Short Stories by Alistair Potter


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As part of the process of learning about writing I have written short stories. Some of these have been written with a market in mind, aimed at magazines or for radio. These very short stories came from stimulus sessions at writing groups I attended. I have collected some of the longer stories in a compilation Beach Life 2, which is available in the Kindle E-book format.

 

Royal Society Christmas Lecture 1926

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Mr Goofy

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The Obstruction

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Motes

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Another Day in Metropolis

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Basket Cases

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Hithcleef

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The Last Supper (Caution, contains swearing and adult themes.)

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Three Minute Monologue (Caution, contains swearing. For best effect, read with a Belfast accent.)

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The Tower

 

Motes

 

"Motes float freely on the air."

"What?" exclaimed Bridgett, examining the serious face of the six-year-old.

"Motes float freely on the air," Caroline repeated, then tilted her head to the side.

Bridgett wondered what her granddaughter meant, or even where she could have heard the phrase. "What's a mote, darling?" she asked.

"A tiny spec of dust," said Caroline confidently.

"Wherever did you hear that?"

"It's one of daddy's stories. The fairies sit on the motes and rest in the sunlight."

"That's such a pretty story. What else happens?"

Caroline ignored her grandmother's question, asking another, as six-year-olds do. "Is daddy coming back soon?"

"Yes, dear." Bridgett feared the next question, but it never came. Instead the little girl stared into a beam of sunlight washing across the kitchen table.

"Mummy's here," said Caroline wistfully.

Bridgett felt her eyes filling with tears. "Mummy's not here," she whispered.

"She is!" the little girl stated firmly, "Daddy told me."

"What did daddy say?"

"Daddy said mummy will be dust. So she's here," said Caroline. "See!" she said, pointing into the sunbeam.

Bridgett looked hard but could see nothing. Then she pulled her spectacles from her pinafore pocket and placed them on the end of her nose. Now, she too could see the small, bright specs of dust that swirled in a complex dance over the table. She leant over the child and kissed her gently on head. "Of course, darling, she'll always be here."

 

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Another Day in Metropolis

 

It was a day like any other day in Metropolis. Sunlight played in the ethereal spires and majestic towers of the upper world. Skybuses chattered overhead, their thin silvery wings flickering against the clear air. The sophisticates were out on the highways, parading their newest and brightest.

The tall man's eyes followed each vehicle as it glided by over the smooth grey tarmac. Then she drew up. The car was a long, flowing, black fantasy with a high tapered bonnet and sweeping wings. It purred with the promise of speed.

Her lidded eyes swung slowly towards him and a faint smile echoed across her mouth. Lazily, and from nowhere, she brought a cigarette to her lips.

He produced a lighter and leant through the open window, offering the flame.

She inhaled slowly, then blew a fine ribbon of smoke against the windscreen. "Going my way?" she pouted.

He nodded.

She tilted her silk sheathed head towards the passenger seat. "Get in."

The man walked around the car, opened the door, and settled into the soft grey leather. He felt the seat embrace him as the car surged forward, the speedometer climbing rapidly to near its maximum.

A faint smile played at the edge of her lip. "You drive?" she asked.

When I can."

"I'm Sophie."

"Toby."

She nodded. "Toby, I like that."

"We going far?" he asked.

"Not far."

 

They swept into an underground car park at the foot of an ornate tower of glass and bronze. Great stone eagles and dragons perched along its top, glaring down at the insects below.

As the elevator hissed its way to the penthouse, Toby studied Sophie's profile. She was a timeless, statuesque beauty with smooth skin and a face that no man would find unattractive.

She turned and transfixed him with pale green eyes. "We're here," she said.

The doors slid back and she flowed from the elevator, her shimmering dress clinging to her perfect body.

Toby followed the provocative sway of her contoured hips.

She stopped at the door and turned, offering Toby the key. "Open it," she said.

He took the key, resting his fingers momentarily on the back of her hand. "Of course," he said.

The heavy door swung back with silent ease and they entered. Toby assessed the space. Subtle hidden lighting, creams and greys, chrome and glass, the room had an expensive feel to it.

"Drink?" said Sophie.

"Sure. Brandy over ice."

She smiled, acknowledging his choice. "I'll join you."

They sat for a few minutes listening to soft bluesy jazz and sipping the warming spirit. Then she lay her drink aside. "Well?" she enquired.

Toby stood and walked to where she sat.

She tilted her head; mouth open, lips pale and red.

Gripping a wrist, Toby drew Sophie to her feet. He swung his hand back and slapped her hard across the cheek.

"Not my face." she moaned.

Toby looked down, her engorged nipples pressed against the sheer cloth of the dress. His next blow was across her breast, flat palmed, and a satisfying `crack' echoed through the room.

"Yes!" she hissed.

 

Later, Toby let himself out and caught a taxi back to his spot. It was still early and evening light threw long crisp shadows across the rich greenery and polished marble of the plaza. The fountains sparkled in the yellowing glow.

Men, dressed like him in dark evening suits, lounged against a railing overlooking the road.

Toby joined them. He lit a cigarette and sat on a low wall, enjoying the scent of flowers and the sunlight warming his face.

It was a day like any other day in Metropolis.

 

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Basket Cases

"Picnics were always such grand affairs. First Mater and Pater would spread out a big linen tablecloth on the ground. Then the basket was opened to reveal such wonderful things; cucumber sandwiches, cakes, and scones. Oh it was a treat. Mater would pour the tea from a flask enquiring; milk, sugar, one lump or two. Such fun. Then we'd sip daintily and nibble our sandwiches…"

"Bollocks!"

"No it's true."

"Yous never had no maw."

"That's beastly, not true."

"Bollocks, it's all bollocks. Yorra same as I is."

"How can you say that?"

"Fru me arse if I wanna."

"You stinker!"

"Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks!"

"Why they let you in here I don't know. You're so dirty and hairy and smelly…"

"Leanovir ere an givus a kiss wontya."

"Stay away from me, stay away. Oh! Look what you've done to my dress, it's all mucky now."

"Ahh, cannit, doll. Aint nobody want to have fun no more?"

"Now I know why you never got a talking part."

"Bollocks."

"You are so uncouth, just you wait until Andy Pandy gets back. I don't know why we have to share this basket with you anyway."

"Bollocks."

 

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All short stories © Alistair Potter.

 

 

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