Monday 24 June 2024

His Best Shot by Penny Rogers, strong black coffee

Brady looked at the cover of the magazine. He saw his photo, his amazing close-up of Moma Bob, his recognition as a first-rate photographer, then the words below the picture: ‘Intimate shots of a cougar and her cubs. A photo essay by an exciting new talent.’


Ten months earlier.

Pa was asleep. Nothing new there.  Ever since Ma had died Pa had started drinking earlier every day; now he rarely ceased until he fell into a drunken stupor. Brady had stopped even trying to get him to give up the booze, to eat properly, to look after himself. He didn’t suppose his old man had realised that his youngest son had dropped out of school, given up the job he got at the lumber mill and was now just about getting by on the bit of money Ma had left him. He thought about his brother; Joseph never came near them now. He was well on his way to being a hotshot lawyer in Seattle, far away from rural squalor in the Tetons.

            Brady knew there was someone living in the old trappers’ hut on the other side of Broken Bear Ridge. He’d seen smoke curling above the treeline for a week or so. At first he’d thought it was a wildfire, or a blaze started by careless hikers or hunters, but his experienced eyes told him that it was a contained fire, it was smoke rising from a chimney.

            The hut was only about a mile from Moma Bob’s den, and he hoped that whoever was in the hut wouldn’t disturb her, or worse kill her. He knew there were three cubs in the den; he’d been photographing their mother since she moved into the area almost two years ago. He planned to get a whole series of photos and send them to a magazine. He’d looked at wildlife magazines in the college library; he knew that he could get shots as good, even better, than the ones he saw published.

            ‘Ma, can I be a photographer when I finish college?’

            ‘Sure son, you can be whatever you want.’

            ‘What about Pa?’

            ‘He’ll come round, I’ll talk to him.’

But she never did, and then she died.


The old quad bike could only go so far down the hillside, along the creek and up the other side of the valley towards the ridge. And he didn’t have much fuel, so Brady decided to walk. He’d take a bit of food and find somewhere to shelter overnight. Then he’d have plenty of time to find out who was in the hut and if Moma Bob and her precious babies were OK. He carefully packed his camera; if there was a ticket out of this place, this would be it. He looked at Pa, snoring on the threadbare couch. He wrote a short note in the unlikely event of the old feller waking up sober enough to wonder where his boy was.

            By late afternoon Brady was restoring a shelter he’d built with Joe some years ago when they were good buddies. Ma was alive and Pa worked at the sawmill. Even back then Joe was keen on getting good grades and all Brady wanted to do was take photographs. When the shelter was good enough Brady took a couple of shots of the setting sun reflected on the far side of the valley where he lived. He wondered if Pa was awake and if he’d seen the note.


Dawn was Brady’s favourite time to take pictures. Soft light, traces of mist, animals not as wary as when the sun is high, and that marvellous silence, peace broken only by birdsong. It was that quietness that he tried to capture in his photographs; his ambition was to instil tranquillity into a medium without sound. Every muscle, every sinew in his body was alert as the sun rose over the ridge.

            The scent of frying bacon came to his nostrils. Unmistakeable, delicious; he hadn’t had a good breakfast for a long time. He thought of Ma’s waffles and bacon, eggs over easy and a big mug of coffee. But this wasn’t a dream, it was for real and whoever was in the old hut was cooking breakfast. He hastily cleared up his belongings, put his camera carefully away and made his way up the ridge. The odour of the bacon acted like a pulley rope, drawing him up the steep hillside, helping him over rocks and preventing his ankle from twisting in the tussocks and rabbit holes. He stopped on the edge of the clearing around the hut. He could see women’s underwear on a makeshift clothes line, a jug of meadow flowers on the table in the porch and a broom propped up by the front door. No sign of a male presence, no man’s voice broke the silence. Intrigued he walked purposefully towards the door.


That breakfast of bacon, eggs, flat bread and a bowl of wild strawberries, all washed down with fresh coffee was the best meal Brady had ever eaten. Replete, they stayed on the porch smoking and finding out about each other. Brady felt that at long last he was truly alive.

            He didn’t go home for three months. Once or twice he thought about Pa, but Mandy’s seduction was complete and persistent. In between long hours in her bed she conjured up delicious meals while he took his camera to the vicinity of Moma Bob’s den and managed to get shots of her and the two surviving cubs. He knew these images were world class; somehow his contentment enabled him to capture the maternal love and single-minded devotion of the cougar. He told Mandy of his plans, his aspirations and his frustration at having no money, and his camera being his only chance of making a life for himself away from the valley. 

