365 Ficlets – #52 ~ “Self Approbation”

Paul looked around the carriage and wondered how many of the other people on the train were unemployed. It was not as though he was actually unemployable, he was in fact only technically unemployed, so he was one of the ‘stealth unemployed’ who don’t show up in the figures, who don’t draw benefit, who are not impoverished by their status.

It was the Monday after Glastonbury; many of the people on this particular train were in fact on their way home from Pilton, and so with the cost of tickets and living at the Festival for three or four days being so high most of them had to be employed in some sense. Either that or were indescribably wealthy and so formed the third kind of unemployed; do not need to work.

The interview that he had just attended was still playing on his mind – that was why he was toying with himself in this way, calling himself unemployed. It had not gone as well as he wanted it to and he was needling himself, both out of disappointment and his need to remain focused on other opportunities.

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365 Ficlets – #51 ~ “Strange Situations”

Jason pushed his amusement away and concentrated on the framing. He was suddenly and inexplicably struck by the reaction that many of his friends would have to the situation he was in. A lot of men dream of watching a woman masturbate, Jason included, but here he was worrying about the light, and the composition of the frame.

The faint smell of sex in the air, the soft and apparently quite real moans of his model, even the sight of a beautiful, un-enhanced pair of breasts was not breaking through his concentration. Not even the rhythmic movements of her wrist as she described what were no doubt delicious circles around her clitoris were enough to shock him into a more normal frame of mind.

None of his friends would understand – that was what was amusing him – at least none of his male friends. Sure she was a beautiful woman, and he had no one in his life so was even free of thought crime, but no matter how sexual the situation, it was not there for his personal pleasure; just for his camera to witness.

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365 Ficlets – Day #50 ~ “In the Dark Hours of Night”

The night is calmer now. When I decided to leave the party and head for bed the weather had become violent, as if the elements were angered by the celebrations and were now beating upon the door in protest.

I would have stayed up later, but I had that feeling, when one notices that every other adult in the room has a partner and you are the only person left who is completely alone in a crowd.

I said my goodnights, hugged a few good friends and shook hands with a few others and retreated up into the maze of corridors on the upper floors of the hotel, where everyone can have their own private kingdom until the morning.

The news was the usual quotidien round of moral disappointment and economic doomsaying as I made my preparations for bed; sometimes I wonder why I bother to watch it. I considered reading for a while and decided that I would enjoy my book more with a clear head.

Now in the dark, the breeze blowing over my bare legs there is silence, and though alone I feel content and I cannot explain why.

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365 Ficlets – Day #49 ~ “Ready”

Geoff stood in the doorway looking out at the rows of seats, the flowers and the carpeted aisle. In a couple of hours he would be waiting for Hillary to join him and then in front of all of their family and some of their friends they would tell each other that their love would be unstinting in faith and force for the rest of their lives.

He was ready; he had wondered for some time if he would be when the day came, but rather than a fit of jitters or recriminations a sense of calm had settled on his shoulders and he was at peace, happy.

He was fairly certain that there was no peace to be had in Hillary’s room where more women than anyone should reasonably gather together in a small enclosed space would be fussing over hair and make-up, accessories and shoes, trying not to cry for fear of damaging their mascara and not have time to repair it before the moment arrived.

He smiled to himself and hoped that despite all the panic she could feel the peace of this time; he knew that he would never ever forget it.

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365 Ficlets – #48 ~ “Infiltrator”

Fenella sat on the grass bank and watched the crowds milling around her, plates of scones, strawberries and cream and glasses of Pimms clutched in their hands. There was a time, when she would have given anything to be amongst them, gossiping about this person and that person, were they in favour with the committee, had they been seen in the wrong kinds of clubs and so forth.

This year she was here to do no more than spectate; she should have stayed away as already her flesh was beginning to crawl. On the surface this bright society of cultured snacks, cocktails and tittle tattle had seemed so attractive to her when she had arrived in Westbury. Once she left the daylight world that had wooed her in and saw the darker side of Westbury’s people there was nothing left of that attraction. There was only fear.

Even now she was here to pretend that she was still a normal member of that world, when in truth she was far from that; in fact she was here to despatch the Chairman, and she intended to get away with it.

