Very short stories #20

Now that I don’t have a daily train journey, I’m missing out on around an hour of reading time each day. So unfortunately I’m reviewing far fewer books these days. Just three since my last post:

The Palace of Lost Memories by C. J. Archer
Brass Legionnaire by Daniel Ottalini
The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

(I have absolutely no idea what’s happened to the time I used to spend commuting: it doesn’t feel like I have more time…)

Other than that, I’m still working on The Diamond Device and brainstorming a few ideas for my next project.

Here are a few more very short stories from January.


The detective disapprovingly inspected the brothel. “And there’s the victim.”
“Obviously taken unawares. No signs of a struggle.”
“The limpness, the languor—”
“Sir! That’s, uh, a deflated blow-up doll.”


In a ruined shelter, the old tutor gave the pot a final stir. He sadly raised the spoon to his lips. Desperation made savages of men.
The fibrous mass stuck in his throat.
He tried to swallow, but Tolstoy won.
The remaining book pages fluttered freely in the breeze.


“Yes, abbot?”
“Did you not agree to abjure worldly pleasures when you joined us?”
“Yet I find an entire bar of chocolate under your bed.”
“What can I say, abbot? The yearning remains.”
“Well… just make sure you leave me a piece too.”


After you move out, son, don’t forget the usual rigmarole. Register to vote at your new address, and buy lightproof blinds. Most importantly, get your basement tunnel dug out by an itinerant worker: someone who won’t be missed.


When the alien craft landed, there was widespread panic. People fled for the hills.
A matronly shriek rose over the cacophony. “Mr Fluffy, let go of the green man’s leg at once! You don’t know where it’s been!”
And thus the resistance began.


“We could always…” You lick your lips and wave at the bed. “I need you.”
“Just say it straight,” I snap. “None of these hint games.”
Your shoulders slump. “Please will you help me get rid of this corpse?”
I grin. “See? All you had to do was ask.”


Arn squirmed. Too much coffee earlier.
The tutor concluded, “To show extra heroic panache, use a catchphrase. Examples?”
A hand shot up. “Shaken, not stirred!”
“Do you feel lucky?”
“Well done!”
Arn headed for the restroom, muttering, “I’ll be back.”

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