It was nature walk day and we were excited even though it’s just the path next to the school and the chapel and even though it only goes through two fields and even though we’ve done it loads of times it was still better than singing hymns or doing ‘rithmatic or sewing and we were half way up the path with Miss McKinlay shouting at us to watch out for broken glass the bad boys had left when they’d hid in the woods for their carry out and the Buckfast labels floated in puddles and green glass glinted in the sun that snuck through trees and that’s when Andy did it and he shouted at us all to “LOOK!” and he’d taken out his willie and was waggling it at us and the boys laughed and the girls pretend-covered their eyes and screamed but peeked through fingers. All except Bernadette. Bernadette didn’t scream or cover her eyes. Bernadette stared at him. And Miss McKinlay skelped Bernadette across the back of the head and shouted at her to cover her eyes like a good girl and told Andy he was for it and she’d be taking him to the heidie and his parents would be telt what he’d done and he’d finish the walk right next to her and behave himself. Bernadette kept staring. Never at Andy’s willie. She stared right into his eyes. And Andy stared back and when he got dragged past her he went to laugh in her face but her eyes stopped him and he dropped his head and looked embarrassed and Miss McKinlay went to say something to Bernadette but then she never and Bernadette sighed and walked back towards school so Miss McKinlay screamed at her to wait ‘cause she was in charge and we were GOING TO FINISH THIS BLOODY WALK but Bernadette just kept walking and we all followed her and we asked Bernadette if we could be in her gang now but she didn’t answer ‘cause she doesn’t need a gang and that was Miss McKinlay’s last day at the teaching which is what Bernadette says she wants to do when she grows up and we all know she will ‘cause she’s Bernadette.
Karen Jones is a prose writer from Glasgow. She loves competitions and has been long/short-listed in Commonwealth Short Story Competition, Bath Flash Fiction, Bath Short Story, To Hull and Back, TSS 400, HISSAC and won prizes in Mslexia, Flash 500, Words With Jam and Ink Tears. Her work appears in numerous ezines and anthologies. Her story Small Mercies is in Best Small Fictions 2019 and BIFFY50. She is an editor for the next BIFFY50.
Steven John – Senior Fiction & Special Features Editor