Tommy's tale

It was getting very late and everyone was dispirited after the last announcement given personally by the nervous station master who had since retired to his snug office with the small but bright fire in the grate.

"Unfortunately due to the heavy snowfall there will be no trains until tomorrow mid morning by which time the line is expected to be clear enough to allow passage through." were his words. "I'm sorry to say that, because of the weather, you will have to make the best of the accommodation we have here..." he had waved around somewhat feebly, at the confines of the simple waiting room, they were situated in. "At least there's a fire, and plenty of logs to feed it with", he had said.

After the station master had hurriedly left there had been some grumbling but they all agreed there was really nothing they could do. There was no hotel or guest house open for miles as it was winter, and this was a thinly populated suburb and not a skiing resort of any nature. They must make the best of it. So some tried to make rudimentary sleeping arrangements, chiefly consisting of finding a corner to prop themselves up in, or annoy their neighbours on the seating by falling on them every few minutes as they fell asleep.

A thickset man, in his 50's, a salesman he'd said, decided to try and cheer things up, in his own oblique way it must be said, by coming out with a few stories of things that had happened to him, in his travels on the road.
One or two others became interested and reciprocated with their own tales, but after a while they seemed to be drying up, until a well-built blonde woman at the back in the darkness of the railway station's waiting room said in a low voice to a man who may or may not have been her husband, as far as the listeners knew.

“Tell them Tommy. It might help.” she said. Her partner, who was probably in his early 60s, seemed reluctant to go forward, but eventually he moved towards the light and speaking hesitantly at first, said, “I’ve an experience to share." He looked around at the expectant onlookers. "My sister thinks it might be good for me if I tell you my story. She calls it a story, anyway. But it won’t make the snow disappear and I don’t think it will make the train come any sooner.”
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Writer's Block

Writer's block I call it. It’s my block of flats I’m talking about though. Where I live. Get it? I’m full of stuff like that y’know. Should have been a writer myself but well I can’t always perform. Not enough lead in my pencil, she says. She’s the wife. Live in lover. Whatever you wanna call her.

Anyway this place we live in has a writer living there. He’s old now. Well I’m 20 so you know what I mean. 45 if he’s a day I guess. Sad git. Funny looking geezer he is, with loads of hair, dreadlocks she says. Well it’s all that wacky baccy innit. Send your hair like that she says. The things she comes out with. Sometimes I’m just embarrassed.

But I keep my head down. Well I’m used to livin' with nutters. Mind you, I have my moments.

Well there was that time when I moved in with my ex. She came home from work, knew I was there, she did. Well I didn’t just walk in, we had an arrangement for me to go inside. Well she told me where the keys were. Hers I mean. Funny that, that was the issue really, keys. The thing that started it off. She came in and went mental. I’d left mine on the mantlepiece that’s all it took. I think she thought that well figuratively, metaphorically speaking, I’d sat down and put my feet on the mantelpiece, or got my feet under the table or something. So there we were making the tea.

Listen I’ll get back to the writing geezer in a minute John, just hold your horses.

Yeah, there we were making the tea, yeah I know first night there making the tea. Under her thumb, yeah?

Actually come to think about it, must have been a little while later. Because as I said she went ape. Time of the month? Maybe. So there we were making the tea, and can’t remember what happened, no really. She’d thrown the strawberries at me I think. Yeah. I was so mad I kicked the kitchen cupboard and nearly broke my toe. Think I threw a jug full of cream back at her after that. Well deserved didn’t she?

Then there was another time I was cutting an avocado, and the knife slipped on the stone in the middle, the ‘hull’ do they call it? See? Hull, eh? Slipped off there sharpish and stuck in my hand. Definite hospital job that. Still got the scar. Oh yeah, loved our food we did though. The fights we had. It was a nightmare really. I mean who wants attacking? Eh? I remember when I left her the 1st time, well you would, wouldn’t you? We were together for years. I was still sad about it, back then. I mean you lose that sense of companionship don’t ya? No one to punch ya is there. Well no one you care about anyway.

I did try to sort it out, but like I say she was a nutcase. So now I’m with her. You know. That one. The blonde one? Been married a couple of years now, yeah. You was only at the bloody weddin!

