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Launch Party

Frances Gapper

Mr Brother the head waiter is a ringer for both my parents, a mash-up. The human race is doomed, he says, extinction imminent, either 1912 or 2024. Soon anyway. It’s a Titanic-themed book launch event, warm and chattery. Empire waistlines and kimono-style dresses, like Kate Winslet’s in the disaster movie. Me in my dark uniform and white apron. Growler, bergy bit? I pop ice chips into glasses with my claw tongs until the bucket needs a refill. But somehow I get lost on my way to the kitchen. Descending a spiral staircase and opening a door I find myself in a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin, kitted out vintage. I slip off my shoes and lie down on the huge bed. Mr Brother is there too, propped on his elbow. He grins at me. The iceberg drifts past our window. It’s dirty yellow and much tinier than I’d imagined. Ship and iceberg collide and the sea roars in. Corridors slop and slurp. A fizzy wave whirls me and Mr B around like sardines. But when I open my eyes nothing obvious has changed, except he’s looking at me in a daftly fond way.

Frances Gapper's stories have been published in three Best Microfiction anthologies and in online lit mags including Splonk, Wigleaf, Twin Pies, 100 Word Story, Café Irreal and the Dribble Drabble ReviewShe lives in the UK.

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