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Literally Stories – Week 48


I am listening to Icelandic Electronica/House giants GusGus 2011 album Arabian Horse.

It makes me wonder.

About all sorts.

But nothing to do with Week 48 at Literally Stories, I hear you say?

Not literally hear. And no Arabian Horse doesn’t have anything to do with Week 48. And yes I concede musical references are an unimaginative standby for producing out of thin air suitable talking points by which to segue seamlessly into this, that or the other. And no I shouldn’t make a habit of beginning my sentences with conjunctions lest I be hauled into custody by the Grammar Police.

Which leads me to the weakest of weak links: serial grammar felony is not an accusation you could level at any of Week 48’s authors.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Purgare by Phillip E. Temples


“At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away…” –Nicole Krauss.


“Don, you have to help me. I’m desperate. Isn’t there some drug I can take, or a therapy?”

Don’s longtime friend, a successful accountant named Avraham “Avi” Goldstein, asked the question of Donald E. Cashdollar, M.D., Ph.D., an eminent physician and researcher at the Brookline Center for Neurological Research. Cashdollar put his hand to his chin as though to reinforce his thinking in response to the question. As he did so, Cashdollar shifted ever so slightly, sinking deeper into Goldstein’s living room easy chair. “Careful, Don—“

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Anniversary by Nik Eveleigh


“…and when I asked him if he had any banking experience do you know what he said?”

Toby grins. Waits for the punchline.

“He said… and I quote…” Alan straightens his tie, leans back for effect. “He said… I’ve had a savings account since I was fifteen.”

Alan Ward is not the kind of boss who waits for subordinate approval. He’s a table thumping, bellowing roar kind of a guy and stays true to form. “A savings account? If the little shit had managed a current account I might have employed him for the hell of it.”

Toby shakes his head. Rueful smile, thinks about what to say. Settles for an agreeable but flimsy “Savings account!” and another head shake.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Before We Started Worrying by Martyn Clayton


This was before we all started worrying about skin cancer. If you got burnt early doors the rest of the holiday you’d slowly turn brown. It was a holiday rite of passage, something to anticipate and dread.

There’d been talk of a bloom of jellyfish what with the warmer waters. Colin was standing in the sea up to his knees poking at them with the sharp end of his metal spade. It’s easy to say with hindsight that there was something vindictive about the boy. You read people backwards, fill in the gaps, squeeze the facts to fit what the present throws up. I can’t help recalling what I saw in the boy, seeing him with a magnifying glass burning ants in the sunshine. He’d capture crane flies in a jam jar, seal the lid and watch them flap frantically against the glass before collapsing still and exhausted. Only then would he lift the lid and slowly pull off their wings and legs before rolling the body into a ball between his thumb and forefinger. Jim says that lots of kids did that sort of thing but you still wonder.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Historical

A Special Sort of Day by Diane M Dickson


Tommy let his head rest back against the sand.  It was hard, cold and wet.  He knew that in the dunes further up it was softer but he couldn’t be bothered with the climb for the moment. The others seemed to have gone on without him, never mind, he could catch them later.  He’d take a couple of minutes to rest here, nobody would mind surely and then he’d get back on the job.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Papi by Christopher Dehon

My parents probably spoke Spanish to each other when they lived together. I don’t remember. Dad never learned English, and Mom stopped speaking Spanish after they separated. On the weekends with my dad, I only needed two words. Sí, Papi. I know he said terrible things about my mother. I couldn’t understand him, but I was sure that they were “bitch,” “whore,” and, when my future stepfather came along “gold digger.” When he would pause and look my way. I’d say the only Spanish I knew, Sí, Papi. When I was a kid, I said this to appease him. When I was a teenager, it was because I agreed.

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Literally Stories – Week 47


I am reminded

That the pheno

That is NaNoWriMo

Gets under way shortly.

Right across the globe tens of thousands of fifty thousand-word novels, technically novellas — but let’s not quibble about terminology — will be written during the month of November.

For all those (Diane Dickson I mean you!) of a mathematically averse nature, look away now…

Convert those 50K words into Literally Stories short story fiction and that weighs in at the equivalent of at least 30 short stories or one short story per day.

Give or take a Drabble.

For someone who averages 500 words a week this is a tall order indeed therefore I am seeking an extension to the deadline from 30 November to 31 December.


Plan B is to give NaNoWriMo a miss this year and stick to casting my eye over the week’s goings-on here at LS; trying not to malign the accepted or natural order of days of the week according to the classical planets of Hellenistic astrology.

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All Stories, Humour

Good Night, Good Luck and Good Love by Nik Eveleigh


OK everyone, attention please. Find the table that matches your number, sit yourselves down and get chatting! When I ring the bell, ladies remain where you are, gentlemen move to the table to your left. Good luck and good love!

“Did she really just say good love? Sorry, I mean hello my name’s Darren and did she really just say good love?”

“Your badge gave you away and yes she did. Sorry, I mean hello my name’s Lucy which you probably already know now that I’ve given away my secret powers of name tag identification, your badge gave you away and yes she…you’re actually wearing a wedding ring. Of all the…”

“Hold on, I can explain.”

“This should be good.”

“I’m married.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Fire and Ice by Kevin Bray


“Did you remember to leave water for Samson?”

My wife is like a teacher in the movies, the ones who make important announcements right when the bell has gone and kids are already mentally unplugged from the class and pushing through the doorway. She will tell me to turn right after we have passed the exit, or ask about the dog’s water when we are a mile from home.

“Yes, a giant bowl beside his little round bed.”

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

Killing Time by GJ Hart


He understood how people could disappear, people had legs, people could run! But the house, the swimming pool, the Vergogna Phryne in marble and bronze…

He closed his eyes and was back.

He strolled out, past the variegated beds, past the vast sycamore and on down to the wooden jetty cut between river birch.

He stood at the water’s edge, breathing in breeze scented like warm skin. From the kitchen he could hear Sharon singing and mixing Long Island teas.

When he opened his eyes what he saw seemed less real.

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