Starting the New Year Off…

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! Where has the time gone? I’m still slightly shocked that it’s already mid Jan…at this rate we’ll be singing carols again in no time! Anyway, at the start of each new year I promise myself I will write more short stories for fun but life tends to get in the way (as always) and all my random story ideas get shelved for another year. So when I came across a flash fiction competition last week with a four day deadline (I work best under pressure), I decided to give it a go just to prove to myself that I can still conjure a complete tale in a few words. Suffice to say, I didn’t win (maybe I should have spent more than a couple of hours on it) but I kinda like the story I came up with so I thought I’d post it here. There was no theme (I actually wish there was!) but the word limit was 400 – 500. Hope you like it.

Refund – A Short Story 

“You can’t make me leave,” Jane bellowed at no one in particular. With her long dark fringe hanging over her eyes and her arms waving frantically in the air, it didn’t look like anyone would actually have the courage to try to move her.

When she was sure she had the full attention of her little audience, she pointed at the bag of chewy sweets she had dumped on the counter. “I was promised five hundred grams and this weighs four hundred and ninety-three.”

“But ma’am, it’s only a rough estimation. You can’t expect them to get it down to the last gram for every bag.”

“I don’t see any statement on the pack about estimations so I’d like my three and a half pence back or a full refund. I know my consumer rights.”

The rather young looking manager’s eyes darted around the store, making it quite obvious he wasn’t sure what her consumer rights were. He was probably wondering how long he could entertain her hysteria without scaring off other customers. She had been there less than five minutes and pretty much everyone had stopped what they were doing to focus on the unfolding debacle. Her glare wore him out in the end and he sighed, nodding at the checkout lady who handed Jane four one penny coins.

“I don’t have half a penny…”

“That’s fine, please keep the change.” The manager didn’t bother to smile as he ushered Jane towards the door.

“I can’t believe you just did that!” Drew’s laugh was loud enough to cause a few heads to turn when Jane finally emerged from the store with her sweets and money in tow.

“I told you they would cave. Can I have my tenner now?” A smile tugged at the corner of her lips despite all her attempts to stop it.

Drew sighed and pulled out a note from his pocket before reluctantly handing it to his mother. “How are you meant to be the responsible adult between us? You know we can never go back there, right?”

She was certain of it but she also knew she would do anything to see him smile; he hadn’t laughed so hard since the unexpected diagnosis last month. Finding a new shop to go to was definitely worth the hundred watt beam on his face. She doubted there would be many more in the months ahead.

“Sure. Now, where are we heading next? Fancy helping me pick a new pair of earrings?” She swung her arm across his shoulder, pulling him in the general direction of the high street and ignoring his half-hearted protests.

One day he wouldn’t even be able to be lured anywhere outside of their front door. But that day wasn’t today and she intended to make every single moment count until it came.

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