Monday 27 April 2015

Never Again!

100 Worder

Janet Bunce

Never Again!

A caffeine shot

There was so much pain in her body she felt like she had moved to old age overnight.
            Adrenalin pumping, forcing legs on.
            Mentally she was challenged but the ‘Can I go on?’ was losing out to ‘I will go on’.
            She had seen some fall by the wayside along the way. Exhaustion, pain or injury taking them.
            Her heart went out to these gallant people.
            She was touched by all who had come out to offer support.
            It brought tears to her eyes.
            She turned the final corner and saw it.
            The finish line — another 26.2 miles completed!

About the Author
About the author: Janet lives in Epping Forest and works part time in financial services. She has been pleased to have two stories published in the latest edition of the Best of Cafelit. This 100 worder is inspired by her own experiences of running marathons and she is 'looking forward' to running London marathon later this month!

Editor's Note: We published this today as close to the date as possible so we hope Janet has now completed this year's London marathon!

Published April 27 2015

Friday 24 April 2015

100 Worder New Term

100 Worder

Dr Gill James

New Term

Black coffee: keep it coming

Greg plugged in his computer and hooked up to the internet. Against the wall there was a red crate containing Sonia’s stuff. Her desk would go there eventually. After having an office to himself for six years he now had to share. Still, this building had more character than the other one and Sonia was hardly ever there.
             He clicked on his Virtual Learning Environment. Seminar groups, reading lists and lecture notes were all stored there neatly as you would expect. Teaching would start on Monday.
             One day of freedom, then, before the students made him feel inadequate again.

About the Author

Gill James is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford where she is Programme Leader for English and Creative Practice. She writes fiction for young adults and children and shorter fiction for adults. Her latest novel is The House on Schellberg Street.


Published April 24 2015

Wednesday 22 April 2015

100 Worder Paris

100 Worder
Roger Noons
A glass of absinthe

When I asked the waitress for a quickie, she slapped my face and flounced off towards the kitchen. Seeing my look of hurt and embarrassment, the man at the next table leaned over and said. “I think you’ll find it’s pronounced Quiche.” That summed up my first day in Paris. The second was no better. I slipped on a wet path and fell into the Seine.
            They say things come in threes, so I took great care visiting the Musée d’Orsay. Did you by any chance read about an accident in a Paris museum, where a Rodin statue was…

About the Author
Roger is a regular contributor to CafeLit and his work is featured in The Best of collections. He charms us all with his humour but sometimes also his pathos.

Published April 22 2015

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Head Banging

Head Banging

Sue Cross

G and T

I had just returned from a visit to the supermarket when the phone rang.
            ‘Pamela! What a surprise – how are you?’ I uttered before I could bite my tongue in regret.
            ‘I’ve had an awful few months. The migraines are forever lurking behind my eyes,’ she moaned.
            I sat down, knowing that this would be a long conversation. After commiserating, she asked if we could meet for lunch.
            ‘Are you sure that you’ll be up to it. You know, the migraines…’
            ‘I must make the effort. I’ve not been out for ages. Shall we meet at the Wine Bar in Grove Road?’

