Short Story: Coffee Under A Desk

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About this Short Story

Written by
Sally Brown

Narrated by
Dominic Tighe


Bruce Wilkes has a good job and a controlling ex-wife who he still dates. His world is turned upside down with the appointment of his new, rather eccentric, personal assistant.


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  • 23 Comments
  • 80% Community Rating
  • 10203 Views

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“I enclose one of my fingernails for your information,” the letter signed off.

Bruce stared at the words that had concluded a fairly normal letter. With trepidation he peered inside the thin white envelope previously discarded into the recycle bin. As promised, there lay a generous slice of human fingernail; decorated with blue polish. Bruce now faced a difficult and somewhat macabre dilemma. If he ignored the letter would he antagonise an already rather disturbed individual? Or by entering into correspondence did he run the risk of encouraging them? Either way, he envisioned receiving other disposable human parts in thin white envelopes over the coming weeks.

His ex-wife, Julia, thought the matter rather ordinary.

“Oh Bruce, in today’s climate a woman has to make an impression to climb the ladder of success. This letter has been playing on your mind, yes?”

“Well, I must admit to be rather preoccupied with it.”

“Of course you are. It is merely a devise to grab your attention and…

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Fiona Smith Guest Editor said "Editor's Pick - I was immediately attracted to this rather screwball comedy by the opening line: “‘I enclose one of my fingernails for your information,’ the letter signed off.” Not the sort of thing I’ve ever thought about including in a job application, but perhaps after this story I might. A funny, surprising tale with great characters, such as Ms. Peters, who strikes me as the 21st century’s answer to Mary Poppins. Only instead of looking after children and flying around with umbrellas, she helps lawyers and drinks coffee under desks. Simply delightful. "
8 years ago

Keith Snell said "Excellent quirky stuff. Never crossed my mind to do anything so screwball, I might just have a dabble myself."
2 years ago
Sandy Wardrope said "Hi Sally, just found your 'strange/humorous' tale and enjoyed somewhat. Monty Python springs to mind with some of your phrases reminiscent of that show. However, It was well written and populated with some great, if not believable, characters. Well done, keep it up. Yours, Sandy W NB. Bob Dylan wrote some of his best work stoned out of his mind, I use malt whisky myself, cheers. SW"
4 years ago
Audrone Audra said "It,s nice! Thank you"
5 years ago
Julian Fields said "Great fun! Wonderful whimsical humour; thanks very much!"
5 years ago
Emma Aitken said "This is one of the few short stories that made me laugh out loud. The characters are complete genius. Loved it. Would really like to see Ms Peters and Bruce together again."
5 years ago
Kathy Wainwright said "I don't know what's happening to the sliders. I can't move them properly. I LOVED THE STOR"
6 years ago
Dorothy Spruzen said "A wonderful start to the day! Whimsical, with an underlying message."
6 years ago
Poppy Moss said "This reminds me somewhat of the old slapstick comedy films. I've never been attracted to this type of humour but can see that it is well written and has distinctive characters. Poppy"
6 years ago
Roger Noons said "1. The noun is device, not devise. 2. A female cannot by law, commit indecent exposure, as the female body is not considered indecent. I'm sorry, but I find your story silly, not funny. No matter how strange a story is, I feel the events described should be believable."
6 years ago
Sally Brown replied saying "I suppose it depends exactly what she was doing with her holepunch... But sorry you didn't enjoy it, not everybody's cup of coffee."
6 years ago
Rachel Marsh Guest Editor said "I love this story. I am so happy it's been resurrected for Friday Stories. Reading it was such a wonderful way to spend a lunch."
6 years ago
David Green said "I had read this story before, and reading it again was as delightful as the first time."
6 years ago
James Tate said "Great fun. I enjoyed this eccentric, surrealistic story very much. Well done the author."
6 years ago
David Green said "You have boldly taken the absurd and made it quite funny. Fine read."
6 years ago
Christine Human said "Bizarre - I've had dreams like this. I imagined the writer to be a male! Listened whilst painting ( a wall not a mural) and found it engaging and weird."
6 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Well, from the brilliant first line to the hole punch this was really funny. It was outrageous and at times downright daft but I really, really enjoyed it - Thank you. - Diane"
7 years ago
Barry O'Leary said "This is one of the best short bread stories I've read. Loved the characters, especially Ms Peters, and the situations Bruce gets into are hilarious. Laughed out loud on several occasions as I listened. Excellent narration too."
7 years ago
Louise Macintosh said "extremely funny :D"
7 years ago
Jacklin Murray said "Great - Take my hat off to you. This was a great, funny and superbly put together story. Jacklin Murray"
7 years ago
Jacklin Murray said "Great - Take my hat off to you. This was a great, funny and superbly put together story. Jacklin Murray"
7 years ago
Sharon Ketelaar said "Too funny! - Despite its pandemic use in emails and text messages,how often do we actually 'LOL'? I admit I really did laugh out loud at your story."
7 years ago
Mark Patrick said "Hilarious - The characters are great for a series. Please write more stories starring Ms. Peters. I love the paragraph about what your ceiling says about you. I fall into the, one who fears looking up as it may cause them to bump into furniture."
8 years ago

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