Anne Walsh Donnelly – flash fiction

Ivory Lace

“We should be at home cleaning out the slatted shed. What was so urgent that we had to come to town today?” says Jack, banging the car door shut.

Connolly gently closes the passenger door, plucks a piece of straw from his hair and puts it in his trousers pocket.

“We were lucky to get the last car park space,” he says, “it’s awful busy for a Thursday morning isn’t it?”

He wonders how he can get away from Jack. A half-an-hour would be enough. Give him plenty of time to stock up. He wishes for the thousandth time, that he was still fit enough to cycle the three miles into town instead of having to rely on Jack every time he wanted to go somewhere. And he curses the epilepsy that stopped him driving three years ago.

He’d nearly vomited his breakfast this morning, from the smells of diesel, manure and Jack’s flatulence that filled the car. His brother had to be the slowest driver in the village. Never a danger of him crashing into a ditch. Connolly lets Jack walk ahead of him.

“I’ve to go to Penny’s to get some new underwear,” he says, loud enough for Jack to hear him. His brother stops in mid-stride, turns and says,

“Eddie Murphy sells better quality jocks. Penny’s is full of twat made in China.”

Yeah, thinks Connolly, but none of them feel as soft as the ones made in China and there’s no lace on Eddie Murphy’s boxers. Though the shop has improved. Last time Connolly went in to buy Jack’s Christmas present, he’d spotted a lovely pink shirt with matching purple tie.

He pulls a five euro note from the inside pocket of his coat and hands it to Jack.

“Why don’t you go to Cawley’s for a pint, while I’m doing the shopping,” he says.

“Don’t be long,” says Jack, grabbing the note.

Once Jack is out of sight Connolly scuttles off to Penny’s.  He heads straight to the lingerie section, which thankfully is quiet. He knows he doesn’t have much time and there’s a store assistant in the next aisle, if he lingers too long she might call the security guard. He rummages through the ivory laced corsets on a rail, pulls out an XXL one from the back, then picks up a pack of three flowery faux silk knickers, again XXL and throws them into his basket. He spots a thigh length nightie, scarlet, adjustable straps. Perfect for a good night’s sleep.

“For the wife,” he says to the young wan on the till, “it’s her birthday next week.”

“Do you want to keep the hangers,” she says, as he hands her a fifty euro note.

“No, I’m grand. “

He heads out of the shop, folds the paper bag so it’s tightly closed, its contents well hidden from any prying eyes.


please go to for Anne’s fine poetry and her biographical information.


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