Excerpt from 'Ralph'
Tony watched the fat grey bird with mild disdain as it hopped from yellow foot to yellow foot, inching its way across the damp grass. What was it with seagulls that made them so undesirable? Rats with wings, someone had once described them. A slither of paper, possibly a sweet wrapper was the object of this one’s attention, lying on a patch of damp sandy dirt under the wooden bench. With little consideration, Tony put his foot over it, the worn tread of his walking boot obscuring it from view, and then glanced out over the estuary.
Faint lines of distant white waves rose and fell from the dappled surface, as though raising their heads and then lowering them again like meerkats peeking out to see if the coast is clear.
Across the bay, two identical hills loomed from the otherwise darkening skies over Fife. It must be nearly two years that he had been coming here to this bench, and yet still he hadn’t gotten around to finding out what they were called. The Queen’s nipples, he always referred to them as, due to their shape with a pimple on top, like a woman lying topless on a chilly beach. The Royal reference was to Fife itself, known quite boastfully as the Kingdom of Fife as though a powerful King owned it personally. Well a king had a queen, didn’t it? And its queen was right there, lying on her back. Tony had never really discussed this with anyone; people didn’t like that sort of thing when it came to nudity and royalty. And anyway, since Laura had gone, he didn’t much talk to anybody else. At first he had tried to be brave, and even ventured down the Bissets pub on the main street and chatted with John behind the bar; but it wasn’t really conversation, just talk, pretend to listen, and then wait for your turn to talk again. He had an idea the few locals laughed about him when he left. After a couple of visits, he got bored with it - and them -and got a dog instead...
Our first anthology of short stories from The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition 2014-2018