It was arranged and we met on the dot at twelve noon. Pamela had lost weight since I had last seen her and she looked pale. In spite of the heat she wore a beige body warmer over her pristine, white blouse. Although she could be irritating, I was fond of her and I felt sorry that she had to suffer such poor health. We pecked each other on the cheek and I hoped that my perfume would not cause an allergic reaction. Silly of me to have put it on, but it was habit.
            We found a quiet table in the window and soon the waiter greeted us. He had docile eyes and sported a tattoo of a spider’s web on his neck.
            ‘The special today is Chicken Chasseur with new potatoes and either salad or green beans.’
            Pamela screwed her nose up and perused the menu.
            ‘Shall I come back?’ he asked.
            ‘Er, yes. This table is no good. The sun will be round in a minute. Can we sit in the shade? Migraines.’ She sounded ominous and the waiter’s eyebrows raised a fraction.
            We duly found a table near to the kitchen, where it was suitably gloomy, and ordered some drinks.
            ‘White wine for me, please. What would you like, Pamela?’
            ‘Er, let me think. Mineral water, still. Thank you.’
            The waiter returned with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order.
            ‘I’ll have the special, please – with the green beans.’
            He scribbled in his notepad and looked expectantly at Pamela, who was wearing a pained expression. I hoped that it was not the start of a migraine.
            ‘Er, let me think. I’ll have the pâté with white bread. No butter. Dairy allergy. Does the pâté contain any dairy?’
            ‘I’ll check for you.’ He smiled and disappeared. My tummy rumbled.
            ‘Well, this is nice. Cheers.’ I raised my glass and took a gulp of wine.
            ‘I’ve come off the blood pressure pills,’ Pamela informed me. ‘They were causing so many problems. George has been doing all the housework and cooking. I couldn’t get out of bed for a month.’
            The waiter returned, looking triumphant. ‘No dairy products in the pâté.’
            ‘All right. I’ll have that, then.’
            He looked relieved and disappeared with haste before she could change her mind.

My mouth watered as the food was presented. It smelled delicious and soon I was tucking into my meal. The chicken was tender and succulent, the sauce rich and the green beans crisp.
            Pamela picked at her food and complained about the incompetence of the medical profession.
            ‘Everything all right here?’ The waiter held his head to one side, like an expectant sparrow.
            ‘Delicious.’ I meant it.
            ‘The bread is a bit doughy and the pâté is too rich. You can take my plate away. I can’t finish it.’ Pamela adjusted her sunglasses and took some tablets from her handbag.
            ‘Can I get you anything else? Coffee or dessert?’
            ‘Coffee please. What about you, Pamela?’
            ‘Er, let me think. I’ll have a chamomile tea.’
            I heard a lot about the side effects of modern drugs as we waited for our drinks. It really was a shock to learn of the dangers of such medicines.
            After paying our bill, I asked Pamela if she would like a lift home. I was worried that she was too delicate to manage the half-mile walk to her house.
            ‘Thank you, dear. I am rather tired.’
            ‘I’m parked in the car park around the corner.’
            ‘These new bifocals are so difficult to get used to,’ she announced as we strolled to the car park but, before I could steady her, she was on the pavement, prone and moaning.
            ‘Are you all right?’ I helped her to her feet.
            ‘Banged my head. I’ll be fine,’ she said with uncharacteristic optimism.
            ‘Are you sure? I can drive you round to A and E.’
            ‘No need to fuss. I’m all right.’
            I drove her home and, worried, phoned her the next day.
            ‘How are you feeling today?’ I braced myself for a detailed description.
            ‘Oh, fine. It was lovely seeing you yesterday. Can we do it again next week?’ She sounded chirpy and cheerful.

We met at the same wine bar. She was a little late and breezed in looking ten years younger. I tried to fathom what was different about her and then realised that she was not wearing her dark glasses and she was wearing eye makeup. Eye makeup! She was allergic to eye makeup and had often described the alarming the effects of even the slightest hint of mascara.
            Let’s sit in the window. It’s such a lovely day.’
            ‘Are you sure?’
            ‘Yes, why do you ask?’
            ‘Oh, you know. Just wondered.’

We had a different waiter this time. ‘Can I get you a drink?’ he enquired.
            ‘I’d like a gin and tonic. What about you, dear?’ Pamela looked at me, smiling.
            I ordered my usual glass of Chardonnay.
            ‘The special today is steak in a creamy pepper sauce with chips and side salad or broccoli.’
            ‘Yum – sounds good to me. I’ll have mine rare with broccoli,’ Pamela enthused.
            The waiter disappeared to the kitchen and I sat in silent shock.
            ‘So, how have you been since your fall?’
            ‘Fall, what fall? I don’t know – my memory has been shocking this week, but what the heck! Cheers, drink up. I’m going to have another G and T.’

