Wednesday, October 29

Moving day

Well... That's it.

The Pygmy Giant is dead; long live The Pygmy Giant - now at

Tomorrow our new and prettier incarnation will be sporting the winning piece from our birthday competition.

Watch that space.

Goodbye from here. Hello from there. And thank you for a very fun first year.

Monday, October 27

Road Rage

by Bob Clay

"Turn right now."

Who is this silly tart in that Sat Nav box that keeps giving me orders ? "I'll turn when I'm good and ready, and not before." Hah, that's telling her.

"You have missed your turning, stop and do a U turn as soon as possible."

"I'll bloody well do as I please and you won't have any say in it. I don't take orders, especially from bossy women. Up yours." Oh yes, I was starting to enjoy this.

"You have deviated from your route, you should do an immediate U turn."

"I deviated cos I'm a deviant, I'm free, I don't take orders from anybody, especially a stupid bloody bint who lives in a small box. I make my own decisions and go where I please, something a being who lives in the tight confined world of a printed circuit board could know nothing about." I glanced at the Sat Nav smugly, challenging it to defy me.

"You should stop immediately. STOP NOW!"

I laughed, loud and hard, but I should have listened, because while I had been talking to the bitch, a petrol tanker had suddenly braked to a halt in front of me. Just before I hit it, I'm sure I heard her laugh back.

Bob Clay lives in Cornwall.

Friday, October 24


by Yaja Kindermann

“I’m going to leave that cling film on.”

“Why? Winter’s over. It makes your window look dirty.”

“No it doesn’t.The sun makes it look like ice.”

“You’re mad, mad and cheap.”

“No I’m not. I’m a writer. Even that orange is a fiery planet to me.”

“And me? What am I?”

“My inspiration of course!”

“I love you.”


Yaja Kindermann is from Herefordshire.

Wednesday, October 22

Scratches of Hope

Aimee Wilkinson

Her back curved in a C with age, she bends over and scratches. Behind her, a queue of people line up and wait. I just want to go home, but the unstamped letter in my hand prevents me. The air in the Post Office is thick with sweat, stifled by the smell of stale deodorant. I watch as a wisp of grey hair falls from her bun and her brow furrows. She peers up at the sales clerk and orders four more. Total jackpot: six million.

The people in the queue shuffle their feet and sigh collectively.

Her hand trembles as she pays with a crisp ten pound note. She receives no change. Using a yellowed fingernail she scratches again, discarding each card on the floor in turn. One of these days she will win back all the sacrifices she gave throughout her life. She will win back her lost years and her forgotten home. But not today. The last card falls from her fingers and she moves on. Pocketing her hope with the remainder of her pension. Saved for a day much rainier that this one.

The queue shuffles forward and forgets her.

Aimee has recently had a short story published by the small publishing house 'The Time Travel Opportunists' and lives in Derby where she is currently working on her first novel.

Monday, October 20

in the past people wore 16 hole ox-blood doctor marten boots

by Richard Barrett

this first line came to me waiting for the bus in Eccles,
opposite the wetherspoons
(the idea for the rest of the poem fell into place pretty
(although I wasn't to pick up a pen again for three days
(and only then after discussing the idea with my mate
(taking his bafflement as a sign of encouragement I
I worked very hard on this line
this line too also took a lot of effort
(I couldn't make my mind up about it
(I read it and reread it several times, before deciding
it was okay)
I worked very hard on this line
(although really it was just an earlier line which i'd
cunningly reused)
I worked less hard on this line
(I thought I'd ask someone at work for some input
(then I decided I wouldn't)


showing the finished poem to a few people
here and there
the consensus seemed to be
it isn't so much a poem
more just a list of


Richard Barrett likes to listen to The Fall and drink Stella Artois. His blog can be found here.

Competition reminder

Just a lil reminder about the birthday competition/party game due in at the end of the month...

Non-fiction, something to do with birthdays, by October 29th. The original post is here.

"The first thing ever published here was a splendid piece of short non-fiction by Bob Clay. I think it would be fitting, therefore, if the first thing to be published over on our new site, on our birthday, was another piece of short non-fiction. So - you've got until October 29th to write and send us something, and the pick of the bunch will be the birthday piece. And just to make this a little more fun, it has to have something to do with birthdays, and be under 800 words as usual. Go to it!"

Thursday, October 16

I wish I had a top hat

by Sally Cook

'Why did you do that?' you are saying. Actually, saying probably isn't an accurate enough description. I'd like to get this right. For the record. It's more like squealing, a sort of strangled squealing. Your face is red. You are practically snorting with disbelief.

'Why did you do that?'

I am calm. I am holding the mop, head down, in my right hand, arm extended to the side, legs crossed at the ankle, like a cabaret dancer about to perform a routine with a cane. Where's my top hat? I don't have a top hat. Or even a cane. I wish I did have a top hat, I think. It might lend the occasion a sense of ceremony.

