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by Nick Black

My girlfriend, Viv, like several before her, couldn’t stand Bob Dylan. “If he’s round here one more time with his begging cap, I tell you, I’ll clock him. Again today, ‘Nnnn, I’m sorry to trouble you, ma’am, but I’m in the middle o’ baking a pie and I seem to’ve run outta eggs …” It was a great impression but from the look on her, she wouldn’t want to hear it.

Later that night, the rain thrashing down, we were roused from our fire-side daze by a rapping at the front door. I got up, yanked the bearskin from under Viv and wrapped it roughly around my waist, went to see who the hell was out there. Of course there was no-one, just a cake box on the porch, deep blackness beyond the dripping eaves. I looked down. A faded yellow Post-it on the box read “Thank you,” handwritten. I brought it in, pulled out a slice of lemon meringue pie. I’d like to announce that it was clearly the product of a genius but we both felt it lacked sharpness.

Viv had a certain mystique (read: Cubist features) which discombobulated certain men. Had she realised this, we’d never have got together, and I was in no hurry to lose her quite yet. Following our late night visit, I started raking the front yard more often and calling out to random passers-by when scooping out the gutters. I bought a deer rifle in town and tested it outside the shop by dinging the lights strung across the street. I wanted people to know I existed. I’m here. Man of the egg woman.

Viv, I think, thought I was having a breakdown. It counted for nothing. Three months later, she was killed running with the bulls in Pamplona anyway.

Nick Black’s stories have won various competitions, including the 2014 North London Lit Fest and Ad Hoc Fiction flash contests, and been listed for the 2015 and 2016 Bath Flash Fiction Awards, Land Rover/GQ/Salon House Short Story Competition and the Spread the Word Prize. They’ve also been accepted by various literary magazines including the Lonely Crowd, Woven Tale Press, SickLit, Cafe Aphra and Litro.