Life And Soul #shortfiction #flashfiction

Every year I collected together the pieces of short fiction I’ve written into an anthology. The current set I’m working on is from 2019 and it can be a challenge. The most difficult bit, as the writers amongst you may concur is finding an example which really isn’t up to the mark. Then you have the challenge of trying to improve it or, if it’s incapable of remedy, binning it.

This short piece is a case in point. It’s not long and I’ve trimmed it and changed it. I wonder what you think? Worthy of inclusion?

Little Helpers

‘I hate this time of year, you know.’

‘I’m not listening, Elvis.’

‘I don’t ask to get picked, Ernie, but I always am.’

‘It’s a privilege, you know. Errol’s never had a turn.’

‘He can take my place, any time.’

‘Don’t be silly. The Missus chooses. You know that.’

‘Yeah, but why is it always the same people? You know it’s true. Eric, Elrond, Edward…’

‘It’s because we’re good at what we do. And those lads love it. Look, they’re nearly running.’

‘Yeah well. I’d be happier if they left me in jigsaws. I’ve found my niche in jigsaws.’

‘Don’t you get bored, cutting up the same pictures year after year?’

‘Nope. The patterns are always different. Do you know there are two hundred and seventy one million permutations?’

‘You are as boring as everyone says.’

‘Thanks. Maybe if I was more chummy I wouldn’t get this de-icing gig.’

‘You know it’s not that. It’s them.’

‘My hands?’

‘Of course your hands. There’s no one else with hands like yours. The Missus says you were sent by a divine gift when you appeared with those hands.’

‘Ernie, can I ask you a question? It’s a bit personal.’

‘Go on.’

‘I’ve been thinking. It’s just because of something Ethelbert said, after last year’s Freeze. Something about why the fellas don’t treat me like they do the others.’

‘You don’t want to believe what he says. You know he’s been in toy trains too long, don’t you? Keeps losing track.’

‘Yes well, it’s just it made a bit of sense, see. Do you think the boys hold it against me, what I do with my hands?’


‘Where they go?’

‘They know someone has to, erm, do what you do.’

‘Yes sure but until I came a long it wasn’t the same each year. It was shared around, yes?’

‘True. Everyone got a turn.’

‘And it’s not like people were crying out for that turn was it.’

‘Well, no, it wasn’t exactly a privilege, but given your gifts, we could all see it was your destiny.’

‘I really don’t want to do it, this year. Maybe I could do his ears and…’

‘Noooo. No, that’s not the attitude. You’re so good. If any of the rest of us tried it would take weeks. You can knock them out in a couple of days.’

‘But still, it’s not exactly how one wasn’t to be remembered, is it? It’s one thing to be part of a special elite chosen by Missus Claus to go and de-thaw Santa, ready for the Christmas delivery; it’s a bit different to be known as the hot-handed elf who each year melts Santa’s balls.’

‘You can hardly leave them frozen, can you? It’d be like having a pair of maracas, clickety-clacking every time the sleigh hits a bit of turbulence. If that didn’t wake up all the kiddies I don’t know what would.’

‘I suppose…’

‘Come on, cheer up. The sooner you get his gonads glowing the sooner you can get back to those puzzles.’

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.
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33 Responses to Life And Soul #shortfiction #flashfiction

  1. It keeps us guessing right to the end. “Maybe I could do his ears” is a good touch which doesn’t give it away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah says:

    I think it’s a keeper, Geoff. It got a smile. There is one typo though – towards the end. ‘It’s not exactly how one wasn’t to be remembered’. I think it should be ‘wants to be remembered’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    And I always thought that was Rudolphs job😜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    And I always thought that was Rudolphs job😜 yup definitely one to keep .


  5. I’m in, and so should this be!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not so sure. Was it meant to keep us guessing until the end? When I saw the title and the name Elvis, I knew it was Christmas-themed and was either about Elves or reindeer. If you wanted to keep readers guessing what was happening, where it was based, etc, some big-head spoilers (like me) would guess. If that’s not what you intended, then it’s a delightful short piece of fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KL Caley says:

    😂 very good 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Enjoyed it, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi GEoff, this is right up there with your best cheeky work. I think it was the defrosting bit you were keeping as a surprise and not the Christmas and elf theme as per Hugh’s comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I like it and it made me smile.
    I picked up a small typo here
    ‘Yes sure but until I came a long it wasn’t the same each year………
    think that should be ‘along’

    Liked by 1 person

  11. trifflepudling says:

    I’m not sure. It’s a good little piece but despite being about Christmas, it doesn’t feel Christmassy, although maybe that’s because the sun’s blazing down out of a cloudless sky!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennie says:

    Big smiles here!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Widdershins says:

    Didn’t guess it was the ‘nads’ until we got there. Well done! 😀 … I like that it was purely dialogue too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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