:: Flash Fiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

The Bad News First published 27/12/2012

This is no waiting room, no trauma unit, no place here for your piebald squatting and lipsticked obscenities. We know where to start with these steel cutting things. Josephine Scudder’s name lighting up the place in bloody, transient scrawl – the strings of her anatomy. Her cues to move and yours to leave. She is stealing chunks of chandelier from DIY store departments still in her slip and slippers going the long way round stalling at the lights and running faster in the rain. You’d find that gall rare these days.

By Julie Reverb.

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Christmas spirit (by the River Lea) published 24/12/2012

It’s Christmas Eve and down at the anchor of hope down by the river Lea, Leonard the hopeless disabled Santa is on his seventh Pride. Melancholic Mike whose eyebrows dance for a local ska three-piece offers some advice: ‘There ain’t no Christmas spirit no more, Santa, it’s about advertising, capitalism and exploitation. Kids these days would fall behind Pol Pot and mow you down without a blink for the sight of a Moshi Monster.’ Tiny Hat Pete chuckles and says the best Christmas spirit is found in a full Tequila bottle.

By Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss.

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The Idea of the Mouse published 21/12/2012

With another serviette I swept the mouse up into a plate and dropped it into a plastic bin behind the bar. I thought repeatedly about the desirability of a universal system of justice that applied equally to all living creatures and wondered what sort of sentence I would receive from a tribunal based therein. I had committed an act tantamount to unintentional manslaughter but knowing this did not free me from my guilt, in the same way as I had decided that it was better to put the mouse out of its misery despite having no access to the longings that comprised the mouse’s inner life or the agony it had undergone, so this hypothetical tribunal would relieve me of responsibility without having a clear idea of the private texture of the mouse’s existence. In any case I did not believe in responsibility, therefore I did not believe in the divestment of responsibility.

By Adrian West.

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Redemption published 07/12/2012

The Kombi bus came to a stop by the side of the motorway, and its passengers disembarked. Titi pried her raffia bag from the cubby where it had been cramped under the seat, and dusted off her dress. “CMS Lagos Island CMS Lagos Island last chance last chance!” The conductor banged the top of the bus, and it sped off in search of its next crop of passengers. It was almost seven in the evening, yet the sun hovered over the city like a school child, cross-armed and unwilling to go to bed. The man who had been sitting next to Titi on the bus cleared his throat, spat, and set off in the direction indicated by the signs directly across from her. She watched his spit bubbles drain off in the shallow gutter by her feet, as a hawker peeled off green plantains and threw them on to roast, discarding their skins on the ground. It was Titi’s first time at the camp.

By Frances Uku.

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Tennessee Stop published 28/11/2012

Astral had missed the name of the city, or the town. One run-down area of the country had bled into another. Was she in the South yet? Plants here wanted to grow through concrete, cracked it apart with their pale fingers. The sun too had split the earth to help draw the flimsy weeds up tall. Glass shone painfully bright in the windows of the bus station. This is not the end of the world, this is a temporary extension of the end.

By Helen McClory.

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In Great Leaps published 22/11/2012

We never bring back crickets. Dad says we’d make bad frogs and rolls pellets of bread between his fingers to bait our hooks. The boat is small. Dad says, jump in, bad frogs. Even bad frogs can jump. Our knees touch as we sit with our poles. We hunt crickets too big to catch. We reach for them and they leap mountains and lakes, crush houses beneath barbed feet, rafters crashing through the beds, the bath shattered, water pouring from torn pipes, rubble shaking to their giant song, touching other stars while we close our hands on air.

By Will Kaufman.

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The Ripple published 20/11/2012

One first realised there might be something to the stories leaking out of New Guinea when the rich began to shake. Biologists and activists made dire predictions, which in their search for superlatives ended up sounded to most like hyperbole. Still, an influential article around this time coined the term “spenders” to describe a growing trend by some to cash in assets and life savings and simply “live.” “Spenders” (according to the New Yorker) were characterised as, “a sort of counterculture for the wealthy, well connected and those with only money left to lose.” The crazy spender uncle became a familiar character in movies and on the business end of late night monologues.

By Frank A. Possemato.

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An Unholy Grail published 31/10/2012

Quiet now. The night is Devil black.

Sleep now. The Knight waits for attack.

They mass behind. They storm and plunder –

The giant evil birds, the filthy scalded cats,

The eternal tombstone tenants, faces racked by thunder.


A Halloween tale by Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss.

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Fame published 30/10/2012

It was just the kind of party to be seen at and Nigel Ferranti was extremely keen to be seen. His hush puppy soles gripped the expensive Swedish decking, a well-sourced surface he intended to praise to the hosts later on, whilst his tight bottom clenched and his tiny mouth pursed and puckered ready to meet and greet anyone making it his way. For an hour, his risqué Sex on the floor cocktail in hand, Nigel Ferranti waited but no partygoer strayed near.

By Alan McCormick and Jonny Voss.

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Nina published 25/10/2012

The knock on the door was persistent and sure of itself, that’s why Nina didn’t think twice before opening. A middle aged man stood before her, carrying a hoover in one hand and a briefcase in the other. She was about to say thanks, I’m not interested and shut the door in the salesman’s face but the hoover man just pushed past her and walked straight in. I like what you’ve done here, he said and pointed at the red sofa she bought just last month. She didn’t like the way he just invited himself in and she gestured toward the door in disbelief. I’d appreciate it if you would leave, I don’t need a hoover and actually I have to go, Nina found herself saying.

By Maytal Yarkoni.

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