A Bad Day – Linda Ann Johnson
1300 word Humour
Everybody has had one of those days; one of those days when nothing seems to go right. Those days were happy when compared to this.
Something told me it wasn’t going to be my day when I was woken up by bits of the ceiling falling on my face. I jumped out of bed too hard, because then the floor fell in. ‘Jed!’ I shouted to my hapless husband as my body thudded downwards. ‘What have you done now?’ ‘I only flushed the toilet,’ he said, half running down the stairs to the lounge where I had, luckily, fallen on the sofa, or should I say unluckily because the springs had burst through the leather and were scratching my arms.
A Bird in the Hand – Rebecca Mansell
2000 words Humour
Cyril has an obsession with birds; the feathered kind you understand. The problem is that he neglects his wife and though he has created a seed mixture that his birds absolutely adore, will his wife want to remain with a man who prefers twitching to kissing?
Cyril taught History at the local community school but he knew far more about birds. The feathered kind, you understand. It couldn’t possibly be the other. If you saw Cyril, you’d understand why. He was an unassuming, humble man. You could pass him in the street and not really notice him as he seemed to blend in with the scenery. Nothing at all remarkable to look at; grey hair, grey eyes and even a grey complexion, sallow and lacking in any healthy colour. Very slim and tall; he wore suits all the time and rarely smiled. He also scratched his head quite a lot. His pupils were constantly sniggering that he had dandruff or nits, but they didn’t realise that it was actually a nervous complaint he’d had since his youthful days.
A Christmas Carol – Lorraine Coverley
1500 words Humour / Christmas
Everyone knows Dickens’ story of Scrooge, the lonely unloved miser who was visited by three ghosts at Christmas and learned to embrace the true spirit of the season. Of course, it might not always have been in the form we know today. Maybe Dickens struggled with it at first – just a little, perhaps.
Marley was dead. There is no doubt whatever about that. Scrooge had, in fact, jumped up and down on him a few times, just to make sure, before he spent out on a coffin. Marley was a bit of a practical joker and Scrooge wouldn’t have put it past him to fake his own death. It would probably be a good tax dodge. Scrooge and Marley had been partners. After his death Scrooge had never painted out Old Marley’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scroo aMarl. The other letters had dropped off in 1825 and he’d never bothered to put them back.
A Dog For All Reasons – Peter Lingard
2200 words Women’s Fiction / Feel Good / Humour
A man is left with a dog his wife brought into their lives. The animal helps him readjust and eventually find happiness.
Read the reviews HERE
I laughed at her outrageous statement and made wagers with her to win my prize. I got her inebriated. I challenged her to nude wrestling matches and other transparent games and she laughed at me. When I said it was time to stop the games, she said, “Not until we get a dog.” The dog was a Welsh corgi and he was the right size for our garden flat. He was farm-born, a few weeks old and nameless when he came into our lives.
A Hell of a Lot of Power – Terence Brand
2450 words Humour
After banishing RAF airman Nobby Clarke’s latest, and noisiest, car from their billet’s forecourt, Newton feels guilty when the car is stolen. With a passionate Nobby urging them on, Newton and Halliday burn up Singapore’s highways in pursuit of the thief.
Oh hell. That idiot was off again. I raised the needle from my record, got off my bed and went to the balcony. The parking area outside Block 151, RAF Changi, had been floodlit. Under the lamps stood a rakish, silver-finished American car. Its six-cylinder engine roared aggressively as the owner tested his latest modification. Someone below me yelled, ‘Give it a rest, Nobby!’ An oily hand emerged from the driver’s window, two fingers extended. I sighed. Nobby Clarke’s lewd gesture signalled the end of my record session. Even up on the first floor, it was impossible to listen to music while Nobby played with his new toy. Snooker would have to replace Ellington as the order of the evening.
A John by Any Other Name – Peter Lingard
1600 words Humour / Romance
A woman is confused about with whom she has a blind date, but the man she picks thinks it’s wonderful.
Jennifer arrived early on Saturday evening to meet John Miller, an almost-blind-date arranged by her sister. She sat on a bench by the fountain in St. Francis’ Square, draped her slender arms along the wooden backrest, and tilted her head to catch the glow of the setting sun. John Miller’s family lived in Adelaide but he had gained his degrees in economics and geography at Melbourne University. It was there that Jennifer’s brother-in-law had been friendly with the man who was soon to commence working for the town’s most prestigious brokerage house. Jennifer had seen a photograph of a group of students that included John before being asked if she fancied the idea of a date with him.
