Joe2stories

Stories from a Dublin Scientist

The Right Stuff

Bob looked at the scrawny lump of nerves sitting on the couch in much the same way he would a piece of dog’s business on the sole of his shoe. That his daughter, Jane, had her arm tightly around this one’s did not help matters.

“So!” He asked, “You are the man..” you could taste the sarcasm in that last word, “I have heard so much about?”

The Wretch mumbled something in assent  and nervously answered more of the questions that Bob threw at him. 

“Where are you from?” 

“Berkleyville”

“Hmmm. We can’t all be from the nicer parts of the city now can we? What do your parents do?”

“My mom raised me on her own. She’s a cleaner.”

” And you made it this far despite that! Well done! What is your major?”

“I’m thinking either literature or philosophy.”

“You can’t decide? With either one you’ll end up in the same coffee shop…. So no stress there then. Sooo how long have you been sleeping with my daughter?”

At that, Jane, who had been squeezing the poor guy’s hand harder and harder at each question, shot up out of her chair, shouted “Oh God! I can’t take any more of this!” and ran from the room. Before Bob could get up, the boyfriend was out the door after her. “What did I say?” He asked himself. And set off after them.

Bob checked the kitchen, the hallway and Jane’s old room. All were empty. It was only when he went back down the stairs did he hear the retching from the back garden.

Jane, bless her soul, had a weak stomach and any amount of stress was liable to lead her vomiting up whatever she had eaten in the previous hour or two. Bob tried to figure out what could have set her off this time and realised that for all his attention on the boyfriend he hadn’t paid any attention to how Jane had taken any of his “brisk” questioning. He was going to get hell for that when the missus finds out. But first things first, his daughter needed him.

Bob shuffled through the house and came out the back door only to stop as if he had intruded on something private. There was Jane, bent over the flower beds, shivering as she had so many times and with his hands around her, carefully holding back her hair, was the new boy, in the exact same pose as he had so many times, for exam jitters and sports final stress. He was saying something softly to her, something comforting. Bob couldn’t hear, but he sure could guess.

Bob went back to the sitting room, thought for a second and made a detour to the den to grab two beers from his stash. He placed the beers carefully behind his chair and sat down in wait. When Jane and the boyfriend, Russel he thought his name was, were done outside, Jane would come in to shout at bit at him as to how he was a jerk if she had the strength and then go up to bed for a rest. That would mean Bob and the boyfriend would be alone for a while.

The twenty minute grilling hopefully would not have left any permanent scars, maybe they could work around them, back to an understanding. Bob knew he had to, for Jane’s​ sake. After all, this new one had proven himself, as far as Bob was concerned, as having the right stuff.

Misplaced

I slipped into the kitchen, water dripping on the floor. “Aha!” I exclaimed, lifting shampoo from the sink. “Never trust squid to pack away groceries properly.”

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Written for the grammar ghoul press shapeshifting thirteen challenge number 87.

Tyrant

A gust of wind.

“You disturbed my reflection?”

The wind said nothing

“Insolence!”

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 Challenge number 86.

 

The Gift of the Gods

The basket came down from the sky, full of coloured lumps.

The high priest took one”We give thanks for this sustenance.” and took a bite.

His face contorted.

“We’re grateful” Someone said, “But why can’t the Gods understand taste?”

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 Challenge number 83.

 

Six word stories 061216

They need one guy, everyone declined.

Donated blood. It saved my life.

Ghosts in Attic. Best room-mates ever.

Had cockroach problem. Before spider problem.

Rat in bathroom. Eaten by spider.

“Just one bite” Vampires very persuasive.

 

Temptation

I am tempter. I offer little corruptions that make life more… fun.

The thing is. People often find the dark without me.

It’s natural for them.

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Written for the Grammarghoul Press shapeshifting 13 challenge number 82.

The Night without Memory

It was the night without memory. Across the town people celebrated this gift from God and did everything they wanted to and more. They let their basest desires control their actions. It was an orgy of self-indulgence.

In a small cafe, tucked away from those excesses, a man and a woman met.

She was well dressed; he wore grubby work clothes.

Her skin was pale and smooth; his grizzled and bronzed by the sun.

She had a wedding ring, his fingers were bare.

He smiled at her, she grinned like a girl.

He took her hand, she squeezed his gently.

She pulled him forward and he wrapped his arms around her.

He kissed her, she kissed him back.

They talked about their memories, about how their lives had changed, and especially about what could have been.

As the night went on they stayed close to each other, dancing slowly to their old songs. It was as if the years had disappeared and they both felt young again.

They held each other closer and made plans, swore that they could leave the lives they had and run away together. He said they would have no money but they would be richer than ever because they had each other.

Then the bells started to ring, the warning that the night would soon be over. In seconds the noise from the party outside was noticeably lighter.

They kissed a final time, made each other promise to meet again. But as they walked away from each other, down the emptying streets, the feelings and the memories of the night were already starting to fade. By Sunrise, it would be gone.

That was the gift and the curse. The night would be erased.

It was the night without memory. There would be no new tomorrow.

A new book with me in it!

Good news everybody! I have been accepted into the latest collection of flash fiction organised by the Worcestershire literary festival. They held the launch yesterday but I couldn’t attend because, you know, I’m a bit of a ways off 🙂 . Still if you want to get the book (and I’ll highly recommend it going on the quality of previous years) you can get it here or soon on Amazon. Buy it and I will love you forever.

acof-front-cover-2016

Joe

Farewell

“Come closer” I asked and he inched towards the edge, moistened in the spray from the storm surge below.

“Is it safe?” He asked.

I imagined a stiff push, how his arms would flail as if to the grab empty air, I imagined myself waving farewell.

“Of course” I said “Come on”

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 Challenge number 80.

The Truth

There was passion between us but not just physical, we got each other.

I didn’t care we were both men, I didn’t care about his age. I didn’t even about the Slave brand on his back.

I loved him.

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 Challenge number 79.