The Babe Magnet (In Dialogue)

“Call me old-fashioned but I like my pants clean, pressed and swishing.”

“You’re old-fashioned.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re very welcome, gramps.”

“There’s nothing wrong with looking and feeling smart.”

“And there wasn’t in the seventies, either, eh?”

“Cheeky sod.”

“Look, I’m telling you this as your friend, purple velour pants and an orange crinoline shirt’s only gonna get you one thing.”

“A date?”

“A beating.”

“So you’re saying I should compromise.”

“I’m saying you should change, it’s different.”

“But this is me.”

“I refer you to my previous statement.”

“You said you liked them.”

“On a muppet.”

“Goddamn it!”

“No need for that. We can soon sort you out. I’ll lend you something fabulous. Something of mine. Top draw stuff.”

“But I don’t want to look like you. And stop winking.”

“Kid, you’ll never look like me.”

“I’m a year older than you.”

“Potato potahto. You leave it to me.”

Fifteen minutes later

“I love it.”

“Black leather never fails. The bright red Nikes set them off, the gold chain finishing the ensemble. You’re a babe magnet.”

“You think so?”

“Sure do. Where’re you going, anyway?”

“Seventies disco.”

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Once Upon Too Many (A Dark Fairytale)

There once was a boy who lived in a hole. There in the warm, musty darkness where roots embraced him, he hid from the bright world outside. He hid from the loud, the violent and crude. He hid from the harm they’d done.

They found him cringing that meekest of creatures, pushed in a corner like old fruit in a shopping bag. He mouldered. It was their duty to save him. Everyone wanted saving, didn’t they?

The men with their silver badges glittering, their colleagues in white all wide smiles and soft words, tore the boy from the roots he clung to; he screamed for them to stop. They carted him away like a stray dog to a pound and placed him in the knowledgable care of strangers. But they had no knowledge of him, this child from deeper regions.

He woke to crimson, some his, most theirs. Its stickiness reminded him of tree sap back when there were trees to weep. And he remembered. And he wept. The memory of those lost forests stung like the syringes thrown in his hole. His nice safe hole. He ran. They ran, too, those who still could.

Out in the savage daylight, he made a decision. The little lost boy with pain in his eyes made a promise. He’d dig deeper. He’d burrow like a mole. No one would find him again. Once upon a time was one once too many, his mother used to say. Before they took her and all that was green and blue, too.

This Scream Called Us (Rated 15)

They say a scream is a scream is a scream. Hurt is hurt. Pain is pain. That both subside with every unfulfilled second. They say many things. But what do they know? What do they really know?

The mind is a curious container, delicate even. If the mind were glass, one might shatter it with a scream, which I suppose you did.

Wordless moments, memories birth from open mouths. Memories! Too loud. Too raw. Reflections of moments past until wiped clean by sound. Until…

My everything you were and ever shall remain. My heart cannot beat without you. These romanticised lines of obvious affection. This sentimental twaddle. I wish to silence this scream called us. I wish to close these lips and sleep.

After tonight, maybe I will. Once I tear the secret you’ve kept from your overworked larynx.


I still have the key I copied. I have many such copies. You can never be too careful where safety’s concerned.

The latch lifts with a click like a match struck on once love. We did love, I think.

I’m in. Nothing’s changed. The same lavender stink to cover the cat litter. It assails my olfactory senses and I almost gag. Almost. Ginger, said cat, stops purring the moment I enter. He always hated me. I lurch forward but the cat’s quicker. He leaves without a handful of hair, whilst I’m left with a sergeant’s stripes across my skin. If only I’d closed the door! So, I do.

I let the light rest. I know the way. Darkness is good, it hides a multitude of sins. The mirror in the hallway remains empty. The photo on the telephone desk goes unseen. And I wonder, is it still there?

A sudden urge to sit on the sofa, turn on the tv and watch football, open the fridge and steal a beer. It’s fleeting but there.

I shake my head so hard my eyes rattle.

The first step creaks so I seek the second. Silence. I want to shout COME ON! I don’t, but I want to.

Stopping halfway, I take a seat. One last memory I think. A sigh. An aimless three-sixty. The darkness deprives as the lavender stink prods. I’m back on my feet and climbing before I realise I’ve sat.

Everest climbed, I have a desire to pee. The bathroom door stands open, so I do.

I take a certain devilish pleasure in peeing on the toilet seat, in the sink, bath. Small victories and all that. She’ll never see it but her mother might.

Once relieved, I’m back on the case. First door, second, third… I stop.

