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Anne Deborah Taylor



Anne Deborah Taylor Merits

13 most prolific6 most esteemed14 top drabblist

Bag of Tricks

George paced the floor, checking his watch again. He saw Rose every fourth Thursday. Sometimes his loneliness was overwhelming, but seeing her brought brief joy into his life.

Supposing she let him down? But she always came on time and he paid her well. And she always had her bag of tricks.

The doorbell finally rang and George eagerly opened the door for her. Rose smiled at him as he escorted her into the bedroom. She opened her bag, pulling out the tools of her trade.

“Well, George,' she said, holding the hair clippers. “Number two or number three today?'

Knitting Away

Pearl one, knit two. The rhythm had a calming effect. My friends and I waited, knowing this was going to be a special day. There was a slight chill in the air but none of us noticed. There was a buzz of excitement as we waited, patiently knitting away.

Today would go down in history, would be marked by our social gathering. There were more of us than usual and the children played at our feet, unaware of what was about to take place.

The date was 16th October 1793, and Marie Antoinette was about to get her just desserts.

An Epiphany

“Are you serious? You called me out of an important meeting for that?' shouted my partner, Julian. I had called him at the office, but I didn’t know that he was in a meeting. I’d simply asked to speak to him.

“Well, yes,' I replied. “I don’t know what we should do. I just wondered…'

I held the phone from my ear as Julian screamed at me. “It’s your problem, you make the decision!'

Suddenly, it became all too clear what I had to do.

I packed my bags, took my dog, closed the front door and never looked back.

Flight Risk

The passengers sat there. They hadn’t left the ground and already their holiday was in jeopardy. Some passengers held their heads, while others gripped seat arms. All the fun and laughter was gone and forgotten.

At the front of the aircraft he stood. His arms crossed over his chest. His – almost – accentless English sharp and precise.

“Sit down and stay sat,' he said firmly. “One move from any of you and this aircraft is going nowhere.'

Captain Bernard turned round sharply, flicking some imaginary dust off his left epaulette as four mischievous little boys scurried sheepishly back to their seats.


There are three things every BFF knows. You never date your BFF’s ex-boyfriends, you always return borrowed clothes and you never, ever, read their diary.

Patsy flew down the steps from her bedroom and opened the door to Rache who had just rung the bell. Rache didn’t say anything to her but ran straight up the stairs to Patsy’s room. She followed her a few minutes later with two cans of cola, offering one to her BFF.

Patsy looked at her diary open on the bed. She breathed a sigh of relief. It hadn’t been moved – or had it?

Colour Blind

The assistant had to draw on every ounce of inner patience she possessed. She had been with this customer for over an hour.

“No,' said Marjorie, comparing it to a swatch of cloth. “It’s just not the right colour. There is just too much blue to make it work.'

The assistant had to give in. She hated losing a customer but it was someone else’s turn.

“Are you free, Rachel?' she asked her colleague. And so they started over again.

Finally, Marjorie’s husband had had enough. “For heaven’s sake, woman,' he glowered. “You’re choosing a lipstick, not refurbishing Buckingham Palace!'

A Dish

My friends thought he was gorgeous. When he was home, they would all come to visit. He looked amazing in his rugby shorts, was great at karaoke and the fact he was studying medicine at uni was just a bonus.

I couldn’t see it myself. His friend Josh – well, that’s who I’d call gorgeous, with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.

They didn’t see him moody (and a little mean), unshaven and scruffy. But as long as he leant me the occasional CD or Xbox game then I suppose we got along. That’s usually the case with siblings, isn’t it?

Pandora's Box

Sarah searched all over for the torch. It must be somewhere. A sudden epiphany! Under the stairs!

She crouched on all fours in front of the cupboard door. It was always Malcolm who went in here. She started to pull out all the rubbish, but found no torch.

Wait a minute, what was that in the far corner? She hunched low and crawled into the cupboard. She came back out with a beautiful, inlaid wooden box with a brass – or could it be gold – clasp. She lifted the clasp cautiously and slowly opened the lid.

