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She Carries A ‘Phone

When she was a child, she carried the ‘phone to let her mother know where she was. ‘Oh mum, I’m fine’ When she was young, she carried the ‘phone in case her friends would call. The long, hot summer days and nights of fun. When she was older, she carried the ‘phone in case he called and asked her for another evening of laughter and … Continue reading She Carries A ‘Phone

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A Brilliant Life

(I am happy to inform you that your piece, ‘A Brilliant Life’, has been selected for a community reading group project at the University of Northampton. ‘A Brilliant Life’ will not be sold and will be used for educational purposes only, but — as you hold the copyright to your stories — it is up to you to give permission for its use. If you … Continue reading A Brilliant Life

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Me and Buzz and Drivin’

When Buzz was about ten years old, he stole my Daddy’s car. One minute he was askin’ me where the keys were hangin’ and the next, he’s starting the engine up. If my name ain’t Jay then call me a liar ‘cause I swear that he just started her up and took off. He didn’t look back. I ran after him and just as he … Continue reading Me and Buzz and Drivin’

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Ronnie (Feb 12th)

I guess you never really know when your own will start but in hindsight I know his began on February the 11th at 10.23pm. 86,400 Ronnie was 19 and clever. He had worked hard to get to college and study a subject he loved – chemistry. Now I know what some of you may be thinking but that was what set Ronnie’s pulse racing. It was … Continue reading Ronnie (Feb 12th)

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Peter Rabbit

He remembers one night – when Peter was about twelve summers old – that he and his best friend were sitting in the light of the dusk, puffing a found cigarette butt and talking about love. Peter’s pal was excited about the prospect of kissing a girl – a human girl – and although Peter went along with the conversation, he couldn’t stop himself feeling … Continue reading Peter Rabbit

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The Ice Ghosts

  based on a true story  She could taste the sea on her lips as she drove her Hudson Super Six towards Summertown, Nova Scotia on a day that only God could have made. Amy and Ben, her grandchildren, whooped and hollered as they stood on the automobile’s back seat, arms flapping wildly in the wind. “We’re eagles, Grandma, look we’re flying” “No, we ain’t” … Continue reading The Ice Ghosts

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Amy and Hector

There are two people in this story – as well as Hector. Hector’s the elephant. The little girl is Amy, and her granddad is the other fellow. From the moment she could walk Amy took Hector everywhere – after all he was a real elephant and wasn’t he Amy’s best friend in the whole wide world? So why wouldn’t you? Amy loved Hector and Hector … Continue reading Amy and Hector

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Enough Sunshine For Everyone

That summer, that sultry humid one, in ’46 was the hottest on record. She still remembers it. How could she ever forget? From her apartment window on the first floor she could view most of the comings and goings for a block. And she never got bored. Never.  There was always the odd soldier returning home from the war overseas. Those kids in khaki would … Continue reading Enough Sunshine For Everyone

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Lincoln’s Watch

I’d been working in Washington D.C. for a few weeks in the late fall of 1947 when I decided to visit Georgetown. One of the guys had told me about a little book shop near Dumbarton Oaks Park which sold old books about the District. The guy who run the store, Grankin Wilson, must have been about sixty back then, knew every book or story … Continue reading Lincoln’s Watch

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Be Different

Story written for a charity. Every one of us is made just that little bit different to the next person. It’s what makes us all special. Sometimes we are happy with our little special differences and sometimes it can make someone unhappy. And so it was with Tommy. Since the day he was born he had what the doctor called, a cleft lip. When he … Continue reading Be Different

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No Two Ways

I guess the first thing I’ve got to say is – to do the things he did, you really have to believe that you are going to live for ever. Which isn’t exactly true: now is it? There was no two ways about it, least not at the start. At the beginning, he was expected by those around him to take the common road, and … Continue reading No Two Ways

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Grandpa is An Alien

If you asked the Melt family in public where they came from, then they’d always answer with: ‘Why, Churchill Avenue of course, next to the school.’ But in private, the Melt family knew that they were from another place – 52,000 light years away to be exact. At least that is what Grandpa Melt had told them before he got arrested. The truth of the … Continue reading Grandpa is An Alien

