some old bullshit

Short Story


“You guys are all heroes. I mean real heroes.”

“Well… yeah, thanks,” said Robert, hoping that was enough but the lady’s face was sad and wanting more. “It was…” Robert raised his eyebrows and shook his head and avoided looking at her. That was enough, surely. He looked at her. No. My God! She wanted more. She’d tilted her head. The one with the sad face on it that wanted more. Robert rocked his head forwards and backwards with his lips pursed and after a couple of seconds the woman placed a hand on his arm and then turned, looking for somebody in the crowd. She found somebody, turned back, smiled once more and then almost danced to whoever she’d spotted.

Robert’s arm was grabbed. “This is great, Bobby!” said Linda shaking it. His arm.

He nodded. “Hey, don’t tell people I was a fire fighter.”

“Why not?”

“It’s just…”

“Oh Bobby!” she said, pulling him through the crowd to meet another face that would no doubt proclaim him a hero. A great big fucking hero. And Bob would stand there and listen and nod because the face that greeted him delivering the news that actually he’d been on vacation on that date. He’d been eight days into a fourteen days scuba diving holiday on that date. The face that received that news was too much to take. So instead he’d listen and nod.




Okay, that wasn’t too bad. It was much longer than I wanted it to be. I woke up with this story the other day and immediately texted my agent.



I might! Thing is I said that but really I was thinking I just did. You know? That was, I thought, as long as it needed to be. It was kinda perfect. I wouldn’t have written it were it not for this post about short stories. Also it’s probably been done before.

Hi, my name is Jamie P Barker and I fucking love short stories. I love writing them and I love reading them. BJ Novak is great. James Thurber’s not bad. All my favourite stories are short but for some reason short stories are considered throw-away. I don’t know why.

Some American President said that he could write a two-hour speech in ten minutes. He could write a half an hour speech in a week and it would take him two months to write a five-minute speech. I liked that. Short stories aren’t speeches, I know that, but I think some of that message translates.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying writing short stories is some difficult, arduous, artistic torment. I just think writing something in the fewest amount of words is the way to go. I think it’s better. I guess that’s what poetry is and poetry is seen as proper writing in a way that short stories aren’t. Man, I’m going on a bit here. How ironic!

I think it credits the reader. I think the best thing about them is that the person writing it and the person reading it get to fill in the stuff that isn’t written down with their…


Having said all that the Robert in the story up there. The fire fighter? It’s Bob from Bob’s Burgers. I don’t know why that happened. The event they’re at is the opening of the burger bar. I guess knowing that is why I didn’t feel the need to write any more about it. I don’t know who you thought Robert was or where they were but whatever you imagined you were right.