Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Dialogue in Flash fiction

The Fallout

Clara picks up the long stemmed wine glass and frowns, “Did you wash this?”
“What does it look like,” he says waving the chopping knife in her direction.
“You need to use the glass linen tea towel to polish them properly.”
“Jesus! It’s not a Michelin Star restaurant. Your standards lately are a bit….”
“Can you point that elsewhere?” she says, deflecting the knife towards the chopping board.
“High- All those late night business dinners in the city.” He packs a salad lunch into a plastic container.
“It’s work for Christ’s sake. Somebody has to pay the mortgage.” Clara smacks her lips as she reapplies her lipstick.
“I’m a writer and - ”
“Listen, I have work.” She studies her reflection in the hall mirror as she makes for the door.
“Trying to impress somebody? - Don’t forget your rabbit food, Ma’am.”
“Put the glasses in the damn dishwasher or lay off the wine. It’s midweek for Christ’s sake.” She shoves the box into her bag and turns on her heel again.
“They’re Galway Crystal.”
“Which reminds me, I have an away trip to Galway, end of the month. Pencil that in your diary.”
“Are you saying I’m an alcoholic?” Behind her back he picks up the wine bottle and necks back the last dregs.
“It’s to do with the Wugi takeover.” Her hand is on the latch.
“So the HR head and the IT geek have to trip off together once a month to seal the deal?” He’s waving the empty bottle in her direction.
“Bin the booze, Ivan and go out and get a real job.” Clara wheels around to face him.
“And you’re shagging a goddamn IT geek.”
“The IT geek is a woman. Put that in your novel!”
“I have.”

Copyright wit Cathy Leonard 2019

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Punter

Week 7- Dialogue
Create a dialogue from a crisis. Husband crashes car and has to tell his wife.

The Fallout

“People over seventy shouldn’t be allowed on the roads!”
“Missed the first race again?”
“Had a great tip for the two-thirty.”
“A few grand would come in handy for the patio. No luck at Punchestown?”
“No…. Do faulty break lights constitute contributory negligence?”
“Our breaklights are fine. I checked them the other day.”
“The OAP’s.”
“Did somebody have an accident?”
“I don’t think he indicated either- he’ll probably claim whiplash- fifteen grand a pop.”
“They’re reviewing those outrageous whiplash payouts.”
“Third party or comprehensive? Which do we have? Either will cover it, I suppose.”
“Cover what?”
“I tipped into the back of an OAP on the Naas dual carriageway. The eejit had a green light and didn’t move. Missed the two thirty at Punchestown.”
“Jesus, Mike!”
“But Ruby won the Gold Cup, his last race. Can you believe it? The man’s a legend! What a way to retire. You have to hand it to him.”
“How much damage? Was it an old banger? Did he complain about his neck?”
“A 191 Volvo- wish I was on the pension.”
“But you only tipped him, right?”
“It’s a brand new Volvo. A tip is priceless.”
“And his neck? Is that speculation or…”
“He took himself off to A & E, just to be sure. At his age he probably needs a neck brace anyway. I’m sorry, love. It wasn’t entirely my fault and…”
“We don’t have comprehensive.”
“Our damage is minor.”
“Or third party.”
“Is there another type of insurance?”
“No. It was due last week, and so was the deposit for the new patio, so I decided to take a punt.”

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Mother from Google


The Mother from Google

Dating again? Isn’t it a bit soon? (Pauses double-bill finale of Line of Duty)
Well, yes. It’s one way of getting over him, but weren’t you the one who finished it?
I’m not saying you should have stayed. (Rolls eyes)
Yes, your gut feelings matter. (Lolls tongue)
He was judgemental? You find everybody judgemental.
I’m just saying. It’s a favourite refrain of yours.
I’m being judgemental!!(Reaches for laptop)
Haven’t you watched any of those Tinder documentaries? They’re not pretty. (Begins to scroll for evidence)
You just want to get laid? Tinder’s your site for that.
I know what I hear. Anyway who’s this Tinder date?
A DJ!! I thought you were looking for stability?
If your man was flakey can you imagine what a DJ would be like? What’s his name anyway? (Fingers poised on keyboard)
Markus de what? Quercy? That’s got to be a stage name. (Googles)
Not a great sign if he’s using his block-rockin’ hip-hop name on Tinder.
What age?
Forty two probably means fifty five. (Downloads photos)
He could be using an old photo or a fake one.
All I’m saying is check him out. If he’s a DJ he must be on YouTube. (Presses mute button)
You have? Well, so have I and if he’s forty two I’m a spring chicken.
You need to go past the first two clicks, sweetheart. His name’s Mark Deegan and he was probably playing Abba when I was a dancing queen.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Leaving Home

The exercise this week is to write about somebody packing a suitcase.