            ‘I could help you if you want me to.’ Mandy was interested in his ideas. She told him that she was a writer specialising in young adult books and the latest had just been made into a network series by the BBC and CBC. As a result she had been able to fund a summer in the Tetons with the commission. Her purpose in coming here had been to write, but finding a handsome lover some twenty-five years younger had somewhat distracted her from writing more blockbusters.

            ‘I’ve got contacts in publishing. What’s that magazine you were talking about?

            Nature Alive.’

            ‘What a coincidence! I know the editor; we had an affair once, we’re still good friends.’


Brady could not believe his luck. This incredible woman who had had so much experience and led such a fascinating life actually wanted to sleep with him and help him escape from the valley.

            ‘I haven’t always lived in Canada’ she told him while they were chopping some herbs she’d collected, ‘I used to be married to an American and lived right near here in Jackson.’

Brady had been to Jackson to see his grandparents on one occasion when he was about ten. Although it was only about sixty miles away it might just as well have been on the moon.

            ‘And I lived in London for five years. Worked for the BBC, I’ve got lots of contacts there.’


Summer began to show signs of old age. Leaves that had been bright green started yellowing; grasses desiccated by the sun had shed all their seeds and lay flattened in the upland meadows. Moma Bob’s twins had grown well during the summer and she spent increasingly long periods hunting away from the den. When she wasn’t there the cubs would play outside; they became accustomed to Brady’s presence. He never got too close; he didn’t want them to trust him, but inevitably his scent and noise alerted them to his proximity. The photographs he took were superb.

            The shortening days reminded Brady that he didn’t know how Pa was doing. It came to him one morning that the old man might be dead; he knew he had to go home. Mandy too seemed keen to move on, talking of winter back in Quebec, wondering if he could spend Christmas with her there.

            ‘What are you going to do with those photos?’

            ‘Send them to the editor of Nature Alive.

            ‘Would you like me to do that? As I know the editor so well…’

            ‘That would be great! I don’t know what to say…’

            ‘Let me have the files, I’ll do the rest,’


When he got home the house was locked.  Brady walked up the valley to Jase Steven’s place. Jase wasn’t home, but Ali was.

            ‘You should be ashamed. Leaving him like that. They took him to the County District Hospital but it was too late. Just me and Jase at his funeral. Don’t come round here looking for sympathy.’

            He called Joe. His brother was too busy to take his call, but a woman who said she was his PA took a message and said he’d call back when he had time.

            He called Mandy to ask if she’d pay for him to go to Quebec. There was no reply; he left a voicemail but his message was unanswered.


A window at the back of the house had been broken since he and Joe had whacked it with a baseball bat. Pa had covered it with hardboard at the time and never got round to fixing it properly, so Brady was able to prise it open and break into his own home. It was a stinking mess; he sat down on what had been Ma’s chair and wept.


He got through the autumn and winter doing odd jobs at the sawmill. He cleaned up the house and made it watertight, even mended the broken window. The neighbours pretty well ostracised him; they blamed him for neglecting Pa, but that didn’t worry him; he missed Mandy too much. He didn’t understand why she hadn’t contacted him, didn’t return his calls or respond to his messages. He’d been looking forward to spending Christmas with her, but nothing came of her promises on that score. He had never felt so alone.

            On a rare visit to town on the first warm day of spring he saw a copy of Nature Alive in the grocery store. He picked it up in disbelief. There on the cover and in a double spread inside were his picture of Moma Bob and her cubs. His photographs, but attributed to ‘Mandy Legasquet: a remarkable new talent.’

            He drove home in a trance, unable to comprehend her betrayal. In Ma’s chair he tried to think what he could do; he had nothing and no one. The only option he could see was to take his rifle, walk up to Broken Bear Ridge and not come back.

            The sound of his phone made him jump; he so seldom received any calls that he’d forgotten what an incoming call sounded like. ‘Have you been drinking?’ Brady didn’t recognise the voice.

            ‘No I have not. Who are you anyway?’

            There was a laugh on the other end of the phone that Brady recognised. ‘Joe?’


Three days later Joe’s SUV pulled up outside his old home.

