Output list





kipper's (kipper on UKA) UKArchive
58 Archived submissions found.
Title
The Sky At Night (posted on: 04-07-16)
No need to explain this poem. Oh', is that Patrick Moore's monocle I see?

The Sky At Night I gaze at the setting sun and see it slowly fade, while the horizon gathers in the remains of the day. Brightness is replaced by ever reddening clouds, till darkness comes determined to chase them all away. Then a twinkle far above I see which causes me to stare, and while I watch more appear to create an infinite display. As the eternal canvas comes to life once more I struggle, for I cannot grasp the wonder of this celestial ballet. Soon, where distant shapes had ushered in the night a glow occurs, dim at first, reluctant the show to spoil. But then as the source peaks shyly over the the horizon It lifts itself slowly, as if weary from its unending toil. Soon the Moon treks unerringly across the night sky, its majesty restored,its place undisputed by us on earth. Its journey watched by mankind through countless millennia, marvelling its mystery and why it suffers no death, or birth. The sky at night is a wondrous thing, a portal to far off worlds, where others just like us may be looking back at'their' stars. wondering just like us if they are alone. What lies beyond.? Their own Sun and Earth perhaps; 'their'Jupiter and Mars.

Archived comments for The Sky At Night
stormwolf on 04-07-2016
The Sky At Night
A heart warming poem about the great mystery of the sky at night.
I really like the last verse too. Who knows? I always found it amazing to think that the moon is seen by so many all over the world at different times.
Now away and make a wish to the skies tonight. It is a moonless night. The start of the new moon and the time to ask the universe for something that will germinate as the moon waxes 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thanks Alison, supportive as ever.
I've been fascinated by the night sky all my life and it seems like a good bet that you are too. Who else would know 'off the cuff' that the new moon is waiting to pop it's head out tonight. As for wishing? Don't go much for wishing then I'm not disappointed when ( not if ) it doesn't happen.
Best wishes as always,
Michael

Mikeverdi on 05-07-2016
The Sky At Night
Confession time, I don't get the stars thing. I went on a "see the stars trip" into the dessert from Sharm in Egypt. I was board to tears. I like your poem though HaHa!
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike,
Pleased you liked the poem despite not being a 'Star man'. You told me before about your 'star trip' and that you were unmoved, and of course it's not everyone's cup of tea.
I had a similar experience when in the RAF in Ceylon (as it was then) My air traffic control station was in a jungle clearing two miles from the airfield so every night duty was accompanied by millions of stars in complete darkness. Never seen anything like that since.
Thanks again and best wishes following your chemo.
Michael
Michael


Illusions Of Love (posted on: 23-05-16)
A Poem about love lost and found; and lost again.

Illusions of love. Only I can see my reflections in your eyes. No one else will ever see them, or will ever know what I see when we are face to face. Are we both searching for something? Something missing; something illusive. Does your heart really beat for me when we are together, as mine beats for you, or are you just a mirage, a shimmering fluke of nature, shimmering just out of reach. Are you really there? Sometimes it seems you're like a rainbow. I can see you but I can't get close. you're 'over there' somewhere else, beckoning. Beckoning with tempting lips but out of reach. And yet you will not leave me, nor will you let me go. We rotate in each other's shadow as we dance and sway, held fast by something that binds us invisibly - more than the touching of lips. Perhaps we are the echo's of past loves clinging to something lost; something that will not release us. Despite your closeness it seems we are forever distant, Distant and wondering. Are you the same. Are we really searching for something illusive you and I, like ships that pass in the night? Are we but stops along the way, briefly to come alive like the Flying Dutchman, searching before we are gone. Searching still.
Archived comments for Illusions Of Love
Mikeverdi on 24-05-2016
Illusions Of Love
Good to see you writing on the site again, thanks for posting. I like the idea of this piece, on the crit side, I thinks its a little over written. By this I mean it needs a prune. I think the prune would take a good poem to great.
As usual, only my opinion and others may differ.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike for your reply.
I'm sorry I don't contribute very often these days. Heath problems I'm afraid - mostly my wife so I'm CCABW. It is surprising how ones routine can so easily be disrupted.
I think you are right about it being overwritten. Perhaps because I felt the need to write something, anything, and didn't give it the time it needed. 'Ah' time! Once there seemed to be so much of it.
Thanks as always, Michael.
2 PS's
1 Your opinion is always appreciated.
2 As for pruning? I always liked prunes but I can't run fast enough these days.

stormwolf on 24-05-2016
Illusions Of Love
Hi Micheal,
I think many of us are finding inspiration difficult these days. This moved me.
I think sometimes it is just best to get it out. We can always go back later, I do it all the time.

Does you're (your)heart really beat for me
Keep writing.

Alison x

Author's Reply:
Hello Alison.
Nice to hear from you again and as always, encouraging.
What was that about inspiration and perspiration? I will go back to it one day.
Thank you for pointing out my silly mistake which I will correct pronto!
My excuse, I'm a little out of practice at the moment.
Thanks again,
Michael

pdemitchell on 24-05-2016
Illusions Of Love
Hi Micheal - a standard fare well written in a unique format but Mike's prunes have a stone or two in them. Sorry to hear caring duties prevail - been there, torn the T-shirt. Mitch

Author's Reply:
Hi Mitch
Thanks for your encouraging reply.
Like most of us I write for myself but it is gratifying to know that sometimes,
something strikes a chord somewhere,
with someone,
somehow.
Think that's enough of that!
Thanks again, Michael


What's in a (nick) name (posted on: 25-09-15)
Do nicknames define us? Do those who pin these labels on us know us better than we know ourselves?

What's in a (Nick)name It is a well known and generally accepted fact that, away from parental control (and sometimes because of it) kids will invariably choose nicknames for their friends, their enemies, their schoolteachers, and just about anyone else who has a peg on which to hang one. There are of course the Mrs Thompsons' of this world whose attitude to the names of their children, and more particularly their children's friends, is so unflinching that they may just about manage to avoid such perils for their offspring. Nevertheless I suggest that they don't bet too much money on it. When I was young I inherited my nickname from three elder brothers who had in their turn preceded me at the local school. We had all enjoyed, or endured, the sobriquet 'Kipper'. My surname, as some of you may well have gleaned is Kimber, and it is a fact that in all my long life I have never personally known, apart from members of my own family, any other person with that name. Occasionally one reads of someone so named in the media, or sees someone on the box similarly blessed. But meet one in the flesh; never a one. Therefore I have never known if that nickname is common amongst others sharing my surname, nor do I know definitively where it originated. Why then, you may be wondering, does it matter. Well here's a thing. By and large I am not a political animal, and such political persuasions I have I keep to myself. In short I do not wear my political heart on my sleeve. I am, I feel, an all-rounder; conservative in my manner, liberal in my views, very much of working class stock, and conscious of the green issues of the day both here at home and around the world. More recently however I find, somewhat to my surprise, that I can now add another party to my list of political associations. For I have learned that followers of 'UKIP' have taken to referring to themselves as Ukippers. ''Bad luck.'' some say. ''But not so I say, ''for now I feel able to consider most of the options available in an even more balanced way. After all, even the Raving Monster Loonies may have something worthwhile to say. One thing however which the Ukip fraternity may wish to consider and which may come to my aid, is one of a few explanation I know of as to the origin of that rather odd nickname. It is it seems a naval term used to refer to seamen of an enemy fleet in the most derogatory of terms. A kipper you see, as is well known, starts it's life as a herring before it is caught processed and smoked, whereupon it becomes a lifeless body with no guts or backbone.* Of course I don't particularly subscribe to that view but merely mention it in passing. However, if anyone out there has knowledge of a more complimentary origin I would be pleased to know of it. *This suggestion kindly supplied by our UKA friend QBall (with tongue in cheek I hope)
Archived comments for What's in a (nick) name
Pronto on 26-09-2015
Whats in a (nick) name
Well what a pleasantly humorous read. I,too, have suffered from a nickname. My surname being Milligan I've had to endure being called Spike all my life. Indeed some of my old Army mates don't know my first name. One of these gents changed his name from Trotter. "It's not funny being called 'Del Boy' all the time Spike" he told me, completely missing the irony.

P.S. In my Army days the female genitalia was sometimes referred to as a Kipper (But we won't go into that!) 😉





Author's Reply:
Hi Pronto
Thanks for your interesting reply.
I did smile at your recollection of your 'Del Boy' friend not understanding the irony of calling you Spike.
I have to say that my search for a more wholesome origin of my nickname has, I think, by your surprising revelation, been advanced backwards just a tad. I too spent a number of years in uniform but I never came across that one.
Thanks just the same,
Michael
PS Where did Pronto come from?

Mikeverdi on 27-09-2015
Whats in a (nick) name
I had a guy I knew in Plymouth, a judo teacher, called Kimber. He was a roofing contractor if I remember right, first name Alan. No one called him kipper, but I'm with pronto and his explanation...a ladies secret place. Not a nice nick name 😊

I enjoyed the read Michael as always.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike
I'm reminded of the old adage."Be careful what you wish for." After all I did ask 'What's in a nickname?" Now I'm beginning to find out. Perhaps I should take up judo!
Cheers Mike; let me know if you come up with anything better.
Michael

Pronto on 27-09-2015
Whats in a (nick) name
Hi Kipper the name Pronto comes from my old military calling. These were some of the handles we used over the radio. The commander was called Sunray,the Quatermaster was Molar. As signals sergeant I was known as Pronto (Signals being quick allegedly) 🙂
The call "Sunray to set..over" meant they wanted to talk to the person in charge. Why the hell they just didn't say so is beyond me.!


Author's Reply:
Hi Pronto
Should have guessed I guess! My Brother was a staff sergeant in the signals and I was in air traffic control (RAF) but the penny didn't drop.
They were all nick names one way or another. As you say, plain English might have been better.
Cheers,
Michael


When Love Comes (posted on: 25-09-15)
You never know what's around the corner

When Love Comes Romance can come in many ways, a smile, a hug, on chilly days. There's ways of telling, ways to know, and ways of saying stay, don't go. It isn't only touch or feel, or even things that make you reel. A gentle hint of love inferred, when wrapped within a spoken word. When love comes near it might collide, for sometimes it's a bumpy ride. But when it comes just hold it tight, it might just set your world alight. It lives within you, in your heart, it's when it hurts for you to part. When tomorrow seems an age away, I guess that's love; well; for today.

Archived comments for When Love Comes
sweetwater on 27-09-2015
When Love Comes
Think you have summed it up very well, I loved the way it rhymes. 🙂 Sue.

Author's Reply:
Hi Sue
Nice to hear from you, glad you enjoyed (?) my poem even if perhaps, a little ruefully.
Best as always,
Michael.

PS My wife will not read my poetry if it does not rhyme.

sweetwater on 27-09-2015
When Love Comes
Hi Michael, oops sorry, guess I didn't express myself very well, I do like it a great deal. I think it's a very romantic, lovely poem, It's been so many years ( at least 30 ) since romance and I have met, I forgot how to appreciate it lol! I am better at long distance unrequited love, I know all about that!

Author's Reply:
Perfectly expressed Sue, especially about the rhyming. My comment about my wife was simply to say that for some people - perhaps those less familiar with poetry - the rhyme is what holds it together. (Of course we know better)
I'm pleased that you enjoyed my poem.
Regards Michael


An Eye For An Eye (posted on: 21-09-15)
Hard to categorize. A light hearted ever so slightly risque little piece. It shouldn't frighten the horses!!

An Eye For An Eye A play in three acts THE CHARACTERS The boss. Angelli. The bosses aide The 'boys'; Mario & Benny. Antonio. The victim. Juliet. The bosses woman. Susanna, Juliet's daughter Lanky Len from a down-town gang AN EYE FOR AN EYE Scene 1 - In the lounge "I want his wedding tackle in a plastic bag on my desk today." "But boss," Mario tried to intervene. "No buts," The boss was firm, "just do it." "But boss," Mario persisted, "you don't know." "I know plenty." the boss murmured, his dark swarthy face contorted in anger. "you think I can't trust my own eyes?'' "But what did you see boss?" Mario was distraught at the thing he was being asked to do. "You gotta be sure." "He's sure enough." A new voice had entered the room. It was Angelli, the bosses closest adviser. "I've seen what's been going on." he said. "Oh no boss," Mario was still pleading, "you're not going on what Angelli tells you. You know he would piss on his own mother if she was dyin of thirst." Angelli took little notice of the jibe. He was secure in the knowledge that he had the boss's ear; and he had plans. He knew that before long he would have the opportunity to even things up with that whining Mario. The boss walked across the room and with his arm on Mario's shoulder, guided him gently to the door. The interview was over. "Go get Benny," he said quietly, almost fatherly, ''tell him what you gotta do; then go do it." Mario had to try once more. "You know boss that I'd do anything for you, but I gotta tell ya, I have very bad vibes about this." But the boss was unmoved; the decision already taken; the result irreversible. Scene 2 - In the cellar They found Antonio shooting pool in a downtown bar. "The boss wants to see you." Mario called. "He does? - What's it about?" "He'll tell you himself." ''Yeah!'' said Benny. Antonio was a little alarmed at the rather abrupt manner of his two friends, but he had no reason to fear his boss. He had done nothing wrong that he could think of. But he was even more alarmed when they reached the large house which served as the boss's residence; the boardroom for his 'business' associates and their activities, and numerous rooms used 'ad hoc' by the gang. What alarmed him most of all was that instead of being taken to the grandeur of the upstairs rooms, he was taken to a cellar. Antonio had worked for the boss long enough to know that this was not a good omen. "What gives guys?" he asked. For an answer he was bundled up against a pillar, and his hands tied behind it. "Come on fellas, what's the game?" "Sorry Tony," Mario said, as he removed the belt from Antoio's pants. There was real distress in his voice when he continued, "but I've gotta cut ya nuts off." "What!" Antonio shouted out loud, making the word last for an eternity "What are you taking about?" "Boss says you've been dipping you're wick where it didn't auta be dipped." "But what does he mean? Who can he mean?" "He says you have been getting too close; much too close; with Juliet." "No way. Does he think I'm crazy?" Antonio couldn't help the rising panic in his voice. He knew the boss as a fairly tolerant man, (in as much as it was possible for a seasened gangster to be) but he also knew that he would take no truck with anyone who messes with his woman. "He says you've been seen going into her suite and not emergin for hours." "Who says! They're lying whoever it is." "Angelli, that's who." "Yeah!" Added Benny. "Surely he's not sent you to mutilate me based on what that lying toad says." "He seems to believe every word he says." Mario said. "Yeah!'' said Benny. "But didn't you speak up for me?" Antonio pleaded. "The boss wouldn't listen. He's made up his mind." Mario muttered. "Mario spoke up for you real good, but the boss wouldn't listen." added Benny, beating his usual vocal contribution by a hoodlum mile. "Listen boys; let me tell you what I know, and then you'll just have to do what you gotta do." 'The boys' listened quietly while Antonio told his story. At last he stopped, "That's it." he said. "But why don't you just tell the boss?" asked Mario. "Yeah, why?'' repeated Benny. "He aint never gonna believe me. Especially now. He'll just think I'm trying to lie myself out of bad deal." Antonio explained. "Besides, it looks like Angelli is calling the shots now.'' A short period of silence followed, broken by Antonio saying, "Now boys; don't you have a job to do?" "You want us to go through with it?" Mario asked, while Benny looked on without a 'yeah' to his name. "You said the boss wants my 'nick nacks', so you'd better give him them." "He said he wants the whole package," Mario nodded, "but I think I can swing that." Scene 3 - Back in the lounge Later that day Mario marched straight into the lounge of the boss's apartment where he was entertaining Juliet and Angelli. He banged the small clear plastic bag down on the table in front of his employer. "If you can't justify this then it's the last thing I will ever do for you." His voice low, but angry. "Is it all there?" the boss asked, somewhat surprised by Mario's hostility, as he casually looked into the bag. "Enough," Mario responded curtly, "he can't do much harm with what's left. The boss looked up. "Thank you Mario, that's all for now." "Oh no, I haven't finished yet." The boss looked cross, but Mario carried on before he could be distracted. "You had me do your dirty work, now I want to see you do some for yourself." ''Ye ...'' Benny almost spoke but could not quite manage to confront the boss. With that Mario picked up the plastic bag, and handed it to Juliet. She was very curious not having recognized the contents, but she did recognize the serious looks on the faces of the two men. Mario, and her man, the boss. "Honey," she asked, what's happening; and what are these?" The boss didn't answer straight away, as if weighing up his words. "There's nothing to worry about. Just that someone won't be bothering you any more." "I don't understand; - no one has been bothering me." "You've been having long visits in your private rooms by a certain party. He won't be coming again." "No I have not; who says I have; and who is supposed to have been visiting me?" she asked, her voice getting shrill. For the first time Angelli spoke up. "Antonio was seen going into your room, and not coming out for well over two hours." "Honey," Juliet asked, "what's this man been telling you?" "Is it true?" "No it is not. But could you not have asked me instead of getting your gorilla to spy on me?" "I know what I saw." Angelli cut in, a big grin on his face. "Well you saw wrong you big mut. Antonio has only been into my room twice. He carried little Susanna in from the park one day when she fell off her bike. He stayed about ten minutes, and about two hours later he called back again to see how she was. He stayed another five minutes and then left. That's it." The boss turned to Angelli. He did not speak but his expression demanded an explanation. "That's not how I saw it boss." "Well how did you see it?" "That's enough." Juliet jumped to her feet, glaring at the boss. "I'm not going to let you discus me like I'm a dumb animal. I am being accused of having an affair with Antonio, and without asking me you take the word of a lying cheatin low life, who can't even spell honesty or integrity never mind knowing what they mean. And without ...'' Suddenly she stopped and looked around the room. ''Where is Antonio anyway?" she asked. The boss looked to Mario for an answer. "I had to take him to the hospital boss; he'd have bled to death if I'd left him." Once again Juliet was shouting, not at Angelli this time but at her boyfriend. "You great dumbhead, what have you done to him?" Only then did the penny drop as to the contents of the plastic bag. She looked at the boss hoping for reassurance. ''Please don't tell me that this is what I think it is.'' The assurance she had pleaded for did not come and she sank heavily into her chair. "That poor innocent man." she sobbed as she covered her face. A short period of quiet followed in which only Juliet's crying could be heard, but it was broken by a noise at the door. In waddled Antonio followed by a tall - a very tall - stranger. "Hi boss." Antonio said, almost as though nothing had happened. "They wanted to keep me in, but as soon as they had sewn me up and got me strapped up I couldn't see any reason to stay.'' "Who's ya friend?" the boss asked, showing little concern for Antonio's discomfort. "Well there's a funny thing boss. This is Len; his friends call him Lanky; he's from the downtown outfit. I met him a few months ago in the barbers and we got to chatting. The upshot was that I found out that Angello had been 'talking' to them about a merger." Antonio seemed to be enjoying being centre stage despite his recent surgery. "Ah, but not you boss; Oh no! He has plans to get rid of you.'' The boss sat up in his chair and looked directly at Angelli, who was no longer wearing his grin, but said nothing. Antonio now turned his attention to Angelli. "The trouble was Boss that I challenged him," he continued, "threarened to expose him so I guess he had to get rid of me. Maybe he thought that framing me for porking - sorry Juliet - with having an affair with the boss's woman would be a good way to do it.'' By now he was facing the boss again. ''After that he planned to have you framed for Juliet's murder, - sorry Juliet.'' he said again shrugging his shoulders. ''It seems that even you were expendable - leaving himself to take over the number one spot. Nice chap eh!'' Len had stayed silent through all this, but now he spoke up. "We don't want no trouble. Things work out better for us all if were not greedy. We stick to our patch, and you stick to yours. Everyone's happy. So when my boys tell me that someone's skulking, I smell a rat. I don't like rats." He moved around a little before he started again. "You've got a loyal and faithful man here." he said, putting his arm on Antonio's shoulder, "I hope you reward him better after this than before. He put himself on the line for you, so you better start believing him." He took a couple of steps nearer to the boss. "Anyway, as I was saying, my boys tell me about this guy talking loud and talking big, so I decided to string him along. He told me of his plans - which didn't include you." He glanced at Angelli briefly before he continued. "Then he told me of a grand plan to merge our two outfits - and I'm pretty sure his long term plans didn't include me either. So I made contact with your man here." Turning, he acknowledged Antonio once more, "And the rest of it you know.'' Throughout Lanky's oration Angelli's grin had completely disappeared, and in its place was an ashen faced mask. He had not failed to notice that all the doors from the large room were now covered. While Len and The Boss were talking Mario and Benny had quietly placed themselves strategically to head off a sudden dash. "What da ya have to say for yourself Angelli?" asked the boss, his face somewhat drawn by now. "Anything you care to deny?" Angelli was silent. Then the boss picked up the plastic bag and beckoned Antonio forward. "These are yours I believe." as he tossed them across. "Not much use to me now." he answered, "but I guess they'll be alright in a stew." He looked cheekily at the mystified faces around the room and said, "Sheep bits and pieces; from the abattoir." And then he patted around his waist and between his legs. "Padding; see." as he gave himself an extra slap in the nethers. Now everyone in the room was smiling except Angelli. The boss reached out to take Antonio's hand. "Sorry I mistrusted you, I guess you'll be movin into Angelli's place now. And I think that you should have the pleasure of meeting out Angelli's punishment. He paused for a moment. "An eye for an eye seems about right, don't you think?" As he spoke he tapped the plastic bag still in Antonio's hand. "And oh';'' he paused again. ''Can we have the full set this time?"
Archived comments for An Eye For An Eye
shadow on 24-09-2015
An Eye For An Eye
Dear me, the things some people get up to. A nice gruesome little tale, with a happy ending (for some).

Author's Reply:
A nice gruesome tale you say - I'll take that, and I do like happy endings!
Thank you for your encouragement.
Best wishes, Michael

deadpoet on 27-09-2015
An Eye For An Eye
Oh Golly Kipper- exciting from beginning to end. Like gangster movies-I had forgotten. Like Shadow says- the things some people get up to!

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your support. I hope I did not give you nightmares.
Best wishes,
Michael


Oh Silver Moon (posted on: 18-09-15)
A rewrite of a piece submitted a few weeks ago, which was written and submitted in haste. I hope this is an improvement and I will appreciate any comments

For Moon people everywhere. The night sky continues to captivate us just as it did our ancient forebears over uncountable generations. Oh Silver Moon: I watch the night sky, playground of the stars and far away worlds, and wonder at the miracle which has bedeviled mankind, ever since evolution decreed that they should stand on two feet. Now we, their descendants look and wonder just the same. Unlike on this Earth there are no boundaries in the sky, nor artificial marks to distinguish man made territories. Shooting stars startle as they burn briefly to light their way, extinguishing themselves without fuss into the inky darkness. Others follow, briefly burning brighter than the stars as they streak across the sky, seeming near enough to touch, but beyond reach. So easily they contradict far and near in their spectacular lunar display. Our ancient ancestors, could only stare and wonder, but we also gaze, for despite an understanding unknown to our ancestors we are excited still. We stare into the heavens at the million specks of light sprinkled in the endless solar blackness; a never ending carpet of diamonds. As we look the numbers seem to grow adding to the spectacle stretching out in the velvet sky. This sparkling infinity of never ending perpetuity. And then, just skimming the horizon, a newcomer appears; slowly, like a stranger at a party - reluctant to show it's face. At first just a glow, until a thin crescent of light emerges staring sleepily as if afraid to join the fun. It peeps timidly over the edge before it slowly lifts itself into the sky. Awakened from its slumber the new moon once more appears to grace this endless place and just like a newborn child it peers shyly into the vastness of space, as if unsure for a moment of its place in such an endless arena. But night after night it grows, casting off its bashfulness, until in awesome wonder it reigns supreme. The Full Moon is reborn. A mighty globe it lights the sky as it floats full frontal for all to see, proud and unashamed, delighting in its nakedness. But then as always since the beginning of time, the moon starts to wane. A few nights in glorious splendour have come and gone, and now, gently receding like a magician's illusion it slowly disappears, allowing its 'smaller' cousins to regain the stage to glint and twinkle and shoot while they can - but only for a few days. Once more the moon's cycle has completed, but soon it will come again to claim its rightful place, and in that vast amphitheatre it will grace the night sky again, and again, ad infinitum.
Archived comments for Oh Silver Moon
Bozzz on 18-09-2015
Oh Silver Moon
What is it that fascinates us so about the moon - the source of mystery and love? We are true lunar creatures in our bio-clocks (moonstruation?). You spell it all out very well, Michael. God bless the pop song writers and poets too!!. Is the cheese bit Stilton or Camembert?.Yours, David

Author's Reply:
Thank you David
I wish I knew the answer to your first question, but there is a fascination about the moon.
As for your second; well they do say once in a blue moon..
Thanks for R & R
Michael

chant_z on 18-09-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Very beautiful and fascinating. I found a tiny typo though: "its place in such in endless arena". That's a critical as it gets.

Author's Reply:
Hi chant_z
and thanks for replying with a generous comment..
What a silly typo - thanks for pointing it out. I will deal with it pronto.
Best regards,
Michael

Kipper on 18-09-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Hi C Z, and thanks for replying with a generous comment..
What a silly typo - thanks for pointing it out. I will deal with it pronto.
Best regards,
Michael


Author's Reply:

Nemo on 20-09-2015
Oh Silver Moon
I enjoyed your reveries about the moon. It's got me thinking again: our planet with its moon, its place in the universe, the size of the universe, expanding or not, what's outside it, does it have an outside, all fascinating stuff. I enjoyed your reveries about the moon. Another typo spotted, sorry: "reluctant to show its face."
Gerald

Author's Reply:
Hi Gerald, and thanks for commenting. There are two kinds of people; those who find the moon fascinating, and those who wouldn't notice if it disappeared for ever. (except of course that they would disappear with it!)
No prizes for guessing that I am of the former persuasion, and I would hazard a guess that you are too.
Thank you for pointing out my typo. Those pesky apostrophes, they get in everywhere if you don't watch. I just went to make a cup of tea and when I came back the blighters were everywhere. I thought I'd got them all but I must have missed one.
Glad you're on my side!
Michael


The Rocking Chair (posted on: 14-09-15)
Perhaps we don't always 'Put away those childish things' Perhaps they stay with us!

The Rocking Chair Sarah could feel a curious sensation when she entered the house. It was dark and dusty and damp; no, not so much damp as cold. As far as she knew - though the agent was not very forthcoming beyond this - the old cottage had been empty for many years. There was certainly an atmosphere about the place which no doubt had influenced other previous viewers who might have been thinking of 'doing it up'. Quite clearly the house was in a state and some 'doing up' was needed, but more than that it needed some loving care. But those earlier prospective buyers, perhaps less imaginative than Sarah had all drifted away, and so the cottage remained empty. ''It's not just an exercise of bricks and pipes and wires,'' she told herself. ''What some people can't see in a house is its soul, its beating heart.'' Sarah had known this cottage since she was a child and now, her wanderlust satisfied, her travels over and done with, she was home again; except of course she didn't have a home. In a nearby village her one time family home had also become a victim of 'doing up' when her parents departed to be guests in that great mansion in the sky. She had not wanted it then so it was sold and some of the money paid for her travels. Now, those days behind her she had hoped that what was left would buy her a nice little home. Perhaps she was naive or simply out of touch but it was soon apparent that such monies that she had would not buy the home of her dreams. Neither, she came to realize, would it buy any kind of where she could move into without mountains of work. Even some of the bad ones were still beyond her purse. It was when she was enquiring in a nearby town estate agents that a chance remark by a young lady in the shop who no doubt thought that she was being funny solved her problem. "Don't forget Whither Cottage.'' she called out to the young man who was going through the books of photos of houses with her, looking to see if there was anything that might be suitable. While the young lady shrieked with laughter at her 'funny' remark, her older colleague sighed. Was it exasperation at a non-professional joke, or the expectation of defeat at the prospect of trying to sell that property. ''I doubt that Whither Cottage would suite you.'' he murmured quietly. ''It is in a bit of a state.'' "But I know Whither Cottage," she told the young man. "just outside the village. I'm surprised to find it's still there. Is it on the market?" "It is," he replied, "if its still standing. Its been empty for nearly thirty years." "What is it going for?" she asked "I'll have to check for you I'm afraid. The cottage has been empty since the original owners died, and whoever took it on seems to have disappeared. I'll find out if you really want to know." He was as good as his word, but Sarah, impatient at the boring details of who when and where, asked only for the price. She was pleased when she discovered that she could afford the asking price, but in traditional style she rejected that and made a much smaller offer, which, somewhat to her surprise was accepted. And so in the fullness of time she came to be looking around her new place of residence. At an earlier visit she had found everything to be as she had been warned to expect. Broken, rotting, fallen down or decayed, and very dirty. But she had rejected suggestions to get someone in to clear the place. ''No!'' she had said, ''I want to do it myself. It will save me some money and besides, some of this stuff might be worth keeping.'' Sarah remembered the two sweet old ladies who had lived there; at least to a child they seemed very old. And she had been surprised to find that much of their furniture was still there even after all the years since they had passed away. She did not of course know the details of the demise of the sisters, nor indeed did the young estate agent. ''It was such a long time ago.'' he said quietly. It was then that Sarah realized that so far their conversation had been conducted almost in a whisper. There was indeed an atmosphere in the place though not one that Sarah found oppressive. If anything she thought it was pleading, though for what she did not yet know. She could not help but notice the curious way that things that had been dust covered and immobile for years suddenly decided to fall, and how and old rocking chair in a corner rocked slightly when she was near to it. "Is this place haunted?" she asked the agent. "Wouldn't be surprised,'' he replied, ''I've not been here that many times but it always seems spooky to me." "Well spooky or not this is now my cottage and I'll be staying tonight." "But there are no services yet; the water and electric people; they're coming tomorrow." he said. "Are you going to be all right?" "Yes of course." she answered, not wanting to 'spook' the agent further. So she didn't mention that right behind him she saw the rocking chair move slightly once more. After shaking hands with Sarah he got into his car and soon he was on his way. She was smiling, thinking of how glad he seemed to be just to get away from the old cottage, no doubt pondering about some crazy old lady who had just bought a pile of rubble. But Sarah's big smile remained as she walked back into the house. "OK Isabella, Katerina,'' she called out loud. ''I know you can both hear me. Do you remember me? Sarah from the village.'' She paused and waited for the rocking chair to move as she knew it would. It did. ''Do you remember I used to visit you years and years ago when I was a little girl and you used to bake cakes for me?" There was another little movement of the rocking chair. "And do you remember how I used to sit on the rocking chair and you used to push me backwards and forwards?" Sarah then carried the chair to the centre of the room where she fondly caressed it sending many years of dust from its arms and seat to the floor before sitting down, remembering the fun she had with those gentle ladies a lifetime before. She sat and waited. There was no sound, but for an answer she felt the chair start to move with a small but easy movement. Gradually the movement increased until it almost reached its full extent. Sarah relaxed, smiling and quietly laughing as the chair moved forward and backwards. She was remembering those childhood visits so long ago and soon she was that little girl again, laughing and giggling. The movement continued and she closed her eyes, dreaming, and in just a few minutes she was lulled into a deep sleep. The Electrician found her the next day, dead in the rocking chair which contined its gentle movement. ''That's just how I found her,'' he told the policeman, ''at first I thought she was a little girl.'' The rocking chair continued its slow but rhythmic movement and Sarah, somehow, incredibly, seemed to be only half the middle aged lady she had been, and was wearing the most contented of smiles.
Archived comments for The Rocking Chair
Mikeverdi on 16-09-2015
The Rocking Chair
I enjoyed the read Michael, you won't be suprised that I think it needs a prune, but the story is worth it. It makes a change not to have the walking dead in on the act. I think you could expand the relationship between Sarah and the old ladies, maybe spice it up a bit...just a thought 😊
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike, thanks a always.
Your thoughts are always worth thinking about!!(I'm not sure if that's funny or not)
You have of course set me something of a task. Prune and expand at the same time. Oh no; not another rewrite!!
Thanks (I think) anyway
Michael

Bozzz on 16-09-2015
The Rocking Chair
An interesting reflective piece Michael. What with Mike asking for a prune and Luigi posing as a damson in distress - are we going plum crazy?

Author's Reply:
Hi Bozzz
If it keeps on like this we'll all be going pear shaped.
Apart from that; very pleased to hear from you. Hope things are improving.
Thanks, Michael.

shadow on 17-09-2015
The Rocking Chair
Interesting read with good, creepy atmosphere. I was surprised that she died at the end, as I did not realise Sarah was supposed to be old, she came over as more 'early middle aged' to me.

Author's Reply:
Hi shadow,
Thanks for your kind remarks, and after reading again I agree that Sarah's age was not satisfactorily clarified. I will endeavour to correct that omission.
Pleased you enjoyed the story.
Regard, Michael

sweetwater on 17-09-2015
The Rocking Chair
I don't normally read stories on here, but I have been intrigued by the intro and title all week, I have a 'thing' for rocking chairs, my mum had a small upholstered one. So here I am, writing a comment I had not expected to be writing! Apart from the rocking chair, you have used my daughter's name so I read on. And loved it! Every word and every line, I wouldn't change much, just the fact she died too, as I would have liked more chapters going forwards to her doing the cottage up and her life there with the two old ladies. Like shadow I saw her as early middle aged. Fantastic write, going into favs. Sue xx

Author's Reply:
Hello Sue
Yes, I did think along the line you mentioned about Sarah living with the two old ladies, but in the end the restrictions of the short story stopped me. However I may well come back to it. Also you felt, like shadow, that I had not established Sarah's age properly, so I have made a small change at the end of the story which I hope will satisfy you.
Finally I am very flattered that you have chosen to add my story to your fav box. Special thanks for that.
Kind regards, Michael





Full Circle (posted on: 07-09-15)
Thinking ahead, I guess!

Full Circle Life is brief like a passing shadow and yet it captures all that man can do. From the safety of a mothers arms, to quiet surrender when the circle is complete. From cradle to grave life is a contradiction. From the eternity of all that is before, to the realization that all is done, and that the future belongs to someone else. But there remains a curious connection. We 'know' just three generations in our ancestral trees, and of our descendants from only three will they 'know' us, and yet the genes they passed to us we pass to them. And so the circle of life is at the same time complete, but ever changing.

Archived comments for Full Circle
chant_z on 08-09-2015
Full Circle
The title made me read it. On a personal note I take a medicine now that old people and young children take (personal full circle that is). Many lines simply ring true and the piece troddles along very gracefully.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for this nice reply. Troddling along gracefully I find, is not as easy to achieve as the years go by. I think it's all those tablets rattling about.
Glad you enjoyed the poem.
Michael

Mikeverdi on 08-09-2015
Full Circle
So much to like about this poem, of course it resonates with those who connect on the level it's aimed at...me. 😊

Author's Reply:
I had to smile when I read your comment, especially the end bit.
Honest Mike I wasn't thinking about you - but you know what they say about the shoe!
Best as always Michael

sweetwater on 10-09-2015
Full Circle
I first read this on Monday, and it made me think about our lives, and how fleeting they are yet still bound to those before and after us, the line 'the future belongs to someone else' absolutely brought home to me that we really arn't here forever, a fact which I try to ignore, I re-read several times during the week, still thinking about it, while I waited for a bus home yesterday I was working three generations back and forward and yes I can see that would be all who would have a direct link. So as you can see, I got a lot of mileage from this, thank you :-)) Sue.

