A lead feather boa

Rusty bicycle

Image: Pixabay


‘Okay. Run it by me again.’

‘Land’s End.’


‘To John O’Groats.’


‘For charity. To save pandas.’

‘Okay.’ Dave eyed the soggy tyres on the ‘reclaimed’ bike, the red brown rusty spokes, the chain draped over one pedal like a lead feather boa. ‘But on that?’

‘It’s for charity,’ repeated Sarah, voice brittle-cheerful as blown glass.

‘I know honey, but …’ He nearly didn’t say, but the words filled his mouth and had to come out. ‘Is this like the skydive you tried to do for dolphins? Or the sponsored swim for dung beetles? Or the sponsored silence for howler monkeys?’ Dave had loved the thought of that last one, the sweet, mute irony of it.

Sarah’s eye twitched. ‘They were all good ideas – ‘

‘Brilliant ideas,’ said Dave a little too quickly. ‘But – .’

‘I know! The skydive for dolphins was cancelled because the week before the plane crash landed into a SeaWorld, the swim was scuppered by millions of ladybirds invading the local pool -.’

‘Made the local news, that.’

‘I know, Dave. And the sponsored silence … Well, that was really unfair. Who gets disqualified for a sneezing fit? Bloody Gina should have been disqualified for wearing that mucky old gorilla suit.’

‘To be fair, she didn’t know you were allergic.’

‘So she said. It just seems everything I try to do is doomed to failure. And I love pandas so much.’ Fat round tears, heavy with mascara, began to ooze down her cheeks.

Dave fished a paper hanky from his pocket. ‘Well, I can see why you love pandas,’ he said, gesturing towards her eyes. ‘It’s cos you look like one.’

As she wiped her face, Dave stared at the drooping chain, at the slashed seat, green with moss and sighed. ‘Alright. I’ll take a look at it for you. I just hope those chubby bamboo eating bastards are grateful.’

She slipped her arm around his back, planting a kiss on his stubbly cheek. ‘I’ll put the kettle on,’ she said.



#tuesdayuseitinasentence: The revenge of the fur coat


Image: Pixabay

‘Wow,’ breathed Michael, staring at the carnage.

He had been the perfect host – pule and caviar canapes; Dom Perignon 2006; Charbonnel et Walker chocolates; an ice sculpture of himself, towering over the congregation, a frozen collosus complete with ridges of slick hair and rictus smile – a frighteningly close likeness, his PA Imogen had said; floral displays of strelitzia, orchid and gloriosa lilies that soared to the ceiling; a ten piece, tux-clad band (smooth jazz, classy but easy standards, nothing experimental or hard on the ear) and the finishing touch – a point of perfect irony – tame mink, necks wreathed in pure gold chains, walked through the chittering throng by supermodels wearing floor length coats of the same glossy brown fur.

An evening that would be remembered for decades to come – the oppulence of Michael Philip O’Connell.

But Michael discovered too late that mink are vicious creatures who resent the close proximity of their murdered and skinned brethren and aren’t afraid to lash out at the nearest bare-toed supermodel in pin sharp revenge. And supermodels become dangerously unsteady when they have expensive mustelidae (not rodents – Imogen had made a point of telling him) gnawing on their painted and polished extremities. And who knew that ice sculptures of billionaires are surprisingly top heavy, even when nudged by girls with rope-skinny arms (he thought Imogen had muttered something about it being the fault of his oversized head, but he’d been distracted by the caviar smeared across the floor like a bankrupting dirty protest, so he could have misheard). And who knew that jazz trumpeters bled so freely when a hundred weight of strelitzia fall on them?

As the screaming rose in pitch and the polished floor grew slick with melting ice, pule and blood, an unopened bottle of Dom Perignon rolled towards him, hitting the left toe of his Canali shoes. He picked up the bottle and a chunk of ice that had skidded along with it – the tip of his own nose if he wasn’t very much mistaken. He twisted the cork, easing out the last millimetres with his thumb and pushed the ice nose into the bottle.

As the champagne bubbles popped on the roof of his mouth, he was already planning his next birthday – perhaps a yoga retreat in Nepal? He’d ask Imogen to arrange it – once she’d stopped laughing.