On the floor at our feet, between us, surrounded by the shiny wet kitchen tiles, is your open laptop. Your laptop is made of white plastic. Your laptop is awash with dirty water. It is standing in a small grey puddle. There are particles of dirt and gravel and bits of food and hair that were trapped in the mop on the keyboard. It looks a bit like the beach when the tide goes out, not pretty like sand and shells and seaweed, but filthy like nappies and plastic beer can things and bits of polystyrene. For a moment there is no sound, and we both gaze at the computer, which sits there, inanimate and sopping, an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire, really. I feel sorry for the computer. Sorry, computer, I think.

Then there is a rattle and a clap and a miaow and Nellie, our one-eyed cat, appears from between your legs. She winds herself proudly in slinky figure-of-eights, around your legs, the laptop, and my legs, loving us, purring loudly, oblivious. She doesn't seem to find it odd that there is a wet laptop on the kitchen floor. She loves the wet laptop with as much devotion as she loves us. Man, woman, wet computer: all are equal in Nellie's eyes. Eye. She leaves through the door behind me, stalking off, tail in the air, to lie on her woolly cat bed over the radiator in the hall. I have tried to learn dignity from Nellie. She is very dignified. There are small, wet cat footprints on the floor in circles around you, me, and your laptop.

I mopped your laptop. I mopped it vigorously. I mopped it really thoroughly and hard; so hard that the screen fizzled and went dark. I mopped up the email that came this afternoon, that email about thank you for the flowers, they are beautiful. I wonder what kind of flowers they are. I wonder if they are gerberas, because I like gerberas and you don't know many other kinds of flowers. I wonder where you bought them. I pass the mop handle from hand to hand, a bit like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. I whistle a couple of bars of Singing in the Rain and tap one of my feet experimentally.

You stop doing nothing and start moving, crouching, picking up the laptop, cradling it like an injured child, setting it gently on the kitchen table, dripping grey liquid everywhere in dot-dash trails, like blood. You dab at the laptop with a tea towel, and the room smells like disinfectant and stagnant water. You're making a low, moaning sound. I shake my head, sadly. I'm no expert, but even to me, the prognosis doesn't look good.

You are pressing the 'on' button again and again. Holding it down for a long time. Holding it down for a short time. Pressing it hard. Pressing it gently. Nothing is happening. The screen is blank. You look at me, and there are tears in your eyes. Your face is shiny. 'It's wet,' I say. 'It won't work because it's wet.'

'I know it's fucking wet, you mad bitch. For fuck's sake, why did you do it?' You ask in your new strangled voice. It's really unattractive, that voice, I think.

I have my answer prepared. 'I want you to leave,' I say. I am still calm. I try to imagine what it would be like to have botox injections in your whole face. I have no expression. Like a balloon. I look at you levelly, and the penny drops.

The confusion in your eyes is replaced by sudden comprehension, which is replaced by panic, which is replaced by fear. The whole gamut of guilty emotions, one after the other, like a kaleidoscope, or still-frame photography of clouds moving across the sky. Obvious as a written confession. Or CCTV footage.

Or, a secret folder of love letters in your email account, that you carelessly left logged in when you went to work, early, and in a hurry. Presumably, to order the flowers.

Sally Cook has a blog at and helps organise the manchester-based reading night there's no point in not being friends with someone if you want to be friends with them.

Monday, October 13

Wish you were here

by Pat Tiger

I sit decked in stripes – yellow, blue, green;
a radio plays Elton’s Healng Hands.
Unscrewing the flask I think about
how you always asked me to do this.
I do it automatically now – remembering
that your sandwiches were the best
and the serviette you always included
made things so fine …

Pat Tiger writes short stories and poetry.

Thursday, October 9

This Was a Love Story But Now I'm Not Sure

by Emily McPhillips

How you were when we met was never a problem.

I loved you for it.

Your faults were not imperfections to me. They were like the freckles on your nose that came out in the summer. They were mostly hidden, but I knew that they were there. If I looked closely enough I could always find them, but they had charm about them now, they belonged to you, and you being you was an excuse for many things.

I wish I had enjoyed you more. I wish I had licked your every pore just because you were mine, and I could.

I felt like I had found a new planet when I had met you, that I would never be able to find again; it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. It was my secret and it was exciting. The night sky looked more active than ever. Daylight didn't exist for the first few months I knew you. Romance works better at night. We would talk until daybreak.

I haven't heard your voice in over three months. I worry that my memory will fail, and I'll create an image of you that never existed. I wonder if I got so used to you that you began to not exist at all. I am pawing at my skin, I am pretending my hands are yours; I am trying to remember the exact way you held me.

I can't recreate any of this on my own.

I am thinking of placing an ad in the paper. I am looking for a substitute love. I am writing my advert, and I am throwing it in the bin before I read it over. I am still in love. And I am joining your freckles together like a dot-to-dot.

