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Painted Love

When the flowers had all but disappeared from Clare’s garden, she had replaced them by painting roses and daffodils on a brick wall at the rear of her flower bed. There would be no beautiful smells welcoming a visitor as they walked up her path, but then there hadn’t been any visitors in such a long time – at least not since that peculiar day. … Continue reading Painted Love

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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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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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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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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

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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 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 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

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

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

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

The Last Human

We are only memories. I have memories as a kid, at least I think I do. About being with my mother when I was about four or five years of age, and we were crossing a bridge over a rail track. It was a winter sun and the air was as fresh as daisies. I could hear the ‘fut-fut-fut’ of the approaching steam train, whistling … Continue reading The Last Human

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

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

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

The Street With No Name

She lived on a street with no name; the street that is, not her. She was called Conchita and she had spent all her life on the no-name street. When she was young, her mother took her to a fair and there they met a fortune-teller who said that Conchita would never know real happiness. Her mother crossed the woman’s palm with a silver coin … Continue reading The Street With No Name

Stones Under The Snow

She used to sit on her Grandpa’s knee and he’d hold her so tight like she was the only person in the world that ever mattered. Whatever the payment was to get on his knee, tears or frowns, when she was up there she felt safe. Nothing could ever hurt her there. She would run her hand through his thick white hair and giggle at … Continue reading Stones Under The Snow

The Troubadour

Stories. That was all she had, that was all she would ever have. The ability to create worlds, and fill them with colour 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, another more … Continue reading The Troubadour

Every Breath You Take

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 Every Breath You Take

The Shoreham Stories – 1

THE SHOREHAM WILD ONES I suppose it all started on that wet Wednesday, at the cinema on St John’s Hill. Mavis had been walking up towards town when it had started to rain and had nothing to keep her head dry. Mavis had never been into one of those racy films before, certainly not one with an X certificate but she liked the look of … Continue reading The Shoreham Stories – 1

A Place Called Hope

‘What makes anyone do anything?’ That was what she thought as she stepped off the bus. She hadn’t meant to get off at that particular stop, but the large woman by the window seat had asked to be let out. The funny thing is that the large woman looked out the window, tutted, and sat down at another seat. Karen was already standing and so … Continue reading A Place Called Hope

The Fireman

In the early days of the next war, a story arose, an urban legend, about a person they called the Fireman. He had been given that name because of the stories of him putting out fires which had spontaneously erupted in the Mohawk Valley; that was the night that the mushroom cloud had first appeared over Stone City, a place about fifty miles away. Lit … Continue reading The Fireman

Our Home by the Railroad

If I’m being real honest, the house wasn’t as grand as you see it now. Back then it was built with love, sweat and tears and over the longest of times; if I’m guessing, I’d probably say nearer seven years than six. Christopher Lawson made his money from a store in town – one that he and his wife lived above – and one, that … Continue reading Our Home by the Railroad

The Photograph of Me

The kid in the middle, the one hiding, was Gene, he got shot in some war, somewhere. It was the only thing he ever did that anyone was ever proud of. Gene spent most of his life hiding and blaming others. The one on the right was Jackson. He was my best bud – I mean the kind of pal who would lay down his … Continue reading The Photograph of Me

A Simple Truth

“You get to everyday by winning, you know that don’t you?” Was what she used to say to us kids, when we’d taken a tumble or were feeling real low. “So don’t you be telling me you failed, or nothing as stupid as that,” she’d say, just before she’d give you a smile that could span an ocean. “You ain’t done wrong and you ain’t … Continue reading A Simple Truth

Noises In The Sky

Separately they would have amounted to nothing more than a curiosity, but together, well, that was a different matter. Together they spelled the change of everything that was known. For years there had been reports of humming noises from the skies, sometimes it sounded like distant thunder, other times it was more like a ‘heavenly organ’ – as one pastor from Minnesota had described the … Continue reading Noises In The Sky