There’s a lump in this once-home made a prison. There’s a someone, a certain someone I know. Not for long.

The rage rises.

Her former rebukes, my dismissal, return like a needle shoved into my eyes. And I strike. And I strike. And I strike.

Everything she made me leave behind, the untold secret and more besides, stick like a lump in my throat. But I’ve got her. At last, I’ve got her.

“What have you done!”

A voice.

Her voice?

Her voice!

The landing light flicks on behind me.

I see my crimson creation and turn away retching out my innards.

She comes at me like Ginger on a bad day. She screams and screams and screams. But this is my dream and she can’t hurt me.

Only when she stops do I hear her. Only when she stops and crumples in a heap whispering the same words over and over again, do I understand what I’ve done.

“Our daughter. She was our daughter.”

And the cold steel I’ve spent seven years polishing finds a nice warm home in my chest. I smile.

My ex-wife screams again. This time, it’s not for us.

The End.

50 Word Stories: The Game

Celeste radiated something akin to love, a certain lukewarm appreciation.

Mama called this cunning — Celeste prickled behind her eyes.

Papa said it smarts — Celeste upset his oversensitive gut.

Me?

Celeste melted my heart.

Was I suspicious?

Never! Celeste could have bought and sold us. Our secret, until after the wedding.

Pain-Less

If this hurt of teeth and talons renders numb

Or slashing words and blunt-nosed answers

Tied up with twine, perhaps a handcuff, too

Fails to bring a stinging stimulus

Then what’s the point in pain, my love

If ever there was one, yes, if ever

Has it vanished, upped and left, retracted

Fluttered away on cold breaths and steam

Impaled itself upon a willow strip

Just gone. All gone. Run away forever

Left a soul in need of something suddenly pain-less

The Arrangement

She kept a bowl of flowers on the sideboard I never once saw wilt. Regardless of the time of year, weather, or the close attentions of her ginger cat named — unsurprisingly — Ginger, the flowers thrived. They were pink, pretty even, but never worth more than a cursory glance.

I passed those flowers every day for the three years we lived together. Not once did I water or maintain them, and to my knowledge, neither did she. I prayed they’d keel over just to prove they weren’t plastic, or, at least, not as false as me. Once, I even tugged their petals, but we’ll keep that to ourselves. Obstinate flowers still didn’t fall.

The day I left, I paused at the door. “At least tell me their bloody name, I’ve looked at them all this time and still have no idea what they’re called!”

“Same name as me,” she replied, her eyes wet and weeping.

So, I still don’t know.

50 Word Stories: Concrete Dawn

We waddled to the lakeside like two overstuffed penguins, laughing and joking, discussing the past. There we watched the sunset, a tangerine moment that made us cry. We looked at each other like once lovers, then jumped, or, rather, plunged. Our concrete filled boots did their job. It was bliss.

Surreal Views

Surreal, suggests the fish-headed man

Battling against societal currents, swimming against the tide

He’s getting nowhere fast just as he likes to

Bobbing up on occasion so plastic ears might listen to

A piano with bones instead of keys sounding a glockenspiel salute

That migrating sparrows, pink and proud, nod agreeably to

Whilst carnivorous sunflowers snap them

From the air like feral children with donated candy flosses

This I observe with dispassion, this I see and now believe

As governments say we aren’t dying fast, but slowly

And scientists place hands in back pockets

To withdraw cigars rolled up in green papers

The Queen’s head is on mine. She’s weeping

Ageless Angel

She was that age, that ageless something

Between rose petal cheeks and silver waves of fascination

Where the foundations moved but the plans never changed

Where her eyes only ever shone brighter, more acutely than before

Piercing like twin stars set in her own personal heaven

A girl with a woman’s knowing, woman with a girl’s innocence

The sort of carefree soul who bought coral rings just to remember other people’s dreams

It was easier for her living through the dreams of others, I think

As she had no time to waste on her own

I’ve forgotten what they called her because her name never really mattered

Not to those who shared her timeline, her space, her place

A name, as with the asking her age, was pointless

For whoever took the time to speak to the wind

When the only thing that mattered was feeling it rustling their hair

No, her name was only sought by those determined to tame her

To mould and conform her; they might as well have bottled an ocean

Elemental, unbridled, let loose on us all

An ageless angel without a prayer of surviving, she couldn’t have cared any less

And when I was with her, neither could I

Yet, now, I wished I’d known it

Guessed or made up something to define her soul

To capture the uncapturable even if but for a day

I suppose I will until my own spark fades

And all those dreams with it of her body pressed to mine