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45 - Wet Fish and Sunshine

  As the noise levels increased and the tension mounted a small gasp penetrated the darkness, a sharp intake of breath drawn through pursed lips, the sort that momentarily makes your front teeth cold, higher pitched, a bit like the sudden, short blast as the fly spray can releases a fraction of its pressure with such deadly effect. She was frightened, that much was obvious so he put his left arm around her and pulled her close and turned his head and whispered in her ear, “don’t be scared.” A soothing voice or so he thought. He hoped. She snuggled in close, so he kissed her cheek. A light kiss, his lips just fractionally brushing her skin. A fleeting but tender moment. Reassuring. She was warm against him and he held her tightly not wanting her to be scared. The darkness could be disconcerting. He knew that. Exaggerating the senses. He understood all about the darkness, how scary it could make things appear. He lived on an unlit road with tall, dark trees and high hedges lining the

44 - The Red Telephone

  She was upstairs when the telephone rang but she had no problem hearing it. The polished wood flooring of the hallway and lack of soft furnishings created a hard space where the loud bell could echo and resonate throughout the house. She was sitting on the bed filing her nails into shape, the scraping she knew scratched at his nerves which was why she was doing it now. To avoid a later minor skirmish. She saved the doing of it in his presence for when she wanted to make a point, to emphasize an issue, to deliberately get under his skin. She did not rush to answer the call. She was not that sort of person. She rarely rushed to do anything. Slowly she put down the nail file on the bedside table deliberately placing it where she had asked for a phone to be installed just to remind her how ludicrous it was to deny such a simple and necessary luxury. The stairs were low rise meaning a long flight with shallow, wide steps, the consequence of having an expansive hallway and wide landing

43 - A Comedian in Texas (and the benefits of Bourbon Whiskey)

  The day a highly dishevelled and ridiculous looking Henry Snook first thought he might be a comedian was the day he stood in the dock waiting to be sentenced. Those had been the judge’s words after all. Standing in a strangely lopsided way the pink six inch stiletto, so pink it would send shocking spiralling into space, was so small it screwed up his right foot in a painful ball. Obviously on the wrong foot and pointing outwards, the right footed calf length, hand tooled leather, cowboy boot, with two inch heel, on his left foot, was absurdly floppy being made for a giant that he hoped he would never meet again. Both were brand new. The four inch discrepancy between the height of his right and left feet was obviously the cause of his asymmetrical stance. All the evidence had been heard and the testimony of those involved including the blond sales girl, the giant, the giant’s wife, the Car Lot owner, the patrolman, the custody sergeant and the owner of the steer had been noted.  

42 - Step 46

  Monday evening at six and Rich Lister was in the kitchen, feeling like crap, with three days of plates in the sink and a wilting some sort of green plant in a red plastic pot and an empty cat bowl. Puss had gone missing. He was sitting at the kitchen table reading a book, an epic novel full of excessive words and way too many pages, drinking hot, black coffee having pushed the screwed up copy of Racing Ahead to the other side. That is the copy with the black ink circles around five losing horses. He cut a piece of Victoria sponge cake that his Grandpa had made to cheer him up, who was a master baker, that was so light and tasty he thought It could have been eaten In heaven by angels. His hand had been resting on the open book as he had cut the slice and as he raised his hand with the cake the book blew back a number of pages. Or they seemed to blow back but there was no draft. The page number was 46 which did not have any significance for him so he Ignored It and returned it to pa

41 - Money Bags and a Broken Gearbox

  One of the hottest days for years and the air was oppressive. Inside the old workshop building, with its corrugated iron roof, the temperature was approaching forty degrees. Even though it was a cavernous space and the doors were open the static air was overpowering, alive with humidity and energy sapping. Dillon Walton slid out from beneath the twenty five year old blue Ford rust bucket on an old battered red creeper with casters squealing and announced to the owner who stood sweating in a suit and tie. “Sorry mate, it's a total. Needs thousands of work and the old crate is only worth a monkey at best,” he said, wiping his face with a damp towel and unbuttoning his greasy overalls. “I understand that but I need it fixed and fixed by tomorrow.” replied the man slightly exasperated. His hair was matted. He loosened his tie and undid his top button. “Boy it’s hot in here, how’d you stand it?” He was grinning. He seemed to have a stuck on grin. “Practice,” said Dillon, then, “