Saturday 29th November

Well, here we are - nearly at the end. I think you know how much we've enjoyed this month, and we hope you have to. If nothing else it has shown how much you can pack into just thirty words! As stated, we are offering a prize of a selection of our books for the one message that has touched us the most - an almost impossible task to choose just one but hey, we are always up for a challenge and it means we get to read ALL of them all over again! If you want to be considered for this and you've been posting as anonymous or not given us your email address either on the page or privately, please do so. And now here's your penultimate prompt..


He wants a banana split with ice-cream, strawberry sauce and chocolate. And he wants it now. Otherwise he will scream. His mother sighs, sees too much of herself in him.


  1. The children who followed the ice cream van, playing its tinkly but haunting tune, whatever became of them? Did they vanish through a door in the side of Covermeup Mountain?

  2. He belts the ball into the net, leaps from the grass and punches the air. “YES!”

    “Paul.” She laughs, shaking her head. “You're supposed to let the kids win!”



  3. At that very moment
    she understood-
    it would not
    happen again
    it would not
    be repeated
    over and over-
    she looked closely
    beyond the moment
    smiled, this was

  4. Does being able to contact via my blog URL count?

  5. She is a coolie, daily wage earner,
    Can afford only buttermilk,
    Chocolates and cakes beyond her purse,
    Sees a craving for these affluence
    in her son’s eyes,
    Affection stretches beyond.

  6. “I want doesn’t get.”
    The purse-lipped voice of her mother,
    Ritalin pills fall
    like Smarties
    onto snow white ice-cream
    and she wishes her mum
    was still alive.

  7. Every childhood delight was likely hell for your parents. Those moments of sheer joy when you heard the ice cream van chimes, sounding out ‘oh no, not again’ for them.

  8. Why’d you leave him; the parties, the clothes, the house, the car – he wanted to change my hair from brunette to blonde, and you know he wasn’t worth dyeing for.


  9. Her sister is rather pleased that she's having such a hard time; she still remembers the way Patty punished her with sly words, undermining like a mole burrowing away purposefully.

  10. She preens and pimps, coddles and massages bodies and egos; she does sums in her head and wonders at the fuss about women who say they want it all.

  11. Lost in the fog without a map, his mother gets out, makes her own way home. He's driving around in circles trying to figure out how to make things better.

  12. One day his girlfriend, weary from his constant demands, will pack her bags and leave him overwhelmed with a sense of injustice. Such is the power of the chocolate sprinkle.

  13. But with Papa's job in the bank going and only a two million handshake there will need to be compromises.

    “Nanny, take Virgil away and feed him, but no chocolate”


  14. There’s too much of my father in me. An overdose of precision, digression and thrift. Tendencies to partial hair loss, gappy teeth and snoring. All smothered by my mother’s shadow.

  15. He’s four and wants a pink tutu. He puts her wig on, plays hairdressers with it. She weeps to think she may never know if it was just a phase.


    Newton hears himself sometimes, recent times, laughing, and in the laughter his father’s voice. It catches him by surprise, makes him think, conjuring up the picture of a man he buried long years back. And sometimes his words are not his own words, but something he recognizes.

    ‘You always say that,’ his son says.

    And Newton does not know why that is, why he remembers now the stories his father told him, hears the man spinning words like plates in the air, and his father’s words now in his mouth.

    ‘You don’t remember him do you?’ Newton says to his boy. ‘Don’t remember his time with you?’

    Small time, almost no time, before it was over.

    ‘He was a soldier and a seedsman and a janitor. Not all at the same time. And he fixed trucks and tanks. I remember the smell of grease and green soap that slipped between the fingers like jelly. And cigarette smoke, and aftershave that called itself ‘spice’ and stung when I slapped it on my boy-cheeks.’

    ‘Was he like you?’ his boy asks.

    ‘Nothing like,’ he says, and hears the lie, sees the lie staring back at him from the mirror when he looks.

    ‘He was a big man, chest like a barrel. Stiff and upright. A soldier, even when he wasn’t. And he turned heads. Handsome, even without the medals. And he gave money to beggars in the street, knew their names, offered them his scarf and his gloves when the wind was cold. And dogs made friends with him and he let them lick his hands. And he once backed his car into a tree and said ‘how did that get there?’ all innocent like, and blaming the tree.’

    ‘You do that,’ said his son.

    Newton laughs, not his own laugh again.

  17. If the screaming stops before the dish arrives, she’ll have won;
    if only as he sees his desire approaching - he will.
    The abrupt silence announces his victory; diners relax.

  18. The no that trips the domino.
    Water globes forms in his eyes, reflecting
    An array of pastel colored ice cream
    Crashing down splintering the illusion
    Of a happy family outing.

    Annette. yuzublizzard @

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  20. Her first time at a nightclub, chocolate brown tights under a mini skirt. She can't remember who took her home, tanked up and skint on a bus with no driver.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. He stabbed his fork into the heart of the swinging kitchen door. His screams had cleared the restaurant's guests, leaving him alone with the unbearable prospect of no oysters today.

