Sunday, 28 March 2010

Friday Flash Fiction #26 SLIP SLIDING AWAY

My first offering for Friday Flash Fiction - let's hope it's not my last!

Slip Sliding Away

"What do you see when you close your eyes?"

If I hear that just once more I am going to go mental! That must be six or seven times they’ve asked Pete the same question.

I know they’re just doing their job and they need to get the details correct but for crying out loud - can’t they leave the poor man alone? I’m getting fed up of hearing it - he must be going round the twist with it!

Now, if they asked me I could tell them. I can remember everything. And while I’ve been waiting I’ve been re-playing what happened over and over in my mind.

I remember the noise. It was Friday lunchtime. The streets were packed; people with shopping bags, mums with over-laden buggies and screaming, fractious kids. Office workers out for a lunchtime drink to begin the wind-down for the weekend.

And that’s how Pete and I happened to be walking along Hunter Street. He’d met me at the office and whisked me out to lunch. OK, I’d have preferred a restaurant, but there are some good pubs along there.

It was a “Please forgive me” gesture after the flaming row we’d had earlier. My fault really. I’d accused him of seeing someone else. Of course, he'd denied it. But I sometimes felt I was somehow surplus to requirements. Like he almost wanted out. We both said some pretty nasty things. But then making-up afterwards, when the fighting’s over – that’s always good!

I remember it was warmer than of late. My coat was open and flapping as we dodged around the pedestrian blockages. And I remember the feeling as Pete reached out and grabbed my sleeve as I slipped off the curb. In my mind’s eye I can picture the shock of seeing the truck veer in towards the gutter and the thud of impact as it smashed into my hip and I went flying headlong into the street.

There was a lot of shouting, the squeal of tyres and I distinctly remember hearing bleeping noises as several mobile phones were pressed into action together with a disorganized chorus of voices requesting an ambulance.

See, if they asked me I could tell them so much. Pete isn’t saying anything, really.

Shock, I expect.

Funny thing is, now I’m starting to remember something I didn’t hear. Like, for instance, he didn’t talk to me at all as we waited for the ambulance. He talked to other people standing around, I heard that. And to the paramedics when they arrived. Oh, they talked to me. Called me by my name. And there was a bit of poking and prodding.

But Pete was silent.

Except, and I know this will sound strange, I’m sure I hear him snigger. Just about the time he pulled my sleeve.

No, wait - he wasn’t pulling me back. Now I think of it, he was pulling me in front of him. And I can just remember that little push in the small of my back as I lost my balance and fell into the road……

I think I know why Pete’s not talking. When he closes his eyes he sees what I see. He knows what I now know. If only I could get this plastic tube out of my throat I’d give him a piece of my mind.

But I can’t speak.

I can’t move.

All I can do, laying here hooked up to monitors while a machine breathes for me, is replay it all in my head. And wonder if there is another woman after all……

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Death by design!

Impaled on knitting needles! Strangled with yarn! Or, perhaps the most novel of all: glue-gun all breathing orifices!

As I walked (stumbled, tripped and fought, more like!) round the Craft Show at the NEC today, all the above ideas (and more!) entered my mind!

Trolley-bags inflicted their fair share of grazes on the unwary as they pitched their way up and down the crowded aisles. Fractious kids screamed in their buggies. Mobility scooters were used as ramming machines.

I do believe some people had actually sharpened their elbows in preparation for battle!

Let no-one fool you! It's not genteel ladies of leisure or sweet old Grannies that frequent such events - and I have the bruises to show for it!

So, as I made my way round I did think about the plot for a murder mystery......and unique and exquisite forms of torture and death!

I used to be so mild mannered, me.......!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

4 hours to go!! more 4-hour shift and then Yippee! I'm off for eleven whole days! :-)

To pre-empt the jollity I said 'down with housework' when I got out of work today - instead I let rip on the story for Friday Flash Fiction (see yesterday's post) and I'm fairly pleased with it. Maybe just needs a few tweaks before I post it!

Send 'good' vibes for tomorrow - am going to view a house with daughter, who's attempting to reach the first rung of the property ladder!

Then Saturday is Retail Therapy Day (NEC craft show and a trip to Coventry) and then Sunday sees a trip through the quaint Warwickshire countryside for a cream tea!

....and next week, a trip to Carlisle for a certain 'book launch'!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


For a few weeks now I've been watching this site and been intrigued by the fact that the various 'combattants' (ie. those willing to take part!) have just a few short hours to create a story from one initial sentence!

I think I've sat by the pool long enough, so I was actually going to 'dive in' this week and have a go myself! However, as usual, circumstances and events (and crises!!) often seem to conspire at times like these and so I wonder if the story (already writing itself on auto-pilot in my brain....) will ever manage to make it to the written page in time!

I think even if I don't manage it within the deadline it'll have been a useful excercise!

I just need to squeeze enough time out between visiting the NEC, shopping in Coventry, house-viewing with daughter, and regaining the use of my car from my son....

