Wish

Eddy lay on his bed rubbing his eyes, still in disbelief.

Just moments before he had been sleeping, albeit fitfully. He had been woken by a rumbling that had entered his dream and shaken his bed. He couldn’t remember the dream but he could remember the shaking. It had felt like a train rushing past at high speed. Eddy thought that perhaps there had been an earthquake, but in deepest Essex?

Suddenly aware of a presence Eddy leaned over and turned on his bedside light.  He grabbed his glasses and as he settled them on the end of his nose his room came into clear view.

“Who the hell are you? How did you get in here? And what do you want? Jeez.”  The questions spilled from his mouth.

“You were dreaming.”  The strange man at the foot of the bed told him. “May I sit?” he asked gesturing to a chair to the side.

“So?” Eddy could feel his words were still slightly slurred having been woken so suddenly.  He wasn’t truly sure he was awake. With sarcasm in his voice he nodded, “Yes, feel free.”

“Thank you.” the man said and sat. He was dressed in a strange checked suit and was holding a small document case. He looked like a lawyer or solicitor but the suit said he wasn’t.  Eddy didn’t think he was a threat, unless the document case held a colt weston. “As I said, you were dreaming, and in your dream attracting.”

“Uh?” Eddy grunted. He took his glasses off and wiped them on the edge of his t-shirt before carefully replacing them on his nose.

The man leaned forward and started to explain. He told Eddy that he was creating an energy of attraction as he slept and dreamt, which had called him there from his dimension. He told Eddy that he was part of Eddy’s wish, of a deep desire he was manifesting while asleep.  He told Eddy that he was there to fulfill his wish.

Eddy pinched himself hard on the arm. “Ouch!” He exclaimed.

“You’re no longer dreaming, ” the man told Eddy. He had a voice that was deeply soothing and spoke slowly. “I think it was my arrival that woke you.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” Eddy couldn’t believe the situation.

“I am a most truthful one, and… would your mother approve of such language,” the man replied.

Eddy looked slightly embarrassed.  “But how can you…?” he asked.

“… complete your impossible wish?” the man finished his question.

“Yes,” Eddy now sat upright against his pillows. He truly was awake.

“That is for us to know. Your wish will be granted but afterwards you will not remember, but it will satisfy your yearnings. Will you trust me?” The man was standing holding out a hand to Eddy.

“But….” Eddy stammered. “How, where, and for starters what do I call you? say Aladdin and I’m out of here.”

“Desmond,” replied the man, allowing himself a gentle laugh. “Aladdin was a tale. I am real.”

“Desmond? Oh come on.” Eddy pulled his t-shirt down as he moved upwards against the pillows.

“Then call me Desi.” Desmond still held his hand out

“Desi, as in desire, this just gets more and more unbelievable.” Eddy shook his head.

“Inside you know it’s real and you know you created this, you know you called me. Please take my hand and we shall be off. If you have changed your mind tell me now and I shall return from whence I came, you’ll sleep and remember nothing, but your anxiety will remain.”  Desmond moved closer.

“But, I need…” Eddy began. He was going to say that he needed to dress before they went anywhere, but looking down he noticed he was already fully clothed. He looked up at Desmond.

“To save time I helped a little,” Desmond replied.

Eddy held out his hand and gingerly took Desmond’s in his. “Excellent, but Eddy,  you don’t need to hold your breath. Breathe and we will be on our way….”

07 wish

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On my plate

Last week we were invited to our good friends, Alex and Sam’s new place for dinner. We’d known them for a couple of months and had helped them move into their new place. They were friend’s of my brother’s who contacted us when they planned their move to the area. They had promised some good food, good wine and as ever amazing company and suggested that we get a cab there and back as we would probably be getting through quite a lot of their ‘wine-cupboard’, so we did.  We never like to arrive empty-handed for dinner or parties and this time was no exception. We grabbed a bottle of Aldi’s best cava and a box of those special sea-shell chocolates and set out.

On arrival Sam met us with cocktails he’d invented at a previous dinner party the two of them had given. They were quite the rocket fuel and half-jokingly I told Sam I hoped he wasn’t trying to get us drunk and engineer a foursome, a situation we had got embarrassingly caught up with before, happily not with these two. Not that they’re not attractive, it’s just I don’t like to feel coerced into group sex, and Alex was still a bit on the young side for me.