A Little Revenge – Alan Garth
1730 word Humour
The serious business of insulting fellow guests at a cocktail party takes on a greater significance as Iain Lanton is made an offer he can hardly refuse and his career path takes an unexpected turn.
The drinks party had already started when Iain Cuthbert Lanton walked into the reception room. He collected a glass of white wine from the bar and decided to plunge right in. The first unattached person he found was a tall, bulky man in a tweedy sports jacket taking receipt of a large scotch from the bartender. “Hello, I’m Iain Lanton. You here for the do?” “Lantern, eh. So, you light the way, ha ha.” Not a good start. Iain had heard this one too many times. “Not exactly, no. It’s Lanton, not Lantern.” “Ah. I see. Lanton.” “Yes, I. C. Lanton.” “Pardon?” “Iain Cuthbert Lanton.”
A Perfect Day? – Rebecca Holmes
2400 words Humour / Romance
Heather eagerly anticipates a day out in the Lakes, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Her best clothes have nothing to do with the fact that Edward will be there. They meet her at the station, equipped for fell-walking. From there, it’s downhill. Or should that be ‘up mountain’?
“You, Heather, are the original hopeless romantic.” My sister’s words ran through my mind as I checked my appearance in a handbag mirror on the final stage of my journey. I’m not normally vain, but today I wanted to look my best. Luckily the other passengers had disembarked at a previous station, so that I had the compartment to myself, as the train puffed towards Westmorland and the scenery became more hilly with each passing mile. I was used to hills, of course, coming as I did from a Lancashire town surrounded by moors. But, much as I loved them, they couldn’t compare to proper mountains, especially on a day like this, with a clear blue sky. At least my sister wouldn’t be able to joke about me having my head in the clouds.
A Pick Me Up – Paul Warnes
2000 words Humour
A woman joins a gym to lose weight and finds love there. She finds a novel way of coping with eventual rejection.
Derek’s upstairs having a kip bless him. He’s never going to desert me because he needs me as much as I need him. How did we get together? Well, I suppose looking back, it’s Dr. Richards I’ve got to thank. Dr. Richards was a real treasure. I swear he used to look forward to our weekly chats and there was never any fuss about prescribing my pills. “So, Mrs Jones, some more of your little pick-me-ups then?”
A Plague of Women – Bruce Costello
650 words Humour
A humorous tale about strong women in the life of a well-meaning minister, and revelations in Heaven.
The Reverend Reginald Marshall’s wife was an upright lady. Moira served on three Church committees and played the organ in morning service. She held firm views on matters of morality, which she liked to share, peppering her speech with dos, don’ts, shoulds and shouldn’ts.
A Sheep For Christmas – Gill McKinlay
900 words Humour / Christmas Story
Marilyn is not amused when her daughter announces she needs a sheeps’ costume for the school Nativity play. It wouldn’t have been so bad but Juliette, with her long blonde hair, would surely be better cast as an angel – and she already has the perfect outfit. How on Earth is Marilyn going to dress Juliette without it costing a fortune? The school note might have held some answers but Juliette has lost it…
This story is included in the collection A Wish for Christmas
“I’m going to be a sheep in the school play,” Juliette yelled as she bounded through the school gates at a hundred miles an hour. “A sheep?” Marilyn said. “Really? Have you got a note?” “Yes, somewhere,” the little girl muttered rummaging in her bag. “It tells you all about making the costume.” Carla, one of the mums hanging around the gate, gazed at Juliette’s long blonde hair and frowned. “I’d have put money on Juliette being the angel in the Nativity,” she said.
A Sister’s Diary – Linda Lewis
3000 words Romance / Humour / Fairytale
This light-hearted story is a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, told through diary entries written by one of the ugly sisters.
Monday 24th June The day Mother told us she was getting married again, I was very upset, especially when it meant gaining another sister, but it’s actually worked out rather well. In our old house, I had to share a bedroom with Gloria. We don’t exactly see eye to eye, so that wasn’t much fun. My step father already had a daughter, Lucinda her name is, so when we moved in with them, I assumed she’d be keeping her room. After all, this has been her home for twenty years, AND she was here first, but Mother had other ideas.
