New Year Fireworks – 3 Flash Fiction Stories



Right, thought I’d start the new year with some more flash fiction.

Similar drill to the Christmas Flash Fiction – three stories, 200 words each – although not interlinked this time.



(Not A) New Year 

The year had officially been ‘new’ for three days now, and it was already business as usual.

Karen sat at her desk and stared at the pitiful garland of tinsel around her monitor.

The corporate Christmas card with the boss’ signature – printed, not handwritten – stood stoically by her phone, surrounded by shreds of wrapping paper from her Secret Santa present.

She’d got chocolates. As always.

She looked across the floor at Mandy, who’d worked in the office for so long she was practically a chair.

Kevin wasn’t in yet, but then he never deigned anybody with his presence until quarter past anyway.

He’d swagger over to his desk, loudly complaining about the traffic, then spend ten minutes flirting with Monica the temp before finally logging onto his computer.

Same old, same old.

A voice suddenly – defiantly – exploded into Karen’s head like a new year firework.


This year will be different, Karen.

Things are going to happen. You’re going to make them happen.

She straightened up, emboldened for mere seconds before a memory crashed into her with depressing clarity.

She let out a long, tired sigh and slumped back down.

The voice had said the same thing last year.


New Beginnings?

The fireworks had exploded over London, the bright colours bursting over the city before raining down like fragments of a million rainbows.

Big Ben had got in on the act too, noisily announcing the start of a new year. Crowds had cheered, and people had sang.

And, in the midst of all this, Jerome and Natasha had kissed each other.

Had finally kissed each other.

The next morning – well, afternoon – he sat on the bus, turning his mobile phone over and over while trying to conjure the requisite confidence to call.

But should he phone her?

What if she wasn’t awake yet?  He wouldn’t want to disturb her. After all, it had been a late night for everyone.

And what if she was awake, and they spoke, but she didn’t even remember kissing him?

Everyone kisses everyone at midnight, don’t they? That’s how films make it look anyway.

The real question, he knew, was this; would she act like nothing had happened between them, or would this be the start of something great?

His phone suddenly trilled in his hand, almost causing him to drop it in excitement. He looked at the screen.

Natasha L calling…

He answered.



New Year, New Style

Steve walked up to the customer service woman with the angry face.

“Hello, and happy new year,” he said cheerfully.

She raised an eyebrow.

“Um,” he continued, fumbling a shirt out of his bag, “this was a gift, but I don’t like it so could I have a refund please?”

“What’s wrong with it?” she barked.

“No, nothing,” he said. “I just don’t like it.”

She stared at him suspiciously.

“And what don’t you like about it?”

He suddenly knew this would be hard work.

“Other than the fact that it’s a bright green shirt with an exploding firework shooting up from the crotch?”

“You don’t like green?”

“The green isn’t the problem,” he said slowly, “it’s just that I don’t like walking around looking like my groin has exploded.”

“Please don’t swear, sir,” she said indifferently.

“But I di-”

“I think it’s nice,” she said with a shrug. “Colourful.”

“And that’s… great, but I’m the one who’d have to wear it, so…”

She rolled her eyes and held out her hand.


Two minutes later the refund was done. Steve walked away shaking his head.

The woman gave her colleague a bemused look.

“We’re getting some real oddballs today…”



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Gettin’ on a bit…


Not to sound dramatic or anything, but turning 30 is the worst thing that could happen to anyone, anywhere.

Ok, maybe that does sound a bit dramatic.

Turning 30 isn’t as bad as, say, war. Or famine. Or, y’know, dying. But it’s still pretty bad.

The worst thing about it is that you start thinking. And not in a casually-pondering-while-taking-a-leisurely-walk sort of way, more in a desperate I’ve-been-alive-for-three-decades-and-accomplished-NOTHING kind of way.

Yup, you get to thirty and you start listing everything you’ve done and working out if any of it is noteworthy. To be fair, two-thirds of your life would probably have been spent at school/college/university, but there’s still a good eight years where you really should’ve done something more impressive than ‘never had to claim on your car insurance’.