Author's Reply:
Hello Sue
Thanks as ever for reading. I guess when we reach a certain age most of us start to look back rather than forward. But more than that, those of us who think of ourselves as writers (regardless of whether we are any good) have the ability and the desire to write down our thoughts for others to share.
I am pleased that you found my poem interesting; plenty of mileage as you say.
Thank you for your very considered reply - Michael


Oh Silver Moon (posted on: 28-08-15)
Inspired by the aria from Resulka This won't work if you are in the city; but try it on the beach at midnight; or strolling down a country lane on a winter's evening. (Make sure you are with someone special)

Oh Silver Moon: As I watch the night sky, playground of the stars and far away worlds, I wonder at the miracle which has bedevilled us since mankind learned to stand on two feet. There are no borders or boundaries to separate the heavenly bodies, or artificial marks to distinguish territories as between man and man. A shooting star startles me as it burns briefly to light its way extinguishing itself without fuss into the inky darkness. Then another then many, briefly burning bright; brighter than the stars. Streaks of light across the sky, near enough to touch but beyond reach. So easily they contradict far and near, in this spectacular lunar display of a million specks of light sprinkled in the endless solar blackness. And as I stare in wonderment, a million more appear in perpetuity, a never ending carpet of diamonds stretching out in the velvet sky. And then over there just skimming the horizon, a newcomer I see, slowly, almost reluctantly, showing it's face like a stranger at a party. AT first just a glow, but then a thin crescent of light emerges staring wide eyed as if afraid to join the fun, peeping timidly over the edge as it slowly lifts itself into the sky. "Over here my shy little fellow, and show your lunar smile;" I call! Awakened from your sleep, once more you appear to grace this endless place and just like a newborn child you peer, shyly in the vastness of space, unsure, as if for a moment uncertain of your place in such in endless arena. But night after night you grow, casting off all your bashfulness, and in awesome wonder, once more in full display you reign supreme. A mighty globe to light the sky as you float full frontal for all to see, proud and unashamed, delighting in your nakedness. But then as always you start to wane; a few nights in glorious splendour have come and gone, and now slowly receding, like a magician's illusion you disappear, allowing your 'smaller' cousins to enjoy the stage, to glint and twinkle and shoot while they can. Once more you have claimed your rightful place, and soon you will grace the night sky again. Oh Silver Moon .
Archived comments for Oh Silver Moon
Mikeverdi on 28-08-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Good stuff Michael, I enjoyed the read. Much has been written about the Moon and Stars. I wonder now that we know so much more, have they lost their allure?
I had the great pleasure of taking a trip out into the desert from Sharm, we left in a Jeep and changed to Camels to go further. When night came, I have never seen the stars in that way before...unforgettable.
On the critique side there are words I would prune out, as usual that's just me,and as always it's your poetry 🙂
In friendship
Mike

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 28-08-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Thanks Mike.
How I envy you desert trip. The sky in those places is truly stunning. I had a similar experience to yours from a mountain top in what was then Ceylon.
Just like yours an unforgeable experience.
What was the other thing? Oh yes, the poem. Guilty as charged! I was far too impatient and should have spent much more time with it.
Thanks for you comment, and if you liked it now I'll be interested to see what you think of the rewrite.
Michael

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 28-08-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Errr.... you need to reply in the reply box HaHa! Good job I wanted to read it again, I await the re write with interest. 🙂
Your trip must have been a while ago?
Mike

Author's Reply:
Sorry about that. Those little gray cells don't work quite so good as they used to.
I'm working on the rewrite as we speak (in a manner of speaking - but don't hold your breath) and I'm pleased to know that you felt it worthy of a second look.
My 'trip' as you refer to it was in 1953/56 when I was there at the invitation of HM Government. They needed me in ATC to bring the planes in to RAF Negombo. (Now the international Airport at Colombo)
Now it's you guiding me back onto the right approach.
Thanks - Michael

deadpoet on 30-08-2015
Oh Silver Moon
I loved this- dreamy as it is. I seldom see shooting stars- though there's not that much light pollution where I live. But I often gaze at the night sky and the stars. The moon was full the night before last. I love the moon and stars and always have. As A child living in Australia and often in the country without electricity- masses of starry nights. So so beautiful.
A very enjoyable read. Thank you.
Pia

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 31-08-2015
Oh Silver Moon
Thank you Pia
So pleased you enjoyed my homage to the Moon. It seemed to have brought back some pleasant memories for you.
If you read the comments above and my replies you will see that I mentioned a rewrite, which I have now done. I think it is improved but it is you my UKA friends who will have the last say.
My thanks again, Michael

Author's Reply:


Lessons In Love (posted on: 24-08-15)
Memories of my first love

Fourteen she was, and I just one year more. Cheeky and pretty but I was still a dreamer. She said she liked me and took my hand, large next to hers when she placed them together. My heart till then had been untried, and likewise my head had not been turned. It was our first date, a simple walk by the church, to a quiet and private place she knew. ''Good luck to those whose first kiss is here within the Lychgates.'' I heard her say. My heart was beating, and my hand still holding hers was damp. I longed to touch her somewhere, anywhere, but I was trembling. She smiled, her lips invited me, but I could not move. She waited patiently and still she smiled. But I was immobile frozen like ice hiding the furnace concealed within me. My lips yearned to feel hers, soft lips on soft lips. But if they met what next? I dared not think, and neither dare I speak; I didn't have the words. All at once the magic seemed to fade. I could not understand for her smile was gone, and in it's place a sigh. Off she skipped with laughter loud, and step by step she left me helpless, saying things that hurt my pride, and I could only wonder. For while my heart no longer thumped within my chest, my ardour, now awoken, was unsatisfied, challenged, defeated, She must have known that she was my first love, although I had not said. And though she was only fourteen, she was far too old for me, for I had not yet learned the ways of love and girls. This had been my first lesson - gentle and cruel - but at the time I felt it was my last.
Archived comments for Lessons In Love
deadpoet on 24-08-2015
Lessons In Love
I have a feeling that generally girls are slightly "ahead" of boys- even with the first love! Not older just more open. This is such a good account. And girls were called promiscuous! So degrading!

Pia

Author's Reply:
Thanks for replying Pia
This was such a long time ago but I wonder, are things any different now. I don't mean the internet and the 'information' available to youngsters now. (Such a thing would have been science fiction back then) I mean, are today's boys still being led by the girls in these matters as they were then?
Best wishes, Michael

Weefatfella on 24-08-2015
Lessons In Love
 photo c673dadc-2d28-4407-9a21-a191bcf6d656_zpsp2y54f3y.jpg

During my first kiss I couldn't breath. Then she withdrew and said ever so kindly, "Breath through yir nose." Why didn't I think of that?

Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 24-08-2015
Lessons In Love
Hi Paul
As Pia mentions girls were ahead of us fellas. How come I've only just discovered this when it's too late to do anything about it?
Thanks for reading and your comments.
Michael

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 25-08-2015
Lessons In Love
Hello Michael, I guess that with the stuff available now, kids know far too much, far too early. It was fun finding it out for yourself, in my case in the garden sheds HaHa!
It must be so hard to live up to the porn on the net for youngsters today, nothing is left to the imagination. I wouldn't swap my growing up for todays.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike
I guess you had a little smile at my expense when you read my little poem. It was clear in your book that you did not have the kind of 'hang ups' about these matters, that many of those of my generation had. (Especially if they were Catholic)
Nevertheless most of us worked it out eventually, even those of us who didn't have a shed!
Thanks for your reply, measured and succinct as always
Cheers Michael.

sweetwater on 25-08-2015
Lessons In Love
I loved this gentle and ardour filled poem, reminded me of Martin ' the boy next door ' we played innocent games such as cowboys and Indians, and throwing small sticks across the fence at each other. Very innocent and sweet. Then later as Mike reminded me, a few ' meetings' in my dads shed, still innocent compared to today's world. I wish I could have been as forward as your first love. 🙂

Author's Reply:
Hi Sue
Yes, things were different then, and slower. Most young people found out about life (and love) at a much gentler pace. Now it seems to be thrown at them.
My first love as depicted here was probably not so much her being forward as me being backward (yes, I admit it) and I cannot remember her name! We are talking about the late forties after all.
Thanks for writing, glad it brought you some happy memories,
Michael

bethybob on 26-08-2015
Lessons In Love
This made me smile. I suppose girls are more ahead than boys, although I do remember being told on great authority by a girl in my French class that "they should always make the first move". Obviously that's ridiculous now, but fourteen-year-old girls everywhere believed it. I winder if that's the problem?

Author's Reply:
Ah bethybob, I wonder too. I'm not going to worry about it anymore, but it's a shame I didn't know that back then. Happy days!!
Thank you for writing and I am pleased that I managed to bring a smile to your face.
Best wishes from Michael and er - dammit, what was her name?



Optimism (posted on: 21-08-15)
Old Love Lost - New love ?

Optimism Am I the only one who cries, when music soars and stirs the heart; or golden voice in euphonic rise; a lover's song before they part. Am I the only one who tries, to dab the tears before they fall. when love and all emotion dies - to fuel the heartache in us all. Do others weep in deep surprise, when visions tear the soul in two; by artful beauty framed in sighs, or wondrous nature, dark in hue. When hope is gone it's in my eyes, for one who wears his heart on sleeve; who's world is gone with no reprise; who's left alone to cry and grieve. And will it be at my demise, at drama's death for love gone wrong. With heaving chest one can't disguise, the grieving hope for one last song. My tears are real, they tell no lies, I cannot help the ones I shed, at deep despair; of sad goodbye's, without relief when love is dead. But wait - for without warning up it flies, our human spirits rise above. A new day dawns with stunning skies; I'm ready once again for love. I'm ready for the lows and highs of love's sweet dance and tte--tte. For all the things that love implies, I'm ready now; I cannot wait. Once more I yearn to know those ties, that bind two lovers, hearts and minds. A love from which one cannot prise, until the end of time unwinds.
Archived comments for Optimism
Mikeverdi on 21-08-2015
Optimism
Great stuff, like this a lot. Good to see you posting again 😃
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike. Good to be back - at least for the time being. (Poorly wife; not so much time)
I am pleased you like my poem; it's very gratifying to come back to a 'Great read' award.
Best Wishes
Michael

Weefatfella on 21-08-2015
Optimism
 photo c673dadc-2d28-4407-9a21-a191bcf6d656_zpsp2y54f3y.jpg

Excellent pome Kipper. I too suffer from unchecked emotion. ( seemingly it's because of my past illnesses. My barriers are broken...Sniff)

This got me...Do others weep in deep surprise,
when visions tear the soul in two;
by artful beauty framed in sighs,
or wondrous nature, dark in hue.

really liked this.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Paul for your nice comments.
Unchecked emotion eh!- gets you right there done it?
Just wait till you see my next one.
Michael

deadpoet on 22-08-2015
Optimism
Very lyrical- almost an elegy of love or a sonnet? Nice
have missed you among others..
Pia

Author's Reply:
Hello Pia, and thanks for your comment; I feel you have managed to get into my mind.
Yes I have been away for a while. My wife has been ill but things are improving so I've rolled up my trouser bottoms and I'm dipping my feet in the UKA waters again. It's nice to be back.
Best regards, Michael

sweetwater on 23-08-2015
Optimism
I really enjoyed reading this, I find the older I get the more emotional I become. Sue x

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 24-08-2015
Optimism
Me too Sue

All sorts of things set me off. Beautiful music and some emotional scenes on the 'tele'. Reading too can get me going if the author's sensitivity matches mine.

As you say it seems to come with age, so I guess we're stuck with it.

Thanks for replying, Michael
Big PS
I see that you have nominated me as a 'Hot Story' for which I am very grateful.
However, I have been away from UKA for some time and I wondering if this category is a recent addition (I don't recall being aware of it before) Just the same it is very nice of you and I thank you.
Michael

Author's Reply:


A Poppy For Armistice (posted on: 27-10-14)
My homage to all who fell in WW1, and those who followed. Painting by me inspired by the sea of poppies at the Tower of London

[IMG]http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w630/Perfectkipper/Poppy3_zpsed1de871.jpg[/IMG] A Poppy For Armistice I wear a poppy on my lapel, I wear it there with pride, it reminds me so - all those years ago, that for me someone died. Who was that someone, I don't know, just as he knew not me, but he gave his life that I might live, a life where I'd be free. For him I'll wear a poppy He died with many thousands more, too much to comprehend, so vast the cost - so many lost, seamed the count would never end. To rid the world of tyranny he and they had bravely vowed, but despite the loss and awful fear, throughout were never cowed. For them I'll wear a poppy It matters not how hard I tried, that scene was just too much, so I chose just one - an unknown son, one I could almost touch. Through him I felt I'd find a way, to tell them what we knew, just what they'd done for all of us, many hero's, cowards few. For him I'll wear a poppy That man who gave his life for me, and with his mates, for you, was someone's boy - a precious joy, perhaps a father too. So while he may be nameless, he lives within my heart, because of him and others brave, I'm free till I depart. For them I'll wear a poppy In these times of contemplation I'll think about those days, when time after time - men in their prime, defied the enemy's blaze. And I'll think of their descendants, maybe standing next to me, of the sacrifice their kinsfolk made, so that we might all be free. For them I'll wear a poppy But that was all so long ago, one hundred years have gone, and those who survived - a war so contrived, did they know just what they'd won. We owe it now as we owed it then, though the battle's long behind, to keep the memories of those brave young men, forever in our mind. For them I'll wear a poppy

Archived comments for A Poppy For Armistice
pommer on 27-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Hello Michael, what a wonderful tribute for those who did not return. Even though I fought on the opposite side during the last conflict I always wear my Poppy with pride,to honour those unknown and known men.They gave me the opportunity to recognise what freedom really meant.Be lucky, Peter.

Author's Reply:
Hi Peter,
Thanks for commenting. It is good to know that individually and as nations those conflicts are behind us and that we 'meet' now as friends. Long may it remain so.
I am pleased that my poem speaks to you in this way. Hopefully others too, and while there has been little response to it we all have to express ourselves in our own way.
Thanks again, Michael

Mikeverdi on 28-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Excellent, I agree with Peter. War is, and always has been, a terrible waist of life. The tribute around the Tower was breath taking; your last verse said it all for me. The question still remains though...would they think it was worth it if they did see what they had won.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike, thanks for your comments. Pleased you thought my poem was fitting.
I think 'that' question will never, and can never, be answered. There is no way to know what might have been.
I agree with you. The poppies at the tower are breathtaking, and I chose to depict a single poppy in keeping with my theme.
Best as always, Michael

Bozzz on 28-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
I have always had doubts about the ethics of tribute and celebration of those who perished in unnecessary wars. Why was the public so gullible that they fell for patriotic nonsense in their millions? Perhaps we should celebrate those that died refusing to fight? Hopefully the media and the internet will help people to behave more rationally next time - maybe soonish? That said Michael, a very good poem ...In friendship.... David

Author's Reply:
Hello David. Thanks for your comments, though I confess to being a little surprised. I think it is fair to say that my poem was a tribute and not a celebration, and it was for those who died in the war(s)and not for those who caused them. I'm afraid I can't answer the question you pose about the nations 'gullibility'; not sure if anyone can! I do however agree with your use of the term 'unnecessary wars'.
As for the internet having a positive influence, recent activities in Asia and the middle east rather suggest the opposite. Time will tell and then perhaps it will up to others to write poems about it.
That said I great you with your own words; in friendship.
Michael

stormwolf on 28-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Hi Michael
You have written a very moving poem. The repetition works very well here I thought, where if not done well it can fall flat but there is almost a defiance
In the declaration of wearing a poppy.
You highlight so many reasons that we should all remember a whole generation of young men both sides, who died in terrible circumstances or were maimed in body or mind.
As the mother to two grown sons ( and a daughter) I cannot bear the thought that they could be squandered on a battlefield or suffer in the way all those young men did in one way or the other.
Well done
Alison x


Author's Reply:
Hi Alison,
Thank you for your encouraging words. This is I feel, a particularly opportune time to remember our fallen ancestors, and also those who have died in our lifetime.
I was lucky in that my grandfather and my father both came through the first world war, and I know not of any family members who died in conflict, though there were many who wore a uniform. (Including myself with terms in two 'hot spots')
I know how lucky my family have been and my poem was in part an attempt to acknowledge that fact.
My thanks as always, Michael

stormwolf on 28-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Hi Michael
You have written a very moving poem. The repetition works very well here I thought, where if not done well it can fall flat but there is almost a defiance
In the declaration of wearing a poppy.
You highlight so many reasons that we should all remember a whole generation of young men both sides, who died in terrible circumstances or were maimed in body or mind.
As the mother to two grown sons ( and a daughter) I cannot bear the thought that they could be squandered on a battlefield or suffer in the way all those young men did in one way or the other.
Well done
Alison x


Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 29-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Excellent tribute Kipper. We should always remember those who have fallen. Well done.
Val x

Author's Reply:
Hello Val, thank you for your comment. I do believe we have much to be grateful for and the Poppy has come to mean more than just a pretty flower.
Best wishes, Michael

Gothicman on 29-10-2014
A Poppy For Armistice
Yes, another war poem lamenting that extreme tragic waste of otherwise good people including millions of civilians in dubious duty of war in a world where no universal or consensual ideal life exists, which means these two slaughters of modern generations in many, many countries can never be given adequate meaning, motive, or reason; remaining just as evidence of Man's inability to become fully civilised. Psychopaths who obtain power, or dictators, or commercial interests causing war is one thing, but now we've gone back to the Middle Ages with even dafter, even more lunatic causes with religious crusades again, fighting for non-existent Gods what of destruction and horror! The courage of those who died can never be doubted, but we should pity their dying for it was but a pitiful waste, from which nothing can be learnt. For new wars have new motives, new technologies, and with very little connection to the past. Well-written poem Michael with good use of repetition to drive the message home, but unfortunately it's an ongoing story that presumably will never end. The poppy should symbolise WWI only, it was supposed to be the war to end all wars, if only it could have done just that.....Trevor

Author's Reply:
Hello Trevor, and thank you for your long and considered reply.. It is hard to argue with the general thrust of your comments, and few would regaurd it other than a dreadful waste of human life. As to it's justification, well that is another matter and unfortunately most of us are left with only hindsight on which to base our judgements. Your comment on the poppy may be well meant for WW1 did (for a time at least) come to be known as the war to end all wars, a phrase I used in my poem 'Shot at Dawn' a couple of months ago. But who could have imaged that just two decades later a would be dictator would emerge to rekindle embers not quite extinguished. (according to recent reports they smoulder yet). so I am happy that the symbolism of that simple flower has been etended to include later conficts
Sadly your final sentence includes the phrase 'an ongoing story' which may well sum up the human condition. We are, history suggests, a war like species, and wars have been with us throughout evolution.
Best wishes, Michael.


The Eyes Of The Peacock (posted on: 20-10-14)
A tale of lust infidelity and murder. So what's new then?

The eyes of the Peacock.[IMG]http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w630/Perfectkipper/Peacock_zpseaed4e7a.jpg[/IMG]
(Visiting a country house one day I stopped to admire a Peacock displaying it's plumage, and could not help but to overhear a conversation between a young couple who had clearly stopped for the same reason.) "Oh look Tony, isn't it stunning." the girl murmured, squeezing the hand that held hers as they watched, mesmerized by the display before them. "Wonderful Julie." replied the young man as together they watched the Peacock first vibrating its huge tail feathers then spreading them to their full extent. "What wonderful colours, and just look at all those markings," he said, "just like hundreds of eyes." "I think it's a bit scary!'' Julie said, "all those eyes looking at me at the same time." "I can see what you mean, but did you know that Peacock's weren't always like that? Once they were plain and dowdy; nothing like what we see now." After a short pause Julie muttered, "It's like a shimmering screen full of eyes." And then she asked, "How do you know. How did they change from plain and dowdy to this?" "Do you mean you don't know? I thought everyone knew that." Tony replied. "Ah well," Julie smiled sweetly, "We're not all clever clogs like you." "Shall I tell you then?" "Please do kind sir." she replied, applying a gentle touch of her finger under her chin, and with just a slight bend of the knees she curtsied. Then she finished this little pantomime with a firm if gentle slap on his behind. (At this point I was ready to move on but I had started to enjoy the conversation between these two young people and also I was curious to know how this 'leopard' had changed it spots. So I fiddled with my camera and pretended to wait so that I could take a picture of the bird in full display.(Surreptitiously I listened while Tony expounded.) "Well," he started. "Of all the gods in Greek mythology, the most powerful one was called Zeus. He was number one, the top dog." "Don't you mean 'top god'." Julie interrupted, neatly reversing the name. "Very clever." Tony conceded with just a hint of irritation. "Now listen or I won't tell you the story." "Sorry sir!" "Now Zeus's wife was called Hera, and Hera was pretty fed up with her husband because of his fondness for the ladies. In fact legend has it that half the junior gods in those times were his offspring." At this Julie laughed out loud. "Typical! You're all the same, men or gods there's no difference." Tony frowned. "Are you going to listen to me or not.?" "Sorry; carry on." "Thank you." Tony waited a few moments before he continued. "Well; Hera had decided that enough was enough and that she would have to teach him a lesson. Now Zeus, because he was the most powerful god around thought that he could pretty much do as he liked so it was brave of Hera to confront him." "Good on her I say." Julie said, risking further admonishment, but a look from Tony persuaded her to leave it at that. Tony continued. "Yes, well; like some of the other ladies in that mysterious world of god and goddesses Hera was a bit headstrong and not prepared to be humiliated." "Quite right too." This time Tony ignored Julie's interruption. "So she set out her plan. Now Hera happened to know - in fact everyone knew - that "Io' was the young goddess for whom Zeus's current passion raged, so she let it be known to all and sundry that she was going to follow them everywhere to prevent them getting together to do . . . " he paused and gave Julie a sideways glance - which she ignored . . . "what lovers do." "She was brave then wasn't she?" Julie smiled, but this time Tony accepted the interruption. "Don't forget that Hera was also a god. Less powerful of course than Zeus but she did have a 'bit of pull'. But anyway, back to the story. Hera's plan seemed to have worked for there were no reports of any extramarital activities for a while. Then word reached her that that Zeus, whenever he fancied a bit of 'you know what' had taken to transforming himself into a bull - as only gods can - while 'Io' became a cow. This had fooled Hera for a while, but when she did find out she was furious. I mean furious." ("The randy bugger." I said, quite forgetting that I was not party to this conversation, and I was a touch abashed when they both turned to face me. I had long since given up my pretense of snapping the peacock, partly because I had a dozen shots of it already and by now my camera was hanging from my shoulder as I listened intently. "Sorry," I said. "couldn't help overhearing, but I can understand why she might be cross.") "And so can I." Julie retorted, "but it's 'Io' I feel sorry for. I mean, out in the open and all that." At this Tony turned his gaze from me back to Julie. "Am I telling this story or not?" he asked, clearly a little irritated. Julie purred. "Sorry my love, but I am getting into your story." keen to placate her young man. ("Me too." I nodded.) "Well try not to interrupt so much." "Yes dear." Julie demurred. (I knew that was a step too far so I just raised my hand a little in acquiescence, and while Tony did not quite acknowledge my gesture something in his expression told me that I had been accepted. We were now a threesome.) "OK, where did I get to. Oh yes; Zeus had been caught out; up to his tricks again; can I carry on now?" Julie smiled sweetly and Tony continued. "So when Hera found out that her husband was still enjoying the favours of 'Io' she sought the help of one of her 'god' friends call Argus. Now Argus was a very large man, a giant some would say, but there was something else. He had one hundred pairs of eyes. And that was not all. With all those eyes he never slept, for you see that at any given time at least some of his eyes were open." (Tony paused for some reason. Maybe he was expecting a comment but there were none, especially from me. Now I was 'in' I wasn't going to risk it.") Undaunted he continued. "So Hera asked Argus to camp in the field night or day while 'Io', disguised as a cow was grazing, reminding him always to stay close thereby preventing any hanky-panky when Zeus the bull came trotting along. Now Zeus - King of the gods don't forget - soon got pretty tired of this. He wasn't going to put up with being deprived of his bonus, especially as it was his wife who was causing him all this grief. So he called on one of his mates named Hermes. Now Hermes was the one with the magic flute and he was instructed to take his place next to Argus and play his most soporific music. This, it turned out, was a brilliant move for Argus, despite all of his eyes, and the fact that had not needed sleep for hundreds of years could not resist the sleep inducing melodies that emanated from the flute . One by one his eyes closed until all but one were closed. At this point Zeus entered the field, his nostrils flaring and tail swishing, intent on claiming his prize. At the very moment that Argus's last eyelid closed and sleep enveloped him Zeus vigorously obliged 'Io' before changing back to human form. At once he drew his sword and with one mighty swing chopped off the head of the sleeping giant." (It was an unexpected twist which I admit took me by surprise and Julie jumped up as if from sleep itself. Indeed, so engrossed had she become as the story unfolded that I wondered if Hermes had magically managed somehow to influence her. Now she was awake with a start. It quite startled me too, I must say.) "Oh how awful," she cried. "what a horrible end. Why did you have to go and spoil it?" "Hang on." Tony protested. "I didn't write this story, and anyway it isn't over yet." "Well I hope there aren't going to be any more shocks like that." she said. (Somewhat to my surprise Julie looked at me for some support which I would have given willingly but I was saved by Tony who, despite Julie's outburst seemed keen to continue.) "Be patient my sweet, I'm nearly there." he whispered as he moved toward the end of his narrative. (I could not help but be aware that Tony was enjoying himself now, perhaps aware that more people standing around who apparently were just as disinclined to move on as I had been.) "When Hera heard what had happened," he continued, "she summoned that the only surviving pair of Peafowl in the whole world be brought to her and while the body of her dear friend was still warm she opened each of his eyes and carefully transferred them to the tail feathers of the mail bird. She then decreed that they would have many offspring to fly far and wide so that Argus would never be forgotten. Furthermore she decreed that as a reward for carrying the extra burden of all those eyes, from then on when the Peacock sought the acquiescence of a Peahen those eyes would hypnotize her into blissful submission. Hera also decreed that the female would retain her natural muted appearance to reflect the mourning than she would endure for the rest of her life, (At this point Tony stopped and I saw him looking around and I was as surprised as he to discover that he had acquired an even larger audience, and for the first time, albeit briefly, he addressed all those who had gathered.) "And now you all know how the Peacock got its eyes." he announced, and thinking the story was over Julie prepared to speak but was stopped when Tony placed his fingers on her lips. "Not quite finished my love." Then he moved on to his final chapter. "And so it was ever thus, for when the male gender of all the other birds of the world, and some of the animals saw how well it attracted the Peahens they decided that they too should brighten themselves up. And that is why since those days in so many species on this earth, you will find that the most colourful, the most brilliant, the most stunning, the most magnificent, the most glorious, the most sensational . . . are all males," (At this there were gasps from the crowd and then laughter as Julie set about Tony with her handbag and I judged that perhaps it might be prudent for me to take my leave. I mean, he did lay it on a bit, don't you think?. Oh, and by the way, I did get a few nice pictures.)
Archived comments for The Eyes Of The Peacock
Bozzz on 20-10-2014
The Eyes Of The Peacock
The battle continues today. Neat work - and informative. Strange that the gods seem always to behave like human beings would !!?? I wonder why ....Yours aye, David

Author's Reply:
Thanks David
The gods are the invention of human beings, not surprising then if they act like us. (Or is it the other way round?)
Thanks for reading and commenting
Michael

Mikeverdi on 20-10-2014
The Eyes Of The Peacock
Agree with David, I think the lay out worked (well for me anyway) The dialogue between the couple was a little 'sweet' but again it worked. I was waiting for something nasty to happen "He pulled her into the bushes...." made a change to have a happy ending 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Ah' but you see you weren't there at the time. They were a sweet couple!
Guess you saw through me - I am definitely a happy ending fella.
Thanks for your comments Mike
Michael

Supratik on 28-10-2014
The Eyes Of The Peacock
Completely agree with David. Engrossing! It's informative, interesting, and stimulating, and it has that additional garnish of nughtiness. We are what we are!!! Kudos!!! Supratik

Please consider 'its plumage' without an apostrophe...

Author's Reply:


A Touch Too Far (posted on: 06-10-14)
Erotica? It's all in the mind, and we've all been there!

A touch too far The man lay on the bed, his back to the woman standing by the window. The same light from behind, which threw her into silhouette, glistened on his skin, his rising buttocks outlining his manly shape. He could sense her presence, and he flinched involuntarily when her fingers touched, his muscles tensing as he anticipated her next move. Slim, beautiful and dark haired, she had a touch that would overcome the resistance of any man. She didn't speak; she didn't have to. She knew she had him at her mercy, just like so many men before, and that there was nothing he could do. She was not about to stop now. The moment came when his self control was gone, and he turned abruptly to face her. She smiled at him. She was in control and once more in the battle of the sexes, woman had come out on top. ''By eck!'' He said through gritted teeth, his Yorkshire dialect unrestrained, ''that bloody urt.'' "Sorry.'' said the nurse, as she lay aside the syringe, checking, before she drew back the curtains around his bed, that her latest 'victim's modesty was not at risk. ''It'll only sting for a moment.'' She walked off down the ward with a big smile on her face.
Archived comments for A Touch Too Far
Mikeverdi on 06-10-2014
A Touch Too Far
Just had my flu jab.... 🙂 There's something about a woman in a nurses outfit HaHa!
Mike

Author's Reply:
Cheers Mike. Sure is; I hope she was gentle with you.
Just had mine done too - three in one go - 'flu', 'shingles', and as Tony Hancock famously said. an 'armful' of blood (for my warfarin check.)
Good luck, Michael

stormwolf on 07-10-2014
A Touch Too Far
Very cleverly done Kipper!
I never guessed till the end. When nursing we had to block our minds off that the men were thinking along those lines but I always knew they were. 😜
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Not 'all' of them surely; including moi?

Thanks Alison.

Michael

ValDohren on 07-10-2014
A Touch Too Far
My, what an imagination you have Kipper - I thought nurses were nearly all fat and matronly ! Very funny.
Val

Author's Reply:
Thank you Val; very pleased if my little piece caused a little smile.
Of course not all nurses look like fashion models, but they are all darlings.
Michael

pommer on 09-10-2014
A Touch Too Far
Very well written Michael,Just as well it wasn't a male Nurse.
Enjoyed reading it. Peter.

Author's Reply:
hi Peter
Thank you for your comments. I'm pleased you enjoyed my little effort though I must admit admit the idea of a male nurse thows up some possibilities which had not occurred to me.
Michael


Life Without End (posted on: 02-06-14)
Not warts and all, just snatches

Life without end
I never thought that it would end. The childhood when older siblings circled, and everything that a child could ever want was brought to me. Except all the things the rich kids had, and, unknown to me, I was dressed entirely in hand-me-downs I never thought that it would end. How could I have known that things would change. That happy time of playing with my new friends at my first school; the 'little' school which had been our first taste of life without our mothers. Until the time came to move on. I never thought that it would end. But this time I couldn't wait. This time of humourless nuns, strict regime and over pious girls. And boys no more interested in catechism than I and when being Catholic was just a word not fully understood. But at last relief came. I never thought that it would end. The big school with real teacher for those with real expectations. The rest after the 11 plus, abandoned without prospects Yes it ended, but without a certificate and without hope. Not even a 'well done' or a 'wish you well'. I never thought that it would end. The new boy behind the counter patting the butter and bagging sugar in their big blue bags. Learning to face the customers before seeking relief from the boredom on the delivery bike. But that ended too - conscription! I never thought that it would end. The RAF, learn to march, see the world, learn about people and people fighting. Got the chance to learn the things I should have learned at school, made friends and discovered many things, not least art and music. Then before I knew it I was a civilian again I never thought that it would end. Half my working life on the road, a commercial traveler, sell sell sell, never tell a lie, but don't always tell the truth, just sell. Got out of that though not soon enough, joined the 'uni', back in uniform. Until a dicky heart stopped me in my tracks. I never thought that it would end. When the RAF had done with me I met a girl who became my wife; it seems so long ago when we placed our trust in each other. Who can say what life's crossroads or which 'what ifs' might have diverted us? Yet we managed to navigate the hurdles. I never thought that it would end. But after 55 years it hasn't ended, not yet, though of course one day we know it must. But who knows? Perhaps those Nuns so long ago knew things we don't. So maybe, just maybe, it won't!

Archived comments for Life Without End
QBall on 03-06-2014
Life Without End
Intriguing thoughts. As a not very religious protestant I can still feel those thoughts.
Nicely done, Michael.

Author's Reply:


This Sunday Afternoon (posted on: 02-06-14)
An Englishman's home is his castle, so the saying goes. But what of his garden? (Slightly modified since first publication on UKA about ten years ago)

This Sunday Afternoon. Country folk may not know this scene. Rows of estate 'semi's' with 'garden' rivers between them. They join each other from side to side, a natural highway for non human life to find their way. With birds in profusion, gray squirrels and bugs of every kind, and fox's so bold only yards from the door. They don't know the meaning of a boundary divide, of fences or hedges to mark out whose side is whose. The 'townies' trying to enjoy their own little heaven. A work free treat, 'neath' the terra-cotta thatch. This Sunday Afternoon. While the pale sapphire of the afternoon sky moves gradually to darker shades, and with its gentle streaks of lacy white; it denies the sun a place to hide. What colour is the sky above? In subtle change of hue it merges dawn and dusk, each hour a different canvas, none more perfect than now. The sun, more yellow now than the fiery globe of it's birth, is warm and comforting. Perhaps a little more than comfort, for stinging arms and legs foretell a fretful night. This Sunday afternoon. The silvery tinkle as the little waterfall, empties into the inky blackness of the pool. Perpetual motion in this private world, this miniature of man-made aquatica. It's residents, orange and gold, flash as they rise to seize a tasty insect morsel. The water surface ripples, accentuated by the magic of the liquid prism. Summer visitors push their heads through the surface tension, where half submerged, they sit and croak. While others more adventurous still, climb out to the warm stones to bask. This Sunday afternoon. Little birds flutter and hop. Sparrows uncertain, unsure if they dare to investigate the little house on the pole. But brave Finches fly off victorious, their beaks full of seed. While up above the Crows and Magpies squabble their raucous shouts persistent, each trying to oust the other from a nearby tree. Determined they swoop and dive, to drive them from the favoured branches of the willow. She, resplendent in her new clothes of foliage fresh and green, her drooping arms trying like a crinoline, to reach the ground. Proudly she flirts this latest canopy fashion, yet modestly she tries to hide a private place. This Sunday afternoon. Below them lies the patchwork ribbon of gardens, multi-coloured like Joseph's coat. Thousands of heads in every hue sway to the welcome breeze, amid patches of green and brown; gardens backed on to gardens. They join side by side to form a piebald river, between rows of gardeners castles. Their terra-cotta roofs sport bastion towers, smokeless now but sprouting thin metal branches enticing a virtual world. Winged travelers sit heavily on these precarious perches, and rest awhile before flying off once more. Unerringly they swoop to the next stage of their journey. This Sunday afternoon. Nearby the sound of children playing, bright laughter and sometimes dark tears. The whine of machinery, as somewhere a lawn is assailed, already smooth as a bowling green - needlessly denuded. Beyond the roofs a yapping dog sets forth to chase the noisy bike, its bark overwhelmed by screeching engine, its eager legs out-run. A window opens; a secret entrance to a teenage world, submerging what peace remains beneath a thumping beat. Its message loud loud loud, for some who cannot bide to hear, and those who come from another age, trudge wearily inside. Hiding, safe, behind the double glazing. This Sunday afternoon. Another Sunday, sadly gone the way of most, no peace or quiet to enjoy the day or catch the sun. The book remains unread, a paper dart to find the place, the pen laid aside, all inspiration gone. But the birds, the fish, the frogs, the yapping dog, and the neighbours's cat as well remain unmoved. Perhaps somehow they didn't notice, or could it be they just don't care? And anyway, it doesn't matter any more for look, once more the sky has changed from blue to grey. It's coming on to rain again. This Sunday Afternoon

Archived comments for This Sunday Afternoon
Mikeverdi on 02-06-2014
This Sunday Afternoon
Nice picture Michael, took me back a bit, just an apartment now with a roof garden, but once.....
I enjoyed the read mate, no critique needed from me.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike
Always fancied a roof garden!
Mine is quite small very pleasant to sit in on nice sunny day - remember them?
Thanks as always
Michael

stormwolf on 04-06-2014
This Sunday Afternoon
Hi Michael
What a lot you have captured on your Sunday afternoon.
The very ordinariness transformed into a heaving world of things going on from bugs up.
It was heart-warming and interesting too.
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Hello Alison, and thank you for commenting.
Curiously this poem did pretty much reflect a Sunday afternoon years ago, while I was working on something else. You might say I was distracted.
Pleased you enjoyed it.
Michael

Legion on 30-08-2014
This Sunday Afternoon
Kipper - I now live in the country but the vivid picture you paint is all too familiar to a sarf London lad. Regards Legion

Author's Reply:


Shot At Dawn (Part Two) (posted on: 05-05-14)
Please read Shot at Dawn Part One before you read this. Thank you! Was this the war to end all wars? Picture MGK

[IMG]http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w630/Perfectkipper/WaitingForTheShoutXXX_zpse1da3f76.jpg[/IMG] Shot At Dawn The war to end all wars the posters cried. So side by side, stand tall and do your duty proud and true. This fight it must be won, it's cause is just and we must all stand firm. Join up and fight; your country needs you too. But what did it mean, ''before the enemy we must not squirm.'' Did anybody say? Was that the war about which our leader said, with nodding head, ''Would not be troublesome for long. Six months is all our army needs to win the day. though no-one knew if he'd be right or wrong? ''it's nearly over!'' he calmly claimed, our fears to allay. Any day! The lads, upbeat and jubilant in the queue, all patriots true. And patiently they stood and steadfastly waited, to take the Royal shilling and on the page their names to sign. And all of them, as the regiments were created, were joking, laughing, singing, patriotic songs along the line. Shoulders sway. Older men hopeful, and young men too, all but a few, though some of them still played the games of boys, who'd seen the pointed finger, and answered one and all. This was it, for now there'd be no time or place or need for toys. for now that they were Kitchener's volunteers standing tall. New games to play. But the army didn't question deep, they lost no sleep, despite the youthful faces, appearing time and time again, the recruiting sergeants didn't try too hard, or look too close or try, to differentiate between the fresh faced boys and hardened men, who'd heard the call, emotions stired, and wanted to reply. Seize the day. The promised land the sergeants lied, without much pride, to young men keen, but many there were not fully understanding; lads not yet fully grown but eager for adventures call, the danger undefined, but danger notwithstanding, and with heads held high they took their place; soldiers all. Come what may. So they were sent to places quite unknown, a foreign zone, names they'd never heard of, names they never knew before. Places unfamiliar, like Flanders, Neave Chapelle and Mons, and Loos and Verdum, Ypres, the Somme and many many more; spread wide across that distant unknown foreign land. Fields of hay. But none had ever told them, none had ever said, what lay ahead. Nor tried to tell it to them true, or hold back on the lie, of the hell they faced. And none who knew the truth would speak, or look those young excited conscripts, firmly in the eye. Too soon the smiles were gone, from the strong and from the weak. Torn away. For 'come what may', came all too soon; with little training, bodies aching, straining. Active soldiers now, but before they knew it, many died, Amid machine guns fire, and shells that rained from morn till night. And choking gas from which they could not run, and neither could they hide, which torturously filled their lungs, and turned their hopeful dreams to hopeless fright. The truth of the affray. They saw trenches filled with bodies, dead and dying, some blown apart and lying, submerged beneath the ever present mud. And for some the horrors were too much, shell shocked and blinded, they turned, and ran, oblivious of every flash and thud, only silent screams of anguish; empty eyed and empty minded. Must run away. But no! Do not run. No matter how bad the torment, or of hells descent, for if you do, much worse than a devil's curse awaits, for then your 'own' squad will shoot you; under orders they will fire. 'They'll be your executioners. 'They' who'd been your mates, will bind your eyes and tie you to a post, and from their bullets you'll expire. Bang! Feet of clay. The Generals will call you coward, dismiss your mindless state, your helpless fate. In that place once of beauty, but now more no less than a living hell, they'll ignore the shock, the bursting shells, the evil of insanity, The bloody death, your mind no longer there to plead, or tell, and you'll be shot at dawn; without reprieve, or signs of mans humanity. And dead you'll lay. Just one more number, another casualty of war, but who will say what for? And then you're body will be dumped, not for you an honoured grave, A worthless end to a worthless life is all they'll say, and like a rodent slain. Forgotten now those times before when like your comrades you were just as brave, before the shell shock took your mind; before they sent you back again. Shot without delay. For you there'll be no glory, no medals or acclaim. And there'll be only shame, for those back home, shocked and unbelieving what they hear. You'll be condemned. 'Turned his back and ran away', they will avow. What's more they'll say 'Afraid to do his duty', words with a sneer, and for your pain the truth, the awful truth, they'll not allow. Families grief they can't display. The Generals, safe behind the lines, blaming these hard times, Like gods playing judge and jury without restraint, shell shocked boys condemned to die, an example to be made. No proper voice to plea for them; no questions, no complaint, with injustice on injustice, said the price it must be paid. No conscience to weigh. When war was done, and families grieved, the nations 'thank you' they received. But not for 'some' for even that small comfort was denied, They, - - whose men (nay boys) though damaged beyond belief, yet condemned and shot as traitors - - simply cried, their torture endless year on year, their only solace, grief. Mothers could only pray. And so I ask; was that the war to end all wars? On faraway shores. Four years of carnage, brutal death, the nation almost reeling, and for millions it was the end; the prime of youth departed. While back at home were millions more almost numb of feeling, and people asked, the war now won, why ever was it started? Jubilation and dismay? But nothing changes. Were all those sacrifices in vain, and all that pointless pain. For still around the world too many conflicts rage, And yet from somewhere hope does rise, humanity emerging. No more will 'Shot at dawn' ring out across the stage, for now they see that they were wrong, old prejudices purging. Belated victory, shout hurray. Too late for men of world war one, but wrongs at last put right, after an eighty year long fight. For finally from the governments door, at last the pardons came, and cruel burdens set aside, justice overdue for long ago. Now family pride of kith and kin can at last replace the shame, and speak about the pain of loss, which they were not allowed to show. The price they had to pay For as it was back then, so it still remains today. For that small unhappy band it was, too high a price to pay.

