as often as I could. I got the bus from the hospital straight after college every weekday, and I went in the morning and again in the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. She’d always have a tale to tell about the time that passed during my absence. How she initiated a group singalong of Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic throughout the ward. How she invited the charming 28-year-old hospital porter out for drinks. How she’d given one of the specialist doctors a lesson on achieving the ultimate orgasm. How she’d sneaked into the hospital kitchen to add chilli powder to the meatloaf mixture. On and on it went — miniature adventures which transformed a drab old stay in the hospital into a thriving chapter of her life.

But after the second week on the ward, the adventures became less frequent, less exciting. Her retelling of the few escapades she did manage — having a cheeky squeeze of a handsome nurse’s bum, for example — became less animated. Her cheeks grew paler. Her voice grew weaker. The wheezing and rattling in her chest grew stronger. Her skin was almost translucent.

“Not long for this mortal coil,” she croaked at me one day.

“Don’t say that, Grandma. You’ll be alright. Keep your chin up.”

“It is up, it is. But we’ve all got to go someday. My time’s coming up and that’s alright. Just promise me one thing.”

“What?”

“Invite Michael Bublé to my funeral. His number’s saved in my phone. He might not come, but I’d like for him to have the opportunity to say his goodbyes. He only knew me briefly but… well, he knew me rather intimately.”

I didn’t ask for details. “I’ll invite him,” I said, though at that stage I didn’t mean it. I didn’t believe she’d ever even met him.

“Thank you, dear.” She sighed, shook her head slightly. “There’s a lot you don’t know, young lady. A lot that nobody knows.”

“What do you mean?”

“My life. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but it was bloody colourful.”

“So tell me about it.” That was my first big mistake.

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon | Book Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been on my to-read list for years and I’m annoyed with myself for ignoring it for so long! It was critically acclaimed when first published in 2003 and it’s wholly deserving of the praise it has received – it is simply wonderful. Continue reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon | Book Review”

No Such Thing as Can’t | Flash Fiction

‘I can’t do this,’ she whispers.

She retrieves a pair of smart black trousers from the wardrobe and lays them out on the bed. Shirt next. She has one in mind. It’s newish. Plainish. Smartish. First day material. It will help her blend in. But it isn’t where it’s supposed to be.

Hangers screech as she slides them left to right and right to left on their rail. It has to be there. It has to be hiding. It has to be.

She lunges for the wash basket, flips back the lid, and rifles through stale garments. It’s there, right at the bottom, crumpled into a ball.

Tears want to spill but she breathes and assesses the damage. She shakes the shirt out and examines it, front and back. Lots of creases. No stains, at least. A tentative sniff decides it; quick iron, spritz of Febreze, splash of perfume, and it’ll do the job.

She stubs her toe on the bed frame as she gathers up her outfit.

She traps a finger in the stiff hinge of the ironing board as she erects it.

She scatters bottles of cleaning products across the kitchen floor as she retrieves the iron from under the sink.

The iron is dead. The little light won’t turn on. It doesn’t get hot. Something inside it rattles when she shakes it.

She clenches her jaw. ‘I can’t do this.’

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

Get Out | Microfiction

“Go.”

“I’m going.”

“Right now.”

“I said I’m going!”

She scowls. “Go faster.”

“Why should I?”

“Because I told you, you arsehole. Get away with you!” Continue reading “Get Out | Microfiction”

An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog

I’ve been AWOL for a while and I felt like I should do a short blog post to explain my disappearance and to make preemptive excuses for any future relinquishing of my website, social media, email, writing and general life responsibilities. Continue reading “An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog”

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | Book Review

I’ve never seen The Exorcist ‘cos I’m a wimp when it comes to scary movies, but scary books are fine by me and I was in the mood for something creepy. I didn’t really know what to expect – I was a little worried it would be one of those that doesn’t live up to its hype – but it far exceeded all of my hopes. It was brilliant. Continue reading “The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty | Book Review”