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365 Ficlets – #47 ~ “New job”

Cal surveyed the scene, his hand resting gently on the edge of the bar. There was no doubt that the people in there were waiting to see what he would say or do or think. It was a tough gig to take over a successful niche bar, in this case a rock pub, and not piss off the hard core of regular customers that make it viable to even have the place exist.

He liked the place; sure he had only been there for twenty-four hours, but the vibe he was getting from the locals was that as long as he did not fuck up their pub then the fact that he had usurped a popular bar manager would be over-looked. From what he could tell, Snit and Hayley were just about the most popular management team in living memory, so he had a hell of a bar to clear.

The fact that the place was running low on all of the staples; cider, ale and post-mix coke to go with the Blackjack, was not helping. He could tell that he was going to like the regulars, because they were still there; just drinking vodka and tonic instead, at least until tomorrow.

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365 Ficlets – #46 ~ “Friends Like These”

Thomas leaned back into the sofa and raised the goblet to his lips. The warm, slightly viscous cognac slipped across his lips and down his throat, heating up his mouth and chest. It was good brandy. There was none of the ragged edge that one comes to expect from the cheap stuff, slicing into ones gullet instead of the smooth slide of this fine drink.

He looked up to see Paul smiling at him, and then his own goblet;

“You like the Cognac then, Thomas?”

Thomas simply nodded, allowing a smile to spread across his face. There are those that would claim that gaining such pleasure from what is essentially a drug is not wise, but Thomas reveled in the sheer luxury of drinking such exquisite booze and had no shame about it;

“Paul, it is magnificent. Thank you mon ami. You must allow me to return the favour at some point. You do like whisky, don’t you?”

Paul nodded and his smile grew even wider. He took immense comfort in knowing that Thomas was as moved by the senses as he was; they were going to be good friends.

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365 Ficlets – #45 ~ “Take my Breath Away”

Joe leant back against the hedge and stared up into the sky, his eyes fixed on the crisscrossing vapour trails from the many comings and goings at Heathrow.

He knew that he should not be breathless after a five minute walk, but there he was struggling to breathe and needing to stop after five minutes walking on the flat. He was only forty-two! How had it come to this?

He felt the outline of his fag packet under his thumb where he was bracing his hands against his thighs. Yeah, that was it; he’d left quitting too late. Sure it was… Except, what about the eight years he had not smoked for until six months before? Sure he wished that he had not started again when Sophie had left, but old habits are all you have when your wife leaves with her protegé.

He tried to calm down and concentrate on his breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth. He noticed that Dee was walking over; that was it. He had been fine until he saw her!

“You alright Joe?”

He nodded, suddenly scrabbling for breath once more.

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365 Ficlets – #44 ~ “Realisation of Dreams as Potential”

Ewan leaned back against the steps and stared up at the clouds as they whipped by at an unusually high speed. Not the stately progress of white, fresh, cotton puff clouds, but more the barreling by of hard, grey, steel wool clouds that almost always heralded rain.

He took a long drag on his cigarette, savouring the acrid sweetness of the smoke; it was giving him everything that he had expected and needed of it. The night had been long and filled with circular internal discussions about his situation and the choices that he had made, but now in the dim morning light, looking up into the foreboding sky and down into the sleepy valley below he finally felt a moment’s peace.

There was nothing he could do to change the situation, there was going to be no way to resolve it himself. All he could do was take his hand off the brake and freewheel down the hill towards his destiny; let the chips fall where they may. She would either come to love him, or she would not but one thing was clear; it was not his to control.

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365 Ficlets – #43 ~ “Sleepless…”

I have not been sleeping, and Sara has been asking me why. I lie awake at night, just looking at her trying to work out how she can still sleep next to me after what I did to her. And then I get out of bed and I go to make coffee and I try to tell myself that if she can forgive me then maybe I should too.

When she finally woke up we learned the truth. Her doctors were not able to explain it, but something had happened in the crash and even though there was no visible trauma Sara woke up blind. She was only in hospital for a week in the end, but Louise came and stayed with us for a month after she was released. I still had to work and Sara needed to have someone around.

So in the middle of the night, while I am drinking my coffee and wishing I could smoke, what I am really doing is looking for any tiny way for me to escape the guilt that I feel for her blindness. I know that she would be angry with me if she knew what I was doing, but she would be angrier if she knew I was lying to her about my insomnia.

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This Ficlet was written on the day, but posted to this blog at a later date, due to time pressures – if you don’t believe me check on Ficlets.com by clicking on the link above.