Monthly Archives: April 2013

ON YOUR MIND

He’s staring at me again from that seat in the corner.

His bright Blue eyes are piercing. He is sending me unspoken messages, trying to get through to me by telepathy.

Every day at about the same time we play out this routine, and everyday I try to be stronger, but every day I give in. Already I can feel my resolve slipping away.

Perhaps if he wasn’t so gorgeous I would be able to hold out, or perhaps if our spiritual connection was less, but we have know each other forever and he knows this and knows I will bend to his charm. I know exactly what’s on your mind I think as we look at each other knowingly.

Aside from his bright blue eyes that hold me to the spot he has the must luxuriant hair, some would call it salt and pepper: a mix of gray and brown with some fair and blond all mixed in.  None of this gives away his pedigree.

AH here we go. The final assault has begun. He has stood up now and stretching in the rays of the sun as the burst through the window making him look ethereal and powerful.

After stretching he walks lazily towards me. He is in no hurry. He knows he will win the battle of wills , as he usually does. I try to look away and feign nonchalance, but he is too deep in my heart to ever say no.

As he gets closer he maintains eye contact forbidding me to look away, but look away I do , momentarily, as he jumps up on my lap purring.

At this time every afternoon when I have my cuppa and biscuit he knows I will give in to his wish for a saucer of milk, a squirt of cream or a few savoury nibbles.  That’s what has been on his mind since I put the kettle on.

I saved this young man from certain death when I found him by the bins naked and in need just a few years back, and now I am his. His dad, his mum, and HE – He is my baby.

The vet knows him as Max – we called him that as our house as to maximum capacity with four-legged friends when I brought him home. But now we call him Sprout -for that is just what he was when we first knew him, a hairless little sprout of life.

13.04.2013 - Garden (2)

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BLURRY

This is the third episode of a story

the previous part of which is told HERE

=====          =====          =====          ======

Lindsey wasn’t happy, but it seemed that a simply part of her  cautious nature. ever since she had been a little girl she had seen the glass half empty and here she was once again finding fault and seeing the worst in people.

“But Mum, he’s half your age, what will people back home think?” Lindsey was trying to keep calm but was having trouble reining in her feelings.

“They’ll think that I am a very lucky woman if they have any sense.” Edna smiled benignly at her daughter. “And besides I have had enough of worrying what others think, especially those who hide behind their net curtains with little minded opinions. This is my life, Lindsey, and it’s about time I live did as I saw fit.”

“Come on , Liz, back me up.” Lindsey looked at her sister to drum up some support.

“Sorry Linds, you’re on your own here. Have you seen him? He is one fit guy. Good on you, Mum. If I was you I’d be doing the same. He is gorgeous and clearly dotes on you. Age is nothing. He’s right for Mum, Linds, and we should be happy for her.”

“Liz, what are you talking about? Both you and Mum’s visions are blurry. You’ve both been blinded by the man’s good looks, his charm or maybe simply by the money Mum is now rolling in.” Lindsey voiced her opinions.

“How dare you, madam. My vision is far from Blurry. I’ve never seen more clearly.” Edna pulled herself up in her chair. “My vision is clearer than it ever was before we knew that picture was worth a bob or two. Since then everything has been clarity and light. For the first time in years I feel I have control of my life and I know what I’m doing.”

After having sold the pointillist masterpiece at auction for what was a record figure Edna had felt freer than she had ever before. She was sure she was seeing things more clearly than ever before.

“It is you with the blurred vision,” Edna continued sternly. “Blurred by greed and envy. Can’t you see how happy I am? Can’t you just accept?”

“Greed? Envy? Accept?” Lindsey stood up and turned towards the window, turning her back on her mother and her sister. She looked out at the incredible view from her mum’s new home. Just outside the landscaped garden looked amazing. The beds tended with care and the lawns perfectly manicured sloped down to the golden beach which was edged by the perfectly blue Mediterranean Sea. Lindsey could understand why her mum had bought this place after just a day on the island. It was a clear blue day but Lindsey’s view was blurred, not by her active imagination but by the tears that were building up in her eyes and spilled gently down her cheeks. Her mother’s words had stung her. “Mum? How could you say such things. I only want the best for you. I don’t like the idea of you being shacked up with some gigolo who could rob you blind and break your heart all at once.”