Archived comments for Shot At Dawn (Part Two)
sweetwater on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn (Part Two)
Think I said it all in my first comment,but the first world war seemed particularly cruel, the (very) young men went with no real knowledge of what they were signing up for, it just seemed like one huge adventure to them, which I imagine was the idea behind all the posters and propaganda. Can't imagine the horrors they went through. Many thanks for writing about the injustices the men faced.Sue.x

Author's Reply:
Thanks again Sue
War is cruel and yet no one seems to learn the lessons,
Best regards,
Michael.

expat on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn (Part Two)
The piece speaks eloquently for itself so there's little for me to add as a man in the street reader (technical critique is beyond me as far as poetry is concerned).
The highlighted sentences in each verse work very well. Perfect closing too.


Author's Reply:
Hi Steve,
Thanks for coming back for a second go.
For one who claims not to 'know' poetry and unable to 'critique' I'd say you have done a pretty good job. It's not often I get eloquent and perfect in one go. Much appreciated,
Michael.

Mikeverdi on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn (Part Two)
I think you have said it all Michael, well done.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thank you Mike, for this and your earlier comment (part one)
I hope you won't mind me replying to both together, but to be honest I wasn't quite sure if your first comment was for or against. Your second comment however seems to have clarified it, for which I thank you.
(Phew!)
Best regards,
Michael


Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One (posted on: 05-05-14)
Eighty years after the first world war, I found that I had a small part to play.

Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One In the year 2014 we celebrate in remembrance of the start of World War One, sometimes referred to as the Great War. We celebrate to remember those who died, that we may live. We do so as a nation with sorrow and mostly with pride. There will be many tributes and few will say that they are not justified. But here I want to speak about part of the history of those times where, for some, pride was replaced with shame; families were shunned; not allowed to express their loss; and grief had to suffered in silence. These were the families of a small number of men who, sometimes on evidence that simply would not be tolerated today, were accused of desertion, cowardice, insubordination and other crimes. They were convicted and executed. They were however, despite their fate, victims of war. In August 2006 it was announced by the Home Office that a posthumous pardon had been awarded to 306 men who had been executed for those 'crimes' during WW1. This was the culmination of an 80 year campaign by many people, not least a group who became known as the 'Shot at dawn' brigade (more latterly the Pardons Committee, led in its later stages by Harry Templeton). Counted amongst their numbers were some members of the house 'Lords' and the house 'Commons'. Also there were many others drawn from all quarters of society. I was also one of them; admittedly somewhat late in the campaign. But, unlike many before me who died before the work was done, I was able to see the successful culmination of our endeavours. Though mine was a not a major role (it involved correspondence with various bodies including No 10, and the Ministry of Defense) I am nevertheless proud of the small part I played in bringing about recognition of a grave miscarriage of justice. While it is acknowledged that not all those who were executed as cowards were innocent of that charge, most of them were. It is also recognized that the condition known then as shell shock, was largely ignored or at best seen as a temporary problem to be 'dealt with' before sufferers were returned to the trenches; as often as not quite unfit to do so. We now know that Post Operative Stress Disorder (POSD) was more damaging and more long lasting than was understood at the time, and that most of those charged with cowardice may well have been affected by this condition rendering them totally unable to defend themselves in answer the charges made against them. The campaign to gain some justice for these men started soon after the end of the war, when many voices were raised in disbelief when what had been happening became better known. The campaign continued for eighty years. That it took so long stands testament to the power of the establishment, the status-quo, and no doubt to attitudes held then by society at all levels following the huge losses; mostly the nations young men. Indeed there are still some who share those views, views sincerely held I am sure, but far fewer I believe as time goes by. But the campaign finally bore fruit, and in the year 2006 the pardons were granted. It was in that year that the Government of the day finally allowed pardons for this small group of men (306 in all) to acknowledge that some miscarriages of justice had occurred. That they were indeed victims of war. Among the many consequences of this campaign is that from the early years of the Twenty First century descendants of the families of these men were allowed to march past the Cenotaph at the Remembrance Day Service. This 'honour', prior to the successful conclusion to the campaign had been denied them. This was the first concession that any government had made over all those decades, where previously they had refused to weaken their stance. Also about this time, the names of some of these men (some as young as Seventeen) had been added to some War Memorials, exonerated at last, as victims of war. Subsequent of those pardons, and with that miscarriage of justice having been atoned I wrote the poem 'Shot At Dawn' which I submit in celebration and grateful appreciation of all those who fell in the 1914/18 conflict. Most of them fell honorably in the trenches or on the field of battle. But a few, this small band of boys and men, became victims of war for a very different reason, but were victims nevertheless. Now, one hundred years on from its start, as we remember and commemorate all those who did not return from the first world war, I hope that you will find a place in your heart to remember them as well. Respectfully yours, Michael G Kimber (Kipper) NB In addition to those mentioned above there were a further 40 executions during the period of WW1, where pardons were not granted. These were for other crimes such as murder.
Archived comments for Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
sweetwater on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
I don't usually read prose, but this caught my eye, I have never agreed with the cowerdice label. There is nothing wrong or cowardly with not wanting to kill other people. Some people can do it some can't and others won't. Running screaming through a hail of bullets to get away isn't desertion, just sheer blind terror.So glad this is now understood. My father was in the second world war, he was awarded a bravery medal for rescuing an injured man under heavy gun fire, he was also mentiond in a book by Airey Neave for it. For his war effort he was later shot through the lung, had a spine injury and spent a long time in a concentration camp, to go home to years of struggling to make ends meet. So Bravery or cowerdice, both go unrewarded in war, Medals are precious, but I bet he would have preferred his 'old' life back instead.


Author's Reply:
Hello Sue, and thank you for your reply. Your comment that cowardice and bravery both go unrewarded is very insightful, and is a subject in itself. Nevertheless you have much to be proud of in your father. I hope he knew that for that would be his main reward.
My father and grandfather were in WW1, and elder brothers in WW2, so although I came in between the wars, so to speak, I did serve in two troubled areas, (N Ireland and Sri Lanka) so I feel able to speak on the subject.
Thank you again,
Michael

expat on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
Well done for your efforts in the campaign; I'm sure there were a lot of embarrassed shufflings in high places when these executions were initially made public. As you say, the traumas weren't accepted or even recognised in those jingoistic times.

I remember watching Paths of Glory as a youngster and even then being upset at the callousness of the court martial and the subsequent executions. Worth watching for those that haven't heard of it.

A well-written piece and I look forward to Part 2.

Steve

Author's Reply:
Thanks Steve for replying.
Jingoistic times! I'm sure that there were those who regarded the war in those terms. But not the troops who had to go 'over the top'; those who had to face the war where it was happening; those who lived (or died) through the hell of it.
Sorry I don't recall Paths Of Glory, but I have seen the matter depicted in other films, often with scant regard for the reality of the subject.
Thanks for your support,
Michael

Mikeverdi on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
Thank you Michael, I too have read accounts.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Pronto on 05-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
It's a fact that all men and women, no matter how brave, have limits to their courage. I think I read somewhere that the Germans only executed about five of their blokes for cowardice in WW 1. Different attitude I suppose.
I'm glad you're campaign was successful.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for commenting.
Different attitudes as you say. We led the way with this kind of 'punishment'.
Hard to imagine it now after all those years.
Best regards, Michael

stormwolf on 08-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
Hi Micheal,
Just popping in to say hearty congrats on your two nibs!!!
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thank you Alison,
I am very pleased that my contribution to the commemorations has been so well received. I wasn't at all sure it would be!
As always thanks for your support.
Michael

ValDohren on 08-05-2014
Shot At Dawn - Victims Of War. Part One
No-one should ever have been executed for so-called cowardice, and its a disgrace that they were. Posthumous pardons are better than nothing, but it should not have been necessry to have to award them. To accuse these men of cowardice is abominable. Congrats on the well deserved nib.
Val x

Author's Reply:
Thank you Val
I agree with you on every point Val. It was a stain on our national character, at least partially removed because of the pardons. Small justice I know, but without that those men would have been forgotten for ever.
Thanks for your support.
Michael.


Mountain (posted on: 25-04-14)
Things are not always as they seem

Mountain The sun is up, though low it lies, the cold air stings your face. Ahead of you the day awaits, Its test starts there, at base. You're on your way now, look ahead, horizon looming large. A tempting vision clear and bright, but false as a mirage. For often it's not what it seems, the mountain likes its fun. When every corner, every crest, reveals another one. So best foot forward, breathing hard, resolve to see it through. Determined now it's stride for stride, with effort you renew. But from the first step of the day, You'll know it's not a stroll. There'll be hard times along the way, until you reach your goal. And if it proves demanding who'd, be at his agile best? With innate understanding you'd, be equal to the test. For what you seek is not the height, nor can it be 'how far'. The prize is what you feel inside, what makes you who you are And though the summit view might please, entrance you and beguile. It's all the journey, all the way, that makes the day worthwhile. The last lap waits, though steep and hard, another lesson learned. The final push on rocks so sheer, reward so nearly earned. And when at last you reach the top. with vista so supreme, recalling all the things you've seen, is what completes the dream. But wait; and do not get me wrong, and let there be no doubt. I speak not of a mountain climb - - it's life I'm on about.

Archived comments for Mountain
stormwolf on 25-04-2014
Mountain
Super attention to detail and metre was perfect till very last stanza..
first line slightly out and stands out due to your meticulous handling of it till then.
Look and compare it to the first line in the preceding paragraph and you will see what i mean 😉
Another super one from you
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Hi Alison,
I have just noticed that somehow my response to your comment on 'Mountain' come up on a separate page, and you may not have an email. But it is there.
Thanks as always, Michael

PS Someone has snuck in a Nib while I wasn't looking. Thank you if that was you; but if not, whoever it was.

Kipper on 25-04-2014
Mountain
Hello Alison,

First of all thank for taking the trouble to examine my poem with special interest - I'm very flattered.

Checking out your point about line 1 last verse I find you are right (was there ever any doubt) in that it is one syllable short. I must say I am impressed that you spotted it, and I will endevour to correct it.

Your comments are very encouraging, but are in themselves a challenge for new inspiration doesn't come as easy these days as it used to.

Once again thank you,

Michael

That Line has been changed. Hope it is OK this time MGK

Author's Reply:

expat on 26-04-2014
Mountain
I don't know enough about poetry to offer anything other than 'I like this very much', so that's exactly what I'll say.
Great last line.
I wonder if The People's Friend magazine would be interested in this?
Steve

Author's Reply:
Hi Steve, thanks for reading my poem, especially as you say that poetry is not your thing. I'm pleased you liked it and maybe it will temp you it to 'dip your toe' more often.
Thanks for the tip about People's Friend. I'll have a look and see.
Regards, Michael.

Ionicus on 27-04-2014
Mountain
A good metaphor, Michael, worthy of the nib. Well done. At first I thought it was an eulogy to the mountain which people climb 'because it's there' and was relieved by the closing lines.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Luigi,
I have to confess that what you feared was my first intention, but as the poem progressed I began to realize that there might be something more, so I am pleased that it meets with your approval.
Best regards, Michael

ValDohren on 27-04-2014
Mountain
The climbing of a mountain is a classic metaphor for life, and your poem expresses this beautifully. Loved reading it.
Val x

Author's Reply:


Hold Back On Love (posted on: 21-04-14)
For those who are not lucky in love - with a 'nod' to W B Yates (The words 'her' and 'she's' may be substituted with 'his' & 'he's', if appropriate)

Hold Back On Love Hold back on love, and never fear, but have a fear if love is blind. Give all the whispers in her ear, save one, and that to leave behind. For love is now and may not last, may not survive till morning's light. For if like me and lovers past, the trill of love is but a blight. The thrill of love it makes you fly, you give your heart and life's complete. But when she's gone, you're left to die, a heart now broken, obsolete.

Archived comments for Hold Back On Love
ValDohren on 21-04-2014
Holb Back On Love
Beautifully rhymed and well put together. As for love, well it is pretty elusive for most folks.
Val

Author's Reply:
Hi Val and thank you for your comments. Sorry my response is somewhat delayed, but what with the washing up and the shopping...
Love is, as you say, elusive for many, though your writings tell me 'but not for you'. I do hope so.
My wife & I recently celebrated 55 years together, so we managed it too!
Best wishes, Michael

stormwolf on 21-04-2014
Holb Back On Love
BRAVO! You are on a roll! :-)Looks like you are getting into your stride Micheal! :-)))

may not survive till morning(')s light.

Alison x

PS Title ? Hol(d) back on love

Author's Reply:
Thanks Alison, but with so many examples of good writing surrounding me it can't help but to pull me along.
Thanks for pointing out my two little errors; I will see to that asap.
Kind regards, Michael

Pelequin23 on 21-04-2014
Holb Back On Love
good poem and love is elusive for many indeed

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your comment and generous score.
Love is all around (so goes the song) curious that some people find it so hard to grasp.
Thanks again,
Michael

Mikeverdi on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Yes , well done with this one. True love is very hit and miss, and not always welcome; but when it is.....
Great stuff Michael
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike; glad you enjoyed. I thought of you a couple of times while I was writing this poem. Was it that Shakespeare fella who said that the course of true love never runs smooth? Well who am I to argue with him?
Good luck to you (both) after the resurrection!!
Michael

Zoya on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Some words of wisdom on love!
so true! Yet so sad!
Well, love is like that!
But, is it possible to hold back?
If you can hold back-then it is not love!
If you cannot, then you are doomed...
Well, Love is like that...

beautifully put together!
Zoya

Author's Reply:
Wise words you say. Thank you for that and for your comments, which are also wise.
You must have really enjoyed my poem for your comments came through four times, but I hope you will accept just, but very grateful, reply.
Best wishes, Michael

Zoya on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Some words of wisdom on love!
so true! Yet so sad!
Well, love is like that!
But, is it possible to hold back?
If you can hold back-then it is not love!
If you cannot, then you are doomed...
Well, Love is like that...

beautifully put together!
Zoya

Author's Reply:

Zoya on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Some words of wisdom on love!
so true! Yet so sad!
Well, love is like that!
But, is it possible to hold back?
If you can hold back-then it is not love!
If you cannot, then you are doomed...
Well, Love is like that...

beautifully put together!
Zoya

Author's Reply:

Zoya on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Some words of wisdom on love!
so true! Yet so sad!
Well, love is like that!
But, is it possible to hold back?
If you can hold back-then it is not love!
If you cannot, then you are doomed...
Well, Love is like that...

beautifully put together!
Zoya

Author's Reply:

pdemitchell on 22-04-2014
Hold Back On Love
Simple but effective traditional format with a lovely alliterative rhyme-link of trill/thrill... well crafted.

Author's Reply:
Thank you Paul for your kind comment. I didn't think anyone would notice the trill/thrill thing but you spotted it. Thanks for that too.
Best wishes Michael.


The Stations Of The Cross (posted on: 14-04-14)
A Poem For Easter Every R C church has arround it's walls fourteen depictions of the Easter story. Therefore there are fourteen verses in my take of this, perhaps the most important period in the R C calendar. But you don't have to be a believer to read this.

Stations of the Cross Over the heads of angry people I saw him, quiet, dignified, still, but all they did was shout and jeer, their voices loud and shrill. And then the hush, and then the cheer, when soldiers brought the cross, the judge then waved, "Take him away", to show them he was boss. I watched the man as he emerged, to the hot and dusty street, bent down beneath the awful weight, bearing down on back and feet. Those cruel soldiers urged him on with whips and prods to tease, until it was too much to bear, and he fell upon his knees. He was a very lonely man, no friend to ease his pain, the people all around were those, who'd push him down again. But from the crowd one face emerged, more loving than any other, he paused and smiled through his ordeal, to greet his weeping mother. And then one man, so brave to see, broke through the guards around, to lift the cross upon his back, and the man up from the ground. I heard a voice come from the man, shouting 'Simon of Cyrene' but it was a short and sad respite; he knew they'd intervene. Quite soon a maiden came to fore, saying "!ook he is so pale, and then without a question asked, wiped his face upon her veil. With tender hands she wiped his brow but in truth she was afraid, but the man just smiled with whispered thanks, so grateful to that maid. The cross weighed down with crushing force, on back and feet and toes, and when he fell a second time, how he got up no one knows. But somehow strength within him grew, god knows from whence it came, for I was close as close as I dare, despite my fear and shame. I stopped when far ahead I heard, great commotion, women wailing, who ran to see him crying loud, beating breasts and arms a-flailing. Don't wail for me he quietly said, now barely breathing; done; But cry and pray for sinners all, for these and everyone. It seemed I saw him look at me, I had to look away, For I had sinned against that man, had sinned that very day. But then the crowd, much quieter now, all gasped in shock and awe, for this time when he fell again, he stayed down on the floor. Because it was the journeys end, they stripped him where he lay, he did not try to stop those men, those soldiers at their play. I watched them as they sold his clothes, with laughter and with mirth; his few remaining linen drapes, disposed of without worth. It was then I saw two other men, tied with rope their arms extended, upon a wooden cross like his, their bodies rough suspended. But when they laid my man on his, before they heaved it high, they fixed him on with naught but nails, then left him there to die. I could not look, nor could I turn, nor shame could I conceal; nor could I kneel below the cross, and not my sin reveal. So from a distance I did wait - I waited till the end; until all life had gone from him, who once had been my friend. Through all the day and all the night, I waited till I knew, and then they took his body down, no more his pain to view. The soldiers now with conscience dark, their glee replaced with gloom, allowed his friends to take their man, and lay him in a tomb. I stood outside the tomb that day, when Jesus Christ had risen, Who's death had brought eternal life; naught could keep him in his prison. I saw his mother weeping free, talk to angels from above, who said her son was now in heaven, the world saved by his love. Then Peter grabbed me asking why, ''Judas, was it worth the price? ''Thirty silver pieces I have heard, to betray your master twice'' I knew it then as I know it now, my purgat'ry begun, and then I fell upon my knees, crying ''Lord, what have I done?''

Archived comments for The Stations Of The Cross
Pelequin23 on 14-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
interesting and well written piece for the time of year im not religious but I like it

Author's Reply:
My word, you are an early bird. Thank you for reading my poem, and making generous comments, especially since you describe yourself as a non believer.
I am not completely committed but it has been there in the background all my life, and the Easter story is a cornerstone.

Kind regards, Michael.

Mikeverdi on 14-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
Michael that's a well written piece, you know that I am an atheist, but that doesn't stop me from reading and enjoying the stories; and yours is a good one. thanks for posting it.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike, I had a feeling that you might rise to the challenge. Pleased you enjoyed the read even though you remain unconverted.
Michael.

ValDohren on 15-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
I am a non-believer also Michael, but I do consider that JC was a great philosopher and visionary who knew the principles of a successful social structure. I think your poem is brilliant, beautifully written, and very poignant, befitting the event. Very well done indeed.

Val

Author's Reply:
It's so nice to receive your approval Val. You write as I would wish to write and usually fall short, so your comments are very encouraging, not least the ten.
The problem now of course is to do it again.

With kind thoughts, Michael


Ionicus on 15-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
Whatever one's beliefs, this is a stylish and well written poem. Well done.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your generous comments and a generous 9
Best wishes, Michael

stormwolf on 15-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
VERY well done Micheal. Your best to date. Really deserving of the nib

Alison x

Author's Reply:
This is very encouraging Alison. Your kind of poetry usually has several layers and in part your reader's satisfaction comes from delving and finding something hidden. Mine on the other hand is open and straight forward. Nothing to search for and often lacking for that.
So it is very pleasing that now and again I manage to produce something good enough to earn your praise.
Best Wishes, Michael

stormwolf on 16-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
I think it's exceptional and wonderfully in keeping with Easter and the sacrifice of Jesus. x

Author's Reply:
Alison,
As PS's go they don't come much better.
Grateful,
Michael.

QBall on 16-04-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
Your work shows the evil of men. The cruelty that still exists today. I feel that youngsters are now bombarded with inappropriate material. The garbage extends everywhere.
You have brought us a message detailing man's cruelty to others and I believe this poem rates a 10.
Thanks for making me think.
Les Q.

Author's Reply:
Hello Les
We have both expressed our views on man's inhumanity to man recently, as have many other. Though we choose a different way, I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet.
As for the other thing I don't know how it can be stopped. The internet has turned out to be Pandora's box.
Thank you so much for your comments and for your rating.
Best wishes,
Michael

deadpoet on 02-12-2014
The Stations Of The Cross
This was today's editor's pick. Otherwise I may never have seen it. I once read an ongoing series called The Political Prisoner. All about the life of JC from childhood until crucifixtion with a very different take on him and he made JC seem like such a deep person with great philosophies.. Your poem was a pleasure to read also as we get closer to Christmas- you think more about the whole religious side of things , don't you? I think you did really well with this poem and when I was half-way through I realised you had made it rhyme- amazing. Thanks for the read. I enjoyed it.

Author's Reply:


They Came Back (posted on: 07-04-14)
Most families will have an 'ancestor' war story. This is mine

[IMG]http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w630/Perfectkipper/b3f2d025-c954-4842-a5a4-e54a7463fc69_zps99a16e2f.jpg[/IMG]
They Came Back. My Grandad went to join the war, took the shilling, stood in line. He joined with many men so young, though he was thirty nine. When he came back to England's shores, no longer in his prime, he was a worn and weary man, not old, but old before his time. But he came back. My Dad was only sixteen years, when he went off to fight, despite his mother's urgent fears, did what he thought was right. So now my Grandma feared for two, her husband and her son, but she knew what they had to do, until the war was won. But they came back. Across the land the call went out, to fight a fight so just, and in their thousands signed their names, to win that fight they must. They found themselves in conflict where they knew they'd likely die, in a war not of their choosing, but with the price of failure high. Only some came back. While Grandad fought somewhere in France, my Dad, he was at sea. They played their parts in different ways, to fight the enemy. They fought to save our freedom, the freedom of our nation. To stop the enemies evil aims; oppression and subjugation. But they came back. We can't forget those shortened lives, but ever grateful some were spared. And although most were in their prime; for war they were so ill-prepared. So it was in countless numbers, they paid the greatest price. They lost their youth in endless slumbers, in a contest against loaded dice. Many did not come back. A hundred years have passed and church bells chime, as we recall the deaths and sorrows. But also those who survived that dreadful time, to live another day and give us our tomorrows. They live on in us, their futures entrusted to our care, and through the generations they endure. And in their names we must all strive, to be the best we can and keep their memory alive. For in our hearts they all came back. oOo Dedicated to those who did not come back, and with grateful thanks for those who did. They are now reunited with old comrades who, lost in muddy places, rest in peace somewhere.
Michael G Kimber 2014
Archived comments for They Came Back
Mikeverdi on 07-04-2014
They Came Back
Your heading is correct, everyone has a story to tell. The next few years will bring sad memories to many as we all remember. The photo brings added pathos. Thanks for posting.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike,
I guess you will have guessed that the picture was of my Dad and Grandad. The caption got lost in translation somehow.
We were lucky but so many were not. For what it is worth my poem is for them.
Thanks for your support.
Michael

ValDohren on 07-04-2014
They Came Back
Wonderful Kipper - very poignant, and yes we owe them all our thanks and gratitude. I'd like to see the politicians do the fighting, after all, it is they who cause the wars !
Val

Author's Reply:
Thank you Val.
I rather think that politicians fighting is a contradiction of terms.
i am flattered that you speak well of my poem. I do not have your gift for poetry so when occasionally I get one right it is even more pleasing to receive encouraging praise.
Michael

Andrea on 08-04-2014
They Came Back
Same here, Kipper - my grandfather fought in both too. How awful it must have been, one was bad enough, but two??

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting Andrea,
Most of us will have 'someone' who was there. I was lucky that my 'someones' survived.
Michael

QBall on 08-04-2014
They Came Back
Well done, Kipper. I lost an uncle at Gallipoli. Another uncle was gassed. My father served in Egypt in WW1.
The more I write and read about that ghastly war, the more anti-war I become.
We have the means to destroy life on this planet several times over. What a waste of technology.
Meanwhile children are starving with little aid coming their way. Pitiful, aint it?
Cheers,
Les Q.

Author's Reply:
Hi Les
With all the footage that we are seeing it seems so real now. Hard to believe that there is no one around any more who was there.
I'm sorry to hear about your uncle, but he is one of the ones I was writing about.
Cheers, Michael.

stormwolf on 09-04-2014
They Came Back
Bloody brillliant (Standing Ovation!)

Well done Kipper, well done!!!
(Makes me very sad to know the truth in your writing and the awareness that the pigs who sent them off to war are at it again in a different generation)
Your very best so far by any means.

Alison x

Author's Reply:
Wow!
Thank you Alison
I so appreciate your comment and hope that I can live up to it, but I doubt I ever will. There were so many people looking over my shoulder urging me on.
Just in case I don't can I say it again?
WOW
Michael

Nomenklatura on 09-04-2014
They Came Back
Bravo!

Author's Reply:
Thanks Ewan for replying.
Just one word, but what a word.
It says it all and I am very touched.
Michael


The Newspaper Seller (posted on: 21-03-14)
A war story, but not as you know it

The Newspaper Seller Part One. Archie Briggs was tired. It was early afternoon and three hours of trudging London's tourist spots had wearied him, as did the prospect of another five hours before he was due to catch his coach. His kit bag weighed heavily at his side either carried or dragged. Alternatively, when balanced on his shoulder it seemed just as heavy, and made his arm ache. Over his other arm was draped his heavy greatcoat, and between them they presented something of a problem for Archie. Not least in their heavy and cumbersome nature, but the fact that he was skint. The last game of cards on the troopship had not worked out well. He had hoped to scoop the jackpot which earlier success had promised. Three kings ought to have done the trick, and on the strength of that he had put everything into the pot. But another player - a stranger who had mysteriously replaced a previous contender - had produced three aces. He had left the game with his pockets empty and a certain gnawing feeling that he had been the victim of a scam. Any hopes of a meal or a drink, or even a place to offload his gear for the day had gone with those three cards. At any other time he would have muttered and cursed at his situation, but at least this time there was something different; something to cheer him on. It was November Nineteen Forty Five; the war was over, and he, like so many other soldiers was going home. ''You on your own son?'' Archie heard the voice but did not stop, thinking that the inquiry was meant for other ears. ''Hey soldier!'' This time Archie stopped and turned. ''Yes, you young man - are you on your own?'' ''What if I am?'' Archie said defensively, fearing that he may be the intended victim of another scam or hoax. Or even that he was being solicited for some sleazy entertainment. ''Want a free ticket for the show?'' Only then did Archie realize that he was outside the Palladium Theatre, but what surprised him most of all was that he was being spoken to by a newspaper seller. An old and scruffy newspaper seller at that. ''Sorry mate; I haven't a bean in my pocket, so you'll not get anything out of me.'' ''I said a free ticket - no catch I promise. The matine has just started.'' ''Why would you give me a free ticket?'' Archie was far from won over but the chance of somewhere to park his weary body, and with a bit of entertainment thrown in was a tempting proposition. He moved a little closer. ''What's it about then?'' he asked. ''Just take the ticket and you'll find out.'' The newspaperman said. ''No catch; honest?'' ''No catch; honest.'' Thinking he had nothing to lose, and that, if the worst came to the worst he could look after himself, he held out his hand and took the ticket. The newspaper man gave him the briefest of smiles, before he turned, accosting another passer by with an ear shattering plea to buy a newspaper. Long before he reached the doorway to the theatre itself he could hear tihe sounds. The music and laughter, and already he could feel the atmosphere. As he moved from the relative brightness of the corridors to the darkness of the auditorium he felt at ease. There were a few empty seats, and surely nothing could happen in such a place, especially before all these people. Archie stood at the back, waiting for the acrobat to do his last trick before tumbling into the wing 'stage left', to great applause. Checking the ticket he made his way until he found the correct seat, which was on the front row of the balcony, next but one to the central isle. 'This must be about the best seat in the place' Archie thought as a tall, middle aged man, well dressed - if slightly old fashioned - stood up to let him pass to the seat beside him. He smiled at the young soldier and suggested to him that he leave his kit bag and coat in the isle next to his seat. ''It will not be in anyone's way,'' he said quietly, ''and it will be far too heavy for me to run away with.'' Another smile, and his gesture to take his seat convinced Archie that all was well. As he did so he glanced at the lady on his left, concerned less he should encroach on her space. She smiled and very slightly inclined her head. Archie sat down, and during the next act - a baritone singing the popular songs of the day, especially those which had become associated with the war - nothing further happened. As the singer completed his act and as the level of applause subsided, so the lights came up for the interval. For just the briefest of moments there was silence but then the man leaned toward Archie and offered his hand. ''My name is Richard Spencer, and may I introduce my wife Rosemary?'' indicating the lady to Archie's left, at which point he was rewarded with another smile, and once again a slight inclination of her head. After Archie had responded with his name the man continued. ''You must be somewhat puzzled by this,'' he said, ''but it is rather simple really. You see our son was due to come home on leave today, and was to have joined us here in the theatre, but unfortunately he cannot make it.'' ''And it seems such a shame to waste the ticket,'' Mrs Spencer interjected as though she suspected that her husband might not tell the story correctly, ''so we asked the newspaper man to look out for any young soldier on his own.'' ''And we got you.'' Mrs Spencer added quickly before her husband spoke again. ''Now, before it is too late would you like some refreshment.'' Archie was embarrassed. ''I cannot I'm afraid. I'm flat broke and I wouldn't be able to get you a drink in return.'' ''Oh, no need to worry about that. Rowland - our son - is just the same; he never had any money in his pocket, so don't be bothered on that score.'' He stood up, clearly expecting Archie to follow. ''If you will excuse her my wife will not join us.'' He made to leave and Archie felt bound to follow. ''Of course.'' he said, smiling at the lady who had remained seated. ''It's very kind of you.'' The interval was soon over, and all too soon was the show, during which the only conversation had been an occasional comment relating to the performers. Soon the auditorium was emptying but Archie's hosts made no effort to join the throng, and Archie felt that he too must remain seated until they made the first move. 'Perhaps there is something else.' he conjectured, wondering what, if any, further surprises may be waiting. There was. ''There is a little restaurant nearby where we have arranged a meal. Please join us Archie.'' Mrs Spencer's insistence could not be resisted, and as Archie's empty stomach thwarted any attempt he might otherwise have made to decline, he was soon enjoying his first meal since disembarking in the early hours of the day. It was Mr Spencer who eventually though unhurriedly brought the afternoon towards a close. ''Thank you for joining us Archie. I hope you have enjoyed our company as we have enjoyed yours.'' ''Not at all, it should be me thanking you. You have been very generous. It's my good fortune that your son couldn't make it. I hope you will see him soon.'' Archie was then surprised by what seemed like an awkward silence, broken eventually by Mrs Spencer. ''I'm afraid we have deceived you a little Archie I hope you don't mind me calling you Archie?'' but before waiting for the young man's acquiescence she continued. ''You see, our son was due to come home but I'm afraid has been killed in action; on the last day of the war.'' There was a strange almost wistful look on her face, ''So you are like a substitute son; do you mind terribly?'' Archie was stunned; could hardly believe what he had heard, and had no idea how he should respond. It seemed inconceivable that these people, surely in mourning, should have been watching a variety show as though nothing had happened. No matter that they had shown him great hospitality, he felt very uncomfortable, and, trying his best not to offend, as soon as he could he thanked them for their kindness, commiserated with them in their grief, and wished them farewell. Once outside the theatre Archie made strides towards the coach station where he had resolved to wait out the rest of the time. He had expected to see the newspaper seller again but of him there was no sign, even though there were lots of people milling around. People on their way home from work; others no doubt looking forward to an evenings entertainment, while others still, were simply wandering the streets, enjoying the freedom that the end of five years of war had brought. A multitude like that on such a day should be rich pickings for a newspaper seller, but he was nowhere to be seen. Part Two. For Archie Briggs this would be a first, a fact that gave him little comfort. He was forty three years old, settled with a comfy home and no wish to be a globe trotter. Yet here he was in some European city the name of which he could hardly pronounce, with a load of people he did not know, and who, in all likelihood, he would never meet again. It was not his choice. He was a technician first and foremost, a good one too, and had risen to a senior position in his company. But at the last minute the sales director had been taken ill, and Archie's boss had asked him to deputize. ''I'm not a salesman!'' Archie had protested. ''I know, but you know our products better than anyone in the firm. Just talk with the same enthusiasm there as you do here and you'll be fine.'' So there it was. Archie found himself on a cold November day, in a cold somewhat run down conference hall in S-Hertogenbosch, representing his company as best he could, but without the natural flare that good salespeople seem to be born with. It was mid afternoon when one of the visitors to his stand brought him out of his factual but rather dull presentation. He looked up from his notes hoping to find a face that would ring the same bell as had his voice. Though it didn't quite ring the bell, there was nevertheless a gentle pull on the string, for standing before him was a man whose appearance was more than vaguely familiar. A man some twenty years his senior, with a rather formal authoritative manner. They spoke for some time on matters of mutual interest, that is to say machinery for packaging and display, while all the while Archie was listening for some clue as to his visitors identity. At least he hoped to find where their paths had crossed. Eventually the puzzle was solved when the older man made reference to the similarity of a certain machine he had been involved with when he had been in the army. Archie's not inconsiderable brain immediately swung into action. He remembered his years in the Army, and despite the obvious age difference it was entirely possible that the answer might be found there. ''When was that?'' he asked. ''I was in all through the war years, though I was referring to about nineteen forty.'' ''Me too.'' Archie replied, glad to have found a possible solution. ''It seems that we are two of the lucky ones to come through it.'' There followed a discussion of the possible places where fate might have thrown them together. Abruptly Archie snapped his fingers. ''Got it.'' he said. ''Sergeant Wilson. No - that's not right.'' And then, after a brief pause he exclaimed, ''Sergeant Willis.'' ''Well I'm blessed,'' Mr Willis exclaimed, ''that's quite a trick.'' He held out his hand. ''Jack Willis to be precise. But I'm afraid that my memory doesn't match up to yours.'' It was a statement which clearly implied the question. Archie obliged. ''Archie Briggs.'' Formal introductions over they quickly filled in the details of where and when; both happy to have renewed an acquaintance. So many of their comrades who had not made it through had been denied that simple pleasure, and these two men were quick to take advantage of their good fortune. Later that evening they met again in one of the hotel lounges, where each of them were keen to learn how the other had managed to survive the war, but what they discovered was a secret. Incredibly it was a secret they shared. Part Three. Archie Briggs and Jack Willis, didn't, on the face of it, have very much in common. Though they had served in the same army unit and had become known to each other, they were not friends. Jack was a Sergeant instructor, while Archie, not long out of his training, had been assigned as a technician at the same camp. Both were involved with new recruits, Jack directly, and Archie in a role supportive of all the instructors. As such they were aware of each other, and indeed had established an agreeable working relationship, but were never friends. Not only was there the difference of rank, but more than twenty years difference in their ages inevitably propelled them into divergent social circles. Also Jack had a wife and family at home, while Archie was still uncommitted. All that had been more than two decades earlier, and now those distinctions no longer mattered. Both were representing their companies; both had major responsibilities, both were well qualified and respected, and now both had family obligations. So they met at the end of a long hard day as equals, happy in each other's company, and happy to be spared the drudgery of another night watching foreign television. Catching up on their respective movements since their time together had been entertaining, and long before the evening was over they had achieved something which in earlier times they had failed to do. They became, at least for the time being, friends. Lots of memories were revived and anecdotes shared. Jack spoke of his impending retirement, while Archie confided his belief that promotion to directorship was all but confirmed. Inevitably the subject of the war itself emerged. There was a certain reluctance to dig deep into that part of their past, especially by Jack, but it transpired that they had both found themselves on active duties across the water, happy that they had been able to do that duty, but grateful that they had been spared. ''Tough times to be sure.'' observed Archie, his thoughts seemingly far away. ''Certainly were. We all lost good friends.'' Archie sat up. Something stirred within him. ''Did you?'' ''Quite a few people I knew, or knew of, but there was one, one in particular. . .'' He stopped for a moment, picking up his glass of beer. Archie sat back a little. Jack had clearly reached a painful memory and he had no wish to add to his new friend's obvious distress. ''Sorry,'' Jack said after he had recovered his composure. ''He was the best friend I ever had. Any closer and we would have been lovers.'' He smiled. ''That for me was the hardest part of the war. Losing Rolly. We were like brothers. No, we were more like twins.'' ''I never had a friend like that.'' Archie said quietly. ''I envy you.'' ''I met his parents you know; at the end the war. I'd been sent home earlier with a bullet in my leg so I got in touch with them and we arranged to meet in London.'' He gave Archie a curious look. ''It was agreed that we met at the Palladium.'' ''The Palladium?'' Archie repeated, his attention shifting to a new level. ''Seems like it was a regular family habit; started as a treat for Rolly when he was young.'' Once again Jack stopped, attempting to keep his composure during another painful memory, while Archie pondered the coincidence of their meeting place. When Jack continued he was somewhat subdued. ''As I said we met as planned.'' At this point Jack looked up, with a curious expression on his face. ''We very nearly didn't; I'll tell you about that in a minute; but then they told me; the worst news I could imagine. They told me . . . they told me that Rolly was dead. I couldn't believe it. Blown up on the very last day of the war.'' ''What a tragedy. I'm surprised they still went on with the meeting. It must have been very hard for them.'' Archie's surprise was evident. ''They knew about me you see; their son's best friend; wanted to meet me they said. Perhaps they thought that there wouldn't be another opportunity. They would have been right too. A few days later I learned that they both died in a suicide pact. Apparently their grief was so great that they just couldn't live without their son.'' ''It's a very sad story. You must have been glad to meet them?'' ''That's the funny thing about it. As I said we met in the Palladium Theatre but we very nearly didn't. Something had happened to my leg wound and I needed some extra treatment so I was very late. When I didn't turn up I guess they thought I wasn't coming so they asked a newspaper seller to give my ticket to any soldier who was on his own. It was just luck that the first soldier to arrive was me. I didn't expect to see them, but there they were, so I met them after all.'' Archie was still in a high state of alert. He sensed rather than knew that something very odd was happening. He remembered his own encounter so well, and now, a man who until only the day before was virtually a stranger, was telling him the same story. ''What was your friend's name?'' Archie asked, hardly daring to hear, but somehow knowing what the reply would be. ''Spencer - Rolly Spencer.'' ''Would that be Rowland Spencer?'' ''Yes; why do you ask?'' Archie ignored that question. ''And his parents? Were they Richard and Rosemary?'' ''That's right.'' Now it was Jack's turn to be startled. ''How on earth can you know that?'' ''Because I've met them too.'' Archie quickly recounted the story of his meeting, and when he had finished Jack stared at him with a look of disbelief. ''I cannot believe what I am hearing.'' he started. ''What you say cannot be true for Richard and Rosemary had been dead more than a quarter of a century by nineteen forty five. Now it was Archie's turn to stare in disbelief. ''I don't understand. I was sitting between them, talking with them; eating with them. First you said that you met them at the end of the war, and now you say that they had been dead over twenty five years by then.'' ''I'm sorry,'' Jack started, ''I didn't intend to deceive you, but I didn't want to complicate things, but it didn't happen just like I said. There is something else you see; something I haven't told you. It's something I rarely talk about, for it brings back such painful memories.'' Jack stopped, for a moment unable to continue. ''You see, I was in the first war too; enlisted in nineteen sixteen. I was nearly Seventeen at the time but they didn't seem to notice; at least they didn't try to stop me. It was then that I met Rolly, during the first war. He was nearly Nineteen and took me under his wing. We were friends from the start and spent the rest of the war together until I was injured. So you see; Rowland Spencer died at the end of the first war, not the second.'' The two men stared at each other for many long minutes, until finally Jack spoke again; softly, quietly. ''And so did his parents.'' ''So how did I come to meet them in nineteen forty five?'' Archie asked; ''and why. Why me?'' ''Who knows; they were good people,'' Jack smiled. ''and who knows how many other young soldiers on their own they also befriended. Perhaps there are others just like us who can tell the same story.'' ''No doubt with the help of the newspaper seller.'' Archie smiled, possibly at last, even after all those years, beginning to understand, if not yet quite able to comprehend. ''At least now I know why I couldn't find him - I wonder who he was.'' he concluded.
Archived comments for The Newspaper Seller
JM on 21-03-2014
The Newspaper Seller
It's an interesting story. I enjoyed it but I don't seem to understand, who did Archie meet then? Also, I would like to know a little more about Archie himself. What is his reaction to the story he hears?