Steve joined Sam on the sofa as they discussed a recent project in which they’d both been interested. Feigning a very noticeable yawn, it wasn’t something I was interested in, I joined Alex in the kitchen for a moment.

“Something smells good,” I commented as I crossed the culinary threshold.

“That’ll be me,” Alex laughed turning round to give me a peck on the cheek. “Now get out and relax, everything is under control and I’ll be in in a minute.”

I took the hint and returned to the living room. Behind the sofa was a huge plate glass window with a view of the town and out over the ocean as far as the eye could see. I’d seen the view before when we were helping them to move in but with the darkness and twinkling lights of the town, and occasional ships passing the headland it looked spectacular. Out over the sea I could see the occasional flash of lightning.  The drizzle had started just before we arrived and was causing gentle cascades down the windows.

“Where’s Danny?” I asked. Normally their dog greeted everyone with overwhelming joy.

“She’s in her bed. Firstly because she’s wary of the coming storm, and secondly because we’re trying to keep her away from the table at mealtimes.” Sam explained.

“Awww, but it’s us and I miss her, can I go let her in?” I pleaded in my best whiney voice.

“Alex will have a fit, but it’s fine with me.” Sam said.

I crept past the kitchen into the side room. Danny was sitting there wagging her tail excitedly, but was clearly under orders that she was obeying not to move.

I went closer and on my haunches scragged her neck and back. She was in heaven. “Come on girl, tonight I’ve got you a get out of jail free pass.” I said as I encouraged her back to the living room to sit beside me on the other sofa.

At just that moment Alex came from the kitchen bearing a tray of delightfully smelling vol-au-vents. “I wondered how long it would be before she got in here.”

“I hope you’re referring to my furry friend here and not me,” I lisped back, to shared laughter.  I tipped my glass in salutation. Sam rushed to fill it. The cava we had brought was going down a treat.

“Danny, you’re a disgrace, but just for tonight you can stay.” Alex told the dog who almost leapt forward at the mention of her name to see what was on the tray that had just been left on the coffee table, “But none of those for you, young lady. Your diet isn’t over yet.”

I winked at Danny and helped myself to a couple of the tasty morsels, slipping half of one of them to her. “Tell on me and our lifelong friendship is over,” I whispered.

“I saw that,” Sam also whispered from the other sofa. “But it looks like you got away with it this time,” he nodded in Alex’s direction with a half wink.

“Starters in two minutes,” came a call from the kitchen. “Take your places for a gastronomic feast.”

We all got up to move and as we did so there was an almighty clap of thunder. Danny dashed past us all and cowered under the table. Although I loved a good storm, I hated how it affected some animals. I slipped onto the chair closest to the dog and stroked her head hoping to calm her some.

“I hope you like this,” Alex said laying an incredible salad before us. “I know it’s not quite the weather, but I figured you wouldn’t mind as it is a little different to the usual green salad as served at ‘Tate’s’.”  The reference was to a cafe we all used from time to time, that had probably the least imaginative menu, meaning salad was almost always a foregone conclusion there.

Once Alex had joined us, for a few moments all that could be heard was the clattering of knives and forks on the plates, and an occasional light rumble of thunder, though nothing like the thunderclap of a few moments before. Danny had her head pressed hard against my leg.  Conversation gradually started again as we talked about the town and the new opportunities we were all making the most of.

Once we’d finished Alex cleared the plates, refusing any help, and returned them to the kitchen. “The main will be ready in about five.” we were told.

Sam  recharged our glasses. We were now on a delicious Chablis, apparantly a good vintage bottle, as if I would ever be able to tell.

As promised the main course arrived about five minutes later.  Sam had joined Alex in the kitchen  for a moment to return with our plates which he served with a flourish. I looked down at my plate and my heart sank. On my plate was a piece of meat that I neither could nor wanted to identify.  I looked at Steve and got a mirrored expression back. I raised my eyebrows. He shrugged almost imperceptably.  I was sure we had told them we were vegetarian. We’d eaten together at Tate’s a few times; hadn’t they noticed? On my plate was a veritable nightmare. I had no idea of how to get out of this embarrassing situation. Trying to sneak it to Danny bit by bit was a possibility, but I couldn’t eat anything on the plate. It was all in contact with the meat.