“So he’s okay to maintain my garden, serve my meals, and look after your children while you’re here having a go at me, but he’s not good enough to keep me warm at night. Perhaps you’d like it better if he was just a one night stand, a moment of passion to be forgotten?” Edna replied.

The subject of their discussion, Carlos, was on the beach with Lindsey’s two sons and her sister Liz’s son and daughter. Edna could see them from where she was sitting. They were having fun playing beach volleyball. Simply seeing him there, in his shorts with the sunlight reflecting off the seawater caught in the hair on his chest and legs, playing with her grandchildren she realised just how much she cared for him and what a lucky woman she as to have found a second chance after losing her husband so many years previously.

Liz had seen where her mum’s gaze had landed. “Lindsey can’t you see how happy mum is now? Don’t you think she deserves some happiness with a man that makes her happy in so many ways, and really seems to care for her too?

“But…” Lindsey started to say.

“But nothing,” her younger sister interrupted. “You may not remember, or even know the full truth of it, but when you met Joseph Dad was set against you too being together, even though you were already living together when he met him for the first time.”

“That was so different,” Lindsey countered.

“Different why? Dad thought Joseph was there to take advantage of you. He was sure he simply wanted a British passport,. but mum spoke up for him and you. It wasn’t different at all. If dad hadn’t listened then you wouldn’t have had such an easy time with Joseph, and those two children playing down there on the beach may never heave existed. So tell me why is it so different? Because it’s our mum?” Liz was passionate about protecting her mum’s right to be with Carlos.

“But mum’s out here on her own, What if he just wants her money and is off once he’s set up? We’ll be back in England unable to do anything,” Lindsey was finding it difficult to accept the situation at all.

“I think mum can look after herself, and from what I’ve seen Carlos looks after her much better than our dad ever did. I’m not saying he was a bad man, because he wasn’t, but he was a different generation. His generation though they were to pampered by their wives. It seems to me, mum has reversed the situation here.”

“Enough, enough,” Edna interjected. “I’ve heard enough. I asked you both to come out here, because I wanted you to be happy for me. I wanted you to share my joy. I wanted to share my joy with you. I want to share something really important with you now. Carlos has taken the kids down to the beach so I could tell you something.”

“Oh mum, yes?” Liz said, her eyes sparkling. She had a good idea what her mum was about to say.

“Yes,” Edna confirmed.

“Are you too talking code?” Lindsey felt left out.

“He’s asked to make an honest woman of you?” Liz checked she was right.

“Yes, he has, and what’s more I’ve said yes, a huge damned yes if you must know.” Edna told her daughters happily.

Lindsey turned back round from the window looking at her mum undisguised disbelief in her eyes.

22 - blurry-sunset

 

The next episode of Edna’s tale is here:

FAVE THING TO DO ON A SUNDAY

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FIRE

‘Fire in my belly,’ that’s what brought me into this infernal war. I had an overwhelming desire to dive in, right wrongs and see the downtrodden masses lifted up. These were my great aspirations. By joining the Blue Guard I thought that I could make a difference. I was young enough and foolish enough to believe that the world would be changed by my attentions,. Now I feel I am neither young nor foolish. The ravages of war have stolen my youth  and the harshness of the things I have seen have removed any foolishness that was previously part of my character.

The first year of my war, as I tend to think of it now, for I joined the fighting when the war was already two years old, was not filled with the fighting I expected. It was filled with learning the art of warfare and fighting for the equipment necessary to go into the fray.  In those days the fire in my belly was raging, and I thought it could never be extinguished, at least not until the rights had been wronged and the politicians brought to count for their misdemeanors   In those days I was full of grand illusions. I believed in the creation of a free nation, free from the tyranny that discriminated, punished and controlled. I was ready to do anything for the cause of freedom, and if that meant giving my life for the cause then so be it. I was ready to give it everything I had.

After eighteen months of training and  waiting for the call to the front I was less enamoured with the politics of warfare. It seemed that greed was more important than the cause. I understood that without money supplies would not be forthcoming, but money was being siphoned off and going to the upper echelons of the army rather than adding to the cause’s funds. The corruption I joined to fight against was rampant in the army I was part of. When the call to the front eventually came I was relieved to be moving from the wings to centre stage in the theatre of war.