Author's Reply:
Thanks for replying. i'm glad you enjoyed my story even though the link that connected the two wars was not clear to you. I will have a look to see what I can do about that.
At the end of the first war Archie's new friend Jack Willis met the parents of his war-time friend Rolly who had been killed at the last day of WW 1. Fast forward to the end of WW2 when he (Archie) met the same people in the same theatre.
Later, in conversation with Jack he discovered that they had committed suicide following their sons death. Archie therefore had been entertained by the ghosts of those people and they (Archie and Jack) speculated that perhaps there had been others soldiers on their own who had been similarly entertained.
I hope this helps to make sense of it,
Best wishes, Michael.

Mikeverdi on 23-03-2014
The Newspaper Seller
Loved it! not sure if you altered it in any way, but it was all clear to me. I liked the link from one war to the next. All in all I thought it was well written and thought out; thanks for posting.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for your comments; glad you enjoyed the story. No, nothing has been altered yet, though I will look at it as promised.
In that respect I am pleased that it was clear for you.
Best regards, Michael

QBall on 25-03-2014
The Newspaper Seller
Wonderful yarn and very well written. I have noted a couple of slips you can correct
[He stood at the back, waiting for the acrobat to do his last trick before he tumbled off the stage to great applause.]
I suggest reconstruction of this sentence. I was led to believe the soldier was about to tumble.
[that is to say machinery for packaging’ ] I think a comma here (not ' but , )
THE CRATER, my tale of the first world war, should be here on Friday. Hope you will read it and comment.
Cheers,
Les Q

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 25-03-2014
The Newspaper Seller
Thanks for writing Les, and for the generous 9.
I have to admit that the image of the acrobat tumbling 'off the stage' made me smile. I will of course put that right. And of course you are right about the other thing. Dare I claim a typo for that?
Thanks again and I will look out for your submission.
Regards, Michael

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 26-03-2014
The Newspaper Seller
Thanks for writing Les, and for the generous 9.
I have to admit that the image of the acrobat tumbling 'off the stage' made me smile. I will of course put that right. And of course you are right about the other thing. Dare I claim a typo for that?
Thanks again and I will look out for your submission.
Regards, Michael

Author's Reply:


Bannister's Beat (posted on: 10-03-14)
The police seem to get a bad press these days. This story suggests (perhaps) how it used to be. A lighthearted look back to how it might have been in the days of Jack Warner's Dixon. Remember him? Eve-ning all !

Bannister's Beat Whenever he could, 'Superintendent' Trevor Bannister would slip out into the streets. He knew he was old fashioned, and remembered fondly the old ways of bobbies on the beat, and of real communication with people. Not now; not any more. Modern policing was done from a car, and with computers. Foot slogging was a thing of the past, but Bannister was of an older generation, and still enjoyed face to face interaction. He was no longer ambitious of course, neither was he deliberately uncooperative but he seemed to be unaware that 'slipping out' might cause concern. He just liked to be out with people. He thought for a moment about those in the station. He didn't know them all of course; some of them were very young, but by and large he got on pretty well with them. Something made him smile. No longer in the promotion race himself, he could still see them jostling and manoeuvring, as they tried to climb up, or at least try to prevent themselves being pushed off, the promotion ladder. No; he liked people; out there in the streets; not indoors, cocooned and shielded from life, and whenever he could he would go out and 'communicate'. Looking back it had been a black day when his last promotion and seen him confined in an office behind a desk. He never quite came to terms with that situation, still preferring to be out there amongst people. It was only a few hundred yards from the front of the station to the High Street; a busy junction where he liked to stop for a few minutes, just looking around, and enjoy the feeling of being 'at home'. And for Trevor it was home, for he had been born here in Oatley - had lived all his young life in the town - and had gone to local schools until he won his place to the university. From there he went to a military college, and then on to a short commission in the army. It seemed to be a natural move from there to a police academy, which ultimately led him to a post in Birmingham, where his good work was rewarded with three stripes. That's how it was for a few years for Sergeant Bannister until he was informed that he had passed his 'Inspectors' exam. And if that wasn't enough, out of the blue his promotion put him in line for a new posting in his home town. Sadly however his joy at 'going home' was not shared by his wife, who had often complained that Birmingham was as far north as she ever wanted to go, and viewed the prospect of moving to a small northern town with horror. Despite the arrival of two children, who seemed to have grown up far too fast, it had not been a very happy marriage, and Bannister knew perfectly well that he had presented his wife with just the opportunity she wanted. He also knew that if their marriage was doomed to failure, this was probably as good a time as they would get, to part as friends. So he put up only a token fight as she made her plans to take the children south, when he headed north. All of that stretched back over more year than he liked to admit but in that time he had established a new way of life for himself. He never contemplated marriage again, but neither did he suffer for the lack of female company. It was not that he would ever have described himself as a ladies man, indeed he would laugh at such a thought. No, it was more than that. He had a 'sense of people' that was almost uncanny; everyone liked him and everyone responded to him. Not least the ladies, who generally felt comfortable with him; some indeed so comfortable as to make their amorous intentions perfectly clear. So there he was strolling along the high Street in his slow steady stride, ready as always with a nod or a wave to those whose eye he caught, and a word or two to those who were near enough to be heard. No-one ever looked the other way, or tried to avoid him. Chatting away as he progressed, a little joke here, or a ''Hows your mother'' there, he was content. Even though he was in 'civvies' everyone knew who he was, and it just seemed as though they all loved him. Quite often he would be treated to comments like, ''I wish there were more like you,'' or ''It's not like this any more,'' and sometimes "Oh the young coppers don't care these days." So he would stop and talk, and joke, and flirt, and advise. Any way you looked at it, he was a happy man, well liked and content in the knowledge that he was serving his community well. Perhaps It was just too good to last, and, as the American's say, 'Someone had to rain on his parade'. He was slowly making his way back, his walk completed and hoping to return before he was missed. He was close to 'his' junction, now resplendent with a new set of traffic lights. He liked that, for it provided him with a chance to see who was in town, as the constant stream of cars were forced to slow down or even stop at regular inervals, instead of the nose to tail chase he had known before. It was all over so quickly. A shout, over the heads of those on the pavement. ''Stop...help...he's got my bag'' People, more from surprise and uncertainty rather than cowardice, moved aside letting the young man come charging through, still carrying the stolen bag. 'Superintendant' ' Bannister had turned to see what the commotion was about, and saw the young man heading straight for him. The thief running quickly, expected that Bannister, like all the others, would move aside. He did not, and in that brief moment his flight was halted. No one had seen the knife, but they all heard the groan, as it sank deep into Bannister's body. As he fell to the floor he wrapped his arms around his assailant, stubbornly refusing to let go despite the pain of the knife-wound, and despite the writhing and wriggling of the young man, desperate to escape. For him it was too late, as hands from every direction held the now frightened aggressor firm, angry men shouting abuse at him, some ready to administer 'immediate' justice. An ambulance was summoned, and a small crowd gathered round the prostrate Bannister, trying to make him comfortable as they waited. From somewhere a car rug had appeared which covered him from his chin, down to his ankles, somehow drawing attention to his black shoes, as shiny now as they had ever been, though one of them now supported some scuff marks, and a streak of red. The owner of the bag was by his side glad to be reunited with all her prized belongings but curiously cross with the policeman. ''Oh' Trevor,'' she said ''Why ever did you go and do a thing like that?'' as, with her handkerchief, she wiped the sweat from his face, and the tears from hers. ''And just look at your shoes.'' She reached down, using the same handkerchief to wipe away the fresh red smear. A gentleman of similar maturity holding Trevor from the other side agreed. It was Tom, a longstanding friend. ''You silly bugger.'' he almost shouted, seemingly ungrateful for his 'friend's' bravery, but actually with great affection. ''It's about time you remembered to let the younger chaps do the rough stuff?" Bannister, still conscious, but clearly in pain, returned a weak smile, but was saved from further explanations, when he heard the sound of the ambulance. Word quickly spread and the small town community was rightly appalled, but the story did have a happy ending. Bannister's wound proved not to be critical. He made the front page of the local paper, and was publicly praised by the chief constable who said that today's police force could do with a few more of his calibre. He spoke of Bannister's great love for the people of his home town, which had continued unabated ever since he had returned. Had it not already been so, he was surely now the most popular man in town. There was even a gathering when it became known that he was to be discharged from the hospital. The staff nurse from his ward smiled at the well wishers as she walked with him to the waiting ambulance, talking as she did so, explaining the various medications in the plastic bag he was carrying. ''Oh', and don't forget this.'' she said as she handed him a sealed brown envelope. ''This will tell your doctor about your wound, and what we have been doing.'' ''And mind yourself in future.'' added Tom, Bannister's friend and warden of the sheltered home near the police station in which he now resided.. He was waiting patiently to take Trevor home. ''Leave it to the others from now on." He continued, "Bloody ell mate, I think you forget you've been retired for nearly twenty years.'' They had reached the ambulance and the nurse relinquished her charge to the crew, but just before she did she raised her heals and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Almost without moving she was seen to whisper in his ear, and he was seen to smile, a broad smile, while at the same time giving her what looked suspiciously like a tweak on her bottom. 'Superintendent' Trevor Bannister was a happy man. With a new and somewhat younger companion he had much to look forward to, but neither of them ever revealed what she had whispered to him that day.
Archived comments for Bannister's Beat
Mikeverdi on 11-03-2014
Bannisters Beat
I liked that, a really lovely old fashioned story; just as you said it would be. Thanks for the read 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:

jdm4454 on 12-03-2014
Bannisters Beat
very nice shortie confirming the commitment of another age....thanks for the read. jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for replying Jim
As they say 'nostalgia' aint like it used to be', but there are fond memories.

Michael


Adam and Eve (posted on: 28-02-14)
For some Adam and Eve represent the beginning of life, but for me, all those years ago, I thought it meant the end.

Adam and Eve It was a night I've spent half a lifetime trying to forget. After motoring three hundred miles through a murky October day in Nineteen Eighty Three I needed a drink or two, and then bed. I remember a church clock was striking Nine O clock as I drove into the town, and hour or two later than I had intended, thanks to a flat tire. I quickly found what appeared to be my designated hotel, but that was the second blow of the day, for not only had a reservation not been made, the hotel was full. And so, in a descending order of 'stars' I tried the others, then the guest houses, then the 'bed and breakfasts' then the pubs. The result in every case was the same. Full; every one; not a room to be found anywhere. In a back street pub I tried to bargain with the barman, hoping a 'fiver' on top might jog his memory into finding a 'forgotten' room in the attic, or the cellar, but it was no good. "What's going on?" I asked. "It's the Witches and Warlocks Festival." he replied rather quietly, almost a whisper. "Come every year they do. Take over the town. Got to book early you know." Well that much I knew. The editor of my local newspaper had heard about this event and had sent me to investigate. I was new and my reluctance was not enough to dissuade him. "You need something to get your teeth into, sharpen you up a bit. Besides, it'll be like a holiday for you." he assured me. "A few days in Scotland; booked you into the best hotel, and I won't look too closely at your bar expenses." I made a mental note to question him about that, but first there was a more important question to ask. "Where am I going to sleep tonight?" Despite the barman's inability to accommodate me I ordered a large brandy before setting out on my search. "Where's the nearest place I can find a bed then?" I asked him. He continued polishing a glass and then lifted it up to inspect his work and looking over its rim, with a watery eye he winked. "About five miles sir." he answered "Along the road out of town there's a crossroads. Gibbet Corner we call it. Turn left there then left again up a narrow lane, and them . . ." he hesitated. "And then what?" I prompted, rather abruptly, admittedly somewhat confused by the wink. "And you'll come to the old rectory. They take in paying guests so I'm told." I finished my drink. I was tired, it was well after ten and my options were running out. It was also very dark now, and raining steadily. I found the crossroads easy enough, though why it was called 'Gibbet Corner' it was not possible to tell. The fact that it was dark and squally; the wind causing the rain, heavy now, to beat against the car making visibility difficult; did not help at all. My concentration was on the road, looking for a sign, any sign, to get me out of the weather, and into somewhere warm and dry. Suddenly, almost weirdly, there it was, a signpost pointing to the left down a narrow road, which stated simply, but in rather old fashioned lettering 'The Old Rectory'. I was pleased to find that the road to the Old Rectory, though narrow, was quite good, especially as the signpost had not indicated a distance. But my satisfaction soon changed when, without warning the road ended at a gate. A small notice, hardly readable through the streaky windscreen and the swishing rain invited me to continue on what looked like little more than a dirt track; muddy at that; to 'The Old Rectory - 1 mile.' oOo One mile; I groaned. 'Will this night ever end?' I was angry at the prospect of another soaking, and the real possibility of getting stuck in the mud miles from anywhere, with little prospect of help. More than that I was still unsure if accommodation was available when, or if, I reached the rectory. The gate was heavy and stiff, and had to be physically lifted to clear the deep rut where it scraped into the ground. By the time I had opened it, driven my car through, and then closed it behind I was drenched. The light from the headlights was quickly diminished by the rain. They illuminated nothing save a ghostly halo, and certainly no glimpse of a building. The rear lights of the car were even less helpful, casting hardly any useful light on the scene. It was hard to imagine a more desolate place; and my joyful anticipation of a warm and comfortable room for the night seemed to be as far away as ever. Pushing gingerly forward, fearful of finding a deep rut, my face as close to the windscreen as possible to gather in what vision there was, I managed to stay on the track. When the 'Old Rectory' finally came into view it was with a mixture of relief and something approaching dismay, for the faintest of outlines seemed to suggest a ramshackle, almost deserted building, dingy and unlit. Unlit that is save for a single, rather dim, light in the doorway porch. Wearily I left my car and entered the porch, high and arched over a large heavy door. In the gloomy light I looked for a notice that might indicate some kind of welcome to visitors, but found none. Neither was there anything to indicate that this was indeed the old rectory, even though it was hard to believe it to be anything other. Having found no knocker, or bell, or chain, I gave the door a sharp thump with the side of my fisted hand, but despite the firmness of my action it seemed to make little sound, and produced no result. I tried once more; still without response. For long minutes no one came and I turned to go, desperate now, dreading the return journey, and resigned to spending the rest of the night in the car. As I started to move away I sensed the door opening. It was the increase of light that made me stop and turn, for that huge door was opening without a sound. Only the brightness from within, increasing as the door opened, told me that my knocking had in fact been heard. ''Can I help you?'' It was a young voice, neither male or female; or both; emanating from a person standing in the doorway. The light behind, though not particularly bright was strong enough to create a silhouette of someone tall, slim, and long haired; but as to its gender I could not tell. ''Can I help you?'' The same question in exactly the same manner. ''Forgive me.'' I managed to answer, ''I'm a little disoriented, what with the weather, and the time. I've been told that you have accommodation for travelers. I know it's very late, I do hope I haven't disturbed you.'' ''Please come in; do you have some luggage?'' ''A couple of bags in the boot.'' I turned to retrieve my bags, but before I reached my car this young person was ahead of me. A flick on the remote had the boot springing up. A hand grabbed the bags and slammed the boot lid down almost in one continuous movement, and seemingly without getting wet was back to the porch and into the building. In the high and paneled entrance hall were a few armchairs and a desk. The light, which outside had been bright enough to prevent me seeing my companion's face, now seemed rather dim. As I filled in the guest card I took the opportunity to look at his, or perhaps her, face. No attempt was made to avoid my gaze, but still I could not tell. Smooth skin and well formed features suggested my young host to be a girl, as did the longish hair. But the voice, well modulated and slightly low in tone veered towards the masculine. ''I'll take you to your room now.'' he or she said, as my bags were retrieved from where they had been dropped. ''Thank you.'' I smiled, ''Are there any other guests?'' ''Just the one. No doubt you will see him at breakfast.'' ''Yes, I'll be ready for that.'' The hint did not bring forth an offer of any late night refreshments, so I hoped I would find something in my room. I was soon to find out for the young person had stopped and was inserting a rather large key into the door. This accomplished I was ushered into a large room, furnished with old but adequate furniture. The slight coldness of high ceilings and windows, was countered by the floor length heavy curtains, and thick carpets. It was old fashioned, but on the face of it, very comfortable, and a tray on a side table was stocked with biscuits and snacks plus all that was needed to make a hot drink. A clear indication of it's sometime, if perhaps not regular, use by visitors. My guide was now leaving and I turned to offer my thanks. ''What should I call you?'' I asked, sure in the knowledge that the little mystery would soon be solved. ''I'm Adam. Press the button by the bed if you need anything.'' ''Adam!'' I muttered, when the door closed. At least now I knew, but curiously I felt none the wiser. Shortly after there was a knock on the door, which opened to reveal the young man with some towels. ''Thank you Adam.'' I smiled. ''Adam is my brother,'' came the totally unexpected reply, ''I'm Eve.'' There was no hint of a smile at what otherwise I might have taken to be a joke, or at least a lighthearted coincidence. She left, still without a smile. oOo It had been a long day, the bed was inviting and tiredness sent me quickly into a deep sleep. How long I slept I do not know, but I was awoken by the sound of my door banging shut, and the figure of an elderly man leaning hard against it, trying to hold back someone on the other side, bent on gaining entrance. It was completely dark, the long heavy curtains on the inside and the blackness of the stormy night outside, allowed not the slightest hint of light, and yet I could see the man as if by some uncanny luminance. He was cowering now, unable to prevent the determined effort of whoever it was on the other side, and now the door was partially ajar. One more push sent the older man sprawling, but as he fell he looked directly at me as if appealing for my aid. But it was too late for he was immediately set upon, not by one, but two assailants both young and very sparsely dressed in what seemed almost like transparent night clothes. Ignoring his pleas and terrified cries, they struck the poor man repeatedly with short broad daggers. Once, twice, a dozen times they struck until their victim was still and lifeless. Throughout this frenzied attack I had been riveted to the spot. At the beginning I had raised myself, and had been able to witness the whole scene, and yet, to my shame, I had done nothing to help the frightened man. I had been paralyzed, though not just with fear. Something had held me, a force that had robbed me of all ability to move, and fear had become terror. Now it was over and the dead man's blood was drenching the lush carpet, but the two assailants made no attempt to run. Indeed they stood side by side staring at me. This was perhaps my greatest moment of fear, for now I could see them plainly. They were clearly twins, and it was abundantly clear by the transparency of their garments that one of them was a young man, and that he was Adam. His companion whose flimsy robes, just as with her brother, failed to hide her gender, was Eve. I waited, immobile, rigid, transfixed by their near nakedness, awaiting my fate convinced that shortly I too would feel the power of those knives. Inexplicably however the two attackers turned and silently walked out of the room, and the door, untouched by either of them, closed eerily behind them as they left the room. How long did I lay, silently, hardly breathing, before I dared to move I do not know, but when I did my ordeal continued. Eventually, cautiously, I eased myself from the bed and moved to where I could look at the dead man. I could not help the scream that came from me, for the face before me, with lifeless yet staring eyes and with mouth wide open, was my own. I fled. Everything save my shoes and coat was abandoned. Luckily my prayer that I would find my car keys in the coat were answered and in a short time I was racing headlong down the muddy track, where earlier I had been so cautious. Mercifully the rain had stopped and there was even a little moonlight to help me on my way. I did not stop at the gate, which, despite its weight and sturdiness offered little resistance when I crashed through it, and not until I reached the crossroads did I feel that I was free from that place of terror. But I was wrong. A shaft of moonlight, far brighter than that all around clearly illuminated what I had failed to see before. The gibbet; and hanging by their necks, were two slim young bodies with faces contorted in agony where the life had been choked out of them. I didn't have to look twice. I knew at once that one was Adam and the other was Eve. Many days passed before I dared to ask questions, but my research revealed a sketchy but sorry tale. Two hundred years earlier, the pair, aged just seventeen, had been convicted of the murder of the priest. He had, they claimed, taken them in as young orphans and named them, but only for his own sake. Working them like slaves, and abusing them nightly, either sex according to his fancy, he had robbed them of all human dignity, and of their lives. Whatever the truth of that they were hanged together on that very gibbet. The date? October, Seventeen Hundred and Eighty Three. oOo I cannot say exactly what brought me back to this little town, nor can I say 'why now'. Thirty years had elapsed since that event took place; thirty years of carrying a memory which would not leave me. Perhaps I always knew that one day I would have to confront my demons, and that day has arrived. I have lived with this all these years, and though I had often pondered its questions, I was never really sure if I wanted to know the answers. But I also knew that there was only one way to find out and that I must return to the old rectory. My mind made up I made an early start to that little town on the Solway coast on the day before Halloween Twenty Thirteen. My task was a simple one; to return free of the constant burden, or not to return at all. Modern roads and modern cars had shortened the journey time considerably and it was just a little after One O'clock when I arrived at my destination. I had not booked in advance and on a whim, or more likely I see now, being guided by some other force, my first call was the old pub where the man with the wink had set in motion that chain of events. On that occasion it was a dark stormy night, and I remembered the difficulty of finding a room. Was it just an impulse that guided to that back street pub I visited thirty years before?. Looking back I wonder, but leaving that aside I saw now what I had not seen then. It's name; The Adam And Eve.     I laughed. It was a quiet laugh though had there been anyone standing near to me they would have heard. After a while I ventured inside half expecting to be met by the man with the wink. Inside it was much as I remembered; a traditional pub. Comfortable, not too posh and with a welcoming fire in the hearth. It was quiet; no music and also, apart from myself, no customers. I leaned on the bar and waited. I could hear some voices, a man and a woman for sure but at that moment there was no one behind the bar.     Shortly a man appeared, and that was the next shock. "Morning sir," he greeted me, "sorry to keep you waiting. What can I get you?"     It was Adam!     He waited patiently until I found my voice. "Pint of bitter please." I said falteringly, "and a sandwich if you can please."     "Will you take a seat and I'll send my sister out. She'll find something for you,"     I knew before she arrived just what she would look like, just as I had recognized her brother.     "Well now," she asked, "it's a sandwich you're wanting." as she handed me a list. My selection made she disappeared, only to reappear five minutes later, tray in hand carrying my crusty bread with cheese and pickle. I had heard no names but I knew who they were, just as I also knew that I was at a critical point in my journey. A journey I had to finish, come what may. A little while later she came to collect the plate,     "Excuse me?" I asked.     "Yes sir, how can I help.?"     I took the opportunity to take a good at the young lady, so much so that I could see her becoming uneasy. "Please forgive me." I stumbled a little. "Your face is so familiar, I was trying to remember where we might have met," "Yes sir. A lot of people say that." Now it was my turn to feel uncomfortable and I laughed again, at myself really. "That must have sounded like a corny pick up line, I'm sorry." "I've never been out of this town, so if you have not been here before we can't have met." She seemed matter of fact as if to say that was the end of the matter. "I have been here before, about thirty years ago, to the Warlock and Witches festival." I told her, "In fact I was expecting to see something of it this visit, but it doesn't seem to be happening now." "No it doesn't happen any more. I've heard about it but it was a long time ago." She paused for a moment as if considering. ''Thirty years you say; it would be about the time of your last visit that it finished; something happened and it come to an end."     ''Very curious; what happened, do you know.''     ''Oh, I think some of the pranks went too far. Some people became very frightened.'' It was very perplexing. I had not heard her name mentioned by any of the few others who had entered the pub, but still I knew. "And your brother, is he also a stay at home." "Oh Adam! Yes, he's the same. Just like me he's very content with his life here." "You look alike." "Yes, we're twins." "Oh, so I expect you are Eve then." Now it was her turn to laugh. "I'm afraid so. My parents...'" there was a distinct pause, "were not very imaginative." "And the pub; same name?" I questioned, ignoring Eve's slight fumble. "Oh that's just a coincidence. As far as I know It's been the same since it was built some time in the eighteenth century." At this point Adam, who had returned to the bar unnoticed, intervened. "Ever since they built the 'new' Rectory. You must have forgotten Eve, about Seventeen Sixty I think." "No, I hadn't forgotten Adam, just didn't want to bore this gentleman with lots of details." "On the contrary," I volunteered, "I'm very interested." "Well before they built a new place out of town, this building was the rectory, and when they left it became a pub. As far as we know it was the 'Adam and Eve' right from the beginning. oOo Unlike on my previous visit there was a room to spare so I booked in for the night. Conversely unlike my previous visit, my hosts were charming, helpful and friendly. It turned out to be a quiet day with only an occasional customer, and I talked to the twins on and off for the rest of the afternoon. I had hoped to learn something about them and their lives, but nothing emerged to suggest that they were anything other than what they appeared to be. It was a puzzle that someone so young could be running a pub, but any questions that seemed to delve too deeply into their past were skillfully deflected. Perhaps I was being paranoid!     After a surprisingly good meal followed by two or three whiskies it was time to retire, to consider the day, and then to settle down for the night. I slept soundly at first; it had after all been a long day. But in the early hours I was wakened by something. Not a noise but a sensation, an awareness that something was going to happen. As my eyes got used to the dark I could see that I was in a cell. It was small and oppressive, with just two small bunks and no furniture, its high window letting in feint moonlight, enough for me to see the 'extent' of my prison. Its plain stone walls and heavy wooden door left no room for doubt that I was being held captive. In only a few moments I had taken stock of my situation but the most astonishing thing was that standing at the foot of my bed, dressed in the same transparent attire I remembered from the last time I had seen this apparition were Adam and Eve. They stood motionless looking at me in the most intense way. And yet I did not feel threatened. Moreover I got the feeling that they were trying to tell me something? There was not a sound in the cell and despite the 'presence' of the twins I could not help the feeling that I was not there. It was like an out of body sensation and I was looking in, watching, waiting. I did not have to wait long for suddenly the door was thrown open and in burst half a dozen people, and through the open door I could see many more. Silently shouting and gesticulating as in a old silent film they grabbed the young twins and dragged them out of the cell and into the street. I found myself among these people but in a way that is hard to describe, for though I was there I was not a part of the crowd but merely observing. Noisily, yet without a sound they dragged the helpless couple up the main street and out of the town until they came to the crossroads. It was a windy squally night and as the clouds moved quickly across the sky the light from the moon had been enough to see where they were heading. There at the crossroads stood the gibbet, where those who had sinned against society - and many who had not - met there end. But this was not the carrying out of societies judicial punishment, this was a lynch mob. I watched, unable to intervene, as ropes were thrown over the arm of the gibbet and then tied roughly around the necks of their helpless victims. No attempt was made to render them unconscious to ease their ordeal, they were simply hauled into the air by many hands pulling on the ropes until the two young people were six feet from the ground kicking and swinging, their hands clawing at the ropes around their necks in a futile attempt to end there strangulation. But there was to be no relief for the helpless pair and soon they stopped struggling, soon there was no movement, and soon they were dead. In all this time, despite the violent gestures and the obvious anger of the mob, I heard not a sound. Not even the sound of the door slamming shut after I had mysteriously returned to my cell where I immediately fell asleep. I awoke in the small but comfortable bedroom of the pub to which I had retired, the memory of the night's activity fresh in my mind. Drawing the curtains I looked up the street where the angry crowd had dragged the young victims to their deaths. It was still early but some people were going about their business, traffic made its way up and down the high street, and in the gentle breeze and the increasing brightness of the sky there was the promise of a pleasant day. Something caught my eye; it was the slight sway of the pub sign which depicted in tradition style two unclothed people with the apple and the snake strategically placed. The popular image of Adam and Eve. My journey home was uneventful, save a detour to find the Old Rectory. That old building I discovered was long gone, while in its place stood the modern and luxurious 'nineteenth hole' of an exclusive golf and country club. But it gave me time to take stock. There were still and would always be unanswered questions, not least why was I chosen via this journal to expose the plight, the savage treatment, and the miscarriage of justice for those two young people so many years before. I will never know, but despite my 'vision' of the angry crowd taking the law into their own hands, almost certainly engineered by the church, to cover up the misdoings of one of its number, I am certain that the real victims of those events were Adam and Eve. But whatever the truth of that I do not expect to see them again, and for the first time in years I felt at peace. Perhaps they too are at peace for now they know that someone else knows their story. When the old rectory was pulled down did they simply move back to their old home? Perhaps; but are they still there I wonder, for now that my journey is done perhaps theirs is too.
Archived comments for Adam and Eve
bluepootle on 28-02-2014
Adam and Eve
What a classic spooky story! It really held my attention and I liked the voice of the narrator very much. It's that sense of an older man in his armchair by the fire, amiably telling you a tale that scares the pants off you.

I noticed some missing question marks in places. And at one point you have a 'refectory' rather than a 'rectory' which slightly changes the dynamic. 😉

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your comments and for pointing out that a little pruning is required. I will attend to that asap. Horror is not my usual choice so it is pleasing to know that it worked for you. (even scared your pants off - too much information?)
An older amiable man! I am certainly one of these, and hope I am also the other.
Thanks again, Michael

Edit. Hope I got them all!

Mikeverdi on 06-03-2014
Adam and Eve
Excellent story, I really enjoyed it; it held me right to the end. There is a niggle, the lay out makes for a difficult read on screen in my opinion, also you switch towards the end. I think to break between the dialog and the next paragraph would work better on screen; such large blocks of type can look a bit daunting. Its only me, and it's you're story. As I said I loved it anyway.
Mike



Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike, glad you enjoyed it. (Ten years old but recently updated)
I am of course interested in your comments re. presentation, which is important. I did break up the story into 'chapters' following a suggestion of yours about a previous story, but I'm not sure what you mean re. the dialogue. Do you mean a blank line following each sentence of dialogue. I can see that that would isolate conversations from the body of the story. Not convinced yet Mike but I will certainly look at it.
But on that point I wonder if it is the inconsistent indenting that is the problem. In my computer the story is perfectly indented but that has not carried consistently in the transfer, which I do find slightly off-putting.
Thanks for your comments, they are much appreciated. (Maybe next time!)
Michael

Jaybee on 12-03-2014
Adam and Eve
An excellent story with superb descriptions of both the characters and the setting. I read this with intrigue wondering what would happen to the main character.



The ending was perhaps expected, but I still wonder what really happened.



A story to read while sitting by a roaring fire on a winter's night!
I think the story would be easier to read if a space between paragraphs was added. This would help the reader to follow the story. Only my opinion.

