Flash fiction: Wake-up Call


‘Just book a wake-up call,’ I said, unclipping my conference badge.

‘Shh, the hotel kitchen won’t miss one saucepan,’ Jonathan said, his words slurring. ‘Wait here.’

Two minutes later he emerged waving a pan. ‘Set alarm, put one wind-up alarm clock in saucepan, place pan in bath, go to bed. Guaranteed. Never trust wake-up calls.’

Outside his room we kissed cheeks. ‘Goodnight,’ I said.

‘Stay,’ he said. ‘Please.’

I hesitated a second too long. He opened the door, led me inside.

In the morning I crept out, leaving Jonathan sleeping. On my way I passed the forgotten saucepan and unwound alarm clock tangled amongst his discarded clothes.


I really struggled this week – hence posting on a Thursday rather than Wednesday, and I’m still not that happy with what I’ve written. For those who don’t know, this is part of the Friday Fictioneers writing group, where our kind host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts a picture each week (this week supplied by Doug MacIlroy), and writers from around the word write a 100 or so word story inspired by the picture. You can join in here, or read other stories here.


For anyone interested in the publishing journey of my novel, you might like to read my latest post about speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

35 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Wake-up Call

  1. Dear Claire,

    I get the impression that Jonathan doesn’t really want a wake-up call. Although I’ve never heard of putting an alarm clock in a saucepan and then in a bath. Is that to amplify the sound or drown it out?

    Judging from his slurred speech that must’ve been some conference. I sense much more story between the lines. Nicely done.

    I wouldn’t call posting on Thursday for Friday Fictioneers actually late. 😉 Your stories are worth the wait.




  2. I hope he still thinks it was worth it to forget the alarm when he wakes up late. I hope she still thinks it was worth it to stay as she creeps down the hall to her own room.


  3. Claire,
    This is different from your usual offerings, but I love it. It rings with truth, and I smiled at the notion of a drunk guest swiping a saucepan from the hotel kitchen. I’m with Rochelle on this–Thursday is by no means “late.” Besides, I would happily wait a couple days just to read your FF tales. They seldom disappoint.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  4. I really enjoyed this story, Claire. I got the sense that it was a sort of walk up call for her more than anything, but it was the whole alarm clock issue that started everything. Now that’s clever! For the record, I sometimes post on Saturday, and I consider Thursday early. It’s all good! 🙂


  5. I enjoyed the story, very believable and so much told in 100 words. I generally get to FF on Friday nights or weekends after the working week is over. I think we all struggle with ‘was that good enough’ and not just with FF.


  6. I like the idea of the ‘objets’ in the picture being the subject of a conference, though that may not have been what you intended. The story is fine, you have a lot on at the moment. I am having fun being inspired by the artwork at the Sainsbury Centre Reality exhibition.


  7. Claire, I thought it was a good story and very realistic and well written as always. I hope your book continues to do well. I hope you don’t mind that I put the Amercan cover of your book on one of my Pinterest boards with some other books. If you want me to remove it, just let me know. 🙂 — Susan


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