List of Twenty Things You Can’t Take in With You

by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris


  1. Laptops and other electronic devices. Like a retreat.


  1. Blu-tack rummaged from your teenage son’s drawer, or his skunk scooped from a sock.


  1. A shop-bought sponge cake topped with chocolate buttons.


  1. Fifteen candles.


  1. Judgement. You break the speed limit on your way here? Well then.


  1. An attitude. Don’t even.


  1. Tissues, bandage-scrunched and wet. Tears. Everything stays behind.


  1. Scissors or blades or knives that can fold to fit a school blazer.


  1. A decent lungful of oxygen.


  1. Any clue of what’s happening, what happened. Of why it had to happen.


  1. Self-respect. Leave that at the gob-mottled, magnum-resistant, kick-proof window they call a Welcome counter.


  1. Dignity. You’re up next for the BOSS chair.


  1. A phrase book because you could do with one. Boss? Are they having a laugh?


  1. The right clothes. Your son got it wrong. A skirt—below the knee as per guidance— does not exempt you from a Body Orifice Security Scanner.


  1. Enough tampons. You need to remove the one inside you: the chair’s beeping and the PO has her lips round the rim of a blue, rubber glove.


  1. A SIM card they think you’ve swallowed.


  1. News about the house. The forty thousand knocked off for a quick sale for a fast move. News on Tommy Sullivan. No-one will tell you. Not his parents nor teachers nor hospital reception.


  1. The Blu-tack you have swallowed. Can’t a boy stick a photo of his mum on the wall?


  1. Stuff used to make imprints of keys or locks. Yes. Like Blu-tack.


  1. Trust, hope and other jokes.


Kathryn Aldridge-Morris has work in Flash Frog, Bending Genres, Emerge Literary Journal, Janus, Ellipsis, The Phare, and more. Her flash fiction appears in several print anthologies, most recently ‘And if that Mockingbird Don’t Sing’ (Alt Current Press, 2022) and two shortlisted stories in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, ‘Snow Crow’. Tweets @kazbarwrites