Not on the Menu


By Iris Carden

Elsie saw them through the cafĂ© window.  “Oh not them again,” she groaned.

“Not who?” asked Margaret.

“Those three, with the excess Brylcreem and the loud ties.” Elsie explained, “They haven’t been in since you started, have they?”

“No. What’s wrong with them?”

“They think the waitresses are on the menu.”

Margaret smiled a little and winked at her friend.  “Leave them to me,” she said.

“Be careful,” Elsie warned.  “They’ve got big hands and small minds. I tried telling them I have a boyfriend, but it didn’t bother them at all.”

Margaret picked up a menu and met the customers as they came in the door.  “Good morning gentlemen. Where would you like to sit?” She asked brightly.

They chose a table near the window, and two of them walked ahead of her, while the other followed behind – very close behind. He reached around her waist.

Margaret stepped down hard on his instep and twisted her heel.  “Oops,” she said. “Sorry I stepped on your foot. I didn’t realise you were so close.”

“You’re new here, cutie,” one of them said.

“My name’s not Cutie,” Margaret replied. “I’ll answer to Waitress. Would you like to order now, or do you want some time to peruse the menu?”

They ordered their coffees and sandwiches, and Margaret dropped their order on the bench for Algie and went back to Elsie.

“I just loved that foot stomp.  You’ll have to teach me,” Elsie said.

“Of course,” Margaret answered, “I’ve got a few other tricks I can teach you as well.”

A few minutes later, as Margaret was delivering the coffees, the biggest of the men pinched her behind.  Margaret screamed, and dropped the hot coffee in the offender’s lap.

The man jumped up and yelled.

“Oh sorry,” said Margaret, “I’m not used to being attacked while I’m working.”

“I want to see the owner,” the irate customer yelled.  “You’re going to get fired for this!”

“Hmmm, I don’t think I will,” Margaret answered.

“Where’s the owner? Is he out the back?” the man demanded.

Hearing the kerfuffle, Algie came out from the kitchen.

The man addressed himself to Algie: “I want this waitress fired. She just about broke my friend’s toes, and she poured hot coffee in my lap.”

“I really can’t help you,” Algie answered. “I’m not the boss.”

“Well who is?” the man demanded.

“Miss Jackson is,” Algie replied quietly, nodding his head towards Margaret. “She bought the place last week.”

“Yes, I own the place,” Margaret replied, “and in future you can keep your hands to yourselves, or eat elsewhere.”

The three Brylcreemed customers walked out, accompanied by applause from customers and laughter from Elsie and Algie.

A Note to Other Indie Authors

I do reviews of books by indie authors.

Usually these are books I have bought, but if you would particularly like to have me review your book, please email me a copy at iris@sometimesitislupus.com . Please note, I can't guarantee a favourable review.

I'm also interested in expanding to publishing other authors' work on this blog - if you have a short story, or a chapter of an upcoming book you would like to promote, that you'd like published here, please email it to me for consideration. At the moment, I can't afford to pay for submissions, but hopefully, that will change over time.

Shameless Self-Promotion





Settle in for story time.



This is me reading "Spring Cleaning" one of the short stories in my new book Patchwork.

Patchwork Available Now


My new book, an anthology of short stories and poetry is available now, direct from the publisher here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/IrisCarden.  Over the next couple of weeks it will appear in all your favourite on-line bookshops as well. (The paperback has one bonus story you won't find in the eBook version.)



Review of Luke Romyn's "Walking with Shadows"

When I see that something is by Luke Romyn, I know it's going to be good.  This book's no exception.

Author Jonas Drake and a boy named Jeremy are the only survivors of a plane crash in the Amazon jungle.  As they try to find their way to safety, they run foul of a guerrilla warlord, Australian drug runners and the occasional giant Amazonian crocodile.

As they try follow the river to safety, Jonas tells fantasy stories to Jeremy.  The stories come from Jonas' past: his past writing, but also his personal past.

While the journey continues, and their lives are in danger over and over again, past and present, fantasy and fact intersect in increasingly disturbing ways.  Jonas cannot decide if he's going insane, or if he and Jeremy are truly not alone in their journey.