The first few days in the trenches were educational. Despite being in a tropical country the trenches we were stationed in were cold and wet. The food rations were minimal, and water was scarce, except as dirty muddy stuff we splashed through as we wandered around. During those first days there was little action. It was the front line but the other side were as keen to rejoin the battle as our commanding officers were.

Within a month of being at the front I was disillusioned with almost everything that was happening. I was not the only one. Our commanding Officer was unjust and corrupt. He was a hard man who listened to no-one, and believed in nothing, except his own power. He was despised by all our platoon, with a manner that in no way encouraged loyalty from his troops. Talk in the trenches was verging on the treasonable and those caught bad-mouthing the officers and the regime were soon weeded out and found themselves in front of a firing squad if the case proved against them, and invariably it was.  For me dawn and the order ‘Fire’ were  becoming synonymous.

Eventually we got the order and took the battle to the enemy. Fighting was bloody and disastrous. We were under-equipped and unprepared for ‘going over the top’. During the first day of true battle I saw more than half my platoon disappear forever in the mud and wet of the battlefield. By day five the desertions had begun. Morale was low, and the continuance of the dawn firing squads, now for deserters, pushed our humour lower and lower.  Trials did not exist . If the commanding Officer thought you were a deserter you were lined up and summarily shot.

The fire in my belly fizzled out at this time and soon turned to discomfort. It wasn’t long before I’d had enough and wondered why I’d ever signed up. I recognised that my ideals had been naive and even considered deserting, but still lived in hope of change and turning my country round.

My lowest moment came the night I was informed that I was to be part of the detail to make up the firing squad.  My heart sank to my boots. I couldn’t see how I could ever shoot one, or more of my fellow soldiers. I spent the night in turmoil. Our commanding Officer who as by now the most hated man called our band together and told us we were to make a line in front of the barn wall which formed part of our front-line headquarters as soon as dawn broke. The deserters were to be lined up in front of us and we were to shoot on the command from him to fire, aiming for the men’s hearts.

My firing squad detail spent an uneasy night in the barn. Although our quarters were drier and warmer than normal because of our special morning duty none of us were happy or comfortable.  Lying awake we spoke of what was to happen at first light and how abhorrent the task before us was. During the night we hatched a plan, a plan that could change the course of our war one way or the other.

At dawn we were marched out as planned. Our commanding officer stood slightly forward to our right, stiff and uncompromising, ready to give the order. Five men were marched out in front of us. We knew that these were the first of three groups to be brought before us that morning. We were expected to shoot dead fifteen of our comrades. My heart beat madly as I riased my rifle to await the order. I was shaking and breathing deeply.

“Fire,” came the order from our commanding Officer. At that moment we turned as one to face him and each pulled our triggers aiming at his heart.  As he collapsed to the floor we knew we had changed the course of our war forever. We knew we had done the right thing and that eventually our country would one day be free again.

21 - fire

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BUTTON

Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is Button, and I am a chocolate Labrador.

When I was very young I didn’t have a name and spent time running round a farm with my doggie brothers and sisters. When I was six weeks old I was taken by a loving human family and they gave me the name of Button, which is a nice name I think, don’t you? It does seem to suit me.

When I left my mum, and brothers and sisters I was quite sad for a while. I missed cuddling up at night with other furry bodies, and missed the licks my mum gave me every day, but I soon got used to my new family and realised that they loved me just as much. It wasn’t long before I as good as forgot my doggie family and come to think of the humans as my only family. Sometimes when we were out walking we would bump into one of my brothers or sisters with their new human family. It was then that I remembered them as we greeted each other in the usual, bottom sniffing fashion. This was something that humans never got used to, but for us it was very normal.

My human family was Ted, Rosa and baby Susie. When I joined their family Susie was just a year old, and we soon became the best of friends, despite her being even more clumsy than me.  They also had a black cat, who at first I was scared of, but we soon became the best of friends. I often used to share my bed at night with Fang, for that was her name. Sharing my bed with her was comforting after no longer having my other family there. Like I said, at first I didn’t know my name, as I didn’t really have one on the farm. It was only because Ted and Rose would repeat it over and over as they patted their legs that I gradually learnt that it was me they were talking to and that my name was Button.  All that seems so long ago now. Ahh happy memories.  Apparently they called me button because of my big brown button nose.