Author's Reply:
Thank you Jaybee for your generous comments and generous score. I'm very pleased you enjoyed my story, and as to what happened to the main character, who knows? Perhaps the story is not concluded!
Thanks for the suggestion of paragraph spacing; I will certainly look into it.
Kindest regards,
Michael


Yuletide (posted on: 23-12-13)
A very short story

Yuletide, Christmas, a whatever you wish to call it, best wishes to everyone on UKA for the festive season and the year ahead. Michael
Archived comments for Yuletide
Corin on 23-12-2013
Yuletide
Merry Mid Winter Festival Michael:-)

Dave

Author's Reply:
Best wishes for 2014 Dave,
Michael

Andrea on 23-12-2013
Yuletide
Thanks you very much Kipper, and the same to you!

Author's Reply:
Best wishes Andrea, for 2014,
Michael

pommer on 23-12-2013
Yuletide
Thank you Kipper, Happy Yuletide to You too. Peter.

Author's Reply:
Happy Yuletide to Yule too Peter, and best wishes foe 2014,
Michael

Mikeverdi on 23-12-2013
Yuletide
Ha ha! Same to you Michael.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike,
I hope 2014 will be a good year for you, even if you don't believe in 'him'; though of course some say 'her'.
Michael

Weefatfella on 24-12-2013
Yuletide
 photo 9ad6ff1f-0d9b-467e-b5d6-2d3f72a688a0_zps705a5781.jpg
Awrra best fae north ae ra border.
A merry Christmas Michael and a relaxing Mahogany. Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Cheers Paul, I'm looking forward to a Mahogany New Year.
Best wishes,
Michael

stormwolf on 24-12-2013
Yuletide
Haha That is a nice short story! Same to you Micheal, with bells on 😉 Alison xxx

Author's Reply:
Thanks Allison and best wishes for 2014.
I am consoled for not getting a Nib for this piece by the eminently greater prize of three kisses.
Michael..

deadpoet on 27-12-2013
Yuletide
Happy New Year Kipper- and thanks for this fine message
Pia
xx

Author's Reply:
All the best to you Pia. I guess you are due for a good year; let's hope that 2014 is the one.
My NY wish is that I will start to 'see' what it is that poets mean, as well of what they write.
Michael


Travelling Companion (posted on: 16-12-13)
Some folk long for a 'Journey of a lifetime', but be careful what you wish for. A short story about an unusual travelling companion.

Travelling Companion Another crack of lightning shook the plane almost before the last one had died away, and seemed to bathe the stricken craft in an eerie envelope of light flashing and cracking as it took on first a greenish and then a yellowish hue. Clusters of animated sparks danced the length of the fuselage before reaching the tail plane and then taking the giant leap to the wing tips, only to start again, crackling and cackling like Wagner' witches. Without warning the plane dropped like a stone, as it had done many times before. A hundred feet it dropped, a thousand, who can say, and each time my heart ended up in my mouth. Where my stomach went to, was anyone's guess. Inside the plane - which not long before had been cruising unremarkably at thirty thousand feet - some of the passengers were praying, and some were crying fearfully. Others, shocked and immovable, were sitting in stunned silence. I was on my way home from a business trip to celebrate thanksgiving with my family in the states, and I could not help wondering if my thoughts at the present time were being replicated in the minds of my fellow passengers'. 'Is this going to be the last thing I do? Everyone, in one way or another was displaying signs of terror, convinced that they were about to die. Everyone that is except the man sitting next to me. ''Exciting isn't it?'' he asked, when yet another lightning bolt hit us full blast. I was not in the mood for conversation, polite or otherwise, but I managed a reply. "Sorry, but this much excitement I can do without." He looked at me as though surprised by my display of fear. ''You've no need to worry you know,'' he smiled, ''this will stop soon.'' ''I wish I had your confidence.'' I muttered. It was all I could say, but I was hoping he would be quiet and leave me to suffer in peace. 'Peace' I breathed, almost smiling at my thoughts. 'call this peace?" But my wish was granted; albeit not immediately. ''Just a couple more minutes.'' he persisted. I groaned. This time he did remain quiet, though I could see him looking about excitedly like a kid with a box full of new toys. Two minutes elapsed - just as he had predicted - when miraculously the storm suddenly ended; so suddenly in fact it was as though someone had turned off the power. Still, it took a few moments to realise that the lurching, the battering, and the heart stopping falls into space had ceased, as had the remarkable, terrifying 'firework' display. One by one faces lifted, expressions slowly changing from fear to disbelief; from astonishment to relief, and some even displayed a degree of embarrassment. ''There.'' The voice of my neighbour broke through my own fearful awakening, ''didn't I tell you?'' Ignoring my blank expression he continued. ''It wasn't that bad was it?'' I could hardly believe it. Two hundred people had just endured what was probably the most frightening experience of their lives, and yet this man had remained totally unconcerned. Despite a distinct feeling of queasiness somewhere in my guts - where ever they where, which at the moment was pure conjecture - I managed to respond. ''I've got to hand it to you,'' I said, ''I just don't know how you managed to remain so calm, especially ....'' At this point I was saved from further grovelling when the intercom burst into life. Click. . ''Ladies and Gentlemen,'' a voice commenced, ''this is the captain speaking.'' A short pause, ''I cannot tell you where all that came from, but we seem to have survived it. The Met. Office forecast no storm - Some storm!,'' he interrupted himself, before continuing, ''and even now there is nothing on the radar to explain it.'' Another click indicated his departure, followed almost immediately by yet another, and his return. ''Please contact a member of the cabin staff if you are sick or injured; they will help you to recover.'' A final click indicated that the brief and somewhat less than helpful statement was over, but the mood amongst the passengers had changed. Some chatter was being exchanged between the seats and across the isles, muttered conversations, and even some laughter could be heard. A big smile had appeared on the face of my companion, and despite my earlier uncertainties about him I felt compelled to enquire. ''What are you smiling about?'' ''Oh' just a little private joke,'' he answered, ''but it was fun wasn't it?'' ''What was?'' ''All that.'' ''All what?'' ''The storm. The lightning. Everything.'' ''Everything?'' I was starting to have a very strange feeling about my fellow traveller. ''What do you mean about it being fun?'' ''Well,'' he whispered, ''l'll let you into a secret. When I set all this up I made a few little mistakes.'' He laughed. ''Actually there were one or two pretty big ones as well. Oh, and don't believe everything they say. It took a lot longer than six days I can tell you.'' It seemed as though he slipped that last bit in as an afterthought. I sat in disbelief at what this man was saying. Had the trauma of recent events unhinged him after all, or was he a complete nutter. ''I don't understand you at all.'' I uttered, though I was thinking, 'do I want to'. But, despite my slight irritation I persisted, ''What is it you are telling me. What was it that you set up?" ''Everything." ''Oh', don't start that again,'' I said a little angrily, "and what was this big mistake?'' He turned his head to take a good look at me. I did likewise and could not help noticing a curious look on his face. He seemed to weighing me up, assessing the pros and cons before saying, ''No, I don't think you will understand.'' ''Try me.'' There was a long pause during which he seemed to have changed his mind. ''OK; it's to do with volcanoes and cyclones and lightning, you know. Things like that.'' ''Yes.'' I answered, ''carry on.'' ''Well you see, all those things should have been contained, but I confess I misjudged their strengths. They sort of got out of control.'' ''Got out of control. What are you talking about?'' ''There you see. I didn't think you would understand.'' ''I understand about those things perfectly.'' Now I really was beginning to get angry, and more than a little concerned. ''What I don't understand is you. Who are you what on earth are you talking about?" ''Yes of course. My fault; I didn't introduce myself. Very remiss of me I'm sure.'' ''Oh come on man.'' I almost shouted. ''I'm God, don't you see.'' He leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner and whispered, ''I thought you might have guessed.'' Now I knew I was in trouble. Following all the recent upset which had caused quite a lot of damage within the cabin, both to passengers, and to anything not screwed down, I just supposed he must have flipped. All the stewards and stewardesses were very busy, and it was a long time before I managed to grab hold of one. Literally so for it had quickly became apparent that trying to catch one's eye would not work. ''Miss, Miss, please stop.'' I said as I caught one by the arm as she rushed past. The look she gave me was not encouraging but I persevered, and at least she did stop. "What is it Mr Willson?'' she asked. ''Are you hurt?'' ''No,'' I answered, ''but I would like to see the captain.'' ''I'm sorry but he's far to busy, I'm sure you will understand. You must let me go Mr Willson; some people are hurt. ''It's very important.'' I persisted. ''It's been a shock for everyone Mr Willson, but you must let go or I will have to call for help. Mr Willson, please.'' ''I'm sorry, please forgive me.'' I let go of the young lady's arm feeling defeated and somewhat alarmed. Quite clearly my fellow passenger was deranged, and possibly dangerous, and it was also clear that no-one was going to come to my aid. I saw it in a flash. I was going to have to shoulder the responsibility for the safety of everyone on board. This man was clearly suffering from some strange delusion and had, by means foul or fair, become situated firmly into my care. I must humour him. ''So.'' I said to my travelling companion after what seemed like an eternity. ''So you think you are God.'' ''Oh come Mr Willson, I am God.'' Then smiled. ''I heard the young lady speak your name, I hope you don' mind? Or perhaps you would prefer me to call you by your first name. What is your first name Mr Willson?'' ''Bernard.'' I said, ''But if you are God you will have known that.'' ''True, but still; Bernard; it' a nice name.'' ''I guess so; I'm used to it after all these years. What's your's by the way?'' ''Oh' nice try Bernard, but I told you. I'm God... Just God will do.'' Now I don't know what it was, but somehow the whole atmosphere had changed. The plane was flying quite normally again; a further captains announcement had assured the passengers that there had been no exterior damage to the aircraft; that we were back at the prescribed flying height, and that we were only ten minutes behind schedule. "Should be landing in about one hour," he had concluded. Not only that, but all the earlier signs of panic had disappeared; people were once again doing what people do on long flights, and screams had long given way to gentle conversation. Now one could hear the turning of pages, the clinking of drinks glasses, an occasional yawn, and here and there a little laughter. Having accepted my new role as saviour of flight 1139 Heathrow to Kennedy, I decided that I too needed to relax. Sure we'd had a scare, but that was over and done with. Now I had work to do. ''OK God,'' I said firmly, knowing that I must get a grip on the situation, ''here's the deal. You tell me what this is all about, and I won't send for the storm troopers.'' ''Very good Bernard. Good joke.'' ''Yes, well, it was accidental," I smiled, realising my unintended humour, "but it was pretty good wasn't it?'' Best to get him into a good mood I thought, and my unplanned pun seemed to have tickled him. To be truthful it had tickled me too. ''So come on God, what gives?'' I asked. ''It's simple really. I didn't think those fearsome forces like eruptions, earthquakes and hurricanes, would get out of control like they did. When I made Heaven and Earth I wanted them to be nice places. Well I got it about right with Heaven; no complaints there, but come on, even you can see that earth is not all it's cracked up to be.'' ''I don't know; I've not seen anywhere better.'' There was a distinct chuckle. ''I think you're teasing me Bernard, but I'll tell you. There are lots of other places scattered around the universe, even a few not many light years from Earth, but I've left it up to your lot to find out where they are, and how to get there.'' ''And do they not share the problems of Earth?'' I asked. ''No. I did Earth first, and very useful it was too, so after a million or so of your years I thought I would have another go. Because of Earth I could see where improvements needed to be made, a few tweaks here and there, and sure enough the next one came out much better.'' '' So how many are there now?'' I asked. Curiously I was beginning to be interested, and even - would you believe - starting to believe. ''Oh, quite a lot now. I do a new planet about every ten million years. Now I think I've got it about right, the latest ones are...'' He did not finish the sentence, but merely placed his forefinger and thumb in an O formation to his pursed lips as a gesture of contentment. ''Now I am going round again, trying to fix a few of my early mistakes.'' ''And how can flying in a jet airliner help you to fix the problems on Earth?'' I asked. ''Well, I can' fix things until I know what needs fixing. Got to try everything first.'' ''Won't that take an awful lot of time?'' ''Ah, time.'' he paused, ''Let me try to explain. You see time for me is not what it is for you. When I mentioned ten million years a moment ago that was for your benefit really. Something for you to get to grips with.'' ''Thanks!'' I said without further comment.'' ''You see, time has no beginning and no end. That idea takes a bit of grasping I know, but one day you'll understand.'' ''Sooner than you think if you pull any more stunts like today.'' I laughed. Yes, I actually laughed. I had started to enjoy the encounter with er OK, OK; let' call him God. He laughed too, enjoying himself as well. But something had changed, almost imperceptibly but I could feel it. Now I could not help the feeling that he was humouring me. ''Right.'' I said. ''Let's put the technical stuff to one side. How about the devil. And how about all those other religions? Why do you allow all those others to worship their gods instead of you.'' God turned in his chair so that his whole body faced me, looking directly at me. His thick, almost white, loosely but immaculately coutured hair which was matched by a similarly styled beard and moustache, seemed to suggest an old man. And yet behind the hair there was something else. Something in the smile or the frown that could still be detected. And there was something in the eyes. Was it the face of a younger man, or perhaps an ageless man. There certainly was something about him, a presence, and a stare that was so intense; a stare not to be denied. What puzzled me was why I had not noticed him before the storm; indeed this was the first time I had taken a real good look at him, and I had to admit that he was a bit special. Now, looking at me eyeball to eyeball he spoke. ''What religion do you follow Bernhard?'' He asked the question directly, maintaining his gaze. ''Which God to you worship?'' ''I guess you got me there.'' I conceded, ''Not so good in that department, but I suppose you'd have to put me down as a Christian.'' ''And why do you feel that you have a greater claim on me than the others?'' he asked. ''It' hard to say I guess it is just the way I was brought up.'' ''But since the beginning all people were brought up the same. To believe in who they perceived to be their God.'' ''Well yes, I guess they were, but what about....''I could not quite find the words to finish that particular argument, and in a moment God spoke again. ''And why do you feel that I am your god before all those others who worship in a different way?'' He waited a moment, but before I could speak he said, ''could it not be that I'm the God of all religions?'' ''You got me again.'' I said, realizing that I was somewhat out of my depth, and I was looking for a way to change the direction of the discussion. ''So what about the Devil?'' I asked, feeling inspired. ''Oh yes, the Devil. Now he' an interesting character. Keeps popping up everywhere down there.'' ''Down there?'' ''Yes, down there on earth. But up, down, these are terms I don't normally use. They don't have much meaning to me, but I use them to help you to understand.'' ''Well thanks, but what do you mean?'' ''The Devil you see is man's invention. Nothing to do with me at all, and that's for sure.'' ''Who then?'' ''You; everyone. The human race. You seem to need to match good with bad; seems you can't deal with perfection. ''He gave me a knowing wink. ''So you made him up.'' ''But if you made us, how could we make him?'' ''Yes I know; and in a way this time you've got me. You were perfect when I started with Adam and Eve, but you've gone down steadily since then. I must say that you've been a disappointment.'' ''Ah, but you introduced temptation. What about the apple?'' I must have sounded triumphant, but it was not the killer blow I had thought it to be. God sighed. ''Another of man's inventions. Oh yes, they were part of my first creation, but they never understood. There were apples everywhere, they could have had their pick, could have eaten them till they were sick. All I asked was that they saved that one apple tree for me." ''But they didn't did they?'' I dared to venture. ''No; but I know they were not to blame. That was the devil's doing. It was one of my mistakes. I admit allowing him to evolve; one of the things I changed in my later creations. After Earth he was reduced to less that a tweak.'' ''So it sounds like he was here before you, and now we're stuck with him.'' ''Not quite. After I created heaven and Earth I took a long time deciding on my next move, and somehow he got in before Adam and Eve.'' ''Hang on.'' I stopped him. ''First you say that the Devil is of our making, and now you say he was here on Earth before Adam and Eve. Even I can see that doesn't add up.'' ''I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it' true. It's that time thing again; no beginning and no end; remember?'' ''Oh that's too much for me; but are you saying that he's here for good?'' ''Not any more he isn't. He is one of the things I came to Earth to deal with.'' ''Quite a task old buddy.'' I said to God, and I noticed him raise his eyebrows. Perhaps I was becoming a bit blas. ''I mean,'' I continued, trying to make my point, ''he's been around for a long time. Don't you think he will be well dug in by now?'' ''I know it will be a challenge, but if I am to bring Earth back to my liking, it has to be done. ''Wow there.'' I sat up in my seat. ''what about 'to our liking'? After all this time we need to have a say in this, don' you think?'' ''You think so?'' his eyes twinkled. ''Sure do.'' ''We should talk then.'' he said, and then I saw the start of a smile. ''Anytime. You got any more bright ideas?'' I asked ''It' a long list, how long have you got?'' he replied. ''You're God. You tell me.'' ''Touch my friend, touch.'' He chuckled again. ''But that would be telling.'' Click. ''Ladies and gentlemen. We will be landing at Kennedy airport in five minutes. Please fasten your safety belts.'' The captains announcement had taken me by surprise, the last hour had gone so quickly. I turned to God and shrugged my shoulders. ''Now what do we do?'' ''Oh, I think we will talk again.'' ''But when?'' I asked. ''Oh, sometime. Remember, no beginning and no end.'' ''Not for you maybe, but there sure as hell is for me.'' ''Ah, so you're sure about hell then?'' This time it was his joke, causing a twinkle was in his eyes. By now the plane had stopped and all the passengers were on the move. ''Let's leave that until the next time.'' I smiled as I moved forward. A raised hand signalled agreement. Though he was now two or three people behind me I distinctly saw his nodding acquiescence. When I found myself on terra firma, glad once more to be on home turf, I could not help but briefly remember that part of the journey that seemed to be signalling the end of my time on Earth. Then I turned to wish 'au revoir' to my travelling partner who, only a moment before, had been just those few people behind me. I was surprised therefore not to be able to see him. Where could he have gone? I waited until I was the only passenger left by the plane but of him there was no sign. He had it seems, simply vanished. Shortly after that the cabin crew and stewardess' emerged including the one whose arm I had grabbed. ''Mr Willson!'' she said when I stopped her. ''Are you feeling alright now?'' She must have noticed the surprised look on my face. ''You seemed to be having rather a bad time back then; you hurt me when you grabbed my arm.'' ''I'm so sorry, please forgive me. I didn't mean to hurt you, but I was so worried about the man sitting next to me.'' Now it was her turn to appear puzzled. ''Yes, there was someone next to you, but I can't quite remember him. What did he look like?'' I could hardly believe her. "He was the most outstanding and distinctive person on board. I can't believe that you can't remember him." I replied. Her puzzlement turned into astonishment. ''Yes, I remember thinking what a distinctive looking person he was." she exclaimed. ''How is it I can't I remember what he looked like? ''I remember him perfectly; how come you can't?'' I almost shouted in exasperation. ''Sorry Mr Willson.'' she said, though I must say she didn't act sorry. ''It was a difficult flight remember, and some passengers were having a really bad time. ''She gave me a knowing look. ''I do remember that he was the calmest person on board.'' ''But where is he he never got off the plane?'' ''He must have got off before you Mr Willson. It's easy done and now you should go home. It's been a tiring flight for everyone; time for a hot bath and a good night's sleep. You'll be OK. in the morning and I hope you'll be flying with us again before too long.'' With that I was dismissed, a possible missing person also as she walked away chatting and laughing with a colleague. I stood motionless for a few minutes thinking about that unique man, and wondering if I should demand to see the passenger list; but something held me back. What it was I am not sure. For starters I didn't know his name, and I could hardly as if God had been on board. But perhaps it was a curious feeling, which quickly became a certainty that he would not be there, under any name. I never saw him again, my travelling companion, but I still ask myself if I ever will. Maybe on a plane or a train, or striding up the valley in my walking boots on and a pack on my back. I don't know how or when but I have the darndest feeling that one day; yes, one day I will.
Archived comments for Travelling Companion
Rab on 16-12-2013
Travelling Companion
An interesting take on the God angle, and a good read. I was half expecting Brenard to be knocked down by a taxi in the airport so that he could continue his conversation!

A few typos in there, mostly a missing s after an apostrophe

Author's Reply:
Thanks Rob for your response; glad you enjoyed the story.
I like your 'taxi' suggestion. Part 2 maybe.
I wrote this story on my IPad before transfering it (dropbox) to the laptop for final editing. At this point I discovered all the letters following an apostrophe were missing. I thought I had got them all but it seems I missed some. Thanks for pointing it out - I'll see to it now!
Best wihes,
Michael

Weefatfella on 17-12-2013
Travelling Companion
 photo 9ad6ff1f-0d9b-467e-b5d6-2d3f72a688a0_zps705a5781.jpg
Aye, A nice tales of the unexpected here Michael.
Took me back to then, I could hear the music playing.
You dealt with the idea very well indeed.
I enjoyed the read, In spite of the typos.
Thank you very much for sharing.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Paul, a nod in my direction from you is always welcome.
I've discovered BTW that the typos were caused by the turbulance; not my fault at all!
Cheers, Michael

bo_duke99 on 18-12-2013
Travelling Companion
a nice exploration, with real impetus - Greg

Author's Reply:
Hi Greg
Thanks for reading and for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the story.
Michael


Meeting JoAnne (posted on: 09-12-13)
Meeting someone from one's past might bring back some happy memories, or some unexpected surprises. Categorised as fiction, admittedly taking advantage of artistic licence, this story is based on a true event.

Meeting JoAnna ''Hello Michael.'' I heard the voice despite my being in a semi dream-like state. ''It is Michael isn't it?'' I emerged from my little day dream to find that I was being addressed by a very attractive young lady. 'Young' of course is a relative term, and it depends for it's validity on your starting point. This lady was perhaps fifty-ish, so from my point of view she was young. I sat upright on the bench where I had taken refuge, plastic shopping bags at my feet, while my wife continued to shop in the market. Like most men, shopping comes low on my scale of priorities, and with advancing years the chance to sit awhile was seldom overlooked. ''I bet you don't remember me.'' she said with a smile; a smile so wide that it seemed to have entered her voice. She was standing in front of me, hands on hips, as she leaned slightly towards me. It was a pose perhaps more appropriate to a younger woman, and yet at the same time, it was one that said 'this is me - what you see is what you get'. I took a good look. Without doubt this was a good looking, though perhaps not in the beauty queen tradition. She was slim and very well dressed in slacks and sweater under a three quarter length leather coat. Her matching bag and shoes added a degree of elegance which was 'topped' with a full head of beautiful dark brown hair. "Do you remember me?" she had asked. Fully awake now I hesitated. ''I'm afraid I don't,'' I finally answered, though somewhat reluctantly. "But I must admit that there is just something familiar about you - but it seems very hazy...is it a long time ago?'' ''Do you remember that food company?'' she asked, quietly now as she sat down beside me, almost graceful in her movements but strangely positive, ''and you had to train me?'' That really took me back. It had been my first job 'on the road', half a lifetime ago selling from a van direct to the shops; mostly tea and coffee but other things too, and after five years or so I was considered to be experienced enough to undertake the training of newcomers. I looked again at this lady, trying now to get a 'fix' on those days so long ago. ''I don't ever remember training a girl.'' I said at last, convinced that she had made a mistake. She laughed at that, quite a strong laugh, even a little course for one so poised. "I'm JoAnne now, but in those days I was John.'' She turned toward me and my curiosity obliged me to do the same so that we were facing each other. ''Well I'm blessed.'' I said, remembering the shy young man who for a few months, all those years before, had been in my care. ''Well ...'' I said again, seeing her now with new eyes, and gesturing towards her in a vague sort of way, ''How did all this come about?'' ''I always knew that I didn't fit, and most other people knew as well.'' She was silent for a moment. ''Some people were very unkind, and life wasn't always nice for me. They used to laugh at me and make jokes, unkind jokes. But I remember you,'' she was looking straight at me now - ''you never laughed at me.'' Then, almost without a pause she carried on. ''It was my mother you know, the silly old sod,'' I was a little shocked at her 'insult' but it was said with a smile, and softened by clear affection in her voice; ''she said if I worked with a lot of men, it would straighten me out.'' She laughed that laugh again. Now that I knew a little more about 'JoAnne' it didn't seem as 'out of place' as before. ''She was right in a way, but not in the way she expected;'' she continued, and then paused again. ''It made me realize that if I was going to survive I had to make some drastic changes - that's when I decided to leave.'' Yes of course! I remembered now, how puzzled we had all been at the depot when 'John' didn't turn up one day, and we never saw him again. Even more puzzling, I was starting to remember more clearly, was that we never heard from him or of him from that day on. He had simply disappeared from our lives. ''How did you do it?'' I asked ''Oh' it was easy,'' she smiled, and even though I now knew different, it was a feminine smile, ''I went round all the second hand shops and bought lots of women's clothes, changed my name to Joan, and said goodbye to John.'' ''Joan?'' I enquired ''Yes it was Joan at first, but then I thought Joan was a bit old fashioned so I became JoAnne ... I got a job in a shop and I never looked back'' ''And now?'' The question remained unfinished, but JoAnne seemed to understand. ''I am happy with my life, even though I'm on my own.'' ''Your mother...is she still...?'' somehow I could not finish the question. She laughed again, only this time it was more like a chuckle. ''She never understood, the silly old bat,'' - once more the affectionate insult - ''but she never stopped loving me, and she didn't turn me out. But just the same, I thought it best to get my own place.'' ''Is she well?'' I asked the question again. JoAnne was quick to answer. ''Yes, and still annoying me...she's in a sheltered place you know...I see her most days...pushing ninety now.'' ''Did you...err?'' I stumbled on my words concerned that I may be asking one question too far, ''did you need...what about...the operation?'' No sooner were the words out of my mouth I wished that I had not asked, but she didn't seem to mind. That laugh again, this time louder than before and nothing like the shy young man I had known. ''Oh' I couldn't be bothered with all that; I'm still intact. Underneath all this lot I'm just the same as I ever was.'' She gestured at her female attire and then the tone of her voice changed slightly. ''Except that now I'm happy.'' ''What made you stop and talk to me today?'' I asked, wanting to change the subject, and also remembering my surprise that she had picked me out. ''I'm not sure.'' she answered ''I saw you sitting there and I knew straight away who you were, and I remembered that you were one of the few who treated me with some dignity.'' She stood up, preparing to go. ''I suppose I just wanted to say 'thank you'.'' and as she said those words, she leant across and gave me a little kiss on the cheek. She presented me with one more smile, and then a little wave of the hand, turned, and walked away, soon lost amongst the other shoppers. I had just been kissed by a man, and I sat for a moment or two thinking about it, uncertain and a little bemused, before I eventually allowed myself a contented smile. Nothing more than a spontaneous gesture of gratitude, I told myself; albeit slightly overdue. Anyway, I mused, who would know; and after all, she was a good looking lass. ''I think I can live with that.'' were my final thought on the matter, as I settled back again to guard the plastic bags, pleased at the encounter but wondering if I would ever see 'her' again.
Archived comments for Meeting JoAnne
Mikeverdi on 09-12-2013
Meeting JoAnne
I enjoyed the read, it was a different plot line than normal (no pun intended) I would have liked to see breaks in between the story as its easier to read, but that's just me I expect.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike.
Breaks eh! The difficulty is trying to find just the right place fot them. But nothing daunted, for you I have included a couple. See what you think.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Michael

Mikeverdi on 09-12-2013
Meeting JoAnne
I think its better Michael, I like breaks between the dialog; or my eyes go out of focus and my brain stops working. 🙂

Mike

Author's Reply:
My brain stopped working ages ago. Don't know how long I can keep going on auto pilot!
But I will remember this in future.
Cheers, Michael

ValDohren on 10-12-2013
Meeting JoAnne
Your brain seems to be working pretty well to me Michael, good story, interesting read. Kept me to the end anyway, enjoyed it. As for being kissed by a shim, well anything goes these days, and its better than not being kissed at all.
Val 🙂

Author's Reply:
Hi val, thanks for your comment. A shim? That's a new one for me! Do I need to get out more I ask myself. I looked back at my piece thinking I had made a silly mistake - and then the penny dropped - a she him.
I'm pleased you enjoyed my story and it really did happen (at least some of it.)
Best wishes, Michael

bo_duke99 on 11-12-2013
Meeting JoAnne
a most thought provoking encounter no doubt, gently laid out

Author's Reply:
Hi bo_duke99
Thank you for reading, and your comments.
Gently laid out! Was that me on the bench before or after the encounter? 🙂
Best wishes, Michael


One Of Those Things (posted on: 02-12-13)
A short story of a young man's first expearience of love.

One Of Those Things * John was not given to coarse language, but the words in his thoughts did not match those that came from his mouth. ''Sod it!'' he muttered, as the lift juddered to a halt, it's top half just above the sixth floor. He was alone so there was no-one to bear witness to his rare, if mild, expletive. ''Dam and blast.'' he cursed, this time a little louder ''if I'm not f . . . . . g blessed.'' But just the same, he couldn't quite say the word.. He looked around for an emergency button, or some means of communication, and there at the bottom of the panel he found it. 'Press in case of emergency' it said. He pressed it, and was surprised to hear the sound of music disappear. Surprised, because until it stopped he hadn't much noticed it, but somehow he felt that it had been familiar ''Can I help you?'' a voice enquired, slightly squeaky, but not entirely unpleasant, bringing him back to the business at hand. John couldn't tell where the new voice came from, but he knew at once that it was not from the same source as the music, which now eluded him. ''Yes - the lift has stopped'' ''Alright'' said the voice apparently unworried, ''Don't go away; we'll get someone to help you.'' John could not detect much from the voice, other than that it was female. There didn't seem to be any emotion; no concern or sense of urgency. Even less a sense of humour, and yet, had she not just made a joke? He waited quite a while in silence expecting some further communication from the voice; perhaps some indication of how long he might expect to wait before he was released. There was none. Looking at his wristwatch didn't help either, as he hadn't noticed the time when he stepped into the lift and therefore didn't know exactly how long he had been its prisoner. Two minutes later (which seemed like half an hour) he looked again. On that basis he guessed he had been stuck about twenty minutes, and apart from that brief exchange he had heard nothing from the outside world. Cautiously he pressed the emergency button again. He couldn't help wondering if anyone else thought that his plight was an emergency. ''Can I help you?'' the voice enquired. Exactly as before, and with no apparent recognition. ''It's me again'' John said, a little tetchily, but not wanting to sound too annoyed. After all, he reasoned, she could keep me here for a long time. ''Who is me?'' the voice asked, but with no more - or no less - engagement than before. ''You know - the man in the lift'' ''You still there then?'' ''Of course I am; the lift is stuck; remember?'' Unexpectedly; indeed remarkably for him, he spoke with a degree of anger. ''Will you please send someone to get me out?'' That modest but positive change in his manner seemed to have had some effect, for the voice responded, for the first time, with something like concern. ''Sorry,'' it said, ''I didn't realize you were still there.'' John resisted the urge to swear. He usually did. ''Just get me out please. Oh, and while I'm waiting, can I have the music back on?'' ''You sure?'' ''Yes please.'' There was no further response, but a sound somewhere; something less than a click but quite discernible, was followed by the same music he had subconsciously heard when he entered the lift. . . . . . when we started painting the town, we'd have been ware that our love affair was too hot not to cool down. So goodbye dear and . . . . John's thoughts took over as the song continued.. Funny thing really, for he was on his way to say goodbye, but he didn't think it would be as easy as Frank Sinatra was suggesting. He had met Susannah a couple of months before at a disco after being persuaded by two of his mates to go. ''It'll be a waste of time;'' he protested ''you know I'll spend the night drinking at the bar while you are dancing; and at twice the price. I'll be better off down at the Queens.'' They wouldn't listen though, and at first he was right in his prediction; he was, as he expected, alone at the bar. Until that is, this vision stood in front of him. ''You John?'' she enquired. ''Yes.'' ''Your mates Terry and . . . can't remember the others name . . . sent me to get you.'' she held out her hand ''Come on.'' ''But I can't dance.'' ''Course you can. Everyone can; even if you only wiggle your bum.'' She laughed at that, and John laughed too. A little nervously it's true, but he allowed himself to be led onto the dance floor. It was just one of those things; just one of those crazy things; one of those bells that now and then rings; just one of those things . . . . A small lurch had brought John out of his thoughts just in time to hear Frank start the song again. ''Is it Frank Sinatra?'' he wondered. If not he was a good imitator. He could hear the faint but reassuring noises of someone in the lift shaft. Help was on the way, but Frank, unaware of the drama in that vertical tunnel continued to croon, while John remembered again that first night with Susannah. ''Susannah'' John said the name out loud, confident that no-one could hear. He had never been in love before, and he wasn't sure quite what to make of it. But Susannah knew what to make of it, and soon made it clear that she fancied this tall well built young man. Just how much she liked him, he was to find out that very night. Brushing aside any protests of incompetence on the dance floor she soon had him moving and swaying. Not too close at first, but close enough for John to feel her aura, and to be aware of some envious glances from some of the other lads. Some were acting out John's usual role as wallflower, while others, more experienced maybe, looked over the shoulders of their partners, aware that tonight John had a better chance than they of hitting the jackpot. Oblivious of his good fortune John did his best to look good on the dance floor, and somewhat to his surprise found that, far from being like a fish out of water, he was managing quite well. He was an athletic young man and he had, hidden from view until now, a natural sense of rhythm. Lucky for him, for at one point, with no apparent warning she launched herself at him. He caught her chest to chest, and twisting perfectly to her momentum grasped her arm and launched her into spin, and, as if it were choreographed, she returned into his arms. She was in ecstasy at the move thinking that she had found a new champion. John however was in a state of near shock, for not only had that manoeuvre been an incredible piece of good fortune, he now had in his arms the most gorgeous girl in the hall, whose lips were just inches from his. Even more incredibly, she was making no attempt to move away. ''Have you been holding out on me?'' Susannah asked, the tip of her nose now brushing his. ''What do you mean?'' he asked breathlessly, partly from the exertion, but more because he could feel her body pressed against his. He could feel her breasts against his chest, while lower down her hips were pressed firmly against his, slowly moving right and left, making no concessions to his growing sense of excitement. ''You said you couldn't dance.'' She moved a little, until their lips lightly touched. ''Well maybe a bit.'' he replied, and in doing so allowed her mouth to close on his, and he felt the tip of her tongue as it searched for a mate. His heart was pounding, and the drumming in his head was louder than that from the stage. He didn't know what to do, but neither did he want it to stop. He had always been a bit shy with girls, but he wasn't that daft to realise that tonight could be the night that dreams are made of. That was when his knees buckled. ''You alright?'' Susannah was asking, her passion changing to compassion, as John started to wilt before her. ''I think I could use some air.'' ''Good idea.'' As they left the dance hall John didn't hear the calls or see the gestures from his friends. They were not aware of how John was feeling, seeing only that at last the only virgin in their trio was about to get a crash course in love. Neither would have bet against, that come tomorrow, their friend the boy, would not be their friend the man. So began their love affair. At least John thought it was love. The girls he had met before had usually been as shy as he, so progress - if any - was always slow; and never conclusive. There had been a few occasions when explorations had exceeded expectations, but always one or the other had developed cold feet instead of warm hands and the encounter would come to an embarrassing end. But not this time. Susannah fancied John because he was a big man. Big and strong and fit; just as she liked them. And when his friends had told her that he was as yet in 'pristine' condition, she had been unable to resist the challenge. But it was no contest; John was swept away - starting that very night behind the dance hall - on a magic carpet of love. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn, added to her experience and knowledge in the ways of the world, took them at breakneck speed to the very heights of ecstasy, to the summit of Everest, to the moon and the stars. It was just one of those nights, just one of those fabulous flights, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings . . . . Another sound had brought John back to reality. The sound of someone banging on the lift door. ''You alright in there?'' someone was calling, ''won't be long now.'' and, he realised, Frank was still singing. ''Some trip.'' . . . just one of those things . . . John mouthed the words almost silently as he tried to remember the blur of the last couple of months, but the music was starting to get on his nerves again. Once more he pressed the emergency button. ''Can I help you?'' the now familiar and slightly softer voice said. ''It's me again,'' John answered rather pointlessly ''can you do anything about the music?'' ''Oh, don't you like it ... It's one of my favourites.'' ''Yes, the songs' alright, it's just that it is playing over and over. Isn't there something else?'' ''Sorry about that. It's a continuous loop, and most people aren't in the lift long enough to hear it more than once. But we do change it every day.'' ''Well that's alright then, at least I have something to look forward to.'' It wasn't intended to be funny, but the remark made her laugh. ''Silly; I didn't mean that . . . shall I put something else on?'' Before he could answer there was a sound like a rusty gate being opened for the first time in a hundred years, as the lift door was prized open two inches. John moved forward where he found, somewhat to his surprise, that he was roughly eyeball to eyeball with the lift engineer, who was lying on the floor. ''Shouldn't be long now.'' the eyeball said. John could not help the feeling of relief, but as reality returned he heard another sound. Lots and lots of people, and through the gap a blur of legs and shoes. He looked at his watch. Five Thirty Three. ''Sod it.'' he said again, knowing that he had missed her. Susannah worked in an office on the ninth floor. He had intended to meet her and to finish the affair, but he knew that she would be gone before he was released. Ah' well; that would have to wait. As the sound of walking feet and other lifts continued, he suddenly felt rather lonely. The music had stopped. He pressed the red button again. ''Hello.'' said the voice from behind the panel, and for the first time detected some warmth ''I hear they will soon have you out, are you OK? . . . would you like a cup of tea?'' ''Yes please, and can you put the music back on. I'll put up with Frank Sinatra.'' Almost at once the voice of old Blue-eyes was filling the small space which had been John's prison for the last hour or so. If we'd thought a bit, bout the end of it when we started painting the town; we'd have been aware that our love affair was too hot not to cool down . . . . John remembered the feeling of dismay when he discovered that when it came to her affections, Susannah was very generous, happy to share them with more than one man at a time. Worse was the discovery that however she might describe her relationship with John, it wasn't love. He had to admit that she had never claimed it to be so. It just never occurred to him that this, the biggest love of his life, was not hers too. ''But my; was it hot?'' He smiled as he mentally repeated the words he had just heard. 'I guess it had to cool down', he mimicked. So goodbye dear and amen, here's hoping we meet now and then; it was great fun, but it was just one of those . . . . Just as those words filled the space the lift door creaked noisily open a couple of feet, and he could see two pairs of feet; one in heavy boots, while the others were lightly clad and feminine. ''Do you think you can scramble out of there?'' said the boots ''give me your hands and I'll try to pull you.'' But before he could make a move something else came into his view. A beaker. And though he could not see its contents at eye level, he could see the steam. Then a face appeared; a pretty face ''Hello,'' it said, ''can I help you?'' but this time the voice came with a lovely smile. Five minutes later, refreshed and free, John was able to take stock of the situation. All the office staff had gone, so he had missed the chance to see Susannah to put things straight. No matter; some other time would do; and anyway, it didn't seem to matter any more. Jennifer seemed like a nice girl; 'everyone calls me Jenny' she had told him. She had stayed on past her time, and then had agreed to go with him to a pub nearby to celebrate his great escape. He could tell she was shy like the others, but somehow he felt that he could cope with that now. They left the lift in the capable hands of the engineer, and as they walked away they heard once again the opening line of that song . . . It was just one of those things, just one of tho. . . . then they turned a corner and it was gone. As he took hold of Jenny's hand John thought briefly once more of Susannah. 'Sure it will be nice to see her again sometime, but I guess I can live with it if I don't. *Important Footnote. Few people will fail to recognise the words of the wonderful 1935 Cole Porter song 'Just One Of The Things' from which I have borrowed throughout this story. Those words are his, now and forever, and there is no intention on my part to claim any credit for them.
Archived comments for One Of Those Things
bo_duke99 on 02-12-2013
One Of Those Things
a clever interweaving of the lyrics to spark his thoughts, enjoyed my time with him - Greg

Author's Reply:
Hello Greg, and thank you for taking the time to read and sending your comments. Glad you enjoyed the story, it was one that I really enjoyed writing.

