Friday, 2 August 2019

My take on the latest writing prompt.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on unsplash

'It's an elephant' announced Joey.

'Tis not it's a castle with two turrets', said Mikey.

'It's definitely an elephant' Joey insisted, 'look there's it's ears, eyes and one tusk'.

'That's not a tusk it's a window and there's a light on. Elephants have two tusks so why's it only got one,' said Mikey.

Julie listened to her five year old twins arguing over the photograph. She'd spent ages looking at it, trying to think of something to write. It was a writing prompt after all. Unfortunately her mind was still a blank, but at least she knew now that Joey needed his eyes testing. It was definitely a photo of a castle.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Flat white

Photo by Mauro on Unsplash

Lorana swore under her breath as the contents of the cup she was holding turned green and started to bubble up.
She quickly  emptied the cup, grabbed a clean one from the stacks in front of her and tried again, this time it worked and she passed the flat white to the customer with a sigh of relief.

Being a witch wasn't as easy as people assumed, Lorana couldn't just work a spell and become rich and gone are the days when the neighbours would pay money for a love potion or a curse.

Lorana had to work for a living just like every one else. But finding work wasn't easy, nothing with computers as her magic had a tendency to fry them.

At first the job in the cafe had been great, the cafe had been run by the same family for years. The fittings were so old they had come back in to fashion and called retro. There was an old fashioned pushbutton till, urns of boiling water for hot drinks using instant coffee and tea bags. Gas rings for frying bacon, eggs and sausages it had been hard work but at least nothing could go wrong.

Until, that is, Jason arrived on the scene, fresh from college and determined to turn his grandparents cafe into the IN place to be.

He was happy with the retro look of the cafe, he loved the old fashioned till but not the urns. The urns had to go, they were replaced with a state of the art coffee machine and Lorana was expected to become a barrista.

Lorana tried, she really did but the harder she tried the more stressed she became. The more stressed she became the less control she had over her magic.

She knew Jason was watching her carefully and that made things worse.
Eventually after a few weeks when the situation still hadn't improved Jason asked Lorana to stay after work for a chat. Lorana's heart sank, she knew he was going to sack her. She struggled through the rest of the day with a heavy heart.
Once the last customer had left and the doors locked Jason leant against the coffee machine and looked at Lorana.
 'I've noticed you seem to have a problem with the coffee machine' he said.
Lorana nodded miserably. ' Let me show you something ' said Jason.
' Its no good ' she blurted out.
Jason held up his hand, ' Just watch '.
He took a cup and filled it with black coffee, hot and strong. Lorana was about to point out that black coffee should be made in a glass as, but he put his finger to his lips. He pointed his finger at the cup and concentrated, the tip of his finger started to glow. ' Flat white ' Jason murmured and the black coffee in the cup turned instantly to a flat white!

Saturday, 13 July 2019


Like a lot of the homeless he doesn't make eye contact, he's not begging so he doesn't need to interact.

He did beg to start with hoping someone would take pity on him but now he doesn't bother, all it ever got him was another kicking.

He smells horrible and he knows it but he's past caring. He used to keep himself clean, tidy and well groomed, though he was never a fashion victim, he'd never been attractive enough.

He's cold, his coat is threadbare and offers little protection from the rain and wind.
He is small and skinny so he just tries to make himself as small as possible and tries to ignore the traffic roaring past in front the dark corner he has squeezed him self into.

He's heard that there is now a policy of moving the homeless on and out of the area, maybe someone important is visiting the area or maybe the general public have complained. He moves further back into the dark recess where he is hiding.

He used to have a good life, a home and someone to love. He's not even sure why it all went wrong, it wasn't booze or drugs, but go wrong it did and look where he'd ended up.

He's close to giving up, he can feel his body shutting down, he has had nothing to eat or drink for ages now. Maybe one morning he just won't wake up, he's hoping that it happens soon.

He finally falls asleep through sheer exhaustion, vivid dreams disturb him. Then it isn't a dream, bright lights, shouting, someone grabs him, drags him out of his dark corner and shackles him. He is thrown into the back of a van with a dozen others, he sits quietly, some of the others are aggressive and noisy, some quiet.

The journey seems to take hours but eventually the van reaches its destination and they are all dragged out and thrown into individual cells, bare apart from a small hard bed.

He sits in the corner unmoving, frozen now with fear. What will happen next? Does he even care any more.
He's offered food and drink but refuses it.

He's dragged into another room, prodded and poked by someone in a,white coat he is made to shower, asked questions that he ignores. Eventually he is returned to his bare cell.

Time drags, he eventually accepts the food and drink he is given but he still refuses to make eye contact or answer any questions.

Eventually he is moved out of his cell, what new terror awaits him now.

A few minutes in the fresh air and then a precarious walk to some steep steps. At least this place is warm and there is something to sit on other than the cold tiled floor.

He sits very still waiting to see what happens next, nothing happens for sometime though someone is sat beside him. She asks no questions, she just sits, very still and very quiet. Time passes, everywhere is quiet and darkness falls.

Eventually he moves, stealthily and slowly, nearer the woman sitting next to him. She smiles but still says nothing. Closer and closer he edges until he is right beside her. She moves her arm and he wriggles onto her lap and her arms wrap round him.

'Good boy' she whispers, 'good dog, you have a new home now you're safe'.

Friday, 12 July 2019

New story

This is a piece of Flash fiction I've written in response to a writing prompt by Lyssa Medana.

She knew as soon as she walked in to the office that she was going to enjoy this job. It was the sign hung over water cooler that made it so. One of those stupid signs that read You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Work Here But It Helps. The casual use of the word crazy immediately lessened any feelings of guilt she might have had.

There were twelve of them in the team altogether and she immediately picked out the most likely ones.

There was the kooky one, Maybelle, who thought that cackling like a banshee made her kooky. Her desk almost invisible under mounds of hideous knick knacks, mooning gnomes and rude sayings. No room for any work to be done on her desk.

The mother hen, Joan, massively overweight and smelling of BO. Smiling fatuously, her desk was covered in photos of kittens. Always ready to listen to everyone's problems and offer advice but no time to do the job she was paid for.

The couple, Dan and Angie, eyes only for each other and no conversation beyond their planned wedding day. All their time was taken up with making lists and browsing pinterest for wedding ideas.

The letch, Peter, incapable of talking to any woman face to face, he talked to their boobs, all the time his hand in his pocket, constantly juggling what she hoped was his small change. 

People were so stupid, no one questioned why a temp had been taken on when there was barely enough work to go around. They all talked about the hatchet man from head office that was due any day, they all thought they were safe as they convinced themselves they were working hard. Pah, they had no idea what hard work was.

Still she'd made an effort to look as though she fitted in, no one would ever suspect her, she was small, quiet and self effacing. She changed her appearance from job to job, different hair colour or style, different makeup. She happily took on all the tasks the others didn't want to do, none of them realising that they were edging closer to losing their job.

Usually her decisions were based on facts, which members of staff were productive and which weren't but this time her judgment was clouded by that bloody sign.
As soon as she knew definitely who'd hung the sign above the water cooler the list would be complete and would be emailed to Head Office.
She hated that sign with a bloody vengeance, years of being pointed out at school as the girl who's mother was crazy.
Suffering from post partum depression wasn't the same as being crazy, she knew that now but she still hated that bloody sign.

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.