I wrote this as one of many false starts that went before Not Your Heart Away last year. Not wanting to waste it I put this in for the Flash Fiction competition in the Bridport Literary Festival. I thought flash fiction was 500 words. That was tight. Once I’d written it I found out they only wanted 250. I’ll try a haiku next time.
‘I was not acting alone and I’m not being scapegoated,’ she said firmly into her iPhone.
‘It’s the wind. No, I can’t hear you properly either. Dorset. Satnav. A35 and turn left. No. I’m not there. Don’t know. Is this some sort of interrogation, Gideon? Because so far as I’m aware I’m not actually employed by you, am I?’
Four o’clock this afternoon and the pub at the end of this track looked as if it would never open again. She could hear the wind humming against the flanks of the car as she stood looking back along the beach towards Weymouth.
‘So to cut through all your crap, despite my being the most productive dealer on what you choose to call your trading floor, one little sniff of how our syndicate shorted sterling in the paper your Mummy reads and my secure door pass doesn’t work any more. And I haven’t got a desk as of now. Really.’
She slowly recognised this place. Grandpy fished off the beach here. Dad left here. She knew just a few bucket and spade and ice-lolly summers here but here after all she was, like a bad penny and just four hundred thousand good pounds in the account and this ludicrously beautiful car that would attract every screwdriver-blade and sharp object within a half-mile. The car would have to go. Along with everything else.
‘No, really that is too kind, Gideon.’ She bit the words out of the air as she walked along the track away from the car and the main road.
The last of the sun flared along the cliff like bullion, once, twice and then the cloud came.
‘That’s my own Dorset Golden Cap, is it? Too funny. One point two million. And you’re asking me if that’s ok?’
She stood still and took the mobile from her ear. Folded her arms around her in the sudden deeper chill. She began to walk again down the little road, out across the grey sand towards the flat sea.
‘No.’ She spoke the word out loud. ‘No. It isn’t my golden cap. And it isn’t ok. It never, never was.’