58 - A Bucket Full of Colours

Monday morning and it is sunny but cool. Delany Quick exuberantly placed the empty cappuccino cup on the counter of the walk-in coffee shop, exaggeratedly but unnecessarily pushed his long black hair away from his face and looked the waitress firmly in the eye. His dark almost black eyes penetrated but at the same time displayed a humorous twinkle that softened what might have been a most disconcerting stare.  In reply to her question he said firmly with a sudden, jaunty smile, “What I do madam is sell magic. Delaney Quick at your service. Purveyor of fine magic sparks.” She had spotted this tall, strange man ambling along the pavement giving the impression of someone with a clumpy gait but who had then almost glided into her establishment to sit astride one of the tall counter stools immediately in front of her in the most theatrical manner. He had ordered a cappuccino, “Hot and as strong as you can make it please,” and downed it in one motion, without taking breath, without disturbin

57 - Ricky is a Knight in Shining Armour

  Tuesday morning at nine thirty Ricky is returning from the post office, looked both ways, saw the gap and crossed the road. The Jaguar coming too fast honked but he was already stepping up the opposite kerb. Sitting nicely teed up on the grass verge he kicked the empty coke can twenty feet down the pavement, jumped up a bit and yelled “goal.” He caught up with the can, picked it up and lobbed it the six feet into the black metal bin with “rubbish” stamped on the front. Mouthed “goal” and turned left to cross the car park in front of the superstore. Ricky Delaney tall, fit and full of life. His dark hair quite long but styled to suit his masculine good looks. Thirty, single and as all will tell you, worth is weight in gold.   “Hey Ricky you’re a bit late today.” this is Mike wearing a pristine black and white striped apron and saucier navy blue toque flicking the onions caramelising on the hot plate, the burger van shrouded in that awesome slightly foggy, smokey, smell of frying

56 - Michael Dodd

Sidney Brown struck the brass plate with the lion head knocker three times then stepped back about two feet. Only silence emanated from inside. Then he heard the muffled sound of a door open and shut. As the front door slowly opened he was suddenly immersed in a brief sensation of intense cold, an unseen blast that chilled his soul.  Nervously holding up his warrant card he said “Inspector Sidney Brown. Are you Michael Dodd?” “Sure. I’m Mike Dodd. How can I help you?” “I am making enquiries about an incident that has come to our attention and your name is involved. I was hoping you might be able to help. Can I come in?” “Sure.” Sidney hesitantly stepped into the eerily dark hallway of the large  Victorian building, its shuttered windows and steep, dark, tile hung gables adding an almost sinister feel. The door clicked shut behind him. A stained oak door with damage around the lock that had been hastily and inexpertly repaired. “Follow me please.” Passing the first door on the right Syd

55 - Meat Loaf

                 Staring wistfully out of the bedroom window Winston listened to the hail and rain machine gunning the window panes. There was a lot for him to worry about these days. If the glass might smash was one of them. Watching the trees unnaturally bending was another and that made him shiver. Not to mention all the other things that persistently got him down. His face carried that lack of sleep look making him appear haggard. Were those worry lines? Or just the effects of age. With a quiet subdued voice aimed at the window, he said, “Sunday…. They’re coming today. I hope this storm won’t stop them. We’ve always looked forward to them coming.” Looking towards the bed, he continued, “I’ll go and make breakfast.” And slumped off down the stairs gloomily staring at the treads. The kitchen had an obvious woman’s touch but Sunday was traditionally his wife’s day off. A chance to rest from the stresses of ensuring a happy household while he went off to work. The gas ring flared

54 - The Texan and the Gardener

              The man sitting astride the tall, well groomed black stallion, its croup and quarters gleaming, said with a long Texas drawl, “why’d you cut your grass so much? Yo’always seem to be cutting your grass. Is it necessary?” Thomas Dalton, a tall, strong, wispy man, his forearms sinewy like an old gnarled, twisted oak looked up from his push mower with a whimsical expression stencilled on his strongly structured features and replied, “it’s a strange thing you know. When I casually run my lawn mower over this stretch of turf it gets shorter as is witnessed by the deposit in the collection contraption.” The Texan, looking every bit the western cowboy, was at shoulder height above the high Purbeck stone wall that fronted Thomas’s garden. A pristine white Stetson with silver band was pulled down shading his eyes from the blazing noon sun partially obscuring his face but Thomas could see the large Roman nose sitting in the centre of an impressive bone structure giving the sus