Amanda Nicol Different Stories


A clerical error

Photo of suitcases by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

A Clerical Error was shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize 2014

I’m ever so excited about it. I have been for some time. I don’t like to boast, but I do feel quite proud of myself really. Making a difference. Not like Angela Jolly or anyone like that, although maybe, if we really hit it off. No, I’m being silly now. Anyway, I wouldn’t want just to swoop in and pluck a good chubby one, a boy naturally, and leave the rest to make do with their huge T-shirts from Oxfam emblazoned with the name ‘Tommy Hilfiger’ – whoever he may be.


Viva España

Photo of beach by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Viva España was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize 2010

Reg watched the two cyclists, a couple, wheeling their bikes towards the bar. Like a text book illustration of the difference between the human male and the human female in their skin-tight black Lycra shorts, so sweaty they looked spray-on, their every cleft and bulge mercilessly delineated like strange beasts in season.


The herbal teabag road to enlightenment

Photo of cup of tea by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Breathe. Observe the breath. Follow the breath. Find the space at the end of the exhale. Unfurl as slowly as a fern; marvel at the spine’s design, your personal information superhighway cradled inside the supreme architecture of that serpentine curve. Stand firm as a mountain grounded by gravity; stretch skyward like a tree rooted to the earth. Feel life course through you, harnessed yet free. Arch and flex like a cat, lithe, poised, alert, deliberate, and detached. Stretch like a dog, ready, awaiting command, faithful, courageous, without fear. Let go. Awake! Stay aware. Watch yourself. Be mindful. Breathe.



Photo of young girl by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

There’s a song Jackie and I used to sing; we found it on some ancient disc in a box-full in the dayroom – ages ago, turn of the century time I think, no, later, ten years or so in. We didn’t even know what they were. We smashed a couple up, chucked a few around like crappy Frisbees – just messing about – when Ian came in. He seemed pretty pissed off, told us to stop it, that they were his and even though they were out of date they had some great stuff on them and we should treat them with a bit of respect. Jackie started to cry, and I put my arms around her feeling a pain in my chest like I used to feel when I watched nature programmes on TV or saw Mr Judd’s old dog hobbling along behind him as he did the garden.


The bird

Photo of small bird by Paulo Brandao on Unsplash

‘That would be lovely!’ Anna regretted it the minute she’d said it.

She should have said that she’d check her diary, counted to ten, then said, sorrowfully, that she had a prior engagement, preferably some obligatory family business that Laura could sympathise with, something that, as much as she’d love to, she really couldn’t escape.


Love you to death

Photo of loveheart 'I loved you' by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

Today is Thursday. I know it is, because two days have passed. It’s been a lifetime. Beginnings and endings. Chapters contained within a novel. I’ve read chapters that can stand alone; I’d like to think I had written some too. Two days. Maybe it would be better to call it a short story.


Amanda Nicol Different Stories


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