Spliced – Magpie Tales

tape recorder

– Spliced –

Harry stared at the reels as they whizzed round and round, the tale of the finished tape hitting the playback heads at each turn. He had lost track of how long it had been since the recording had finished, how many times he had splashed whisky into his glass, how many times the phone had rung, rung, rung and then stopped, only to begin again a few moments later.

It had been an impulse buy. He had always wanted a vintage quarter track recorder – it reminded him of growing up, of a happy home, of his parents. It reminded him of a time when his life was simple.

The man in the second-hand shop had called him back just as he was leaving. Harry could remember the feel of the smooth, slightly dented brass doorknob under his fingers as he paused and looked back.

“’Ere, mate. You might as well ‘ave these, free gratis like. I ain’t got no use for ‘em.”

He brought the tapes back in an equally vintage Tesco carrier bag, turned inside out.

His wife had reacted strangely when she saw the machine set up on the dining table, even more so when he put the bulging old carrier bag next to it. Suddenly, she had to be anywhere but at home with him.

Now he knew why. He leaned forward and pressed the red ‘Stop’ button. Silence enveloped him.

The truth will out. Even after fifty years of marriage, there was always something new to learn about your wife.


Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. Another fabulous photo prompt – I’d love to have and use one of these machines, although I’d hate to be in the same position as Harry….

I hope you enjoyed this, do let me know what you think!

magpie tales statue stamp 185

18 thoughts on “Spliced – Magpie Tales

  1. I’ve been left in that deliciously enchanting place, where a reader is dying to know what happens next… but also immensely grateful for the chance to imagine the one thousand and one things that could actually happen next, and before, and while Harry is listening, too!

    Love it.

  2. It’s always so fascinating to read everyone’s response to the pictures – and I really enjoyed yours because often they are poems, but a little short story is awesome. And I definitely wanted to read more about Harry and his wife!

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