Anyway I was tellin' you about this geezer. Supposed to have done a lot he has.  A lotta writin’ not a lotta wacky baccy! Does a lot of soul searchin’ too I expect. Staring out the window, I mean. Often see him, looking down at me I do. Why me I’ve no idea. I’m not exactly inspiring...

Feel sorry for him actually. They say he’s gone blank. Can’t string one word in front of another on a sheet of paper. He had a few books out once. Did well apparently. SF or something weird. Fantasy? I dunno. Back page of the Mirror’s enough for me. Find that a bit bafflin nowadays as well. Apparently he wrote about goblins and kings, like that Tolkien fella did. Mind you he made a bit after he died didn’t he? That’s the thing with writing though isn’t it? You can keep earning long after you’re pushing up the daisies can’t you? Well as long as you get started before you die that is, know what I mean?

Anyway this is me, been down the shops for the missus - well, keeps her off my back doesn’t it? She does my washing and ironing, always game for a bit of the other isn’t she, least I can do isn’t it? Give 'em just a little something and it repays you in the long term. That’s what I cal her when I’m with my mates. Hedge fund. She’s my little hedge fund I’ll say.

Look you’re diverting my attention aren’t you? Never gonna finish this, am I?

As I say I’ve been down the shops, picked up a few beers at the Offie on the corner - well the lads are coming round for some cards tonight - and there’s a big crowd round the back - you know, the park side of the block. Usually just a few stray dogs and some kids sneaking a fag, and doing gawd knows what else behind the trees. Sometimes when I’m taking my little boy out for a game of football on the grass, it’s difficult to make out if it’s dog piss or human I can smell out there. Well toughens them up doesn’t it? The kids not the dogs. Mind you, messes up his red D and G boots, something terrible it does.

Big crowd looking up. Strange thing. Everyone looking up, but that guy, you know the one with the dreadlocks he’s lookin down at them. I get his point though. They’re like monkeys at the zoo ain’t they? Only bars here are the bars on the balconies.

Funny that. Well we ain’t got one but the folks next door have. Who decides that? I guess we was just unlucky to get one without a balcony when the folks next door well they can sit out in the sun and we’re inside just like prisoners. That’s why we’re white I guess, and that feller - the - he’s dark. He’s got a balcony you see.

And he’s standing on his balcony. Looking down, waving his arms, well... one of them anyway because he’s got something in his other hand. Long way up there, and I can’t see what it is. Hope it ain’t heavy. Make a nasty mess of someone at the front it would. Well once he’d let go they couldn’t get away in time. Fall pretty fast something heavy - up there. He’s shouting as well but it’s windy and no one knows what it is he’s saying. I ask Alfie. I know him from the office - yeah work in an office now I do. Ain’t seen you in ages though, and you don’t phone. Alfie’s got less idea than me though.

Wouldn’t know I work in an office would you? Well that’s you all over isn’t it. A snob. I’ve always said it. Think you’re better than us don’t you? Just because you work in the City. Call yourself my brother but well we’re not the same are we. Not now. Me working at a bookie’s. Victor Chandler. Big bookie he is. Part of the London team I am. Still it’s not KPMG is it, you say. Suppose not, say I.

Suddenly he’s lets go of this thing. Blimey it’s got legs and arms and they’re all waving around. Then blam! It’s hit someone - well they had their arms out. It’s a baby girl. Dreadlocks and everything. What a noise! Can’t see it now, but I can hear it. Wailing it is. Yeah, nearly had an Exodus it did. Still amazed nothing’s broken - well it might be. Who knows?

Next thing this ’s standing on the balcony. Yeah, on the metal. It’s bendin a bit bowing (you know like a bow - der!) - when he moves. He’s sort of doing some acrobatics, just trying to stay pedal to the metal. The crowd at the front’s moved back, so they can see better or so when he falls they can’t catch him. Alfie says, it’s so they don’t get squashed. He’s well heavy isn’t he?

I’m sure he’s got a snake on that balcony.. Something trailing after him. Probably keeps a boa constrictor or a python. Those West Indian guys! Funny that, one of the IT guys was telling me they use Python at work. Bet there’s no Boa Constrictor programming language yet. It’ll come. See? Surprise ya sometimes, don’t I bro’? You didn’t get all the brains you know.

