Leftover Shorts is a collection of three, unique short stories by author Amy Neftzger. Each story has its own individual flavour, and each is an easy, enjoyable read.
The Marshmallow War
The first story takes place at Merryman Marshmallow Corporations, where the younger, more 'innovative' employees are about to be shown the meaning of the word. Five of the senior employees dub themselves the Fang of Five, and use toy guns to launch mini marshmallow attacks on the most annoying of the young staff.
Each character in this story has a unique voice and personality, and Amy has used well crafted dialogue to help these personalities shine through. There is the over-motivating Head of Department, Adderson, who enjoys endless monologging, cheerleader-speaking receptionist Siobhan and womaniser Jensen, to name a few. Amy's narrative voice is like another character in the story, with an easy, almost conversational flow to her well worded sentences.
To anyone who ever worked in an office, this story will be all too familiar, probably minus the marshmallow attacks, however.
Peripheral Witches or 'No Such Thing'
This story is laced with morals and themes, some subtle and some obvious, but a good mix all round.
It starts with Miriam, a busy mother, with her young daughter, Paige. After some conversation about the reality of witches, Miriam starts to see them, but only in her peripheral vision. When she starts to question her sanity, you know there's more at stake than at first glance.
By the end of the story, the tension is high and the themes clear. This scene, and indeed the rest of the story, is powerful through clever use of repetition to reinforce messages and well-developed metaphors. Each new piece of written imagery presents the scene to you in vivid light.
The relationship is quite natural between Miriam and Paige, which will be relatable to mothers and daughters alike. This is strengthened by age appropriate dialogue and Miriam's desperation to save her daughter from the witches she sees.
This is a wonderfully sombre story, and my favourite of the three. We are privy to the life of Billy Parson, a charming fiddler and criminal of a superstitious southern town. Everyone believes he is either destined for greatness, or downfall. I was honestly torn by the end of the story as to which fate he had been dealt. He may have been a criminal but his kindness and charisma were the lasting impressions.
I very much enjoyed my brief reading into the lives of the Fang of Five, Miriam and Paige, and Billy Parson. These three stories are so unique and individual that all readers will find something here they can enjoy and take away from.