            ‘Why didn’t you call me? I left messages, lots of ‘em. You ignored me Joe’.

Joe had been shocked to see how gaunt and ill his brother looked.

            ‘I tried a coupla times, got no answer.’

            ‘You coulda left a message! Even when I told you about Pa. You shoulda done something. Come home for a start, but no you left me all alone in this sad dump.’

            ‘I’m sorry bro. Dunno what to say. I let you down.’

            ‘So what made you change your mind?’

            Joe smiled cautiously. ‘I got a new PA, she’s kinda nice. Her name’s Angie.’ Brady guessed that this lady was more than a PA. He let his brother continue. ‘She went through all my old messages and appointments. Made sure I was up to date, she’s very thorough. And she found a message from you. She said that she didn’t know I had a brother and asked me what you were like. So I called you. Simple as that.’

            ‘If you hadn’t called when you did you wouldn’t have had a brother.’ The whole story took a long time to tell; at the end Joe said ‘Do you know what I do?’

            ‘Yeah, you’re a hotshot lawyer.’

             Joe smiled. ‘But do you know what kinda lawyer?’

            ‘Nah. A rich one maybe.’


Into the night Joe explained intellectual property to his bemused brother. It had never occurred to Brady that Mandy had stolen something from him. He had never stopped loving her. When he told this to Joe his brother had said

            ‘Bro, love’s a two-way thing.  This is gonna sound tough, but sounds to me like you were infatuated with this woman. That’s not love.’

            This made Brady angry ‘Don’t patronise me, hotshot lawyer. I loved her. Still do.’ But even he was beginning to see that his trust had been abused and it was time to move on.


Over the next few days Joe made many calls to Seattle, and spent hours having Zoom meetings. The idea of working away from an office was a new one on Brady. He’s heard about it; how companies were re-shaping ways of doing business following the Covid pandemic and subsequently pushed along by rising costs and environmental concerns. But he’d no idea of the reality of how it worked; he became fascinated with the possibilities of technology.

            Encouraged by Joe, Brady took his camera into the hills every day. Joe told him to build up a portfolio of his work that would be evidence, if needed, to prove that the shots of Moma Bob and her cubs were his. ‘The only camera Mandy had was on her phone’ he told Joe one day. ‘She had no idea about lighting, lenses, filters, angles – anything beyond point and click.’


For the first time in a long while Brady felt hopeful. Having Joe around and having a purpose for his photography gave him a sense of newly discovered self-worth. He started eating properly, sleeping better and looking after himself, even when Joe went back to Seattle and left him to the silence of the mountains. Then he got the call from his brother telling him to rent a car and drive to Seattle, there were papers to sign.


Afterwards Brady looked back on the next few weeks as like a rebirth. Never in his life had he been treated like this; with respect and almost deference by smart folk in suits and impossibly gorgeous women in the highest heels he’d ever seen. It transpired that Mandy Legasquet was just one name that this accomplished con-woman had used. It seemed that Mandi King-Lowe, Amanda Macpharlane, even Deirdre Oppenheimer were all the same person who had been responsible for frauds of one sort or another on both sides of the Atlantic. It turned out that she’d gone to Broken Bear Ridge to hide from debt collectors for the summer. She must have thought Lady Luck was on her side when Brady walked into her life and gave her the photos. She had been arrested in Canada and there were warrants for her extradition to the UK and Ireland.

            ‘But I don’t think you’ll have to go to court.’ Joe and Angie had taken Brady to a swanky old-school steakhouse on the waterfront. ‘The editor of Nature Alive is keen to settle out of court. I’ve spoken to him today. He’s offered to print an apology in the next issue about the attribution of the Moma Bob shots and we’re negotiating a substantial sum in compensation. I need to talk to you about that tomorrow. More importantly, I think you’ll like this, a contract for at least six series of photographs. All those shots you’ve been taking over the last few weeks are gonna come in VERY useful.’

Brady leaned back in his chair, took a sip of coffee and looked out across Puget Sound. ‘Ma would be pleased. And I guess Pa would too. Thanks bro.’

About the author 

Penny Rogers lives in Dorset in the south of England. She writes mostly short stories, flash fiction and poems and facilitates an informal writing group. She is a regular contributor to CaféLit. When she’s not writing Penny makes jams, pickles and preserves from home grown or foraged produce. 

Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)

Sunday 23 June 2024

Sunday Serial, 280 x 70, 22 The Trouble with Small Towns 18 December 2018, by Gill James, cold tea

It's really peaceful here. Everything pretty well closes by 6.00 p.m. and you barely notice the rush hour. There are never queues at the supermarket, not even just before Christmas. The air is fresh and you can really breathe. And everyone knows everyone else. Folk look after each other.

So it was a bit of a shock when the Smithins had both of their cars stolen.

"Just be thankful that they didn't hurt you," the local policeman said. The conversation continued that night at the pub, because PC Winkworth happens to be the Smithins' neighbour.

It was outsiders, opportunists. Nobody who lived in the town would contemplate such an act. But what about the Jacksons' cat? That was really nasty. Poisoned, the vet had said. No doubt by someone who knew them and had a grudge. Who would think such a thing could happen? Someone knew exactly when Tibbles would be fed. They'd got into the house and doctored his food. Who would contemplate such a thing? 

Then there was Miss Tailor's washing. Slashed to pieces on a Saturday afternoon. Sheets ripped through, dog pooh smeared into her underwear and pig’s blood, they established after analysis, thrown over her fancy silk blouses.

When things like this happen in small towns you start suspecting the people you've been mates with for years.

So, I'm leaving. Yes, okay, so then they'll guess it was me. The newcomer. It makes me laugh just how easy it was. How much they all welcomed me and trusted me.  But they'll never find me.  The pay-out for the cars means I can lay low for decades.   You see, everybody tells you all of their secrets here.      


About the author

Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown. 

She edits CafeLit and writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation.

She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing.   

Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)

Saturday 22 June 2024

Saturday Sample: The Best of Cafelit 9, No Laughing Matter, Bloody Mary,


Writing For CaféLit

Have you got a story in you? Do you think it would suit CaféLit?

We’re looking for thought-provoking and entertaining stories, though ones which might be a tad different from what you normally read in a woman’s magazine. They should be the sort of length that would make easy reading whilst you drink a cup of coffee, even if you linger a while, but without you needing to rent a table.

So, perhaps, no more than 3000 words. Shorter stories and flash fiction are naturally very welcome.

We’ll read your story. If we like it, we’ll let you know and if we don’t like it we’ll let you know – within a month. We will work on editing with you.

Each year we’ll publish a volume of the best stories. If you are in the volume you will have a share of the profits.

Our editing process will also include some work on your bio to maximise its effect.

We also ask you assign your story the name of a drink. Something light and frothy might be a hot chocolate. A dark piece of flash fiction could be an espresso. Something good for the soul would be a mint tea.

Full submission details can be found at

 No Laughing Matter

by Paula R C Readman

Bloody Mary

Periodontitis is a real problem that someone like me shouldn’t have, especially when I rely so much on my appearance. Bad breath can be such a killer with the ladies. It is difficult enough to look after your gums at the best of times.

I used to live in the lap of luxury, having access to the best of everything. Now that I’m living in a tiny crypt, if one can say that after death, I don’t have access to a bathroom, only a dripping tap in the graveyard.

I know we vampires are not renowned for having a great sense of humour, but it is no laughing matter, when every time you sink your teeth in, they come out.

About the author

Paula R C Readman learnt ‘How to Write’ from books which her husband purchased from eBay.  After 250 purchases, he finally told her ‘just to get on with the writing’.  Since 2010, she's had 34 stories published and is now busy editing her crime novel again.


Find your copy here. 


Friday 21 June 2024

The April Thesis by Mike Lee, red wine and Strega

 It was another nothing autumn afternoon: cloudy, beckoning rain. I saw a young couple riding down St. Marks Place to Tompkins Square Park. I was on the sidewalk, my camera in hand, as the blue Citibike rode by, pedaled by a heavy-set young man with close-cropped hair, and a young woman sitting in the front basket, her brown legs spread wide and high as her driver raced to make the light at Avenue A.

Riding in those baskets is often dangerous but has become commonplace recently. Youth lives for small dangers, and I envied their passion and a sense that no matter how risky, all would be well.

Until it isn’t. But not today.

As they passed, the young man looked at me. I wish I had gotten a photo, but I wasn’t ready.

Yet the moment sent me elsewhere in time.

I thought about the young woman on the bike. She was short and thin, with black hair flowing past—a blur.

