Pushing Through To The Back Of The Bus

When Terry begins scrolling through her phone, none of the photos she finds are hers.

Only seven this morning. That’s a blessing. Sometimes there are as many as two dozen. At first (two months ago? four? more?) she’d deleted them as quickly as they came in. But now she checks each one.

There’s never anything extraordinary or striking about the photos, nothing indecent that would prove embarrassing if the people in them were identified. In fact there are no people in them.

She’s done everything possible – changed her ID, the app, her password, had the store clean the phone and return it to factory default, and even bought a new phone. Still the photos keep coming.

And her photos?

She no longer takes photos. They don’t show up on her phone anyway. The only photos she sees are someone else’s.

She goes through the seven photos as she eats her bowl of cornflakes. Taken from Continue reading

Afternoon Tea at Hotel Parrott

She is a most admirable woman. Everyone says so. Always so kind and generous to those less fortunate. What charity! What munificence! What benevolence!

She picks the silver tea spoon up from the white tablecloth, polishes it with the linen napkin and smiles at her reflection in the spoon’s bowl. She really can’t think of anyone more deserving of admiration than herself.

She always thinks about this on Sundays for Sunday is the day she distributes her largesse.

Every Sunday she invites – she likes to think of it as ‘sponsoring’ – some impecunious young man to afternoon tea at Hotel Parrott.

This week’s fortunate fellow is a philosophy student. He’s clean, which has not always been the case with some of the young men.

How he’s tucking in! The cucumber sandwiches, the petits fours, the tarts, the scones, cream and jam.

More? she asks.

He can’t manage another mouthful but she urges him on. More! she says. More! More!

How grateful he’ll be, how he’ll thank her. That’s only right of course.

And as for him? He forces down the last cranberry scone and gazes through the window, admiring the blue rooster in the square. So proud and calm on his plinth.

More! she says, waving to the waitress to bring another plate of scones.



2016 is my Year of the Blurt. Each week I’ll try to take advantage of odd spare moments to write a quick Blurt which I’ll post Thursday mornings. Probably the Blurts will mostly be fiction, but who knows!

 Thank you for dropping by to read this week’s Blurt. It was inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration.

The photo is of “Hahn/Cockerel” by Katharina Fritsch, Trafalgar Square, fall 2014.

Please note: all material on this website, except for comments by others, is © Susi Lovell

If Not The Ghost Man, Then Who?

I know Oliver claims to have been the first to see the ghost man, but in fact it was Tommy.

Tommy was heading home for breakfast with two brook trout he’d caught in the stream that meanders through the town when he caught sight of the ghost man emerging from the forest.

He’d wolfed down two helpings of french toast before he thought to mention the ghost man to his parents.

Word spread in no time. By elevenses there was quite a crowd in the park where the ghost man had installed himself on the bench beneath the big old oak.

No, that wasn’t the ghost man. This fellow was far too solid to be a ghost man. But if not the ghost man, then who?close-up of bannister finial

“The mushroom man!” said the mayor.

Of course! Of course!

The first thing they all noticed about the mushroom man was obviously that he was extraordinarily pale.

Of course he’d be pale, they told each other, with the forest so dense and tangled that no sunlight could penetrate. (But really, how would they know? Which of them had ever dared venture into the dark, dank, silent forest?)

The second thing was that he looked at them with eyes that saw more than they were comfortable with.

The third thing? That Continue reading

The Illuminated City

Beaver Lake, MontréalIt was a bitterly cold night and the bus was late. The young lad in the bus shelter checked the bus timetable again by the flickering light from a nearby lamp post.

He shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets and looked at the girl in the jeans ad on the side of the bus shelter.

What a mane of blond hair! What plump lips! What a deliciously curved waist! What shapely hips! What he would give to have a girl like her to take to the school prom next Saturday. The jeans clung to her long legs, smooth as melted chocolate.

“What are you staring at?” snapped the girl in the ad. “I’m sick and tired of people always staring. Haven’t they got anything better to do?”

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to.” He wished he had a cigarette. He wished he smoked. “The bus is late,” he said.

“It’s always late.”

A light ripping sound, nothing more than a whisper really, and she Continue reading

One Love – In Code

My aunt Cicely was singing in the kitchen. Of her love. At least, that’s what my mother said.

“For Uncle Jeremy?” I giggled. It was hard to imagine Uncle Jeremy as anyone’s love. He was old for one thing, almost fifty. And had very little hair and a lot of stomach. And only talked about how many dragons he’d slain in his video game.

“Shhh,” my mother hissed. “He’s in the sitting room, he’ll hear.”

Uncle Jeremy wasn’t to hear? Aunt Cicely had a secret love!

Poor Aunt Cicely! To be married to Uncle Jeremy and love someone else.

All that summer we stayed with them, I often heard Aunt Cicely singing in the kitchen of her love.

koi at the Chinese Gardens, Montreal Botanical GardensI tried to catch the words but couldn’t make head or tail of them.

“…spotted koi, light in the leaves, chocolate chip ice cream, buzzing bees, my sister Marie in her yellow dress, sandwiches with cream cheese and watercress…”

(Marie was my mother.)

Obviously Aunt Cicely was singing in code so Uncle Jeremy wouldn’t understand.

I imagined her love – he’d be tall, with a blond mane of hair and one of those long low sports cars. He’d have a name like Gideon, or Hawk.

When I heard Continue reading

The Questions Desk

The party of twenty would arrive shortly, at 8 pm. At last all was ready – the table laid, the chairs in position, the candles waiting to be lit, the flowers in the vase, the crown roast in the oven. She hesitated. Something was not right.

The little white ferret, crouched beside the grandfather clock in the hallway, was watching her too carefully. It also knew that something was not right.

Did the curtains not match the carpet? Were the pictures on the wall too somber? Had she forgotten a spice in one of the recipes? Was the party of twenty allergic to leek soup? What was wrong? What was wrong?

She put on her hat and ran down the street to the Questions Desk. The queue was very long, as was to be expected on a Friday evening. How would she Continue reading

The Fire Seller

outside Montréal Musée des Beaux Arts, summer 2015The fire seller is always there on Tuesdays. Only Tuesdays.

Even before I see her, I hear her calling out in that high-pitched, slightly raspy voice of hers: “Flames for sale. Pretty flames for sale. Seven-a-penny. Special price! Today only! Sweet, bright flames for sale.”

Don’t worry. I’m not going to buy any. I wouldn’t dream of it. I’m a law-abiding citizen. I know it’s illegal.

But after work on Tuesdays, especially if I’m tired and feeling useless to the world, and if the sky is overcast and heavy, what’s the harm in Continue reading