Faux Pas Flash
Latest flash fiction competition in the #cwipFlasherSeries
Faux Pas Flash Competition
Thank you SO much for all of your wonderful entries to our Faux Pas Flash Competition.
We asked you to embrace the ‘faux pas’ within and any other kind of delicious awkwardness you could conjure. You did not disappoint. The subjects were wide, varied and where they were similar, they were plundered in different and hilarious ways.
From Zoom call reveal, awkward stand-up comedy , laundry error, work place blunders, WhatsApp group exposure, treadmill embarrassment, oversharing, disco flatulence, room service confusion, massage perks and punishment, student blundering, soup spillages, bridesmaid enthusiasm, pants exposure, handshake malfunction, overheard arguments, being locked out - a lot, mole hair identification, gifting obsession, knicker displacement, chopping board mishap, wrong name at wedding, conga excess, baby prodigies, bikini shortfall, nasal distraction, changing room games, guilty 999 call, falling into a hole, pleasantries and a smear test, pretending one hasn’t slipped, breast and DIY overlap, period visitation, false alarm/real panic, nakedly locked out, zip failure, and Rock chic oversight. (These ideas in themselves would all make great Radio 4 comedies)
We love you for venturing in and giving such pleasure – pithy, succinct, knowing passages that painted pictures and conjured life’s disasters - all in 250 witty words or less.
As we know, one person’s winner is another person’s also ran and vice versa – we have listened and wrangled, debated and juggled - but with only one cash prize here it is! Followed closely by these other pearls of awkwardness.
WINNER - Geena Erfurth-Roberts
I am 18 and in hospital for an appendectomy which I believe has been triggered by eating poached eggs on toast with ketchup too fast. Though still in school, I am on an adult ward. An elderly woman who spends her time wailing on a commode is in the bed next to mine. My gammy appendix has left me bloated to high heaven and very unwell; stick a pin in me and I would deflate noisily like a balloon. During the upset of admission, my knickers have somehow been misplaced. The porter comes to take me for a scan, and I recognise him as an older, once ‘popular’ boy from school. One of the many that make it no further than into the minds of impressionable teenage girls. He gestures for me to sit in the wheelchair and, as I heave myself in, my gown unceremoniously flaps open, exposing my bare bottom. He looks aghast (which at the time I took slight offense to but in hindsight was the correct reaction) and reaches for a blanket to cover my dignity, wrapping it tightly around me. He wheels me down a seemingly endless corridor in silence and doesn’t wait for me outside the room. Someone else wheels me back.
Years later, I still worry he is blighted by visions of this accidental mooning, but this seems unlikely. Later that same afternoon, I watched as he tried desperately to wrestle my neighbour off the commode. She was much more memorable than me.
RUNNER UP - Olivia Beirne
It was summer and I was with my new boyfriend, anxious to meet his family at his uncle’s party. My hair was large, my earrings loud, and my lipstick subtle. Lots of cheek kissing and hugs followed as Darren introduced me.
It was all going brilliantly. They loved me! Why didn’t I stop there?
I got complacent, dear reader. So, when ‘do the conga’ started and Uncle Lance appeared, I couldn’t decline his invite to dance. Hell, I thought, I’ll go to the front. I’ll lead the bloody thing! How cool am I? Look how fun and care-free the new girlfriend is!
I let go of my inhibitions. Like an idiot. I threw my arms up and lead the conga! I gave Darren a wink. Yeah, I thought, I’m that girl. All of Darren’s family were staring at me, agog. They were in awe.
But as I shimmied around, Darren started to look scared and I noticed a breeze. I glanced down as I shook along to the beat and suddenly felt like I could die. My breasts had joined the party. They’d popped out my top, which was around my middle, and were shaking and bouncing and almost tipping great uncle Fred into cardiac arrest.
So that is the story of why you should never wear a boob tube. Do you own one? Burn it. Bin it. Send it to someone you hate. And if you’re meeting family for the first time, wear a roll neck.