The family were very kind to me and fed me very well, which was good, as eating was one of the things I enjoyed doing the most. When they weren’t looking I used to steal Fang’s food, but as she was much older than me she didn’t seem to mind. I really loved food so much. I remember once when Rose left some cheese out on the counter, so close to my nose that I couldn’t resist. Luckily for me the phone rang and Rose went off to answer it. There was my opportunity. I snaffled the whole block quickly. When Rose came back from her phone call she was a bit confused as she couldn’t remember if she had got the cheese out or not. When she realised that she had and it must have been taken by me I got a good scolding, but that was OK. I really enjoyed the cheese and a little scolding from my mum wasn’t that bad a price to pay.

My eating habits were often a concern for my family. Ted once found me tidying up the cat’s litter tray and told me that he thought I was the grossest thing he could ever imagine. Of course I was hurt by his words. Often humans think we don’t understand what you are saying. We may not get all the words but we always get the meaning of what you are saying.  I just thought it was a natural thing to do. Humans really do miss out on some of the most nutritious snacks simply because they can’t think out of the box.

After I had been with Ted, Rose and  Susie for a few weeks I was taken off to doggie school. That is where they tried to teach me some of their rules, but it was also a place where I met some of my lifelong friends. There was Barnie, the Saint Bernard. He was a great hulk of a thing but such a sweetie. Alexandra was a poodle who was very intelligent, but not as fast as me, and occasionally she could be a bit snooty.  Dannie the dachshund was a fun character, but sadly he didn’t stay the course. Anyway it was a fun time where we played the game the humans wanted and got some terrific reward for doing so.  When the training course had finished some of us still met up occasionally in the local park when our humans went walking with us.

The first few years with Ted, Rose and Susie were great fun. Susie and I played together most of the day, although sometimes she was a little rough I loved her with all my being. Then came the time for her to go to training school too. But she was away all day, so I was left with no-one to play with, and at times Rose got annoyed when I tried to get her to play. She often said she was too busy, but I could see that she was really too tired. Some days when all Rose’s chores were done we’d sit in the garden together under the cherry tree. She’d sit on the old bench and I’d sit beside her. Almost without thinking she used to tickle my ears and tell me how it was between her and Ted.

Although Susie was at her training school for a lot of the day whenever she came home we’d play together again and go for long walks. During the summer she didn’t have to go to the school for the longest time and we’d spend days out together running down to the river, and sometimes we’d even swim in it together, although she always told me to promise not to tell Ted and Rose about it later. As if I ever would.  Those summer days were wonderful times. Often Susie’s friend Angeline would join us and bring her dog, Panther along too. Panther was a Black Labrador and we got on famously. I even heard Ted say once that had he not had the snip he would have l0ved to have bred us.  What a crazy idea, me  with Panther’s puppies.

When I was five I did have a bit of a wild time, sanctioned by Ted and Rose, with Jet, another chocolate Lab.  They took me to somewhere called a stud farm, where I was introduced to Jet. He smelt so good. He was a good looking man and every inch the stud. This liaison ended up with me having his puppies. In all I had six babies. The giving birth wasn’t much fun, especially with so many humans there watching and cheering me on, but the couple of months I got to spend with my children were wonderful.  When the children were about six weeks old Ted and Rose came and talked to me as parents to parent. They told me that it wouldn’t be possible for all the children to stay living with us, but that they had found caring homes for every one of them except the smallest, who they had called Slip, because ‘he was a wee slip of a thing’ they said.  Slip would be living with us, which was a comfort, but the others were picked up by their new human families one by one. Naturally I was very sad to see them leave, and secretly cried myself to sleep some nights, but I know it was the right thing to do. I still see some of them now, and even their children. Yes I am a proud grandmother.

Living with the family had so many benefits. The kept me healthy with regualr trips to the vet’s office. At first I didn’t like to go there. The smells at his office weren’t all good smells, but little by little I got to trust him, especially when he fed me a chewy stick on each visit. However neither my humans, nor the vet, could keep me healthy forever. When I was fourteen years old I started to leave puddles. I just couldn’t control myself. I was so embarrassed, especially when I wet in my bed one night. Slip was worried about me, and tried to accept the blame, but Ted and Rose knew who the culprit was.

