FLASH FICTION:-- HORROR, SCI-FI, HUMOUR, CRIME, SLICE OF LIFE, ETC.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Slice of life

It's been long time since I opened this tiny shop, over forty years now, and I wouldn't have swapped a single day of it, even if I could.

I provide a service you see, to the local community, keep them provided with things, so to speak. Things that no-one else can provide.

It took a while for the locals to accept me, and my wares, but once word got around I became the most successful shop in the village, and a jealously guarded secret from any outsiders, which was fine by me. I wasn't in it for the money you see, I was sent here as a kind of experiment, from them up there.

Today has been much of a typical one. Mrs Furlong popped in just after I flipped the sign to OPEN, her twin daughters in tow. “Half a pound of Interest please, Mister Godfrey. I'm feeling a bit lack-lustre today.”

Mister Godfrey, that's me, not my real name, but then again, what's in a name?

We chatted amiably as I weighed out the Interest, wrapped it, and took her money.

“You use that as soon as you can, dear.” I told her as she was leaving, she did look as though she needed it.

And so the day went on, and the sales were regular and frequent. A jar of happiness, a tin of self esteem, two sticks of determination, an ounce of kindness, a bottle of love, a sprig of sympathy, a packet of inspiration. The usual stuff.

Sometimes a small queue grew whilst I served some unfortunate with a long list, and occasionally I had time for a breather when the shop was empty for a few minutes.

The doorbell jangled, and in walked Martha Blessingham. Now Martha had been one of my very first customers, she had been a pensioner when I first came here and was well over a hundred years old now.

“Hiya Martha, lovely to see you my dear, your smile always brings the sunshine to my day. Will it be the usual?”

“Yes please Mister Godfrey, a slice of life please.” Her eyes twinkled and her mouth smiled its natural smile, she was a truly lovely, and lovable person.

“I've got a nice new piece, fresh in today.” I told her, as I reached under the counter and hefted the heavy slab of life up onto the cutting board. I placed the carving knife an inch or so along the slab, then glanced at Martha flirtatiously, twitching my eyebrows rapidly, smiling broadly.

“Oh, you are such a tease, Mister Godfrey.” She chuckled, as she waggled her finger, indicating that I should move the knife up a bit.

“A thicker slice than usual today then Martha? You must be ravenous.”

“Oh I am, Mister Godfrey, I am indeed, I just can't seem to get enough of it”

“There you go Martha.” I said, handing her the wrapped slice of life. “You'll enjoy that, it's prime quality, nothing but the best for you my dear.”

“Why thank you kindly Mister Godfrey, must dash now, I have all sorts of things to do today. See you again tomorrow.”

“Bye dear.” I called after her. Lovely lady.

I love the life that they have given me, and like I said, I wouldn't swap a single day of it, even if I could.

I'm hoping that this experiment is a success, and that them up there decide to expand it to a global level, I think it could be a real winner.


©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

28 comments:

  1. Lovely insane piece! Enjoyed reading it lots!

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    1. It's nice to be appreciated, thanks Sonia. :-)

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  2. Adorably literal. Nice one.

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    1. Hi Catherine, and thank you. :-)

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  3. I was worried this was another Leland Gaunt. A much cuter shop, to my relief!

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    1. Given my past history, I think many readers will expect the title to lead to blood and gore, writing this gave me a feel-food boost. :-)

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  4. Hi there Steve -- a literal slice of life story. :) First I thought: if Mr Godfrey's has an eBay shop, I'm in. And then I thought: actually, that'd kinda spoil it -- I like the idea of a jangled door bell, picking up a little packet of inspiration. Lots of potential for some awesome, rainy-day preserves. St.

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    1. Hi Stephen, I almost filed this under the "Slice of life" genre too, but decided that the description didn't really suit it.

      The shop I had in mind was one of those from way back, when they used to have a bell on a coil spring hung inside the door, these were commonplace when I was young. Service seemed friendlier and more personal in those days too.

