Physical Geography

Competition Twelve Shortlisted: Physical Geography by


My first day at the office. I’m the new boy, eager to learn the lie of the land.



‘I’ll show you around,’ Georgia says, her blouse gaping with a gorge of cleavage.



Georgia makes me stay late. She’s fast and dangerous and her report stays unfinished.



No ‘eyes across the office’, no leaning over her shoulder to help with a spreadsheet.



Georgia says I’m the best intern she’s had.



Obviously she still has to sleep with her husband sometimes.



Her daughter doesn’t like sharing. Meeting ‘by coincidence’ at Costa is a mistake.



‘You can never leave me,’ she says. ‘Not if you’re hoping to go permanent.’



She starts sloping off early, after giving me mountains of extra work.



She uses my laptop and sees I’m applying for other jobs.



Anya is our new intern. While she showers, I message Georgia to resign.





Chris Cottom lives near Macclesfield and is a escaped insurance copywriter (Key Features of Your Stakeholder Transfer Plan), Harrods handbag seller and Christmas hamper packer. He won the 2021 Retreat West Flash Fiction Prize, was the People’s Choice Winner of the 2022 LoveReading Very Short Story Award, and in the early 1970s lived next door to JRR Tolkien.


Photo by Josh Schwartzman at flickr



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