‘Make jam,’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun,’ they said. ‘You’ll be so relaxed!’
They were wrong.
It was nice at first, I’ll admit. Handing in my notice was liberating. Telling people I was starting my own business was thrilling. And there was something soothing about knowing that, every morning without fail, I would wake up with the sole purpose of making and selling jam out of my own kitchen. No ghastly 7 a.m. commute. No soulless office block and squint-inducing computer screen glare. No staff room politics or having to eat dried-up sandwiches out of a Tupperware. Instead, it was just me and the jam and the radio.
Me and the jam and the radio. Me and the radio and the jam. The jam and the radio and me. That’s it.
That, and a house that smells like stewed fruit 24 hours a day. And throbbing little burns all over my hands and arms where my skin has been bitten by bubbling fruit and sugar. A garage packed to the rafters with empty jars because it was cheaper to buy them in bulk and I was oh-so enthusiastic when this whole shit show kicked off. And all the measuring and the pouring and the stirring and the sterilising and the jarring and the labelling, day after day after day until my mind is so deadened that I could happily jump into a scorching hot vat of summer fruits and sugar and end it all…
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“Congratulations on your new home!”
“Thanks, Lindsey. Come on in, I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
Lindsey gazes around her as she enters Julie’s house, taking everything in. “May you create countless memories in your beautiful new abode,” she says with a smile.
Julie laughs, “I’m sure I will. Follow me!” Continue reading “Introductions | Flash Fiction”
Don wakes up with a taste in his mouth that is reminiscent of the arse end of a badger. His head throbs and his stomach feels raw and empty. He’s slumped against the locked door of his local pub, and all around him is chaos.
People are running up and down the street, some carrying baseball bats, others lugging cardboard boxes, more still swigging from beer cans and bottles of liquor. Most of them have hoods pulled low over their faces and they’re shouting and screaming, whooping and laughing. Continue reading “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em | Flash Fiction”
“Just through here, mate,” I say, gesturing to the bedroom. “Good job I live in a bungalow – you’d have had a hard time getting it upstairs.”
The delivery guy nods as he wheels the bulky package down the corridor. “Aye, my back’s done in. I had to get a washing machine up to a third floor flat this morning. No lift, either. Would have been no problem for me ten years ago but my age is catching up with me.” Continue reading “Delivery | Microfiction”
Emily swings the metal detector from side to side, ignoring her brother’s pleading tones behind her.
“Come on, Em, please! I need to pee so bad. And I’m bored and my legs are tired and we haven’t found anything all day.”
“Shut up, Isaac! It’s beeping. There’s something here.” She drops to the ground and begins to scrabble at the soil with her hands. Continue reading “Loot | Flash Fiction”
Paul scans the faces of the three friends who are staring at him and wonders if he should be nervous. “Is this an intervention?” he says, forcing a smile.
“Yes, you could say that,” Sally replies. “We need to talk about your lies.” Continue reading “Pants on Fire | Flash Fiction”
“Dylan! Be careful with that car, will you?”
Dylan ignores his mother’s words and continues with his game. It’s an epic race up and down the steepest of hills and around the tightest of corners. His little red Matchbox car is the fastest there has ever been, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its destined to win. The car could spin out over the edge of a cliff and meet its brutal demise at the bottom of a mountain. It could flip in mid-air over and over and land on its roof, its wheels still spinning. It could careen out of control on a tricky chicane and smash into a great fir tree. Continue reading “Race | Flash Fiction”
The fortune teller doesn’t notice that her cigarette is slowly burning down to the filter, dropping ash onto her yellowed fingers and the table beneath them. Instead, she is mesmerised by the images in her crystal ball. Continue reading “Ash | Flash Fiction”
Polly scans the menu with her brow furrowed.
“Are you ready to order, madam?” asks the server.
“Almost. I’m having a little trouble choosing,” she says with an apologetic smile.
“No problem. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but you can pay extra for each additional trait on top of the 10 included in the base price.” Continue reading “Decisions | Microfiction”
Gina could never resist a scented candle, so when she saw a new shop open on her high street which was dedicated to the things, she had to stop by.
As she walked through the door, she was revolted by the odour that assaulted her nostrils.
The shop owner laughed at her. “Pretty common reaction, that,” he said.
She winced. “Sorry. I guess one of your candles just isn’t my cup of tea.”
“Oh, very few of them will be your cup of tea, my dear. We specialise in niche scents. The smells that are less popular but are always a favourite of someone, somewhere, y’see? Here, let me show you.” Continue reading “Stranger Scents | Flash Fiction”