Oh my gawd. That bloke’s jumped! Only gone and jumped off the bloody balcony hasn’t he? But he’s not gone far. Suddenly stopped like a statue. Well just jerkin about a bit. Only hanged himself off of a bloody rope he has. Alfie thought it proper funny. Now the balcony’s started coming away from its fixings.

Everyone moves away pretty fast. But me and John we go really quiet. A few people are screaming. Women I think, kids. Really bad news. Last thing this place needs. Wonder why he did it. Some people round here are going to be having nightmares about this. Me and our kid might find it hard to sleep tonight.

A fire engine’s here and a few police cars. A van full of rozzers. They’re inside now. Sorting it out. Wonder why he did it though? ’s block? Well he’s gone and done it proper this time hasn’t he?

adewils © 2011

Image: Writer's Block by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8489595


Adolphus and Me

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What if a fascist group rose to prominence in the United States, sometime round about now? Huh? What would YOU do?Read more


The Dean of Gibraltar

Here's an extract from the first story in what will hopefully become a collection about Gibraltar...

The sound was everywhere and he could not get away from it. Perhaps at this very moment the Goths and the Vandals were beating down the front door, while a giant Hun watched and played a wailing monotonous dirge on a handheld keyboard smeared with steaming hot Christian blood. At least that’s how the soundscape unfolding beyond the door appeared to the Dean’s delicate hearing.

He grappled with the massive brass handle and the latch lifted. He yanked the door open, nearly smashing himself in the face with the huge ageing oak. Bearing a look of faint surprise at his own strength, the Dean thrust himself through the door into the Cathedral’s Nave, nearly tripping over in his haste to get his hands round the neck of the heathen desecrating his eardrums.

He yelled at the top of his lungs “Osric. Osric. Is that you?? Osric?!” Then as silence assaulted his senses, he raised his eyes skyward and, with hands clasped, cried out aloud “O sweet Jesus. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” The cacophony had indeed ceased.

A hunched diminutive figure wearing a hooded cowl, lurched round from the high seat, and lowered down at him. The voice, however, belied the man’s looks. “Dean…” it began in a high, timorous voice.

But the Dean broke in, “Speak up, man! I can hardly hear you, after the complete and utter din you were making at the organ just now. What did you say?” Of course he could hear Osric perfectly well, but chose to pretend his hearing had been damaged. Osric knew this was pure theatre, but it was not worth mentioning it just now.

“I said” Osric paused for some noble, but wasted, dramatic effect, “I said… Dean…” But his thin voice dwindled away to nothing, as the Dean cut in again.

“Yes, that is me. I am the Dean of this fair Anglican Cathedral of Gibraltar and you are sullying the peace with your confounded organ playing! What kind of dratted tomfool excuse have you got this time, Verger? I have already told you that I have a beautiful record of some suitably wonderful organ music that I intend to play on Sunday! We do not have an organist of the required quality, and I will play my record! I am the Dean!”

(... and you'll just have to wait for the rest of the stories to be written.)


Honey

How Honey Got Happy

As soon as Honey Dale woke up, Steve Taylor’s face swam into view. It was a waking nightmare. She stopped herself from screaming as memories flooded back. In spite of the occasional nightmare, Honey knew everything was so much better now.

Warmth was already building in the room, so she threw the sheets off. As Honey lay gazing out through the open window on this summer Saturday, the swifts who had built their nest in the eaves above the bedroom window, were busy flying in and out. A bee buzzed past. She hoped it wouldn’t end up as breakfast for hungry baby swifts.

Despite the abundance of summer in bloom outside her window, Honey’s mind raced back to the bike trek in Morocco. A lot had happened since then, some she wanted to forget, and some she always wanted to remember.

Born to be wild
It had all started when Honey thought she needed a new challenge and joined an enhanced rider’s training course. OK… motor bikes had a bad press sometimes, but her brother Chris had almost been born on one, and even though Mum wanted her to be riding ponies at that age, she chose to ride pillion with Chris, clinging on for dear life, and then when she was old enough, on her own bike. She loved the exhilaration of feeling free, leaving her worries far behind.

And she’d met a lot of men. More often than not though she’d meet Mr Right, but then he’d take her admiration as an invitation to treat her like dirt. And amazingly that made her want him even more.

She and Chris had taken their bikes to Andalusia when she was twenty two, eight long years ago. She was terrified when he’d suggested it to her. How would they get there, what about the bikes? She realised eventually, after Chris had gone over it all a million times, they’d have a fantastic holiday.

