Tag Archives: David Rhymes

Flashing in Spain
with David Rhymes and Hemingway

For last minute inspiration for this February round of Bath Flash Fiction Award, which closes this Sunday 11th February at midnight (UK time), we’re catching up with David Rhymes, who won third prize in the June 2017 round of the competition, judged by Meg Pokrass with his story ‘The Place We Live Before We Don’t.’ David lives in Pamplona, Spain and sent us a picture of his contributor’s copy of The Lobsters Run Free, outside the cafe Iruna, where Hemingway used to write. From his description of the rooms upstairs with their comfy velvet benches, it sounds like just the right place to go and get ideas. David describes what prompted his own story in our interview and it’s interesting to think of how time passes in narrative fiction and how that can translate into a powerful micro fiction like his. We’re looking forward to seeing David’s historical novel about a bareknuckle boxer in print, and now he’s been re-energised by a recent Fast Flash Workshop with Kathy Fish, to read more of his short fiction as well.
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David Rhymes
June 2017 Third Prize

The Place We Live Before We Don’t

by David Rhymes

He sat by the window recalling everything; the new-born infant, toddler, son; the brother, friend and boyfriend; Janie’s date, her husband; Jack and Hannah’s dad; watching the bin men slot the wheelies on the cart. A bleating baby when his mam’s milk wouldn’t come. An empty belly raging, dozing in a pushchair, watching sparrows on the ledge, waiting for the microwave to heat the formula. The way the binmen always wore those bright flourescent uniforms during the day. The bin men they. At junior school, a rainy day inside; the warm fug of the form room; outside in the wintry half-light, crows; Mrs. Moncrieff, who wouldn’t give permission to turn on the lights; no quibbling boys, you know we must save electricity, we want to see the birds now, don’t we? Yes. And then the day that Angela was hit on Plessey bridge. Your sister in a coma at the QMC. Though things got better, slowly: by any reckoning it was just six weeks later she stood eating grapes at Daddy’s bedside, reeling out a stream of Knock-Knock jokes. But that shook us, till Grandad Albert shook us more, then Dad got sicker still and went. And Janie pregnant with our second then, with Jack, and little Hannah only three and toddling still, and I thought Mam would say that’s bad but I’ve got worse, I’ve got this thing, this what-do-you-call-it? The unthinkable, growing in me, a black crow roosting somewhere in my blood. And one day look it’ll flap out too big, and what comes finally to everyone at last will come to me, that big black crow that’s roosting somewhere in my blood. Well, yes, he thinks, it will. The signal beeper on the cart. The noisy bin men backing out. The place we live before we don’t.

About the Author

Born in Nottingham, David has a degree in English from the University of Warwick and an MA from the University of East Anglia. He lives with his wife and children in Eneriz, a village near Pamplona, Spain, where he works freelance as a language trainer, course writer and translator. He has written across many different forms, both poetry and prose, and is currently finishing a novel set in early Victorian Nottingham, based on the life of Bendigo, a champion bare knuckle boxer who later became a preacher.

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