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Morecambe, Lancashire, United Kingdom
In the mornings I’m a Nursery Cook, the rest of the time a Writer. Been writing for decades: short stories, plays, poems, a sitcom and more recently flash fiction, Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and now several novels. Been placed in competitions (Woman’s Own, Greenacre Writers and flashtagmanchester) and shortlisted in others (Fish, Calderdale, Short Fiction Journal). I won the Calderdale Prize 2011, was runner-up in the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Comp & won the Greenacre Writer Short Story Comp 2013. I have stories in Jawbreakers, Eating My Words, Flash Dogs Anthologies 1-3, 100 RPM and the Stories for Homes anthology. My work’s often described as ‘sweet’ but there’s usually something darker and more sinister beneath the sweetness. I love magical realism and a comedy-tragedy combination. My first novel, Queen of the World, is about a woman who believes she can influence the weather. I’m currently working on a 3rd: Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. Originally from West Midlands, I love living by the sea in Morecambe, swimming, cycling, theatre, books, food, weather, sitcoms and LBBNML … SQUEEZE!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Summoning the Ghost of Rita Marshall

She appeared just after we’d recalled and recited three of her sayings. Did she really used to utter ‘City desk. Duty pigeon’ when she answered the phone?  Never worked out what that meant but it did amuse her.
 Stella and I were sitting in my living room talking about all kinds of things when we realised. We’d known each other getting on for twenty years but only then discovered we had both previously worked with Rita Marshall, Stella in the early eighties, me in the late.
We dredged up and swapped remembered details and decided it had to be the same Rita Marshall. The children’s names were the identical, both Rita Marshall’s had died in their fifties and no two people would say ‘Up here for thinking, down there for dancing’ pointing to head and feet respectively.
Would they?
Then Stella heard her laugh but I said it was the magpies on the chimney pots outside but soon I caught the smell of smoke in my throat and there she was. Rita Marshall. Taking up room on my sofa. She lifted her cigarette to her well pink-lip-sticked lips, a finger of ash clinging to its end. She held it still, eyes scanning the room for an ashtray. She laughed again.
   ‘I wouldn’t pay ‘em in empty fag packets.’

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