Friday Fictioneers : Mr Quail’s misplaced beak

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays


 

Mr Quail would strut down the local alleyways, along the garden paths, peacock feathers nodding from his pork pie hat, an early warning to those who valued their privacy.

His lapel badge read ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, the letters written in blue marker pen on a circle of grubby card, a safety pin taped to the back.

‘Always sticking his beak in,’ Gramma would say, sucking her bubble gum pink chops.

One day, the pork pie hat vanished along with its oil slick feathers and its owner.

‘Reckon he stuck that beak in the wrong place,’ said Gramma, smile shining pinkly.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the grandest prompt around. See here to join in and to read other stories.

More apologies necessary as I’m late again. Work is crazy with no respite on the horizon, so apologies if I don’t get around to reading your story.

  • NB For those unacquainted with UK English –

Badge – this is a pin in US English.

Beak – a slang word for nose, so the phrase to ‘stick your beak in’ just means to be nosy.

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#tuesdayuseitinasentence: Cola Supernova

Red chilli pepper in front of grey

Image : Pixabay

 

He talks about her all through lunch at work, over the radio blaring eighties hits. ‘There’s a heat between us when we touch. It’s animal,’ he says. His mate turns the radio up a notch.

She’s out with a friend getting a manicure and when asked about him she shrugs, turns back to her celebrity magazine, the candid snap of a drunken starlet. ‘Have you seen the thighs on her?’

He buys a ring second hand, too big for its velvet box. When he buffs it on his sleeve and holds it to the light, it glows white hot, a supernova caught between his fingers.

She booked the restaurant – mid-price but not too shabby – and part way through dessert, he drops to one knee and her heart sinks. She’s just taken a mouthful of pavlova and before it melts on her tongue, before she has chance to speak, she sees the size of the diamond. Suddenly, his tight suit looks hipster cool, his features chiselled not gaunt. ‘Okay.’ She smiles through a mouthful of cream.

Fifteen years later, the ring is on the table between them, a chunk of gaudy ice. Funny how that stone never seems to catch the light anymore.

 


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Today the prompt word is HEAT. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

The title is a play on the Oasis song, Champagne Supernova.

 

Valentine’s Day : That baby faced killer thing

rodent

https://pixabay.com/en/meerkat-fur-small-face-mouth-316736/


 

He rests his elbows on the rail, gazing out at the twitching streaks of sandy fur, a few square yards of mounded dirt littered with scraps of drying vegetable.

‘Aren’t they amazing?’

‘I guess,’ she says.

‘You don’t like them?’

She shrugs. ‘They’re a bit done, aren’t they – meerkats?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘All that standing on your back legs looking cute and killing snakes – ‘

‘I think it’s mongooses that kill snakes.’

Another shrug. ‘What’s the difference? Anyway, they’ve got the baby faced killer thing down. But they still smell like my hamster after it ate one of its babies.’

This wasn’t how he’d imagined the conversation. ‘But they look out for one another. Their family units …’

He feels her body stiffen against his.

‘You want to talk about that here?’ she says.

‘Well. You know. Spring. Nature in all its fecundity.’

‘And kids screaming for ice cream. And kids screaming because they “didn’t see the monkey pooing, Daddy”. And kids just screaming because that’s what they’re good at.’

‘I just thought …’

‘No, you really didn’t. And next time, take me somewhere that doesn’t stink of dead rodents.’

He smiles. ‘Next time?’

 


First posted in response to for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practioner, Week # 15 2016. See here for full Ts and Cs.

Another repost, this time with a Valentine’s Day theme. Well, ish. Look, it’s about as romantic as I get, alright?

Will be posting and commenting in the flesh again soon, when normal service will be resumed.

 

#tuesdayuseitinasentence: Badly aired clothes and baked beans

Kntting and needles, wool

Image : Pixabay

 

‘She’s a malign dwarf. Sits in her armchair tutting, knitting her scratchy, ugly jumpers like Rumpelstilskin’s hairy half-sister.’ Cally stabbed her carrot cake with a fork, prising a piece free.