This was enough to set the wheels turning. Backward, though, always backward.

I continued walking, smiling and dived deep into memory from decades ago.

The young woman reminded me of April. We met at the Domsey’s in Williamsburg, near the bridge, in the fall of 1990.

I used to go to the store to buy vintage clothes, but I learned from friends that the best bargains were at Domsey’s warehouse in Brooklyn by the East River.

There, you could get clothes for a pound. The catch was you had to compete with buyers from vintage stores and others, all fighting for a spot by the large bins where workers would dump piles of clothes. The cascades of shoes and accessories, such as purses and belts, dropped into barrels.

I’m told you rarely got lucky, but it’s still worth a visit.

The early morning weather was crisp and not very cold when I took the M train across the East River into Brooklyn. I had tip money from my waiter job near Union Square in Manhattan and figured on some bargains, hopefully, vintage button-down shirts.

Since I was a teenager, I have worn vintage. I wanted to look different and be sharp. Style is an attitude, not a fashion statement. 

I despise uniformity. Instead, I seek to express my individuality through fashion—though on a tight budget.

I entered chaos. Workers were busy dumping bales of loose clothing into barrels while bargain hunters and vintage clothing storeowners grabbed them almost simultaneously.

Stood there trying to figure out where to start. Hands in tweed jacket pockets. Cigarette hanging from mouth. Horn-rimmed glasses were slightly askew. Turn to the left to look at an ashen young woman in a flower print baby doll dress and high Doc Marten boots fetch a pair of stilettos dropping into the barrel before me.

She held the shoes to her neck as if they represented a profound, life-changing moment. They were vintage: pointed-toed patent leather with what looked like silk bows at the vamp and three-inch heels.

I didn’t find anything in my wanderings through the warehouse; instead, I conversed with the young woman. I found out her name and that she was spending her first paycheck from her cashier job at Tower Records on Broadway. She graduated from Hunter the previous spring and was from Brooklyn. 

Outside, she unlaced her Docs and tried on the stilettos while leaning her hand against the wall. They fit, but I caught her when she began to stumble at the first step.

We found a diner down the street, talked about bands, exchanged numbers, and then I asked her out. We planned to have dinner in the Village.

I made sure I was on time at the meeting spot at the A train exit by the basketball courts.

April wore a black trench coat over a green plaid, a-line dress with a flipped collar and heels, which clicked loudly above the bustling din of the avenue.

She pulled her dark brunette hair back in a ponytail, with wispy bangs over her forehead. Her mascara trailed to Egyptian tails, accentuating her green eyes and hair.

I wore my lucky suit—dark green, single-button, with a skinny black tie knotted over a red shirt and two-tone Italian winkle pickers. 

April adjusted my tie and said she loved how I looked. 

We were money. We were sharp. We walked down MacDougal as such.

Dinner was lasagna and a lot of red wine, finishing with shots of Strega.

We had sex in my apartment. I lived in an old tenement on Ludlow Street with a roommate from Chile and a stove that never worked. My bed was a futon mattress, yet April was impressed with the record collection.

The following day, I woke up to April playing The Pixies and singing along to “Ana.” Her voice was a cigarette whisper, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

Well, it didn’t happen, but give us credit for trying. It just was until it was not. This seems to be a theme in my life.

A few years ago, I looked her up on Facebook. She is married and living in Florida. April is a far and long ago.

As I passed Café Mogador, I thought I heard the guitar opening to “Ana,” but it was my imagination. The mind plays tricks in late middle age.

About the author

Mike Lee is a writer and editor at a trade union in New York City. His work appears in or is forthcoming in CafeLit, Drunk Monkeys, The Opiate, Brilliant Flash Fiction, BULL, and others. His story collection, The Northern Line, is available on Amazon. 

Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)

Thursday 20 June 2024

The Park Avenue Deal by Penny Rogers, rum punch

Toby should have taken more notice of Amy’s chance remark. ‘Isn’t it about time you bought some new underwear?’

            At the time he’d just grunted ‘OK’ and forgot all about it. There were more interesting things to do than buy boxers and socks, and he was busy at work finalising a tricky sale.

            So he was taken aback when Amy returned to the subject. ‘I told you weeks ago to get some new pants and socks. These are a disgrace.’ Amy was folding the laundry as if she was handling toxic waste. ‘What do you call this?’ She held up a pair of once crisp white boxers. Even Toby had to admit they’d seen better days.

