Short Stories

Short and ultra-short stories.

BG 88 – Washing your car for your Instagram

Just outside Quiet Belgian Village, on the Big Road (yes really, that’s what it’s called), is a car wash. Now don’t imagine a fully automatic car wash, but simply a long roof with a row of semi-open sheds beneath it, separated by fences, in which you wash your own car. The Maakster had just hosed down her car and drove it outside to clean the interior with a vacuum cleaner.

A dark blue BMW, model expensive, arrived in the shed next to her. The vehicle looked as if it could have been cleaned at home in less than two minutes with a dust cloth. A couple of twenty-somethings (f/m) got out, who didn’t exactly look like people who were about to wash a car. The Maakster, in an old pair of jeans and with water-resistant old shoes on her feet, looked rather shabby in comparison.

The slender, muscular man wore baggy khaki floor-length trousers, and beneath them large trainers in gleaming white and silver. An almost glowing white shirt stretched around his chest, and his neatly gel-styled hair was held in place by silver-lens sunglasses. The man was clean-shaven and it wouldn’t have surprised The Maakster if…

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BG 84 – 100 Words Fiction

In the tent

Camping in the woods has never been your favorite activity, but you had to come, otherwise they would be short of a man. So to speak. After all, you are not a man. In a tent you cannot pretend that there are walls, and a zipper is never a door. Of course you can’t actually prick up your ears, but you can try really hard to hear the carefully restrained steps of the man who doesn’t sneak through the trees towards your tent. You brace yourself. And then just hope he doesn’t have a preference for men.

BG 82 – It’s raining cards, hallelujah

During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village this morning, The Maakster stopped abruptly when she saw something glistening in the sun in the driveway to a house. Bending down, she saw that it was a bank card. The address on the card matched that of the house she was standing in front of, so she decided to ring the bell. The door didn’t open, but out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement behind the window. She rang the bell a second time and this time looked directly at the window. There she saw someone just ducking behind a curtain. When the front door still didn’t open after ringing a third time, she walked across the neatly mowed lawn and knocked on the window. An elderly woman appeared, hesitantly, cheeks flushed with excitement. The Maakster smiled kindly, held up the bank card with one hand and pointed at it with her other hand. The old woman put her hands over her mouth, got even redder, and finally decided to open the front door just a little bit. She cleared her throat and tried to sound stern:

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BG 79 – A thriller in 33 words

She blinked in the bright daylight.
The doctor came to tell her that she had survived the accident. She hadn’t broken anything and could go home tomorrow.
A pillow suddenly blocked her view.

BG 75 – ‘Falling’ down the chimney

This is a true story. It actually happened dozens of times before we had our chimney covered with chicken wire.

Imagine: three jackdaws standing on the edge of the chimney. Their black silhouettes stand out against the clear sky.

Kow, kow! Whoppa! There I go!
Oh shit! Kow, kow, kow! It’s so cramped in here.
Kow! I can barely move my wings.
I’m almost stuck between the bricks.
And who the hell turned out the lights? Kow!
Ouch, who’s throwing a branch on my head. Kow, ouch!
Wait a minute now, it’s my turn! My!
Flapflapperflap. Kow, kow!
Whoops, I slide further down.
My wings rub against the sides.
Flapflapperflapflap. Wooow!
And even further. Oops, ai, kow, kow, kow! Flap, flap.
Pff, bah, all that soot, pff!
Say, who’s tossing that walnut on my head? Kow!

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BG 73 – Still

This is the dialogue I wrote for the Belgian outdoor theater project ‘Het Bankje 2021‘.
Listen to the performance by voice actors here (in Dutch).

– Nice weather today, right?
– (silent)
– I said nice weather today.
– Yes. I heard that.
– And?
– And what?
– Is it nice weather today?
– I just heard so.
– And do you agree?
– No, I don’t agree.
– Why?
– Why what?
– Why don’t you agree?
– Agree with what?
– That the weather is nice today.
– I think it’s cold.
– But it surely isn’t that cold today?
– Yes it is.
– Yesterday was colder.
– A little, yes.
– Today the weather is nice.
– I don’t think so.
– Why?
– It’s too cold for me.
– It’s too cold, you say?

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BG 70 – 100 Words Fiction

Even though that isn’t true

You have said that – oh yes – you would like to camp in a tent in the garden. That you like that, almost under the open sky, with your almost naked body, when it is as warm as it is now. You have said that you – yes of course – want to continue, even though your girlfriend has canceled. You have said that you have no problems with itchy and buzzing bugs and that you can sleep well on such a thin mattress on the uneven ground.
And that you fortunately never have to pee at night.

