Imperfect Recall

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Roger Bulltot for the prompt.

If anyone enjoys this enough to want to investigate further, my books are free on Kindle for the next few days.

Don’t Carp Marley Tiffin (UK)
Don’t Carp, Marley Tiffin (US)
Rose-Tinted Rifle Sites (UK)
Rose-Tinted Rifles Sites (US)


-What’s up, boss? The missus playing away again.

-Tourist season again.

-I’ll have make small talk with Americans who think they’ve got Celtic roots.

-Think of the TripAdvisor reviews.

-And when the hand towels get stuck in the dispenser again, who’d’you think they’ll get to yank them out?

-So you’ve got a knack.


-And the National Trust’ll take this place off your hands if it gets too much.

-Nah, Camelot’s in my blood.

-That’s the spirit, Arthur.

-Only when you said I’d come back when my country needed me most, I didn’t expect to be running the gift shop.



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Sculpture Vulture

This is a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers submission. Thanks to Jade M. Wong for the photographic prompt.

If anyone enjoys this enough to want to explore further, my books will be free on Kindle from 30th August:

Rose-Tinted Rifle Sites (UK)

Rose-Tinted Rifle Sites (US)
Don’t Carp, Marley Tiffin (UK)
Don’t Carp, Marley Tiffin (US)


John grunted, his body contorted unnaturally around the talc-dusted laser beams. He flicked his eyes towards the sculpture they’d come to steal,
“Who’d be after something like this?”
Rob hissed. “Russian oligarch. More money than sense.”
“It’s just a bit of papier-mâché.”
Rob sighed. He’d been hearing comments like this ever since they broke into the gallery. “It’s a commentary…on something or other

John’s features took on a wistful look in the half-light, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“His late period’s more nuanced.”
Sirens interrupted the impromptu art appreciation session. Rob checked his watch. He thought he’d worked the timing out. 
The door broke open. “Freeze,” demanded a voice, tired, irritated at being called out to deal with rich men’s problems. Rob looked over at John, nodded.
“Do it,” he said, as the police charged into his room.
John reached into his pocket, threw a look of surprise, as Rob had known he would. An officer took aim, fired. Rob watched his companion fall, letting the plastic daffodil drop as he did; it would be difficult to conceive of a more powerful indictment of the perils of authority. As he felt the handcuffs close around his wrist, Rob checked to see that the whole episode had been filmed. With his record, he’d be looking at a few years inside, but once Goldsmiths saw the video, they’d be sure to look favourably on his application.



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Shakes Pier’s Globe

This is a Friday Fictioneers  submission for 25th August. The title wasn’t my first choice, but I coulDn’t resist a pun. Thanks to Jan Wayne fields for the prompt (which I seem not to be able to upload).

‘Here it comes again,’ Piers thought, as the floor shook. Around him flew huge snowflakes, the size of crows, stinging as they struck. The fairytale Bavarian castle behind threatened to collapse but, as always, remained resolutely intact.

Later, after it had all abated, he crept forward to see if there’d been a breach in the wall which penned him in. But was nothing; there never was. He returned to his position, trying not to look at the myriad identical snow globes on the shelves around him.
He should never have ignored the ‘do not touch’ sign in the gift shop.


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Inclined to protest

This is a quick bit of flash in response to A Scribblers challenge to write a story from the point of view of an inanimate object. Whilst my own version of the object in question is gathering dust in my garage, I’m not sure if it strictly counts as inanimate but I hope you’ll make allowances. If not, the following Link will lead you to what is, at least in part, a musical celebration of the inspiration for this story.


