Tag: flash fiction

Kick Them Out

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‘Kick her out,’ the man boomed. Stefan knew that Jonny always was determined to get his voice heard. ‘Just do it. Simple as…’

Stefan turned from Jonny’s piercing unstable gaze, smoothed his first ever goatee and shuffled a little in his position perched against a table. No way was he going to do as Jonny said, just because Jonny said it. Not only was Heather a fantastic player, when Jonny’s skills were definitely taking a downward turn, but Stefan also reckoned there might be a chance of a romance developing, if he played his cards right.

‘It’s not as simple as that. I reckon we’ve got to give her a chance. Having her on the team is awesome. She’s awesome. It can’t be easy being the only girl on the Under 18s. All the footballers. All the hormones!’ Stefan began a laugh, but stifled it after he noticed Jonny’s expression. The thug had jutted out his jawline and pelvis simultaneously, looking like a letter C in the making. He exhaled as he jutted.

‘Kick her out. It’s easy. Get it done,’ Jonny demanded once again, scratching an itchy patch stimulated by his pelvic jutting.

‘But think about it, Jonny. Why? She’s a miracle in motion. She’s like a terrier the way she gets the ball.’

‘She’s good to look at, Stefan, but she can’t shoot!’ Jonny’s cheeks and forehead glowed.

‘You can’t shoot either, Jonny. At any rate, she’s a defender, and she’s little and strong and wiry. She’s brilliant and she’s been through the same trial period you all have. She’s good at what she does, and the rest of the team like her too. So, no way is she getting sacked. Coach agrees. She’s one of our best assets. ’

Stefan, the club’s assistant coach for the past seven months, was beginning to regret his decision to continue this role till the end of the season, for he suspected that Jonny Hart would make his life miserable till he got his way. But he’d no intention of letting Heather go. She was 17, and he was only 18 himself. He liked her. He more than liked her. He admired her. More than that too – she made his ankles tremble.

‘Have it your own way, Stefan. But I’ll tell you this. You’re letting all this power go to your head. Coach should no way have given you the team selection job. No doubt about it. You’ll see, when it comes back to bit you on the arse.’

Jonny stormed from the clubhouse, virtually colliding with Heather on the way in.

‘Look what you’ve done!’ Jonny shouted, and Heather apologised, though clearly no apology was necessary.

‘What’s up with him?’ she said as she neared Stefan. ‘What did I do?’

‘Nothing, Heather. With him it’s enough if other people just live.’

Heather pushed her floppy red fringe behind her ear. ‘I’ve worked that one out.’

She cleared her throat. ‘Coach has just given me the tickets for the club dance. I’m to sell them to all the age groups and supporters. Twenty pounds each. You want any?’

Holding out the pile of tickets, Heather sat herself on the edge of the table opposite Stefan and manouvered into a cross-legged position. Stefan watched her thigh muscles twitch and flex and his gaze carried down her leg to the purple football socks, and matching boots. Her calves were tremendous – so well defined that he could trace the shape even through the thick ribbing.

Feeling sure that Heather must have noticed him staring at her lower half, Stefan attempted to look away, to move his body, or to even answer her question – anything but continue the awkward silence and the feeling that she surely must be perceiving him as nothing more than a pervert. But his awkwardness had meant that he failed to notice the very things that would have made him feel better. Heather was looking back at him with a warm smile, she was crinkling her eyes, and she was playing with her carroty fringe. Her head cocked to one side, she had no sooner got herself settled on the table, than she was already moving towards Stefan, with a tiny, nervous giggle.

‘Stefan, I want to ask you something.’

‘Sure. Anything,’ he spluttered as she extracted a ticket from the pile in her hand.

‘Fancy coming with me?’

‘Sure. Anything,’ he repeated, shakily taking the ticket from her hand while attempting to control the tremble in his ankles. ‘I’ll pay, of course.’

Wow. Success with a lady at last, and a dynamic and beautiful sportswoman at that.

‘I’ll buy mine, you buy yours, OK? And, Stefan?’

‘Yes…’

‘Don’t you think that Jonny is becoming a liability? I think you should kick him out.’

Stefan couldn’t help but nod his head, and pull the young woman towards him, his hand gently crushing her purple and orange strip top while her hand snaked under his.

He would go to the dance, and he would sack Jonny Hart, and both activities would be extremely beneficial for the team’s success. They wouldn’t do him any harm either.

#meredithschumann #author #authors #fiction #shortstory #shortstories #football #flashfiction #soccer

Capybara

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The zoo was too small and looked underfunded. Scruffy, even. And, to a person who is very torn about the whole issue of keeping animals in captivity, it hadn’t been my first choice for a day out. Still, we were on holiday, we were in a remote area, and there weren’t a huge number of other options for tourists. So, combined with the undoubted strength of ‘pester power’, the zoo it was.

