The Socialite

Champagne. Stuff of magic.

I watch people file into the club through my flute – second of the night, already half-empty. Is it the amount of bubbly I’ve drunk, is it the way the bubbles distort my vision? I don’t know. But for a moment, I see my life with a stranger’s eyes, I see a train wreck in slow motion, I see nothing but emptiness.

I empty my flute to fill this void, exchange it for a full one, clink glasses with anybody who’s somebody and smile like I mean it. Night in, night out.

Stuff of magic, champagne.


All This Water (Literary Lion)

‘Tom, look. Clean, d’you think?’

‘Dunno. If it isn’t, we’ll purify it.’

‘I wanna go swimming. I’m so grimy the rats wrinkle their noses at me.’

‘Well, if it’s contaminated, you can’t swim. If it isn’t and you go in, it will be.’

‘Oi! It’s not that bad.’

‘I’m sorry, Lana, but you are grimy.’

‘You, too.’

‘Yeah, but am I complaining? All I want is drink until my blood turns to water. But…’

‘But what?’

‘Well, here’s all this water and nobody to use it.’


‘I hate you.’

‘Hate me, then. Better than watch you catch something lethal.’


Written for this week’s Literary Lion prompt: water.

Mr. Modest

Dear NASA,

So you’re building a new Voyager craft that will carry the best of human culture, right?

You’ll be pleased to find that this letter is accompanied by my best work. Don’t worry, they are prints. You wouldn’t shoot the Mona Lisa into space either, would you?

I know what you’re thinking – who is this guy? I’m an up and coming artist, I’m going to take the art world by storm any day now. By the time you’re ready to launch Voyager, I’ll be simply the best. Look at the prints, see for yourselves.

Best wishes,

Claude van Picasso


She sits down and hides. She’s shaking. She’s not ready.

She’s faced by walls of eyes, anywhere she looks.

So many people who came to see her succeed.

This is the moment she’s been waiting for. All these years of training. All the fun others her age had, and she didn’t. For this. But she’s not ready. She needs better preparation, more training, another year.


The umpire’s voice pulls her out of her head. She’s trained, suffered and sacrificed for this.

This is the moment she’s been waiting for.

Think Serena.

She’s ready.

Time to serve for the match.

The Ferocious Predator

He thought he found the perfect hiding spot.

He was clever, Raven was, much more clever than his two-legged food and cuddle dispensers. It was their fault he had to resort to ambush tactics. If only they played with him when he wanted to play. But they made those funny meows that didn’t mean anything and threw him with a boring, lifeless cat toy.

He got excited when he heard footsteps in the hall. He twitched his tail, focused on the spot where he’d attack. But the feet he was anticipating never came into view. Now he heard chuckling and funny meows.

‘Ah, Raven, you silly kitty.’

(c) Barbara W. Beacham


They are funny beasts, cats. Ours likes to hide under my writing chair and attack my heels when he thinks I don’t know he’s there. So I loved today’s MFtS prompt and I’m looking forward to reading all the cat stories (shonky mobile broadband connection permitting, that is).

Going Nowhere

We return to the gallery to look at the photograph – blown up to movie-screen size – we cannot afford, arguing over who loves it more.

It’s like we’re there, looking at the tracks – I hear them sing for the imminent arrival of a freight train. I hope it’ll be slow enough for us to hop on, run away on an adventure.

‘Don’t you wish we could move in at the top of that watchtower and leave the barrier between us and the world?’

Her words shatter my illusions.

I’m glad we can’t afford it. We’d only argue over who keeps it.

(written for Flash Frenzy Round 71)

Street Theatre (Micro Bookends)

Stage fright? He thought he’d exorcised it at RADA. In school, he volunteered to play sheep in the nativity so he could hide in the back and keep his mouth shut except for the odd baa.

He chose the roundabout for its bright lighting, there’s nowhere to hide. No reason to worry, nobody’s paying attention in this weather. Not yet, anyway. He arms himself with the props, launches into the monologue and after a dozen shaky words, his voice steadies.

He nails it like a pro.

But nobody’s paying attention in this weather. Nobody bothers to find out his name.

The Perfect Crime

DCI Shannon Malone is listening to the recording of the call again. It came from the victim’s phone, they found only the victim’s prints on it. The prints in the entire bloody workshop belong to the victim.

The voice gives Malone the creeps. It’s inhuman – like those robots they make you talk to when you call a helpline.

Jim from Forensics interrupts her.

‘You have the results?’

The handwriting on the note – Messed with the wrong girl – found next to the mutilated body is their best hope.

‘It’s the victims, Shan.’

Their only clue: The perp seems to be female.

Six Months On (Observations, Blog Awards, Thank Yous)


What shall I do, she thought. This editing lark is boring. Oh, I know.

She started a blog. I’ll write a 100-word story every day, she decided, for as long as I can be bothered. She had no illusions that it was going to be one of her little follies, that she’d abandon the idea within a month.

But she encountered something she hadn’t reckoned with: readers. They read, they liked, they commented.

I have twenty, fifty, one hundred, two hundred and forty seven readers now, she thought, I can’t abandon them.

So six months on, she’s still here.


So much for today’s ‘story’. But there’s a lot more: my writing observations, blog awards, so click here to Continue reading

Girl of His Dreams

Boy Genius will never iron out the glitches. Twat Savant – that’s what he should have stipulated she call him: smart enough to have created her, too far up his own backside to identify why she won’t work as planned.

‘You’re perfect,’ he keeps telling her. ‘Beautiful, grateful for my attention, obeying my every wish.’ She always nods. Boy Genius’ wouldn’t believe he made a mistake bringing her to life.

She hates the smell of solder. Boy Genius is screwing her back on again.

‘Let’s see if this’ll do it.’

She meets his kissy face with the still hot soldering iron.