I am hoping that joining your freckles together will translate into a plan, and this plan will make everything make sense again. Your freckles will tell me what the problem is, and they’ll teach me how to fix it, because some part of you must be feeling as lost as I am. I can't remember the pattern of your freckles. I can't remember the last thing you said to me. All I can remember are feelings, giant feelings that have eaten up everything else about you.

I am in bed and I am looking out of my window. The sky is coal black. My eyes are fuschia red.

On my bedroom ceiling our relationship plays out like a silent movie. It is a love story that follows all the simple ideas of other love stories. I watch it like I am watching a foreign film without subtitles, vaguely understanding it, but feeling like I am not completely in on what is happening. This doesn't feel like this is my love story anymore, this feels like something completely different to that. I am wondering when did something so simple become so complicated.

I feel quiet and sad. I imagine I feel like how one of those cat ornaments whose head bobs up and down without really wanting to might feel. I would like things to stay still for a little while, just to give me enough time to feel steady about things again; but things are whizzing past me in speeds that are like light-years, as I begin to try to work my way backwards to the things I used to know.

Emily McPhillips blogs here

Monday, October 6


by Fiona Sinclair

Illuminated photographs of lily ponds

invite us to drown our sorrows.
A rolling frieze of old masters manifests
then dissolves like hallucinations.

This is a waiting room for patients
whose affliction has turned them inside out.
Despite the walls attempts at tranquillity
our symptoms like unruly pets will not be house
Economy of space means that comfy seats
are placed uncomfortably close.
Visitors know madness isn't contagious
but even the outpatients can be unpredictable.

The woman's bulk is not loss of control
but a massing of strength.
She is painted in colours that nature warns
are dangerous, aggravated by a comedy hat.
In her urgency to organise her weekly medication,
she overwhelms a small table, loudly tabulating her

The elegant man, dressed to confuse, is betrayed
by the querulous monologue into his phone.
Suddenly, he demands more than
silent agreement from his listener,
instinctively half turning his body in
a semi observed cue for privacy,
he blatantly extorts loyalty with a clich├ęd phrase
that is an implicit threat to them both.

I marvel how, beneath the rubble of his personality,
he can still estimate his worth high enough
to expect such extended credit.

Friday, October 3

Empty Nest

by Avis Hickman-Gibb

I am no longer of substance. Now I float through the days like gossamer. Once I connected in this world; I laughed and cried; had joys and sorrows. I cast a shadow when the sun shone my way. Lived my life amongst the minutiae of every day. When my children called me Mother I cared for them, and performed all their small personal tasks - as mothers do.

When the wind swept through my life I presented an impediment to its flow. But in recent years, I have felt a change of direction in this existence. I no longer have an umbra of substance. I am a pale copy of what I once was. Every day I slip further toward transparency. My purpose is depleted; my chicks all gone. I wait for a second lease; wait for the next generation to begin. To give my life substance again.

It doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. I no longer feel of matter.

Avis Hickman-Gibb lives in Suffolk with her husband, one son and two cats.
She’s had stories in Every Day Fiction, Twisted Tongue, The Pygmy Giant, BackhandStories, Boston Literary Magazine, Short Humour, The Ranfurly Review StaticMovement, Microhorror, Bewildering Stories & The Shine Journal. She’s currently working on a book of short stories and a novel but is addicted to writing flash fiction.

Wednesday, October 1

October: Birth and Rebirth

Greetings, you talented bunch. And you, you readers of impeccably good taste.
As has become tradition, I would like to welcome you to a new month.
Happy October.
I quite like October.
Anyway, October is, for The Pygmy Giant, a month of medium-large significance. Anybody know why? Come on, hands up. Oh, sit down. Anybody else know? Put those pogs away. No?
Yes! That's right. October marks The Pygmy Giant's first birthday!
Can you believe it, hasn't he grown, I remember when he was this big, yadda yadda yadda. But yes, it's true. October 30th was the date of our first publication, and I'm getting nostalgic just thinking about it.
Two things are happening to mark this auspicious day.
Firstly: We are moving house. Don't worry, we're going to a better place. We'll be here for one more month and then on October 30th will make the move to a larger and better decorated home at Wordpress. All the current contents will be coming with, so your work is not going to disappear into the ether of the interweb.
Secondly: There will be a party game. The first thing ever published here was a splendid piece of short non-fiction by Bob Clay. I think it would be fitting, therefore, if the first thing to be published over on our new site, on our birthday, was another piece of short non-fiction. So - you've got a month to write and send me something, and the pick of the bunch will be the birthday piece. And just to make this a little more fun, it has to have something to do with birthdays, and be under 800 words as usual. Go to it!
So enjoy October - there's lots of good stuff in store; I know because I read your emails. I sometimes read them too slowly. Apologies for that. Oh and while you're here, please have another look over the submissions guidelines, because they have changed ever so slightly, mainly to stop the inbox getting so clogged.
Thanks as ever, your imaginary friend,
PS if you didn't read Jenn's rather nice article about the online lit scene at Vulpes Libris, here it is.