Ted and Rose were of course very concerned, as they knew that the wetting everywhere was out of character for me, so they took me to see the vet. He checked me over with all the usual tests and even took some blood, which wasn’t my favourite ever experience. After that visit Ted had to give me a tablet twice a day. They tasted terrible so I did anything I could not to take them, but in the end Ted usually won the battle.  Afterwards he’d sit with me awhile and tell me how much he loved me.

The pills helped for a while, but gradually I lost weight and felt weaker and weaker. Another trip to the vet’s was booked urgently. Before we left in Ted’s car I said goodbye to Slip. I knew what was coming. As I sat on the vet’s table he told Ted and Rose that there really was nothing he could do, and that they should let me go kindly.  Needless to say there were many tears as they made their decision.

Telling me how much they loved me and that they were doing everything for the best they allowed the vet to give me a strong sedative, from which I knew I wasn’t going to wake up. My last vision on earth as I drifted to sleep were the beautiful but sad faces of my humans as they said goodbye.

But enough of that now. Enough of the tears. As soon as I left my aching body my spirit, for yes dogs do have spirits contrary to some unkind books saying that we don’t,  flew and came to where I am telling you my story now.  I am now in a place called ‘Home’. This is the place where all spirits start and end, a place where we all dwell. It is a timeless place full of happiness.  It is a place that is pain-free and formless. From time to time I see all my old friends and we have great times together.  Some of my children are already here too, not having had such a good or long life as I was lucky enough to have. The old postman from our street sometime passes by and we have a chase too.  Fang, my humans’ old cat is here and we still spend a lot of time together. My time on earth as Button may have been over a long time by now but I am still here, happy and waiting for my human family, and the rest of my children, to come join me.

19- Button

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HELLO!

“Hello, and welcome to ‘Hello’, an exciting new game show all about you.” The presenter beamed his Hollywood smile at the camera

“What’s this you’re watching now, Marge?” Ian slumped into the big old armchair with his sandwiches on a large plate balanced on his belly and his cup of tea on the chair’s arm.

“Shh, and we’ll find out,” marge replied slightly impatiently.

“Today we are going to be saying ‘Hello’ to members of the public in their normal daily wear, or sometimes behind screens, only visible as silhouettes.  Our panel of experts will then have to try and tell us something about the lives of these volunteers, but they can only ask one question each.” The presenter continued to smile inanely at the camera.

“Ahh, that’s why you’re watching isn’t it? It’s old whatshisname  Jamie Taylor, the one that you want, oh, oh,oh,” Ian commented through a mouthful of sandwich.

“Shh, or we’ll miss what’s going on,” Marge’s irritation was clearly shining through her words now as she scowled at Ian.

“And tonight our panel of experts is, firstly the woman you either love or hate, that well-known newspaper columnist;Dame Maggie Scooter, and to her right we have no other that Peter Hills, the number one  TV presenter, after yours truly of course, and finally to Peter’s right we have actress and comedienne Jean Passmore, whose roles include Daisy from Rushmore’s Dalliance and Rosie Bedlow in Admiral Hotel.”

“Gawd, but he loves the sound of his own voice doesn’t he?” Ian commented, drawing another scowl from Marge.

“Kettle, Pot?” Marge commented back succinctly.

“I dunno what you see in him, when you’ve got me just across the room,” Ian reached out to grab Marge’s hand.

Moving her hand out of striking distance Marge pulled a face at Ian, “Do you really need to ask?”

“You do know he’s gay,don’t you?” Ian asked. “No good to you in the bedroom, which is just where you want him.”

“Just gossip, and even if he was gay I’m sure he’d be no worse that someone not a million miles away. Now shut up and listen:”

Stung by Marge’s last remake Ian sat back and watched as he tucked into the second of his cheese sandwiches.

On screen the first contestant had been introduced as Michael. The panel had already asked him two questions which Ian and Marge had missed because of their squabbling. 

“Does your job involve food?” Peter Hills asked. 

“I bet he works in McD’s” Ian said derisively. “Bit of a paunch there matey” He said to the screen.

“You’re on a roll tonight aren’t you?” Marge said sarcastically.  “He’s a Maitre D  in a smart restaurant, if you ask me.”

“If I’m not mistaken you work in one of the best restaurants in the centre of town?”  Jean Passmore tried to  sneak in another question. 

The contestant smiled, almost giving the game away.

“Are you asking, or saying?” Jamie Taylor asked.

“Just thinking aloud,” Jean Passmore said, drawing laughter from the audience.

