Turncoat by Jude Higgins

My friend came for tea wearing new red trousers with a smart blue and white top and I knew I was supposed to compliment her but I didn’t, because the colours were Union Jack bright and I’d already had an argument with my husband, who called me a bigot because I’d refused to watch the coronation and I couldn’t bear her to agree with him, for us to have another heated conversation about letting the Royals go extinct, so I ate too many raisin-studded scones, especially baked for her, had indigestion all evening and woke in the early hours, watched the luminous dial of the wind-up alarm clock ticking time away before it ran down and thought about the thirty-five endangered British bees, how bees preferred purple to red, white and blue, how I would plant more lavender and verbena for them, how at the coronation of the Queen Bee, I would wear my finest black and gold robes, bow in homage to all her subjects, and then, in the dense musical hum near the comfrey, with a fly-past of bumblebees, carpenter bees, miner bees, and honey bees I would make my oath of allegiance to the only monarchy I believed needed saving.

Biography: Jude Higgins’ flash fiction is published in numerous magazines and anthologies and she has won or been placed in many contests. She runs Bath Flash Fiction Award and directs Flash Fiction Festivals, UK and the small press, Ad Hoc Fiction. @Judehwriter, judehiggins.com

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