BG 69 – Meeting

Bang! The door unintentionally slammed shut behind them as he released it. From out of the strong wind she had stooped in, under his arm, and before she even had a chance to do it herself, he helped her out of her coat and hung it on the coat rack together with his. With a protective hand against her lower back – his hand felt surprisingly warm through the thin fabric of her T-shirt – he led her inside. She decided that later when they left, she would hold the door open for hím.

A friendly employee guided them to a table for two in a quiet corner at the back of the bistro, where they had a good overview, but also some privacy. They arrived just in time: by now rain was clattering against the nearest window. She laughed when both of them ran their hands through their windswept hair at the same time.

As a matter of course,

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BG 63 – 100 Words Fiction

They pretended to be smugglers

That they were smugglers, she had said, that that was ‘ooh’ exciting! That they had to watch out for customs. He didn’t know who that was, customs. Luckily, she had said that she would come back later to get him. He had believed her. That she had had to take his coat of course, as proof. It was cold. That he could find the way by looking at which side of the tree trunks the moss grew. But it was dark. She would come back to get him. He wasn’t sure he still believed her.

BG 62 – The Angry Wife

On her daily walks through Quiet Belgian Village, The Maakster of course also meets other residents on foot. She wishes them a ‘good morning!’ or ‘have a nice day!’, because that makes the world a little prettier. Some of the residents greet back friendly, but others pretend not to have heard her, or quickly turn their head away. That doesn’t stop The Maakster.

Quiet Belgian Village is a bit of a closed village and many of its residents are used to only associate with people they have known from birth. They feel uncomfortable with newcomers, even the ones that have already lived there for quite some time. Older people sometimes react confused: ‘But … er … I don’t knów you?’,

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BG 45 – A thriller in 33 words

Fortunately, the footsteps behind her in the dark had stopped. She exhaled with relief. Two more blocks before she was home. Suddenly strong hands closed around her neck. She saw a stockinged foot.

BG 44 – Falling

During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village, the residents today seem to fall spontaneously as soon as they see The Maakster. That could of course be coincidental. It hasn’t frozen, on the contrary, it is actually quite warm for this time of year, but last night’s rain has made the remaining rotting leaves on the street slippery.

Halfway through her route, between the sports fields on one side and the mountain bike terrain on the other, The Maakster sees an elderly man with his dog in the distance. The man suddenly swings both his arms through the air and then falls slap on his behind. The dog, a blond labrador, looks at him in surprise. When she passes him a moment later and asks how he is doing – the man, not his dog –

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BG 22 – The Dog Dance

Her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village takes The Maakster over the Noensewegel, a narrow, asphalted path for cyclists and walkers. With on the left, purposely hidden from view by greenery, a quiet cemetery and a slightly less quiet institution for the mentally handicapped, and on the right, behind a ditch with scattered pollard willows, pastures that in summer are grazed in turn by a group of cows.

This morning, preceded by loud yapping, a pretty young woman

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BG 16 – Sunny house

A house across the street is currently an open house. Not an open house in the normal sense of the word, but more of an unintended sunny home.

The former residents, an old-fashioned unmarried sister and brother, who still pumped water in their kitchen, did their laundry by hand, cooked on bottled gas and did not trust any bank with their money, have long gone. The brother to the afterlife and the sister, who never left their yard, – adrift in the fog without her brother – to a nursing home.

The people next door bought the house,

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BG 12 – Ballpoint pen

We write black. We also write all kinds of other colors, but they look black just the same.

At night I wait in the dark on her desk. When it is quiet and cold. Behind me the computer and printer rest in silence. I remember the last word we wrote last night: call. The kitchen is next to her office and the connecting door is always open, so that it doesn’t get stuffy here during the daytime. As a result, I can hear the hollow plastic kitchen clock ticking away the seconds, louder than during the day. A lonely car rubbers through the puddles on the cobblestones in front of the house. And like every night I lie here waiting patiently.

When the new day has started,

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BG 8 – The Roundabout

Of the four chairs that usually stood around the kitchen table, one was missing this morning. That was strange. While looking around for the chair with her brother, she found a note from their mother on the kitchen table. That was even stranger. Mother had written that she would be out all day and not be home until late, that they should not be worried.

On social media a video appeared that was made in the early light of the rising sun using a drone. A curious circle of empty chairs was lined up around the large roundabout just outside the capital.

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