The Net Worth of Mary-Jane Casey

Claire Travers Smith

Mary-Jane has a daily allowance. Whatever remains at bedtime is hers and hers alone.

The first outgoing is at breakfast: milk-spilled uniforms spell school gate meltdowns,
emergency loads of washing. By lunchtime she’ll be spent.

Afternoon expenses are forgotten gym kits, party reminders, the doctor saying it’s back.
Must also account for coffee, cake, crying.

Dinner’s cindered lasagne is a mistake Mary-Jane cannot afford. She lets him have his
way to claw back from red to black.

At night Mary-Jane balances the books on the bedroom ceiling. Forever indebted,
always at a loss.

Such is the cost of loving crisis.


This story won Second Prize and the People’s Prize in the July 2023 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Claire is a television Edit Producer writing voiceover scripts. Guilty of the blog “52 First Dates” and a novella written in one 27-hour sitting, “A Town Called Madness”, Claire is juggling a novel, something memoir-esque and short fiction. Claire lives in Brighton with a musician, a Maine Coon and MS.