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventures’ #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Use the prompt word – today it’s HOST – to write a post. See here to play along and to read the other stories.








Three Line Tales: For my daughter-in-law Julie

TLT week 33: a ball of orange wool

photo by Philip Estrada – you’ll find a bigger version here


Doreen’s knitting flowed over her knee in neat stitches the colour of regurgitated carrot, the yarn shimmering as if spun from finely shredded plastic bags.

She saw me looking and said, ‘For my daughter-in-law, Julie,’ her lip curled as she spoke the name, the smallest bead of spit glistening on her chin. ‘The one who had to have granite worktops in her kitchen and said my backside was shaped like a Space Hopper.’

I eyed a shapeless panel, scratchy as hessian. ‘You mean the one with the terrible psoriasis?’

She nodded and smiled. Revenge, it seems, is best knitted and purled.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales, though of course it isn’t three lines – and I’ve been doing so well recently! See here to join in the fun and to read the other stories.

FFfAW: Turn to stone

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Phylor. Thank you Phylor for our photo prompt!



‘He didn’t finish painting the house,’ she said as I walked up the path towards her.

‘Six months since we saw each other and that’s the first thing you say?’ I was tired from the four hour drive, from fighting with Jase before I left home. From worrying about spending my first ever weekend alone with my mother.

‘He didn’t finish,’ she said again, pointing to the feathery line of brown paint just above head height. ‘Always was slovenly.’

I bit my lip, reminded myself that even if she was behaving like a hatchet faced harpy, it was probably her way of grieving.

‘Dad didn’t plan to die, Mum …’ Then I saw it, a granite slab, the words Here Lies The Body just visible above a drift of golden leaves. ‘What the hell is that?’

She shot a look that should have turned me to rock. ‘The stonemason had a sale on when I went to buy your father’s. Are you coming inside?’

It was going to be a long weekend.


Written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers weekly photo prompt. Write up to 175 words to go with the picture. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Moral Mondays: Who put the us in victorious?


Muddy soccer boots

Image: Pixabay


‘There’s no “I” in “team”.’ Toby paced the changing room like a caged hamster. ‘But there is an “us” in err …’ Sweat prickled his top lip. ‘In err.’ Egregious? Platypus? Virus? What was that word?

Halftime talks were not one of his strengths as a coach. Right now – six nil down after the opening half of the season – he wasn’t sure he had any strengths.

As the players clumped back onto the pitch, the goalie squeezed his hand. ‘It’s okay, Dad.’

Toby looked down at his son’s smiling face. At least he was good at something.


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays prompt. See the moral – this week it’s There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’ – and write a story in 100 words to go along with it. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Three Line Tales: Amnesty

photo by Ashim D’Silva – click here for a bigger version

photo by Ashim D’Silva – click here for a bigger version


‘Right. And this all came in over the last twenty four hours?’ he said, staring down at the heap. ‘I get the scissors – even the knives. But a tomahawk?’ He shivered.

‘I guess we should be grateful that the weapons amnesty has been so successful. That all of this isn’t still in the general population,’ said the deputy unconvincingly.

‘Yeeees.’ He looked down at the blades, the shimmering scalpels – the hacksaw. ‘Only, I don’t know about you, but I actually feel less safe now than I did before. Anyway,’ said the Head, pulling his eyes away from the disturbing armoury and his whistle from his top pocket, ‘I better go. I’ve got playtime to cover.’


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the lovely pic, write a little tale. See here for full Ts and also some Cs and to read the other tales.

Friday Fictioneers: Surprise!

PHOTO PROMPT - © Adam Ickes

PHOTO PROMPT – © Adam Ickes


‘Well, what do you think?’ he said.

She stamped a sandalled foot on the boards, ran a hand along the rail. ‘Seems sturdy enough.’

‘Well, of course it’s sturdy,’ he said.  He watched his wife closely. ‘You don’t like it’

‘No, no, I love it. It’s just …’


‘What’s he going to think?’

Persephone, it’s just a tweak in his working conditions. He’s not actually losing his job.’

‘But maybe he liked the rowing …’

‘Gods! You try and help someone out -‘

‘Sssh. Here he is.’