“Yes, I am going to say definitively that you work in Johnson’s in Aviemore Road,” Peter Hills made his guess. “I think you are a Maitre d’ there. “

“I think you’re a chef,” Jean Passmore added. 

“And I think you are a cafe owner,” Dame Maggie concluded.

“SO, Michael, tell us, is anyone right?” Jamie Taylor pushed the programme along.

“I am indeed the head Maitre D at Johnson’s -Peter has it right.” 

“And so has Marge,” Ian announced, “You go girl. How did you know that? We missed most of the questions and clues.”

“Ways and means, ways and means,” Marge said enigmatically.

The next two contestants were brought on one after each other and each time Marge guessed their professions, or details of their personal lives each time.

“You are rocking it tonight, girl,” Ian said. “This isn’t a repeat is it?” Ian asked

“You heard him say it’s a new programme,” Marge replied, “Now shh they’re about to bring on the last contestant.”

“And our final contestant tonight” Jamie Taylor announced, “Is Marge from Watford.”

Ian almost dropped hsi tea as Marge appeared as large as life on the screen, whilst Marge simply smiled her knowing smile.

18 - hello

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BUSY

This is Episode Twelve in the ‘FEAR’ series 

The previous episode is  HERE

————————

John settled into the back of the taxi and felt his body relax for the first time since he had left the house what felt like an age ago. In truth it had only been a few hours since he had received that phone call. The effects of having been on the go for so long were catching up with him. In the warmth of the car his tiredness started to take over and he slowly dozed off. Looking in the rear-view mirror the driver noticed that John had fallen asleep and smiled to himself.

Some time later John awoke with a start. He looked out of the cab window and realised he had no idea where they were. He remembered that he had asked the driver to take him to the Admiral Hotel in Waterloo Road and assumed that they would pass through the centre of town. John’s thinking being that as the centre was  normally busy he would be safe. John didn’t recognise the street they were in at all and his sense shot up to full alert once more.

“Where are we?” he asked the diver as calmly as possible.

“There’s been an accident so we’ve had to take a diversion round here,” the driver told him. John thought that his answer was plausible but was still uncomfortable.

“Are we nearly there?” John still didn’t trust the driver completely.

“Normally we would have been thee already, but we’ve doubled back a bit, so it’s taking longer than normal. It won’t be long now.” The driver honked his horn, braked and shook his fist as someone ran across the road in front of the taxi startling John. The driver shouted at the pedestrian in his own language that John  couldn’t place.

“Some persons are so stupid here,” the driver said, turning to John and shaking his head.

“Where are you from?” John asked.

“Now I am from the east of town, where property is affordable, but originally I am from Afghanistan, but that doesn’t make me a terrorist, OK?” It sounded like the driver had given this speech many times before.

John wondered if he had picked up on the mistrust that John felt. “No of course not, have you been here long?” he asked. He wasn’t really interested but felt he had upset the driver and wanted to smooth things over, although he couldn’t  give a reasonable answer why he wanted to do that.

“Eight years it will be next month. We, my wife and me, came here eight years ago in May,”

“Would you eve think about going back?” John was slightly interested now.

“Would you live there?” the driver asked. “Life expectancy is at an all time low. If you don’t get killed by your own kind then you can expect to die from so called collateral damage. Life is worth nothing in my country. Maybe some day if things change I will return. ”

“I’m sorry,” John understood how the man felt. He too felt like his options were limited and that he was in an unsafe zone.

John took a moment to check his watch. he had only been asleep a few minuted before the memory of the scream had woken him. He considered the driver’s explanation for why they were where they were and thought that he may well be telling the truth. He pulled his bag towards him. It felt like that was all he had in the world at that moment. In doing so he noticed that the lights on the door handles were red. he was locked in. John’s heart started beating a little faster again as he realised that even if the driver was not taking him to where he wanted to go he had no means of escape.

The driver turned right at the next set of traffic lights and the street suddenly became busy. The road was jam-packed with cars and there were several people on the street despite the late hour.

“Kicking out time.” the driver said over his shoulder by way of explanation. “Is always busy down here at this time. A good place to get a fare.” He smiled at John in the rear-view mirror revealing teeth that were in need of some work.

John suddenly realised where they were. He recognised the  street. The Admiral Hotel was only a couple of blocks away John realised with relief.