A Test of Friendship – Rosemary J. Kind
1800 words Humour
Annie’s body clock is ticking and she still wants to have children of her own. Advertising in the paper to find a lifelong partner is all very well, but these things take time and time is the one thing she doesn’t have. Maybe she could skip the lifelong part, but that still leaves her with advertising…
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
“Do you have a better suggestion?” Annie poured another glass of chardonnay and sat back on the settee. Her lustrous brown bob framed her grinning face. She angled the fluffy white teddy to wave his paw at her friend. “You’re bonkers. You could adopt.” Karen shook her head in disbelief. “And telling me that Bear needs a pair of little arms to hold him is no justification. You could have left him in the store.” “It’s all right for you. You have men queuing up, with your blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ve tried internet dating and where did that get me? And you know I can’t walk past a Mothercare store without going in.” Annie threw the newspaper down on the table. The page was folded so that the advert was uppermost.
A Word in Your Ear – Sharon McGregor
1400 words Mystery / Humour
Lettie’s bird watching turns up a lot more than sparrows and owls. She discovers a little too late that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Lettie Moore clung to the cast-iron post at the base of her steps, for a moment, to catch her breath before mounting the five steps leading up to her veranda. It wasn’t a long walk from the store, but her bags were heavy and her arthritis was bothering her today. Then too, she wasn’t getting any younger. She stopped again at the top to set down her packages and grab the contents of the old mailbox, before crossing the veranda to the coolness of her house.
Ad Lib – Patsy Collins
800 words Romance / Humour
Andy knows life isn’t a rehersal. He wishes the same wasn’t true of his romances with Jemima.
This story is included in the collection By My Side
Jemima ran her manicured hand through her fine, blonde hair and asked, “Will you marry me?” Andy almost dropped his script. He blinked and wondered if he’d heard her correctly. She moved along the sofa so she sat with her thigh touching his, took his hand in hers, looked into his eyes and whispered the words again, “Will you marry me?”
After a While – Peter Lingard
2400 words Romance / Humour
A fickle, inept man manages to get a date with the woman of his dreams.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
I know her name because I’ve heard people call out to her. I’ve seen her out in the village with her mother, or girlfriends. Curiously, I have never seen her with a boyfriend. She must be saving herself for me. She’s sexy, beautiful and around five-feet-seven-inches tall. Her blue-black silken hair drops to her shoulders and curls under itself. It is not an exaggeration to say her hair is like that of models who flick their locks from side to side in shampoo commercials.
After the Party – Lorraine Coverley
1450 words Humour
Your four year old has been to Chloe’s party. Somebody has to fetch her home and you drew the short straw. There’s a very real chance that you’re going to have to hear how she behaved while there …
“I like to pick my nose And sometimes I eat it. It’s all green and …” “Could you sing a different song, do you think?” “Why?” “Well, singing about picking your nose is not as nice as singing about picking daisies, for example.” “I don’t pick daisies.” “True.” “But I do pick my nose.” “Also true. But maybe it doesn’t need singing about.”
All Talk – Patsy Collins
1500 words Romance / Humour
Amy and I wanted to find Cara a nice man so she’d be as happy as us.
He had to be someone pretty special though.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
“We need to find Cara a nice man,” Amy whispered at the dress fitting. “We’ve been trying for years, what makes you think we can do it now?” I asked. “She’s seen how happy we both are and I think she’s ready to settle down.” Cara swished back the curtain. “What do you think, Lucy?” “You look beautiful, but I knew you would.,” I told her. It was true, she’d been a beautiful bridesmaid at Amy’s wedding and would do the same for me next month. We’d made a pact to be bridesmaids at each other’s weddings. Technically Amy will be my matron of honour, but you don’t think of things like that when you’re nine.
Always Read the Label – Patsy Collins
700 words Women’s Fiction / Humour
The dress wasn’t the sort of thing Deborah would usually buy, but there was something about it, or rather its label, that made her have to own it.
Deborah read the label on her ‘sun-kissed’ foundation. All she need do was smooth it on for flawlessly finished skin, glowing with radiant health. She tried. The result wasn’t exactly like the complexion of the model from the TV ad, but it did cover the spot on her chin.