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1966 – A Summer Breeze

Tommy was tired of waiting for his life to start. He had given it more than enough chances in his nineteen short years, thank you very much, and still there was nothing to get excited about. So Tommy thought he might as well begin his life without any help from anyone. His current dream was to watch the World Cup football final at Wembley and … Continue reading 1966 – A Summer Breeze

The Disappearance of Esther

The wind couldn’t decide which way it was going that day, neither could she. Esther had only just got herself the way she liked (the way the boys liked) when she stepped out through the door, and a gust of Sheeba desert sand blew in her eyes. “Ma eyes, Mama, they’re stinging. They’re hurtin’ so bad.” And then she flapped her hands like she was … Continue reading The Disappearance of Esther

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That Perfect Moment

When I was a kid, my whole world was Hell’s Kitchen. Heck, it was my whole universe too – because that part of New York City was all I needed, and to be honest it was all I ever wanted. I was about ten years old when my brother, Archie took the photo. He had swapped one of his medal from the war for a … Continue reading That Perfect Moment

Zoot & Sandy and the Birds

  As always, Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were the best of pals in the whole wide world and were sitting by the river. “Them things in the sky,” said Zoot. “The birds?” Asked Sandy. “Yup, the birds, do you think they are happy?” “I guess so,” said Sandy. “Why wouldn’t they be?” “I wish I could fly,” said Zoot. Sandy smiled to … Continue reading Zoot & Sandy and the Birds

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The Man From Montana

It was on a mild Spring Thursday morning when it happened. No church bells, or fireworks, or even a spontaneous applause marked the occasion; for on that Thursday, at 9.24am, the last book that had been read was closed for the very last time. It’s not as if anyone could have failed to see it coming. For years people had read their stories on little … Continue reading The Man From Montana

The Girl In The Corner

Once upon a time she had been called Chiquitta, and once upon a time there had been a family in the house. But they had gone now, and she had felt a little comforted knowing that she wasn’t the only one in her position. It wasn’t that she was unloved, if something like her had ever been loved, it was just that it had come … Continue reading The Girl In The Corner

A True Story That Hasn’t Happened Yet

  Friday 10th July Maybe I should start at the very beginning then perhaps if someone finds this, it will all make more sense. That is, if what has just happened can make sense – to anyone.  I live (lived) in a beautiful village in the south-east of England. I don’t want to be any more exact than that, just in case they find this. … Continue reading A True Story That Hasn’t Happened Yet

Sara: The Woman Who Told Stories

She felt that she had never set the world on fire; unlike the politicians who had managed just that. No, what she had achieved, what Sara had achieved, was to light little fires in the eyes and souls of the people she would meet. The world had gone from blues and greens and whites and yellows, to the darkest black. Darker than the hearts of … Continue reading Sara: The Woman Who Told Stories

The Montana Express

The Montana Express was a wind that found its temperature somewhere around the northern end of Canada and then didn’t stop until it hit the Gulf. Our home was in its path, and so every April it would bring an unseasonable coldness to our valley which affected almost everyone and everything. It was on one of those April days that the table was finally delivered. … Continue reading The Montana Express

Future Stories

Her Stories Stories. That was all she had, that was all she would ever have. The ability to create worlds, and fill them with color and life, and give those listening something near hope. The saddest thing about her ability was that she could create alternative lives, so clear in her mind that they could almost be real, and in those lives were another her, … Continue reading Future Stories

The Proof of God

He could do nothing but stare at the paper. Then he re-checked it and checked it again. He was trembling. I mean really shaking. The way you dreamed of something really good happening and then it does, and it never feels real. He had woken with the numbers in his head – not that he remembered going to sleep with a problem that needed solving. … Continue reading The Proof of God

The Titanic in New York City – Julia’s Story

Wednesday April 17th, 1912 Pier 60. NY,NY. Her name was simply, Julia Edinburgh – not doctor and not professor; she was a woman after all in 1912. She was probably the cleverest of all people working on the causes and treatment of cancers. Her husband was a doctor, but he had grown to admire and love his wife and her ability to see patterns and … Continue reading The Titanic in New York City – Julia’s Story