The road was so busy that the taxi didn’t move for two to three minutes, and when it did move it only went a few metres along the road.

“With this weather I wouldn’t be surprised if thee wasn’t another accident down there. They’re not spending much on keeping the road s safe and it’s not normally this busy,” the driver suggested.

“I could easily walk from here, If you let me out,” John told the driver.

“You’ll freeze out there, mate. Just look at those that are walking. Not a happy place. You might as well wait in here with me.”The driver eyed John in the rear-view mirror again, smiling and showing off his gapped teeth.

“It’s not that far and I’m supposed to be meeting someone, and I’m late already.” John lied

“They most probably will be late too,” the driver countered. “You might as well stay in the warm.”

“All the same, I think the walk will wake me up,” John held up the fare that showed on the meter in front adding a generous ten pounds.

Noting the large tip the driver quickly opened the diving window and grabbed the money without further argument.

John looked down. The light on the doors was still red. “The doors?” he said indicating that he was still locked in.

“Sorry mate,” The driver said clicking a button that turned off the lights and released the rear doors. “I still think you’re going to freeze,”

“Thanks.” John grabbed his bag and jumped out of the taxi. IT was freezing outside. John pulled up his collar against the cold and set off down the street. Sure enough two blocks down the road there was an accident. The driver had been right and hadn’t been any threat after all. The roads were particularly slippery that night due to the previous snow and they had frozen over s the temperature had plummeted with nightfall. John held on tightly to his bag as he navigated a safe path along the street.

‘Busy taxi drivers, busy roads, busy night,’ John thought to himself as he put his head down and trudged forward. The wind was blowing strongly down this part of the street and it too k all his strength to battle against it towards what he hoped wouldn’t be a busy hotel.

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Filed under Thriller/Mystery

YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR

It was Monday morning break time. Sally, Christine, Bernadette and Anna were all crowded round Maria at the far end of the playground, far away from the main school building. They were all interested in the new fortune-teller that Maria had made over the weekend. Such things were not approved of by the strict nuns who ran the school, which was why they were as far away from the school building as they could be. Maria was explaining about the fortune-teller.

“I made it on Saturday after seeing one on the television,” Maria told her friends proudly  holding out the fortune-teller for them to see.

“It’s beautiful,” Christine said admiring Maria’s handiwork. Maria was the group leader and anything short of admiration of anything she made was rarely tolerated.

“I know,” Maria replied, “And it’s not just any ordinary fortune-teller. It’s the real thing. When I’d finished it I went with my mum to the supermarket, but instead of going inside I told her I’d wait in the car. But what I really did was went and found Old Clara.”

“Old Clara!” Bernadette exclaimed, with a whistle. Old Clara was a homeless old woman that lived under the bridge near the supermarket. She had a reputation of being a witch.

“You didn’t?” gasped Sally. “She’s dangerous and could have cast a spell on you or something if she felt like it.”

“Sally don’t be silly. She is a witch but she’s not dangerous.  Anyway I took her some of my mum’s pie that was left over from dinner. That made her happy, and she cast a spell over the fortune-teller for me. So you see it really can tell your fortune.”

“No way!” Sally chipped in again.

“Way,” Maria replied, “Shh, here comes Sister Agnes.”

Sister Agnes passed the girls slowly as she eyed them suspiciously. “Girls,” she said by way of greeting.

“Sister Agnes,” the girls replied in unison.

“Are you hiding something, Maria Ablelove?” Sister Agnes asked as she stopped and turned to star at the girls with her steely gaze.

“No, Sister Agnes, of course not,” maria replied as sweetly as she could.

“Then take your hands from behind your back and show them to me.” Sister Agnes smiled almost triumphantly.

The other girls looked worried. They knew Maria had hidden the fortune-teller behind her back and if Sister Agnes saw it they would be in trouble for playing with it.

Maria slowly withdrew her hands from behind her back. They were empty. Maria smiled innocently.

“Very Good.” Sister Agnes turned and was back on her tour of the playground satisfied the girls were not up to anything.

As she walked away Sally held her hands out inquiringly. Maria simply put her finger to her lips and nodded in Sister Agnes’s direction.  Once she thought the nun was out of earshot she smiled and pulled the fortune-teller from behind her back. “I stuffed it in the waistband of my knickers,” she said laughing. “So who’s going to go first?”