About the Author

Sue Cross has published two novels, Tea at Sam’s and the sequel, Making Scents. You can visit her on her website

Friday 17 April 2015

100 Worder Jigsaw

100 Worder


Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

A glass of milk and a cookie

It’s a chronological disorder. People call it different things. I call it travelling.
            I don’t know when it’s gonna happen, usually starts with the smell of burning; which is weird, given what happened.
            Nan left the gas on.
            Mum forgot the batteries for the smoke detector.
Dad died.
            I found a pierce of the jigsaw, the one we were doing. “It’s getting late,” Dad said. “We’ll finish it tomorrow.”
            But there was no tomorrow.
            Now I’m gonna put it right.
            Gonna find a way to travel.   
I’ll warn Nan. Tell Mum about the batteries.
            I’ll finish the jigsaw with Dad.

About the Author

Debz edits for CafeLit, is an award winning short story writer, published novelist… hey too egotistical? Forget that. Debz writes because she cannot not write, she also works, to pay the bills, as an editor and professional critter (critiques not fully animals)… no forget that too. Let’s just say: this is a 100 word version of the first story she ever had published in a collection (2008) and might inspire some of you to do the same thing and adapt a story you already have! And if she adds these fifteen words her bio will also be exactly 100 words.

Published April 17 2015

Thursday 16 April 2015

Shark Bait

Susan A Eames

Shark Bait

Cup of hot sweet Rooibos Tea

The cage looks puny.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” I say.
“It’s OK, they never attack the cage,” says Frankie.
“They’re not interested in canned diver.”
The little boat smacks into the trough of every oncoming wave while we manoeuvre into position halfway between the mainland and Dyer Island in what is nicknamed, Shark Alley. 
Frankie cuts the engine but we continue to buck and bounce in sea-sickening lurches.
The boys get busy chumming the water with putrefying fish. Frankie tosses in a tuna head attached to a buoyed line.
They lower the cage into the water while I wriggle into my thick wetsuit.
Within minutes an immense shadowy figure begins to circle the boat. 
Once, twice. On its third circuit, the shark lunges for the bait which Frankie twitches aside to encourage it to stay and fight for its meal. Instead the animal spooks and vanishes.
Another Great White torpedoes in. Three metres of menace just off our stern churns the water into foam as it grabs and tries to detach the tuna from the line. The shark gives up and zig-zags away.
The top of the cage rides above the waterline. ‘Get in,’ says Frankie.
I hesitate.
“What are you waiting for? C’mon!”
I plop into the bobbing cage. Icy cold waves slap the back of my head. 
We wait.
Before long another Great White rockets in.
“Dive down!” yells Frankie.
I gulp a breath and sink underwater. Stunning silence. Unthinking, I hook my toes through one of the cage bars for balance. Eyes wide behind my mask, I look around. Where? 
Then the sun pierces the gloom. Backlit in a dazzling illumination, the shimmering shark slices, skims and skews towards me. 
With a spurt of alarm, I yank my toes back inside the cage. 
Up above Frankie jerks the tuna head and the shark slews past the cage like it’s attached to the line. 
And it’s so stupendously, unexpectedly beautiful, I am without fear. 

About the Author
Susan A. Eames left England over twenty five years ago to explore the world and dive its oceans. She has had travel articles and short fiction published on three continents. After several fascinating years living in Fiji she has relocated to West Cork in Ireland.

Published April 16 2015

Tuesday 14 April 2015

100 Worder Bad

Mary Bevan


Campari soda

‘It’s awesome, Mum – honestly. When you’re in freefall it’s like flying, and then the chute opens and suddenly you’re rising again like… like the sky’s drawing you up. If you knew how it felt you’d want me to do it.’
            He looks at me, frowning, willing me to understand. I love him. The fear is all mine, not his.
            ‘OK then, Tom.’
            ‘Yesss.’ He springs up from the bench. ‘Mum, you’re bad!’
            Oh, this upside-down language!
            I come here most days. The metal plaque on the bench back reads:

Thomas Morrison, died 15 March 2014

Why fall?

Skies call.

That’s all.

