Friday, August 27, 2010


This week's Friday Flash Fiction #40 on Cormac Brown's site uses the spooky line: "I heard footsteps on the wet sidewalk and the sound of keys."  Hell, this flash fiction is becoming addictive.  Thanks to everyone involved.  I love it.

Anyhow, here it is ...... 

It had been raining.  The pavement and road were washed clean and they glistened darkly in the light of the street lamps.

I heard footsteps on the wet sidewalk and the sound of keys.

Swinging around quickly, I saw no-one. The street was empty. It took a while for me to realise that the footsteps were my own and that I was jingling the keys nervously, mindlessly, in my coat pocket. “God, I’m jumpy tonight” I thought as I edged my way along the forlorn street. And no wonder, for what I was about to do would put the bejesus up anyone.

Yes, the keys ... those keys in my pocket. Why did I pick them up? Why did I agree to do this? And why was I out on this cold wet night? I’d much rather be watching TV, snuggled up under a doona and clutching a nice mug of hot chocolate. But they said it was my turn. I had to do it.

Big Jules was a mighty scary character and this was my first time on the job. The tales the other girls had told filled me with dread. “You’re all older than me. Can’t you let me off the hook?” My begging whine was met with blank stares all round – stares that didn’t need the word “NO” to be articulated. The “boss” had taken the phone call: “I need it BAD and I need it NOW!” said Jules. I’d be mincemeat if I didn’t deliver.

I buttoned up my coat and braced myself against the wind and the daunting task ahead. But with only one block to go before I reached Jules' apartment, my knees were knocking and my teeth were chattering ... mainly from fear, not the cold. The apartment loomed before me all too quickly. “Just get it over with.”

After several shaky attempts to get the front door key into the lock, I entered the lair of the beast. Big Jules was waiting in the front room ... impatient and hungry.

“Hello Grandma” I said. “I’ve brought you your dinner. Sorry I’m late.”  Mrs Julia McTavish-Scott, the dowager of our family and the "boss's" mother, merely snorted as she grabbed the still hot casserole from my hands.


  1. haha. great story! love the end.

  2. Thanks Melissa,
    I've added a sentence to the ending.

  3. Love the innuendo in the beginning and finishing with the surprise. Very nicely done. The snort was great. Reminded me of my now dead Aunt Helen.

  4. What a nice vignette, Gaye. A neat twist at the end - smart!

  5. What a masterful story! The language is perfect with it's suggestions early on of whores and drug pushers only to turn around and present you with the family "battle axe" who snorts and is rude. It is a well told "bait and switch" story.

    I must admit that I had to look up what a "doona" was, but I don't get out much. I had to ask a friend of mine what a "bogan" was. Forgive an ignorant American hillbilly/bogan.

    I like the way you used the starter sentence. I can't remember anyone moving it into the story before. And if you don't mind, I'm going to spend this week trying to work the phrase "would put the bejesus up anyone" into a conversation. You do have a marvelous turn of phrase.


  6. Well done! I particularly liked this line:

    "...blank stares all round – stares that didn’t need the word “NO” to be articulated."

    I'll also be on the lookout for anyone trying to put the bejesus up on me...

  7. fun stuff. Mean old people really do put the fear in you :)

  8. Top story, Gabby. Great descriptions and a clever ending. Well done.

  9. Where's the twist? Curmudgeonly grannies are far more frightening than any mafioso with anger management issues. ;-)

  10. LOL! Ok so I so totally wasn't expecting that!

  11. All your comments have started my day off very nicely. Thank you.

    MRMacrum: Funnily enough, my own dowager type grandma, who was not nasty like the one in my story, was known to the rest of the family as Aunt Helen.

    Doc: On the subject of Australian words, I was going to change the word "sidewalk" to "footpath" in the starter sentence, but thought I'd better not.

    Randal: Hah! I reckon that could be true. Some of the women I've known would scare the pants off the mafia.

    Flannery: That was my favourite line too.

  12. And for anyone else who doesn't know, doona = duvet or down quilt. I hadn't realised it was a "local" word. Live and learn.

  13. Gaye, don't apologise to the uneducated. The Aussie vernacular is something to be proud of!!!
    Great little story here...little red riding should have something to fear!!

  14. Wonderful! I liked how the ending was not run-of-the-mill! I liked the surprise in it and felt it added to the quality of the piece very well!


  15. Thanks Crybbe666, but you'll never hear me say "crikey".

    Glad you were surprised, PipeTobacco. I had written most of it before I knew where it was leading, so I was surprised too.



As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...