Along the way, Jonas Drake finds a part of himself he'd left behind long before.

It's an exciting adventure, an engrossing fantasy and multiple stories in one. I had trouble putting it down,

It's well worth a read.


Fighting Like A Girl

By Iris Carden

It was billed as the Fight of the Century!  The finalists for the Backyard Championship were Alice and Ann.

As both promoter and referee, Angela was very pleased with the turn-out.  All three of the littlies were there to witness the event.

Angela had thought of the idea earlier that day.

Billy Taylor said to Alice: “Girls can’t fight.”  Billy went home with a black eye, a bleeding nose, and a much improved understanding of the modern woman.

Of course, for this competition, Angela only had two of her sisters fighting, but that was OK. The only person she knew who could fight anywhere near as well as Alice, was Ann.

This would be a good match.  And Angela was pretty sure people would pay to see a good backyard boxing match.

This time round, the audience was made up of the littlies, Amy, Alexander and Amanda.  (Their Mum had a thing for the letter A.)  And of course, the littlies didn’t have money to pay for tickets, but you had to start somewhere.

In her mind, Angela could see adding more boxers to the program, and drawing bigger and bigger crowds. One day Alice and Ann could be the best and second best boxers in the world, and she, Angela, would be making truckloads of money, selling tickets to people to come and see them fight.

There was only one thing that could interfere with Angela’s grand plan.

Dad came home early.

“Just what the hell are you kids up to?” He thundered as he saw two of his daughters, hands wrapped in rags to look like boxing gloves, belting each other in the back yard.

“Get inside all of you and get cleaned up for dinner.”

With two sentences, Angela’s incredible career as a boxing promoter was brought to an abrupt end.

The Backyard Championship was never decided, and Alice and Ann both gave up fighting, except for the odd time after school when someone teased them.




Shadow

by Iris Carden


It was a moonless night, and the power was out. No lights in the street, and definitely none at my front door. 

As I fumbled with the key, a black velvet shadow slinked past, brushing my leg. I dropped the key.

“Meow,” the shadow said.

“Shadow,” I answered, “you scared the daylights out of me.”

“Meow,” Shadow answered.  He might have been saying sorry.  Or he might have been saying he didn’t care less.  It’s kind of hard to tell with Shadow.

“Well, where’s the key?”  I asked, as I squatted down in an undignified manner, and started to feel around the doorstep.

“Meow,” said Shadow, and smooched my arm. 

“Don’t think you’re being forgiven that easily,” I said, as I located the lost item, and stood up.

Shadow smooched my leg. “Purr,” he said.

“I don’t believe that, either,” I said.  “I know you too well.”

I opened the door and stepped in… something.  Something moist and semi-firm.  Something like cream cheese, but with something brittle inside that went “crunch”.

“What have you done?”  I asked.

“Purr” said Shadow.

“Did you knock something over?”

“Purr.”

What was near the doorway that he could have knocked over?  I couldn’t think of anything.

As I felt my way along the wall, toward the kitchen, I realised something squelchy and sticky was still on my shoe.  What could that cat have knocked over? 

The third drawer down beside the sink in the kitchen should have, it did have, candles and matches. 

In flickering candle light, I investigated my feet.

Was that blood?  Blood and bits of?  Of what?

I walked back towards the front door, noticing my sticky, bloody footprints.  I passed a black wing; what might have been a beak; another black wing; a pile of bloody feathers; all leading back to the main attraction right in the doorway.  Most of the carcass of a crow.

“Well, Shadow, I suppose I’m meant to be impressed that you caught something so big and tough.”

“Purr.”

“And you left it right here as a gift to me?”

“Purr.”

“And now I have to clean this up.”

“Purr.”

“In the dark.”

“Purr.”

“And I probably have to pay to have the carpets cleaned.”

“Purr.”

“I suppose you’re quite proud of yourself.”


“Purrrrrrrrooowwwwwww.”  I thought that meant he was very proud of himself.  Of course it may have meant something completely different.  Shadow was that kind of cat, he liked to be obscure.