The Vanity Case

I’m packing your vinyl vanity case, the one you hated, the pillar box red, square, awkward to handle. Not hospital bound this time. I’m all out of charity, watching the sexagenarian antics of the pair of them. You wouldn’t even have shortlisted her for the role. Too sociable, what with the bingo, bridge, knitting circles, book clubs, and a domestic diva- her lemon meringue, the ultimate, not a soggy bottom in sight. Not much like your bread and butter pudding. And she makes her custard and mayonnaise from scratch. I don’t think a bar of soap would make her birthday present list, what with the personalised prosecco and the blissful spa day. I found a drawer full of your soaps afterwards, avocado oatmeal, aloe-aloe, bamboo charcoal, typical of you not to even open them. Too nice to use, you’d say. She’d have washed them all down the drain if I hadn’t salvaged them. I’m taking them with me, with your scarves, the ones you only wore on Sundays; she wears scarves every day, with a French twist over her Calvin Klein gold tune necklace. And I’m taking your faux pearls; he bought her the real deal. You should have set the bar higher. I cried all the way through their ceremony; not that they noticed. I suppose they did know each other for a long time, her being his work mate and all, and maybe even his bit on the side, we won’t go there, but the mourning period was short and for all her lady-like squeaky sweetness she’s a piece of work and he’s all calf eyes. It’s puke churning to watch, and you were right about this case, it doesn’t hold much.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Call

Still week 6 of flash fiction course and following on with Point of View. Have rewritten Emily from two points of view.

The Call

If I don’t answer the she’ll say, “You were nearer. Maybe somebody died.” If I do answer, it’ll be, “You know it’s always Emily. Why do you bother to pick up?” I hold the receiver and listen to her low dulcet tone imploring me.
“It’s nobody,” I tell the wife, joining her in the kitchen. “Let’s do the crossword. Nine across, six letters, money lender who charges exorbitant interest?”
“Emily must have nothing else to do,” I add. That makes her chuckle.  She should do sex-chat, the wife suggests. What would the wife know about sex-chat? When’s the last time we even did it? Menopause and dwindling libido. Maybe I should listen to Emily; Fred Marsh spent three grand listening to Emily. “Good for him. There’s life in the old dog,” I say to piss her off.

Can’t he hear that ringing? He’s definitely losing it. Wish he’d get a hearing aid. Not that he wants to hear anything. Not that he wants to listen to me. Not that I have much to say. “Is it her again?” I roar from the kitchen. For Christ’s sake why doesn’t he just hang up? It had to be somebody. It was probably her. She’s probably reversing the charges. “You should have hung up immediately,” I say. We used to talk to each other, now we do crosswords. Usurer, why doesn’t he know that? He used to be sharper.
“What would you know about sex-chat”? he asks. Let him wonder. He knows that’s not what I mean about Fred.
”If the phone fraudsters used a person instead of a pre-recorded tape you could tell them to sod off,” I say. He says they’ve done that. I’ve done that.
“Persuade with promise of reward? Five letters?” he asks. Definitely Emily.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Different Perspectives

Week 6-Flash Fiction. Looks at Point of View.
The Exercise is to give two points of view of same incident in 300 words.
Here I am using a short short story I wrote before and manipulating it a bit.

 The Walk

He wore a pink tie and he was carrying an umbrella with a pointed ferrule and a long shaft -with twelve stretchers at least.  He looked like he might know -an older man with a real umbrella –bound to have some experience of it.

I shouldn’t have said, “We’re early on the road.” I must have sounded like one of those carers in the ward who addresses everybody in the first person plural, when they really mean you.

When he raised his hands and said what he did I thought of a priest calling on the congregation to stand for the gospel. What was it he said? And as if summoned, the injured bird took flight -its beak no longer frozen in fright.

“Ha”! he exclaimed with the thrill of it.

We watched it rise and dip and then rise again, and on we walked, the older man and me, around the whole periphery of the park.                                                       

Today a woman, not young, stopped me in the park. She was cupping a fledging in her fingerless-mittened hands. I suppose she asked me because of my halting gait, as if my years might know. The bird looked uninjured, no open-mouthed shock or fixed eye, its wings intact, peagreen-skyblue sinewed feathers.

The only time I held a bird in my palm I was ten, a baby thrush that had fallen out of its nest among the hedgerows that lined the pathway to our front door.

“I don’t know why it doesn’t just fly,” I said and raised my hands in mock take-off.

Perhaps it was my tone or my waving hands, for the fledgling rose, cleared the bushes and landed on the topmost branch of an ash tree.
And so I tipped my hat to her, the not-so-young woman, and walked on.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

Tuesday, 16 April 2019


This week the task is to write about an uncomfortable subject. This one is topical.


He was into threesomes. And he had slept with his best-friend’s mother. His ex-wife hooked up with his brother and he hooked up with his brother’s ex-girlfriend. A lot of incestuous ex-cross-sex. 

So when he suggests they visit his best-friend for a night’s craic,something in her gags.

His friend loves the colour of her hair, pearl blonde, and the fact that she is bare-faced, no makeup, and the sylph-like contour of her foot. He sits beside her, removes her sandals and fondles her toes, tracing the thread veins in her ankles. Glasses clink. She’s already drank a bottle of Chardonnay and her boyfriend is mixing cocktails. His friend is still stroking her leg, his whiskeyed breath whispering in her ear, “He never shares anything with me anymore. He used to share everything, and he owes me; I could tell you a thing or two.”

Inside her head she’s screaming, I already know about your mother.

A glance between the men and her boyfriend disappears. The friend’s hand begins to climb her leg. She grips it firmly, but it’s stuck, like a bloodsucker, and she meets resistance when she tries to stand up. Room spins. Steady on! He’s stroking her thighs, his fingers clenching and pinching her crotch. The rim of a glass strikes her teeth. Her lips part, she gulps, vodka drips down her neck. His tongue licking, worm-like crawls into her mouth. Her head spins and she blanks.  

Beneath her a woman is pinned beneath a man. She is screaming, but no voice comes.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019