Thing and His Song

Thing was never going to sing at the Paris Opera but that wasn’t the point; he sang because he liked it. It made him happy. Thing’s father was always whistling a tune and he did it so often that most times he didn’t seem to notice. “What’s that tune?” Thing would ask. “Heck, if I know,” said his dad. Thing’s mother would also ‘tut’ at … Continue reading Thing and His Song

Coldharbour: The Big Gallhoolie

It was an ancient village that was for sure, and on some days Jake found it to be the middle of his universe and on others – well, he could take or leave it. He wasn’t that bothered. His family had all been born, lived and died in Coldharbour, as far back as anyone could remember. His father had been the black sheep of the … Continue reading Coldharbour: The Big Gallhoolie

Dancing With Mister D. (3 stories)

Charles the Boy   (The blacking factory on the left at Hungerford stairs – near present day Charing Cross station) It was a blue-cold winter’s day and another poor soul was lying dead at the bottom of the Hungerford Stairs. The boy was just standing there staring at the corpse. That was the first time I ever clapped eyes on the little urchin. He was … Continue reading Dancing With Mister D. (3 stories)

The Music of the Spheres

for David Bowie – the man who let me hear the Universe – thank you. It had always troubled the boy why he liked some music and not others. Why, songs which hit him around the face, making him want to scream out in happiness, didn’t even cause a flicker in some eyes. That was a mystery all right, and it had bothered him all … Continue reading The Music of the Spheres

The Polka Dot Comet Kid

The night that Sally was born, the comet, Hale-Bopp lit the skies above the hospital as she lay, crying. She was the most beautiful of children and her parents called her Halley after the light in the heavens. She had a wonderful early life and then one day she cut her finger which started to bleed. That wasn’t unusual for a child or for any … Continue reading The Polka Dot Comet Kid

ALICE – 1. Weird Wednesday

  You go to sleep at night and who’s to say that everything will be just the same the next day? During the War, folks would go to sleep in their shelter and awaken to a street flattened by bombs – but that’s not what I’m talking about, here. I’m referring to a night where you really do fall down the rabbit hole. That’s what … Continue reading ALICE – 1. Weird Wednesday

EASY

You see the lovers, sitting, Holding hands outside the café, Perfect you would think to yourself, Just perfect, Yet for a fleeting moment there is a look in one of their eyes Which screams, that the end has arrived. The woman walks the long street, watching and smiling at The babies in their prams, and the mothers and fathers, Smile back wondering what the woman … Continue reading EASY

Me and Buzz and the Hospital

This is just one of those quick stories I gotta tell you ‘fore Buzz finds out. Some of the sharper of you out there might remember the time that Buzz broke his leg in two places – the yard and the driveway – yeah, I know, it’s still not funny. But it did mean that my best bud in the whole world had to spend … Continue reading Me and Buzz and the Hospital

The Day That Love Was Invented

The midday sun warmed his metal quicker than it warmed his skin parts. In this field, like every other field in the quadrant, everyone was equal. No one got more than any other cyborg, and, equally, no one would expect any less. It was the way it had been since memories began. That was the way with memories – you only remembered the last time … Continue reading The Day That Love Was Invented

Santa is a Weirdo

Sometimes you just do and sometimes it ain’t happening; and that pretty much explains my life and everyone I know. I honest to goodness don’t remember what started it all off – I honestly don’t, I swear on the biggest stack of comics – I just remember my ma telling me I wasn’t getting a bicycle for Christmas, ‘cause Santa couldn’t get it down the … Continue reading Santa is a Weirdo

Me and Buzz and Grooviness

When me and Buzz were about 15 years old, Buzz turned to me one day and told me, straight in the eye like, that he had ‘an itchen’ for a hitchen’. “Let’s hitch right across the country to… well, the end,” said Buzz not sure where the end of the country was. “Then what?” I asked just to see what he’d say. “Why then we’ll … Continue reading Me and Buzz and Grooviness

Santa and the Battle of Hastings

He chose the highest room in town. Which, I suppose, is fair enough. What it doesn’t explain is why he chose Hastings, a seaside town on the south coast of England. His wife explained it by telling everyone that he was obsessed by history, and more specifically by the Battle of Hastings. Okay, to be totally accurate, the battle wasn’t exactly at Hastings but then … Continue reading Santa and the Battle of Hastings