Andalusia
And she’d met beautiful Juan… He was a ranch owner near Coin. His dark eyes, olive skin and black shiny hair had captivated her completely. He’s got a killer’s eyes she thought, like the eyes of the bulls he breeds. Of course she didn’t find out he was a murderer straight away. He’d introduced her to Mama, Papa, and his sisters Cristina and Pia. Village_in_Andalusia,_Spain_2005

Poor Chris was left to his own devices for a couple of weeks then Honey begged they should stay for another. He was happy enough riding through the cork forests, swimming and sunbathing by the pool, but there’s only so much of that you can do before you need another challenge. He’d stay one more week though.

Honey tried to persuade Juan the bulls would be a lot happier running round the fields wooing cows. But he roared with laughter, saying if she’d come to see his bulls fight during the fair, he’d think seriously about her idea. At first she’d said no, but cracked under his spell.

It only took an hour, after the fanfares had died away and the first bull ran into the ring like a moth looking for a light. Although she’d promised herself she’d be strong, she left soon after the picador had attacked the bull. She’d slapped Juan’s face for bringing her. The family called her “Loco” and that was the end of them as a couple.

At the Yacht Club
Still dozing, Honey mulled over the other men she’d met. The best was probably David Ross. But there was also his creepy father. Both were luminaries at the yacht club where Honey occasionally called in for a mid-week drink with some friends. David was potentially loaded, but the current owner of the massive bank balance in question, was Percival Ross, proud owner of a string of convenience shops.
yacht

Her friends said that the way Percy chased Honey up and down the promenade outside the club while David stood there saying “Oh Dad, leave the poor girl alone.” was obscene. It could only have looked worse, if he had actually managed to have his way with her, in full view of the entire yacht club membership. Percy told David it was every man for himself, and if he wasn’t man enough, that was his look-out. If David couldn’t tell his father exactly where to sling his Jolly Roger, or whatever that silly flag was, he might as well tie himself to the end of a rope and jump off the yardarm as far as Honey was concerned.

At the end of a quiet couple of days they had alone, David explained that, although he admired her for her speech, he could not deprive himself of his fortune, by telling his father exactly what he thought of him. He would find a girl, nearly as wonderful as Honey was, but who was prepared to bend to his father’s will. She decided the sort of woman David wanted, no longer existed. He would have to toddle off and find this out himself. It was a pity. He was a looker, and a sweetie, but inside, he was just mush.

So she was really surprised when he joined the motorcycle club. Friends teased her, saying he’d only done it so he could still be near her. She’d tried to put David out of her mind, but he’d turned up like a bad penny. She thought about leaving the club, but why should she? So she just ignored him now.

Mean and moody
Steve Taylor. Now there was an entirely different set of abs, no mush there, just rock-hard muscle. They’d met at the motorcycle club. He’d immediately stood out to her as having massive potential, and maybe it wouldn’t just be his potential that was massive. And she wasn’t wrong. They’d had a marvellous time in bed after the New Year’s Eve ball, well as marvellous a time as she could remember after having downed that amount of champagne. Every woman had envied her being on Steve’s arm, and she’d loved that.

It was shortly after, at the next club meeting, that Steve put forward the idea that some of them might be interested in a trip he was planning to take to Marrakech, before it got too hot. She’d been up for it right away. They were almost living together now, between his place and hers. The only bad part was that Honey’s Mum hated Steve, and this “”Living over the brush” as she called it. Old fashioned Mum, Honey thought. What was wrong with being boyfriend and girlfriend, courting, and a nice marriage? But not with Steve. It could only end in tears, and she’d be crying them for her girl. Honey had listened patiently but then went off and did her own thing. Her Dad quite liked Steve she had thought, in the few times they'd had a chance to speak, when her Mum hadn’t been hanging about.

When she broke the news about the trip, her Mum went through the roof. Marrakech in Morocco? she’d said to Honey. No Mum, not that Marrakech, the other one near Poole. She caught her Dad smirking at that one.

You’re not going with Steve Taylor? What was wrong with David Ross, lovely young man he is. For goodness sake Mum, Honey replied I’m 30 years old. I may live at home, but I’m not your little girl any more. What have I got - a career as a temping secretary? Not much excitement in that Mum. Well Honey, you just mark my words, Steve’s trouble, and no mistake.

