62 - Charlie's Birthday

  Mugs Millman, in response to the commotion behind the closed door, shut the till, cleared the bar of glasses, put on his dark specs and black pork pie hat and waved away the two waitresses waiting to collect loaded trays. They knew the routine. They picked up their full trays from the bar. Sauntered towards the back and stood to one side near the booth where two dark suited men were seated.  Millicent, the strangely blonde singer, skipped a few beats but nonetheless kept reasonable pace with the slick, five piece jazz outfit so in the grove that wild horses and all that crap would not stop them. A few nervous head turns of punters being fed overpriced champagne and cocktails. Eyes drifting away from the stage towards the door. Starting to rise. Unsure of events unfolding. The La La girls appeared twirling sexily, kicking out long, black fishnet stockinged legs upping their tempo to divert attention. In the dark corner, in the booth by the door marked 'Private', Shifty Stevens


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61 - Thick Brown Tea

Disturbed by the draft coming through the open fanlight the floral curtains swirled as Rita entered the cold sitting room. The ticking clock on the mantelpiece said four-thirty-eight. It was already getting dark. Lighting the gas fire for some instant heat she jumped when it banged. That bang always scared her. She then sat in her favourite armchair, the one with the big yellow, comfy cushions. Picked up her book and blue rimmed glasses. A romantic fiction by an American author that made her wish she had made better choices in her life. Then all hell broke out. The thick dividing wall separating the attached houses did not enough to dampen the row. Shouting and screaming and crashing as things were thrown. Six months ago they had moved in. Rita was out and the first she knew the house was occupied was when she bumped into Ann as she came out the gate. Plain, lanky dark hair which she flicked back and a miserable smacked with a wet flannel face. She was no beauty. No makeup. Just frow

60 - Psychedelic Dancing

  “Come on, let’s go.” She said standing up. Unconcerned her low-cut top was undone to her navel, blue silky bra and white flesh hanging out. Her warm, soft hand small in his great big mitt, the slight squeeze encouraging, the sudden determined tug betraying an 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 thumping base-up beat. The toxic smell of enjoyment.  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. Wearing his trademark wrap around shades. Looking cool, well at least he thought so. But most importantly, so did the girls. Suzie, impatient, pulled again, “ Come on Rick... nowww Rick.” Into the hall passing Jimbo, Rick says, “Hi Jimbo thanks for the lump.” Jimbo replies with a slur, “Nice to see you R

59 - Benjamin Beezer's Book Bazaar

The late evening news that day had said about a man being shot six times. All in the chest. All by machine gun fire. A man who spent his time looking down on people. How old was he? Sixty maybe, with dark hair and a moustache and rich. He was extremely rich, that was obvious. The house was one of those right up there swanky places. His cleaner had found him slumped over on the sofa in his sitting room. White shirt a mess as you can imagine. Reading glasses broken. Tall wine glass spilled. Did she scream? No one really knew but you would think so wouldn’t you? With the blood and all and two dead eyes staring right up at her as she walked into the room. The vacant wide sort. Kind of stuck open.  No signs of entry so the police said. Everything was locked. Front door security chain on. No windows broken. They were stumped, the police were. Was he on his own? That was a question they asked themselves and the cleaner of course. She didn’t know. How would she? She was not there until nine. T

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