C. S. Barnes
C.S. Barnes, or Charley to her pals, is the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate (2019-2020). She is a lecturer at the University of Worcester, and at Newman University, where she teaches Creative Writing and associated subjects. Barnes gained her PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2017, and went on to publish the creative element of her thesis as her debut novel.
Barnes has published two novels, Intention and Copycat, with Bloodhound Books. She has also published two poetry pamphlets under the name of Charley Barnes, titled A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache (V. Press, 2018) and Body Talk (Picaroon Poetry, 2019). She has also authored a chapbook of prose titled Death Is A Terrible House Guest (Black Light Engine Room, 2019). She is currently working on her third novel.
You can keep up with Barnes’ writing by following her on Twitter: @charleyblogs
GO ON A ROAD TRIP by C. S. Barnes
A brief confrontation with an upsetting outcome, this short piece of fiction introduces the off-beat tone of Esther Harrison.
Esther is journeying to Scotland to visit her estranged mother. The reason for this trip is that Esther’s father, who she has been caring for for some years, is going to pass away soon. He has asked Esther to reach out to her mother with one final correspondence from him – which isn’t his only hope in orchestrating this trip.
I order a diet coke and the woman sitting opposite me orders another gin and tonic. I think about changing my order, but I haven’t had a drink in months and God only knows what the outcome would be. A diet coke will be fine. The waitress asks if we’ll be ordering food this afternoon and in unison the woman sitting opposite and I say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ respectively.
The woman sitting opposite me laughs it off and says we might have something to share in a little while, but we’ll shout if we want anything.
‘What do I call you?’ is my first question.
She smiles and says: ‘Mum is fine.’