Best regards,
Michael

Rab on 04-12-2013
One Of Those Things
Nice interplay of song and story, and I wonder how they got on in the pub and after...

Author's Reply:
Thank you Rab for your comment. As for what happened next; that will depend on finding some appropriate song lyrics. (Watch this space)
Regards, Michael

Weefatfella on 05-12-2013
One Of Those Things
 photo 9ad6ff1f-0d9b-467e-b5d6-2d3f72a688a0_zps705a5781.jpg

Excellently done I liked the use of the song lyrics here Michael. A great idea and a great read. Well worthy of the nib congrats.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Paul for your generous comments. Glad you liked the story.
Best regards, Michael.


They All Said (posted on: 02-12-13)
A short poem about love, and loss, and what might have been. First published on UKA nearly ten years ago

They All Said
They all said that love means never having to say you're sorry. So I never did! They all said that whatever I did she'd understand. So I did what I liked! They all said when she left in such a hurry, ''Don't worry she'll soon return.'' So I didn't worry! They all said ''She'll come back just you wait and see.'' So I waited! They all said ''Take my word, you're better off without her.'' So I took their word! They all said ''You'll soon forget her.'' But I never will! They all said ''You'll soon find another.'' But I never did!

Archived comments for They All Said
Mikeverdi on 02-12-2013
They All Said
Good stuff young Kipper, I don't normally like repetition , but I like this one. For me the first two lines is enough in itself...so true, and far too often.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike, and for the 'young Kipper' bit.
Glad you enjoyed the poem even with its repetition, something I accept needs to be used with care.
Best regards
Young Kipper

Bozzz on 02-12-2013
They All Said
Truth is that however unfortunate was your partner selection ability, your friend selection was worse. Great piece though..much enjoyed the read..David

Author's Reply:
Hi David
Glad you enjoyed; that's what we all hope for. Your comments are very perceptive, but just in case you wondered this little piece is not autobiographical. My wife and I have been together for nearly fifty five years.
Thanks for your kind words,
Michael

bo_duke99 on 02-12-2013
They All Said
shows what they know! really enjoyed and appreciated this piece - Greg

Author's Reply:
Thanks Greg for commenting. I'm pleased you enjoyed this poem. Fairly short but it seems to work.
As you say or hinted, other people don't always know what's best.
Best regards, Michael

Buschell on 03-12-2013
They All Said
Mike, you can't beat a bit of peer pressure and crap advice. So you wrote this as a spritely seventy something. Those were the days ay? Nice one fella, Darren.

Author's Reply:
Spiritedly eh! Not so spiritedly these days I'm afraid.
Thanks for commenting on my little effort. I suppose if anything it is saying, "believe in yourself", but it is not always easy to ignore those who whisper in your ear.
Best regards, Michael.

Ionicus on 04-12-2013
They All Said
Michael, it is a very realistic piece and can apply to a lot of fellows. I am relieved to hear that it is not autobiographical. I too, with a lot of my work, rely on imagination yet people assume that the writing is of a personal nature and make comments such as: "Bad luck." or "Poor you".

Kind regards, Luigi

Author's Reply:
Thanks Luigi for reading and commenting.
I have heard it said that there is a bit of 'us' in everything we write. But not this time, except perhaps that I am inclined to believe what people tell me, so maybe I am in there somewhere.
Perhaps you should write about that time you won big on the lottery, then there will be fewer "Poor you's".
(I'm assuming that you didn't win big on the lottery!)
Best regards, Michael


pommer on 04-12-2013
They All Said
I really enjoyed this Michael.I originally thought like Bozzz,but the I read your reply to his observations. I am so glad your write up was not autobiographical.I have my self been married for 65 years now. Hope you and your wife will get to that stage as well.A good read.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Pommer for your comments; I'm pleased you enjoyed the poem.
Congrats too that you and wife have clocked up 65 years. That's a great achievement and I hope there are many more to come.
Very best Michael.

MrMarmite on 05-12-2013
They All Said
Really enjoyed this it would look good on cards you see in bookshops.When I was a teenager and upset over splitting with a girl my mum said don't worry there's plenty more fish in the sea.And my dad said you can do better than her son.
I met her again a few years back and she was still a cracker.
In angling terms she was the one that got away !

Author's Reply:
Hi Mr Marmite
Just in case you haven't spotted it; I don't know how but somehow I managed to send my reply to you to me - twice.

Thanks for your nice comments, though I'm not sure about the cards. It's hard to imagine what event it could be celebrating.
I do think however that it might strike many a cord, as well as yours it seems.
Hope you got over it, and thanks for the 9
Best regards, Michael.

Kipper on 06-12-2013
They All Said
Thanks for your nice comments, though I'm not sure about the cards. It's hard to imagine what event it could be celebrating.
I do think however that it might strike many a cord, as well as yours it seems.
Hope you got over it, and thanks for the 9
Best regards, Michael.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 06-12-2013
They All Said
Thanks for your nice comments, though I'm not sure about the cards. It's hard to imagine what event it could be celebrating.
I do think however that it might strike many a cord, as well as yours it seems.
Hope you got over it, and thanks for the 9
Best regards, Michael.

Author's Reply:


Fancy That (posted on: 25-11-13)
A short story with a bit of fun, a touch of drama, and just a smidgin of the other. A group of girls wear their hearts on their sleaves in the Corner Cafe. Critiques and comments very welcome.

Fancy That Part One Well I don't know,'' Samantha was astonished at what her friend had told her, ''and you say he did it all by himself this time.'' ''Well that's what 'I' heard! I didn't believe it myself at first,'' Susan replied, clearing a strand of bottle blonde hair from her face, while carefully keeping the cigarette she had in her hand clear from her eyes, ''but Carol down at the Nags Head swore it was true, and she should know.'' ''Which one's Carol then, don't think I know her?'' ''You do, you know; . . . she the one with the big front,'' Susan said, holding her hands in front of her chest, palms upward, in an expansive gesture, ''a bit tarty if you ask me.'' ''Was she the one who had the kid last year, and no-one . . ?.'' ''That's her,'' said Susan interrupting her friend with the punch line ''and no-one knew who the father was.'' ''I expect she knows.'' observed Samantha. ''I wouldn't be too sure about that either.'' Susan flicked her hair again as they both dissolved into laughter. ''Do you mean . . .'' Samantha asked with a splutter, ''that she had two on the go?'' ''More like half a dozen I heard.'' Shrieking with laughter now, the pair of them doubled up. ''Ooh' don't,'' shouted Samantha ''you'll be making me wet myself.'' ''Well I am already.'' replied Susan, at which they both roared again. Susan spun round turning her back on her friend, causing her short tight skirt to ride up a little. Half a minute later and more composed, she turned back again. ''Ooh' it's awful you know, we shouldn't talk like this.'' As she spoke she tried to return her hem to its previous position, a few inches above the knee. ''I know; but half a dozen, and all at the same time.'' ''Well I don't know about that,'' Susan paused, ''at least, not 'exactly' at the same time, if you know what I mean.'' It was too much. Both of them were helpless, their laughter unrestrained, and both of them hopping about cross legged, quite oblivious of the curious looks from passers by. It took five minutes to restore composure to a controllable level, albeit with two 'false starts' when eyes inadvertently met, their owners again reduced to abandoned convulsions. Hysterical laughter gradually subsided to giggles, and finally to wet eyes which were now being attended to with an old used tissue which Samantha found in the pocket of her jeans. Normal conversation was difficult after their moments of madness; any attempt to start was immediately halted by the spluttering of barely controlled mirth, so it was a relief when Susan said she would have to go. Samantha was glad her walk to the market would not take more than a few minutes. An urgent call was required and walking would take her mind of her conversation with Susan, while at the same time applying a little pressure where it was needed. Just the same she was glad it was not too far. She found the 'Ladies' just inside the market hall and soon all was well. Inside she looked to see if any of her friends were in the Corner Caf, but it was too busy to see from the outside so she squeezed her way inside to get a better look. ''Hi Samantha.'' she heard the voice, and though she could not see its owner she knew it was Jean. ''Over here.'' Jean stood up so that her wave could be seen above the other customers. Samantha pushed her way through, squeezing where she could, 'Excuse me-ing' where she needed to, and making an altogether closer pass than was required to one young man, who responded by reaching round and smacking her on the bottom as she got through. ''I'll tell your dad when I see him.'' she said with mock anger. ''He'd have done the same as me,'' he replied, a beaming smile on his face ''and he wouldn't have let you through without a squeeze and a cuddle.'' ''Did you see that young Tommy?'' she said to Jean when she got to the table ''Cheeky young pup . . . thinks he's God's gift.'' ''Well he is a bit dishy you must admit, and I saw you pushing against him as you pretended to squeeze through - go on admit it, you do fancy him a bit.'' ''Yes I suppose he would do for a while, but he'd have to smarten up a bit.'' ''Well you can't expect him to get dressed up to work on his dad's fruit and veg, can you?'' ''No I suppose not, anyway he's a bit too young for me; he's not twenty yet, and I think I fancy his dad more than him.'' ''You watch your step with him, you know what he's like, anything with a skirt will do for him, young or old. No wonder Tommy's like he is, he's just trying to follow his old man.'' ''And from what I hear he's catching him fast.'' Samantha laughed. Something caught her eye, and she saw an arm in the air, and then another familiar face. ''Here's Irene.'' she said to Jean, and they both shuffled round a bit to make room for her. At thirty, Irene was the oldest of this little group of friends; worldly wise, and sharp. There were half a dozen girls in their clique who lived in the same locality, used the same pubs, and occasionally, the same boyfriends. They all worked in the town centre so they met up when they could. Irene snuggled in. There was not much room at this busy time of day, so they did the best they could. ''Anyone else coming today?'' she asked, pert and precise. She had a certain manner, a certain 'j n sais quoi', which made her that bit different from the others in the group, a little superior perhaps, at least in her own mind. Having been married twice gave her some kind of an edge on the others. No matter that one ex husband had divorced her, and the other went fishing one day and never came back. Even so she still acted as unofficial leader of the pack. Samantha spoke up ''I've just seen Susan, and she can't come today.'' and in spite of herself she started to laugh. The other two waited, somewhat impatiently for her to stop, and to share the joke. In a minute they were all laughing though somewhat less extravagantly than before. Somehow in the re-telling, Samantha could not rekindle the giddiness that she and Susan had shared. The sparkle was missing, that spontaneous spark that had engulfed the two young ladies. ''She started to tell me about Pete Wilkinson.'' said Samantha, trying to be serious. ''Have either of you heard - seems he's been up to his antics again?'' ''No, I haven't heard anything.'' said Jean. ''Nor me.'' said Irene, straight faced ''What did she tell you?'' ''Trouble is that somehow we got on about Carroll from the Nags', and she never finished about Pete, but I remember she said that this time he was on his own.'' ''I'm not surprised his wife couldn't put up with it.'' continued Samantha. ''It's not so bad if he's on his own, but he usually takes someone with him.'' ''Usually a woman.'' said Jean rather curtly, a surprisingly serious look on her face. ''He once asked me.'' said Irene, the corners of her mouth just giving away the smile she was trying to hide. ''I hope you didn't.'' her two friends exclaimed in unison. ''Of course not,'' she answered feigning anger, ''but I don't mind telling you that if it had been three weeks later when that useless pilo' . . . , when Jim walked out, I might have gone, just have for the hell of it.'' ''Well you never told us . . . why didn't you tell us?'' asked Jean. ''Well you know, it was all a bit frantic at the time; things were up in the air between me and Jim and you were all doing your own things - you know what I mean.'' For a few moments Irene was back to that time when her first marriage was in its death-throes, and remembering that short secret fling she had had with Peter Wilkinson. It was never serious; was never going to lead anywhere, but at a time when she needed solace, he had been the one to provide it. Quickly she cleared her mind of those memories, lest she should inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. It was her secret and she wanted it to stay that way. Jean on the other hand was having different thoughts. Angry thoughts. ''Aren't men bastards?'' she said out loud to her surprised friends; not because of what she had said, but because of how she had said it. Jean was perhaps the least outstanding one in the group. Far from being unattractive, but with low self-esteem, she felt unattractive. She was the one trailing the others when it came to aspirations; not pushy or assertive; never the leader but happy to be lead. ''What's got into you all of a sudden?'' Irene asked, surprised that Jean was looking quite upset. ''Of course men are bastards, everyone knows that, but it's the way they are made the poor lambs; it's in their nature.'' Irene was showing her advanced knowledge on the subject ''But not all of them you know; they're not all that bad.'' ''All the one I know are.'' Jean replied firmly. ''Oh dear,'' chipped in Samantha, ''what's been happening now?'' ''It's that Steve - he's done a bunk the little sod.'' Steve was six foot two, built like a prop forward, and, as both Samantha and Irene had discovered in earlier flirtations, he was certainly not little, anywhere. However, the term suited the moment. ''What's happened then?'' Samantha leaned forward, displaying some concern. ''Oh' you might know; same as usual. As soon as he'd had it away he was looking for the exit signs.'' Jean looked at her friends, and almost smiled. ''I wouldn't mind if he had made it clear at the start, that that was all he wanted. That's fair enough, if it comes to sex I can give as good as I get. But he was making promises, talking about the future, and like a bloody fool I was believing him. Then last night he told me he was off; said that six months with the same woman was as much as he could take.'' Jean looked at her friends ''Can you believe it? . . . Am I so terrible?'' She looked up again wearing a strange expression; that smile which she had managed to suppress moments ago was trying to break through again, brightening up her gloomy face. ''And do you know; he had the cheek to wait until after; you know, after,'' she give her friends a knowing look, '' didn't have the decency to tell me before he took his pants off.'' Suddenly the grin broke through, then she laughed. In a moment they were all laughing. ''P'raps 'I'll' give Tommy a try, eh?'' she said wiping her eyes; though neither of her friends could tell if they were tears of laughter or sorrow. It was another crisis met and another crisis dealt with, and soon, dry eyed again, Steve was consigned to history. ''Ooh, look at the time. Got to go girls.'' It was Irene speaking, as she gathered her bits and pieces. ''Duty calls'' Fancy That Part Two Irene was manageress of what she called her beauty salon, but in fact it was really just a shop selling a range of cheap cosmetic merchandise. No one denied that she had some style; tried to keep herself in fashion, and in fairness she did give her customers (clients, she liked to call them) lots of good advice. Consequently it was a busy little place, which not only pleased herself and her 'clients', but also her boss. It provided her with a good income, and kept her in touch with the wider world of fashion. Soon they were all outside the caf. People thronged between the market stalls, as Irene, cigarette in her mouth, waved goodbye. Jean, now unburdened, and ready in her own quiet way for life's next encounter, was preparing to take her leave, back to her job at the large department store nearby.. ''What are you going to do with yourself this afternoon?'' she asked. ''I can ring in and tell them I'm not well if you fancy going somewhere.'' ''No thanks.'' Samantha answered, though for a moment she was tempted. ''No, I'll go home and see if there's anything on the tele; there might be an old film or something.'' With that Samantha was on her own again. She liked meeting up with her friends, but always felt a bit left out when they each returned to their jobs. At the moment she was the only one of the group unemployed, thanks to government cut backs, world recession, EU regulations, and her old boss deciding to retire. He had run a little shoe repair business just outside the market building for years and years. Her mother had worked for him first, and only gave it up herself a few years earlier. Samantha had tried one or two jobs after she left school, but nothing had inspired her, so when her mother told her she'd had enough; wanted to put her feet up; they just changed places. Now he was gone, the little shop was gone, and Samantha's modest income had gone too. Of course she picked up a few pounds on the dole, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough, she knew all too well. Not only the money, but her life. At twenty three she was in a cul-de-sac. She could see no way forward, but didn't want to go back. She was in limbo, and perhaps for the first time in her life, she was just a little frightened. She looked around her as she wandered between the stalls. Everywhere there was something going on. People talking, stall-holders shouting, lads carrying, pushing, pulling, wheeling their loads. Music coming from somewhere, its sound merging from time to time with the public address announcements, so that for a few moments, neither could be heard. All around her there was colour; every colour under the sun. Fruit and veg. over here, ladies fashions there; while in front of her rolls of carpets rose high above. And always the constant sound of a thousand voices. Voices of busy people going about their business, dashing from stall to stall; people with a purpose. Suddenly Samantha felt lonely, and made for the exit. She was normally quite confident, and had never before felt disadvantaged. It had not bothered her when, at the end of her school days she had finished with very modest qualifications, and no desire for further education. Her only thought then was 'school is over, now it's time to live'. She had been pretty as a child, gorgeous as a teenager, and now she was a beautiful young woman. She had never been short of boyfriends and had learnt at a surprisingly young age what it was that the boys wanted, and more importantly that she had it. It was a discovery which she used to her advantage. If they wanted it enough they would have to play the game her way. So life had been good for her, never at anyone's beck and call, doing pretty much what, and with whom, she wanted. But somewhere things had changed. For the first time she felt that there was something was missing. Having a good time was not enough; her life was going, but she was going nowhere. What she needed was a challenge, a new direction, something unexpected. 'Who knows', the thought struck her as she neared the way out of the hall. 'Perhaps that challenge is just around the corner, maybe even standing next to me'. Fancy That Part Three ''Hello Samantha.'' a voice broke into the private world, where for a few minutes she had been hiding. ''I haven't seen you for ages; how's things?'' ''Well well well.'' Samantha answered, startled and surprised. ''Peter Wilkinson!, we've just been talking about you.'' ''Oh' yes; and I suppose you've been slagging me off; most people do.'' ''Well I wouldn't say that, but you do seem to get people talking, don't you?'' ''Aye' I know, but most of it's rubbish; people think they know me but they don't really.'' Samantha smiled at the man before her, tall, quite well built but not broad, his fair skin tanned to a light brown by sun and wind, his fair hair bleached almost to white. She knew him to be about thirty five, but he looked ten years younger. ''No need to ask how you are.'' she said ''You look great; where have you been hiding yourself?'' ''Just come back from Spain, been there all summer again; nearly live there now.'' ''Are you back home for the winter then?'' ''No, I've just come back to pick up a few things, see the folks, and then I'll be off again - there's no way you'll catch me over here in the winter.'' he added for good measure. ''I can see it's doing you no harm; but anyway, what's all this about that we've been hearing about you Pete?'' getting to the subject of her conversations with the girls, and the subject that was at the front of her mind. ''I can't imagine what you've been hearing, but I'm here to sort a few things out, find a new partner, and then I will be off.'' ''What kind of partner are you looking for?'' Samantha asked, her question hiding a feeling of envy. She couldn't help thinking, if only briefly, that a spot of sunshine would be no bad thing. ''Someone; preferably a lady; preferably a young lady.'' Pete paused and gave Samantha a quizzical look, ''who is prepared to work hard to help make my little venture successful, and if that person wants to put some money in the kitty, there'd be a nice return for her efforts as well.'' ''And what if that person has no money?'' ''Then she'll have to work that bit harder, won't she?'' He was smiling at her, and Samantha didn't know if she was being led, or having her leg pulled. ''You interested?'' he asked. ''I don't know, it's a bit 'all of a sudden', and I can't think. In any case;'' Samantha paused to get the words right, ''you haven't said what kind of a partner you are looking for.'' ''Ah' . . . so that's bothering you is it?. Let's just stop for a minute.'' he said. He described his 'little venture' as he liked to call it. Holidays with a difference for people who like to get out and do things, rather than spend all their time on the beach, or in the pool. ''What kind of things?'' ''Lots of things.'' he answered ''Pony trekking, cycling, canoeing, rock climbing, walking. All the things that people do over here, except that over there they do it in the sun.'' ''It's a small staff,'' he continued, ''so everyone mucks in. We all do whatever needs doing.'' ''What about . . . ?'' Samantha started to ask, but Peter stopped her. ''Now let's deal with the problem that's worrying you.'' sensing her unfinished question. ''It's important that, whoever I take, we can get on. If we can get on 'very well', that's even better.'' He smiled, looking directly at her. ''It doesn't have to be all sex, sand, and sangria - if you don't want it to be,'' he said with a wink ''but it'll add to the fun if you do.'' Three weeks later Irene and Jean and Susan and Wendy and Judy, were in the Corner Caf. ''Can you believe it.'' It was Irene holding court, ''She told me she was just going on a short holiday - and this came in the post today.'' She fished in her handbag, and then producing a card. ''I got one as well.'' said Jean. ''And me.'', ''And me.'', ''And me.'', said the others. ''I can't believe it, after all the things we said about him.'' ''What does your card say?'' Jean asked. ''Let's see if it's the same as mine?'' Irene picked up the card. ''Ooh I'm so angry, Pete Wilkinson of all people, and behind our backs too.'' She started to read. ''Dear Irene, Wish me luck. I feel my life has started again - at least a new chapter. I've got a new job, a new partner, and a life in the sun. Tell you more later. Love from Samantha and Pete'' ''Mine's just the same.'' said Jean. ''And mine.'' said the others. They sat in stony silence for a minute or so. Irene thinking 'it might have been me.' Jean thinking 'if only it could have been me.' Wendy remembering the time when it had been her. Susan wondering wistfully if she had missed her chance. And Judy, the newest member of the group quietly fantasising about a chap called Pete, who, prior to this day she had never heard of. Another minute and then, spontaneously, they all burst out laughing, and in that moment all hostility was gone, each in turn wishing their friend well. ''Well I think it's great,'' said Jean, summing up, ''and I love her.'' Irene picked up the card and once more read it aloud to the girls around her. ''Fancy that.'' she whispered quietly when she had done. ''I suppose we all do.'' And then, a sudden change in mood as she looked down at her wrist watch, ''Oops,'' she said, '' time to go.''
Archived comments for Fancy That
ValDohren on 27-11-2013
Fancy That
A lovely lighthearted story Kipper, kept me to the end. Typical girlie stuff.
Val

Author's Reply:
Thank you Val for your very ice comments; praise from you is praise indeed.
This story was written about ten years ago but I thought I'd give it another outing.
Kind regards,
Michael


The Unknown Warriors (posted on: 15-11-13)
Thoughts of Armistice, and of those left behind.

The Unknown Warriors. It's not just those who die who pay the price, though who can say it hasn't cost them dear? They're gone, all for the casting of the dice, but many others suffer year by year. Those left behind may never know the cause, may never even know the place they fell. They'll wonder evermore the case for wars, and why their man was forced to face such hell. Who knows how long their suff'ring they'll endure, be it day by day and ev'ry single night. Steadfast in hope - but never ever sure - that in their death they will at last unite.

Archived comments for The Unknown Warriors
stormwolf on 16-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
Hi Kipper,
This was a lovely poem to read. The rhyme and metre perfect which makes the poem just flow. The questions in it and the sadness are felt by many I am sure.

Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thank you Alison
Too many people suffer sad memories at this time of year. This is the least we can do.
Thank you for your kind words and enchoragement. (and a nice 9)
Michael

Bozzz on 16-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
Sad, but easy flow. Immaculate structure. The right lesson read...Good work...David

Author's Reply:
Thank you David.
I wish we could be sure that all the warriors who fell know that we still remember them.
Thank you for your kind words.
Michael.

pommer on 21-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
Well constructed Kipper, How can we ever forget them ? You have expressed my sentiments.Thank you, Pommer.

Author's Reply:
Thank you pommer.
I have a liking for writing long poems (not always very well) but this was seemed to come togethet so easily that in just three verses I felt that I had said what I wnted to say. Short and sweet.
I'm pleased you like it, and thank you for commenting.
Michael

PS I was very moved by your recent response to bozzz's airfield poem!

Buschell on 22-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
War is hell. Being left behind is hellish. To the ones who carried on...kept the fire alive and swore it should never happen again. Well said Special K. Darren.

Author's Reply:

Buschell on 22-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
War is hell. Being left behind is hellish. To the ones who carried on...kept the fire alive and swore it should never happen again. Well said Special K. Darren.

Author's Reply:

Buschell on 22-11-2013
The Unknown Warriors
War is hell. Being left behind is hellish. To the ones who carried on...kept the fire alive and swore it should never happen again. Well said Special K. Darren.

Author's Reply:


The Games We Played (posted on: 08-11-13)
Down memory lane again. Inspired by a recent comment by MrMarmite

The Games We Played When I was just a growing kid, I played the games the others did. we'd climb the tall trees in the park, then kick the ball till it was dark. We'd take a running jump to clear, the deepest ditch, we had no fear. We'd hunt for minnows in the stream, No wonder we were never clean. But there was one thing I recall, a game that used to please us all. The game was marbles, known as 'tors', best played when crouched or on all fours. To play we'd find a patch of land, and scratch a hole with knife or hand. That was the goal where we would aim, to beat the others - win the game. The 'tors' were round, of glass or stone, rolled on the ground but never thrown. Sent with a 'thumb-flick' true and straight, to strike another with perfect weight. Then in the hole, to shouts and cries, to win their marbles, the greatest prize. To loose your tors was hard back then, so you'd try to win them back again. Where are the games of yesteryear, Just memories for us I fear. While swords and bows were hand made toys, it's I T now for girls and boys. Nintendo rules I've heard them cry, while sending texts into the sky. Xbox it seems beats skipping rope, and for hopscotch there is little hope. Goodbye to games we used to play, they're gone forever come what may. let's hope our kids with things like twitter, won't fill the skies with cyber litter.
Archived comments for The Games We Played
orangedream on 08-11-2013
The Games We Played
Liked...a lot.

Times sure have changed, indeed, and so have 'childhoods'.

Tina

Author's Reply:
Thank you Tina for your reply. I'm very pleased you liked my poem, and as you say, times have changed. I wonder what it will be like in another generation or two?
Kind regards, Michael

deadpoet on 08-11-2013
The Games We Played
Times have changed indeed- I hope kids today enjoy themselves as much as we did. I think they do. I liked this too.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for replying.
I guess there's no way to weigh one against the other. Was our fun better fun than todays kid's fun? Who can say? Times change; we move on.
Thanks again, Michael

Andrea on 08-11-2013
The Games We Played
Sad, sad, sad. It will never be the same again. Even conkers is banned now, it seems.

(psst: skys should be skies)

Author's Reply:
Thanks Andrea for reading and for your support.
(Psst. Thanks for that too.Error corrected)
Michael

Ionicus on 09-11-2013
The Games We Played
I remember this game of marbles very well. It must have been universal. A good, nostalgic look at the past and a foreboding for the youth of today. Well said, Michael.

Luigi

Author's Reply:
Thanks Luigi for reading and comenting. How times have changed, and of course will continues to do so. But marbles, universal! Who'd have thought it? As a kid I used to think it was just in my back street. I wonder if we all played by the same rules.
Thanks again,
Michael


The Impossible Dream (posted on: 01-11-13)
Some things are worth fighting (and the rest) for. *Not sure about the Genre

The Impossible Dream Let's do the things that can't be done, like sail a kite around the sun. Or run a mile in half the time, it takes a poet to make a rhyme. Let's try to find the Holy grail, or light a fire inside a whale. Let's buy a 'strad' and play a tune, climb Everest in the afternoon. Perhaps I'll scale the highest tree, then swim accross the zuiderzee. And later, on the thinnest strand, stroll lightly 'cross the Canyon Grand. But they're too easy, don't compare, to tasks to win my lady fair. For her I'd sell my very soul, to gain her love, my only goal. So come tomorrow one by one, I'll do them all, yes every one. I'll run and jump and fly and swim, to stop her running off with HIM.
Archived comments for The Impossible Dream
Mikeverdi on 02-11-2013
The Impossible Dream
Good stuff! I don't think you needed to use the capitals at the end; the reader will get the point and it looks a bit odd. I really liked it and this is just me nit picking 🙂 Mike

Author's Reply:
Nit Pick away Mike, good advice is good advice any way it comes.
I did hover a while over the capitals. Since the whole thing was on the fantasy side I wanted the unexpected ending to be clear. Perhaps you are right and it is a little over the top.
Thanks for reading and rating,
Michael

Ionicus on 03-11-2013
The Impossible Dream
What follows is your poem purged of unnecessary commas with the addition of a capital Z (Zuiderzee), the deletion of one c (across) and of capital letters in the last line (him).

Apart from those niggles, the rest is good.



Let's do the things that can't be done,

like sail a kite around the sun.

Or run a mile in half the time

it takes a poet to make a rhyme.



Let's try to find the Holy grail,

or light a fire inside a whale.

Let's buy a 'strad' and play a tune,

climb Everest in the afternoon.



Perhaps I'll scale the highest tree,

then swim across the Zuiderzee.

And later, on the thinnest strand,

stroll lightly 'cross the Canyon Grand.



But they're too easy, don't compare

to tasks to win my lady fair.

For her I'd sell my very soul,

to gain her love, my only goal.



So come tomorrow one by one,

I'll do them all, yes every one.

I'll run and jump and fly and swim,

to stop her running off with him.


Author's Reply:
Ionicus
Thanks again for spending time on my behalf; considerable time it would seem and I am very grateful.
I think I understand your point about punctuation No more than is needed (and a few less careless spelling errors.)
Thanks also for the 8
Michael

Bozzz on 03-11-2013
The Impossible Dream
Slowly, slowly catchee monkey. Subtle does it. A good love poem, but in practice sell your mind as well as your body - that's how poets work the miracle....David

Author's Reply:


The School Yard Mafia (posted on: 01-11-13)
Memories of a school playground confrontation

The School Yard Mafia I don't much care for bullies, wherever they may be, in the home or out at work or, any locality. They strut their stuff, pretend they're god, determined to be heard, They'll huff and puff and shout you down, while sneering every word. They intimidate their chosen foe, grim faced, fear to expose. Resist him and there'll be a price, a thump or bloody nose. It's known that every bully is, a coward through and through, they search for easy targets and, it could be me or you. They hunt in packs, in twos and threes, the bully and his friends, seeking lines of least resistance, no chance to make amends. And even in the workplace you, may still be at a loss, from those who'll make it very clear, it's they who are the boss. So if you find that you've been picked, and in a bully's grip, you might try to do what I did; it sure gave mine the slip. I knew I couldn't fight him, fist to fist he'd surely win, with his aggressive lack of care, my chance was very thin. I knew I'd only have one go, one go and nothing more, it must be all or nothing or, 'I'd' end up on the floor. And so with one almighty blow, I hit him hard one day, as hard as I could muster strength, and didn't run away. The blow it nearly broke my arm, but I saw him hit the ground, he looked at me then looked away, the bully had been downed. He never bothered me again, euphoria was high, For me it was a turning point. For him? who knows? not I!
Archived comments for The School Yard Mafia
MrMarmite on 01-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
Love this poem. Like me I detest bullies and this is spot on.
I recall getting picked on at my primary school by the school bully,and doing nothing about it.But when it happened at my next one I heeded my dads advice of hit him harder back !
It worked and he never bothered me again.
Nice one Kipper.The do gooders nowadays wouldn't give you a high mark,but I will.

Author's Reply:
Thanks MrMarmite. I expect that more than a few of us on this site have been targeted in this way at some time in their lives (possibly one or two on the other side as well). Happy to know that you resolved the problem in much the same way as me. It seems that my solution wasn't so unique after all.
Thanks for the 9 award. In telling this story I didn't think that the writing was that great so your high rating is both rewarding and generous.
Best regards, Michael.

Mikeverdi on 02-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
I really liked this, been there. The fact that you rhymed the whole thing is brilliant IMO. Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike
You too eh! Seems there is (or was) a lot of it around!
Thanks too for the nine, very encouraging.
Michael

Andrea on 02-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
A few errant commas here and there And even in the workplace you, may still be at a loss but excellent rhyming and a fitting ending!

Author's Reply:
Thanks Andrea,
Those pesky commas, they get everywhere!
But actually the one you mentioned was placed after the 'you' rather than before it to ballance the line. At least that was my intention, but perhaps you feel that it doesn't work.
Thanks just the same Andrea,
for giving me a generous score,
which, without some commas, might be more,
so maybe next time, if there is one, please,
I'll try you with some apostrphies.
Regards,
Michael.

Kipper on 02-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
Hi you all.
i don't know how the Nib thing works, but one of you has awarded me one. It's my first ever so I am very pleased.
Thank you very much,
Michael

Author's Reply:

pommer on 02-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
I love the rhyming and the moral of the story.It happened to e when I was 5years old.A bully picked on me, and I ran home crying.My father told me to go back and hit him back.I did. Result:His mother came to complain to my parents that I had hit her son.He left me alone afterwards.I had learned a lesson of life. Well done Kipper. Pommer.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for replying pommer, and for your rating.
It seems that I have unintentionally allowed some light into a few dark corners. Much is said about bullying now, and rightly so, but I suspect that there was a great deal more of it going on than was known about in earlier times. (In my case much earlier)
Best regards,
Michael

Ionicus on 03-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
It looks as if you are placing commas within a line to emphasise the rhythm. Don't. Either the rhythm is there or it isn't, in which case the reader will let you know. Only use commas, and other punctuation, grammatically and your piece will read much better.
The message in your poem was sound and that is, probably, the reason a 'nib' was awarded.

Author's Reply:
Thank you Ionicus for your rely, and youur advice. I will of course look carefully at my piece with your suggestions in mind to see where punctuations can be removed. I'm sure I can learn from your intervention.
Best regards, Michael

Bozzz on 03-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
Punctuation not too worrying for me, but I would love to read "Who cares" in the last line to replace "Who knows". Brilliant rhyming - harder to get it right in longer line lengths. So...Bravo Sir....David

Author's Reply:
Thank you David.
Glad you liked the piece and the rhyming. Sometimes it falls into place better than others. (As does the punctuation)
Thank you also for your generous 9
Best regards,
Michael

Buschell on 12-11-2013
The School Yard Mafia
Finally you get nibbed! It's not the be all and end all but they sure are pretty. So glad you bopped that bugger on the nose. You have to get all old testament with these grot bags. Nice one Mike.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Buschell
Your comment 'snuk' in after I thought my moment of glory was finished, and I nearly missed it, so thank you very much. I was very pleased to be nibbed, my first time. A bit like the first time I - well that's enough of that! The pity is that I haven't managed to discover how to 'nibb' someone myself. If I knew I might even be moved to nib one of yours one day!
Thanks for replying, Michael


Three Days - A Family Story (posted on: 25-10-13)
A 'short' story of family life condensed into thee days. (You don't have to read it in one go!)

