WIP sneak peek: The Guy from the Park

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll already know that I’ve been working on a new Somerville Stories piece, The Guy from the Park.

Unlike “Library” (which is currently available through StoryOrigin), the first draft of “Park” came together pretty swiftly, and should be releasing early next year! 😄

Fancy a sneak peek? This excerpt is from my unedited first draft, so please excuse the roughness of it 🙏

Daniel looked up to see that woman run out from behind a bush. When she spotted him, her worried face broke into a glare and she stomped over to them.

“You again?”

He smiled awkwardly. “I could say the same about you.”

Flashing Dan one last scowl, she turned to the kid with a sympathetic smile. “You all right, Josh?”

Josh palmed the leftover tears from his cheeks and nodded. He pointed to the lake, where the soccer ball sat floating against a clump of reeds.

“I got it.” Daniel scrambled to his feet, thankful for an opportunity to smooth things over with these two. He pulled his phone and earbud case out of his pocket and tossed it onto the grass.

“You didn’t have to,” the woman said, when he handed the ball back to the kid. “We weren’t even using it. We were playing hide and seek.”

“Looked like he was running to get it.”

“I doubt it. He’s got a thing about getting wet.”

Daniel looked down at Josh, who had pushed the ball onto the lawn and was now wiping the residue water from his hands onto his clothes.

“Ah, jeez, I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

“Don’t worry about it.” The woman helped Josh dry his knees. “I only just learned about this yesterday. His mum only told me after I sent him screaming to his room by flicking water at him.”

“Oh, he’s not yours?”

“Nah, my sister’s. He’s cute, though, isn’t he?” She smiled at the boy, who was now pinching a tiny yellow flower between his fingers. “Well, thank you for not yelling at us this time.”

“Yeah, sorry about that…” Daniel grimaced. “I don’t know where my head was at that day. I was out of order.”

“Hah, well, should really look where I’m kicking. Or maybe find a different sport. Would you recommend running?”

“Before today, I would have called it perfectly safe. But looks like everything comes with a risk.”

“Right, so origami it is then.” She stood up. Josh took her hand and pulled himself to his feet. “Well, I’m guessing this is your local, so see you around, I suppose.”

It wasn’t until they neared the edge of the park that Daniel noticed he still had their ball. He called after them, and Josh’s aunt raised her hand asking for a pass. He lined up a kick, ready to land it a metre short so it would roll the rest of the way.

As soon as it left his foot, he knew he’d messed up. The ball went sailing over her head, bounced off the road and landed in someone’s front hedge. Josh’s aunt shook her head.

“Nice one, Messi,” she called back, laughing. “Don’t give up your day job.”

“That’s one for one!” he replied, not to be outdone.

“Don’t worry, I won’t give mine up either!”

Somerville Stories is a collection of “meet cute” short stories and novelettes set in Somerville Downs. You can find my other two books (booklets?), The Guy from the Flower Shop and The Guy from the Library, on my books page.