Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Little D.B Needs to Fly! (Part 1)

D.B Cooper ordered a Bourbon and soda and lit a cigarette. When the stewardess returned with the drink he handed her a piece of paper. Florence was slightly disappointed, it had been a long day and she wasn’t in the mood. Besides, he seemed pleasant. He was smartly dressed and polite, but now he had become over familiar, just another bum wanting a shot at her. She flashed him a practiced maternal smile, folded the note into her pocket and turned to leave.

“Err, Miss?”

Cooper said, in a concerned manner, as if to save the stewardess from some unfortunate faux pas.

“You might want to read that now.”

His insistence was a touch embarrassing but Florence found Cooper’s soft, almost pleading drawl quietly disarming so she took out the note and read it.

I HAVE A BOMB. I WILL USE IT, IF NECESSARY. PLEASE SIT WITH ME.

The shock was such that she complied automatically even smiling to other passengers as she sat down. Cooper leaned forward and produced a neat attache case, opening it slightly to show her its contents. Eight matt red cylinders bound together with electrical tape, several coils of blue wire and what looked like a bastardised battery. Instinctively she turned her shoulders to shield the case from prying eyes.

Cooper closed the case and her attention snapped back to his face which was as calm and patient as her first grade teacher’s. Florence saw her reflection, small and startled, in the dark brown of his eyes, realising then how close he was to her as he spoke.

“I need you to write down what I tell you and take it to the cockpit. Is that okay?”

Florence nodded, relieved that she could soon share her burden with the pilots. She took out her order pad and steadied her shaking hand.

“Get this down, ‘I have a bomb. You are to land in Seattle and refuel. In exchange for 200,000 in negotiable American currency and four non-military sky-diver’s parachutes, all passengers will be allowed to leave. We will then take off and I will give you further instructions as to where to go.’ Okay?”

“Sure, got it.”

“Okay, go.”

Florence left for the cockpit, Cooper sipped his drink and put on a pair of shades as the sun dipped towards the horizon. He wondered idly what Martha might be up to and whether or not she ever thought of him.  As of that moment it occurred to Cooper that it truly didn’t matter, nothing did, the world was irrevocably altered, it had tilted off it’s axis and had taken on a decidedly darker tint…

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A Real Hero

Hersch waits a second, just in case anyone fancies teeing up the punchline but they don’t so he carries on regardless.

“I still made him mop the floor though, fucked if I was doing it myself after that fucking performance!”

A few days ago, a porter had gone a touch postal and Hersch had tackled him.  It was an incident so ripe with irony that he feels the need to acknowledge it before anyone else does.

“Shit, I wave knives around and threaten to kill myself all the time.  Where’s my parade?”

His audience laugh intermittently and disperse, Hersch decides to jot down the anecdote before retiring it for a while at least.  Alone again, a great blue ache yawns in his stomach and he remembers the girl, her eyes pregnant with tears.  Blood seems to rush to his ears as he checks his phone.

At this exact moment when a billion events are shaping the totality of human endeavour, each individual action altering the face of all things forever, the one he’s hoping for doesn’t come.  His inbox is empty save some spam about hotels in Ibiza and an unsolicited job offer.

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Neat Spirit

Sentient vigour passes in fits and starts, jerking along self-consciously until it stops, shaking itself apart or receding piecemeal, rubbed by the warm embrace of time.  An irresistible inertia marshals the wheels forward, onward and onward.  Trying to slow or stop this march only jars, the ground moving beneath our feet.  Lurching nausea…

Tossing aside the notepad and picking up the battered acoustic, Dunn notes the time.  He clatters out a few loose chords, crooning…

“Forty-five minutes is all I wasted! Whilst her warm brown skin I barely tasted!”

The phone rings as it does roughly every twenty minutes on a Sunday.

“Pastry kitchen, Herschel speaking! How may I direct your call?”

“Check-on chef”

Crunch, dialling tone.  Rude bastards.  Dunn shifts his weight, feeling a sprinkle of needles down his left leg as he steadies himself, stretching arms up and laying his head back.  He feels flush, sedate and yawns loud, the electricity darting behind his eyes.

“Ennui! Ohhh sweet, sweet malady”

Passing down the empty unloved corridor the pastissier nips into the store cupboard to half-inch a bottle of Fanta, fancying it might go well with the Cointreau he liberated earlier.  On bumping through the swinging doors he breaks into Release Me (Let Me Go) as Martin George barks,

“I wanna see a receipt for that drink, Trouble!”

“Sure thing, Chef!”

Hersch allows the fans to drown him out as he salutes the boss, plucks his ticket from the printer and drifts round back to his section, an icy little burg safe from prying eyes.  The ticket’s an easy one (they all are), Dunn balls it up and hooks it into a sink full of spinach where it promptly sinks, unmourned.  After splashing around a touch of syrupy sauce and an assange of garnish Dunn calls service and retires back to the pastry.  A salvo of catcalls from his colleagues escort him out.  By the doors, he turns, bows and waves.

“Fuck you Hersch!”

“Yezz, Yezz, Yezz. You Sweet Princes… Kings of Maine!”

In the pastry Dunn helps himself to a little can of strong lager left over from the Christmas Pudding mix, cops a squat on an up turned stock pot and regards the ceiling. It’s a harsh white plastic, pocked with tar coloured marks, a pattern which lends itself well to the lager, a bouquet of wet brown leaf.

The clock strikes four, half way home and lunch time. Dunn defrosts a spiced brioche bun, brushes with pesto oil and blasts in the combi (200 degrees, 2 minutes) before layering it up with grilled chicken, romaine and tomato. It hits the spot dead centre, winding the poor chef and making a nap all but inevitable. A few sturdy cardboard boxes make for a fine cot under the work top, the phone is disconnected and away he goes.