“Me, me,”  Anna said as she pushed to the front of the group.

“OK, what’s your favourite colour?”  Maria asked her, holding the fortune-teller forward.

“Magenta,” Anna replied.

The other girls burst out laughing, while Maria had a very serious look on her face. “Anna, you can only chose one of the colours shown on here.”

“Oh sorry, but magenta is my favourite colour. So Red, then.” Anna had coloured up and her face was almost as red as the square on the fortune-teller.

“R – E – D.” Maria said moving the fortune-teller first one way then the other with each letter. “What’s your favourite number?”

This time Anna was careful to look at the fortune-teller and find out which numbers were available before she said making her choice, “Three,”

“One, Two, Three,” maria said moving the fortune-teller back and forth again.

“OK, six or nine?” She said as she opened up the fortune-teller to reveal Anna’s future.

“Six,” Anna said. She as slightly nervous now what the fortune-teller might tell her. Despite being a good Catholic girl she was still superstitious and was worried that Maria might have a charmed fortune-teller in her hands and that her fortune was about to be told for real.

“You will marry twice and have two children and a dog,” Maria said seriously.

“I’m Catholic. I can’t marry twice,” Anna said, “It’s just not possible. I will marry once and for love.”

The other girls laughed. They weren’t sure if they believed the fortune-teller was charmed or not, but they all wanted to see what it would predict for them.

“Me next,” Said Sally enthusiastically.

“OK, So what’s your favourite colour?” Maria asked beginning the whole process again.  At the end of the questions Sally was told that she would marry someone from far away and go to live in a foreign land.

Bernadette was next. The fortune-teller told of untold riches for her, but no romance.

Christine said she didn’t want to have a go, but suggested she could do it for Maria. At first Maria was reluctant to let anyone else take charge of her charmed device, but gave in after the other girls carried on pestering her. Maria’s favourite colour was blue and her favourite number seven. Christine told her that she would marry a rich man and run her own company.

“Come on Christine. have a go. It’s just a bit of fun really,” Anna said.

“I don’t know.” Christine replied, handing the fortune-teller back to Maria.

The other girls tried to get Christine to join in, but she wasn’t keen at all.

“Well I know your favourite colour is green,” Maria said counting off the letters and moving the fortune-teller back and forth.

“No, Stop,please,” Christine begged worriedly.

“Too late now, the charm has started…” Maria told her. “What’s your favourite number?”

Christine didn’t say anything. She wanted to run away, but knew that would alienate her from the girls she loved more than anything.

Sally looked into the fortune-teller. “Six, there. Six, I know that’s your favourite number. I remember it from when we did that thing ages ago with Sister Dorothy,”

“OK, Six” Maria counted the numbers as she moved the fortune-teller.

“And look six is still visible, so six again,” Sally said. She hugged Christine to her. “It’s just a game, Chris, and we’ve chosen your future.”

Christine shrugged and pulled away.  Although she hadn’t really taken part,  on one hand she was keen to her what the fortune-teller had in store for her while on the other she was scared it might just come true.

As Maria opened the fortune-teller she looked slightly taken aback.

“What does it say?” Sally and Bernadette asked together.

“It , er, It says…. you will have a long and happy life by the sea, with a wonderful husband and five children,” Maria eventually told them falteringly.

“Phew I thought you were going to say something horrid,” Christine said with relief, “But five children. I don’t think so.”

The other girls giggled nervously. They had talked about making babies before and it all sounded too gross to them.

“OK, let’s promise to meet in twenty years on this date to see how true it all is,” Sally suggested.

As soon as  the bell went to signal the restart of lessons the girls made a pact to meet. Walking back to the school building Maria held back and signalled to Sally to do the same. The other girls were rushing on ahead giggling about what their futures might hold.

“It didn’t say that for Christine,” Maria confided in Sally, “But you can’t tell anyone. Promise?”

“I promise,” Sally said solemnly. “What did it say?”

“It said ‘you will not live longer that your thirtieth birthday’ and I know for a fact that I didn’t write that in there. I’m scared, Sally. Do you think it might be charmed?  I mean really charmed?”

Sally thought Maria was pulling her leg so simply agreed with her. “Wow, Maria. I guess it must be. Don’t worry though we’ll all be back in twenty years to find out ….”

whatsyourfavecolour

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Filed under Kids stuff, Oddities