Seconds later Alex followed Sam with two more plates. “You two look like you’ve lost a tenner and found sixpence,” he said smiling.

“Well…. ” I didn’t know what to say.

Alex looked at our plates and laughed. “Sam you got them the wrong way round,” he said.

I felt a glimmer of hope.

“Swap them over,” he told Sam, who obeyed swapping my plate for Steve’s and visa versa. Alex then placed a similar plate in front of Sam and one for himself.  “Shall we begin?” he suggested sitting down.

05 on my plate

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Inside My Home

My Home?  Still Our Home.  Always will be.
A place where inside I feel safe.  Safe to laugh, Safe to cry. Safe to be sad.
A place still full of love. I’ve never stopped and never will.
Never ‘inside my home’; always Inside OUR home.

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Skyline

Jack lay in his bed looking out at the city. Or to be more correct over it. His bedroom looked out over the London Skyline.  He knew it wouldn’t be long now. He stroked his faithful collie, Jess, who was lying beside him. Her frail body was cool against his leg. He whispered to her as he stroked her downy fur, messages of undying love.

He looked from one window to another and remarked to himself how much the skyline had changed. Back in his day there were few high-rise buildings and London looked so different. He’d grown up on a street in the East End. The house had been his parent’s before and their parents before that. His mum had told him enough times that he was lucky to have indoor facilities as she preferred to call them. The house hadn’t always been that luxurious.

His mind started to slowly spool through those old memories: playing football on the streets, learning how to smoke behind the bus stop at the end of the street; and his first foray into the sexual arena with Molly, a much older girl who taught him so much.

He’d moved into the twentieth floor when he had married Vera, early in his twenties. They’d had an amazing life together. They made a conscious decision not to have children, neither of them truly caring for little people, which was seen as strange by many as Jack had worked as a teacher for much of his life. They had always preferred children they could hand back and retreat back into their lives.

He had loved Vera with his whole being. Their wedding had been the event of the year, carefully planned by Vera as a showstopper. When she had died suddenly just five years earlier from that dreaded killer he had given up. No one really noticed that much. He could still smile in the street and talk on the phone when friends called without rousing doubts about his instability.  To all intents and purposes he had carried on despite his reduced circumstances, but escaping to be with Vera was never that far from his mind.  His family remained comfortably unaware of his situation, and the previously regular visits tailed off to nothing. Jack understood.

For a moment his mind was lucidly back in the present, stopping the spooling of the film that was unfolding. He looked through the window again at the changed skyline and all the new-fangled buildings, as he thought of them, and their new-fangled and frankly stupid names. Back in his time buildings had been named after the worthy and famous. No one in his day would have called a building the Gherkin or the Cheese-grater. St Paul’s was still over there in the distance and somewhere over the other side were the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. They were buildings to be proud of.

His mind had had enough of the dire present and returned him to his memories. He was feeling a little fuzzy now. He pulled Jess closer, knocking some of the pill packets on the floor, where they joined the broken glass. In his mind he was at a casino in Las Vegas; bright lights, Vera laughing as she won on the slots. Then they were driving down a French avenue, trees flashing by in his peripheral vision. laughter on the wind.

All a sudden his mind drew him up short as he witnessed Vera’s passing once again, much as he had so many times over the past five years. This time, though, she sat up and held her hands out to him. He slipped onto the bed beside her and into her waiting embrace as his body back in his sad flat breathed its last. Another minute change to the skyline.

Jack wasn’t found until three days later when one of his friends raised the alarm after not getting any replies to her calls or texts. The Police had broken in and on finding his body and the note propped up on the bedside table had contacted his sister. They told her he had been dead three days when they had entered the flat, that he had taken his own life and was found in bed his hand deep in his dog’s long fur. The dog had died at least a day before him. According to the note that was the final straw.

