Tuesday, 24 January 2023

The Hungry Vegan Murderess.

The suitcase was made from the dried skin of a cactus plant.

It looked like alligator leather but was in fact the vegan option, or at least as vegan as she chose to be.

If vegan meant no harm to animals or plant, then the suitcase failed all the criteria. But within her own definition of the word it passed.

She didn’t eat eggs, but she ate nuts.

Her sandals were made from plastic.


She placed the suitcase onto the night table; it was day time and she hadn’t slept yet so to her it was just a table.

At the side of the bed.

Which also appeared to be vegan, depending on your attitude to cotton.

Hers was lenient.

The suitcase had clips and a zip so she un-clicked and un-zipped and opened it.

She stood there for a while, just looking.


The head was still wrapped in silver foil, it hadn’t, luckily, started to smell.


Killing her husband wasn’t really easy to process as a vegan, even a lenient one.


Because she wasn’t sure what to do next.

Sleep would probably not come easy.

Dreams would be vivid.

Was she happy?

She didn’t know, but she was hungry.

Would it be improper to leave him here and go out to look for something to eat?

Was that in bad taste?

Everything would be a whole lot easier easier if she was a carnivore.


Sunday, 15 January 2023

Hedges, Lanes and a River.

There was a lot of lanes, and a lot of walking in the lanes.

High hedges hedged the lanes, we walked between the hedges, along the lanes and we ended up in the pub.

There was a river too.

We walked along the river.

Up to the weir.

Where we fished.

Lanes, pubs, hedges, river and fishing.

We crossed the fields to reach the river, climbing one stile and jumping one ditch.

In the river there were pike, though we never caught one.

The river was clear.


The lanes were clear, no cars.

And clean.

The hedges were high.

High, clear and clean – you couldn’t see beyond.

Beyond were the fields, the stile, the river, the pike.

And the bailiff.

He only caught us once.

And then we ran.

We were young.

Young enough to run, too young to be in the pub.

But no one cared.

Would we go back?

You bet!




Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Family Ties.

When he was six, Jack’s mum learnt to drive. At the time not many women did but Jack’s dad was tired of sitting behind the wheel of the car and wanted to watch the country-side pass more than he wanted to watch the oncoming road. Jack’s mum, Elsie, was happy; she had always dreamed of the freedom of the open road.


In those days, back before the moon landings, no one wore a seat belt in the car; no one wore a helmet on a motorbike or drank skimmed milk either and since Jack’s parents never had a car accident or died of cancer he grew up thinking that much of the future as it turned out to be, was unnecessary.


When he was sixty, Jack started to think about many of these developments from the perspective of his younger self and decided, as an experiment, to drive again without a seat belt; little trips at first but soon it became a habit and with it came a feeling of freedom he hadn’t experienced for a while.


One day, just after The New Year celebrations he drove down the hill to his local supermarket where the police had decided to run a series of random checks. 


At the last moment Jack remembered that he wasn’t wearing his seat belt and swerved and drove on past.


Looking in his mirror he saw the policeman react, and further up the road when he stopped to consider his options, saw the policeman cross the road waiting for him to come back.


He should have driven on; there aren’t many things on sale in the supermarket that he couldn’t have lived without, but he needed petrol. And at the side of the supermarket there was a petrol station. So he turned the car round and headed back. 


As he turned into the petrol station the policeman scrambled across the ditch and practically ran to intercept him. He then excitedly pointed out that Jack had turned the wrong way into a one-way access road, even though Jack was by now following another car, and docked him three points from his licence. Unfortunately Jack had previously lost three jumping a changing traffic light in the city and the odd one or two here and there for being inattentive over his speed.


Which left him with ‘about’ four.


From then on, he was pretty careful, he couldn’t afford the weekend ‘get-some-of-your-lost-points-back’ weekend workshops run by the local authority and he couldn’t afford to lose any more points. Sometimes his sudden stops at changing traffic lights made him unpopular with the drivers behind but he had no choice.


