Saturday 25 June 2016

'No one Knows You Like Your Mother' by A Joseph Black

"Joyce isn't really a 'Burger King' type of person."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well, I just wonder if perhaps you might have considered bringing her somewhere slightly more salubrious. When a young lady is taken out to dinner, she doesn't expect to be asked if she wants to 'go large for 30p extra'. That's all."

Martin hid his irritation behind his cappuccino. He had expected his mother's indefatigable attempts to pair him off would abate when he moved out of home and into his miniature city centre apartment. But in fact, if anything, activity had increased. 

Moira, Martin's mother, had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of friends from her golf club, her bridge nights, her charity work - all of whom, it seemed, had at least one single daughter of marriageable age (a concept Moira had stretched to breaking point, and beyond, on more than one occasion) who was bright, funny, pretty and available. In Martin's experience, few of these prospective paramours scored more than one out of four by this measure, and while being 'available' was certainly an advantage it was hardly a sole basis for a successful relationship.

"Joyce," Martin said, steering the conversation back on topic, "is an insufferable snob."

Moira snapped her kid leather gloves tighter onto her hands with surprising vigour, a gesture Martin knew indicated that she knew he was right.

"And your response to the fact that Joyce.....has standards was to bring her to a place that's full of hoodies, self-harming and smacking themselves with heroin in the toilets? I have no idea what I'm going to say to Jean when I see her again, I really don't."

"It was Joyce who wanted to see that godawful foreign film, which meant we had an hour less to eat than I expected. Fast food was the only viable solution."

"Only viable solution!" Moira repeated with ill-disguised disdain. "What on Earth am I going to do with you, Martin?"

It was clearly a rhetorical question and Martin felt no obligation to offer a response.

"So I won't be taking Joyce out again," Martin said eventually.

"No, and I can't imagine why she would want you to," Moira replied, wiping scone crumbs from the corners of her mouth viciously with a napkin.

"In fact, you can stand down entirely from your position as self-appointed Matchmaker General."

"Ah, don't give up, Martin. She's out there somewhere, I'm sure she is. And I'll find her for you."

"I don't need you to find anyone, Mother. As a matter of fact I've found someone myself."

"Martin!" Moira almost screamed, so loud that the other patrons of The Silver Lounge coffee shop looked in their direction. "Well aren't you the dark horse! I had no idea. I'm delighted. Delighted! What does she work at? Where does she live? What about her father - does she come from a good family? Oh - her name! I haven't even asked you her name! What's she called, Martin?"



  1. Great piece. Wonderful character portraits.

  2. Would you like to submit something to Cafe Aphra, A. Joseph Black? we're always on the lookout for fresh new flash fiction like this piece.


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