2013 Imagine, Write, Inspire Flash Fiction Competition. ‘Agnes’ by Maud

Just in time for your lunch break, I have another great Flash Fiction story to share with you all. This is a perfect example illustrating how a writer can squeeze so much into just a few words leaving the reader perfectly satisfied.  

We have only a few days left in our competition, with the last entries accepted up until 31st May at midnight.  Voting will commence 1st June.  

If you have missed any of the entries to date, here’s where you can play catch up :-


Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back with more later this evening, 

Carmel x 

‘Agnes’ by Maud

My basket held a packet of pasta shells and a jar of pesto along with the bottle of red, only because it’s polite to keep up the appearance of dinner when you invite a friend over to gossip for the evening. I was about to make an offhand comment to the woman in front of me, but somehow the words changed in my mouth.

‘Holy f*ck, it’s Agnes the Bearded Lady!’

She had begun to turn towards me just as I inhaled, and at the sight of that bristling chin, just as I remembered it from my schooldays, made my tongue short-circuit my brain and before I knew it I was slapping my hands over my mouth in the universal gesture of Oh God, what did I just say?

Her brow furrowed – but in puzzlement rather than fury. She was trying to place me. Apparently her brain had leapt gazelle-like over the profanity and stopped listening straight after the part of her name actually given on her birth cert.

‘Ah, sure and it’s yourself,’ she said slowly, obviously playing for time. ‘You’re the wee one who used to ring my doorbell and run away.’ I felt uncomfortable – but then again, every child in town had played knick-knocks on old Agnes and Fat  Freddie’s house. ‘You and your little brother, with your red bikes and your big long green Star Trek yokeybob.’

Crap on a stick, she did know me. I was the only child around who had rigged up a cunning device to attach my very special Luke Skywalker light sabre to the side of my scarlet bicycle, the better to be prepared should Jabba the Hut send his troops round unannounced.

Her smile began to have a curl of menace, though her voice was still soft. I was afraid of what she might come up with next. My aghast gaze flickered over her shoulder, hoping that the conveyer belt would push all her eggs off the other end; but alas, the woman in front was still tediously standing her ground about the minced beef she was sure was on sale but had rung up at full price, and the poor cashier had given up asking her microphone for a price check and had gone to do it herself.

‘I remember seeing you,’ Agnes began again, slowly and in the most friendly manner you could imagine, as if we were sharing a lovely reminiscence; the hairs on the back of my neck began to prickle as I waited, rooted to the spot to see what she would come up with, ‘ooh, now, this would be a few years later, when you’d grown too big for that aul’ bike…’ – I was dying; where was the fecking minced beef? How long did it bloody take to find a pack with a working barcode and bring it back to the till? – ‘… your mammy fed my cat for a whole week while I was off in Mayo when my father died, God bless his soul. She’s a woman in a million. How is she these days? And did she ever know that you used to wear those big black f*ck-me boots and run round the back of the church every Saturday night with Robbie Gleeson when she thought you were at the vigil mass? I might mention that the next time I bump into her, so I might…’

The cashier returned, the beef was scanned, the belt began to move, and I died dead right there on the spot, so I did. 

Maud (who has a real name but prefers not to use it) moved from her native Dublin to the USA ten years ago, meaning to come back pretty soon. Life didn’t quite work out that way and now she lives an idyllic suburbian life outside Washington DC with her Irish husband and two atrocious children. She blogs frantically at Awfully Chipper (http://awfullychipper.blogspot.com/) in order to avoid housework.



  1. Pingback: Agnes, elsewhere | Popular Girls

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