Because he turns me on in his Lycra shorts, he thinks he can walk all over me. He’s right, as well; he knows exactly what buttons he needs to push to get me in a spin. And if he’s honest, he’ll admit that it’s down to me that he’s lost the love handles. But then, he’s a man and men never give credit where it’s due. The treadmill’s lot is a thankless one.
I realise it’s ridiculous that a state of the art piece of exercise equipment should find her circuits aflutter at the sight of a paunchy middle-manager but, as the stationary bike is wont to point out, it was inevitable that as soon as someone invented artificial intelligence that artificial vacuity would follow. Though, in fairness to me, there is something about him. He wipes me down after he’s done, for one thing, and he eschews the ghastly europop that most of my punters seem to favour. Of course, the jazz music he prefers makes it difficult for him to work up any sort of rhythm, but it at least it means he’s gentle with me, and not so disgustingly sweaty as the others.
In the time we’ve known one another, my feelings have only grown stronger. My love, alas, seems to barely register me at all. For four months each year, as the post-holiday inertia takes hold, I hardly see him at all, but every January, like clockwork, he’s back and my one-sided animal-mineral passion resumes.
At times, I’ve caught him making eyes at the weight bench, though mostly he restricts his gaze to the undulating behinds of the ladies in the front row. As his physical condition improves, the owners of said behinds occasionally return his interest but I put paid to that with a simple adjustment of my speed or incline, ensuring the return of those pounds I’ve helped him shed, making him repellent to humans all over again.  
By now, he’s completely dependent on me. I’m sure we could have something special if only he’d realise what’s under his nose three days a week, January to November, if he’s not doing paintball. The stationary bike always that a relationship without communication is doomed without failure but I know of husbands and wives who haven’t spoken to one another for years. Our love goes beyond words: I flash my diodes, he grunts appreciatively; to expect anything more would be greedy.
Only, lately I’ve had some real competition. There’s a women who’s taken to flirting with him. To the untrained ear, her wittering would sound innocuous, but there’s a subtext to the talk of squat thrusts and bench presses that even the stationary bike has noticed. It’s not something I can allow to happen, a treadmill should never let herself be passed over in favour of a dumb belle. Options are limited, however. I’ve tried doubling my speed every time she sets her garish size fours on me, but, rather than put her off, it’s left her with the sort of healthy glow that paunchy middle-managers find hard to resist. Downing tools won’t work either; if I simply refuse to operate when she approaches, I’ll be sent to Kettering for ‘refurbishment’. I’ve no idea what that involves but the stationary claims he was a Raleigh Banana until he went there.  
Last week, I thought I’d successfully warned her off; a sudden judder in the middle of her warm down-‘unintentional’, naturally-left her with a sprained ankle. It should have put her out of commission for weeks, but, I’d forgotten about the sauna. Love, alas, would seem to have blossomed amidst the fug of frazzled sweat anachronistic faux-Nordic decor. They’ve arranged a rendezvous at the juice bar, though tragically, for her at least, it’ll never go ahead. My last play might be a little nuclear, but I know it’ll work. The next time the bitch sets foot on me, I’ve primed myself to short circuit and send several thousand volts through those exquisitely toned calves of hers. Some may call it futile, but for me it’s a dignified act of hari kari. Once I’m done with my rival, there’ll be nothing left of me for the finest minds in Kettering to refurbish. It’ll be a small price to pay. As I look down from the great gymnasium in the sky, I’ll know that even if I didn’t get my man, I made damn sure that no one else did.

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Trunk Call

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Kent Bonham for the prompt. 

As an aside, can anyone explain the following. Pretentious brits (amongst whose number I reside) frequently adopt a quasi-Teutonic prononunciation of Volkswagen, pronouncing the ‘w’ as a ‘v’ to create a ‘volksvargan’. Taken to extremes, they should be pronouncing the actual ‘v’ as an ‘f’ and speaking of ‘folksvargens’. They never do, though and I was wondering if anyone knew why.


Trunk, boot, whatever you want to call it: Limey Phil had been riding his luck too long. He knew he should never have done business with Tony but he’d still been shocked when Sal and Dino turned up at the shop. He’d try to sweet talk his way out of it, of course, blame his supplier but it wouldn’t work. He’d disrespected the Don. When he’d sold Tony the VW, he’d promised him the nitrous oxide admissions met government standards and these days no self-respecting mafioso can take a challenge to his green credentials and let it go.


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Roof, Estranger, Then Friction

This is a quick  Sunday photo fiction submission. Thanks to Mike Vore for the prompt.

Dave and Christine had been together for as long as any of us could remember. They got married straight out of high school and moved into a house they bought with a loan from her dad. Over the years, the rest of us would couple and uncouple, but they always stayed rock solid. Weird thing was, it wasn’t like they’d argue any less than the rest of us. He had a drink problem; she was an inveterate shopaholic. Many’s the time they’d have a blazing row at the rugby club, she turned up in a skintight Gucci body stocking paid and he’d made a pass at the president’s wife. Come next morning, they’d be holding hands again. It took us a while to notice that every time they’d have a falling out, another slate would fall off their roof. By the time they’d had their silver wedding anniversary, their house was more or less open to the elements but they were still loved up; over the same timeframe, I’d been through two marriages and several polytunnels of petrol station flowers.
I decided I’d look them up not long ago, expecting to find them, silver haired and bickering but still in love. You can imagine my surprise when I found Dave living alone in an immaculate house.

“What happened?” I asked when I’d overcome my shock.
“Won big on the gee gees,” he replied, “Thought I’d pay for some home improvements. How was I to know she’d go off with the builder?”


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If I Could Turn Back Time

This is a Sunday photo fiction story. Thanks to AMixedBag for the prompt. Apologies for the title, but a pun didn’t feel appropriate.

Stills frowns, “It’s smaller than I expected.

“The inventor looks like he’s fighting back the urge to say something cutting. Good call, thinks Stills; it’s never a good idea to get lippy with the paymasters. “It needs to be inconspicuous at the other end.”

“I see,” nods Stills, “I’d’ve thought a time machine would need to be bigger.”
“We can do a lot with nanotechnology these days,” said the inventor, leaning over the console, “So, where will you be going?”
“Munich,” says Stills.
The inventor doesn’t bother to conceal his distaste for the predictability of the answer, “What year?”
“Before the Beer Hall Putsch?”
“Before Goebbels had a chance to create the Hitler myth.”
The inventor smiles noncomittally, “You’re the boss.”

“That I am,” says Stills, pulling the knife from the pocket of his greatcoat. 

The inventor looks unimpressed, “You’re going to use that to kill Hitler?”

Stills shakes his head, “Who said anything about killing Hitler?” He says, driving the knife into the other man’s chest, “I’m going to offer my services. Imagine what the badtard’d’ve accomplished with a proper spin doctor.”


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