Les Grotesqueries @ Sledgehammer Lit

I am pleased to point you in the direction of Sledgehammer Lit which has published my short story Les Grotesqueries, a piece of flash fiction about dogs written in French and English.

Sledgehammer is a new online journal, only one week old, established here in Guernsey by my buddy Joe who has been a key member of the writing workshop I have been running for the past year and a half.  You can read some of Joe’s published work here.

Chip Shop?

A knock at the door. An old man.

“Fish, chips and mushy peas please.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Just a fish and chips please, and a mushy peas on the side.”

He tilts his head up and smiles, hopeful.  His wispy hair is plastered to his head with drizzle.  Water runs in thin streams down his coat.  From his pocket he takes a battered leather wallet.

“Sure,” you say.  “One moment.”

You go back into the house.

“Mum? Mum?  Have we got anything I can wrap in paper… No, it’s not for school… It doesn’t matter… What can I use?  Something about the size of a fish?”

From a bag of clothes set to go to charity, you drag an old shirt, wrap it in paper and put it in the microwave. You go back to the door. He’s still there. You fish a small pot out of the plastic recycling, ball up more paper, stick it inside, wrap the pot in paper, stick it in the microwave. All of this, as quick as you can. The microwaved parcels go in a thin plastic bag.

“Here you go. Err… five pounds please. Or… Sorry… Four ninety.” Four ninety somehow sounds more realistic.

The old man hands you a fiver. “Keep the change.”


“You know. I didn’t even realise this was a fish and chip shop.”

That’s the line you remember. The punchline. The one you want to tell everyone.

But for the next week, you don’t say anything. Your nerves jangle. Every time there is a knock at the door. Every time the phone rings. Every time you wake from dreams feeling guilty.

The weeks pass and nothing comes of it. You still have the fiver and no one has come for you, which doesn’t seem right – you are almost disappointed to find there are no consequences to your actions.

And that’s all you learn from the episode – that sometimes you get away with it.