Monday 4 April 2016


I like writing flash fiction because it's quick, maybe like sketching. 
And there's a word count  boundary. 
And my concentration span is short and getting shorter.
 So here goes. 
A piece of fiction under 500 words.

Setting- Amateur Production of Betrayal by Harold Pinter
  At the Interval

It could be an overplayed joke between us for months. 
The only blonde broad at Pinter’s Betrayal, and he manages to pick her up.
 She turns away from him, not even aware that I am on route to claim the bespectacled fifty- something that stands somewhat bemused in the middle of a throng of tea drinkers.
   “A penny for them?” I ask, handing him a cuppa.
   “She recognised me from school.”
   “You went to an all-boys”
   “Primary school.”
   “You’re kidding!”
   “She said you hadn’t changed a bit?”
   “Something like that.”
   “I believe it!”
I decide to return the tea cups. 
I notice, on my periphery, the blonde making in the opposite direction towards him. She can’t be serious. She is. 
I take my time coming back. Don’t want to be seen to be the harpy wife who won’t let him out of her sight for two minutes.  Amble along the scenic route, reading the framed paraphernalia, detailing local history and lore that I have read about a hundred times already.
Eventually I see her extracting herself from his riveted attention. She sails straight past me without as much as a ship’s horn passing in the night acknowledgement. He doesn’t ask what took me so long.

  I don’t hear any of the second half of the play. I’m preparing my own moves. I’m waiting for the exit shuffle. Will they make contact, by gesture, by glance? My head is lowered but I am watching, reptile like, with all my antennae extended. I notice nothing untoward. Their performance is impeccable. I don’t even joke about the leggy blonde in the car on the way back. He’s the one who brings up the subject.

 “She lives locally now.”
 “Oh yes?” I say, not even asking who “she” is.
 ”Grove Avenue. Near the sea front.”
 “She told you that?” I can’t help but query. He doesn’t answer. “Can’t let you out of my sight for a minute.”
 “She’s just an old school mate,” he snaps. 
He normally joins in this type of banter and refers to his boyish charm.

   A week later he’s late. Very late. I’ve sent three texts and he hasn’t answered my calls. Finally at midnight my phone bleeps.
   “Broken down.”
   “For six hours?” I text back.
   The phone rings.
   “Of course not. Was working late. Went out to start the car. Had left the lights on. Battery’s dead. Called the AA.” His voice sounds like text speak. Like he’s rehearsed it. A hundred times.
 I’m in the car three minutes later. I don’t know how I got there. My heart is racing. My hand is on the ignition. I know where I’m going. I look in the mirror.  What am I going to do when I get there? Knock on doors? Start a scene? Smash a windscreen?
My phone bleeps.
“Fed up waiting. Can you pick me up?” 
 “From where?” My fingers fumble.
 “Where the hell do you think?”

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016   

1 comment: