Authors can share their short stories (less than 2000 words please) or poetry, and it won’t cost you a penny!  The stories or poems can be on any subject, but please keep them reasonably family friendly.  On 28th February I will pick my favourite one and share the link in my newsletter and on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  Please ensure that you add your story to the current month’s submission page and not any previous month, or it may be missed. 

I look forward to reading your efforts.  Winners will receive this laurel to add to their story:

SHORT STORY LAUREL FEBRUARY

Here’s a short story from me – hope you enjoy!

SOMETHING TO DO, BY STEVIE TURNER

“Mum, it’s about time you got a Facebook account.”

So spoke my firstborn, all six feet four inches of him.  I looked up and noticed the fine lines creeping in to Gary’s face. Surely my son wasn’t becoming middle-aged already?

“I’m too old.”  I shook my head. “I’ll never learn how to do it.”

Gary waved away my protestations.

“I’ll show you.  When Dad’s away on business you’ll have something to do in the evenings.”

“I’ve got enough to do.”  I chuckled. “I’m not retired yet, you know.”

Gary was undeterred.  He ambled over to my iPhone and picked it up.

“Put your password in and then I’ll set you up.”

Sighing, I decided to go along with whatever my son wanted.  He would soon be going back home to Shelley and the boys, and then I could sit down after a hectic day at work and put my feet up.  I tapped in the password, and all those little icons that I usually ignored leapt up to meet me.

“There you are.”  I handed over the phone. “Do your worst.”

Gary flopped down heavily onto the sofa, spent a short while punching buttons on my keypad, and then held out the phone with a grin on his face.

“Put in your email address and a password you’ll remember, and then it’s all done.”

I hardly ever used my email account.  Bill had set me up with an email address years ago, but I always prefer sending letters, and so do the elderly folk I look after at the home.  Was I elderly at 62?  I decided I’d rather not think about it.  I took the phone from Gary, looked up my email address in my diary, and then put in the password William63.  I was certain that Bill wouldn’t mind me using his name or his age.  Gary peered over my shoulder.

“Great! I’ll go through it all with you now before I go.  You can add me as your first friend if you like.”

“Awesome.”  I replied with more than a touch of sarcasm.

As good as his word, Gary went out of his way to ensure that I was as fluent as a teenager with the ins and outs of Facebook.  By the time he left I was friends with two of my four sons, their wives, and two of the grandchildren who were allowed social media accounts.  I closed the door behind him, vowing to make a cup of tea, turn the phone off, and watch TV until Bill came home.

However, I couldn’t find anything suitable to watch.  I sipped my tea and looked at the phone sitting silently on the coffee table.  I suddenly had a thought that perhaps I could search for some old friends with my new-found skill of deciphering Facebook’s complexities.

The phone was in my hand and I felt a growing excitement that friends I had lost contact with years ago might soon be back in my life.  A cursor flashed in the search box and I typed in Alice Morley, the name of the girl who had been my best friend through the whole of my schooldays.  There were several Alice Morleys, but I recognised her at once; no longer a girl, but a stout grandmother of three.  I sent a friend request and hoped for the best.

Intrigued, I then began to look through Alice’s list of friends, and three blasts from the past were evident straight away.  I had fallen out with Ginny Harding all due to Richard Lewis coming back from the States with a necklace for Ginny, when it should have been myself on the receiving end.  With some surprise I took another quick glance at Ginny’s photo, who was pictured with an ageing but familiar face I knew so well. Richard, the muscly blond Adonis who’d had the looks of an angel as a young man, and who’d left a trail of weeping girls in his wake, including yours truly.

Opening up Ginny’s page I scoured her list of friends until I found him.  I considered it would be rude not to tap on Richard’s icon and have just a quick look.  Filled with a sudden excitement but feeling like a peeping Tom, I opened up his page which to my delight was not private.  He had obviously not posted anything for some time, and his last entry was a video of an ice bucket challenge three years previously.  But who was this grey, balding and portly stranger tipping a bucket of iced water over his head while standing in a children’s paddling pool wearing those awful Speedo swimming trunks that left nothing to the imagination?  It was not the Richard I’d lost my heart and my virginity to all those years ago. His looks had faded, and even his voice had changed from the South London accent I remembered to something more in keeping with Sloane Square.

A red notification appeared at the top of my screen.  Alice had accepted my friend request.  I scrolled further down Richard’s timeline to see a message from a Penny Lewis which made my blood run cold:

‘Rest in peace, Dad. All our love, Penny and Davy.’

The message had been written nearly three years before.  My eyes filled with tears.  It had taken me at least 35 years to get over Richard’s betrayal, hoping and longing that one day he would seek me out and realise the mistake he’d made in letting me go.  Now I knew he never would.  I checked Ginny’s details and noticed ‘widowed’, which in my haste I had previously missed.

Sitting alone by the TV and holding my phone, I came to the conclusion that Facebook still wasn’t for me.  I hoped that Alice would understand.  It was about time that I started to treat Bill better than the second best he never realised he’d been.  I deleted the account, switched the phone off, and finished up the rest of my tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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