“We could sit there?” She points tentatively at a cafe table facing the busy market square.
He heads for their usual unpopulated corner. Following obediently, she glimpses a hanging cobweb. At its centre, a desiccated corpse spins slowly.
She watches him suck his drink dry and plans her escape.
Viv Burgess wrote this story.
Visiting a dark church, I notice a bowed head in the front pew, haloed with rainbows from stained-glass saints in leaded windows. I respect his need for peace and soulful prayer.
Quietly tiptoeing to the altar, a sidelong glance reveals his cupped hands radiating light, and that he is texting.
Viv Burgess likes writing, it’s the thinking that is troublesome.
Grandpa’s pain stops with his heart. Amid brilliant white light and the fury of a whirlwind, he is lifted and flies rejoicing to God.
He wakes joyously. “Lord, I’m saved!”
His angel smiles. “Only just. It’s a miracle you got to hospital in time. We had to send a helicopter.”
Viv Burgess says her inspiration has been absent without leave, and she is not a-mused.
On my last day I prepared a fabulous dessert, as my ex sat in the restaurant, his bottled blonde nibbling at lettuce with perfect lips. Whipped cream, crushed toffee, smoothest ice cream, and tiny crystals of sugar-like glass frosting. Irresistible!
As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Viv Burgess suggests you do not try this at home.
By the canal, she watches the drake’s savage courtship of his chosen mate, beak gripping the struggling duck’s neck.
Incensed, the woman tries and fails to loosen the male’s stranglehold.
“Bully!” she says.
“You can’t change nature, darling. Coming?”
She feels his strong hand caress her nape, and pull gently.
Viv Burgess is a bit jaded post-Christmas. Too many mince pies and not enough writing.
For ten years Penelope weaves her tapestry daily, unpicking it nightly, while Odysseus, tossed by tide and fortune, struggles to reach home.
Landing, he slaughters her besieging suitors.
She’s furious. “Where have you been?”
Bristling, he retorts, “Haven’t you finished that darned tapestry yet?”
It’s like he’s never been away.
Viv Burgess is finding the brain cell is flagging a bit these days. She obviously needs more tea and cake.
Alice bunks off school. Going home is safe with parents at work. Entering the hall, she hears something upstairs.
Venturing up, Alice opens the bedroom door.
A strange woman looks back, shocked. She wears too much makeup.
“Who are you?”
“Alice…” the woman says.
It’s her father’s voice.
Viv Burgess worries about the characters she has pushed into the deep end.
On our secret stream, not dippers or kingfishers today but miraculously, a white egret, delicately probing reeds so close we stand transfixed.
LOOK, THERE’S A DUCK. A woman drags her child past us.
The flash and blur of feathers leaves me bereft.
No, not a duck, I say. A regret.
Viv Burgess says this actually happened and is still in mourning for the lost moment.
Hey, Famine? Death here. Got your diary? What about the 17th?
No, it’s weight watchers on Tuesdays. Next Friday?
Darn! Forgot Plague is off sick until next month.
What about War?
Her diary’s always full. She’s usually out somewhere, dressed to kill.
Lord, looks like we’ll have to postpone. Again.
Viv Burgess got this idea from the usual 80-email marathons trying to arrange a date to meet with three other women friends.
Once, Harry’s big sister told him, “Earwigs creep into people’s ears at night.”
Nightmares followed of scuttling legs, tickling feelers.
Phobic, Harry took to wearing earplugs, his excuse the need for quiet nights.
Earplugs worked admirably and kept the insects out, but also, sadly, the buzzing of the fire alarm.
Viv Burgess is thinking of demanding a promotional fee as half her family and friends are now all writing 50 word stories – and to top it all, better than her own. It is giving her brain cell a good work out though, she says.