Three Days - A Family Story. A story in three parts Part One. Yesterday Part Two Today Part Three -- Tomorrow Three Days -- Part One -- Yesterday Looking back Tobias supposed it was the it's unexpectedness that made it such a shock. It simply had never occurred to him that such a thing would happen. How could it at such a young age? But then, almost without him knowing, it did. It was as though he had been looking the other way, taking no notice. Or was it perhaps that he simply didn't want to know? "Come here darling." his mother said one day. Somehow he sensed that this was something different, something in her voice, her manner, told him that what she was about to say would be profound. Her tone made him uneasy, it was missing the usual gentleness and he felt he knew what she was going to say even before she managed to say the words. "Your father is going away for a while.'' Looking back he felt he had known what was coming, just as he had known that 'a while' probably meant 'for good'. "Are you getting divorced?" he asked his mother. He was ten years old; what did he know about divorce? His mother was not inclined to discuss it too deeply, but quietly replied that because their careers made conflicting demands, she and daddy had grown apart. "We see so little of each other, and you only see him at the week-end." She smiled a heavy smile, "So we think it best that he should live closer to his work." It seemed so matter of fact, all decided, no need to ask any questions. Not that Tabby could think of any at the time. "I've told the other two, and they seem to be quite alright about it." she had assured him. The 'other two' were his sister Josephina, and brother Stefan. She was twelve, and his brother was seven, but he soon found out they were far from being 'alright', as his mother had suggested, and that they were equally shocked. When he saw Jo her red eyes were proof of that, and Stef normally a none-stop chatterbox, couldn't find a word to say. "What do you think Jo?" Tabby asked his sister. Being two years older than himself, he thought she would know. "What's happened?" "I don't know. They never said anything before." "When is he leaving?" he persisted but she didn't know that either. For an answer she hurriedly fished for her hanky from the cuff of her sleeve and turned her back on her brother. However his question was answered at breakfast the next morning. Everything seemed just the same and father's briefcase was waiting for him by the door, just as it was on most Monday mornings. The family didn't usually see him during the week. Mum said he had a room near his laboratory, where, the children believed, he was doing something secret for the government, but he always came home for the weekends. He had been quite jolly over breakfast, telling them not to worry, that he would see them as often as possible, and that they would hardly notice the difference. He was right in one sense for it was a while before they started to notice anything different but over time it began to dawn on the three children that their father no longer lived with them. His weekend visits soon became every other week and then once a month. Not only did his visits become further apart, but all too soon they no longer included overnight stays or breakfasts. Conversation between him and his wife became polite, but rather formal, and jolliness with his children seemed somehow forced. Steadily the time between his visits continued to grow and by the time Tobias was fifteen he and his siblings seldom saw their father more than once a year. Marshall McAlister had left the family home with a heavy heart but he had thought it for the best. His job through the seventies and eighties as a scientist in a government establishment was very demanding and its long hours had placed a heavy toll on his marriage. But he was confident his wife would adequately fill the gap he had left, and so it proved. By and large they remained a happy household, mother managing to maintain her professional life as a solicitor and Josephina was now looking forward to university, aided by consistent high marks at school. Stephan had settled well into the same Grammar as Tobias, albeit three years behind, who had now gravitated to the senior section. They had all moved on, each in their own way looking to the future, but still blissfully unaware what fate had in store for them. Life had moved on in that curious way they were not yet able to understand, almost as though it had nothing to do with them. But Tobias, alone of the three children often found himself looking back. His sister and brother, each in their own way had embraced their new normality more easily than he, not clinging to the past. Tobias however, perhaps with a certainty that only hindsight can bring, held on to times past, clinging to times remembered. Paradoxically he clung on to the uncertainties of those earlier years that over time had become certainties. They were his yesterdays and they would not let him go, stubbornly refusing to be left behind. Three Days -- Part Two -- Today The train rumbled into the station as though it had all the time in the world. Not the usual steaming screeching hissing rush that regular travellers are used to, as the train hurtles by the platform seemingly unable to stop in time, and passengers waiting to board are forced to trot, or even run, fearful of being left behind. Not this time. It was like a glider coming in to land, almost silent as it shyly slipped into it's allotted space. Long before it stopped Tobias had thrown open the carriage door, and leaning out watched as the train eased its way by the platform, would-be passengers strolling comfortably by its side easily keeping pace, until, with a slight jolt, it came to a standstill. Stepping down, a rucksack over one shoulder, and a large old wheeled suitcase following bumpily behind, he looked beyond the waiting people, passengers and those waiting to greet passengers alike. There she was, waiting by the main exit; Jo, his big sister. It had been a while since he had seen her and he could not help smiling. Jo, petite, slight of build and of height, was way smaller than Tobias but being two years older than he, in his eyes she was - had always been - his big sister. Despite that, with her good job in the legal department of a finance company, her constant boast was that she would be a millionaire before either of her brothers. "Hello Tabby," she said, as she threw her arm around his neck and lifted herself to kiss his cheek. "had a good journey?" "Hi Jo," he responded, hanging on to the rucksack having released his hold on the case so that he could wrap his arm round her shoulders. "I didn't expect to see you here." he told her as he accepted her kiss. Tobias smiled, thinking of her greeting. He had lived with the moggy nick-name all his life within his family. Happily though, most other people - with his blessing - now call him Toby. But way back, when he was a baby, and Jo was a toddler, she could never manage to get her tongue round Tobias, and the nearest she ever got to it was Tabby. Somehow the amusement it caused his parents was enough to allow their first child's version to continue. Inevitably it stuck for good, and he was Tabby thereafter. Even his parents, and his younger brother, who came along three years later, called him Tabby. Indeed, he often wondered if Stef ever knew his real name. "Where is Stef?" he asked Jo, prompted by these fleeting thoughts. "I thought he would be here to meet me." "So am I not good enough then?" Jo asked, at the same time giving my arm a gentle but positive thump. Curiously Tabby's parents forbade the use of shortened names for their other children. Whether it was a reaction to his name being accidentally reduced from rather smart intellectuality to that of a back-ally cat he didn't know. What he did know was that any attempt to shorten the names of his siblings was met with a severe rebuke. But not Tobias. Somehow the die was cast and he remained Tabby. Of course the ban, so steadfast in the home was generally ignored out of it. At school or at play the natural inclination of children to shorten names was unstoppable. Josephina became 'Jo' and Stefan became 'Stef'. And Tobias? Once outside the confines of the house, he was treated just the same. He was however spared the ignominy of a feline nick-name. No longer an ally cat, he was now eternally linked to a somewhat portly jug. The drive home gave Jo the opportunity to quiz her brother about his last term at university, and to update him on family matters. "Any recent romantic developments of my siblings?" he asked. "Any gossip or scandals to tell me?" ''Nothing as juicy as a scandal I' m afraid," Jo admitted, "but I've got a new boy friend. Does that count?'' ''Not unless you've been getting up to the kind of naughty mischief you can't tell mother.'' he replied. ''Never mind about that!" Jo responded in a sort of an odd way. Was that the faint beginning of a blush Tabby wondered before his sister once again took control. "Anyway, how about you, any sign a girl friend yet?'' she teased. ''Plenty of time for that.'' Tabby answered. ''I don't want to get sidetracked. Getting my degree is the main thing for me at the moment.'' ''But you have to have some divergences now and again Tabby.'' ''Oh don't worry about that. I have my divergences - now and again.'' ''Ooh, tell me more.'' ''No way, it would be all round the town in twenty minutes.'' he told her. The banter went on for the rest of the journey, and even though she was driving Jo managed to land one or two more blows on her brother's arm. Home was the same as usual; comfortable; familiar; safe; and for Tabby, seeing his family if only for a few days, was like recharging a battery. ''Hello dear; glad you could make it.'' Mum said as she planted the motherly kiss on her son's cheek. ''Now I'm rather busy; Look after your brother Josephina.'' Josephina smiled and showed a fist to Tobias. ''Of course mother dear.'' Mum was always busy; nothing new there. Efficiently preparing dinner and doing the multitude of tasks seemingly all at the same time for a special occasion, she was, like most mothers, perfectly happy. Once again they were a complete family; and soon Stefan would make up the quartet at this holiday time. Only Tabby did not quite see it that way. It was, he conceded, a kind of completeness, one that they had all come to accept, but seemingly alone he missed his father. Only he was missing, just as he had been these last ten years. Marshall McAlister was the father of the three siblings, and, since neither party had ever felt the wish or had the need to seek a divorce, still the husband. Despite the ten years that had elapsed since he left the family home, which both parents had hoped to be a trial, it had become permanent. Tabby had not seen his father for over a year since he last visited him at his flat, and of course after all those years Tobias had become used to life without him, but he still missed him; his smile, his shy aloofness, and his sharp wit. Bringing his thoughts back to his homecoming Tabby asked his mother, ''Where is Stefan anyway? Doesn't he know I'm coming?'' as she swept through the room carrying a tray. ''I expect he will be home soon dear. Oh yes, he knows you are coming down, but he told me that there are more important things in life than meeting up with big brothers.'' ''What?'' Tabby shouted, ''Of all the bloody.......'' ''Don't swear dear. He was joking you know.'' The rebuke was delivered with a straight face despite struggling slightly to hide a grin. ''I bl....jolly well hope so.'' ''You know he sees you as his roll model, and he wants to get good marks in his final exams so he can follow you into university - very soon now.'' she said as she disappeared back into the kitchen. Unexpectedly she re-appeared; her head at least, ''So don't let him down.'' As if on cue the front door burst open and in walked little brother. Except that he wasn't little any more. Tabby had not seen all that much of him during the three years he had been at university, and suddenly; or so it seemed; the two brothers were matched, inch by inch. Little brother was eighteen years old now, grown up, grown out, a man. Without embarrassment they hugged. It was good to be home. The reason for this special November weekend was Thanksgiving. The McAlisters had met, married and indeed lived for a few years in America, and the ritual of thanksgiving, so much a part of the American way of life, had stayed with them when they came back to England. Even after they split up Judy McAlister continued to observe the day. That her children should not consider the event worth a long trip home from university or wherever they were, was, they all knew, not an option. Four of them round the table, happy in each others company and looking forward to dealing with the turkey which was set between them. The meal over, it was time for the toasts. Another family ritual when everyone had his or her turn to celebrate something, or someone, dear to them. When it was Tabby's turn he stood up and after saying a few words raised his glass to 'Absent Friends', a traditional toast made at all gatherings, for all occasions, all over the world. Despite its common use he made the toast with great sincerely. He spoke the words quietly yet firmly, conscious that he had been allowed to assume the role of head of the household, if only in an honorary capacity. The others knew he was thinking about his dad, for they were all aware that it was he who maintained the strongest feelings for him. Today, as often before, Tabby was wishing he was with them to celebrate this special day. Three Days Part Three Tomorrow Who can say what twists and turns forms the character and leads to the way ahead.. Not Tobias McAlister. Who knows what might have been, had different choices been taken at any of the various 'crossroads' we all come to in life. Certainly not Tobias McAlister. But he was conscious that he had been fortunate to be born into an ordinary but fairly affluent family, and the good education which was part of that heritage, had in turn led to considerable and satisfying success in his own business. And he would be the first to acknowledge some lucky breaks here and there, plus a determination to succeed by himself and with his business partner. He pressed the button and threw the remote control on the bed. ''That's enough of you.'' he said to the TV, bored with the endless soaps that masquerades as drama on US television, or the canned laughter of their 'comedies'. He was glad his trip to New York was nearly over. Not that it hadn't been worthwhile! He knew his partner would be pleased at the interest that had been expressed in their venture, and with the number of firm orders placed with their US agents. He had taken on this trip because his partner's expertise was needed back home on a special project, but the truth was that he preferred the settled environment of the home office, quite happy to let someone else do the globe trotting. Earlier there had been a little party at the US office to send the reluctant traveller back home, and a curious thing had happened. A chance encounter which he could not remove from his mind. "You're McAlister?'' this man had said, in a manner that combined a statement and a question, while at the same time offering his hand. ''Yes I am; Tobias McAlister; what can I do for you?'' taking the hand and shaking it firmly. ''Any relation to Marshall McAlister?'' he asked. ''Marshall McAlister is my father. Did you know him?'' ''You bet, we were good buddies years ago.'' Tobias studied his new acquaintance with interest. He was about his father's age, and though he knew that his parents had lived and studied in America, he had only sketchy knowledge of their lifestyle then, and knew virtually nothing about their friends. ''Soon as I saw your face, and heard you name I felt sure. We were all in the gang, he and his girlfriend; no his wife; hey I was at their wedding; your mother I guess; Judy.'' He paused, a little impatiently, waiting for a gesture from Tobias to confirm that Judy was indeed his mother. ''We met first at the university,'' he continued, ''and then again at a 'Thanksgiving' party somewhere; we stayed friends after that until they went back to the UK. Hey, I remember now, she was expecting and Marshall wanted his kid to be born in England; something to do with cricket I seem to remember; guess that little bump must have been you.'' His new acquaintance was one who seemed to speak everything in a hurry and Tobias felt himself getting breathless for him, and was glad that it was now his turn. ''My sister actually; I came a little later.'' ''Great; he got two kids then.'' ''Three. I have a younger brother.'' ''Great,'' he said again, ''How is he - is he still - you still in touch?'' ''I'm sorry to say that my parents split up twenty years ago.'' It seemed such a simple statement to tell of such a complicated time. ''But I see him from time to time and he seems to be well.'' ''Glad to know that; pity they split; happens all the time; when you see him say hello for me.'' He pressed a card into Tobias's hand as he shook it again. ''Knew I was right about you; great; got to go; another meeting.'' And in a moment he was gone. Tobias sat on the bed and looked again at the card and thought of those far off days. They must have had so much to look forward to back then, so many dreams, so many twists and turns; and - he paused a moment as though reluctant to continue - so many disappointments. Yes, he was glad to be flying home in the morning. * * * ''Hi Sis.'' He said brightly to the phone. ''Hello Tabby, but you know I don't like being called 'Sis'.'' ''Josephina then,'' he said, slightly exaggerating the full name, ''How's things?'' '''Jo' will do if you don't mind, and since you ask I am rushed off my feet. Did you have a good trip?'' ''OK, just a quick call; yes, it was a good trip but I'm glad to be back." Not waiting for Jo to speak he quickly continued, "Make a note in your diary Jo, Nov 26th. I'm giving a party, a thanksgiving party, and I want you and Martin to be there. Get someone to look after the kids.'' He put the phone down, but a little grin stayed on his face remembering again the difficulty she had trying to pronounce his name when she was a child. His affection for his 'big' sister remained strong and he thought about her for a while. Poor old Jo; no longer the career girl she once was, having thrown it all away - so she says, but he knew she didn't mean it - for love. She married a legal eagle from a rival company, and before they could say 'honi soit qui maly pence', there was a baby on the way. Jo's baby was duly delivered, but somewhat to her mother's discomfiture, somewhat sooner than was appropriate. That feeling was very short lived however, for she could not resist the nature in her and quickly took all the delight she could in her first grandchild. When, some eighteen months later another child arrived - and because this time there was no reason to check the calendar - she was in heaven. Tobias picked up the phone again, this time to call his brother. Stefan had become interested in the RAF while at the university, and when he left with his science degree he enlisted for officer training. Following his 'passing out', and a few years training in engine technology, then a couple of years training to became a pilot, he had risen in rank to Flight Lieutenant. Moreover had let it be known that he anticipated imminent promotion to Squadron Leader. ''Hello Stef, can you swing a day or two leave around Nov. 26th. He started to tell his brother of his plans for a party, and ...'' ''Hello; is that you Tabby, it's not a good connection?'' ''Stef; it's Tabby here; what's all that noise?'' ''Hi Tabby, sorry about that; it's a jet engine simulator.'' ''What!; are you flying? Have they put me through on air traffic control?'' ''Good Lord no. I'm in the workshop.'' Long live those twists and turns. Stef assured his brother that he would be there if... "What's the if?" Tabby asked above the noise. "Is there a problem?" ''Can I bring someone with me?'' he asked. ''Let me think, will it be a girl by any chance?'' ''Yes as a matter of fact. Why; would you rather I bring a fellah?'' ''You what? I'll have a word with mum about the sleeping arrangements. I'll see if I can book you a double; might just swing it with a girl, but a fellah; no chance.'' They dissolved into laughter, but then Stef cut in. ''Better stop now Tabby, the C.O. doesn't like us chatting at five hundred knots; says it ruins our concentration. Bye.'' There was a moment of silence before Tobias too put down his phone. Despite the jollity he was glad that their conversation had not been face to face. Glad that his brother had not seen the slightly pained expression on his face, for those uncertainties that had troubled him in the past, though now resolved still concerned him. But the mood passed quickly and soon the grin on Tabby's face was wider than ever. Now he had work to do, and he turned his swivel chair through half a circle until he faced his drawing board, and picked up a pencil. The trip to the states had been a big success, but now the real work would start. With a university friend he had set up his graphic design company. He spent most of his time in the office, overseeing an ever growing work force. But he liked the discipline of the drawing board, and liked to keep his hand in whenever time, and a spare easel permitted. His partner Gerald looked after the sales and product development while Tabby was more concerned with the computer aided design side of things with his team of artists and programmers. Between them and the growing power of the Internet, they had established a very lucrative business. He was in his thirties now but as he was still unmarried, he managed to create a feeling of both pride and concern, within his mother's breast. ''Can't you find a nice girl and settle down?'' she would often ask. Tabby's usual reply was that he was happy with his life, and at the moment didn't want that kind of commitment. What he didn't tell her was that he did not share his brother's enthusiasm for girls. Thanksgiving day duly arrived, and one by one Tobias's guests arrived at his flat. First to arrive; surprise surprise! was his mother. ''I thought I'd come early dear in case you needed any help.'' Tobias smiled, thanked her, and made her comfortable in his lounge. He hoped that the surprise he had planned wasn't spoiled by her early arrival. Next on the scene was Josephina, without husband. ''Sorry Tabby,'' she said, as she stretched up to give her brother a peck on the cheek. ''Martin's been delayed. Something unexpected has come up, but he has promised to be here on time for the party.'' ''That's fine Jo. Now go into the lounge and keep your mother entertained, and out of my way.'' ''She's here already?'' ''Yes; you know her; wants to help.'' ''Oh dear.'' Josephina looked a bit sheepish. ''That's why I have come early too.'' ''Everything is under control. Gerald is beavering away in the kitchen as if he owns the place, and I've hired some help, so thank you, but go away.'' He finished his mock rebuke with a firm, but not too hard, slap on his sister's bottom. Another hour passed before Stefan and his girl friend arrived. Tobias was very fond of his brother, who seemed to have inherited all the good traits of his parents and none of the bad. He was good looking (mother) intelligent (both) sharp witted and humorous (father). Unlike them both he was gregarious and open. He was one of those fortunate people who everyone seemed to like. Inevitably his 'friend' was like a model. Beautiful, slim, a gloriously face topped with long golden locks, and with a smile that would melt the hardest heart. ''Hi Tabby,'' he said a he gently drew his girl friend forward, ''this is Louise.'' Introductions complete Tabby whispered into his brother's ear. "You don't usually bring your girlfriends home; is this one special?" "Best so far." Stef whispered back, before they too were dispatched into the lounge. Success in business had allowed Tobias to afford a large luxury flat, so there was plenty of room for his guests, but there were only two bedrooms, the third having been converted into a study. He had, as promised, persuaded his mother, that in this day and age, it would not be improper for her to accommodate her youngest son and his girlfriend in one bedroom for their overnight stay. His own second bedroom, he told her, had been set aside for another purpose. Everything was ready, and with only five minutes left before the appointed time the doorbell rang, and when Tobias opened the door two men stood waiting. Both were greeted warmly, but only Martin, Jo's husband, was ushered into the lounge to join the others. Adjoining the lounge, but slightly separate was the dining area, in which resided a very large oval table complete with eight matching chairs, and at their host's invitation the guests took their places where name cards indicated. When all were seated three chairs remained unoccupied, but soon one was taken when Gerald, well known to family members as Tabby's long time friend business partner, took his seat at the end. The one at the other end, place named 'Tobias', and the one to its left, place named 'Guest' were still empty. Tobias arrived, but remained standing behind his chair. He paused and looked at his visitors. ''Welcome to my home and to my table.'' he announced, rather formally. ''We are here at 'Thanksgiving' to thank God for the good things in our lives, and I for one have much to be grateful for, not least my family.'' Then he indicated the empty chair. ''But you will all have noticed that there is one more space at the table, and I hope you will all welcome my final guest. He looked at his mother as he then said, ''Please come in father.'' Tobias was very relieved to see his mother joining in the applause which came spontaneously as the 'special' guest entered the room. Sixty plus now, tall and elegant, his neatly trimmed light grey beard perfectly matching a good head of wavy hair. He smiled at the assembled gathering as he took his seat, simply raising his hands a little in greeting. Judy McAlister also smiled, first at her son, then at her husband who had taken his place diagonally opposite her. At a signal two ladies appeared, hired for the evening to serve the meal, one of whom was carrying a tray on which sat, suitably roasted, a magnificent turkey. The dinner was a huge success, where conversations and wine flowed freely. After the meal and when the table had been cleared of all except the replenished wine glasses, Tabby stood up to remind everyone of the MacAllister custom where each person around the table was invited to say a few words. Jo, to the right of Tabby started off by thanking her brother for such a pleasant evening and for inviting the special guest. At this point she blew a kiss to her father. Her husband Martin was next to speak, first apologising to Jo for the subterfuge and the inevitable little white lies he had been forced to tell in order to bring her father to the dinner, ''without risking the whole world finding out.'' he concluded. Much laughter resulted from the suggestion that his wife could not keep a secret. Then it was 'mum's' turn to speak, a moment of concern for Tobias. But he need not have worried, for she was charming and welcoming to the man who was still her husband, and the father of her children. She too expressed the pleasure at the inclusion of Marshall. ''They would,'' she indicated, ''have plenty to talk about.'' Gerald was next, from his place at one end of the table. His words were few, saying simply, but somewhat enigmatically, "How nice it was to be part of a family." Then it was the time for Louise to speak. Quietly she thanked Tobias for inviting her, and hoped that this would not be the last time she met Stef's family. She was followed by Stef himself. Gregarious and as funny as ever, he had everyone laughing, and finished off by saying that now Louise had met the family, she might say 'yes' next time he asked. Someone called out 'That depends on what you're asking' . Much laughter followed, another round of applause, and the slight pinking of two beautiful cheeks. Then it was Marshall McAlister's' turn. He stood up, the first one around the table to do so. He started by thanking Tobias for giving him the opportunity to be once more with his family, of whom he said, despite his absence in recent years, he was inordinately proud, and finished by thanking his wife for welcoming him so graciously. He sat down to more applause. The circle was almost complete, only Tobias not having spoken. He also stood up, but was rather slow to start. When he did however he had much to say. He repeated his welcome to his guests, and especially his father saying how pleased he was that, while he did not expect a reconciliation for his parents, it was rewarding to see the beginning of a renewed friendship. Then he looked to the far end of the table. ''Now,'' he said, and paused again, ''it is time that I introduced you all to my partner Gerald.'' Gerald bowed slightly. ''But we all know Gerald, he's been your business partner from the beginning.'' Tobias heard his mother say those words, and also something similar from Jo, simply saying what everyone knew. ''No.'' Tobias said, ''Gerald is my partner, and yes mother, from the beginning.'' It took a moment for the significance of that statement to sink in, but when Gerald stood up it was clear. ''Oh Tabby,'' his mother was first to speak, ''would you believe that I think I already knew.'' There followed a period of slightly awkward confusion. A handshake from Stefan was achieved across both corners to Tobias and Gerald. There was some cross talk, some movement and pats on backs, which was ended when 'mum' left her chair to give her son a kiss on the cheek before going to the other end of the table, repeating the process with Gerald. After a little while a gentle ring of spoon against glass sent everyone back to their chairs. ''Thank you all for your support,'' said Tabby, who was now the only one standing, ''but I haven't quite finished.'' He took up his glass but held it low. ''This is what I want to say. We all know about our past; when it was good, and when it was bad," he paused a moment to glance at his parents, "and what we could learn from it." he continued. "And we all know about the present. The lives we lead, what's right and what's wrong. And about days like today; all together; what a blessing.'' There was another little pause, before he concluded. ''But I think that we all have good reasons, many and varied, some different from each others and some shared; all good reasons to look forward to the future.'' At this point Tobias raised his glass and slowly made a circular motion around the table. ''So my toast is - Tomorrow! May you always be in my tomorrows; and may I always be in yours.'' Eight glasses were now raised in thanksgiving as they all repeated Tabby's toast. "Tomorrow!"
Archived comments for Three Days - A Family Story

No comments archives found!
Ifs and Buts (posted on: 25-10-13)
Every (or most) (or many) (at least some) writers worst nightmare.

It's time to make your mind up, I mean now, not three days later. What with ifs and buts and maybe's, you're the worst prevaricator. I mean it's hardly rocket science, and if your wrong you'll not be shot. So should there be, you must decide, an apostrophe or not!
Archived comments for Ifs and Buts
OldPeculier on 25-10-2013
Ifs and Buts
Too right. And dont even start on the semi-colons.

Author's Reply:
Semi-colons? Er, what are they please?
Thanks for your reply,
Michael

Buschell on 25-10-2013
Ifs and Buts
My punctuation, is, crap. Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back in the morning. Short, sharp, shrift...spot on!

Author's Reply:
Cheers, and thanks for your reply - I think!
See you in the morning, it'll be on the doorstep!
Thanks for your 'spot on' comment.
Michael

Bozzz on 26-10-2013
Ifs and Buts
Good stuff Michael.
"What's English language meant to be
If not one long apostrophe?"
Regards, Bozzz

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 27-10-2013
Ifs and Buts
Thank you for this one, you can only try; and if at first you don't.... Mike

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 27-10-2013
Ifs and Buts
Yes, I think we all suffer from that question from time to time.
Made me smile. 😉

Alison x

Author's Reply:


Jake's Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity (posted on: 14-10-13)
Today is today, but who knows about tomorrow? . Not quite Gone With The Wind, but Rhett and Scarlet showed the way!

Jake's Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity Jake was tired. The long walk to the coach station had been bad enough but then to find that he had missed the bus by just few minutes had been a blow, a blow made worse by the discovery that there were only two departures per day to where he wanted to go; at 8AM, and 8PM. Worse still he soon discovered was that that was the weekday schedule; on Saturday there was only one departure and none at all on a Sunday. Jake looked at his watch. He was proud of his watch, won in a card game many years earlier but which had remained faithful and reliable through the years. Now it told him that it was 12.30 on a Saturday. But what it didn't tell him was that on Saturdays the departure time was 12 noon. A notice on the counter announced that the ticket office was closed, but he found someone sweeping in the concord who was pleased to pass on that bit of 'good' news. Not only was Jake tired but now he was pissed off as well. Twenty minutes he swore. Just twenty minutes earlier he reckoned and he would have been on that bus. Now he was going to be marooned in this God-forsaken place for nearly forty four hours until the next one. He strolled outside and stood for a while looking down the road where the coach had gone, long and strait in flat featureless surroundings. Far in the distance the road dissolved into nothingness as it merged shimmering in the heat then disappeared into the hazy horizon. It seemed like the road to infinity and Jake shook his head as he walked slowly back into the coach station concord. Inside it was at least ten degrees cooler than outside but more humid. Before long he was sweating profusely and he knew that he had to move on. But to where? He did not know. Jake felt lost and in a daze; not lost because he knew exactly where he was. What was less clear is why he was there. Why had he decided, almost on the spur of the moment, to 'up sticks' and head out in the general direction of the 'Big Apple'. Perhaps there was a degree of self-denial in his thinking; perhaps it was the heat or perhaps it was the disappointment of missing the coach. Perhaps too he was just feeling sorry for himself for the undeniable truth was that his life was in a mess. All that had been solid had crumbled around him; all that was predictable was now unpredictable, and the only certainty remaining in his life was its uncertainty. The heat outside had reached a new high and the stuffy atmosphere in the concord plus the windless conditions inside made it almost unbearable. Jake stood up to stretch his legs and despite the heat he wondered outside again. Then he heard a sound. It was far away and though it was a familiar sound it was not one he had expected. It was the drone of a coach seemingly miles away but as he listened he felt it was getting louder. He looked down the road that earlier he had hoped to be travelling on but still he could see nothing. In the shimmering mirage the road disappeared quickly and but for the drone, it might have seemed that nothing existed between him and the horizon. Only that sound kept him watching and then, almost as if by magic it appeared; suddenly; almost taking him by surprise. He watched the coach as it gradually came out of the heat haze and emerged from the shimmering curtain. Almost without thinking he knew. Despite the fact that the coach would be going in the opposite direction to the one he had intended he had made up his mind; even before it reached him he had decided. It didn't matter where it was going, such was his state of mind he was determined that when that coach left this place he was going to be on it. Another hour or so in that hot airless bus station seemed to last forever but eventually he got his ticket. "Where to?" The desk clerk had asked. "How far is it going?" Jake had asked in return. "Coast to coast." The clerk said pointing to a large map on the wall. "Take your pick." Jake stepped aside, allowing the only other would be traveller to take his place as he prepared to scour the map; at least that end of it to which fate, not he, had decreed he would be travelling. He stared for a while hoping that something, some place, some name, would find its way into his consciousness, but none did. Apart from the larger places along the way to the western side of the country most of the names along the route were places he knew little or nothing about, and some were completely unknown to him. Jake returned to the ticket office where he bought a fold up version of the wall map before approaching the desk clerk again. "Where too?" The man asked again, but this time he was wearing an expression on his thin face which Jake was unable to distinguish with any certainty whether it was a smile or a frown. "All the way I guess." "Suit yourself." The clerk's dead-pan be-speckled face had returned as he pressed a few buttons on his machine then slid the ticket across in exchange for a small bundle of notes. "Have a nice day." he said. Again that expression; was it a genuine smile or was it 'practiced', designed to comply with company policy? Jake would never know, not that he had much time however to consider the matter, for soon it was time to board. When the coach finally moved off Jake was surprised to discover many more passengers than he had imagined, who had mysteriously concealed themselves within the concord buildings during their short rest stop. He did not look forward to the journey. The rest of the day and most of tomorrow they'd be travelling, with a night stop somewhere in between. At least that would give him the opportunity to get to know some of his fellow passengers. First though it was time to enjoy the moderately efficient air condition in the coach, and, having made use of all the necessary facilities in the concord to maintain a semblance of creature comfort, it was time to sleep. The steady drone of the engine and the gentle vibration as the coach counted off each mile in turn was like a sleeping draught for Jake. He slept while the coach journeyed on through mile upon mile of mostly flat featureless plain; no hills requiring dexterous gear changes; no hairpin bends to call upon the driver's skills; no railway crossings or busy junctions. Just the long straight road which was apparently going nowhere. Like the road to Infinity! How many miles had been covered he did not know, but a glance at his watch told Jake that he had been sleeping for two hours and forty seven minutes. He looked out of the window and it seemed at first that nothing had changed, but as sleep faded from his eyes and mind so awareness of his situation increased. Where there had been virtually nothing to see before vision was lost in the distant haze, now he could see that the horizon, admittedly slightly out of focus was in fact a range of hills. Also there came the realisation that they were not as far away as at first he thought. At first he thought that it was just a trick of the light but then he realised that the hills were not only near, but that the coach was encountering their first slopes. Jake sat up and looked more carefully at his surroundings. The near desert had given way to greener hues and was now becoming distinctly pastoral. They had left the barrenness behind them and Jake was almost startled when he realised that they were negotiating a fairly steep and curvy upward climb and that the coach driver was driving and not just steering. Thirty minutes later the coach pulled into a small town and another concord where, it was announced, passengers could avail themselves food and drink, and also, should the need arise, relieve themselves of natural surpluses. Here in the late afternoon the air was clear; it was pleasantly warm; warm enough indeed not to need a coat and the humidity was low. The town of Seven Hills, at least that part of it adjacent to the coach station, was a mixture of ancient and modern reminiscent of many towns Jake had seen before, yet maintaining its own identity and atmosphere. According to Jake's map it was a little larger than a 'small' town but way short of it being a major city. Situated as it was in its elevated position, with breath-taking views of the surrounding hills, it seemed perfect. "Perfect." Jake whispered his thoughts. "I could lose myself here." Unfortunately that was not to be for he knew that soon he would be on his way again, the stop being, of necessity, a brief one. He found a little cafe which was surprisingly busy and ordered coffee, two hot dogs and piece of cake. He found a small table near the window where he could sit quietly and consider the events of the day. For as days go, this one had been a hum dinger! It had not been at all what he had planned, except, he reminded himself, that there hadn't been a plan. Since his girlfriend had moved out two weeks earlier he had been distinctly short of plans. He wandered about aimlessly, ignoring things that needed to be done, and was generally feeling pretty sorry for himself. Why she had gone was something that at the moment he did want to think about. But what he could not ignore was that her leaving had caused him to make some major decisions. He had quit his job, and given a month's notice to quit his little flat. But he had not planned beyond that; had not felt the need to make a move just yet, notwithstanding the fact that as yet there was nowhere for him to go. So when he awakened this morning it was with the knowledge that there were still a couple of weeks left of his 'normal' life to go before he had to leave. "Was that only this morning?'' He had asked himself, hardly able to believe it was so. But something had changed. Something in his head! He wasn't sure what it was and neither did he know quite why. It was the 'thrump' of a car door closing that started it off. Jake had thrown a few cornflakes into a bowl and was drawn the window by the sound. Dressed only in his underpants he watched the people coming and going. Some of them were walking purposefully while others seemed only to be meandering. "Just like me!" Jake mused. ''I wonder where they are all going?'' he asked himself then smiled, amused to find that he was talking to himself. ''At least they are going somewhere.'' He answered himself. But it was what happened next that became the catalyst. A taxi had pulled up at the house opposite, and from his second floor window he could see and hear perfectly well. Two men emerged from the house, one of whom was carrying a large bag on one side while pulling a suitcase on wheels on the other. Both of which were quickly pushed into the trunk. ''Goodbye Trever, I hope it all works out.'' one had said. ''I'll let you know where I am as soon as I can.'' said the other, as he stooped to get into the cab. With that he closed the car door and soon it, and he, were gone. "What's the story there?" Jake continued his commentary, ''Two men together; father and son perhaps; gay partners; relatives; maybe a lodger.'' This time while there was no verbal response because something was going on in his mind. He stood a while pondering as the warmth of the sun increased. He could not remember saying or even thinking of it in any real sense, but nevertheless an idea had invaded his consciousness. He dressed quickly then packed as much as he could carry in an old floppy rucksack, and within half an hour he was on his way. ''Do you mind if I sit here?'' Jake heard these strange words but did not at first comprehend. ''Sorry to be a nuisance, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere else.'' The voice continued. ''Oh, I'm sorry. I'm afraid I was miles away," his introspection brought to an abrupt end. "Yes, please sit down. Yes it is pretty full isn't it?'' It was a young lady who had stopped Jake's recollections in their tracks, and had caused him to be slightly tongue-tied. She was, he thought, a few years younger than his own thirty two, perhaps in her mid twenties he mused, and tall. It was not her great beauty that had flummoxed him, for though without doubt she was nice looking young lady, with a 'friendly' rather than 'model' beauty. But what had invaded his privacy was her voice; so soft and warm and easy. ''I'll be going soon anyway so you'll have the table to yourself. It's only big enough for one anyway.'' ''Oh please don't go because of me; I feel as though I'm driving you away. And there is room, look.'' So saying she put down her plate and cup.'' "OK, but I will have to go soon; I have a coach to catch." "Me too." said the girl. "Where are you heading." "Oh, I don't know." Jake answered somewhat hesitantly. I've got a ticket to the end of the line on the west coast, but I'm not sure if I will go that far." "That sounds very mysterious." She lowered her head a little, and her voice. "It seems a bit like you are running away." She smiled but almost at once she looked a little shocked. "I'm so sorry: that was very rude of me. I hope you'll forgive me." "That's alright; it's no big deal, and actually you are right in a way." "Oh dear; me and my big mouth. Nothing serious I hope." "I'm not running away from the police if that's what you mean." There was a longish pause before the girl spoke again. "Do you mind me asking; is it a girl?" "Is it that obvious?" "We'll I can't think of many reasons why a..." She stopped mid sentence, unsure if she was going too far. "Why a..." Jake prompted her. "Why a good looking man should run away." She could not conceal her blush as she rushed the next part. "If it isn't the police then it's likely to be a girl." "Sounds like you know about these things." "I do. I used to be a police officer." "Used to be?" "Yes, and I guess that I'm running away too, but that's a long story." "They usually are. So who are you running away from; a man?" The girl smiled, nodded and drawled. "Yes - from a man!" Jake laughed as he put out his hand." Touch," he said', "I'm Jake." The girl took Jakes hand, and said "I'm Ali." "Ali?" "I was christened Alicia but that's a bit of mouthful; Ali is much easier." "Pleased to meet you Ali; it's been lovely talking to you but I'm afraid now I must say good bye. As I told you I have a coach to catch." "Me too! Just give me a mo to drink up and I'll walk with you - if that's OK?" "Certainly is!" Two minutes later they were walking back to the concord chatting comfortably. "So what's this about being a cop?" Jake ventured. "You look too nice to be a cop." "Oh wow there. There are some very beautiful female cops. And in any case being a good cop does not depend on looks." "No I guess not, sorry. Perhaps I was flirting a little." "Well flirt no more. You're just about to sail into the sunset remember." "And if I wasn't?" "Well that's another story." "Another story! Well there you are. Stories are right up my street." "Meaning?" Ali asked with a quizzical glance." "That's what I do. I'm a writer; well a journalist to start off with." "A writer. Now there's a thing." "Meaning?" Jake replied in kind, raising his eyebrows. "Well, if you're a writer, a whiz on stories, you should be able to tell me your story." "Not until you tell me yours." "How long have you got? Jake smiled. "Just the potted version then." "Just that part about why I am here then." She paused. "When I was a copper I met a lot of villains. Well, like a fool I fell for one of them, and like a fool I thought I could change him. Like a fool I..." She looked at Jake and she could see that he was listening intently. "Well I guess you'll guess; I didn't. To be blunt he was a villain when I met him, and he was a villain when he left me, but not until he had squeezed every last cent out of me. He left me with nothing except a load of debt, and no job." "Bummer!" Jake muttered, "Quite a story." "Well I hope that yours is lot more interesting from beginning to end." Jake laughed out loud. "Oh yes; I can tell you the beginning, and a bit about the middle, but as to the end who knows.'' He paused. ''There's you, you see: after all I don't know in how many pages you are going to appear in my story." "Why should I be in it at all?" Ali asked with a kind of a half smile. "Well now, that's up to the gods or whoever it is who plans these things, but don't you see, you are already in my story; and I am in yours." Ali stopped walking and gave Jake another of those quizzical looks. "Perhaps I'll be like Alfred Hitchcock. He appeared in every film he directed but never had a speaking part." "Bit too late for that." Jake laughed. "You have never stopped talking since you said, "Do you mind if I sit here?" "And did you mind?" "Of course, but I think I'll get over it." he said smiling. "I'm sure I'll think about you from time to time, when we've gone our separate ways." "Well in that case," Ali said, half turning to face Jake, "I'll just have to be one of those people who come on and does a scene or two early on and then are never in the movie again." "Oh that would be a shame; I'll have a word with Alfred, he and me are like that.'' Jake linked his thumbs and forefingers. "Get him to give you a bigger part." "Oh yes. Then why can't you get me the female lead if you know him that well?" "Don't know yet; depends on how my story goes." Ali was just about to speak again when Jake stopped her and took her hand. "Perhaps this is where our story ends Ali. Your story goes one way and mine goes another and they just happened to come together today. So we both have a short speaking part in each other's story." "Is that all it is?" Ali looked a little crestfallen. Don't you believe in fate?'' she asked. "I don't go much for fate but it has been kind of nice that our stories have merged for a little while, but here we are - at my bus." Jake could not help a curious empty feeling; something not quite right; a strong sense that he was at a cross-road; but uncertain as to what his next move should be. Lamely he took what must have seemed to be the easy option. "It's time to say goodbye I guess." But Ali did not share Jake's uncertainty. "Not so fast big boy." She squeezed his hand. "Maybe I can get an extra line or two in this blockbuster of yours after all." "You can?" "Sure I can!" "How so?" "Because this is my bus too." Jake's face lit up. "Is that so?" He said, "In that case it looks as though you've got yourself a leading part. Since he went up there my old friend Hitchcock must be a faster worker than he used to be." He reached down and grabbed Ali around the waist and pulled her up onto the coach where they intended to spend the rest of the journey together. Soon they were settled and cosy and as the miles went by so their comfort in each other's closeness grew. When eventually tiredness came, their eyes growing heavy and sleep waiting to overcome them, they prepared to enter what would surely be a shared dream. At just that point Jake managed to mutter, "Now I know." "What do you know?" asked a sleepy Ali. "That there is such a thing as fate." There was no further response from Ali now in the last moment of wakefulness before sleep overtook her. But a slight movement as she snuggled her face closer to Jake's chest told him that she had heard.
Archived comments for Jake's Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity
Andrea on 16-10-2013
Jakes Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity
Really enjoyed this Kipper - and welcome back!