Joe comes in, kicks the bench and drawls, “you’ve got some checks on, I’ve already done two so plug the fucking phone back in.”  Awaking to such chilly disdain is unpleasant but hardly bothersome and Hersch rolls out of his fort and follows his former pal down the corridor musing that every rat has it’s race and we only really knock heads when our tracks cross.

The checks are nothing to lose friends over and they’re plated and sent before Dunn’s vision has even cleared.  Some waitresses are gathered by the doors as he leaves.

“What’s in the box?”

“Party supplies, the clown’s upstairs in the Gun Club doing a kids party”

“That fucking clown’s here tonight?”

“Yeah, you made doughnuts for it yesterday, remember?”

“Oh right, I’ll just grab one of these and be on my way”

“You’re allowed that!”

“Always a pleasure girls… you ain’t seen me, right?”

Dunn carries on through the pastry and out into the street.  He blows on the party whistle as he goes, trying to recall the moment the clown had first crossed him.  A soft loneliness goes with him.  It’s the sense of a battle not losing but lost.

On the corner by the service entrance sits a van marked Razz Entertainment, the back doors hang open.  Inside there’s a bunch of twenty or thirty helium balloons, Dunn separates a few and lets the rest free.  His eyes moisten slightly as watches them float bravely into the dark blue abyss.  Have that on me Auntie Pearl, you floppy fuck you.

Cocktail hour in the pastry is seven to eight and with a bitter-sweet orange, Hersch toasts the dying of the light and picks a few melancholy bars on the guitar, stopping only when the phone rings.  Such a tragic waste it is to serve the alien needs of others, so bloody grating!  Still, not long now.  This too shall pass.

Martin George is unusually animated when Dunn comes in.

“Oh for fuck sakes Herschel!!  Why are you fucking with the clown?  She’s furious!”

Taking the whistle out of his mouth Dunn protests, “I found this in the store Chef, it’s only a bit of tat!”

“The fucking balloons Hersch!  You idiot!”

Dunn remembers that he has two pink balloons tied the back of his apron, they’re gently bobbing against the ceiling as he speaks.

“Oh right, these.  I found these outside by the bins.”

“Just get out of my sight, fucking disgrace!”

“Yes, Chef!”

The shift ends without further incident, Dunn gets a couple of hard slaps on the back as the kitchen staff leave.  Martin George claims he’ll be having words tomorrow but he’s smiling so it seems unlikely.  Finishing up Hersch feels tired and a touch deflated.  He gives his remaining balloons to the Iraqi kitchen porter who seems puzzled.

“Set them free my friend.  Pin all you’re hopes and dreams to them and set them free!”

“Okay, Chef”

In the bar, Hersch sinks a pint or two and invites himself over to one of the girls flats. She has almond eyes that he mistakes for salvation.  However, he’s shortly asked to leave, party whistle still in mouth, wheezing in and out with each breath.  He’s drunk and she needs to get up early.

Twenty minutes later Dunn is arrested for driving under the influence whilst wearing a bear-skin cap and playing heavy metal whilst blowing a party whistle.  Both charges stick.

Once the heavy cell door has clapped shut behind him, Dunn takes a long steaming piss and flops onto his rubber mattress grateful that he doesn’t start until four tomorrow, though he does wish they would turn the fucking lights out.

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Motto

Non mea culpa, ego fecit bonum opus…

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Mystery Box Challenge

Let’s take a trip to the Masterchef kitchen now as the finalists face their toughest challenge yet…

“Chefs! It’s time to open your mystery boxes and find out what you’ll be cooking with!”

Gregg’s eyes are wild with practised zeal.

“That’s right Gregg! Two beautiful dishes, one hour!”

The pair sidle over to Kevin’s work station. The dentist from Truro has been wowing the judges with his Eastern take on French classics.

“What have ya got there Kev?”

“Err it’s, oh God it’s…my wife’s head…”

Kevin’s box contains puy lentils, heritage carrots and his wife’s severed head.

“You look a little daunted there Kev, what are ya gonna do?”

“Oh Jesus God…I have no idea, Olivia! Baby, oh Christ….”

Kevin’s hands shake as he takes up his oven cloth.

“I could braise the cheeks and maybe pickle the carrots with some star anise and ginger?”

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The Ghost and the Sunflower

Johnny Mills was busy mangling his turn to read from the play.

“Prick….love for pricking, and BEAT love down!”

Sniggers all around.

“Keeds! Come on now Keeds! Be sensible!”, crowed poor Miss Barton.

The Sunflower carried on highlighting every instance of ‘Our Souls’ he could find. Ghost had been doodling a graphic little cartoon of his friend molesting a giant troll of a woman which he labelled ‘Your Girlfriend’.

“Is that to scale?”, enquired The Sunflower before adding the words ‘BIG FUN’ to the troll’s ruffled summer dress. Ghost rounded off his vision with some sores on the lovers’ faces labelled ‘herpes’ and a speech bubble reading, “Ask for me tomorrow, and you will find me a grave man!”

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Wagon Wheels, Pilgrim

The sun was shining, the birds were singing and Jack pulled out his gun…

Dunn woke from a cowboy wagon dream, rocking back and forth, head swimming in flies. His John Wayne gait carried him from bed wreck to shop corner where he coughed a dry fury at the check-out, spooked the cashier and with forty proof in hand scuffed the pavement home, his free hand raking sweat through his hair.

There was no key on his chain when he reached the door, just the sunflower fob, an empty weight in his pocket. She had done it at last! Backing into the street and the prairie sunset, Dunn closed his electric welling eyes.

“Take a bow, Jackie Boy! The wheels have come off!”, as a neighbour passed by walking his dog.

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