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  5. Do you suppose that them up there could decide to expand it at least to my neck of the woods?

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    1. Haha! When one of these shops opens here, I'll have a word and tell them to open the next one down your street Tim. :-)

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  6. Where do I go to buy a few tins of self esteem? Could really do with that!

    Wonderful story though :)

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    1. Thanks Icy. I think most of us could do with a little "Something" from a shop like that. :-)

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  7. But a slice of whose life? That's what worries me. I mean some people's lives aren't half as appetising as others...

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    1. Hi Peter, my idea was to just add another slice to their own life, the reason Martha was still going strong at over a hundred years old.
      (Bless her) :-)

      I'm thinking along the lines of writing something nasty under the same title though. Bwuhahahahahahaha!!!

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  8. Lovely concept. At first I thought they were banking happiness, but that slice of life has a interesting aspect. I wonder how those up there are enjoying the experiment.

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    1. Thanks Aidan, I hope them up there are having a meeting right at this moment drawing up expansion plans, I think mankind could really do with it. :-)

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  9. I'm with Icy I could do with a tub of self esteem right now! Loved the story very nice. ^_^

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    1. Thanks Helen, I don't have any of these magic items, so I'm sending you some glitter to brighten your day.

      •。★  ☾ °☆  . * ● ¸ .   ★ ° ☆¸.✶*¨`* •.¸¸❤¸¸.•*¨*• ¸.¸.☆¨¯`♥´¸¸.☆¨¯`♥´ ¸¸.☆¨¯` •*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•. ☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆ 。☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆ 。

      Have a lovely weekend. :-)

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  10. That's my kind of shop! What a great idea. Loved it! :)

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    1. Thank you Natalie, the idea came to me, and I loved the concept immediately. It's nice to post feel-good stories now and then. :-)

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  11. How about a few ounces of success with getting stories published ? what a fantastic shop - I LOVE the old lady coming back for more life every day - beautiful!

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    1. Hi Brinda, and Thank you.

      Being able to buy a few ounces of publishing success would be brilliant, wouldn't it? I think there would be a massive demand for it in the writing community. :-)

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  12. Oh, would I be a regular there! A couple sticks of Patience each morning, one for me, one for the wife. I'd be afraid to make a habit of buying my Inspiration though… would I become unable to find my own? Things like Focus and Concentration seem to be harder to come by these days, so I'd probably take an occasional dollop of each.

    This was great — and like John said, it hearkened back to a much darker story. But the old lady knew what she wanted… and like some others, it made me wonder where the Life that he sliced came from?

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    1. Hi Larry, mornings aren't my best time either, so I would probably be in shop queue with you. :-)

      Them up there haven't disclosed where the slab of life came from, but dear old Martha swears by it.

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  13. Nice, Steve. =)

    I think I was hunting for the twist, the dark side, wondering if 'them up there' weren't more the flaming pits type, or exactly where all this stuff was coming from but, no, no hidden trip wires, no sawblades or scalpels... ;)

    Just, yeah, quite lovely. =)

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    1. Thanks John. I know some readers would be expecting this to have a nasty twist to it, as so many of my stories do.

      Yesterday I wrote a part 2, where things turned sinister, the contents of the packets and jars altered, self esteem became self loathing, kindness became brutality etc, but I deleted it as I felt I would be spoiling the good feeling that this story emanated

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  14. When I read the first sentences, I thought he would be selling something sinister but was happy to be proved wrong. What an excellent idea for a shop, who wouldn't want to buy something there? And I just loved your measurements: "A jar of happiness, a tin of self esteem, two sticks of determination, an ounce of kindness, a bottle of love, a sprig of sympathy, a packet of inspiration." They're exactly right and fit so well. And then the old lady buying her daily slice of life is a really lovely touch. I hope that whatever plans 'them up there' have for the shop and this community, they're positive ones. Anything else would be too cruel. Excellent story, Steve. I loved it!

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    1. Hi Kath, and thank you for the lovely comment. It's heartening to read of the good feeling readers have got from this story.

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