  23. The one she loved best
    was him. He lit her up

    while I was fed ice-cream.
    My face in the spoon

    grew two huge goldfish lips -
    hungry and ugly.

  24. I pour too much salt on the side of my plate, my father did the same. Generations are linked by such things, closer than by our eyes or our noses.

  25. Yes, VP and others - just so long as we have a way to contact you! Thanks, Sarah and Lynne

  26. My fingertip traces the name of the mother who never came back. Winter now, my dead mum's effects-the gasp when I pick up her heavy box of mixed snapshots.

  27. He pricks his finger and draws up his insulin. His carbohyrate counted food sits on the table.
    His Mother her genetic code crying inside with regret, knows he's still perfect.

  28. You know how when you buy a new car, the same make, model and colour turns around every corner? The bond between you and that image is somehow strengthened just because it's in your line of vision. A sense of knowing one another. Well, that's how Amelia felt after the encounter.

    Let me describe the woman: surprisingly petite, cropped platinum hair, perhaps a little indistinguishable greyness. Distinct laughter lines. Probably a past smoker; parchment-like skin texture but expensively moisturised and made up. Face tanned orange, out of proportion to those of the other Christmas shoppers. She was with her sister, a decade or so younger with bobbed hair but strikingly similar.

    'Do you want to get anything in here?' asked the sister but the reply went over Amelia's head. All she heard was resonance of the voice.

    Such was the familiarity in the pit of Amelia's stomach that she took a breath as if about to embrace a long lost friend. But something stopped her. There was a barrier. There was no reciprocal recognition. Was she an old work colleague? She thought of those awful part-time call centre jobs, unable to envisage such glamour alongside the other battery hens. In any case, someone of her maturity would have been unusual, memorable for that alone. Or maybe a figure of authority? But there was an air of girliness, a frivolity which would render her incapable of enforcing strict time limits on toilet breaks and team targets. A mismatched image of a blue checked waterproof tabard and a feather duster sprang to mind.

    Confused and flushed, Amelia left the store. She visited the ladies, splashed water on her face, pumped at the soap dispenser. It went everywhere. And then she saw it in the mirror. A poster for the panto.

  29. She was thirty and saw people buying ice creams from the musical van. Her parents had said to hide behind the sofa when O Sole Mio rang through the streets.

  30. Marla watched her son scream. The UN helpers had given out colouring books and pencils, the generous gifts from western charities. The pages were full of boats, birthday cakes and sports cars. Marla had squatted with Danti in the shade to explain the pictures. A clown dresses up in funny clothes and does silly things. Danti asked if that is like the soldiers that had come. They had funny clothes and did silly things. Then finally Danti asked about the page showing a dish full of iced cream with fruit and sauce. What was it? What did it taste like? Can we have one?
    When Marla had worked at the hospital she had earned good money. She had looked down on people who failed to escape the squalor. Then she had gone back and tried to help her parents, but the war trapped her. If she had cared less, or turned left instead of right, it might have been her sending colouring books and pencils. Why hadn’t she escaped?
    The smell of musky perfume over sweat jerks her back from her thoughts. The soldier is big and a smile splits his tanned white face. Soldiers frighten her, they hurt and kill. This one offers her a cold block of silver paper. She opens the corner and sees chocolate. He stands, ruffles Danti’s hair and walks away.
    Gifts from strangers- Marla watches Danti greedily devour the choc-ice, he will have a stomach ache later. These people blunder like blind elephants with their gifts. She prays every night that Danti will have the opportunity to go out into the world, but that when the time comes, he will turn left instead of right and end up wearing a suit, eating banana splits and sending gifts. “Don’t ever turn back,” she whispers silently.

    Monkey @

  31. Children, we endlessly watch Assault on Precinct Thirteen. A crazy man in an ice-cream van kills a little girl asking for a vanilla whip with strawberry sauce. It happens fast.

  32. Knickbocker Glory's always been my favourite. A last day treat at Forte's on seaside holidays. With a spoon as long as my arm and eyes much bigger than my tummy.

  33. Thanks Sarah & Lynne - you do know it's Saturday today don't you ;)

  34. They had plastic ice-cream displayed in the window, covered with dust. He didn't care. His mouth watered. He looked at his ragged trousers and bare feet. 'One day,' he whispered.

  35. "You're a spitting
    image of your father--
    shipwrecked eyes, sandpaper
    stubble, a bone-uncovering
    memory, a gut sponsored
    by Budweiser, a bald spot
    by 34, a propensity for

    Enough, Ma.

  36. When I look into a mirror I flinch when a stranger stares back at me. I wonder, when have I lost her? That happy, carefree girl in love with life?

  37. When he looks at his son, he sees her. She is alive in her son. He curls his fingers into fists. He is not hitting his son. He’s hitting her.

    Jamieson Wolf

  38. Gerry said;

    Mother wants Strawberry;
    he, Chocolate Ice-cream.
    It will want too much of him.
    And in banana sauce!
    She, now split in herself, screams.
    And he sees otherwise, with a sigh.


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