About the Author
Having promised herself that she’d start writing when she finally gave up work (never too late to learn!), Mary began experimenting with short stories and flash fiction around two years ago. She is particularly fascinated by the exacting demands of the flash fiction form and has won several prizes for her work in literary competitions and story slams.

Published April 14 2015

Friday 10 April 2015

100 Worder The Room

100 Worder

Rachel Hobbs

The Room


As Darrell scowled at the crass, peeling wallpaper in front of him, he decided with dull realisation that he despised this room. He hated everything about it; from the moth-eaten, threadbare carpet with the little round flower patterns to the tacky, outdated lampshades in all four corners. Just breathing in the stale, musty air made him want to gag, and he vaguely wondered when the last time anyone had bothered to open a window was, or let a little light in. No, he could think of a thousand and one places he would rather be tied to a chair in.

About the Author

Rachel Hobbs grew up in a little forgotten village in South West Wales. Its beautiful, remote location making it the perfect place to soak up lots of inspiration on thoughtful walks. She is currently a part time dental nurse with a wonderfully supportive fiancé, who reads everything she writes. Rachel loves to write poetry and short stories in her spare time and is currently in the process of completing her first novel, which she one day hopes to see on the shelves in Waterstones!

Published April 10 2015

Thursday 9 April 2015

100 Worder Perseverance

100 Worder

Paul Westgate


A glass of dandelion and burdock

The clock’s faces showed different times. Instead of a watch my fingers found only the pawn ticket; but what did it matter if I caught the train or not?
            She hadn’t said no; only that it couldn’t work, it would be too difficult. Without speaking she’d looked intently at me, her pale face surrounded by dark fur. I’d said nothing and she’d turned and left the station.
            Through clouds of steam I glimpsed the engine’s name – ‘Perseverance’. I turned around. I now knew what that last look had meant. Gripping the small box tightly, I started walking towards the exit.

About the author
Paul is an enthusiastic but sporadic writer. He lives in Essex and works in London and uses the two train journeys each day to read books, sleep and, occasionally, to think up stories; sometimes these are even written.

