Once again, dear loyal reader, I apologise for the lack of recent activity on this blog. An update is very much overdue.
Rest assured, this does not mean I have been idling away the hours sipping gin and tonic and enjoying this unexpectedly pleasant spell of UK weather, (well maybe a few of the hours have been spent in this way…!) I have been busy trying to keep up with my self-imposed New Year’s target of submitting (mainly flash fictions) at least four times a month, and so far this year I have met or exceeded that target each month, so I am pleased with that progress. I’ve certainly found that having a (fairly modest) goal to work towards, that I can easily visualise on my submission log sheet is working well for me! Maybe I will need to re-evaluate for 2019 to up the ante a little.
I’ve had one or two successes over the last couple of months, and as anyone who follows me over on Twitter will surely know by now, the most exciting of these for me was getting a micro fiction into the National Flash Fiction Day 2018 anthology. You can read it here! The physical copy of the anthology can be purchased here! (Free if you have Kindle unlimited but the paper copy is so much nicer and there are some wonderful flashes in there).
A story I wrote called The Pickle Jar was published in issue 9 of the Cabinet of Heed, who were brilliant to work with. I hope to send them something again in the not too distant future. I’ve had a couple of acceptances for other flash pieces which you will also see online over the next few months.
More recently, I had fun entering The July Furious Flash Fiction contest, run by the Australian Writers Centre. It was quite a challenge coming up with something to fit the prompts with only 55 hours to think about it, and if the resulting story I came up with was a little rough round the edges, my excuse is that I submitted it only ten minutes before the deadline. (The story had to begin with a question, include the words ‘jungle,’ ‘jackpot,’ and ‘jam’ and end with the word BANG, all within 500 words). Sadly I did not win the $500 Australian dollar prize, but that won’t put me off entering again if possible for the August contest, which opens on the 3rd August.
If anyone is still reading, I thought I’d share my entry here as not sure what else to do with it! Any thoughts would be very much welcomed.
Pushing The Button
“You ready for the big push eh Jim? Not long now!”
Jim looked at his watch. Only thirty minutes remained until the Sparkhall Flat complex would be demolished, destroyed, gone forever. It had been a long time coming and Jim had overseen a lot of demolition jobs in his time, but this one was personal and he couldn’t help feeling a little sad about it. He’d always wondered if this job might come his way, yet when it did, it hadn’t seemed quite like the jackpot win he’d thought it would.
“Sure. Be glad to get this job over and done with.” This was true, but not for the reasons Barry was probably imagining. “You hold the fort Baz, I’m going to walk the perimeter one last time,” Jim said picking up his torch.
“I’ve done that boss; all the guys are in position. There’s no way anything’s got past ‘em.”
“I just need to check everything myself. Can’t afford any mistakes.”
Jim put on his hard hat and jogged down the steps of the portakabin that had served as his office for the last seven months. Folks were frequently surprised to learn how much time and logistical arrangements went into setting up a demolition of this size. There had been the usual issues with protesters and those that wanted the flats to be given listed building status, but most of the public agreed the place was an eyesore and that redevelopment was not viable. The council had plans for this part of the city, and they didn’t include making space for a couple of decaying concrete tower blocks from the sixties.
As he walked the edge of the exclusion zone, Jim swept the beam of his torch from side to side, checking for anything out of place. He reached the front of the first tower, and his light fell upon the jungle of weeds which had sprung up through the cracked paving slabs since the buildings had been abandoned. He allowed his beam to travel up the face of the tower, up to the eighth floor and across to the right a little. There it was. The little balcony that he had stood upon so often as a child, looking over the city and wishing he could fly off it and away, away from the chaos in the flat behind him and never have to come back. He’d managed it eventually, although at what cost? He’d left her behind and for that he could never forgive himself.
Jim reached into his inside pocket and took out the creased photograph he’d carried in his wallet for the last thirty years. He swallowed back the emotion that threatened to overwhelm him and headed back to the office.
The crowd were counting down. The moment was at hand. A fleeting hope that the button might jam and the demolition fail crossed Jim’s mind. There was no turning back now.
“This one’s for you sis,” he whispered as he pushed the button.