Then she wished she hadn’t.


I’d promised myself. Never again. Like a drug addict or an alcoholic, I knew I would get hooked in a heartbeat.

It had taken over my life and I had time for nothing and no-one. So I decided I had to go ‘cold turkey’. Just one day without it. If I could manage one day then two days then three... I’d take it a day at a time. It had been eight months.

But I made that fateful mistake. I looked, I touched, I got hooked again.

It’s just a shame there isn’t a Candy Crush Anonymous to help me.

Fallen Pride

Chantelle looked in the mirror, admiring her face. No wrinkles around her eyes and her lips were full, even when she smiled. It had been worth every moment of agony under the surgeon’s knife.

It was her 60th birthday party and the guests were downstairs. Her entrance would be nothing if not dramatic.

Taking the stairs and looking at the admiring faces below her, Chantelle failed to notice the glass marble left there by her grandson. Only when she slipped the full length of the staircase did it occur to her this wasn’t the grand entrance she had in mind.


He introduced himself to us but then proceeded to tell us about his holiday in Austria. “Fantastic resort, you must visit it,' he said. Then he had his skiing accident. A compound fracture. Very nasty. Of course, getting home from Austria with a pot on his leg and X-rays under his arm wasn’t easy. And on he went. The problem was, I didn’t care.

It was probably when my eyes were beginning to glaze over that he said to me “Are you alright, Mr Smith?'

“Well, no Doctor, I’m not. Do the X-rays show I’ve broken my leg or not?'

Let It Snow...

The snow came down. Heavy. The schools were closed anyway but the snowmen were everywhere. There seemed to be one in every garden. Excited, laughing children ran around in their wellington boots, woolly scarves, hats and mittens, not noticing the worried looks on their parents’ faces.

Inside all the homes, heating was turned up to the max. The adults, unable to get to their workplaces, were worried about tomorrow and the next day, wishing they could be as carefree as the little ones enjoying the snow.

But nobody was as worried as the Met Office. It was August bank holiday.

The Good Old Days

I loved babysitting my grandchildren. Now that they were at school, each day brought new wonders. Luke was eight years old and Jonny was six. We had settled down to watch children’s TV when Luke looked at me.

“Were you born in the olden days?' he said.

“Of course not!' I replied.

“Granny, did you have lots of TV channels when you were little?'

“No Luke, we only had four channels and we all had to watch the same programme.'

Luke looked shocked. He turned to Jonny and whispered “See, I told you she was born in the olden days!'

Cleaning Blues

“What are you doing?' Chris asked his wife. “Why are you cleaning all the windows?'

“I have to, and when I’m finished I’m going to dust and vac then see to the laundry. I have a busy day ahead,' said Annie, her face looking flushed. “And then I’m going to start on the oven.'

Chris could tell she was well out of her comfort zone. He’d never seen her so domestically industrious.

“What’s got into you? This isn’t like you at all. I thought you hated cleaning?' he said.

“I do,' replied Annie, “but the new cleaner is starting tomorrow.'


Night-time is when the demons visit. That knocking you hear in the car is going to cost hundreds to repair, of course. Your dad’s cough is way more serious than he is letting on. And that slip-up at work? Well, that could cost you your job.

So, take a deep breath. And be reasonable. The knocking in the car is only the forgotten can left from the supermarket. Your dad’s cough is the same virus your mum had a week ago. And that slip-up at work, it just made everyone laugh.

And the pain in your neck?

Fit for Purpose

Nan seemed to find a new lease of life after Grandpa passed away. She had joined the local WI, taken up pilates and became more involved with her local church.

We were visiting Nan on her birthday and were surprised to see that she was having a stairlift installed. We both looked shocked.

“What’s wrong, Nan, are you ill?' I asked. “Is there something you need to tell us? Why are you having a stairlift put in?'

“Oh!' said Nan. “I’ve just got the internet and I love ordering online. I want the stairlift to take all my packages upstairs!'

Power Dressing

Sarah took one last look in the mirror. Power dressing at its best. Navy suit and crisp white shirt. This was going to be the pitch that would make her.

