Friday Fictioneers : Mr Quail’s misplaced beak



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.


#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



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 : Peace on earth, Goodwill to all men


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



‘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.

Friday Fictioneers : The treasure of Tucumcari




The boy sat on a high stool, book laid out on the shop counter.

‘He’s not more than six years old.’ Ginny peered round a shelf of plastic wolves  with nodding heads.

‘He can talk, can’t he?’ Carl nudged her with a packet of half-eaten Oreos, crumbs skittering over the cracked linoleum.

Ginny tried to sound casual. ‘Err. I heard there’re some caves nearby – somewhere on the mesa?’

The boy smiled. Everyone local knew the caves were as empty as Oreo man’s head. Still …

‘I can sell you a map for fifty dollars,’ he said.



Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale in no more than 100 words. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

After reading up on Tucumcari, I found a snippet of local history here that inspired this very tale …

Sunday Photo Fiction: Chop and change



When Vicky first met Adam, she thought he had potential.

Okay it was midnight at Frankie‘s nightclub and pre the smoking ban, so the fug was thick enough to cut and she was wearing beer goggles so strong they should’ve come on prescription. But Adam stood out from the crowd.

First off he didn’t seem to be sweating Carling like his mates and when he asked her to dance he didn’t talk to her fake tanned cleavage. He was well turned out too, shoes so polished she could see Stacey Burns being sick in the reflection.

It wasn’t until they started going out that Vicky realised how much work he needed. And the more they went out, the more imperfections seemed to float to his flawed surface – the more she reviewed her exes finer points.

If only I could give him Darren’s teeth. Swap his thighs for that cyclist I was dating back in uni. And if he had Stu the lifeguard’s chest …

The day she imagined Adam with her old English teacher’s head, she knew it was time they finished.

Plenty more Creatures out there to experiment with …


Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. See the pic and write up to 200 words to go along. See here to join in and to read the other tales.


All fur coat and no knickers : The Daily Prompt : Facade

Glamorous female model smoking

Image: Pixabay


Your facade reminds me of a country house – grand but stony. I wonder if there are other similarities.

Does your beautiful exterior hide decrepitude, hidden portions of yourself you’d rather others did not peek at? No doubting you are presentable when you’ve had fair warning of visitors, but if we look a little deeper, are there places – hidden behind a red silk rope – unavailable to the public? With an air of dusty neglect and just a whiff of rodent?

If I pulled aside the curtain of your respectablilty, would I find rotting waste, a thousand dirty, hidden little secrets swept out of sight of prying eyes?

Just tell me – are you all fur coat and no knickers?


Written for The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt – FACADE. Write a post to accompany the word and why not pop along here to read the other posts.

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.