LATE BREAKFAST • by Jacey Bedford

A musician was on tour in the south of England and played a little folk club gig in Eastbourne. As often happens that night he was invited to stay at the home of the organisers, an Australian couple, Jayne and John. He knew them slightly from previous gigs at their venue, but he’d never had occasion to stay with them before. They seemed like nice folks, however, both vegetarian, health-food, fitness types, but none the worse for that.

After the gig he drove to their house, following their tail lights through winding country lanes.

As they walked in through the front door they said the words that no night-owl musician ever wants to hear, “We have to be up early and leave for work at six a.m. sharp.”

His heart fell. It was already past midnight.

Jayne must have seen the look on his face. “Don’t worry.” She smiled kindly. “You don’t have to be up early. Here’s a key. Get a good night’s sleep and get up when you’re ready. The kitchen’s over there. Help yourself to anything you like for breakfast. Just lock the door and post the key back through the letterbox when you leave. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks at Cambridge Festival.”

He was so relieved.

***

A couple of weeks later, as planned, he met John and Jayne at Cambridge, in the festival bar. After exchanging pleasantries and chatting for a while,  Jayne began to look uncomfortable and said, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’ve been worried. That night you stayed with us… why didn’t you have any breakfast before you left?”

“Oh, I did,” he said. “I had the muesli.”

Jayne looked puzzled. “We don’t have muesli,” she said.

But they did have a parrot.

Afterwards he realised that for the last couple of weeks he’d been singing much better. But he had begun to long for a blanket over his cage before he went to sleep at night.


Jacey Bedford is a British writer, very excited to have a novel (Empire of Dust) due in November 2014 from DAW as part of a three book deal. She has had short fiction published on both sides of the Atlantic, the most recent being in the Futures 2 anthology (Tor) and in translation (Galician) to Nova Fantasia in Spain.


Regular reader? We need your Patreon support.

Rate this story:
 average 0 stars • 0 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • So two horses enter a bar. One of the horses asks the bartender … really?
    Is this even a story, or do I put my head on a shelf and forget everything I know to be true. Just to check my own insanity, I would love to read something else from the aurthor.

    • Camille Gooderham Campbell

      Given an introductory situation with rising action or tension leading to a moment of climax and at least a hint of resolution, it’s a story. Jokes and stories are not mutually exclusive; it’s more of a Venn diagram.

      This is the author’s first time at EDF, but if you care to check out her website, there are links to other work.

  • So two horses enter a bar. One of the horses asks the bartender … really?
    Is this even a story, or do I put my head on a shelf and forget everything I know to be true. Just to check my own insanity, I would love to read something else from the aurthor.

    • Camille Gooderham Campbell

      Given an introductory situation with rising action or tension leading to a moment of climax and at least a hint of resolution, it’s a story. Jokes and stories are not mutually exclusive; it’s more of a Venn diagram.

      This is the author’s first time at EDF, but if you care to check out her website, there are links to other work.

  • It seems like there is a middle section that was omitted. It was jarring, as I’m assuming it was meant to be? when the second part begins two weeks later instead of the next morning. I wonder if the story might not be better if the action that we learn of at the end was actually shown? The way it is now it is more of a joke punchline.

  • It seems like there is a middle section that was omitted. It was jarring, as I’m assuming it was meant to be? when the second part begins two weeks later instead of the next morning. I wonder if the story might not be better if the action that we learn of at the end was actually shown? The way it is now it is more of a joke punchline.

  • Very good. Short and to the point. I laughed at this one.

  • Very good. Short and to the point. I laughed at this one.

  • As a joke it is OK-funny. I don’t think that this falls into the story category. I would definitely not consider this horror either.

    Something is amiss here.

    • Camille Gooderham Campbell

      Ward, you’re absolutely right about the genre. I meant to check the Humour/Satire box and inadvertently checked Horror, just above it.

      • Something had to happen like that, or we were missing a really important piece of the story.
        🙂

  • As a joke it is OK-funny. I don’t think that this falls into the story category. I would definitely not consider this horror either.

    Something is amiss here.

    • Camille Gooderham Campbell

      Ward, you’re absolutely right about the genre. I meant to check the Humour/Satire box and inadvertently checked Horror, just above it.

      • Something had to happen like that, or we were missing a really important piece of the story.
        🙂

  • macdabhaid

    Didn’t know EDF did jokes.

  • macdabhaid

    Didn’t know EDF did jokes. Stories have denouements – jokes have punchlines. The whole narrative was leading towards one punchline. There is no character or plot development one would expect in a story. It’s flat. It can be developed into a story as a premise, where the necessary elements of fiction are introduced (such as I have mentioned) and the author shows an ability to write well, but as it stands it only qualifies as a marginally funny “story” (a misnomer) which are really fictional anecdotes (episodes) with no “stand-alone” structure or intrinsic growth.

  • MaryAlice Meli

    A nice chuckle to start a gray, cold Sunday that’s promising snow by nightfall. Good luck with your novel.

  • MaryAlice Meli

    A nice chuckle to start a gray, cold Sunday that’s promising snow by nightfall. Good luck with your novel.

  • Nancy Smith

    Very funny.

  • Nancy Smith

    Very funny.

  • Ife Olujuyigbe

    A tad too short. Nice attempt nonetheless.

  • Ife Olujuyigbe

    A tad too short. Nice attempt nonetheless.

  • Derek B.

    I enjoyed the whimsical tone to this. It was bright and charming in it’s own right and I do think there was enough characterization within character interactions to make this a story.

    This said, I read through this a couple of times and am not sure I understand the point or punchline in full. There is definitely something jarringly missing for me. It may very well just be the fact that the ending is more a punchline than a conclusion, but without really understanding what my issue was, I can’t say for certain.

    On another note, congrats on getting a 3 book deal and for your first story on EDF. Hope to see something else of yours on here in the future!

  • Derek B.

    I enjoyed the whimsical tone to this. It was bright and charming in it’s own right and I do think there was enough characterization within character interactions to make this a story.

    This said, I read through this a couple of times and am not sure I understand the point or punchline in full. There is definitely something jarringly missing for me. It may very well just be the fact that the ending is more a punchline than a conclusion, but without really understanding what my issue was, I can’t say for certain.

    On another note, congrats on getting a 3 book deal and for your first story on EDF. Hope to see something else of yours on here in the future!

  • Viki Keeton

    Excellent. I could feel the perspective. I don’t feel that stories must have a solution, this one does however. It honestly shows how unsatisfactory those solutions can be. You cannot unring the bell.

  • Viki Keeton

    Excellent. I could feel the perspective. I don’t feel that stories must have a solution, this one does however. It honestly shows how unsatisfactory those solutions can be. You cannot unring the bell.

  • Pingback: Bircher Muesli Apple Juice Yogurt Recipe - The Power Breakfast.()

  • I thought this was brilliant. Set for the stay at the flat and then the punchline. Bird foot makes a better singer then.

  • I thought this was brilliant. Set for the stay at the flat and then the punchline. Bird foot makes a better singer then.