Tiny Tales

These tales are Clerkenwell Crocodile micro-stories from Wordstock, the festival of words. Each writer picked a scrap of paper with a theme, title or lyrics for a tiny 26-word tale to be written on the move. They set off in single file through Clerkenwell Green, shimmied through the backstreets up to Exmouth Market, then ambled down Farringdon Road, back to the Free Word centre and lunch…

[posted 10 Nov]

Scaffolding
Poles sprout skywards
Break the line of pavements
Gripping the faces of buildings
One high and narrow
One a block wide
Belts and braces of repair

by Heather Aichison

Trees are friendly
When she returned
to London she
arranged to meet
him on the corner
of Pear Tree Court.
They kissed under
a tree by St James,
Clerkenwell.

by Linda Simmons

Net curtains
Net curtains behind single glazed
windows behind black iron bars.
Kept white and odourless through
regular handwash. Windows
washed fortnightly. Iron bars
polished.

by Anon

The door closed, she turned away…
A father and son looked up, and as if it was nothing
out of the ordinary, an elderly woman scaling a
tall building looked down again.

by Anon

I bet she’s wearing harmony hairspray
She could be an angel, her every move hymned by a heavenly choir.
So she’s ditched her halo, shed her white plumes. She don’t need them.
But I bet she’s wearing Harmony Hairspray.

by Anon

Plastic cat flap
Plastic cat flap
Soggy box
White stringy vest in chilly wind
Wonky slabs
Nose picking while son eats
chips with fingers
Glass bottle in crispy leaves

by Anon

Actually, I think I hate you
“Actually, I think I hate you”,
he heard the woman say
as she got into a cab,
leaving a stunned
man standing next
to the adventure playground.
A wind rustled dead leaves.

by Gregg Virostek

[posted 6 Nov]

The scarf around her neck
Killed for beauty.
Only fur remains.
Contrast a natural death: The leaves
on the ground; the death of summer.
On first glance, which is more beautiful?
(It’s fake of course!)

by Noumel Roubini

In a land of plenty
In a land of plenty, no
individual thing could shine.
Jessica claimed one pear tree
and loved each pear as
though no new ones would
grow.

by anon

A bare light bulb in a single rented room
A drafty window and damp-stained
walls. The table never really stopped
wobbling, no matter how many old
beer mats she stuffed under the
rickety leg.

by Maeve O’Sullivan

Curtain twitcher
Lacy, flowery, sixteen
twitchers not blind nor
shuttered who… ooo look…
quick, turn off the light! Shhh…
Grubby no matter how clean
and pressed…

by anon

Hard times in London Town
Finsbury Health Centre, bright shiny
centrepiece of the National Health
Service.
Metal frames rusted, tiles fallen off,
panes cracked. Nurses rushed and
doctors demoralised. Council indifferent.

by Sarah McCartney

Leaves are falling on the ground
First day on the
job. Fresh out of
Lumberjack School, full
of timber dreams. One
heavy axe swing too
many, he hadn’t
even signed the
insurance. Pity.

by Chris Martin

Where have you been all my life?
Betsey. O Betsey Trotwood!
That smile, that bonnet, those
eyes. Where have you been all my life?
And what… What is under your hidden skirts?

by anon

Blue jeans halfway down his thighs
John Wayne by default.
Cheroot-free Clint.
Curl up lip…
Hangin’ on by the
seat of my Calvins.

by Liz Sagoriky

Parking restrictions apply
“Parking restrictions apply.”
“I’m not parked. I’m waiting
for a sign.”
The uniformed man holds
his cap and looks up.
“PARKING RESTRICTIONS APPLY!”
“Not to me.”

by Alan Whelan

To the dear departed
Exit stage left,
journey’s end, dead man
walking no more,
curtain falls, deathly
silence descends.
Wellbeing no more,
drop down dead
gorgeous, adieu.

by Paul Murphy

[posted 4 Nov]

My caffeine fix
Sluggishly trudging through
hungover haze, voices and faces
fade in, fade out, fade to black,
no sugar, bitter like me. Hit me again.
And make it a double.

by Anelia Varela

Church bells
We were young. We built our
chapple from grey bricks and white.
A roof of wire mesh. I kept
you close in my arms. You were
my mission. Ring me.

by Neil Baker

Broken bicycles
Discarded fast-food rubbish
filled the wire basket of
the bicycle leaning against
the lampost. With flat tyres
and missing saddle, it wasn’t
going anywhere fast.

by Michael Hennessy

A crack in the pavement
Cigarette butts settle themselves
into a pavement crack like a
body in its coffin. Embedding
themselves deeper each time
the slur of commuter feet
walk over.

by Jo Wigley

Food, glorious food
At Ayla’s Cafe and Snacks we
meet to share pea soup, poached
pears and love talk.
Outside, old cars are parked,
shaped like French Fancies.
Yum!

by Roshni Goyate

Day-tripper
Gone – the puppet workshop.
“That’s where I had my 30th birthday
– in that pub.” The clock had stopped.
She kicked through piles of autumn leaves.
Sad.

by Liz Farrelly

White flowers
I searched the church for
phallic symbols. The spire? A
crucifix? A woman totters down
the steps smiling, holding crisp
white flowers. I feel guilty.

by Bee Pahnke

Gorgeous
I call him Georgeous because that’s what he is.
A great shivering shag pile carpet of a dog.
Sometimes I just want to gobble him up.

by anon

Guttersnipe Little Bay
Crack, cracked the
guttersnipe, lost in its dog.
Where’s dog? Sniped the
gutterdog. Back of the
pack, crackersnipe
sniped on early Autumn
crunch – Crackerdog’s
heart heart-smiled.

by Rob Self-Pierson

Tears of a clown
Coco sat at the bottom
of the slide, staring at
his oversized feet. He
used to play here. And
so did little George. His
make-up began to smear.

by Jindy Mann

B-movie glamour
Nylon curtains pulled tightly shut. Red
geraniums fluttering like an invitation.
And bricks as dirty as what was waiting.
He glanced over his shoulder, and knocked.

by Maia Swift

[posted 3 Nov]

Traffic wardens have feelings too
Torn-up parking tickets scatter in the wind.
Later, a warden’s hat on the floor.
No more.
Just a pint, the job pages
and unhunched shoulders.

by Adam Bradwell

New Shoes
I look down. Old boots.
Battered. Made for walking.
Or stalking. No drinking.
Time for thinking. Blue bucket.
Or pink? Time for a drink.

by John Simmons

If only…
If only your words had looked different
when they clattered to the parquet
floor. They were splintered, brittle
& the letters skuttled into corners like
unshelled crabs.

by Elen Lewis

‘Every grain of sand has a marvellous soul’ (Joan Miro)
Dr. Loughman trawls the streets, feeding his
medical mission; his festival of meat.
‘Discover the secret adventure’, he claims,
‘Close the doors. You are here’.

by anon

Hypnotised by mobile phone
They say three kings were guided
by satnav. I believe them. It’s my
healthy alternative to real life. My
descending spiral of joy.

by Virek Bhatia

Noisy Neighbours
The baby’s just gone to sleep.
I smile at her and feel a warm, domestic contentment.
“No you don’t, you dumb cunt!”
Seems the neighbours disagree.

by Tamara O’Brien

2 Responses to Tiny Tales

  1. Wow. I’m really impressed. Aren’t these random stories great.

    • Yes, Neil. A difficult brief too – write a 26-word story on the move, from a theme/title imposed on them, in 15 minutes. Good fun!

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