38 - The Party and the Cleaner

  The Party and The Cleaner   “Come on, let’s go.” She said standing up. Her warm soft hand small in his great big mitt, the slight squeeze encouraging, the sudden determined tug betraying her overpowering need. Kissing, proper kissing. They had been kissing and fondling in the dark corner. Behind the door. Chaos all around. Hectic. The noise. The beat. Rick is knocked back surprised how sharp the edge of a door could be as it slammed against his head. That was Jimbo coming in, with exuberance, the usual flamboyant entrance. The big “I’ve arrived” and late as usual. Suzie, impatient, pulled again “Come on Rick...nowww Rick.” Into the hall passing Jimbo, Rick says “Hi Jimbo thanks for the lump.” Jimbo replies “Nice to see you Rick... Suzie.” Watches them staggering into the dining room and the food table. Huge and white but covered in debris. Three types of cheese ground into the pale blue carpet looking impressionistic. Probably wool. Definitely ruined. With crackers an

37 - Beware of Apnoea

  Beware of Apnoea                The mist was thick within the trees, swirling, almost vibrating with a kind of expectancy. The breeze shifting its white grey mass with subtle movements breaking the density here and there. The sounds, the seductive tunes, beguiling, beckoning. The wind increasing with a rushing that lifted leaves into spirals of dancing colour. The fog rising to combine with the twisting whirlwinds. Approaching her, then hovering, but suddenly, with a moaning sigh, rushing back the way it had come. The boundary forming, the line that was indelibly woven into the fabric of time, the exact point of transition, the change from night to day. A fleeting moment when the dead have to retreat and the living begin the slow process of transformation into wakefulness. Suddenly waking Joan was struggling to breath. She was panting, gasping for breath, her mind full of visions, a collection of moments, individual but nonetheless connected. The dream vivid in her mind. This w

36 - Waiting to Leave

  Waiting to Leave “Hi there matey, you new here?” “Yup, arrived yesterday. See that big lump of mountain over there, somewhere on it there’s a rope that’s snapped. That’s mine. The ends are probably all frayed and flapping in the wind. I went down two hundred metres and landed on my head on an ice covered rock where all that lovely soft snow had blown off. Each side there was a deep snow hole. It probably would have made no difference though. Name’s Ernie, Ernest Edwards, from Newcastle.” “Burt from London. Nice to meet you.” “Likewise Burt. So what happened to you then?” “The winding road going up to your big Mountain, it’s very steep with incredibly sharp bends. I was going too fast in a low cloudy, rainy, fog, couldn't slow down and went straight off the edge. Stupid really, I only had to wait for an hour or so, but no, impatience is my middle name… just could not wait. Mont Blanc, that’s what it’s called, isn't it?”  “That’s the fella, yes, Mont Blanc, the easiest climb or

35 - The Womaniser's Wife

  The Womaniser’s Wife        Tommy Frink, that was his given name. His father, Edward Frink, an alcoholic, inveterate gambler and swindler, with the capacity to psychologically maim all around him, particularly those close to him. Tommy’s mother for instance. The sweetest creature ever to walk along Poplar High Street in the East End of London, that area historically perceived as notorious and synonymous with violent crime. With a graceful, elegant entrance she could captivate the entire audience of the local pub. Margaret Wlison, known as Maisie, loved by all and envied by many. He ruined her. Wooed her with flowery words and promises of endless riches. That was his way, a silver tongue and ability to deceive, his natural charm and good looks seducing many a victim. Maisie fell under his spell at eighteen, was pregnant by nineteen and married out of duty. That was the word, although all who knew Maisie’s father, Billy, a tall, strong, well respected enforcer, thought differently.

34 - Gabriel and his Angel

 34 - Gabriel and his Angel The telephone on the reception desk was ringing. It had a stuttering ring, reluctant, as though it had better things to do than alert an attentive listener. Mr Benton was attentive, he had to be, it was his business after all. But just at that moment he chose to ignore it. Unlike him it was true but today he was feeling melancholy. Recently memories had been catching up with him. Instead he was concentrating on morning coffee and his usual two Bourbon biscuits. The ringing stopped abruptly and he stopped just as abruptly. Caught by a sudden recall, his expression forlorn, he instantly regretted his laxity. He was known as Benton to everyone other than his residents, having long ago dispensed with his given name as an inconvenience that over complicated his work. The small hotel close to the beach had been his escape twenty years ago, when his employers had retired him following the misadventure in Berlin before the wall came down. The interesting nature of t

33- Strawberry Jelly

  33 - Strawberry Jelly      It was dark. At exactly ten, a loud clunk and the lights went out. The eons of time had witnessed the exact same routine. Every night ghosts of past occupants infused the atmosphere in the same contemplation of their sins. A brisk wind and a cloud is swept away, opening a sky hole allowing a shaft of moonlight to penetrate the gloom and like a searchlight illuminating its prey the steel sprung, top bunk is speckled in a fluorescent glow. High up the wall, nearly touching the tall ceiling, the small window is large enough to emit sufficient light to exaggerate the pitifully bleak and monotonous existence of the occupant. Laying on the covers in regulation white, greying boxers and string vest. Right hand behind his head. Sorrowful eyes tight shut. A slight tear in the corner. Left hand nervously rubbing a black stubbled chin and a shaved with a blunt blade nick. Trying to suppress the sounds.      He came from a family of undertakers. Dour people. But as an