Standing before the large plate window his sister read the note again.  As she looked out over the unfamiliar skyline she cried gently wondering how things had got to where they were.

skyline

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No Filter

Although Sam was still a rookie as far as the other detectives were concerned he still liked to think he was their equal and he had just had his chance to show just how good his detective skills were.

There had been three people in the frame and he was the one who identified the right perp for the job, as he had just finished telling his wife.

While his wife was processing what Sam had told her so far she helped him to more mash, nice and buttery, just how he liked it. He sure looked please with himself she thought and had every right to do so. When a case finished and the necessity for confidentiality was over Sam liked to talk them over with Martha over dinner. She in turn was interested and enjoyed the chance to solve cases vicariously.

Dipping her fork into the pie on her plate she considered what Sam had told her so far. There must be something he hadn’t told her.

“Come on, there’s something you haven’t told me,” she leaned over and jabbed at his arm.

“Nope, that’s the case as it was until I detected the hell out of it and got our man banged to rights,” Sam told her.

“Banged to rights? You didn’t seriously just say that.” Martha laughed.

Sam smiled and winked back at her. “Come on you usually catch on quicker than this.”

“More quickly,” Martha corrected him. Even at home putting the brakes on her love to teach correct English didn’t stop.

Sam rolled his eyes and reached for his cigarettes.

“Give me another small clue before you go out for one of those,” Martha asked.

“I just did,” Sam said as he slipped out into the back yard for a smoke. He threw the pack back on the table as he stood one cigarette in hand along with his lighter.

Five minutes later he was back inside rubbing his hands together against the chill of the night air outside. “Fresh out there, now,” he commented as he filled the kettle and switched it on at the wall. “You didn’t have to wash up you know. It was my turn.” he added even though he was glad he didn’t have to do the dishes after all.

“It’s okay…” Martha started. “…It helps me focus, and besides I could watch you out the window at the same time, I got your last clue, you  know.”

“So you were spying on me as you worked it out?” Sam asked.

“Spying no, but working it out yes.” Martha looked satisfied. She waited to share her conclusions as Sam placed a cup of cocoa in front of her. “They were all smokers, you said?” Martha checked the information.

“Yep.” Sam knew she’d cracked it too.

“So two of them smoked normal?” She asked.

“Another yep, detective,” Sam cradled his cup.

“So the other smoked tipless cigarettes, which matched the cigarette found at the scene with no filter. Easy.” Martha sat back confidently.

“Exactly… You’re wasted at that school, you know, Mrs Sherlock … and do you know how I knew before the others had worked it out…?” Sam began to tell Martha the rest of his story as they sat comfortably at the kitchen table.

detective

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Window

window

Every morning I see her as I pass the grandest house on the street. It must have once been a fine mansion for local landowners with the columns and fine steps up to its front door witnessing the footsteps and breaths of the gentry of years gone-by. Now it is a mix-match of flats and duplexes, but no less grand because of that. She is always in the window, top right. She sits there reading, drinking or staring out into space. The window frames her radiance perfectly.  I can’t imagine she has ever seen me gimping past.

**********************

He passes my window every morning, and most days I see him rushing by in that cute walk-hop he has made his own. Some might see his disability as a defect, to me it shows his strength. I can’t imagine it ever limiting him. My eye was first drawn to him weeks back, soon after I moved in. He may have a mobility issue but that is negligible to the energy that surrounds him as he bustles by. Where he is headed I can only imagine. Sometimes I fancy that he looks up and sees me, but it is all in my mind. someone of his power would never notice me up here in my garret.

*************************

Back at my post behind my window I spend the day giving information about platform and train times. I sell tickets and advise people on the best ways to make the journeys on which they are embarking. Until I first noticed her I was content to sit here and see others travel. Now I have a yearning to make my own journey, a journey that includes the woman in the window. I spend spare moments imagining myself with her on a journey of exploration of each other and the world.  Empty musings: she would never agree to go anywhere with me.

**************************

Daily I turn on my laptop to start my work. Many times as windows loads my mind wanders to him again and to the fantasies of our meeting and beginning a life together. My laptop is a window to a world of dreams. I settle in to write, or at least to attempt to write.  He often interrupts my thoughts and many times I have wanted to write him into my life as I write characters into my stories. If only he would one day stop and ring my doorbell, or at least notice me up here waiting.