An Electric Shade of Blue – Susan Rogers
1800 words Humour
What happens when a middle aged lady, who has never dyed or coloured her hair, decides to dye it electric blue?
I couldn’t take my eyes off the young lady as she swung her hips down the High Street, nodding her head in time with the beat exploding directly into her ears from her iPod, and oblivious to the world around her. As men were ogling the ultra mini mini-skirt and the long slender legs that disappeared only just in time under the skimpy material, women were considering the rather showy boob tube, clearly without any cup support and in imminent danger of spilling its contents. She could only have been in her early twenties, but undoubtedly had the confidence of a cat-walk artiste.
An Unexpected Visit – Alan C. Williams
1400 words Humour / Science Fiction
The police have some questions for Patti’s husband and she’s concerned that they won’t like the answers. After all, there have been some recent changes in their marriage, changes for the better, and Patti is afraid what will happen if they discover the truth about her ‘new’ Damien.
As Patti Gilmore opened their front door, she was surprised to see an overweight police detective flanked by two heavily armed officers. D.I. Sam Costello showed his badge and politely asked if they could come in. “It’s about your husband, Mrs Gilmore,” he explained gently. “Damien?” she asked, suddenly becoming worried. Her husband was in the backyard, gardening. “May we sit down, please? There are some concerns that we have about Mr Gilmore that we need to discuss with you, if that’s all right?”
Arrest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Brian David
1600 words Humour / Christmas
The prospect of recovering a consignment of Christmas trees stolen from a local garden centre looks bleak when the local police find they have less to go on than a hobbit’s toilet, but DS Moore’s fondness for Indian food helps him put the icing on the cake.
A white police car was wending its way up the incline of a country road on a crisp December morning, wintry forest as far as the eye could see. “Of all the trees that grow so fair, Of England to adorn, Greater are none beneath the Sun, Than Oak, and Ash and Thorn.” “What’s that, Constable?” “Kipling, Sarge. We had to learn it at school.” “Busy man. He makes exceedingly good arboreta as well, does he?” “There it is,” WPC Jones said, ignoring the comment. “The Grassy Knoll. Up on the right.”
Au Cabaret – Joel Kaye
900 words Humour / Fairytale
The story takes the notion that some people’s behaviour is a spectacle to others to an absurd extreme. M. Ouragan, Artiste of Outrage, delivers his crafted performance in the Restaurant au Chateau d’Oblong, but the attention of his appreciative audience is distracted by the unforeseen actions of a usurper.
M. Ouragan has taken exception to the Hungarian Salad. He sends it sailing across the restaurant through the conveniently open kitchen door to pass the nose of the sous chef. “It is a marinade of the gutter!” Ouragan erupts. The offending dish crashes and slithers down the kitchen wall even as Trepan, the old waiter, still stands with the kitchen door half-open.
Aunt Jean’s French Beret – Cath Delaney
1900 words Humour / Teen Story
Lauren’s Aunt is visiting the family. Aunt Jean has a rather eccentric dress sense and in the past her school friends have mocked Lauren about it. But this time it is even worse : the thought of bumping into her new boyfriend during a proposed outing with her Aunt is mortifying. But Lauren loves her Aunt and can’t hurt her by refusing to go. All she can do is cross her fingers…..but will it work?
Aunt Jean arrived sporting a bright pink French-style beret, fake-fur boots and emerald green eye shadow. My heart sank. I knew she would insist on taking us children out and the chance of bumping into Paul King was too awful to contemplate. I wanted to crawl away and hide. Aunt Jean’s headgear is a family joke that is seriously unfunny. Last year on her visit she wore a huge straw hat covered in artificial fruit. She took us to the local theme park for her treat and half my school seemed to be there.
Baa Baa Black Sheep – Lorraine Coverley
1470 words Humour
You settle down with your four year old to listen to her reading you a nursery rhyme, just to help her with her reading. It’s four lines long, for goodness’ sake! How hard can it be?
Well, for a start, children pick up on more than you might think …
Baa Baa Black Sheep “Baa …” “Baa.” (Pause) “Then it’s the same again. Baa.” “Why?” (Pause) “Well, because it just is.” “Why?” “Because that’s the way the man wrote it.” “What man?” “The man who wrote ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’.” “What’s his name?” “I don’t know! Just a man, who wrote down the nursery rhyme, so that you could show Mummy what a clever girl you are, and read all these words to me.”