‘Ah, Charon, my old pal. Surprise!’


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here for full Ts and Cs and to read more stories.

This was a ‘what if’ story.

What if Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld, decided to embark on a building plan. What would he build? Well, one of the first things I’d do if I was him was build a ruddy great bridge across the Styx, save all that ferrying. I wonder how Charon the ferryman will take the news? We do all have to be flexible in today’s changing job market …




W4W: Some kind of joke

Children's go karts

Image: Pixabay

‘This is some kind of joke, right?’ Nev stared at the go kart at his feet as another whizzed past, the wheel nearly clipping his ankle.

Standing in the pits in front of him were Si, Gav, Mac and Boz, Mac giggling so hard snot was dribbling from his nose.

‘You said you wanted a driving experience.’ Boz had gone purple from laughing, face swollen like a overripe blackberry.

Nev pointed at a passing go kart, the driver intent as a pint-sized Lewis Hamilton. ‘That kid’s no more than twelve. None of them are.’

He’d thought his mates might club together, have him driving a Porshe 911, sitting in the seat of a scarlet Ferrari, burning the tarmac of Brands Hatch. He’d at least hoped for something with a V8.

A man wearing a driving jumpsuit and a plastic smile approached them. ‘Right, so where’s the birthday boy, then?’

‘It’s not my …’ It was then Nev noticed the blue satin sash with HI, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY written across.

Si’s knees were buckling, his backside almost touching the floor.

And that was his Best Man? What else did they have in store for him?

This was going to be a very long stag do.


Written for Word for Wednesday – started by the lovely Kat – and for The Daily Post’s prompt JOKE. Hop on the link to take part and read the other posts.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, JOKE the noun is from the 1660s joque, from the Latin iocus. It was originally slang referring to ‘something of no real importance’, though I wonder what word we used before the seventeenth century. Do tell me if you know.

According to the OED, Black joke is old slang for “smutty song” (1733), from use of that phrase in the refrain of a then-popular song as a euphemism for “the monosyllable.” 

Though if you can tell me which monosyllable they’re referring to, I’d be grateful.



FFfAW: For a pair of crinkly eyes


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan for our photo prompt!


‘Nice one, Tom.’ Annie’s feet were perished, like she had frozen fish fingers in her boots instead of toes. ‘Good … cross.’

Was she saying the right thing? Tom looked the other way every time he ran past her, so she guessed she was making a fool of herself. Truth was, she knew more about quantum physics than she knew about football and what she knew about both she could etch on a grain of rice.

But since his dad left, Tom needed someone to shout for him. Even if that someone was clueless.

‘Hi. You’re Tom’s mum, Annie, right?’ He was tall, attractive in a crinkly-eyed way.


Crinkly Eyes smiled. ‘I’m Carl. Tom’s new coach.’

‘Oh, hi.’

‘You’re very … enthusiastic.’

Suddenly all of her felt warm, even the fish finger toes.

‘Maybe I could tell you what’s going on in the game?’ Another crinkly smile.

Annie wondered if he knew much about quantum physics.


Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic and write a story of up to 175 words. See here to read more stories and join the fun.


FFfAW: Funny old thing, life

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Phylor. Thank you Phylor for our photo prompt!


The notepad hung limp in the policeman’s hand, his pencil unused.

At first, Jim had been distracted by the second policeman, but he was an experienced enough drinker to distrust what he saw after a night in The Haymakers. After twelve pints, his eyes tended to exagerrate. Two policemen, two roads. Two lampposts.

‘Run me through it again, would you?’ said the policeman on the left.

‘Didn’t want to drink drive.’ That was what Jim meant to say, though the words sounded more like ‘Dinun wanna drivel.’

It seemed he couldn’t trust his ears either.

One of the policemen folded his arms. ‘So you took a horse to the pub because you didn’t want to drink drive?’

This kid was smarter than he looked.

‘Problem is, Mr Donovan, Dobbin here isn’t yours, is he?’

Jim didn’t remember owning a horse. But then life was peculiar – he didn’t remember falling off one either.

Funny old thing, life.


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, and what a joy this prompt is. See the pic, write 100 – 175 words in response. Do visit here to play along and to read the other, wonderful stories.