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write on paul burridge flash fiction short story

Showcase – Community Security Trust And Keep Singing

A return to the familiar and also something very new to Showcase this week!

First up, we have the next in our series of truly excellent submissions to our Flash Fiction competition. In Community Security Trust, author Paul Burridge puts an amusing and relatable spin on a local volunteer’s reaction to a tragic event. Paul uses short, sharp sentences to pack a lot of action into his three hundred words, while the calm setting in the midst of a terror alert means the reader can never quite predict what is coming next.

I am also thrilled to share a video on Richard Kay’s YouTube channel. Richard has written an upbeat song called Keep Singing, performed in lockdown and collaboration by The Ryedale Voices, York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, Harmonia and The Scarcroft Parents Choir. The song champions the power of staying positive during these strange times, and the cheerful and exquisite voices of each singer will help you experience that optimism in your soul.

Posting this video marks a development in Showcase and an expansion in the type of media I want to share with you on this platform. While written stories and poetry will continue to be our main publishing output, we are also open to accepting video and audio performances of your creative pieces. So, please enjoy this week’s submissions and submit your own writing, audio or video projects using the email address at the bottom of this post.

Keep on writing!

Dan (Associate Editor)

 

Community Security Trust by Paul Burridge

write on paul burridge flash fiction short story

Let’s help you with that. The stab proof vest, it’s awkward. And bloody heavy. I struggle to Velcro it tight. Cyril acting as my page; me, more Don Quixote than Lancelot. I take a radio from the charger.

“Testing, testing.”

“Received, you’re good.”

“Thanks.”

Germany Synagogue Shooting: didn’t exactly make UK headlines. But brings it home – the threat is real.

Rabbi’s previous sermon. Egypt circa 1500 BC, arriving as refugees, prospering, contributing to the economy, attracting envy and forced to depart. It’s cyclical. Trick is knowing where you are in the cycle.

So, here’s me, stemming the tide of anti-Semitism. Me and the rest of the shift. At seventy, I’m the youngest. Visible presence at best. Worst eventuality, cannon fodder. Standing orders: if it all goes off, lock the community inside. Any team members left out take their chances.

Congregants trickle in. Gut shabbos, gut shabbos, gut shabbos. It’s an ageing demographic; grandparents, great-grandparents, mostly. Guys in the temple, women in their finest hats perched in the gallery. By ten, it’s just sporadic comings and goings. A few Chasidim break the monotony, severe in black, full beards and sidelocks, chatting in Yiddish.

I’m not bored exactly, just residing in my thoughts.

There’s a screech of tyres, a scream, a vehicle hurtles backwards, ramming the steel security gate. Locked in a tangle of metal, its engine revs out of control. Black smoke billows, spinning tyres burn into the tarmac. Alarms sound, emergency lights flash. There’s shouting, doors slam behind me. I’m on my own.

The gates have jammed. I clamber over the barrier. Reaching into the car, I switch off the ignition.

“Jesus Christ, Mrs Gershlick, are you OK? Try not to move, love.”

She looks up, confused. “I don’t know what happened.”

I do.

Shouldn’t be driving at her age.

Paul Burridge, 2020

Moby Dick has been my favourite book for sixty years. The simple universality of the plotline, the richly drawn characters, the authenticity of the detailing and, most of all, the wonderful deviations and rambles to which Melville treats us along the way. I admire Hemingway’s The Old Man And The Sea for pretty much for the same reasons: stripped back, scaled down, but no less intense. And then there’s Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, an incredibly atmospheric and poignant tale of psychological, rather than physical, triumph.”

 

Keep Singing written by Richard Kay and performed by The Ryedale Voices, York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, Harmonia and The Scarcroft Parents Choir

If you’d like to see your writing appear in Write On! Showcase, please send your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to: pentoprint@lbbd.gov.uk Or you can read more fiction, poetry, interviews and author advice in the latest issue of Write On! Available here 

Rabbi’s previous sermon. Egypt circa 1500 BC, arriving as refugees, prospering, contributing to the economy, attracting envy and forced to depart. It’s cyclical. Trick is knowing where you are in the cycle.