Marrakech Express
When they’d got to Morocco, it was fabulous, a journey into the unknown. They’d travelled into Spain, her and Steve, and six others, to get the Algeciras to Tangier ferry, then picked up their bikes, ferried over from the UK. The only slight downer was David Ross was coming too. At least his creepy Dad had been so tied up with his shops that he hadn’t joined the club as well.

The whole port of Algeciras was a city with a souk and tented mosques. The crossing was relatively short, and dodging crowds of beggars, they set off on the 12 hour ride, along ancient roads, even dry river beds, and once, over a huge plain of uniform sized rocks. They stopped for the night in a village eating a delicious lamb tagine at the only restaurant, then moved next door to a bar for a couple of drinks.

Some local men were taken with Honey’s blond hair and gave her admiring glances which she eventually found intimidating. Steve had laughed saying “Don’t worry love, they’re just jealous of me.” She didn’t like that, but when David had said, in his posh accent “Hey Steve, that’s not a good attitude. All very well you liking these chaps being envious of you but what about Honey’s feelings…” She was a bit surprised at David. “Leave it Ross. Who asked you?” So David turned away and started talking to old Ronnie.

“I’m turning in now Steve” Honey said after that. It had been an incredibly long day and a soft bed was all she needed now. “All right darlin’” he said and carried on drinking and chatting. Honey hoped he might have taken her back to the hostel. It wasn’t far up the street but the place wasn’t well lit. She grabbed her jacket, and left the room, after giving Steve a frosty kiss.marrakech st

When she’d left, the street was very dark, apart from one or two lamps casting a dim yellow light. She tripped and was terrified when a hand grabbed her arm. Then a pad was placed over her mouth to keep her quiet, and another pair of hands grabbed hold of her, and marched her away. As they passed by the quiet end of an alleyway near their restaurant, one of the men suddenly dropped like a stone, and fell to her side, dragging Honey down as well. Another quick struggle as David Ross wielded the piece of hardwood again, and the 2nd man fell to the floor. He felt both men’s pulses, and neither was dead.

Rescue
She didn’t know what to say, but tried. “I can’t thank you enough, David. Anything could have happened to me, for all Steve cared.” She couldn’t help saying that. It was true. Steve hadn’t risked his life to save her, not like David. She turned to her saviour, seeing him with new eyes. So what if he had an idiot father, he was twice the man Steve was. “Oh David” she said and melted into his arms and ardent kisses.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t stick up for you against my father. I had a hell of a row with him when I realised how stupid I’d been. But I knew you wouldn’t listen Honey.”

“ I would have, David. You only had to tell me you’d stood up to him and I’d have realised you cared.”

“Listen Honey” David said, looking down at the two fallen men. “It won’t be long before their mates come looking for these two. We’re going to have to leave here right now.”

“What about Steve and the others?”

”They’ll be ok. We’ve got to go Honey.” They ran down the street to the hostel, gunned their motor bike engines and were away in minutes. They decided not to head for Marrakech but to a small but luxurious hotel David knew, where they had several wonderful days and nights. When they got home they never saw Steve Taylor again. Apparently he’d moved away to a job in London, and was doing fairly well Honey heard later.

Home at last
Turning from the window in their bedroom, Honey looked at the hero in bed next to her, and smiled. She bent lower and kissed his forehead tenderly. “Oh Mr Ross, I do love you so.”

David opened his eyes, looked at her, smiled and said “I love you too, Mrs Ross.” Sighing contentedly, Honey lay down in his strong arms, and forgot all about her bad dreams.

© 2009 adewils


Perfect Day

As part of an exercise in characterisation, the men in my class were asked to write a piece about a woman, and the ladies were to write about a man. Examples given to us were from Alan Bennett's "A Chip In the Sugar". I haven't read the book, but to my knowledge, the lady I wrote about, never lived 'oop North'...Read more


Joosy

This story was inspired by my erstwhile tutor's Bichon Frise. It's a dirty job but someone had to do it...

Off on her holidays

Chris opened the driver's door of the 1990 Focus and Joosy ran forward and was in the back seat before he could say "knife". He had tried and inside the car she looked lovingly at him, but of course, she didn't understand a word he said.

Joosy was Chris’ only weakness now – she was a Bichon Frise Read more