on the tape

On the Tape by

She’d found an old videotape when she was getting the Christmas decorations out of the loft. She didn’t know what was on it, but she was determined to find out.

She didn’t own a video player – and couldn’t think of anyone who did – so she went online to see how she could go about getting the tape converted into a DVD. The process looked expensive and complicated, and she was worried that it might get damaged in transit. What if there was something important on that tape? What if it contained footage from when her children were babies? She couldn’t afford to risk losing something as precious as that.

While out running errands one morning, she came across a shop that had dozens of televisions stacked on top of each other in the window. Some of them even had built-in video players. She couldn’t believe her luck.

She tried the door, but it was locked, so she cupped her hands on the glass and peered through the window to see what was going on in there. She couldn’t see anyone inside. It looked like a dead end. Then this man with grey hair and broad shoulders came out of the shop. God, he was tall.

She said hello to the man and told him that she happened to be passing when she noticed the televisions in the window. She explained that she’d recently come across an old videotape but didn’t know what was on it. Then she asked the man if it would be all right if she used one of his TVs to find out what was on the tape.

He said that would be okay and asked if she had the tape on her. She said she didn’t but that she could run home and get it. He said that’d be just fine.

She went home to get the tape and brought it straight back to the man’s shop. He invited her inside and made her a cup of black coffee with one sugar. While she sat and drank her coffee, the man plugged one of his old TVs in and set it all up so that it was good to go.

She gave him the tape, and he put it in the video player. A few adverts played before an episode of Gladiators came on. Her husband must have taped it all those years ago. He was always doing stuff like that.

The man double-checked the tape just to be sure. There was nothing else on it: no footage of her children, no footage of her now-deceased husband. She thanked the man for taking a look for her and asked what she owed him for his trouble. He said there’d be no charge. He was happy to do it for her.

She was glad to have found out what was on that tape. But she was also glad to have found something else that day – something she didn’t even know she was looking for.






Thomas Morgan is a writer from Worthing in West Sussex. His stories have appeared in Dream Catcher Magazine, STORGY, Loft Books, Bandit Fiction, Idle Ink, Untitled: Voices, Fairlight Books, Sledgehammer Lit, and Truffle Magazine.





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