smoke1

Competition One Shortlisted: The lists this woman could write if her scoundrel dad hadn’t smoked away all her money for pencils by

Shopping (if only)

Soap that smells of lavender and patchouli, makes skin creamy

A satin dress, matching gloves. The colour of crabapple jelly

New bedsheets – NOT WHITE!

Coal (for burning old sheets, hah)

Bread, pillowy soft with crusts so crunchy and chewy your jaw gets stronger from eating it. Fancy crabapple jelly now…

Potatoes, enough to stretch a tummy until bursting. Desperate to try mash, a golden river oozing

Butter

Eggs, all double yolkers. Make the boy eat them for breakfast, serve him right

Meat, crispy glistening goose already roasted. Warm grease sticking to the inside of cheeks, taste lasts for days. Comes with a tidy-upper

Fizzy cider, doesn’t matter so much what it tastes like, just want to feel dizzy and numb

One chocolate bar, no need to share. Shiny ticket tucked inside, no need to tell anyone

 

Shopping (actual)

Red cabbage

White cabbage

Tobacco Tobacco

Tap shoes for Dad now he’s miraculously able to dance a fucking jig

 

To do (tomorrow)

Scrub floors, double scrub by bed

Boil tobacco stains out of sheets

Boil the grandads’ pants

Boil cabbages

Boil head

Shift 12-6

Darn boy’s socks

Sew hole in his coat elbow

Sew mouth shut if Dad mentions trip one more time

Find scarf, in case factory’s chilly

Weekly long john rotation

Grandmas first in bath this week

Clear gutters

Sweep step

Mournful musical number that thrusts everyone else’s story forward

 

To do (maybe one day)

Sit down

Try hot chocolate, want a whipped cream moustache

Find first name

See the sea

Breathe deeply, smell grass

Be touched without expectation. A foot rub, long strong fingers. A palm cradling a cheek

Fly like a bird – maybe grow feathers

Stop tending

Have a magical experience

Or just a magical invite

Or a regular invite

 

To anywhere

 

 


 

Martha Lane started writing flash in April when she was bored shielding. Since then she has been longlisted, shortlisted and had acceptances with Bandit Fiction, Perhappened Mag, Palm-sized Press, Reflex Fiction and more. She is working on a very unusual novella in between looking after her young family and stomping along the North East coastline.

@poor_and_clean

 

Photo – Smoke by Centophobia

 

 

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