Tropical Flotsam: flash fiction by Gillian Royes

Tropical Flotsam: flash fiction by Gillian Royes


Sea gulls circled above the next meal as the sun rose above the water, the sky now clear. It was still too early for a breeze but not for the current. There was always a current.

The night’s storm had left a souvenir: a clump of Sargassum grass torn from its bed. Pompoms of foam clung cheerfully to the edges as it bobbed up and down and sea-crabs scurried across the surface. Beneath the bustle, the yellow stripes of surgeonfish twisted and nibbled while a requiem shark lurked in the shadows.

The seaweed drifted toward the beach, its quarry turned face down, the emerald ribbons wrapped around the grey limbs, bandaging too late the fatal wounds. Three lionfish nibbled at the proud nose, witnesses to a sweet deal gone sour – and a wife’s warning ignored.



“Royes’s strong sequel to her fiction debut, 2011’s The Goat Woman of Largo Bay, deepens the character of Shad Meyers . . . . in this sensitive, thought-provoking novel.”

– Publishers Weekly


“Royes’ Jamaica is lush, stormy and stronger than the rum punch cocktails that Shad pours over ice.”

– Associated Press


“Royes is brilliant in bringing Jamaican sun and sea, people and places to life . . . . She’s equally adept with characters . . . . A cozy mystery as social commentary.”

– Kirkus Reviews


“Royes’ characterisation is consistently deft, well-managed: these people feel real in the very best way….  Not a novel for the pretentiously highbrow, The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks confirms the fact that you can write about serious things in a non-stifling way, that deep issues can be brought to light with grace, candour and a hearty swig of rum punch.”

– Trinidad Guardian

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