RUNNER UP - Nicola Knight
This little comedy begins, as so many do, with a little tragedy.
A while back, my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, for which she needed a partial mastectomy. She made a good recovery, and my Mum and Dad were soon settling into a new home in a quiet village. Before long, they accepted an invitation to a party at their neighbours’ house, which backed on to their own.
Mum was feeling understandably self-conscious that night, and to make matters worse their host had turned out to be an eminent solicitor who she worked for as a legal secretary a few years previously. He was extremely well to do.
Not long after their arrival they saw Mr Posh Neighbour making his way eagerly towards them.
“Hello! Good to see you. Welcome to the village! I see you’ve had some work done. What have you had done exactly?”
My mum was a little taken aback by his directness, truth be told. But after a beat she replied, “Well… I’ve had my breast off.”
There was a sudden hush.
Mr Posh Neighbour looked blank for a long moment.
Then he spluttered into life, jowls wobbling.
“No, no, no. I meant, you’ve been having a conservatory built, haven’t you?”
My mum’s turn to be silent.
Mr Posh Neighbour moved off very rapidly and Mum and Dad downed their drinks and made a speedy exit. They never saw or spoke to their new neighbours again.
RUNNER UP - Orla Doherty
The paper crumpling up my crack was the first sign.
“Take a deep breath. Try to relax”, Dr. Ivana muffled through her surgical mask. Her heavy Czech accent added to my discomfort. My view was the top of her head.
Her roots need doing.
“It’s the paper sheet, Doctor. It’s stuck between my cheeks.” Squirming awkwardly, I tried to appear casual.
Before I could say another word, she whipped it out. I began sweating.
Is there a poo stain on it?
As she continued probing, I noticed her glasses were fogging up.
“Please just relax, breath, let everything go. This will be over soon”.
Her attempt at trying to calm me down wasn’t working. I stood by my belief that going to the gynaecologist was worse than going to the dentist. At the dentist, the strange noises you emit are justified by the fact that your mouth is full of a practitioner’s gloved hand, or a rubber suction tube. But not at the gyno. No, you have full use of your mouth so you need to be reasonably cordial.
Unfortunately, I did in fact, let everything go. It sounded like a trumpet. Phhffmph!
Her head jolted slightly, causing me to bolt upright, smacking her in the head with my knee, knocking her glasses across the room.
Slapping my thighs together I gasped.
I just knee-jerked my doctor in the face.
Rubbing her eyes, she conjured a smile and asked, “what did you have for breakfast this morning?”
RUNNER UP - Jo Overfield
A dark and dingy dive in the depths of Southend in the 90s. You’d swear the beer here was poured from the drip tray dregs. You and your annoying friend shuffle around the club taking it all in. The skateboarders, the punks with the jackets they bought from Camden, the happy goths, the unhappy goths, the girl in your humanities class who really doesn’t fit in here or into her top. After dancing ironically to the Backstreet Boys, you find a table to lean against. You’re not sure if it’s the cheap beer or the cauliflower cheese bake your dad made, but you have serious trumps.
“Was that you??”
Your annoying friend has spotted it with her nostrils.
“Er, I had cauliflower”
You pull an awkward face, and then that’s when you see him and he sees you. It’s kung fu man! Kung fu man is here! My crush! He’s in my Wing Chun class. He showed me how to fook sau properly. He is super cool and funny and walking straight towards me. He’s gonna walk into my cauliflower bomb. Shit! What do I do? My annoying friend is laughing.
The smell has crossed over into that weird, nightclub-fart-smell.
“Hey” he says
“Hi, how’s it going?”
“Good, yeah, cool”
“Cool, I love your t-shirt”
It’s Hong Kong Phooey, of course.
“Oh, cheers. See you in a bit”
He struts off with his perfect arms. He definitely smelt it, it engulfed us. You are mortified and never eating cauliflower again.