The Brindley Manifestations – by Michael Keeble

Day One

I can’t remember exactly how we four lads from Sheffield decided that a cruise down the Chesterfield Canal might be a good idea, but for me at least it became one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken.  The boat was called the Brindley after the man who kicked off the building of this waterway in the late 18th Century and was a four-berth boat based in West Stockwith.

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A Sea of Troubles – by Andrew Bell

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of this awesome dissembly,

It is my privilege to shriek to you today through the medium of space, without rinsing my worms; to look back to our future; to explore how we may embrace a sea change in our shrinking, free from excessive red tape, pies in the sky or other porkies and assorted paper tigers; to discover, here and now, where we need to stand firm, but also, to find those moments when we need to move on to better timing. And above all, I urge you, with all my sinews, to hold up your palms, especially to this sea of bubbles (and its associated cant and froth), and by opposing, see it off. For, when all else fails, we need to stand above the crowd, cut through this jungle and tangle: all those lies embedded in convention, to reach an avon of peace and contention.

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Scratch by Michael Keeble

“It’s just a scratch” said my wife

Of course, when they say that in the movies, they have endured a barrage of bullets from any number of generally incompetent antagonists and at least one of them will have penetrated a useful limb.  Having been thus injured, hero would reach for his rolled up newspaper and put them off their already poor aim by using it as a blowpipe to blast the nearest gunman with peanuts from a handy nearby bowl.  Having dispatched all his enemies with deadly peanuts and newsprint jabs, he uses his newspaper to bind up the flesh wound that has rendered his left arm useless, and coolly makes his way out of the building and into the crowded streets. 

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child – Flash fiction by Kaye Locke

It felt incongruous sitting there on the bandstand steps in the sunny park, half a dozen of their friends messing about around them, oblivious.   Drew was holding her hand the big faux gold chain on his wrist digging into her arm, replicating the pain.  He was sucking on a roll-up and the smoke blew towards her making her cough.

‘For god’s sake Mel, stop makin’ a fuss. I ain’t gonna stop spliffin’ just fer you, so yer can give that up right now.’

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Ship by Kevin Murphy

Acrotiri, Cyprus, August 1976.

Captain Manders had tucked up five year old Janine after his wife had read her story.

Jackie now stood biting her thumb watching her husband carrying out his nightly routine of fine-tuning his tiny moustache, before leaving her for the Officers’ Mess.

He felt her presence and gave her a glance. He finished the right side with a flourish and turned to her, seemingly for approval. Continue reading

The Test – by Kevin Murphy

 

A roar of ‘Ah, ha, ah!’ draws a gaggle of girls to stop and peer in the door and window of Jim Pooler’s cobbler’s hut, open to let in a summer breeze. ‘What you laughing at, Snob?’
He holds up his thumb, then sucks it.
‘Good … or bad, eh? Which is it?’
‘I’ve hit it wit’ ’ammer,’ he wheezes, then laughs.
‘Daft ’apporth, thought you were a professional,’ says one. ‘Don’t go dripping blood on those lovely brogues.’
Jim holds up his other hand, gloved by a very smart tan and white shoe. He inspects it and shakes his head.
‘Didn’t know if you were laughing or crying,’ says another girl.
Jim thinks for a second before saying, ‘bit of both I suppose.’ He smiles a sad smile then cheers, ‘I’ll be reet!’ Continue reading

Leave by Rachel Hilton

They had only been together for a matter of weeks when Cecil asked if Hayley would accompany him on a visit to his parents. He wanted to introduce her to them and thought it would be a good idea to go for a weekend. She wasn’t so enthusiastic and told him so.

“It’s too soon, we need to know each other better before we meet each other’s parents.”

“Nonsense, you’ll like my parents and they’ll like you. They are so easy to get along with.”

He kept on and on at her and eventually she relented. She didn’t want to go, it was more to shut him up than anything. Continue reading