Can’t Stop This Gun From Crying (a Black Mirror type written before Black Mirror)

It had been welcomed by the scientific community as a life saver, as the next step in metal technology and a new generation of those shining babies was about to be unleashed on the world. The team that had developed the idea at Los Alma had received the Nobel Prize that year and were ready to be courted by every large manufacturing company. They had no … Continue reading Can’t Stop This Gun From Crying (a Black Mirror type written before Black Mirror)

Yellow Balloon

His name was Charlie and he was a kid. Charlie was lucky enough to be living through his best years. His mother, father, brother and sisters were all well, all happy, and all in that little perfect bubble that happens from time to time in life. When Charlie was eight, he had his first birthday party which involved all his friends coming to his house. … Continue reading Yellow Balloon

Gregory

Ever since he was little, folks had always been telling him how he should live; that he should ‘do it this way’, or ‘do it that way’, or ‘you’ll never amount to anything, not with that attitude’. Now either, he was plum crazy (and there was always a chance that was true) or perhaps he simply walked to the beat of a different drum (judging … Continue reading Gregory

The Bar at the End of Sugarhouse Lane

Alex’s Story If you’ve ever sauntered up Charles Street, you’ll know what I mean. Some days you see everything, the people, the windows, the traffic and on other days – like when it rains, or there’s fog, or you’re simply in a hurry – the whole street can pass you by in one big blur. Then there are the odd days when a person will … Continue reading The Bar at the End of Sugarhouse Lane

Breathers

It wasn’t hurting anyone; now was it?  She’d give the kids a difficult problem to solve, although if she was being honest, there wasn’t an answer to it. Then, when all their heads were down staring at the desk, she’d nip outside for a smoke on a delicious cigarette. She loved teaching – don’t get her wrong, it was her life. Yet it left no … Continue reading Breathers

Nelle and Tru (For Harper Lee)

  “I hate going outside, I absolutely hate it, hate it, hate it,” said Nelle to the sad-looking boy standing at the porch door. “You’ve gotta come, ya just gotta,” said the boy. “P…l….e…a….s…e!” He said in one of those elongated ways, that folks from town always used. This was Alabama and the way people talked could be used as a weapon, as well as … Continue reading Nelle and Tru (For Harper Lee)

The Inscription

No one, and I mean no one, had ever seen the likes of the inscription before. It had lain undiscovered in a small cave on the north shore until Roman times. There were those who thought that it was written by the ancients – whoever they were meant to be. The curious and the deluded, would beat paths to the cave to declare it a … Continue reading The Inscription

The Titanic In New York City – 3 stories

  Wednesday April 17th, 1912 Pier 60. NY,NY. After a successful maiden voyage across the North Atlantic, the Titanic berths in New York. Annie’s Story She was born with the name, Annie Constantine and from the age of nine, she had worked tirelessly as a kitchen maid in a large house on the south coast of England. Annie could not settle for a life in … Continue reading The Titanic In New York City – 3 stories

Coldharbour: Passing Wonderful

If Alexandra McMillan had been born in any era other than her own, she would have most certainly been burned as a witch. Luckily for her, she popped into the world the same year as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone; inspiring her father, Robert, to name his new daughter after the Scottish inventor. Robert McMillan came down from the Isle of Skye in 1870 with the … Continue reading Coldharbour: Passing Wonderful

A Hollow Moon

Even although I’m writing this on my deathbed, you’re probably still not going to believe me but I have to tell someone. It’s about what we discovered back then. Long before Neil Armstrong and all the rest of those suckers stepped on the Moon. It must have started around the time I heard my first Elvis’ record. The world was changing, what we knew was … Continue reading A Hollow Moon

Do Not Feed The Trolls

He remembered back to when he was, perhaps 13 years of age. He was sitting on a train with his uncle. They were going into the city to celebrate the boy becoming a teenager. As he looked around the train, it struck him that no one was talking. Conversations had been replaced by each individual watching, laughing at, writing to, their little machines. The individual … Continue reading Do Not Feed The Trolls

