The Reference


A MAN applied for a job that required three telephone references. Being self-employed, identifying suitable up-to-date referees who were available for comment was not always a straightforward matter, so he asked his live-in girlfriend and former business partner Erica if she could do the honours. To this she agreed.

Three days later, Erica’s mobile phone rang. It was a man who said he was phoning in connection with Roger Duncan.

Old habits die hard. No sooner had she uttered the words “Hang on a minute” and passed the phone to her other half, Erica’s heart smacked the floor. She ran to the nearest wall and banged her head off it, before sloping out of the room and locking herself in the bathroom with every intention of shoving it down the toilet.

By the time she regained her composure and had the courage to show her face, the call had ended. The expression on Roger’s face said it all. For shame, she could not look him in the eye. Maybe if she just burst into tears, that would break the ice.

Just at that very moment, the day’s mail was pushed through the letterbox. Glad of the distraction, Erica rushed to the door to pick it up.

“Well?” barked Roger across the hallway.

No answer.

When Roger went into the hall to investigate, he found Erica bent double, clutching her stomach like she was in agony.

“What the f***?”

Even as Erica pulled herself up to look him in the face, she flapped her hands as though she was having a hot flush. Her face was raw with tears. Each time she tried to get words out of her mouth, she bubbled some more. Roger realised that his girlfriend was having a fit of hysterics.

“What’s so funny?” he bellowed, his face still dead and straight as a steel poker.

Struggling now for breath, Erica held up the brochure she had picked off the floor. Across the front in big bold letters were the words TRY PRAYING

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2016


Foot in Mouth II


TODAY was the infamous Black Friday, the one everybody was talking about last year … the one that should never have happened …

Prior to leaving the house that morning, I had endured a headful of it on the news and social media. Supermarkets all over the UK had descended into anarchy. Tesco’s in particular had grabbed the headlines. Scenes of people in semi-violent clashes for cheap TVs. What was the world coming to?

These images were foremost in my mind when I entered my own local Tesco’s to get a pint of milk and some other necessities. I was in the mood for an animated debate about the evils of consumerism gone mad and bringing Black Friday to the UK in the first place.

So when I approached the server with my basket, I quipped “Aren’t you guys doing Black Friday then?”

Even as I uttered the last consonant, I froze. In the same instant, in the corner of my vision, three pairs of eyes spun round in unison. Three pasty white faces, aghast.

Dead drawn out silence.

The West African girl who had served me flashed me a broad amused smile as if to say “Hey, you walked into that one.”

I opened my mouth to say something – anything – but shut it again before I could do any further damage. I fumbled as I bundled my groceries into my bag, telling myself over and over that it was not my problem they had got the wrong end of the stick, it was theirs. Still, as I scurried past the security guard, I held an imaginary gun to my head and pulled.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2015