(Quick note here, if you’re 30 and you still haven’t learnt to drive – give up. On life. Seriously.)

TV and the internet won’t help you out either. Tell you what, stop reading for a second and go do a quick internet search to see which celebrities were born in the same year as you.

It’s ok, I’ll wait…

[Hold music. Something funky but kind of serious too. Maybe something a bit Motown-y]

Finished searching? Depressing, isn’t it?

What’s even worse than that is discovering that certain people who you thought were the same age or older than you, are actually younger (Justin Timberlake. Younger than me by 4 months. Yes, it does matter).

Or there are the famous people who are obviously younger than you and have achieved more in about 12 years than you have in 30 (step forward Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and that kid from ‘Two and a half men’)

Admittedly, it’s not all negative in the media because there are people in the public eye who are positive about getting older. Someone on TV the other day actually said, “30 is the new 20”. A nice sentiment, but obviously a lie. Put it this way, have you ever heard anyone under 30 say this? Course not, because the only people that say stuff like that are over 30 – that’s why they’re saying it. Believe me, these same people weren’t saying that at 20 – they were probably busy telling everybody that 20 was the new 10…

Another popular phrase is “age ain’t nothing but a number”. I suppose this is technically true, although I think we’d all agree that in this context the number 25 is preferable to the number 95. And walk into any gift shop in the world and you’ll find a sticker/card/mug triumphantly stating that “Life begins at [insert age here]!”. This one actually is true, but only if by ‘life’ you mean a slightly slower metabolism than you had a year before, and knees that crack when you stand.

I do remember toying with the idea of having an early midlife crisis on my 30th birthday, but even that was a non-starter. I told one of my friends about this ‘plan’.  His supportive response? “Mid-life crisis? Who says you’ll even live to 60?”

I don’t speak to him anymore.

A midlife crisis is probably worth considering at some point, although its not a ‘real’ mid-life crisis unless you do two things – buy a fast car and start dating someone half your age. Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy a slow car let alone a fast one, and given that my present age is 30, I don’t think dating someone half my age would be a particularly wise move…

The absolute topper though is realising that your next big birthday is 40. Yes, that’s right, 40.

As in, half of 80.

As in, double 20.

Mathematical ‘hilarity’ aside, you’re getting old.

A weird side-effect of being a 30-something is that everyone around you expects you to be an adult now too. I don’t want to be an adult – where did that rule come from?! Adults have beards and mortgages and say things like “Well, in this economy we’re all hedging our bets. I’m glad I’ve got an ISA because of the FTSE problems with the DVT”.*

Forget that, I wanna go clubbing and drink shots all night!

(Well, not necessarily clubbing cos its does get a bit loud in clubs. Maybe a jazz bar. But only if there’s a table in the corner. And maybe not drinking shots all night. Maybe just a couple if its a good night. Actually, if I’ve got work the next day, probably no shots at all. Maybe just a shandy. Yeah, I reckon just a shandy. Actually, do they serve tea in here?)

Don’t get me wrong though, I definitely plan on growing old gracefully. I’m not going to be the creepy old guy hanging out at under-21 nights, wearing baggy jeans and shouting out “Brrrap!” every three seconds.

And to be honest there are some good things about turning 30. For instance, I’ll never need to prove my age to get served alcohol, and if I complain about something in a shop I get my money back – rather than arrested. Plus, occasionally – very occasionally – I get called ‘Sir’ by people (other than the police), and I also don’t have to make up excuses if I’m invited out somewhere and can’t be bothered to go. Everyone just assumes I’m tired or I’ve snapped my hip or whatever.

So it’s not all bad, and I do want to try and end this on an upbeat note, so that anyone about to turn 30 won’t feel too depressed (except for Justin Timberlake. He can feel bad.)

But for everyone else, um, here goes:

At least you’re not 80.  (Although you are getting there…)

*ISA stand for Instant Access Savings, FTSE stands for Financial Times Stock Exchange, and DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.  I’m not good with economics.