Our Joanie

“Oh look, Ethel, Deirdre’s here.”
“Looks well too. Can’t have been anything serious.”
“Nick not with her?”
“Not seen him. Why would he be?”
“They’re married.”
“They are?”
“Four… no, three years ago.”
“Didn’t know that, Marjorie.”
“You didn’t? They were here together the year before last. Their first anniversary.”
“Don’t remember that.”
“Ah no, you weren’t here. Your skiing accident, remember.”
“The room’s filling up nicely. Busier than last year?”
“Could be. So where’s Nick do you reckon?”
“He and Manny shared a birthday, didn’t they? And he’s long-retired.”
“True. Haven’t seen him yet either.”
“Oh, I have. Came in with Evelyn.”
“Evelyn Ward?”
“Thompson neé Ward, yes.”
“A Thompson we know?… Not Derek.”
“One and the same.”
“No! But she’s always been to these things on her own.”
“I don’t think it lasted long.”
“And now she’s cosying up to Manny?”
“I wouldn’t say ‘cosy’, not arm-in-arm or anything but…”
“Anyone else missing?”
“Erm… ”
“Who’s the speaker this year, do you know?”
“Didn’t you read the invitation?”
“I didn’t get mine, remember, you rang to remind me.”
“Oh yes. I’m surprised I didn’t tell you.”
“Candy Simpson.”
“Candy Simpson?”
“Who’s Candy Simpson?”
“Oh, Ethel, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of her.”
“She’s a porn star. You know, Dirty…”
“Marjorie, dear, why would I have heard of her? I don’t…”
“She’s Joan.”
“Joan? Our Joanie?”
“Shh… the lights are going down.”


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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.