Angela Readman for National Flash-Fiction Day



Letters to a Pizza Company


Dear Papa John’s,

Let me tell you something I’ve been thinking. I have some pizza concerns. I enjoy the odd slice on Thursdays. Once I’ve put the children to bed, swished out their Disney cups, ironed, and packed their school bags, I bring whatever they leave in from work.

  I like the fellow offering pie on your lid. He looks friendly, this Papa John, like a father who works to make sure everyone eats but has a slight sorrow in his eyes. I can see he’d never let it get in the way. He’ll swirl dough in the air forevermore.

   He’d be disappointed by your cheese protectors though. Excuse me if this isn’t the correct word. You might have another. Dough Saver. Crust Hero, something like that. I’m no expert. Whatever you call it, it’s that round bit of leggy plastic that stops cheese sticking to the box. There’s so much more you could do.

   I’ve noticed it looks like a small table, the sort people sit at outside cafes sharing sorbet. I have an idea. You should make some shaped like small chairs or stools. (for garlic bread, perhaps?) Children could play with them and imagine very small people in tiny cafes. This way, I wouldn’t have to throw so much away and could stop thinking ‘what a waste.’.

 Looking forward to hearing from you,






Dear Coke-a-Cola,

Today I bought your product, which you’ve recently decorated with people’s names. I saw a man on the bus with a label that said Ivan. And even though it was Sunday and I had to work, it made me smile. I looked at him and thought he didn’t look like an Ivan. He looked like a Tom, a Tom stuck with Ivan. He’d hear people call him all day and it would always sound strange. It was good to know.

   I switched buses and used the opportunity to purchase cola, but I couldn’t spot my name. I riffled through the fridge trying to find myself and had to settle with Fiona.

    I drank and felt I was lying to the woman beside me. This woman who was probably thinking: There’s Fiona, enjoying her cola.

   Please expand your range of labels. Or, consider replacing your names with something else. Perhaps someone’s favourite song? Or the pet they love? That way we could look at strangers and know: Oh, that lady loves Bright Eyes. That man has a rabbit. It wouldn’t matter so much that no one talks. When people yell, ‘Go home’ I’d stare at their hands and understand they just want something to stroke.

I hope you appreciate my suggestion,








Dear Papa John’s & Coca Cola,

Thank you for your reply, but my daddy won’t be able to take me for free pizza and cola. I have kept the coupons however, I’ve papered them to the wall in my room. Free sausages, burgers, fries, skittles. I have vouchers for free everything, except time.





Angela Readman’s stories have won The National Flash Fiction Day Competition, The Mslexia Prize and The Costa Short Story Award. Her collection Don’t Try This at Home won The Rubery Book Award and was shortlisted in the Edge Hill.  She’s also a poet. Her latest book is The Book of Tides (Nine Arches, 2016.)


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