FOLIO Flash Fiction Competition 2020 Winner
I Kissed Paul McCartney by Sally Jenkins
“I kissed Paul McCartney.”
Chantelle pauses, mid-pierce, over the plastic lasagne. For a moment she thinks I’ve said something interesting. Then she remembers her client is a seventy-one-year-old dementia victim and plunges the fork in again.
“They played Sutton Coldfield just once. February 1963, Maney Hall.” I talk quickly, Chantelle has only twenty minutes. “I was fourteen and he was …” The artificial food twirls in the microwave. Chantelle strokes her phone. The word is simultaneously on the tip of my tongue and in the unreachable basement of my mind. “… not ugly.” The words aren’t right but the meaning’s there.
Chantelle shoves her phone into her overall pocket.
“Their first song wasn’t great.” The song title floats where I can’t reach it. “My friend Sheila was happy to drink orange juice and wait to be asked to dance but I got a pass-out and ran to the Horse and Jockey for a vodka and lemon. Underage didn’t matter then.”
Chantelle’s expression says she’s not listening and even if she was, she wouldn’t believe me.
“When I got back the Beatles were loading their blue Commer. I held the back door of the hall for them. ‘Thanks, love,’ Paul said. He went to kiss my cheek but I turned my head and we kissed on the lips.”
It’s nearly time for Chantelle to leave.
“John Lennon told him to hurry up because they had to get to Tamworth.”
“And pigs might fly.” The front door bangs behind my carer.
FOLIO Flash Fiction Competition Highly Commended entries
Scout Jamboree by Derek Lever
I’m standing by the Jamboree Stone in Sutton Park waiting for Robert. My mind raced back to August 1957 when we first met – he from Tennessee and me from Bolton, Lancashire.
Robert and I spent as much time together as possible, stealing away from our respective activities and just enjoying each other’s company. This was strange really as we came from different continents, backgrounds and upbringings. Was it fate? Apart from being scouts, we had much in common – what this was I never bottomed out and I don’t know now.
We swapped badges and addresses, his 1909 Grey Hills Drive, Nashville and we have corresponded for 62 years. We have never met again, but this will change in a few minutes. I am excited but nervous. He is bringing Tracey, his partner whom I guess is his wife though he never much mentioned her. I have never been married but three lovers have been and gone, Tristram being the last. I have never felt able to disclose my love life.
Suddenly, I see him. My God, he’s wheelchair bound, being pushed by Tracey, a sprightly, fair-skinned, handsome much younger man than either of us.
It’s a shock to my whole being. Unlike the scout motto, I was not prepared. Robert’s face shows he isn’t either. Life for him must have been even harder than mine – a black American with a white male partner.
“We made it,” exclaimed Robert, holding arms outstretched.
“That we did,” I reply, fighting back tears.
Hunting Deer in Sutton Park by Margaret Lever
“Keep your head down Highness. In truth we are down-wind of the herd and hidden, but they are cautious creatures and fleet of hoof.”
The small band of hunters moved stealthily through the coppice and heath, circling the Driffold where the deer had corralled. Among the men was the young son of the monarch. This was to be Prince Edward’s first visit to the Deer Park and it was to be his initiation at the kill. It was inconceivable he should return to London without a blooding and he had much to live up to fulfil his father’s expectations.
The young prince could scarcely breathe. The beauty of the deer touched his soul and, as he watched, he felt a deep joy. He sensed their deep, natural peace and he was overwhelmed with compassion for these graceful animals. He prayed that the kill would be swift and painless. To fail was to deny His Liege the pride of knowing his son and successor was a man of skill and courage.
He drew his bow resolutely and waited for the moment……
“Keep your head down, sweetheart. These muntjac deer are so timid that if we frighten them they won’t return today. Then you won’t get your shot.”
Charlie held close to his grandma’s side and watched as the two beautiful deer grazed just metres from his hiding place. He was careful not to take his eyes from them as he steadily raised his phone and waited for the moment………..
Sutton Coldfield vs Birmingham by Mohammed Rizwan
It took inter-county searching to find the right colour.
I watch in gustatory satisfaction as the rapid drying spray paint coats the “The Royal Town of”. When they awake tomorrow morning, the pretentious Sutton Coldfielders will know Birmingham is bigger and better in every way.
I leap over the flower beds and move away from the roundabout to my car but the shiny new paint blinds me. I squint at the reflection of the headlights. A door opens before a car screeches to a halt. She is uncaringly loud as she marches through the flower beds, holding a coruscating bottle, which she swings onto the sign and rubs furiously. Black letters begin to appear. I pound to the roundabout and grab her arms and separate them, shouting,
“Aargh!” She screams. “Never! We’ll never be part of Birmingham!” We both freeze when powerful lights hit us in the face; I imagine our silhouettes have blocked out the sign totally. PC Mallet emerges slowly, holding cuffs in both hands.
“I’ve had enough of this, Mr and Mrs Wyndham. I’m arresting you both for vandalism and breaching the peace.”
She cuffs us to each other and says, looking at them, “I hope this reminds you of the good times in your marriage.”
As we trudge towards the car, I know that there were no good times. They were all faked because the man she truly loved, loves, lives here, in Sutton Coldfield, and a mere Brummie was never her equal.