This is my mother we’re talking about

Standing in front of the supermarket’s shelves, Stacey knew she wanted something different.

“Why don’t we just go for chocolates and a bottle of plonk like we usually do?” Trevor said, looking at the exit.

“Fine for any old birthday but this is her seventieth.”

“She won’t be expecting anything flash. What you’ve arranged is already plenty.”

“A Red Letter Day Pool Party is hardly special.”

“But it’s who goes, not what happens, surely.”

“This is my mother we’re talking about, Trevor.”

“What about a charity thing? Buy an African village some goats.”

“She’s too patriotic.”

“Sponsor a donkey over here then.”

“She likes animals but donkeys make her sneeze.”

“Erm… OK. What about skydiving?”

“Afraid of heights.”

“That rules out a hot air balloon trip, then. So something on the ground. Brands Hatch or Silverstone.”

“Dad doing any more than seventy on the M1 makes her nervous.”

“How about… no, maybe not.”


“Something I read about in the paper the other day but…”

“Go on…”

“She likes animals…”

“The hairless kind, yes.”

“How about a python circus?”


“A python circus.”

“As in Monty Python.”

“No, as in zoo.”


“Snakes, yeah.”

“I don’t know about that…”

“Oh, I do.”


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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.