September 2019 – Furious Fiction Submission

Hey everyone,

Furious Fiction rolled around again at the start of this month, and I wrote something for it. My wife’s comment, at 11pm on Sunday night, when I needed to submit the piece, was: “Richard, you are a good writer, but this isn’t good writing.”

I would tend to agree, but I will leave it for you to decide.

This month, we needed to meet the following requirements:

  • Each story had to include the name of at least ONE element from the periodic table.
  • Each story’s first and last words had to begin with S.
  • Each story had to contain the words TRAFFIC, JOWLS and HIDDEN.
  • And finally, each story had to include something that BUZZES.




Neon Lights

“Sentimentality,” she said, “that’s the reason I did it. I wanted him to remember.”

“Remember what?”

“I wanted him to remember what it was like to really fear,” she paused, “I didn’t expect him to die.”

Alessia sat across from me in an orange jumpsuit. She looked both twenty-five and fifty-five all at once: beautiful blonde hair, made frizzy by the humidity of a crowded holding cell; day-old make-up that once covered and now accentuated the bags under her eyes; her streamline jaw tensing and releasing over and over as she replayed the events of the last twenty-four hours.

Even though the lower half of her body was hidden from me, a faint tapping suggested that she was nervously shaking her leg. I watched her face carefully as her jowls tightened and sagged.

“Why are you telling me this now?”

Alessia’s leg stopped tapping. Her face settled.

The silence was punctuated only by the buzzing of the neon lights, suspended perilously from chains that were bolted to the roof.

I smirked involuntarily.

It all created a nice bit of symmetry. Above, the noble gas was trapped in its tube, its electrons excited by a current, lighting up the room. And just below it the noble woman, dressed as brightly as the light, in chains and bolted to the floor.

Neither had chosen to be here, and the only way either would leave was broken.

“Why not?” she said, “What do I have to lose?”

* * * * *

It’s not like Alessia had never seen a dead body. As a good Catholic girl, she’d been dragged to open casket funerals, and she’d only vomited once. She’d never understood why they’d made such a fuss about her Nonno’s suit when he was going into the ground soon. Anyway, she’d said to her mother, I bet he’d find it funny.

There was a difference, however, between seeing a dead body, and causing one.

Years later and just yesterday, while Alessia’s mother cradled her in her arms for the last time, she’d said that “the police will understand. After all, you were defending yourself.”

“No Ma, I wasn’t.”

“Then what happened?” her mother’s voice caught as she asked.

“I remembered his eyes.”

* * * * *

Traffic roared across the bridge overhead and Jacob repeated himself, thinking Alessia hadn’t heard.

She had, but it bought her a second.

“You owe me, Al,” the affected sweetness in his voice making the situation even more threatening.

“I don’t owe—“ she trailed off and looked down the path home, blocked off by his arm. Her heart was in an adrenaline-fueled frenzy.

“Oh, shut up,” he pressed himself closer to her, “you don’t need to—Ah!”

The taste of iron filled her mouth as she unclamped her jaw, and even though the pounding of his feet behind her had died away well before she reached her house, a part of her had stayed there, under that bridge, and it hadn’t survived.

March 2019 – Furious Fiction Submission

Hey everyone,

After a another lull, here is my most recent piece for Furious Fiction, which had to be inspired by an image of a laundromat, and had to had the theme of “curiosity”.

Again, I’ve tried a genre-piece which is noir-esque crime fiction, set (in my own mind) in a laundromat in Western Sydney’s Harris Park.

Again, I love the challenge of writing pieces like this in <500 words, and given my busy schedule it’s completely doable in the middle of the school term while I am planning my wedding in just over a month.




“I swear to God, this machine costs me more than it makes me.”

“Couldn’t you just buy a new one?” I asked. This question always annoyed the aging laundromat owner. I placed my tools on the ground and began to slide the familiar old washing machine from the wall so I could access the back.

 “Do I look as if I have enough customers to afford a new machine?” said the old man, slinking off into the back room, “The only person here right now is you and you’re not even paying me!”

I sighed, and began to remove the tarnished metal panel at the back of the machine, which came loose and clattered to the floor just as the door to the shop swung open.

“—never asked questions before,” I heard one of the two figures who stalked through the door say, the dim, flickering light from the laundromat silhouetting them against the street outside. The sound of rain was abruptly cut off as the door slammed shut.

They didn’t notice me, and moved determinedly towards the counter. The silent one – a tall, slender woman who seemed to be a walking with a limp – was gripping a garbage bag tightly. In fact, she was holding it so tightly that I could almost see the bones of her knuckles sticking out from her clenched white fist.

The first of the two figures repeatedly slammed his hand against the bell on the counter until the old shopkeeper bustled out from the back. At the sight of the pair his face dropped and his shoulders tightened. For a moment I thought he would faint.

The lady slammed the bag down on the table.

“Tonight,” she said.

“Okay, yes, okay,” the old man steadied himself on the counter, “No charge.”

The man made a sound akin to a laugh.

“Tonight,” the old man said, glancing towards me. I quickly looked down, trying fruitlessly to hide in plain sight, “but…”

He trailed off and the intruders spun around, seeing me for the first time. Now I saw them properly, I noticed the blood smeared on the lady’s cheek.

“I—” I said, before unconvincingly stammering in an affected accent, “No English.”

The man kicked the old machine I was working on as they stormed out of the shop into the darkness of the street.

* * * * *

“And that’s all you saw and heard, Mr…” the detective checked her paperwork “Goon-e-ward-hayne?”

“Gunewardhane,” I said, “and yes, that’s what I saw; that’s what I heard.”

“You’re certain?”


The corner of the detective’s mouth rose slightly as she slowly stood up, her shadow stretching across the interview table. She made a signal to an unseen person and in one swift movement my hand was shackled to the table by painfully tight handcuffs.

“You should have just gone home tonight,” the door behind the woman opened. Silhouetted by the light from the corridor outside, she continued, “What is it they say about curiosity and cats?”