Friday, 17 February 2017

The Tatie Girls

I wonder what happened to the other Tatie girls.

We met at infants school, it was a stupid, cruel name given to us by someone’s older sister. There were 5 of us, one was a boy and only 2 of us actually went tatie picking.

Tatie pickers were the lowest of the low in village hierarchy, it was hard backbreaking work, usually done even in the 50’s by the village poor and gangs of itinerant workers.

We were all outcasts, ignored by the other kids, bullied when on our own but not when we were in a group. There was me, Jeanie, Kevin, Angela Green and Ana.

All avoided or bullied for different reasons, me because I was dirty and unkempt, my mother had a career, was snob, and no intention of doing boring things like cooking and cleaning. She and was unpopular with the other mothers, she never tried to hide her contempt for them.

Jeanie was epileptic, she was avoided as some people thought it might be catching.

Kevin was also dirty and unkempt, he was like a wild animal jumping on desks, peeing on the nature table, kicking out at teachers, his mother was ‘no better than she ought to be’.

Angela’s real name was Angelina Verdi, she was clean but all her clothes were worn and dated. Her dad had been an Italian POW, put to work in the fields, he’d married a local girl and anglicised his name.

Ana, there were rumours that her dad had served time in prison for unnamed crimes. Later conversations with my mother revealed that Ana’s father was a German Jew who fled to England and was interned during the war.

Angela and I were the only two who went tatie picking, she with her mother and father and older brothers, there were 14 mouths to feed in their family, an unusually big family by 50’s standards, though when my father was a boy there were many families of that size around.

I went tatie picking with my granny, my mother hated me going to the tatie fields but as she and my father were both out at work granny provided child care, so when granny went tatie picking, so did I.

We left the area when I was eight years old, following my mother’s peripatetic wanderings from one end of the country to the other, I changed schools every couple of years. But my years as one of the Tatie girls stood me in good stead.

I was never going to fit in with the in crowd, I was/am short and fat, I never had the right clothes or listened to the right music. To be honest I didn’t really know what ‘the right clothes or right music’ were.

Within a few weeks of starting at a new school I would have mastered the local accent and worked out who the other outcasts were and made friends with some of them.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cherish happy moments

Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age
                                                                                                                    Christopher Morley

Happy moments, well this was one of her favourites she decided as she stalked round the dungeon, the whip quivering in her hand.
She couldn't believe he hadn't recognised her, her voice at least, but they'd only met a few times and he was too far gone now, too deep into his own personal sexual fantasy.
She grabbed him by the hair, pulled until his head came up, his eyes staring and glazed.
'Have you been a very bad boy Reggie?' she demanded.
'Oh yes, yes, very bad, I deserved to be punished severely'' he drooled.
His head fell forward as she released his hair.
Bad boy indeed, the bastard had blamed one of his very junior colleagues for an almighty cock up he'd made, got him sacked, bad mouthed him throughout the industry. Six months later and the victim of this spite was depressed and stacking supermarket shelves as it was the only job he could get, all his qualifications made worthless by the arsehole who was now chained quivering and naked in her dungeon.
And no she hadn't kidnapped him! She could hardly believe her luck when Sir Reginald had phoned! He'd come to her willingly to fulfil his deepest desires.
It took all her control to use the whip on him carefully (she'd re-read the Spanner guidelines as soon as she'd realised who her newest client was).
After an hour she released him, he paid her double the fee agreed & he'd limped happily away with a smile on his face.
A smile that was soon to be wiped away, once the video was passed to the News of the World journalist.
Sitting in the bar with a glass of tonic, the journalist with a pint of bitter in hand, questioned her.
'All these years I've been trying to get you to give me a story about an MP or some other important person, you always refused and you have been offered a fortune, yet you've always refused.' 'Why now, why him?'
She smiled but said nothing
'I suppose it's too much to hope that this is the first of many?'
'When is the story about Pete Fairbrother being published?' she asked.
'Tomorrow' replied the journalist. 'Is that really all you want, a story about how some poor kid was blamed for one of Sir Reginald's cock ups?'
She smiled again and stood, ready to leave the bar.
'I don't even know your real name, I can't keep calling you Mistress Lash'
My name is Ruth' she replied ''Ruth Fairbrother and Pete is my baby brother!'

Monday, 16 March 2015

Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. Sir Terry Pratchett

The machine’s beeping.
Cursing & muttering, she’s wild eyed.
‘Dis damn machine, it doesn’t like me!’
‘I’ve pressed every damn button!’
I read the error message ‘Refill paper’
I do, it works.
 ‘Why’s it not work for me?’
I shrug.
Still muttering, she wanders off.
A little voice pipes up ‘Has she gone?’
‘Why can’t you just do her copying?’
‘ I don’t like her’ replied the gnome.
 ‘So you bugger about with all her jobs.’
The gnome chortles.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Change of reality

My story for the Light & Shade challenge
Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality
Les Brown

