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Definition of a Showdown
Sharon Boyle

Martin, DREAMER (n) – see also LOST CAUSE (n) – has his head in the clouds and his mind on a loop. He works on spreadsheets where he used to excel himself. He doesn’t get much work done these days but he’s okay with that.


Caitlin is not okay with that. Even though she knows why Martin doesn’t get much work done she wants rid of him. She has targets to maintain. TARGET (n, adj): aim, goal, victim. But she can’t sack him because she’s only the SUPERVISOR (n): someone who guides/oversees/suffers others.


Debbie thinks Caitlin is AMBITCHOUS (portmanteau = ambitious/bitch). Debbie wears a slew of smiles and is eager to please. It’s her turn to buy cakes from Greggs –  three scones, one apple turnover, two eclairs – but she lost the list and arrives with a box of six scones. She is also on Caitlin’s radar.


Martin doesn’t care about his absent apple turnover. CARE (n, v) isn’t in his vocab at the moment. He thinks Debbie is a PEOPLE PLEASER (adj): someone who almost never pleases people. He drinks tea from his ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mug bought by his wife, Lucy. She was UNIQUE (an inadequate n): one-of-a-kind, never to be found again.


Caitlin yells at Debbie about the cakes. Martin, upset the noise is interfering with his DREAMING (see above), strides over to Caitlin and asks her to STOP (v): bring to an end, cessation, see also LUCY’S HEART EIGHT MONTHS AGO.


Caitlin tells Martin to bloody well pull himself together. Martin flings aside his Keep Calm mug, lets rip a string of pithy adjectives and walks out. He has RESIGNED (v): given up job. See also RESIGNED (adj): reluctantly accepting an unwanted situation. Martin can’t think of anything else to do but carry on even though he doesn’t feel calm, hasn’t felt calm since Lucy died, because all he knows is how to sleep and work and smile vaguely when folk tell him time will heal, that life will get easier when he knows it won’t, that it can’t, because he also knows the precise definition and every single synonym of GRIEF (n).


Debbie watches Martin leave and turns to Caitlin. OOF! (exclamatory remark; often onomatopoeic, always dramatic). Cailtin has been SCONED (v): a word made-up by Debbie who has just rammed her scone between Caitlin’s teeth. She follows up with a FUCK YOU (no definition necessary) and also walks out.


CONCLUSION (n): termination, which is exactly what Caitlin receives two hours later. Martin reads about the incident in a text. He decides to visit Lucy’s grave and tell her that he has changed his definition of Debbie (now AS COOL AF) and that the office he worked in is to receive an OVERHAUL (v): repair, rehabilitate, rebuild. The very words Martin will have inscribed on his new mug. 



Sharon’s short stories and flash pieces have been published in Flash500, Westword, Fictive Dream and Bath Flash Anthology. She likes making lists, banoffee pie and having a room of her own (at last!). She dislikes the fact that Sharons are becoming an extinct species. She tweets at @SharonBoyle50 and has a blog at

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