Dawn sipped her cappuccino, stared out over the twinkling river. She hated that all her friends were settliing down and getting married. They used to talk about careers and books and politics – these days Cally only became animated when discussing her new mother-in-law. At least there was no hint of babies yet. If she had to talk terry nappies versus disposable she would throw herself in the Avon.

‘Have you tried getting her onside?’

‘Onside?’

‘Talk to the woman. She must be interested in more than hideous knitwear and her son.’

‘She has no interests,’ said Cally shaking her head. ‘Other than concocting horrible things to say about me to Dave. Our bath plughole is scummy. The skirting boards need dusting. I must be working too hard because I always look so tired.’

‘She’s concerned for your well being -‘

The fork pierced the carrot cake like a trident spearing a fish. ‘She thinks I’m not good enough for him. Never has done.’

Truth was, she did look tired. And there was a toothpaste stain on the front of her blouse and a piece of fluff caught in her hair. And there had been a smell when they embraced – badly aired clothes and baked beans. She couldn’t imagine Dave smelling of beans – he always smelled … amazing. And his shirts were always immaculately pressed, hair attractively tousled, like he’d just got out of bed …

Maybe the mother-in-law was right.

 


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Today the word is MALIGN. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

#tuesdayuseitinasentence : Peace on earth, Goodwill to all men

Cleaver

Image : Pixabay

 

‘Right,’ said Don, staring down at the corpse lying before him on the table. ‘How do we tackle this?’

Steph stared at the cold, dimpled flesh. ‘I’ll never get used to it. No matter how many times …’

He laid a hand on her shoulder. ‘Look, it’s done. Now we just have to deal with it.’

She nodded. ‘I know, it’s just Gordon was so young.’

‘How do you know his name was Gordon?’

Shrugging she said, ‘He just looks like a Gordon.’

Don picked up the cleaver, felt the weight heavy in his hand, raised it high. It scythed through the air, light glinting on the metal, severing bone, sinew, veins, separating neck from body in one blow.

The head fell to the floor with a heavy thump.

‘Next Christmas,’ he said, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand, ‘we need to buy  an oven ready bird or go vegetarian.’

Steph handed him a glass of Prosecco. ‘Cheers to that,’ she said.

 


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Today the word is TACKLE. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Sunday Photo Fiction : The New Flame

185-12-december-11th-2016

 

‘So, how long have you been friends?’ I say.

Chloe sits across from me at the table – I’ve accidentally brushed her knee three times already and her close proximity makes me feel small and hot. She’s around five eight, hair a chestnut waterfall running into the chasm of her cleavage. Any woman’s worst nightmare … and my new bloke’s best friend.

She shifts the flow of hair from her bust to her shoulder. ‘Oh, forever. Since uni. Right, Ben?’

‘Yeah,’ says Ben. ‘We were in the same shared house.’

He flicks her a look, as if a little secret’s tucked away behind his warm brown eyes.

‘Great,’ I say, draining my pint.

I should have worn that tight skirt and heels instead of the jeans with the paint stain on the thigh. Should have ordered a gin rather than swigging Guinness. I have a cleavage somewhere, but it’s packed away under a Fair Isle jumper because how was I to know I’d be needing it tonight?

‘Yes,’ says Chloe. She sucks a lemon slice, tearing at the flesh with perfect teeth before saying, ‘Just before we started going out, wasn’t it love?’

Me and Chloe are going to get on like a house on fire.

 


Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Use the picture as a springboard for your fiction. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

Three Line Tales: A rainbow in the smoke

photo by Dominik Martin – here's a bigger version

photo by Dominik Martin – here’s a bigger version


 

Mitchell staggered out of the cave mouth into the forest’s green half light, into the scent of damp moss, the distant hammer of a woodpecker. Rand let the blade he was honing ease to his knee, the familiar weight like the support of an old friend. ‘What did the oracle say?’

‘That there’s a rainbow in the smoke,’ said Mitchell, taking up his own sword, buckling the worn leather belt.

‘What does that mean?’ said Rand, just as the scent of burning stung his senses. Somewhere a tree cracked and crashed to the forest floor. It was going to be another interesting day.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write story to go along. See here to join in and to read the other stories.