Two Fictions, by James Claffey

i am so excited to be featured at fwrictionreview:

The Scrap-iron Man

The silver-black lamppost is safety. As long as you touch its peeling paint the tinkers who come up the road on their donkey and cart can’t take you away. The Old Man says they’re great men for the old trades—silverwork, smelting iron to fix buckets, blacksmithing. Mam complains that they’re only interested in stealing healthy children and making them their slaves.  They come on Thursdays, in the afternoon. The driver of the cart is always the same man with the ginger hair and bowler hat with a big green feather sticking out the top. He has a tattoo on his neck of a skull, and sometimes he has a fat woman sitting beside him with a cap like the Old Man’s, who sing-songs, “Mend your pots! Scrap iron! Scrap iron!” Mam says the pair of them must be crawling with fleas, and tells me not to get near the cart.

There’s a steel mattress with broken springs on the back of the cart, like the one up the lane we use for a trampoline. I wonder what they do with all the junk they collect. The man catches me looking at him and rubs the fur-like hair on his neck. “C’mere, son. D’you want a gobstopper?” He holds out a paper bag to me. I want one, but I shake my head and grip the pole tighter. He turns back to the cart and swats the poor donkey on the backside with a broken tennis racket. “Suit yourself,” he says, and phlegms orangey gobstopper juice into the street. I so want to ask him for one, but I can’t do it.

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found at old site

“Advance,” said Anto.

Una took a quarter of the cash out of her bank account and splurged on DKNY.

He went on his way. The whole of Ireland cried out for pity’s sake.

“There’s nothing to fear, Anto,” Jane said. “Except tears and rain.”

“It’s not like catching stoats in the moonlight.” He waved a hand in the air.

“Come with me now,” she said, beckoning a slender finger her way. The sun off a car window lit her red hair like a match to kindling. She smiled, her twinkle-gaze caught him full-on.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.” He scratched the salt-and-pepper stubble on his face, considering the beckoning digit.

“I know you,” she said, with a smile. “You won’t last long.”

“You’re right. You have the advantage over me.” A clanging of bells from Christchurch loudened the street.

“Won’t it be the onslaught of two lovers if you come with me?” Una’s mouth creased into a smile.

“No doubt you’re right, a good looking girl like you. But what will I do if you don’t treat me well?”

The bells faintly rang now and sleet fell angled on the pavement as Una considered his question.
“I have only your care to consider,” she answered. “Come with me now and let’s be done with the talking.”

splattersday’s childe

staring, staring, staring at the pile of flash fiction pieces in my dropbox folder. the same for the novel manuscripts in another folder. i’ve hit a wall, somehow unable to wrap my head around the task of revision. 

otherwise, a small piece up at Fictionaut: we sunk my mother’s mother.

two stories coming up at FWriction: scrap-iron man, and kidney trouble.

otherwise, a fire in the grate tonight as it dips below 40 for the first time this fall/winter.

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