She noticed my bag as soon as I sat down in the seat opposite her on the train to York.
'Snap' she smiled waggling her bag in my direction.
We were both carrying a Michael Kors tote in the same shade of pink.
She told me she'd bought hers from a car boot sale, very pleased that it had only cost her £5, I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had 4 or 5 of them in assorted colours. Well not any more, but before my ex husband had dumped me for his 20 year old air head secretary, when I'd had money to spend!
She told me about her life, the dead end job that she'd just lost when the company went bust, & her chilly flat, how she'd used some of her redundancy money to go & see a London show, she was still on cloud nine, humming snatches of Abba from the show. She was now heading back to York, her home town, back to her flat, hopefully to find another job though it wasn't easy, she had no qualifications & was the wrong side of 40.
I told her I was divorced with no children, she'd never married, no children no family of any sort. I feigned sympathy, but actually I was heading to York for a knock down drag em out meeting with my 'family', various lawyers and business associates & felt I could well do without my family.
I didn't tell her that my ex had died of a heart attack whilst shagging his young wife, or that she had frittered her way through the family money, aided & abetted by the finance director whom she was also shagging.
I only realised something was wrong when the bailiffs turned up to repossess my home, the secretary & finance director had buggered off to the Caribbean with everything they could steal. My name was still on the company books & now I was being harassed by creditors, lawyers & members of my ex's family who were all looking to me to bail them out.
My new friend & I were still deep in conversation when the accident happened, I'd been to the dining car & bought us both a coffee, not long after I sat back down there was an almighty crash, the screeching noise of twisting metal, we were both showered in broken glass as the carriage started to twist and roll down the embankment.
I lost consciousness as I was hit on the head by a heavy case, when I came round there was screaming, groaning & the flashing lights of the emergency services.
'Margaret' I called, 'Margaret ,are you OK?' When I wiped the blood from my eyes I could see that she wasn't alright, most of her face had been ripped off by a large slice of metal. She would never be alright again, I hardly knew her but I felt so sad, she'd not had much of a life & now it was over.
Voices were coming nearer, shouting instructions, checking each person as they reached them. I felt a hand on my shoulder, 'Are you OK, how badly are you injured?'.
'I'm OK I think'
'Can you get out of your seat?'
'I think so' I replied.
I'm not sure why I did it, a sudden urge, an idea, as I leaned forward to get out of my seat I pressed briefly against Margaret, I swapped her Michael Kors bag for mine. I grabbed her bag & with it I grabbed her life.
'What's your name?' I was asked as I was helped towards a waiting ambulance.
'Margaret,' I replied, offering up a grateful prayer of thanks to the woman who had unintentionally offered me an escape from the problems I was facing.
The lawyers & family members who were waiting for me would wait in vain.

I would be starting a new life, a new reality, under a new name in a chilly flat in York.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, taken by AlejandroLinaresGarcia and shared under Creative Commons

It was supposed to be a surprise, that & a last ditch attempt to save our failing relationship.

I was too young & stupid, or maybe naive to realise it wouldn't work. I assumed that since we were in a sexual relationship marriage would follow (I told you I was stupid!)

I'd had such a crush on him since the first day I started on the same college course as him.

Such a crush that I thrown caution to the winds, thrown all my plain white cotton knickers away & thrown myself at him.

I'd come from an all girls school, was an isolated, cosseted, only child & the sudden influx of people of the male gender into my sphere of notice had turned my life upside down.

When he started to lose interest in me & started hanging round with her, a skinny goth with an assortment facial piercings. She was aloof, I was desperate. 

I begged & pleaded, nothing worked. He raved about her piercings & how sexy they made her look. I followed him around until he called security & said I was stalking him.

I did some research, I decided to take the plunge, I couldn't have facial piercings, my parents would have a fit. I decided to have piercings my parents wouldn't see.

Friday, I visited the local tattoo parlour, the only place that would do what I wanted. 

Fuck, they hurt, all of them, my clothes rubbed & I could barely walk.

But on Monday I knew he'd be in the college cafeteria eating breakfast at 8:30.

I was determined to Make An Entrance, I chose my outfit carefully. Very short skirt, the latest Nike trainers & a tee shirt, artistically ripped.

I felt like a million dollars, until that is, I walked through the metal detectors the college had installed in the aftermath of last terms stabbing.

The alarm sounded, security arrived, I tried to run towards him, the security guards grabbed me, threw me to the ground. I landed tee shirt up under my armpits, legs akimbo.

And there they were for everyone to see, rings through my nipples & two rings & a padlock holding my labia together.

The security guard was close enough to read the inscription, he chortled & was about to read it aloud.

I twisted one leg free & kneed him in the jaw, I heard it snap.

Still, I'm over him now, I've had time to think about what went wrong.

One of the prison guards is really cute, I'm sure he fancies me, but of course he can't say anything until I'm released in 6 weeks time.

Friday, 10 October 2014


I was just about to leave for work when the urge took me again, I’d thought about it the previous evening & made my plans. In the morning I was undecided, was it right to do such a thing or wasn’t it. Eventually I stopped dithering, I grabbed the knife, a long sharp knife from the drawer. It was a spur of the moment decision, after all I reasoned, I didn’t have to use it. I wrapped it in a clean tea towel & hid it in the bottom of my bag. The tea towel could be used to clean it afterwards, to save messing up my bag.
It wasn’t a nice atmosphere at work, lots of people were stressed & unhappy, what I was about to do would be good for some people, maybe some wouldn’t see it that way but that was their problem. I’d thought long & hard before I’d come to a decision, in the end my decision was made on the basis of some small evil causing the greater good.

Friday, 19 September 2014

School Bully

Cool is not cool
- Matt Smith in Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat

As I walked into the office I recognised her immediately, the hair still backcombed to a ridiculous height, the same sneering face as she harangued one of her colleagues.
'I won't be the one to go,' she snarled 'Even them twats from head office will know I'm quality, they'll get rid of you, you're crap'.
I checked my paperwork, Tracy Burton, how could I not have realised. She'd been the coolest girl in my class & made my live a living hell.
For the first time ever I was going to enjoy making someone redundant!