This was my entry for the Ad Hoc Flash Fiction Competition, week of 18 April 2018. It didn’t win but was long-listed and published in the ebook. Each submission has to be 150 words or less. The word this week was FAST. 

Fast Food Friday. I join the queue with Ma, let the smell of fried fish and anticipation fill my nostrils.

Diets consume me now. Paleo, Atkins. I’ve tried the lot.

A single constant runs through them all, like the Kyrie eleison or words in a stick of rock. Tomorrow still lays heavy in the dent of my mattress. I cover the mirror and hope.

My therapist asks if I’m filling a gap.

I shrug. Her room, white and minimalist, reminds me of a Terence Conran plate I once had. In a different world, it waits in silence, desperate for a line of sugar-dusted raspberries or a drizzle of something dark and balsamic.

Later, in the stark light of an open fridge door, more comes back to me. The smell of wet salt and vinegar, fingers sliding over the imprint of yesterday’s news. Nine dead. Friday night on the Shankill Road.