The Man Who Knew Where Love Was Hidden

There had always been wars. Even in the times of love and hope, there was always a reason to kill. From the 17th century onwards, wars got more complex: families fought families, brother against brother, rich against poor. If you were to ask when love started dying, it was probably at the dawn of the 20th century. For that was when Captain James Sandford, a … Continue reading The Man Who Knew Where Love Was Hidden

Me and Buzz and Runnin’ For President

I guess it all seems kinda obvious now knowin’ what Buzz was gonna become – but back then, we didn’t have no idea, I kid you not. When Buzz told me that as a good lookin’ kid it was probably beholdin’ to him to run for office. I was thinkin’ that Buzz had surely gone a bit crazy like. But then I was always thinkin’ … Continue reading Me and Buzz and Runnin’ For President

The Time of Storms

I was trying to think back to what year all of this took place, and I guess I would be right in saying that Hank Williams was still alive and so it must have been sometime in the winter of ’49. I remember that year ‘cause my daddy was always singing Mister Williams’ song, ‘My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It’ and then he’d wink … Continue reading The Time of Storms

Strange Freedoms

TOMMY Tommy lived in a town where you had to be one thing or another. That was the way it was, that was the way it had probably always been. There was no room for neutrals, no room at all. The folks who lived on the north side of the street gave their allegiances to the blue team and those on the south gave theirs … Continue reading Strange Freedoms

Broken

Every morning Andy would count to ten before he got out of his warm forgiving bed and while he was waiting, he’d usually count his luck as well. He’d always been the type of soul who walked the line on the lucky side but he had to accept that things happened to you when you were forty-seven years old. The way the radio sounded quieter … Continue reading Broken

The Boy Who Loved To Handstand

Charlie lived in grey house which stood in a grey street which weaved its way through a grey town. He wasn’t an unhappy kid – on the contrary, Charlie saw the world both as beautiful and crazy all at the same time. But where Charlie was alone was in the way he looked at the world. He knew that there was more to life than … Continue reading The Boy Who Loved To Handstand

Remembering Disneyland

The window’s opened an inch just to let the room breathe a little as the rusting setting sun is just perching on the trees across the way and peeking into my window, hitting the oleander full on. The perfume hits my nose and pinches my sadness, ‘hey kid, this is why you walk and talk, get over yourself’. A seabird screeches for a partner somewhere … Continue reading Remembering Disneyland

Brighter Days

The smell of the coffee lured her in and so she sat blowing on the steam from her cup. The war had only been over a handful of weeks but already she felt that things were better. Bravely, she took a sip and looked out over the Boardwalk knowing that what lay ahead were brighter days. ———— He was going to hitch all the way … Continue reading Brighter Days

Strange Day

November 22. The strangest goddamn thing ever, and I mean ever, happened to me this morning. Jeez, my hand is still shaking as I write this even although the boss told me ‘no notes, no traces, no records’ but hey, it’s only one little bitty diary. I had got up this morning, had breakfast and kissed my wife and prepared myself for what I was … Continue reading Strange Day

The First Thing

Later in life, Thing would look back on those early years and wonder. Wonder if the perfect moment of his life was back then, and if that was true – was the perfect moment the happiest? That isn’t to say, there aren’t perfect times later in life and in some cases, it may be that a person is older when that perfect moment arises. But … Continue reading The First Thing

Adam and Eve’s Honeymoon

Sometimes things just change. Not for any particular reason – at least, not one anyone can understand – but perhaps because the Universe has shifted, or a God has smiled, or someone has taken a road less travelled. But when it happens, and it will –  it makes a change, and  one that is always irreversible. The folks we are concerned with in this story … Continue reading Adam and Eve’s Honeymoon

Saturday Afternoon on the Floor

From up here, with the window open, all I can do is lay on the floor and stare at the roof. I’m trying to guess what the avenue looks like – I’m kidding, right? I mean I’ve walked it enough times to know, I just mean I’m wondering what it looks like by smell alone – at this precise moment. There’s a warm wind blowing … Continue reading Saturday Afternoon on the Floor

You, kill me.

She was the kinda gal who sashayed where ever she went. Always sashaying and flicking those hips from side to side. She was the best mover in town, everyone said so. Even the Reverend Gascoin, who was a sort of expert in these delicate things. He enjoyed having opinions on worldly stuff, as long as his boss up above didn’t get to hear about it. … Continue reading You, kill me.

