Ed works in IT but tells his kids that he’s a lighthouse keeper. In 2007 he won the inaugural Ip-art Short Story contest and has been trying to capture that feeling ever since. He lives in Ipswich, Suffolk, and will do most things for a bag of marshmallows, preferably Rocky Mountain.
Ed won the 2014 Let’s Talk Short Story competition. Read his excellent (semi-autobiographical?!) winning entry, A Few May Yet Be Saved.
100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? Write, edit, cut. Be brutal. Rinse & repeat.
Why do you like flash fiction? One side of paper equals my attention span.
Been writing long? Fiction since 2007.
Any advice for other flash writers? Force the reader to figure out what’s going on.
Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? To paraphrase Steven Wright: “I’m writing a novella. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Mother Knows Bert
Mum’s right, of course, in her own unpredictable Nokia text speak. Lazy bones is exactly what I am. I should have popped round today to say hello and to talk about Col’s birthday. Unlucky lad had his Raleigh nicked last week and she wants me to find him a replacement on eBay.
THIS BILE. WHAT SHOULD I SAX?
Pay what you like, Mum. This 18 speed hybrid looks good, though. Auction ends later tonight and the current price is £40. I think it would be a steal at twice that.
OK. NAY 100 POUND. INCREASE MY AGE.
Struggling to come up with something original, Google told me that “jazz and three” was a slang term meaning “lazy and tired” harking back to the days of predictive text. Using the same method, I translated “age” to “bid” and thus had two completely different bookends for a story which then mostly wrote itself. If you don’t like the rules of the game, redefine them!
Miss Otis Has No Regrets
“Urban Design” reads the self-adhesive sign on the closing door. Beryl wonders what became of that polished brass “Planning” plaque which greeted her for 35 years. Jim probably pocketed it when he retired. He got golf clubs. She has Amazon vouchers.
“Don’t forget us, Beryl!”
I already have, she thinks, glancing down at the 5pm gridlock. Jim’s idea, that one-way system.
As usual, one lift is dead. Such a shame they removed the paternoster. “On you hop, it doesn’t stop!” was Jim’s catchphrase. In the lift door, Beryl catches herself blushing. Those up-and-over journeys passed into legend.
Inspired by my local council (there’s a phrase), I was aware that they had an “urban design” department. I remember going into the high rise civic centre as a kid and being gobsmacked at the paternoster, a perpetually moving lift. Then along came Beryl and a Cole Porter song.
George waves away her smoke and reaches for the ketchup. Sunlight bounces off the dog tag but the cat’s seen it all before.
“Mind your uniform, George.”
“You know me.”
He’s already changed his shirt after tidying last night’s empties and ashtrays.
“I made lunch.”
“George, you’re a saint. Your father would be…”
Her fingers trace the familiar embossing on the metal ID hanging from his neck: name, service number, blood group.
Glancing down, George sees his yolk submerged in red gloop.
“Mum, shut up and eat. You know what you’re like if you skip breakfast.”
“I know. I turn into a right dragon.”
That photo somehow brought to mind a badly fried egg. I imagined that the ketchup had been added by someone relatively young and learned from Wikipedia that St George had lost his father, a soldier, when he was just 14. So there’s poor modern-day George trying to coax his heartbroken mum through another day before heading off to school.
Live From The Foundation
First, a big hand for the caterers. What about those meatballs?!
My name’s Bob Hope. I’m no stranger to academy awards though I was a little surprised at your invitation. I guess these occasions can become a bore. Am I right, Niels?
I flew over today with Mr Oppenheimer there. That Enola Gay is so noisy, Bobby thinks he’s become deaf!
At the airport, I saw Werner Heisenberg. I think it was him. I can’t be certain.
On the road to Stockholm – tack – we broke down. Two hours we waited. Now I’m surrounded by mechanics!
Anyway, the winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics is… drum roll… Max Born!
Max Born introduced me to his physics buddies and the Nobel Prize, and it fell into place once Bob Hope agreed to compere.