On the park bench she remembers the fights and the lies and cries a little. Midday clouds part and somehow life is clearer. In the supermarket she stands in line, tight white knuckles on pram handles highlit by the overhead tubes. She is not frightened when the night comes.

Written for Derby Book Festival, May 2023

The scam

Jon was irate. “It’s a scam, I bet you. How stupid can people be? There’s something behind it. I’m sure I read about this. Some people say that Hemingway wrote it, others have researched it and say he certainly didn’t. So why’s it on the evening news website now? It’ll be someone trying to set up a sweet little scam – they’ll say they are crowdfunding for baby shoes for the workshy or writing flash fiction for charity or something like that and who knows where all the money will go? ‘After costs’, that’s what it’ll say, I bet you. For sale baby shoes (never worn). People are stupid.” He carries on, but Sophie isn’t listening any more. Behind him, silent tears stream down her face.


First published in For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never worn: A Collection of Flash Fiction Based on A Single Theme Buy it on Amazon here All royalties from sales of this book are to be donated to Make-A-Wish® UK Charity Registration Nos. (England & Wales) 295672 / (Scotland) SC037479

Talking about David (2)

I can’t say no to beauty. That’s why you brought me flowers, plate-sized sunflowers that sizzled, blood-red roses dripping dew…. Then one day – Leave them there on the floor. I can smell your betrayal through the crushed chrysanthemums. Walk away and leave me with the broken vase. I could name the pieces poetically but now the glass is only a function no longer needed. Be proud of what you have done.

Talking about David (1)

Tim took a cigarette, put it in his mouth. he looked up and a tear rolled slowly down his cheek. He breathed out smoke and the words. He’s gone then. Really gone this time. Yes. Yes, he has. Tim pulled hard on the cigarette, spotlit by the streetlight. I looked at him, hurting from being unable to help. He walked away across the road, through the sudden traffic. Rock and roll man, I heard. Rock and roll.

Big sigh

There, there, there you are, don’t cry, you’re mummy’s big boy.

(Big sigh)

Are you the biggest brother? No, I’m the middle one. My little brother’s the biggest. Big brother is the smallest of all three.

(Big sigh)

Only three people ever called me Si. A grandad, a brother, and another.

(Big Si)