#fridayflash Hard shoulder

I fancied trying to keep within a 500 word limit. It’s late in the day and this is a bit of a riff but anyhow…

On the hard shoulder she gave me the cold shoulder as we sat anxious and rattled. I’d had bangers and mash in the motorway diner, she’d had a platter of chips. It hadn’t been my idea to drive the guts out of the old banger. She wouldn’t even tell me where we were going. ‘Out,’ she said. ‘Out. That’s it, stop the questions.’ Now she had a chip on her shoulder. I hadn’t checked the oil. And now I was in the deep fat fryer. It wasn’t a typical kind of breakdown. Or maybe it was. One of those where you think everything’s okay and suddenly it happens. Now we were waiting for roadside assistance. We’d rolled to a stop right beside one of those motorway phones and now we were going to find out the truth. Did they really connect to anyone? Was there really life on Mars?

I might as well tell you her name. Well maybe not. What if my current wife finds this? Look what I wanted to say was that I didn’t care really. No, I don’t mean I didn’t care. I mean we were stranded with only a Mars bar and at that moment I knew that there wasn’t anyone in the world I’d rather be stranded with and there never would be. And being stranded, stuck there was the best thing that could have happened and although I wished I hadn’t eaten so many sausages earlier and the Articulated lorries were too close, much too close, I’d really hoped that there’d be no-one on the other end of that phone and that the batteries would be dead on our mobiles and that we would have to sit there on the cold, I mean hard shoulder together for a long, long time. But the assistance came in record time and after they towed us to the nearest town, she broke down and ended it. I never found out where we’d been going.



  1. Is the lack of a question mark for “What if my current wife finds this.” intentional? Because it actually reads straight-fine in the stream of consciousness voice, but I wanted to ask. The voice is very strong here.

    1. Hi John, thanks for popping by. The truth is that I had other stuff after that phrase and cos of the stream of consciousness feel I didn’t think it needed a question mark cos it was sort of hypothetical but then just before I closed down the computer I thought it should have one now the other stuff was deleted but it’s been a hell of a week and I was too tired but I’ve put it in now but it’s a bit like Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle. It all depends where you are standing whether the question mark should be there or not and I think there should be far more recognition of Heisenburg in writing. We have the author, the mood they’re in, what they meant by something, their background, where they’re heading and we have the reader who’s had a rubbish day or is in love or can’t stand their ex wife. So much relativity it’s headwrecking. We can but make a vague line between the dots.

  2. Am I the only one who feels the poignant sadness in this? Yes, it is amusing, charming, as others have said, but, overall….well, sad. Beautifully written as always Alison; tired or not you are a natural with language.

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