Just because I’m old doesn’t make me ossified! #shortstory

Charli Mills from the Carrot Ranch prompts us thus this week

August 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a fossil or uses the word in its variant forms (fossilize, dino bones, petrification, gastroliths, ichnofossils, etc.). Dig into your imagination and go where the fossil record leads you.

The Archaeologist was fixated with fossils as a child. We hunted for sharks teeth that fell out of the cliff at Reculver in Kent.


Reculver this year, same beach though a different sort of foraging

He scoured the recent mudslides hoping for an ammonite or bone but never had much luck. He did secure the top prize for geekery that was available in the 1960s, namely a Blue Peter badge, for writing and telling them their piece on the Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park was misleading since they failed to mention the Victorians had mistakenly given one dinosaur a horn on his nose whereas the bones should in fact have been his thumb. I was beyond jealous.

2016-02-25 12.07.09

A year ago I revisited those rather brilliant models with Elizabeth Barnes and her family (she blogs at Autism Mom and is well worth a visit). Her son is as much a dinosaur aficionado as the Archaeologist was. I began to explain the error with the thumb. The Navigator listened politely before listing another dozen errors, leaving me yet again off the pace. In future I will stick to safe topics and just enjoy the models for what they are.

In the name of experience

‘I thought about Jerry Slade today.’

Mary nodded. ‘The school friend who died?’

‘That’s the one. We had this teacher -Mr Fossick – called him the Fossil, he was ancient. He was great, never took himself too seriously but we knew when to behave.’


‘He surprised us all the time.’


‘Today I surprised this trainee; I knew stuff he thought me too old to know.’

‘You’re only in your 40s!’

‘Makes you realise how easy we pigeonhole people whether their age or whatever.’

‘I wonder what the youngsters call you?’

‘Magnetic. Magnetic North.’

‘Not your personality then?’

If you want to keep up to date with Mary and Paul North, click here

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, short story, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Just because I’m old doesn’t make me ossified! #shortstory

  1. Ritu says:

    Ha! Good one!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Autism Mom says:

    Our time touring with you was one of the highlights of our trip, my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always loved fossils. And shark’s teeth and so forth. Buried treasure…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jan says:

    Haha. As a fossil myself, I’m very used to being thought too old to know much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika Kind says:

    Only in my 40’s too but more than old for my children… lol! Great story! Dinosaurs have always fascinated me since I was a little girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    So many reason to love the UK, and I’ll add this one to my list: “sharks teeth that fell out of the cliff at Reculver in Kent.” Ha, ha… great couple’s banter between Mary and Paul. You take each prompt in stride and continue to flow!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Annecdotist says:

    Oh, cruel, poor Paul! And Mr Fossick would make an excellent name for a fossil hunter, rummaging through the rocks.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Norah says:

    Love it, Geoff. Not Magnetic North! I’m rather drawn to that one! Very clever. I would have loved exploring for dinosaurs with you and the archaeologist. I guess that’s one truth we know about dinosaurs – they haven’t necessarily got all the pieces of the puzzle put together the right way yet!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Old Bones Collection « Carrot Ranch Communications

  10. jeanne229 says:

    Ahh the Victorians and dinosaurs. I loved learning about another gross error that came out of a bitter rivalry between two eminent American paleontologists, Edward Drinker cope of the Academy of Natural Sciences and Othniel Charles Marsh of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale. In their eagerness to outdo one another, Cope put the skull of a plesiosaur on the wrong end of the fossil skeleton he had excavated and Marsh put the skull of an entirely different dinosaur on his other wise complete skeleton of apatosaurus and declared it a new species–brontosaurus. The field still excites passions. Your flash was great too, though I haven’t met Mary and Paul before. And argghh!!! Is 40 old???


Comments are closed.