.....and not a pub or beer festival to get in the way, either!!!

Monday, 22 March 2010


There are a few perks of working in the library system. One of them is getting first dibs at discarded stock! Since the people at work became aware of me writing snippets of crime fiction I tend to find all sorts of things in my pigeonhole!

Today I was turning out a cupboard and came across some books my workmates had left for me: Cause of Death - A Writer's Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine; Murder One - A writer's Guide to Homicide; and Crime Scene - The Ultimate Guide to Forensic Science.

All pretty useful at the moment, as I've just done a piece of flash fiction about a forensic scientist!

And said FS, Paul Hollis, is just about to have another outing.... now, that's what I call timing!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A day in the life.....

A busy day amid the books!

Alas - for some of us, even on a Sunday, that's a busy 'working' day amid the books! Stamping, shelving, discarding (yup - all the tatty ones!)

And then, one of the nice bits of the job - a customer comes in wanting a book. Not quite sure of the author. Not quite sure of the title. A quick bit of detective work and we establish both factors - and yes, it's available on shelf in this library.

Then the walk down the long library floor - please, let it be where it should be!

Then, the look on their face as you hand them the 'impossible' !

Aaaah! Soft focus and freeze-frame....

Then - reality check! Customers who grumble because the book they ordered STILL hasn't arrived! Customers who argue the toss over a 10p fine!!! Customers who look at you as if you were something unpleasant on the bottom of their shoe.....

Oh well, such is life's rich tapestry!

(and we do it all again, next week!)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

What a week!

Funny old week I've had - struck down with an unpleasant illness on Monday, partially recovered on Tuesday, relapsed and feeling at death's door (literally!) on Wednesday, then I wake up this morning right as rain as if nothing had happened! I really felt SO ill last night that I wondered if the medication the Doc gave me would begin to take effect before the weekend - certainly didn't expect it to work THIS fast!

Mind you, I've had a few good friends and family praying - think that has something to do with the outcome! ;-)

So, this afternoon I decided NOT to go mad incase I made myself unwell again, and instead I sat and did some more flash fiction. I sent it off to see if it was worthy of e-publication and then I did what I shouldn't do - I re-read it and realised there are typos and grammatical mistakes which I really should have seen in the various 'editings' of the piece before I hit that darned 'SEND' button!

Oh well, at least I've got back into write-mode! :-)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I said I wanted a day off work!!

...but what I had in mind was more along the lines of a sprained ankle - you know the sort of thing: 'Oh dear, I can't possibly drive to work, I'll just be forced to lay here reading, and what a good job it hasn't affected my appetite...'.

Well, it didn't work out quite that way and after a truly horrendous day yesterday I think I'm on the mend and almost human again - although I do feel at sixes and sevens.

And I've been giving a bit of thought to this 'writing lark'. I'm wondering if I write because I want to be 'read' or because I want to tell a story - the two do not necessarily mean the same thing! So many publishers only seem to want you to write to a particular 'format' - so if you don't include the obligatory elements you might as well not bother!

And yet, this morning I read something by a writer (David B - you know who you are!) which gave me pause for thought. On a completely different tack from his usual 'guns & trouble' style, he created a compelling story.

Life is pretty busy at the moment and finding time to sit and write creatively is becoming rarer than hen's teeth! Perhaps I need to stop 'thinking' about writing and just get on and write....

Then again, this rambling train of thought could all just be down to the medication.....;-p

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Books, books, books....

At the moment, my life seems to be dominated by these bound collections of paper covered in typeface....!

I have, at the last count, 15 books waiting to be read (that's actual, physical copies!!) and at least a dozen more 'yet-to-be-purchased-or-borrowed' titles....

I am surrounded by books at work - and thanks to the strange 'whims' of management, none of we library staff can actually FIND the books we're looking for! It's all very well having various displays - very attractive, some of them! But, when you have a reservation list to fill it's a flippin' pain in the derriere to search the alphabetic shelving runs and then have to troll around the library floor to see if the one you want is on one of the (many) displays!

Then, if it's a non-fiction item you're snookered right and proper - as the normal Dewey Decimal system has been carved up into sections that have been randomely littered about the place without any sense of rhyme, reason or logic!!!


....and then there's this 'writin' business! Some days I'm very enthusiastic and struggle to keep up with my brain - other days I think "Why am I putting myself through this...?

I think I need to lie down now.....

Sunday, 7 March 2010

How to keep your knees warm - inherit a laptop from your son! Tis a perfectly serviceable machine, and now I'm getting to grips with Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice....

As to whether this will help with the urge to abandon housework in favour of writing (of course!) is anyone's guess! But, there are no great plans for the coming week, other than the usual and mundane - work and housework (and how can two people plus a fairly self-contained houseguest/daughter create SO MUCH laundry?)

Well, back to the grind......hope I can create enough time to read this week, too!