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The On-and-On Tin
Sean McSweeney
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“When she first arrived they said nothing to her, they just looked. An ordinary enough woman, halfway through her life perhaps … modest and respectful, but they were shocked at this female on her own… She said her village had been wiped out in a mudslide, she alone had survived… The gods favoured her, then? No, she said, just lucky.” (from Too Much Too Soon) Across twenty bite-size flash-fiction stories of no more than 500 words each, the reader can travel from Pre-Conquest Latin America to Post-Catastrophe Britain; or see inside the mind of Don Quixote’s horse and the mind of an impatient would-be suicide bomber; or meet the mythological character who delights in other people’s dilemmas and the woman who decided not to tell the world about her supernatural experiences. Perhaps you will find the answer to questions you never thought to ask: What was the real effect of The Great Plague? And how did British cities end up with such woeful transport provision? If you get annoyed when others try to tell you what to feel, you’ll sympathise with Jeffery in “Che Bello!” And if some people just leave you exhausted but you don’t understand why, you’ll sympathise with Eddie in “Is This a Law of Thermodynamics?”
The She-Lord and Her Tailor
Cherry Potts
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A fairy tale for adults and older children, in which a tailor meets a very large cat, and tries to sell her some clothes.
Sand
Kate Mitchell
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"I killed my little brother. When he was two, and I was six, I crept into his bedroom and suffocated him with a pillow while he slept. ‘No you didn’t, Nadine,’ said my mother, ‘It’s a dream.’ ‘It’s a dream about guilt,’ my psychiatrist said, patting me on the knee. ‘You mustn’t blame yourself, my dear, it wasn’t your fault.’ On Tuesdays, I go to the Community Clinic for my weekly meeting with parents who are thought to present a risk to their children. Publicly, it’s called a ‘parents’ support group’ so they have a cover story when they come into reception. But these mums and dads are under no illusions; they watch me scribbling notes and know my risk assessment will dictate their future. If they give the right response, the courts may grant them a family life; the wrong answers and they won’t see their children again; something in between and they could get one afternoon a fortnight at a contact centre where, corralled by cuddly toys, they will try to engage their little strangers in a parody of play, under the watchful eye and busy pen of a social worker. While this process grinds slowly forward, the children who are being protected will metamorphose into sullen teenagers with unmet needs who will probably follow the pattern of their parents, having children of their own who will be in need of protection; and the cycle will start again..."
Checking Out
dc lauf
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If the public don't have the discipline to watch what they put into their mouths then the state is just going to have to do it for them... "The lines are always long but no one ever complains about that. It’s to be expected. After all, this service is provided by the government. More than that, it’s for our own good.I shuffle along in the queue. The girl behind the plexi-glass window sees me out the corner of her eye and continues to monitor her customer’s products but I know she is thinking about me. The way she purses her lips gives away her disgust. The buzzer sounds and customer 4572 inserts his card into the payment slot. No unauthorised items. His units are deducted, his items are dispatched into suitable biodegradable packaging and off he goes. Relief obvious on his jowly face."
Erratics
Derek Neale
£1.29 Added
'The habit started when he was seven. A ball, thrown hard and long and with unforgiving inaccuracy by his father, was not retrieved from a neighbour's garden.'
The Dollar
Tim Kelly
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One dollar! It is an insult. I won’t pay, I tell you, I won’t...
We Apologise for the Delay
Cherry Potts
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Aliens on the Underground... London Transport would like to apologise for the delay on the Central line this morning. This is due to the discovery of a nest of… um… The message clicked uncertainly into hissing. The listening intensity of the passengers increased as they waited, but the driver did not continue. Ade closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable explanation. A couple of lanky adolescents in school blazers eyed each other and started giggling. ‘Nazis?’ said the redhead ‘Vipers?’ responded the blond, although they both knew what had been found. The train idled a few more feet into the tunnel.
Late Home
Trevor Millum
£1.59 Added
A husband waits for his wife to return home. He is cross because she's late and he needs the car but - perhaps there's a good reason that she is late home...

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