Lives in 100 words

New York City, December 1963 I remember fighting a rather lonely wind as I crossed Central Park on that particular Wednesday before Christmas; an old faded newspaper flapped in the breeze against a wooden seat but I could still make out the headline: ‘JFK Dead’. They would be coming soon, those wise men from the east, the Beatles with their new English beat music. Perhaps … Continue reading Lives in 100 words

July 2nd: Eastman Day

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 July 2nd: Eastman Day

The Boy Who Lost Himself

The boy looked younger than his age, but for all that he was still full of the life force. The kid loved nothing better than running to the top of a hill and shouting out – ‘This Is Me!’. On one very sad and bad occasion the world tried to smash his little heart into pieces, and although there would always be a scar – … Continue reading The Boy Who Lost Himself

Strange Day

November 22. The strangest goddamn thing ever, and I mean ever, happened to me this morning. Jeez, my hand is still shaking as I write this even although the boss told me ‘no notes, no traces, no records’ but hey, it’s only one little bitty diary. I had got up this morning, had breakfast and kissed my wife and prepared myself for what I was … Continue reading Strange Day

Two Stories of Photographs

She had been a nurse at the big house during the Great War. That is where she had met him. On the surface, it seemed straight forward except for the complications: he was married and she was engaged. The war had changed everything, for everyone. Some found that they were stronger than they had imagined, while others had lost their minds. Perhaps her behaviour had … Continue reading Two Stories of Photographs

The Man Who Sold The British Library

So you’re probably asking how it all came to this. How I got here, when it wasn’t that long ago that I had everything in the world. Well stuff happens. To everyone. All the time. After I had been working at a blue-chip company in the city for about three years, my partner and I had decided that it was time to start having the … Continue reading The Man Who Sold The British Library

Mole Hills and Mountains

Olivia had been playing out in the yard when she’d heard a door bang in the house. As she got nearer to the porch, she could hear her Grandpa hollerin’ about this and that but mostly about Old Chief Makkawaw who lived up on Old Creek Road. Then her Grandpa slammed the door again. This kind of thing wasn’t like her Grandpa at all, so … Continue reading Mole Hills and Mountains

Sundown On Mainstreet

The warm air blows off the panhandle for the second time that week, as the old wooden chair on grandfather’s porch creaks its way to salvation. And Brittle Andrew howls his madness and  frustrations into the wind. But there ain’t no one listening, not even God.He’s left these parts a while back. Somewhere out there in the Mississippi, an alligator, with wasted stealth, sits waiting … Continue reading Sundown On Mainstreet

Thing and the Star Whisperers

Thing sat watching, just like he always had, just like he always would, waiting on his mother and father to return, and for them all to be a family once again. Sometimes Thing got so caught up in his own loneliness that he forgot all about the good stuff in his life; that, happened to everyone, he guessed. One night, just as the sky was … Continue reading Thing and the Star Whisperers

Desert Ice

Marcie’s dog did nothing but bark that night. That little mutt – which always smelt of piss – I reckoned was just showing its final ‘how-do-you-do’ before going over. I knew something was wrong, I mean real wrong, and I could feel it in the pit of my riddled stomach. I ain’t talking about the dog,’ cause I gave up worrying about such things a … Continue reading Desert Ice

The Circus of The Stars

They had been circus owners for several generations by the time he had taken over. For the last 32 years they had been ‘Replanters’: these were folks who had taken the money to settle on the Moon. They travelled from town to town entertaining the other Replanters, the soldiers, the government officials and their families. He personally hated going to the Blacklands or, as it … Continue reading The Circus of The Stars

Me and Buzz and The Roadsmen

Buzz kind-a discovered money late in life and I don’t mean as some type of granddaddy who found a box of cash in the back yard. I mean that as a kid he’d never really had the need for money, ‘cause – as he was always tellin’ people – Buzz lived off his God-given personality and his killer good looks. As far as I can … Continue reading Me and Buzz and The Roadsmen