Perfect Family Tales And Other Trivia

The art of the short-story writer is that of the cartoonist. It is the magical craft of creating entire worlds with a few simple strokes of a pen. Tales told by an idiot? Maybe! But my tales are also a mix of reality and fantasy; truth and lies; some based on my own family; others, not. Readers must guess which characters are real; who are inventions - and who are an amalgam of both. Please draw the boundaries for yourself.

Monday, 23 April 2012

‘Hideous Laughter’

Lydia had suffered another sleepless night.

“Sorry, I can’t face another day at work.”

“Don’t then,” said Ralph.  “We’ll manage.  Go in, clear your desk and leave.”

But when she arrived at Birnam Wood Bathrooms, Lydia almost  dissolved in tears.

Mac, the recently, most mysteriously promoted office manager in ‘Taps and Tiles’ and his deputy, Beth were moving her desk out of the office.

“Lydia, ” he said  as though he were continuing a conversation. “Birnam is about to restructure and management is offering you a new role at Dunsinane.”

“Is that it, Mac? Perhaps I don’t want to move; maybe, if I’d arrived five minutes later  I wouldn’t have known about this until I opened my next pay slip.”

Mac and Beth exchanged glances and grinned.


“It doesn’t matter now,” added Lydia. “I’m leaving anyway. I was warned before I started here that Birnam’s a ‘hire’n’fire’ outfit but it’s been absolute hell.

“Never before have I met so many  unpleasant people gathered in one place. At home we call this site ‘the blasted heath’.”

“So why did you stay?”, demanded  Beth. “You’ve told us you don’t like our company and Lord knows, the feeling’s mutual.”

“Don’t think I’ve not looked for other work but I need modern skills as well as the money. I’d barely seen or used a computer until I came here. Remember, I was taken on because I can use a manual typewriter; something now considered a lost art.”

Mac and Beth thought this was a hoot. They  began  to laugh. It started as a low, simmering snigger which stirred, popped and thickened into a guffaw before climaxing in a cackle that almost knocked Lydia over.

“It’s O.K. I’ll leave now. No more recriminations.  Oh, Beth – Mac, just one thing:  I noticed a digital voice recorder lying on my old desk. It’s been left running. So if you don’t mind I’ll take it on a long-term loan,” said Lydia chucking it in her handbag.

“You never know, it may come in useful when we three meet again - at an employment tribunal. Good-bye!”

Natalie Wood

(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 23 April 2012)

* This story and the other below were inspired by Calum Kerr of National Flash Fiction Day. I was too tardy to meet his deadline so I instead offer two  contributions here. N.I.W.






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