The Newspaper Article, by Guy Fletcher

“You deserved that job. She only gave it to Sean ‘cos she fancies him,” stated her friend earnestly.

“Thanks, babe. I’ll see you tomorrow,” replied Katrina.

She stared at her friend’s empty coffee cup in tears outside the city café.

On one of the seats someone had left a newspaper. She picked it up for distraction and came across an article.

“Young Girl Loses Brave Fight Against Brain Cancer.”

​Katrina now shed proper tears feeling ashamed of her petty woes. She enjoyed good health, and what were a few extra quid anyway? She prayed for the poor girl’s grieving family.

Two Lives in 100 Words, by Gordon Lawrie

He always wanted his own business, and she wanted him to try, even though her money mostly set him up. But clients messed him about; they didn’t pay bills or paid them late.

So he lost his business, they lost their house, and the family was homeless for years. They never lost their pride, though–he never went bankrupt, he found work and paid all his own debts. Kept their kids at school, too.

Life had one more dirty trick for him, though: cancer took him aged just 65. She died a few years later, heart trouble. Perhaps just broken.

A Guru In Bling, by Sankar Chatterjee

His followers worshiped him as a “Godman”. They would weep and throw themselves at his feet for blessings. He preached “simple living, avoiding meat and alcohol”. But, his own life-style was anything but extravagant with sequined wardrobes, and a fleet of SUVs, while starring in pop-videos and self-promoting “Messenger of God” films. It took the courage of two teenagers to come forward accusing him of raping them inside his holy ashram. The high court judge was convinced sending the “Godman” to jail for a term of twenty years.

Alas! The country would miss the spirituality of another “Guru in bling”!

The Francophile, by Jim Hawe

Toby made no effort to hide his disdain for the shopkeeper and his little corner boutique.

“I think you will find this item particularly appealing,” the shopkeeper said, gesturing to a small purple velvet pouch secured with a glossy gold pull rope.

“What is it?” Toby asked curtly.

“A bag of manure.”

“A bag of manure!?”

“Yes—steaming,” the shopkeeper added.

“Why in God’s name would I want to purchase a bag of steaming manure?” Toby said as he turned toward the door.

“It’s from France.”

Toby stopped, closed his eyes, and sighed.

​“I’ll take two.”

A Few Balls More, by Charles Boorman

Pablo had hungry mouths to feed. And no job. The balls he collected at the lake and sold to budget golfers brought in desperately needed cash.

The jute sack was nearly full, but sunset was still a few minutes away and there could be some balls over there among the reeds. He waded into the murky water. The alligator rose off the bottom.

His wife Juanita wept bitterly. She and their children would go hungry. Why had her foolish husband risked everything for a few golf balls?

“Sorry,” said Pablo; “In future I won’t take the sack into the water.”

Doing the Dishes, by Don Tassone

They were busy professionals. Most days, they barely saw each other. Their marriage felt the strain. Every little thing seemed to be a big deal anymore.

So they were really upset when their dishwasher broke and they learned the repair service couldn’t get to it for two weeks.

At first, they took turns doing the dishes. Then one Sunday, a rare day off for both of them, they decided he would wash and she would dry.

They began talking in a way they hadn’t in a long time. The next day, he called the repair service and canceled their order.

He Spoke No More, by Salvatore Difalco

A Grimsby woman murdered her husband of ten years because, in her opinion, he had the foulest breath in the world. “Couldn’t stand it anymore,” she admitted. When asked by the trial judge why she didn’t simply leave the man, she said the idea of him abusing others with that breath made killing him the only thing to do. Absent any corroborating physical evidence, the judge sentenced her to life with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Whether or not the dead man’s breath was the foulest in the world when he was alive remains a point of conjecture.

Memory Lane, by Russell Conover

Originally posted to LinkedIn.

Alice stroked the soft fur of her cat. “Remember, years ago, when you went missing, and I searched for you and worked for the detective agency? Good times.”

The phone rang, and Alice went to answer it. When she returned to her chair, though, her sneaky feline had vanished. Her eyes widened. “Noooo–not again!”

She tore through the house and the yard, frantic. But, she had no luck. Sighing, she prepared to call the police for help.

However, her cat was relaxing in the chair. Her jaw dropped.

“Just keeping you on your toes,” the trickster thought. “You’re welcome.”

John, by Barbara Gliddon

Phillip was confused.

Was John aware that around him the anxious became more anxious, the garrulous more garrulous and the cranky crankier?

At Brian’s birthday lunch, John had insisted on a group photograph, then, pulled a duck face behind Brian’s head. Esther, the designated photographer, had rolled her eyes and said, “Really, John?”

John smirked and said ”Sowwy” in a baby voice. Soon after, the party wound down.

On the way home, Phillip asked Maryanne if John had always been like that.

“Dunno, he my ickle bruvva.”

Phillip tried, he did, but he couldn’t un-hear this. Disappointing.

Back to Tinder.

Where They Burn Books, by Sankar Chatterjee

While attending a conference in Jerusalem, German Nobel Laureate Herbert Franz went to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust museum. After visiting the main exhibition, he approached the Children’s Memorial, dedicated to 1.5 million murdered innocent children. He entered a dark room, lighted by the display of several black-and-white pictures of young victims. A voice was announcing continuously the names of the disappearing ones. And that’s when he saw the picture of his long-lost childhood friend, Yukil Levi, a math-whiz.

Recalling Nazis’ infamous book-burning, Prof. Franz murmured fellow countryman Heinrich Heine’s proclamation: “Where they burn books, they will also burn people.”