*******************

Walking home I have the strongest urge to climb those few steps and ring her doorbell. It is a temptation almost too strong. My footsteps halt for just a second as I half-consider the proposal in my head, but I  carry on after a glance up at the now empty but lit window. My window of opportunity has passed. My nerve never broke the chains. I couldn’t stand the rejection. It really could be the end of the line for me.

*******************

I imagine myself engineering a meeting with my mystery man as I stare out the window to the rear garden. Supper is on the stove and the smell of baking is filling the kitchen. How much would I love to bake for him, or have him cook for me? I glance down at the envelope on the table that the courier brought round this afternoon. Tomorrow I have to catch the train to London. My editor booked the tickets online and had them sent to me. I made sure she booked an early train so that I can leave the house at the time he usually passes by. Who knows perhaps tomorrow our paths will cross.

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Meeting …

I think he just smiled at me. Can I look again? Yes. Yes he smiled at me. No, no… wait, is there someone behind me he’s smiling at? I casually pretend to look all around, and especially over my shoulder.  There’s no one behind me. He must have been smiling at me.

As I turn back he starts to get up and flashing me that smile again points at the seat beside me with a ‘can I?’ look on his face. I shrug and nod. He picks up his glass and moves towards me.

Arriving at my table he carefully places his glass in front of the empty seat and holding out his hand says, “Juan Carlos.”

I grab his hand and shake it telling him my name at the same time.  His brown eyes don’t leave mine as he repeats my name back. These are the eyes of a lover, of a gentle bear of a man.

“I can?” he says pointing at the vacant chair.

“Of course … yes, … please,” I tell him thinking ‘Oh my god yes, you bet you can.’ My mind is in turmoil as I watch his muscular frame drop into the chair beside me. All the time his eyes are on me. I’d noticed him when he came into the bar, along with most of the other old queens. Dressed casually in jeans and a plain shirt he drew some stares. Of course I casually glanced, no staring from me, oh no, not I.  We were both getting a few looks now, looks of lust for him, darts of envy for me.

“I see you here many times.” he tells me in his accented English.

“Really?” I ask adjusting myself as casually as possible. He’s having quite an effect on me.

“Yes, many. But I know you don’t see me.” He picks up his drink keeping his eyes locked with mine.

“I must be blind. I don’t know how I could ever have missed you. Are you here a lot?” I ask embarrassed that he’d noticed me and I hadn’t noticed him before.

He laughs as he sets his glass down and licks an errant drop of  beer from his moustache. Did I mention he had the most amazing moustache and beard. Sitting there I also notice some ink under his shirt and not just a little hair.  “I am always here. I working here.” he interrupts my thoughts of his beard, tattoos, tongue and ….

“You’re a waiter?” I ask even more embarrassed I hadn’t noticed him. I usually notice the cute ones, and at least pay attention to the others.

“No I work in kitchen. I see you through the window.”  He points at the hatch.

It was my turn to laugh now. “That’s why I haven’t seen you.”

He joins in my laughter and caresses my knee, leaving his hand there. “Always solo. I watch you every time. You’re not like those,” he nods his head in the direction of some of the faces that were turned our way. Realising he’s not of interest to them they immediately feign indifference.

I smile and gently touch his hand. He grabs my fingers as they touch his, electricity sparks to all points.  His eyes light up as I imagine mine must have just done. The connection is nothing short of incredible.

“You’re hot.” he says.

I’m not sure if it’s a question or a statement. “No I’m okay.” I say for the sake of modesty hoping my interpretation is wrong.

He laughs again, a deep throaty sound. “No, you’re hot.”

I clear my throat slightly embarrassed. “Thanks, but I am so not in your league.”

“League? I don’t understand you. You are liking football?” He still holds onto my hand.

“Sorry. No I meant that you are much hotter than me. I don’t think I am hot at all.”  more smiles, this time abashed.

“This is why you are hot. ” He squeezes my hand. “I buy you a drink.” He nods at my empty glass and waves to a waiter who rushes over to take his order.

02 beard

 

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