Grabbing her briefcase, samples, laptop and keys, she headed to the client’s office. She took the lift to the top floor where she would meet the CEO and directors. One deep breath and she was ready.

The receptionist’s desk was just outside the main boardroom. “Sarah Jones to see Mr Clark.'

The receptionist looked at her quizzically. “Certainly, Ms Jones. But you do know you are still wearing your slippers?'

The Voice

Her voice was irritating beyond belief, irritating and patronising.

“Doesn’t her voice get on your nerves?' Mavis asked Marvin, her husband.

“Well, yes it does, but we do have to listen to her.'

“I don’t see why we should,' said Mavis.

“And I don’t know how you can say that,' said Marvin. “She’s got us out of many a tricky situation.'

“Really?' said Mavis. “I’d say she’s got us into far more difficulty than out of it. And if I hear her say ‘Make a U-turn when convenient’ one more time, that satnav is going out the bloody window!'


Colour is everything. A dash here or a splash there. Too much and it was pretty much ruined, too little and – well, you might as well not have bothered.

But then you have to try to replicate that perfection. Sometimes you can and sometimes it’s pretty much impossible. Do you add to it or just leave it alone? Sometimes it’s a spontaneous decision and sometimes you have to think long and hard. And then it’s done. And a little while later, you just want to start all over again. Then again. And again.

Ahh! Yes! Your perfect cup of tea.

The Fly-Past

Aunt Bessie had outlived all her siblings. Unmarried, she’d been a member of the WRAF during the war. She was the glue that held us all together. We all looked at her coffin. We each had a special memory of her.

Stood by the grave, we could hear a rumbling in the distance, getting louder and louder. As we lifted our gaze, our eyes were drawn to the sky just as the Red Arrows roared by in perfect formation, heading on to an airshow no doubt. But perfect timing.

Oh yes. Only Aunt Bessie could have organised this fly-past.


The quayside by the ship was heaving with people. Miriam looked at Albert, tears pouring down her face. “I can’t leave him!'

“But you must,' said Albert. “How will you explain a baby to my brother? He’s been gone two years. I will come to you soon and bring the baby, and ask my brother if you can both look after him.'

Miriam reluctantly agreed. She wiped the tears away, picked up her valise and began to board the ship with the other passengers.

Albert stayed at the quayside, watching the SS Titanic until he could see it no more.


Charlotte came down to breakfast. Her father sat at the table with a worried look on his face.

“What’s the matter?' asked Charlotte, concerned.

“Do you know anything about how to call the midwife?' he said with a frown.

“Oh,' replied Charlotte, “so how is Mum?'

“Expectin’,' said her father, “and you know what she’s like when she’s expectin’. I don’t know what to do.'

“I can help,' she assured him.

“I don’t think so. What do you know? You can’t help me.'

“I can,' said Charlotte. “It’s easy. Just use my tablet and you can order the series online.'


Surely not again, a voice screamed in my head. Where did I park that car? I’ve been walking around for ages. I’m exhausted. It must be here somewhere. I’ve passed this building four times now. Why didn’t I take more notice of where I was and where I parked? I think it’s down these steps and around this corner. No, it isn’t! I’ll go back up the steps and over the road. What a nightmare!

My eyes open and I look at my watch. I still have thirty minutes in bed before the alarm goes. My eyes close once more.


They call me ‘the lady of a thousand stories’. I have a story for every occasion. Weddings, babies, work, home, bar mitzvahs, christenings… you name it, I have a story for it. Most will make you smile or laugh. A couple might make you cry but I don’t often relate those stories.

“They’re not true,' my kids tease. “She just makes them up.'

Ah! But they are true. When you get to my age, they are all you have. Some people call them memories but I call them stories.

All true, every single one of them. Well, almost every one.

First Impressions

Joyce took out her keys as she walked down the path. She opened the kitchen door and stopped dead, frozen with horror, looking around. All she could take in was a scene of utter devastation.