We’d already encountered a few weird and wonderful creatures. The lemurs had been so close to us as they sat cross legged on the inner window ledge of their enclosure. At one point, eight were sat staring at us, but the core number was two. The same two. One was clearly a mum, and one her baby… The mum picked at her baby’s fur, and the baby fidgeted. It was an image of domestic bliss, till another lemur began to poke the mother in the eye. I hoped that the baby wouldn’t learn this abusive behaviour from its older enclosure mate, especially as the mother lemur seemed to allow the abuse. She didn’t retaliate, vocally protest or even move away. I was reminded of myself – not long out of an emotionally abusive relationship – and I shivered in distaste.

The zoo’s selection of monkeys was a small one, and we quickly tired of the bullying lemur, so moved on to the next section where a red panda, curled into a ball, was asleep atop a modified dovecote. We all agreed that the red panda was cute, though boring, but just as we began to move away, we saw the panda’s legs twitch and it rolled towards the edge of the dovecote. The red panda was no longer boring as it plummeted to the ground, limbs outsplayed, and landed on the muddy grass, seemingly unharmed.

Not having learnt its lesson, it climbed on the network of ropes to position itself back on the dovecote once again. It rolled into a ball and, presumably, fell straight to sleep. I found myself wondering how many times each day this might happen to the red panda, and, even, if it chose to fall for attention, or even to provide us with a more interesting floorshow. I remembered a young prairie wolf cub we’d watched at another animal park. It had a ball playing up to the cameras of excited onlookers. While its brothers and sisters hovered around the wooded area in the middle of their compound, surrounded by the shelter of undergrowth and their pack, one little wolf had decided that people were more fun. People would provide it with interest, so it would provide us with interest in return. It was the sweetest thing – the way it acted just like a domestic puppy, rushing round, doing zoomies, waiting for us, jumping off a branch and pretending to fall off.

The red panda fell again, and we soon grew bored. I hoped it had company in the shed at the back of its enclosure as I hated the through of it being alone. As I looked around, it became obvious that it could easily have roamed free throughout the zoo, and given there were no predatory creatures there, I reckoned it would be safe enough. But it chose to remain where it was, stumbling and getting back up to provide momentary amusement to passing humans. So, I guessed, partner or no partner, it was happy with its lot. I was glad of that.

The lack of a map (nobody had picked one up) meant that we were wandering erratically from one area to the other, and were unsure of what we’d encounter next. But when we turned the corner from the red panda, we moved into something that was clearly a different form of habitat altogether. There was nothing fencing the animals in and separating them from the human visitors. All we could see was a huge, grassy and muddy field, which surrounded a central large pool. Around the edges of the field were trees and hedges and huge beds of straw, but there were no creatures to be seen.

Our first thought was that this was a bird area and that the birds were perhaps wildfowl or of the kind that spent certain hours of the day elsewhere off-site. We thought no more of it and prepared to follow the path to the next mystery area when suddenly we noticed something weird. It seemed that a creature was emerging from the pool, and it wasn’t large enough to be a hippo. Still, it was large enough, and bulky too, with a solid body and skinny legs. It must have been completely submerged till that point.

My heart almost burst with delight, and I said out loud. ‘Capybara, my favourite animal in the world. It’s a capybara.’ It was indeed a capybara, basically an enormous brown guinea pig. I immediately squatted down and held out my hands to this drenched yet still-muddy creature, which shook itself as soon as it was fully clear of the pond. I smiled encouragingly, and was so happy when I realised it noticed me. ‘Come here, cappy,’ I pleaded. But the magnificent capybara turned away from me with what looked like a shrug. I wanted to hug it. I wanted to take it home. But all the capybara wanted was to rest itself post-bathe in the hay strewn sunny corner of its field. I got up, feeling stupid, and the capybara sprinted away. Still, I’d seen one, and that was what mattered.

A moment of joy. A moment of sheer happiness that I’d encountered my favourite animal, in the flesh. And a moment of realisation that I would never mean the same to it, as it did to me.

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Tonguetied Hogtied

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‘I love you,’ he says.

And I think, Ivan, you’re amazing. You have the weirdest mind I’ve met. Like, ever.

We have a good time, me and Ivan. He smokes and drinks and tells me of his dreams. Like how energy in water is the captured souls of people. Like how love, peace, harmony and happiness are as good as a duvet day.

Sometimes the swearing is in brackets. He’s said that more than once. He says it again and ends with a repeat of the word Sometimes. Just for definition.

What’s that mean, I ask, for Ivan speaks in riddles and rhymes, and I’m tongue-tied. Hogtied.

He tells me that brackets are like the ones holding up my bedroom shelves. There for a reason, but you don’t really think about them. Without them the whole of everything would fall apart.

So, I say, does that mean that without bad language our world would collapse?

‘Pretty much,’ he says, then falls into a fit of cannabis-induced giggles.

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