Tall And True Short Reads is an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by your host, Robert Fairhead. Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Gym (England, 1993): "Come on, Winnie, push." Winston arched his back and strained against the bar. "Push!" The muscles in Winston's arms and chest burned. He closed his eyes, let out a primal roar and fully locked his arms. The weights rattled for a moment before Winston steadied the bar. "Yes!"
Both Sides of the Story is a short story collection written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Inspired by P...
A Council Flat (England, 1993): The sound of the twins fighting in the bedroom filled the flat. Their screams drowned out the drone of sport on the TV and the sizzle and bubble of dinner on the kitchen cooktop. ‘For Christ’s sake, Ruth,’ Stu bellowed over the TV, ‘shut those bloody kids up, will you!’
Warning: This podcast episode contains strong language and themes that may be distressing for some listeners.
(Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1993): The roar of explosives devastated the peace of the valley. Tibor had covered his ears with his hands before Milo flicked the detonator switch, but the thudding explosion set off the bells in his head again. He dropped his hands as dust and grit rained down on him and his men. When the dust cleared, it revealed the shattered shell of the century-old farmhouse.
Westminster (England, 1993): "Madam Speaker, I —" Baxter groaned and lifted the pen. He stuck the end in his mouth and sucked on it, searching for a better opening line. He crossed out the first words and started again. "Madam Speaker, the —" His pen froze again. "Damn it, why won't the words flow?"
Both Sides of the Story is a collection of short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Written f...
Phil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in October 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, ‘We need to hear both sides of the story.’
Both Sides of the Story is also a collection of short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Written initially ...
At primary school in Perth, Western Australia, in the 1970s, I had a teacher who was also a lay preacher on the weekends. Before schoolwork, he started the day at our (supposedly) secular state school with the Lord's Prayer and gospel readings. And his favourite scripture topic was Signs of the Second Coming.
The sky-blue swell pounded the breakwater at Borthel on Sea in a steady rhythm. John gazed out at the mountains across the broad bay and drew a deep calming breath. The anxiety that had built up and wracked him in recent months and on his spontaneous long drive from the city eased its intensity.
The headmaster sighed and shut out the old memory. He leaned forward on his desk. “Edwards, your marks and behaviour this year have been poor enough to earn expulsion several times over.” Hamilton watched the boy's chin drop. He shook his head and sighed again.
Hamilton leaned back, tapping the tips of his fingers together in contemplation. “An interesting dream, Edwards. What do you make of it?” Charlie shifted nervously from leg to leg. “Well, sir, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought since last night, and I think it was a premonition.”
Hamilton held up a hand. “You mean to tell me, Edwards, you dreamed about the house where you live with your parents?” The boy shook his head. “No, sir, I’ve never seen this house before, but in my dream, I knew it was mine. And I’m not married, sir, and I don’t have any kids.”
Charlie took another deep breath to calm himself. “Well, Mr Hamilton, it was the weirdest dream I've ever had. It was more like watching TV than a dream. Only, it was me on the TV.” Scenes started replaying through Charlie's head as he recounted his dream to the headmaster.
The headmaster tapped his pen on the punishment column in the discipline file. "I'm waiting, Edwards. Why do you want to come back to school next year?" Charlie's mouth still felt dry. "Because I want to sit my exams, sir." "Yes, but why?" "Um, err—" Charlie struggled to find the words.
The wooden bench in the hallway outside the headmaster's office was hard. It made you squirm. But once you'd sat on it, you daren't wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, old Heavy-Handed Hamilton would look up through his glass office door and note your fidgeting.
Three minutes into the performance, and I stifled a yawn. Crammed in the front row with a clutch of fellow bored hacks, I hoped no one had noticed. However, the acclaimed actor and playwright and recently appointed head of NATS, Barry Lazarus, turned and fixed a beady eye on me from centre stage.
By its definition, the key to good microfiction is brevity. There is no time for plot and character development; every word must count. The writer plunges the reader into the story and wrenches them back out, leaving it to the reader’s imagination to reflect upon what they have read.
We hit the road at sunrise. Anna complained about packing the bikes in the pre-dawn dark. But we had to make up for the kilometres we'd lost yesterday to punctures and her mishap. Our reward was a crimson landscape when the sun crested the horizon. I rode ahead, and Anna fell behind, as usual.
My class had a lesson on "conservation" at school today. Miss said it's where people reuse old things or use new things more thoughtfully. Or do stuff differently to stop using up the Earth's resources. She said conservation is important because our planet is sick, and we need to help make it healthy again.
"Happy anniversary, Darl." My blank look doesn't wipe the smile from his face. "It's our double anniversary, remember?" he prompts, presenting me with a single red rose. "Nine months since the party and six months since you moved in." My nan taught me to tell the truth. "Of course I remember," I lie.
The photograph is gloomy, and the colours are fading. But it was twenty-five years ago. I'm sitting in the high-ceilinged inner courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Old Damascus, catching up my travel journal. My wife calls out from the first floor. I stop writing, look up and wave for the camera.
It’s a warm, sunny day and I'm strolling along Brighton Promenade during my lunch break. Seagulls are circling and squawking, and sunlight shimmers on the blue-green English Channel. I look away from the bright horizon and see her walking towards me. Twenty metres and twenty years separate us.
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We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications, and the system failed to protect them. Which begs the question: who - or what - is that system meant to protect? From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is a story about a charming surgeon, 33 patients and a spineless system. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.
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