Several years later, one evening about fifteen minutes before ten, Jack received a phone call from his son, old enough to know better, telling him that the son had fallen asleep on the train and was now stranded in a distant town over two hours away and could Jack come and rescue him.


Jack had almost finished a bottle of dark red wine; bottle of wine that claimed to be perfect for a celebration.


And Jack was celebrating.


That morning he had received a letter from the Interior Ministry congratulating him for having driven within the rules for over three years, and enthusiastically restoring the full 12 points on his licence.


And now he had to get in the car in an unfit state and rescue family.


Family comes first in Jack’s book.








Wednesday, 4 January 2023

One Minute Past.


There are three places in the southern Californian desert where time leaks across the fault line. The leaks are tiny and would probably be of no consequence if it wasn’t for Jake Thomson. 


And a bunch of bad guys known as the Zoners.


Jake and his friends Matt and Jenny were camping out in the southern desert at the end of the year; they intended to stay a couple of nights see in the new year and then return to their student lives on campus in Berkley. By the second of January Matt was dead and Jenny and Jake were running for their lives.


Jenny and Jake are in love which is another part of the story, unfortunately Jake was in love with Jenny but Jenny was in love with Matt. Since this had all come out in the southern California just before midnight there had been little time to process the information before time started leaking and the Zoners turned up.


Jake had tried to. After hearing the news, he had mumbled a sad Happy New year to his friends and chosen to sleep on his own in one of the three tents. He slept badly; waking falling asleep, waking again and vividly dreaming about a figure in an orange space suit spraying the house for bugs. The first thing he did when he finally decided to stop sleeping was look at his watch.


It told him it was one minute past midnight.


‘Not possible’, Jake concluded and put the watch to his ear. It was ticking.


Jake was old school. He embraced the analogue even though he was a student in advanced neuro- studies, a liberal arts option offered by the Philosophy department; he eschewed smart phones, had no computer and used pen and recycled paper to make notes in class. He preferred to travel by bike and train but had driven to the desert with his friends in Matt’s pickup.  


Jake unzipped the front of the tent and stepped out into the desert night, a billion stars greeted him and for a while he just stood and stared in marvel at their beauty. Then he heard Matt snoring from the next tent and looked again at his watch.


It told him it was 6:20 in the morning.


‘Weird’, Jake thought, and stepped behind his tent for a pee. He looked at his watch again; 6:21.


Then he went back inside his tent, zipped it closed and lay down on his sleeping bag; he checked his watch for a fourth time.


One minute past midnight.




Friday, 30 December 2022

A Bottle, a Shop, and a Dancer.

Now THIS wine, is VERY dry.

It’s also INCREDIABLY striong.

See how I spelt that !!

Now, the woman in the shop – let’s call her Patricia – she said it was dry.

But she didn’t say it was strong.

I’ve had two, or maybe three small-ish glasses and I’m tingling!

My legs – wobbling AND tingling, my head …. Wow!

Patricia – not her real name- then again maybe it is, who knows? – runs the shop down-in-the-village-that (shop)-i-never-go-to-because-it’s-too-expensive.

Except at Christmas.

When, what I think of Christmas Day is notwhat the locals think is Christmas Day, so there isa market, except that as it’s what the locals think as the day AFTER Christmas day, not many of them (the stallholders) are there.

But Patricia’s shop was open.

So I bought some butter, some compressed lentil puree and some of this wine.

“Ah, dry “, said Patricia – except she’s French so she said it in French.

“Ah, yes” I replied, I also said it in French.

“Do you want to say anything about how strong it is?” I added, still in French.

But she had gone back to arranging the carrots into geometric lines and muttering to herself (in french) and chose to ignore me; I clearly had done my bit.

Fulfilled my commercial purpose.


She should see me now!!

I certainly can’t walk.

But I’m going to dance.