Me and Buzz and the President

Okay, so you may (or may not) know what happened to Buzz and how he turned out – and so you may (or may not) want to know when all this stuff kinda started. I’ve been thinkin’ about it and I got to say it was probably that day – the day when the President came to town. The Chief of Staff was kinda passin’ … Continue reading Me and Buzz and the President

Time Flies and Hope Floats

Time Flies One morning when Olivia was still half asleep, she heard her Grandma talking to her Grandpa all about things that fly. At least she thought that was what they were talking about because the last thing she heard her Grandpa say was… “…It’s funny how time flies.” Then Grandpa headed out the door hollerin’ and laughin’ to himself, so hard that he was … Continue reading Time Flies and Hope Floats

If All Of This Were Up To Me

If all of this were up to me, My gifts would be of other things, The son to spend an afternoon With a father long since gone, The granddad seeing his offspring grow, As his life goes on and on, The children gone before their time, Would come back home and ring the chime, And chances lost would be our choice, To try just one … Continue reading If All Of This Were Up To Me

The Man Who Came Out Of The Sea

It was a Saturday and it was so easy to remember because it looked and felt like a Saturday. It was just one of those days that you’d pass through on the way to somewhere else. The café had stood on the edge of the sands since 1927 when old Sonny Mist built it with his father using wood from the wrecks of two barges … Continue reading The Man Who Came Out Of The Sea

The Bopeep Tunnel Mystery

Most people will never notice it. They’ll be too busy on their commute, or containing their excitement as they head to the seashore. Yet it is there, and it is waiting, and it did happen. Between Hastings and Bexhill on the south coast of England, is a tunnel; a railway tunnel. It lies just off the Bopeep Junction, and naturally enough is known as the … Continue reading The Bopeep Tunnel Mystery

A Christmas Walk

He had always lived in the city. His parents had met there, and his brothers and sisters had been born there. Sometimes they’d visit the countryside, but it would always be on a blue-sky day. This led Andy to believe that the city was mostly a dark and wet place and it was the land beyond where the sun always warmed the land. He’d dreamt … Continue reading A Christmas Walk

The Man Who Never Was

Perhaps I brought all this on myself by staying away from the others, by hiding in my room and dealing with my own struggles rather than being a part of everyone and everything else. Maybe this is a punishment or perhaps it is justified karma? The process started just like it did when I began to lose my hair. I had looked in the mirror … Continue reading The Man Who Never Was

Hadrian and The Human Finger

Hadrian had walked the length of several carriages before he found somewhere to rest his weary metals. He was excited, that much was true, for this was his first time away from home. Hadrian was the apple of his father’s eye due to the fact that he was the first of the TickTok family to go to college. His mother had wanted him to study, … Continue reading Hadrian and The Human Finger

Coldharbour (3 miles beyond Loch Awe)

Agnes Agnes could smell the winter fires as she stepped across Princes Street for the umpteenth time that day. Somewhere high above the whispering smoke the sky was an azure blue. Agnes knew that for a fact even although she might not always see it; just like she knew that things were about to change and no one had bothered to tell her. She had … Continue reading Coldharbour (3 miles beyond Loch Awe)

The Letter

You know. I know you know. It’s just whether you remember the facts or not. The thing is, I must have learned to write and then I learned to live. We kind of knew it was always going to be that way – didn’t we? Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably. I was always getting ahead. So I’ll just start at the beginning like … Continue reading The Letter

On A Flight To Helsinki

He’d left the house in the middle of an argument. She wasn’t happy with the fact he was going on to Stockholm after Helsinki. She had screamed. It wasn’t like her. There was to be a dinner-party at the weekend and they had been invited. They rarely got to go out as a couple anymore and she had seemed pleased that they were going to … Continue reading On A Flight To Helsinki

The Curious Case At Victory Mansions

From the top of Victory Mansions, it was said that you could see the whole of the world and a few miles beyond that. Mr Edward Shrew was the owner of the highest room in the building and would sometimes charge a penny to any passer-by who wanted to see the ends of the Earth. On a clear evening it was also the place to … Continue reading The Curious Case At Victory Mansions

