FLASH FICTION: How Do You Classify Mammals? by Hannah Storm

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At first Dom seemed okay about selling the Z3. We posted it on Auto Trader then spent hours poring over Which Car? weighing up family-friendly designs. We had already sold the flat and bought a four-bed house with a garage, now home to a BabyJogger buggy. I had no intention of holding on to the baby weight after the birth.

Dom seemed to be wobbling. Half-way through building the spreadsheet to compare the cars, he took the final chocolate hobnob. Lying on the sofa, our distended bellies balancing the Mac, I laughed, ‘If I’m eating for two, you must be eating for three.’

‘I won’t be late. Just meeting the lads for a quick half’, he messaged after work the next day. I texted him the photo from the 20-week scan: ‘It’s okay if you tell them the sex’.

I calculated how long a half pint would take with Tom and John, and multiplied it by three, just in case they all chipped in to celebrate. Then I added 15 minutes because beer goes straight through Dom, especially since he turned 40. He hadn’t taken kindly to me telling him older men often experienced enlarged prostrates and that he would be bound to wee more.

After an hour I googled ‘mindfulness’ on YouTube. After two hours, I gave up and walked to the Forresters. The first thing I saw as I turned the corner to our local was a group of men, all of them dressed in Lycra, each glued to a gleaming bike.

I remember Dom reading an article in the Observer about this breed of ‘Mamils’, or ‘Middle-Aged Men in Lycra.’

I laughed as he told me that a Mamil’s head was usually hidden under a hard helmet-like shell to protect his receding hairline, his expanding girth cinched by tight Lycra, and the rest of his body swaddled to leave little to the imagination.

From the accompanying photos and text, I saw a Mamil wore his manhood with pride, straddled his bike like he’d never had a ride like it, and terrorised members of the opposite sex with talk of tight clothes, time trials and titanium frames.

I scoffed at the play on words with ‘mammal’ as if these imposters could possibly have anything in common with warm-blooded animals whose females fed their infants milk through mammary glands.

‘Jesus, Amanda if I ever turn into one of them, you have my permission to pull down my cycling shorts and publicly flog me’, Dom had said to me, over a glass of Malbec. It was the last day of our honeymoon and we’d got so drunk that my pill had failed.

Touching my ballooning boobs, I fought back my envy of these men. My phone vibrated in my bag. Dom must be home.

‘Amanda, is that you?’ I heard his voice before I recognised him, lifted my eyes to the gleaming bike, the helmeted creature in front of me, his enlarged prostate pulsing inside his lurid Lycra.

Hannah Storm

Hannah Storm has been a journalist for the past 20 years. Though her notebooks have long been full of snapshots from her adventures, she only started writing flash fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction last year as a way of honouring some of the extraordinary people she has met, remembering the places she has been and processing her own experiences. She lives on the south coast of the UK with her husband and two children and juggles parenting with work, writing and long-distance running.

Follow Hannah here Twitter

STORGY Flash Fiction Competition 2019

We are at it again people, our 2019 Flash Fiction Competition is accepting submissions from 8th July 2019 and will end on the 31st August 2019. So, dust off those stories, write a new one and get submitting! The competition is £5 per flash piece (you can submit more than one story but this would need to be done in separate applications). For those on low or no income we’ve got your back (full details in the post). 500 words only (excluding title). First place wins £100 and a STORGY Bundle, 2nd & 3rd places win a STORGY Bundle – plus all shortlisted stories will feature in a limited edition chap book which will be made available to purchase through STORGY.COM. Click here to go to our post or just check out STORGY.COM for details.


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Shallow Creek contains twenty-one original horror stories by a chilling cast of contemporary writers, including stories by Sarah Lotz, Richard Thomas, Adrian J Walker, and Aliya Whitely. Told through a series of interconnected narratives, Shallow Creek is an epic anthology that exposes the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the the genre’s core.

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