The Chelsea bun

The old man pointed to the display and put one finger in the air.

“One of these?” the girl behind the counter asked softly.

The old man tapped his ear and leaned forward, turning his ‘bad’ side towards her.

“Oh, sorry,” the girl said louder, then boomed “A Chelsea bun?”

“Yes, please,” he replied, his artificial voice robotic.

The woman behind him, his bank manager although neither of them had ever met, tapped her foot and looked at her watch.

“Anything else?” the girl asked the old man.

“Sorry?” he croaked.

“Anything other than the Chelsea bun?” she repeated, even louder.

“Chelsea bun?”

“Look,” the bank manager snapped. “Isn’t there anyone else serving?”

The old man swung round and jabbed a pistol into her spotless cream jacket.

“Hey! You’ll mark my…” then she looked down and screamed.

“On the floor!” his voicebox ordered.

“My suit!” the woman complained.


Before he needed to say more the woman was kneeling.

“Down!” he growled and the woman lay on the floor, whimpering.

The face of a young woman appeared at the door but saw what was going on and she ran off, mobile clamped to her ear.

The man turned round and looked into the frightened assistant’s eyes, took the bun and left the shop, sirens wailing in the distance.


A week later, an old man who’d fought in two wars, a bullet from the latter ripping through his throat, entered the Ivyworth Bank.


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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 fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, 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.