            ‘They’d be OK with some new elastic, wouldn’t they?’


Then Len came round for Sunday lunch. Toby’s dad was not one to pull his punches. ‘How do those trousers stay up son? Looks like it’s just your reputation keeping you decent. The least you could do is wear a belt.’

            Toby hoicked up his old chinos. ‘Must’ve lost a bit of weight. They’re OK for the garden,’

            ‘No they aren’t. You don’t see Amy wearing old clothes that don’t fit. Come to that you won’t see me looking like a bag of cast-offs from a charity shop. Smarten yourself up lad!’


The final straw came at work. Toby worked for an estate agent, he was one of their top negotiators.

            ‘Can we have a word please?’ It clearly wasn’t a request.

            ‘Sure, is it about Park Avenue?’ He followed Caroline into her office.

            She gestured to Toby to sit down; she perched opposite him. ‘No, sorry Toby it isn’t. I’ll come straight to the point. I’ve had client feedback that’s critical of your appearance. Several people have said that you know your stuff, but that your scruffy clothes give completely the wrong impression.’ Toby winced at the word ‘scruffy’ but Caroline hadn’t finished. ‘You need to smarten up. You’re dealing with discerning clients and a well-worn chain store suit and shirts that turn up at the collar just aren’t good enough.  Do I make myself clear?’

            Toby was embarrassed. What a fool he’d been not to listen to Amy and his dad. ‘Point taken Caroline. I’ll go shopping at the weekend.’

            ‘No need to wait until then. Take the rest of the day off, go and sort yourself out. Well done for completing on Park Avenue, you’re very good. Don’t let your appearance let you down.’


A quick text to Amy explaining why he might be a bit late home was followed by the reply ‘Great, just what you need. Don’t spend so much we can’t have that week in Barbados lol.’ Her words buzzed in his ears as he went into a smart tailor’s shop.

So when Toby was measured for a bespoke suit, he chose a grey pinstripe with cerulean blue lining, the colour of the Caribbean Sea. He knew that he was about to spend a lot of money but he had a plan that took shape as he went on to select three pairs of trousers, two jackets and assorted shirts. It became even clearer when he popped into M&S for a bagful of underwear, and by the time he stopped in the High Street to get jeans and tee shirts for the garden he knew exactly what he was going to do.


Amy peered at the credit card statement.  ‘Hmm. I know we agreed that you needed new clothes but this is a lot of money. Looks like we’ll have to give up on the idea of Christmas in the Caribbean.’ He tried to reassure her but she clearly wasn’t convinced.

            ‘I know your old trousers were too big, but you don’t need Tommy Hilfiger or whatever his name is to cut the grass.’ Len was flabbergasted to see his son looking like the models on glossy magazines. The boy didn’t seem able to find the middle road between untidy and designer chic.


At work it was a different story. Everyone in the office commented on the new look Toby. One or two people asked him if he was going for a new job, and Tamsin in accounts spread the word that he might be having an affair. It was time see if he could pull off the biggest deal of his career.

Caroline wasn’t too surprised when he knocked on her door. ‘I’d like to talk to you about re-negotiating my basic salary and commission rates. I’ve had a look at what I’ll get for the Park Avenue deal, and frankly it’s disappointing considering the time and effort that went into securing it.’ Caroline started to respond, but Toby kept going ‘I’ve had a look round and our competitors are, frankly, more generous.’

‘Well Toby. You’re paid according to your contract. If that’s not enough then you might want to work elsewhere.’

This was not the response he was expecting. ‘Can you at least consider raising my commission?’

They spent the next hour discussing, negotiating, compromising, sticking and calculating. Finally Toby walked out of the office. He was exhausted and not sure how Amy would react to his news.

‘Can we make changes to the holiday?’

Amy’s face fell. ‘You said you’d sort it out. I was so looking forward to getting away into the sunshine: swimming, scuba diving and cocktails by the pool. Instead you go shopping and …’

‘Hey hey. I didn’t say cancel it did I? No change it. From one to two weeks, and upgrade to a suite.’

About the author  

Penny Rogers lives in Dorset in the south of England. She writes mostly short stories, flash fiction and poems and facilitates an informal writing group. She is a regular contributor to CaféLit. When she’s not writing Penny makes jams, pickles and preserves from home grown or foraged produce.

Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)