Published April 9 2015

Wednesday 8 April 2015



Neil Campbell

J.W. Lees bitter

After my PhD it didn’t work out.
             I had to look for jobs in colleges. I took some agency work as a note taker at a place in Rochdale, taking notes for a young deaf girl called Emma. I hadn’t been in a college environment for years.
The morning passed without incident, and I went out through the barriers to enjoy the spring sunshine and pick up some lunch. I sat on a bench beneath the neo gothic splendour of the town hall, eating the two pies I’d bought from Gregg’s and washing them down with a large tea. As I’d walked through the town centre I had seen dozens of young girls pushing prams. There seemed to be a childbirth epidemic in the town.
            The kids in the class were being prepared for the workplace, picking up literacy skills they’d missed out on at school. They were being prepared as good citizens; good, conforming citizens. The trouble was there was too much life in some of them for that.
            I made notes on the support worker laptop but was dismayed by the teaching standards, especially since I would have killed for such a job myself.
            In one of the classes the lecturer set a group exercise based on the question, ‘why do you think they have built the new hospital in the town centre?’ The lecturer then gave them twenty minutes to work on it. After half an hour the lecturer was still looking at her phone. The kids had stopped talking about the hospital long ago, and many of them were also on their phones.
            Finally the lecturer asked them to give feedback on the group exercise. There was a young girl from Rossendale, and she had an endearingly broad Lancashire accent. I had chatted to her briefly, and had overheard her talking all morning. She was about five feet tall and worked behind a bar. She was eighteen but looked closer to twelve. When she spoke you immediately realized she was eighteen after all. ‘We don’t know. Nobody knows,’ she said.
            Why don’t you know? I’ve given you twenty minutes. At least twenty minutes.’
            ‘The note taker doesn’t even know,’ she said, pointing at me.
            ‘I’m not allowed to join in. It is not my job.’
            ‘You mong,’ she said. At this point the kids burst out laughing but the lecturer looked seriously alarmed.
            ‘No, no, no,’ said the Rossendale girl. ‘I don’t mean mong in the way you mean it. Not the old way. It is a Rochdale thing.’
             ‘That is not an acceptable word,’ said the lecturer, animated – but too late. ‘We don’t use words like that.’
            ‘Okay but it weren’t meant in the way you thought.’
            ‘Any more feedback then on the group task? Why do we think the new hospital has been built in the town centre?’
            ‘I bet you don’t even know, Miss.’
            I was getting bored, and though I shouldn’t have, I piped in with, ‘She wouldn’t set an exercise or ask a question if she didn’t know the answer.’ I wasn’t being sarcastic, although that is a significant element of my personality.
            ‘I thought you said you weren’t allowed to join in,’ said the Rossendale girl.
            ‘Don’t be a mong,’ I said. And all the kids laughed, and it was meant as a joke. I was just so bored. I’d been a naughty kid at school, and even though that was many years before the classroom setting seemed to make me revert to type. The rest of the lesson passed without incident, and the lecturer didn’t actually give an answer for why the new hospital had been built in the town centre. I smiled to her on the way out, as a way to say sorry for adding to the disruption.
            But when I got back on the tram I felt a bit sad for those kids. They were being short changed in that college. In that class anyway. The kids had no motivation and the lecturer seemed to get away with being shit. Nobody complains about the lecturer at that age or in that environment. The kids don’t really know that they can.
    The next morning I got on the tram heading back to Rochdale. There was still a week left on the temporary contract and I really needed the money. I was on the tram for ages. I forget exactly where it was, but there was a stretch of the tram line that ran through marshland between low hills. More than once I’d seen the flashing brown of a kestrel in the skies there, and now I spotted it perched on a wire.
            I got off the tram and walked past the town hall on my way to the campus. I let myself into the building with my swipe card. As I went to the student support office to pick up the laptop the staff in there didn’t seem as friendly as they had been. Then I had a call on my phone.
            ‘Hello?’ I said.
            ‘I need you to leave the campus right now.’
            ‘I’m sorry?’
            ‘I need you to leave the campus right now.’
            ‘Why? Who is this?’
             ‘It is Veronica from Hunt Education.’
            ‘But I’m here. I’ve just come an hour on the tram. What is this about?’
            Just then Emma appeared outside. I didn’t know sign language so I did my best to communicate to her. She seemed lost. Instead of integrating with the rest of the class I had noticed that she sat on her own at break times, and between classes would always wait around outside the student support office. There was normally an interpreter around who would walk with her to class, but she travelled from the Wirral and hadn’t arrived yet.
            ‘Veronica, I’ve got the student here in front of me.’
            ‘I need you to leave the campus.’
            ‘But why?’
             ‘I’m not prepared to discuss this over the phone.’
            I felt sick to the stomach. Surely there had been some mistake? I tried as best as I could to explain to Emma that I had to leave, then thankfully her interpreter came. I put the laptop back in the locker in the support office. I am a child of the 70s. A City fan with three master’s degrees. The tram had reached Piccadilly before I finally admitted to myself that I’ve never been good with people.

About the Author
Read more here:
 Follow on Twitter @neilcambers

Tuesday 7 April 2015

100 Worder In Person

100 Worder

In Person 

Roger Noons

Kaye is a Cava girl, especially Freixnet, around pay day

‘Have you thought of banking on line, Mr. Lawson?” she asked, as she keyed in the numbers from my card.
    ‘Yes,’ I stared at her name badge. ‘Kaye. But if I did so, I would have no excuse to come in every Friday afternoon and enjoy a few minutes in your company.’
    She looked up, frowning.
    ‘I would not have the delight of your sparkling blue eyes; the joy of your variously painted fingernails, the wonder of your butterfly tattoo, nor the sound of your charming, soprano voice.’
    She blushed. ‘How would you like the money, Mr. Lawson?’

About the Author

Roger Noons has delighted us with many of his offerings and is probably one of the most prolific contributors to CafeLit. You can read many of his stories here and in The Best of CafeLit books.

Published April 7 2015