The Great Traffic Jam

It had been last summer when Suzie had seen her first driverless car. It had been taking that kid, Trig to school. Trig’s father had more money than all the other kid’s parents put together. The story was that he’d been kicked out of every private education establishment in the tri-state area and Suzie’s school was the only one left – at least that was … Continue reading The Great Traffic Jam

Broken Pieces

Jake remembered what his Grandmother used to call it: ‘your grandad is away down the doctors’. That’s what she called it – the pub at the end of the street. “If life wasn’t so shit, there would be no need for pubs”, was her usual follow-up. “Don’t matter what it was; just back from the war, or the birth of his first-born, the night his … Continue reading Broken Pieces

Me and Buzz and the Madman

That day started like any other Saturday. My Grandma was washin’ the back of my neck with all my family lookin’ on. When she got into rubbin’ real hard I would turn my neck a little so that I could see out the window. That morning was just like any other, Jake Van De Bergh was getting chased up Main Street by another angry husband. … Continue reading Me and Buzz and the Madman

On The Street Where You Live

It’s one of those games we still played even after all this time; where did we think Eastman was born? There was a day when every city west of Berlin claimed him as their own but in the end it was probably London or across the water in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You wouldn’t have picked him out at the start as being the type of creature … Continue reading On The Street Where You Live

The Legend of Jacob Chaplin

Okay, so his name wasn’t Chaplin, it was Horowitz, but ever since he’d attended the moving picture show and seen the great, perhaps marvellous, Charles Chaplin, he had modelled his dancing on that particular master. It was just that one dance, the one he had seen as he sat with his folks in the Vaudeville and Burlesque Movie Palace, that had made him almost wet … Continue reading The Legend of Jacob Chaplin

Teatime At The Empire Cafe

December 1955 Even although she pulled her coat in as tight as she could, the snow and sleet coming off the Channel still managed to make her shiver. She’d stop in at the Empire Café for a reviving cup of tea she had decided. It’s not as if Mother was in any danger; at least she could wait another fifteen minutes for her prescription medicines. … Continue reading Teatime At The Empire Cafe

Strangers On A Rainy Day

It was raining that November day, so they both stood in the doorway of the Parisian café waiting for their chance to make a dash down the avenue. They were strangers of course, isn’t that always the way. Henri started the conversation first – telling Phillipe that he needed to get going soon. He had a ring waiting at the jewellers – a ring that … Continue reading Strangers On A Rainy Day

Zoot and Sandy and Worrying about Things

Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were, without doubt, the best of pals in the whole wide world. They loved to sit by the river and watch time floating past their little seat. “You’re quieter than usual, young Zoot,” said the elephant. “Just thinking,” Sandy replied. “Just thinking.” “Thinking about what?” “Well, Sandy my oldest friend, I was wondering if those birds ever worried … Continue reading Zoot and Sandy and Worrying about Things

Lassoing the Moon

(for Jim – the King of the Kings Arms) The two of them sat at the shaky table in the Bright Water Café. They always chose this table as it gave Jake and his grandfather a chance to come up with ways to stop its unruly behaviour. Usually they would stick some folded paper under the short leg, but if they didn’t bother with that … Continue reading Lassoing the Moon

How I Was

It was only a few short summers between my mother asking, ‘how I was’ and her asking ‘who I was’. It was only the briefest of moments between telling a friend, ‘See you soon’ and bowing my head in a farewell. It seems only days between being a child and looking after one, Between laughing and shouting, ‘I’m old’ and being old. Surely the moon … Continue reading How I Was

Moving Rocks

Willie wiped his brow and looked out at the desert. There had been stories as far back as the dawn of time about the desert, the Moonboy Hills and those stones. It had been said that when the stones started to move the end was coming. Willie always wondered what end these folks were talking about. He had been too long in the saddle to … Continue reading Moving Rocks

My Granddaddy’s Farewell

I remember it was a cold day, is all.  My teacher came to take me from the class, said I had to go and see my granddaddy on account that he was leaving real soon. To be honest, he hadn’t said nothing to me, and I was his best pal. He said that I had a head on my shoulders that was ninety years beyond … Continue reading My Granddaddy’s Farewell