She could see blood everywhere – over the floor, on the ceiling, down the walls and on her bread knife. Joyce wasn’t even aware of the scream emitting from her throat.

Suddenly, a pair of arms engulfed her.

“It’s not that bad,' said Roger, her husband. “I keep telling everyone to make sure they put the lid back on the ketchup properly, but do they listen…?'

Party Time

The party was in full swing when Mac arrived, lager in hand. Wandering into the lounge, smiling at everyone, he noticed the room was full of women. Great, he thought. He was single – the more women the merrier.

He searched for his friend, Billy, but couldn’t see him. So he got his phone and sent him a text.

His mobile rumbled. Glancing down, he read: ‘I’m here, where are you?’

Mac looked around nervously as two dozen pairs of female eyes stared at him. Finally, the hostess spoke. “You’re very welcome to stay but it’s Shelly’s baby shower, you know.'

Waiting for Inspiration

Sit at keyboard. Type a sentence. Delete sentence. Wait for inspiration. Feel hungry. Open fridge, remove two eggs and find bowl. Crack one egg into bowl along with most of the shell. Try to remove shell. Decide a few little pieces never hurt anyone. Crack second egg, miss bowl completely but manage to get most of it on the counter top. Turn to get cloth to wipe up egg. Catch bowl with elbow and hurl to floor. Look for floor cloth but find it covered in shoe polish. Decide to have cheese on toast. Go back to keyboard. Inspiration found.

Sunday Lunch

Grace was entertaining her daughter’s future in-laws for the first time. Everyone was seated at the table when Grace’s daughter came into the kitchen. “Mum?' she said. “There’s something wrong with the gravy.'

“What do you mean? It’s my speciality!'

“It tastes really strange, try it,' she said, holding out a spoon of gravy.

A look of horror came over Grace’s face. “Oh heavens!' she exclaimed. “I’ve made it with cocoa instead of gravy powder.'

Unfortunately, Grace’s day got worse. The cake stall at the village hall had just sold her chocolate cake which tasted alarmingly like Sunday lunch.

The Perfect Hostess

Thelma greeted her guests and sat them at the table. The tomato soup was rich and spicy, the beef Wellington cooked to perfection, with delicious baked Alaska for dessert.

As they ate, Thelma looked somewhat embarrassed as she explained she could only eat salad. She was gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, egg intolerant – in fact, she was just plain intolerant.

As her guests tucked into their meal – laced with rat poison and disguised with the hot food – they couldn’t see Thelma’s suitcase and airline ticket in the hall.

Whoever said revenge was a dish best served cold had never met Thelma.

Utter Dribble

What are you doing? Really? It sounds utterly disgusting. I think you should see a doctor promptly if you have a problem. And you’re trying to put words together that make sense. Are you sure about this?

Don’t let the children see you doing it, it would upset them, they have very sensitive stomachs you know. Is there anyone with you that can give you a hand, help you out? It all sounds very messy to me.

What do you mean, what do I mean?

You’re trying to write with your dribble. Oh! I’m so sorry! You’re writing a drabble!

Fit as a Fiddle

The doctor peered over his half-rim spectacles. “Well, Mr Jones, I’m happy to say your annual health check declares you as fit as a fiddle!'

Herbert Jones looked straight at the doctor. “That’s good to hear at my age,' he said. “And the urine samples, they were okay too?'

The doctor checked his notes. “Yes, absolutely fine.'

Herbert left the doctor’s surgery, feeling that the money he’d paid for his annual health check was well spent.

Outside the surgery, his wife greeted him. “Well?'

“I’m absolutely fine,' said Herbert, “and so are you, and the twins and even little Rover!'

Sew Good

Maria prided herself on her sewing skills. No needle ever entered a piece of cloth with more care than Maria could give to it. No ordinary tacking stitch this time but neat, precise stitches, each one meticulous in its creation. She liked sewing as it expressed how she felt, and she would revel in her craft. Even the twine and circular needle didn’t diminish her love for her art.

She finished, finally, and looked down at the sacking. Maria marvelled at her handiwork. All she had to do now was figure out how to get the body to the canal.