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 16-10-2013
Jakes Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity
Really enjoyed this Kipper - and welcome back!

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 16-10-2013
Jakes Fateful Journey On The Road To Infinity
Looks like I liked it twice 🙂

Author's Reply:
Thank you Andrea for your enthusiastic response to my little story. An 8 indeed. I didn't get one of those when I was on Strictly! And thank you for your welcome back.
Kind regards, Michael


The Old Jetty (posted on: 11-10-13)
A family holiday by a Scottish loch reveals a startling secret.

The Old Jetty. It was the last day of his holiday and the young man standing on the old jetty was blissfully unaware of the turmoil that was about to happen. All the others were back at the holiday cottage that had been 'home' for the past two weeks. His mom and dad were busy packing their bags and cases, putting everything but those few items that were needed on the journey home, into the boot of the car. The brisk wind was causing the waves to break beneath him, a combination that produced a considerable amount of noise. But still he heard his sister shouting. "John." He heard her call from the track leading from the tiny harbour on the loch side, past their cottage, and on to the village. "John." she called again, but this time she was nearer and he could no longer pretend not to hear her. "What's up Jackie?" He shouted back. "Dad say's that you must pack your case; that's what's up." "Tell him its already packed." "OK, but don't be long. We'll be off in half an hour." "We may never be here again; I want to stay as long as possible." "OK, but don't be long." Jackie repeated, emphasising 'don't'. John was Seventeen and this had been his first visit to Scotland and he had been enthralled. His parents had deliberately chosen this place for the holiday, thinking that it might be their last time as a family. It was a remote spot close to small village in the rugged north west of the country. His final year at school was imminent and was looking forward to university, and being very bright he was optimistic of being accepted at Cambridge. His sister Jackie, just a year behind him was equally optimistic that she would follow him. It was a clear morning and John was transfixed by the view of the mountains beyond the loch and the broken, ever changing image of their reflection; an image he wanted to stay in his memory forever. The so called harbour was in reality an inlet on the rocky shore, providing an outlet for a small but fast moving river. The inlet went back little more than a hundred yards before it ended with a small gravelly slope on which a dozen or so boats were beached. The seawall was on the left of the little beech while on the other side, a good stone's throw, the little river quickly emptied itself into the loch as though it was glad to be relived of its burden. May many years before on the seaward side of the bay the harbour wall had been hewn from the rock itself and the stone removed had been used as a base to extend the wall into the deeper water, a protection against the surge of the incoming tide and the prevailing winds. At the end of the wall it had been further extended by a short wooden jetty, and it was to here that John had ventured, soaking up the atmosphere and wishing he could stay there forever. Time was nearly up and John moved near to the end to get one last view of the entire length of the loch, when it happened. A plank had become slightly raised by the creaking and groaning as the constant pressure from the ebbing and flowing tides as they pursued their relentless rise and fall, made it's mark. With the frequent storms adding to the strain, together they were bent on tearing the old jetty down. That it was still there was a miracle but it been little used for years and was virtually abandoned. Little wonder that it had fared less well than the harbour wall which looked as though it would last for a thousand years. Johns foot caught the loose plank throwing him against the wooden rail that marked the very end. It had stood all that nature could throw it for all those years but the weight of a falling body proved to be the last straw. It snapped like matchwood falling into the deep water and John, unable to save himself, went with it. The tide had turned and the current was strong as the loch emptied itself into the sea some miles away. He was a good swimmer but the strong pull as the waters raced to the sea, and the intense cold was too much for him. Soon John resigned himself to his fate and stopped struggling as he was swept to a watery grave. Sometime later a fishing boat crew pulled a lifeless body from the water and laid it out on the deck. They could not have known how long this young man had been in the water, or that it was already too late. They pumped the water out of is body, wrapped him in blankets and foil, then one by one they laid with him transferring the heat of their bodies to his. Perhaps they were stubborn, perhaps they were just doing what seamen do, or perhaps they knew something different. Whatever it was new life was induced, where earlier there had been none. By early dawn the following day the fishing boat mored by the harbour wall, and as John made his way the he cottage he saw his rescuers leaving the bay. Without a word and without seeking thanks or notoriety, they had slipped quietly away into what remained of the night. But they had given this young man his life back and returned him to his frantic family. The cottage had not been booked for the following week so they were able to remain. The nearest hospital was too far away and as the local doctor had agreed to call in every day it was decided that they should stay on. John made a remarkable recovery and as the week progressed word spread through the village of his remarkable escape from drowning and a number of the villagers called to give their best wishes. One such was an elderly man who, like most of the villagers, had been a fisherman. "Here in this litttle harbour." he told them. "Every day we headed for the open waters of the sea, and every evening we'd tie up by the wall. My father before me, and 'I', his father too." John seemed at ease with this man and was able to speak of his ordeal, and spoke of how apt had been the name of the ship that saved him. "Lucky Lady." he told him. "How weird was that," he laughed. "She was certainly my lucky lady." The local fiherman, "Hamish." he had introduced himself, asked John what he could remember, and his memory of that time was very clear. He was able to describe he crew members in remarkable detail, and likewise the boat itself. Hamish seemed quietly satisfied and after a little more conversation made his farewell. Came the last day of their extended holiday, and preparation were being made for an early start the following day. The local Docor had been as good as his word and had visited John every day. "He's made a truely remarkable recovery and there is no reason for you not to go home tomorrow." he told John's parents and sister. All the packing was done; the car was ready and everyone settled down for an early night and a good night's sleep. Everyone that is except John. He was ill at ease, restless and unable to sleep. In the early hours he got up and walked down the little lane to the old jetty. In the village someone else was pacing the floor, uncertain if he should speak up. About six o'clock he left his home and cycled to the holiday home. He was shocked to find, but not surprised, that the house was in uproar. "What is it?" he asked John's father. "John's missing." Hamish knew the time had come and he could not back out now. "Come with me please, and bring your wife and daughter." he told him. He had little doubt as to where John was, and led them to the old jetty. He began searching and eventually found a scrap of paper pinned on what remained of the collapsed rail. He read it quietly, but kept it in his hand. He turned to the family with the loch behind him with its magnificent backdrop of mountains reflected in the now still water. The sun was just rising above the mountain tops and a beautiful light prevailed. "I have something to tell you." he began, but paused a while before he continued. "When John told us about the fishing boat that rescued him, he described it and the crew so well I think I knew then what was to happen." "What did you know?" asked John's mother tearfully. "You see, the Lucky Lady was my Father's boat and the men that John described in such detail was him, and his crew." "But that' s wonderful," said father. "Why didn't you say before, I want to meet him." It was a long time before Hamish could speak again and everyone was shocked to see the tears rolling down his face. "The lucky Lady was lost at sea thirty years ago. They were never found." The earlier glimpse of hope was gone now, replaced by a shocked silence. Hamish handed over the note he had found to John's father. He read it aloud. "Goodbye Mum, Goodbye dad, Good bye Jackie. I am at piece now. Please try to find peace yourself; I love you all." "But I don't understand." he said. "Why; he was so full of life." "What can have happened?" Sobbed his wife. "The truth is," Hamish said almost a whisper. "John did not survive when the rail collapsed. He drowned in the loch last week, and I'm afraid that is where he is now." ''But he was with us, all the week; how can it be?'' No one spoke for a while but once again Hamish broke the silence. "I don't know how, but before I left your house the other night John told me that he was never going to leave this place. I didn't understand then, but now I do." "He had so much to live for." spluttered Jackie through her tears. "But how do you know all this? asked John's mother. "I don't know,'' Hamish repeated, ''but something came to me in the night. My father didn't get the chance to tell his family that he loved them, but he gave John the chance to tell his loved ones and to say goodbye. Now he has done that he is at peace, and we know that he got his wish; he will never leave this place.
Archived comments for The Old Jetty
Weefatfella on 11-10-2013
The Old Jetty
 photo 89f4a5d0-5f15-4509-881e-443a08debcc5_zps272a8411.jpg
A lovely story Kipper.
Much enjoyed.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Weefatfella for those nice remarks. Thanks too for not mentioning one or two mistakes which I have now been able to correct.
Best regards, Michael

JackCrowe on 13-10-2013
The Old Jetty
I enjoyed it too Kipper and certainly didn't see the twist coming!

Author's Reply:
Thank you JackCrowe,
I'glad you enjoyed my story, and pleased that the ending was a surprise - a pleasant one I hope.
Best regards, Michael


The World Beyond My Garden (posted on: 07-10-13)
Over the garden wall may not be what you thought. A short story that is out of this world!

The World Beyond My Garden About nine O'clock there came a loud knocking at the door. The loudness and the speed at which the knocks were delivered conveyed an urgency which was at once disturbing and somewhat annoying. I was expecting no-one, and in any case I seldom had unexpected evening visitors. "Who on earth can it be?" I muttered as I shuffled towards the front door, my right slipper having partly slipped off my foot in my haste. Almost had I reached the door when the knocking was repeated. "Alright alright," I shouted angrily, "I'm nearly there." As I opened the door I was mentally rehearsing the rebuke I was about to deliver in response to such impatience. 'What's all the hurry?" I started, but that was a far as I got, for there was nobody there. The ample garden at the front of my house consists mainly of a well mown lawn with a path from the centrally placed front door in its pillared porch, down the centre of the lawn to a small gate, and on to the road. Twenty odd yards to the left of that is a wide drive through a larger gate, currently open, from the road to the garage at the side of the house. A full length chest high stone wall between, and at either side of the gates is all that separates my little kingdom from the road and the rest of the world. Inside the wall a dozen modest trees and a row of shrubs comprise the first line of my defence from outside attack. Oh; and two large oval flower beds one on either side of the central path match the symmetrical structure of the house. Thus my defences are complete. Standing at my front door that evening, curious more than anything as to how anyone could knock at my door and then apparently disappear. I pondered the possibilities. Had I mistaken the knocking for something else nearby? That seemed unlikely. Had there been some one in the garden who, by some means, I hadn't seen?That too seemed unlikely. But that something had happened for which there was no apparent explanation, paradoxically, appeared to be the only explanation. In the brief amount of time between the second knock and me opening the door, no one could have reached the sanctuary of the wall to hide behind, nor in the shrubs by its side. I was stunned rather than frightened and continued my observations, still hoping to deduce a possible solution. A piece of string around the heavy knocker perhaps; some local lads having fun; but even that would take some doing in the time. It was nearing the end of May so there was enough light to see everything quite clearly, but the hoped for solution did not materialise. That the explanation would come from a world beyond ours never entered my head, and had it done so it would have been dismissed out of hand. But soon, very soon, I was to discover the answer to the questions that have haunted mankind from the moment he discovered the power of reason. "Are we alone?" " And "Is there anyone else out there?" Those two questions now had answers. The first was NO and the second was YES. As yet I was the only person in the whole world to know this. I could hardly believe how I had arrived at this juncture and I was certain that no one else would believe it either. Nor would they believe what was to follow, but why, without any input from me had the answers been thrust into my knowledge. I can tell you how, but not why. It was during my deliberations and I had been looking at ground level for an answer, it not having occurred to me to look up, until a slight noise prompted me to do so. It was a quiet windless evening and the traffic on the road was light so even the smallest noise would be noticed. But the noise I had heard was not cochlea in nature, but rather it was an all body sensation such as a vibration might be. But this was not a vibration, but something much more subtle, like the sound of a butterfly twenty paces away. Nevertheless I sensed it; I felt it. I looked up, and then had to walk forward half a dozen steps, before I turned to get a better view above the house. Astonished I stared; long and hard, then stared some more. Above the house, seemingly just skimming the rooftop and chimneys was - it seems fanciful to say the words - but say them I must; a space ship. Hovering silently, save for that eerie sensation I struggled to describe, it 'sat' motionless as though waiting for a response from me. I continued to gaze gob smacked, expecting at any minute to hear police sirens and fire engines with horns and bells and high pitched warnings blasting their cacophony into the night. Where were the people screaming in terror as they raced to escape the enormous evil that was about to befall on them? But there was nothing. Two cars passed, their engine notes changing slightly as they prepared to negotiate the bend in the road that partially encircled my house, and the modest incline that followed. I turned to watch them expecting to hear the screech of brakes, and the loud bang as one ran into the other. But neither was forthcoming. A lady passed the pathway gate pushing a child in its buggy. She waved at me. She must have known me, but my mind was in a whirl. No doubt she will have expected me to do likewise and also no doubt she will have been offended when I failed to respond. She continued on her way and I could not believe it. How could I be the only one to see this enormous object and how had it failed to trigger all the defence systems in the country designed to protect us from mortal attack? I returned my attention to the 'thing' in the sky. How could it be; there had not been any suggestions from any of the usual sources of any extraterrestrial activity. Many times in the past I had been scornful of those who, without proper evidence, claim to have seen 'flying saucers'; dismissive of those who foolishly claim to have been contacted by aliens, but now, here, just above my head were those very things. What was I to do? Was I the only one in the town to have seen this thing? Indeed, was I the only person in the whole country to have seen it; perhaps even the world. A moment of conjecture followed at the thought that I was going to be the first? Had my time come at last I wondered? It was a scary thought for if I was wrong and let it be known I too would become the target for ridicule and scorn? Even more scary was the possibility that I might be right; in which case I would no doubt become a 'target' for MI 5 or MI 6, or some other governmental dark forces. They would be asking some searching questions. But before I had time to consider the possible implications of such an inquisition my attention was drawn to another sound. A squeak. I turned around to face the road once more to discover that the origin of the squeak was one of the wheels on a baby buggy, now being pushed up the centre path by a lady. The same lady who only a short time before had waved at me. "Hello Mr. Hetherigton." she called as she reached me. I was surprised that she knew my name for I didn't know her. "Hello young lady," I replied. It was the best I could do on the spur of the moment. "Forgive me for not addressing you by name but I'm afraid I don't know it. What can I do for you?" It was incredible. Above us an alien spaceship capable of wiping out the entire population of the globe was waiting patiently while I was more concerned with the niceties of English good manners. "Well Mr Heherington, or should I call you professor, it's more about what you can do for us." "For us! Who do you mean?" I looked at the young woman more closely. "I don't know you but you appear to know me. How can I help you, and, er, 'us' you said. Who are 'us'?" The lady did not answer but continued with her own agenda. "You are an authority on extraterrestrial life forms, an expert in the study of exobiology, are you not?" "Of possible extraterrestrial life forms." I corrected, "And yes, it is true I am a professor of astrobiology." I replied. "'The' professor." my visitor corrected me. "Well I do have a reputation in the science." I concurred, slightly abashed, for this conversation had taken such an unexpected turn that for a moment I had forgotten the craft just above me. But then I remembered what had started this escapade. "Did you knock on my door?" I asked rather curtly. "Yes." "Why? "Because I wanted to speak to you." "But when I opened the door there was no one there; how did you do that." "Just a little trick." "A trick! But I saw you on the road. There was not enough time for you to get from here to there before I opened the door." "Ah, time." She smiled. "As I say, just a little trick." About now I was getting a very strange feeling, and not a little frightened. That I should be visited by this woman, quite beautiful but in a none glamorous way, articulate and undoubtedly intelligent, while at the same time I was playing host to a space ship, was to say the least weird. Clearly there was more going on here than just a coincidence. "Earlier you mentioned 'us'." I said to her and I quoted. "You said, 'It's more what you can do for 'us'". "That is correct." "And who are us, and where are they? "She did not answer that question but merely raised her eyes. "Are the 'us' you refer to up there?" As I spoke I rather pointlessly pointed upwards "They are." "And are you one of them?" "Yes I am." That was enough; it was all I could take for the moment. "Please come into my home; I must sit down." I muttered; and with that I turned and went into the house, through the hall into the rear lounge which overlooked the very large garden. Without delay I sat down knowing that my 'guest' was right behind me. "Please sit down." I offered. "I'm perfectly happy as I am." "But I would prefer you to sit down." I gestured to another chair. "As you wish." "Thank you." Some time elapsed before I spoke again. "What is it that you want?" Curiously in that short time I had become quite calm. Perhaps I had accepted my fate, for it was clear that my life, for the time being at least, would be dictated by my visitors from - from where? I settled for 'Out of town'. "Before we come to that I can assure you that you are not in danger." "Apart from a nervous breakdown." I responded, with what may have looked like a weak smile but which I knew to be sign of defeat. "If you won't tell me what you want can you at least tell me why you have come to me?" "It is not a coincidence. You are the leading expert in astrobiology on this planet Earth. Why would we go to anyone else?" "Where are you from - which part of the galaxy?" "Way beyond anywhere you have known or have dreamed of." she replied. "And your ship; do you call it a ship? How is it that no one else but me can see it?" "Because, in your terms it doesn't exist." "Too much!" I muttered, trying to understand. "And the people, sorry, the beings on it, do they not exist either? And what about you; do you exist?" I asked. My curiosity had started to awaken the scientist in me. "You are here so how can you not exist?" "No, we do not exist as you understand it. What you see before you is for your benefit, as is the ship. We no longer have the need for a physical body, or physical things. Perhaps the nearest way for you to understand is that we are waves of energy: we form and reform as and when the situation requires us to do so." All my life, since being a child and through my teenage years I had been interested in space. Thoughts of space travel and the possibility of life in other parts of the universe had captured my imagination. Fortunately I had been intellectually gifted and had been able to pursue my dream and it was with a certain inevitability that my education through its various levels would lead to a life in academia. Indeed it might be said that my head has been in the clouds for as long as I can remember. Was I now on the brink of making what would certainly be man's greatest discovery. Briefly a picture flashed through my mind of a sword on my shoulder and those famous words "Arise Sir " but there it ended, another thought roughly pushing it aside. What if, despite this lady's apparent affability, the visitors have evil intentions! I stood up, standing as tall as my unexceptional height would allow, and in my sternest voice I asked, "What do you want of me?" "Well the truth is," she paused, and I sensed something unexpected. A distinct hesitation; surely not embarrassment. "The thing is . our batteries are flat and we are wondering if you can lend us some jump leads.
Archived comments for The World Beyond My Garden
Weefatfella on 07-10-2013
The World Beyond My Garden
 photo 89f4a5d0-5f15-4509-881e-443a08debcc5_zps272a8411.jpg
Away ya bugger yie.
I have to be the last person to pull you up for that denouement.
A nice tale. Maybe change the format though? A large block of text like this, although fine on paper, puts many online readers off.
I'm made of sterner stuff.
I enjoyed the tale too. A coupla things though..."Well Mr Heherington,....
"Are we alone?" " ....I hope you will accept this critique in the manner it was given..Friendship..
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Weefatfella (Great name) for replying and for your comments. I did wonder about the story length, having noticed that submissions of this kind are are rather thin on the ground in UKA. But I decided to give it a go anyway.
Does your sugestion of changing the format mean submitting the story in two parts? I note and agree with your final comments, but I am a little puzzled by your first two lines.
Thanks for sticking with it!
Michael (Friendship welcome & returned)

Weefatfella on 07-10-2013
The World Beyond My Garden
It was incredible. Above us an alien spaceship capable of wiping out the entire population of the globe was waiting patiently while I was more concerned with the niceties of English good manners.

"Well Mr Hetherington, or should I call you professor, it's more about what you can do for us."

"For us! Who do you mean?"

I looked at the young woman more closely.

"I don't know you but you appear to know me. How can I help you, and, er, 'us' you said. Who are 'us'?"

The lady did not answer but continued with her own agenda.

"You are an authority on extraterrestrial life forms, an expert in the study of exobiology, are you not?"

"Of possible extraterrestrial life forms." I corrected, "And yes, it is true I am a professor of astrobiology." I replied.

"'The' professor."

my visitor corrected me.

ooo0ooo

I was being frivolous in the first sentence of my response to your submission. I write short stories also and some of my denouements are sometimes too sharp, seemingly.

No not in two parts more like the edit above. I hope this helps.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 07-10-2013
The World Beyond My Garden
Thanks again; you've clearly spent some time with my story which I appreciate. I will study your suggestions for, I hope, future improvents.
Sorry I didn't 'cotton on' to your light hearted start last time.
Best wishes
Michael

Author's Reply:


The Mayfly (posted on: 27-09-13)
In the vast scheme of things there is place for the Mayfly

The Mayfly. The Mayfly's life is short and sweet, in curious nature's way; it's born, it fly's and procreates, in one exciting day. It dances in the sun's warm rays; to find a mate it tries, but after loves sweet 'tete a tete', it flutters down and dies. The little mouse lives just a year, will have birth after birth. She'll be a Gt Gt Grand mama, before she leaves this earth. She'll feed her young and try to keep, from being eaten too. One restless year of none-stop toil; it's what she's meant to do. The dog's life it is more than ten, a friend to man for sure. But 'doggy'years is how it works; that's seven times ten, or more. For it's a fact one year for us, is seven or so for them, before they reach their journey's end, their wagging tails to stem. The horse is also man's best friend, it's found a favoured place. At least that's when it's just in front, and there's money on the race. It lives some twenty years or more, a quarter century clear, A racer, bearer, man of war, it's served us year by year. For man of course the best we'll get, is round about the ton. And through the years we've worked it out, we know how it was done. Well some of it at least we know; of much we're not too sure. But just the same, as years go by, we're learning more and more. The Tortoise, well, now there's a thing, the giant ones I mean, they live three hundred years or so; and very seldom seen. They're big and slow, can't hardly move, don't seem to have much pace, but as you know from Aesop's pen, they always win the race. And trees can live for ages, some like the Redwoods do, A thousand years, or even more (that's ten of me and you.) The forests or the wilderness, whose wondrous tales evoke, are host to many long lived types, not least our favoured oak. Now mountains they are very old, a zillion years I'd say. Which sculptor's hands did shape them all; was nature's God at play. And when we play, to reach the heights, and scan the vistas there, I wonder if we stop to think, who made them, when and where? And what of earth, this spinning sphere, a dance with stars on high, for eons past, a timeless waltz, though dark and endless sky. It's journey vast to simple eyes, infinity around, but just a dot in natures scheme, not a murmur, not a sound. For the universe is the key, without reason, without rhyme, incomprehensible to all, in it's vastness, space, and time. Yes time, the greatest mystery, most people would contend, We cannot fathom how there's no beginning and no end. And all the heavenly bodies, in myriad profusion shine, for eons drifting 'randomly', the creators endless shrine. So who can fail to wonder, in that eternity of space, That the tiny mayfly beets its wings, to claim its rightful place.

Archived comments for The Mayfly
deadpoet on 28-09-2013
The Mayfly
Indeed.. much enjoyed- great rhythm and rhyme

Author's Reply:
Thank you dead poet for your kind words and generous 'score'.
Much appreciated,
Michael

Andrea on 28-09-2013
The Mayfly
Enjoyed this, Kipper - nice layout too.

Author's Reply:
Thank you Andria
I'm tempted to add (good job I don't have to do the voice) "I know my place!"
Regards, Michael

ValDohren on 28-09-2013
The Mayfly
Loved it Kipper, very well put together and a great idea.
Val

Author's Reply:
Thank you Val
It was written a year or two ago but it needed a little touching up. Seems to have worked!
Glad you liked it.
Michael


After A Night Out (posted on: 20-09-13)
A coach trip might be more than you bargained for

The sky is black the wind it roars, at dead of night the rain it pours. Before us! The headlights search the road ahead, coach passengers quiet in fear and dread. Through the night in desperate rush, ride forty souls in deathly hush. Specs of light! Beyond the light in piercing black, A thousand eyes are staring back. The rush of wind, the screech of brakes, no time to guess or make mistakes. The unknown Who knows what fate waits round the bend. or when this nightmare ride will end. But wait, there is no need for worrying, for one man there's no sense of hurrying, Our saviour For he's the best; knows what to do. our hero driver; he'll get us through. So travellers all when things look grim, trust in your driver, have faith in him. But hark! Until you're sure there's no way out, don't think about that roundabout!!

Archived comments for After A Night Out
Buschell on 09-10-2013
After A Night Out
Where are the nibs for your stuff...another overlooked talent on UKA...ripping road trip yarn...liked it...

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your generous comments Buschell.
I was beginning to think that my little tale had sunk without trace, so it is nice to know that at least one person is trying to keep it afloat.
As for your comment about! I am of course flattered (how much praise can a man take) but I don't know how that works, so I will have to buy myself a new pencil.
Best regards, Michael


What is Love (posted on: 20-09-13)
All you need is love; so goes the song. Well maybe; but here is a cautionary tale!

What is love ? So what is love when it is there, for I've found out it's never fair. It is unequal from the start, and almost sure to beak your heart. If you're a woman or a man, you'd better run, now, while you can. Don't take the chance, you'll not survive, no matter just how hard you strive. But can we live without the beat, of rushing blood when two hearts meet? Of mad gyrations, lost in time, the breathlessness that feels sublime. When two bodies weave and mingle, and ev'ry nerve end starts to tingle. When two are one and one is all, fused and melting to enthral. And when it's all over and bodies unglue, arousal forgotten, and orgasms too. That's when you find the phone does't ring, and 'new love' turns out to be only a fling. So what's love about, I ask once again, this heavenly mixture of pleasure and pain? Could it be that the question's complex, and that I am confusing love with sex?
Archived comments for What is Love
mageorge on 20-09-2013
What is Love
Hi, Kipper. Please forgive me, but reading your piece, i get the distinct impression that you have used words that rhyme just for the sake of finishing the piece. I'm only being honest! I have written quite a few pieces of poetry and strive to rhyme, only if it's required and fitting. It was this line that brought me to that conclusion:

"So if you're female or a man,
you’d better run, now, while you can."

In friendship, all the best,
Mark.

Author's Reply:
Thank you mark.
I had to consider for a while the implication of your comment, and I'm still not sure what your advice is. Is it the phrase itself which might have been "If you're a woman, or a man", (which on reflection might be better) or the rhyme itself 'man and can' that you don't care for?
I appreciate you taking the time to communicate your thoughts, especially as they are slightly critical, which I know is not as easy as a 'well done' comment. Perhaps, if you have the time, you minght consider expanding a little.
Kind regards, Michael

mageorge on 20-09-2013
What is Love
Yes, Michael. It's the line: "So if you're female or a man,

you’d better run, now, while you can."



I understand you felt it necessary to include the line, but i just don't get it... a female or a male, would make more sense to me.



"So what is love when it is there,

for I've found out it’s never fair." This makes more sense, but still, it reads a little weak...



Maybe "So what's love when it's there. I've found out, it's never fair."



"But can we live without the beat,

of rushing blood when two hearts meet?" My favorite line in the poem!



I think it's about the flow of the piece, although, don't take my word for it. I am but a humble writer.



I sincerely hope this helps,

Mark.









Author's Reply:
Thank you Mark for your insight. I do like this little poem, and I will attempt a rewrite with your comments in mind. I'm not a quick these days as I used to be so watch this space, but don't behold your breath!!
Kind regards, Michael.

Bozzz on 20-09-2013
What is Love
Hi Kipper, I agree with Mark, though I know only too well how difficult it is to do what you are attempting. Also, your rhythm is lost in places - the last stanza in particular. Applause for trying....Bozzz

Author's Reply:
Thank you Bozzz
I do agree about the rhythm at the end. I made some last minute changes and I think I lost my way a little.
Thanks for commenting.
Michael

orangedream on 21-09-2013
What is Love
You obviously enjoy writing a lot, Michael, and your enthusiasm shines through in this thoughtful poem.

Enjoyed;-)

Tina



Author's Reply:
Thank you Tina
I think you may be very perceptive for though I do love writing it can be very frustrating. So much so that I put away the pen (so to speak) for about five years, and have just returned to UKA to try again. You are all being very helpful.
Kind regards, Michael

pommer on 21-09-2013
What is Love
Hi Kipper enjoyed the poem, but agree with Bozzz about the last stanza.May i suggest:"Could the question be too complex?
Am I confusing love with sex?"
A good try keep on composing Pommer.

Author's Reply:
Hi pommer
Thank you for your reply and suggestion, which I like. It seems that here in UKA, as in life, there are many ways to skin a cat (as they say) and lots of helpful suggestions are coming my way. I'm very grateful.
Best regards, Michael


Love Is (posted on: 20-01-06)
(Knowing when to say goodbye)

Love isn't always what you hoped, it would be. Love isn't always all you thought, it could be. So farewell my dear, go find another love, and leave me free to love again. For we were close, near hand in glove, but could not quite avoid the pain. So please don't cry, your salty tears, to flood me. Discover love anew and find the joy, it should be.
Archived comments for Love Is
Jen_Christabel on 21-01-2006
Love Is
I thought this was very touching. Reminded me of a break-up of mine 20 years ago.
jennifer :o)

Author's Reply:
Thank you Jennifer; I think perhaps most of us have been there.

Elfstone on 21-01-2006
Love Is
Good poem kipper, the rhythm and rhyme works nicely. A small point but may I suggest that you have too many commas? I think they interrupt the flow of the piece.

Regards, Elfstone.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Elfstone,
I know what you mean. I tried it both ways, and I'm still not sure. I did want the pause though, what you call an interruption, to suggest a slight uncertainty in someone who was doing something that he/she might regret.
Is that a touch pretentious? That was the idea anyway - but I do see what you mean.
Thanks, Michael

Sunken on 21-01-2006
Love Is
Ahhh young Kipper, if only love were like margerine... er... easily spreadable from the fridge, great on toast and a must for any sandwich... Shall I just shut up and vote? Ok. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Plymouth 2 - Fiat Uno 1

Author's Reply:
Thanks sunken,
I am always pleased when you respond. I never know what you mean, but your nonsense is very cheering.
Btw, I thought Plymouth were very lucky with that last minute goal; and where was the ref.?
TTFN

SugarMama34 on 25-02-2007
Love Is
Hi Kipper,
A philisophical and touching write. Your words have hit home, because they are so true in their meaning. The first two stanzas held me and rang so very true. A sad but well put together poem. It maybe short, but it does say so very much.

Cheers, from Lis'.xx

Author's Reply:
Thank you Lis; for your kind words, and the two kisses. It is over a year ago since this was posted, so it nice to know that it is still working.
Best wishes.........Michael (AKA Kipper)


The Devil and the Man (posted on: 24-10-05)
The stage is a world where there are no boundaries. So is the mind.

The Devil and the Man 'Who's that chap behind me?' Christopher wondered as he was combing his hair, 'I'm sure he's staring at me.' Christopher had just been tidying up after a necessary 'pit stop', and now, the paper tissue disposed of and hands dry, he was concerned that he was making the best of what was left of his hair. No longer the flowing locks of his youth, the passing years had seen to that. 'Just the opposite of my waist,' he mused, for while he had less on top, he had decidedly more around the middle. Cautiously he altered his position to get a better view. 'Funny!' he thought, almost out loud, 'I could have sworn there was no one else in here.' He had left his seat in the theatre a few minutes before the interval, knowing that the facilities would soon be in great demand, and, more importantly, he hoped to get a drink before curtain up for the second half. Now, ready to leave, he felt able to turn and face the man in the corner. As he moved to depart he glanced across but was surprised to find that he was indeed alone. He turned away this time moving toward the door, when he saw in the mirror the somewhat dim but quite clear image of the mysterious man. Not only that, but in that split second he was sure that it was a face he knew. Spinning around with some urgently, he faced the man, or at least where he judged him to be, and was shocked once more to find no-one there. Alarmed now, Christopher felt a tightness, and though he was on his own he could not stifle a little cry, and was breathing heavily as he left the 'gents', trying this time not to look in the mirror. Nevertheless, as he departed he knew full well that he was being watched. He emerged just as the lights came up, and made for the bar with speed, for now he had more need of a drink than just socializing. The lights and the noise as theatregoers left their seats, and the need to beat the crowd galvanized Christopher into action. It was his normal habit to get two whiskies, saving the need for a second scrum, but this time he ordered three. Doubles at that! Christopher quickly downed the last of his trio when the bell for the second half rang out. Feeling somewhat calmer now as the Johnny Walker started to weave its spell he took his place to watch the concluding half of 'The Devil and the Man'. It was a new production by a writer he did not know, but which had attracted rave reviews. It re-told, in a modern way, the well known story of Dr Faust selling his soul to the devil, and as predicted the first half had been truly absorbing. The lights came down and the curtain went up in perfectly choreographed stage management. On the stage only the two wings were lit. On the left, seated, was the forlorn figure of Faust. On the right, arms aloft, naked save for a number of long red silken banners, which billowed and tumbled around him, strutted the Devil himself. With his long red hair flowing, and his 'garments' hanging in the air like smoke, he was animated and eager; cock-a-hoop at the prospect of yet another conquest, for he knew that the good doctor was about to fall. The first half had ended when the evil Mephistopheles had tempted Faust to abandon his selfless and righteous life style, in favour of one that offered him all the pleasures of the flesh, and every creature comfort imaginable. All he had to do was sign a little piece of paper, surrendering his soul. ''Come my friend.'' the devil breathed as he crossed the stage to open the second half, the voluminous strands of his broad red ribbons floating around him. The 'garments', if such they could be called, barely covered him, exposing an athletic body with strong legs and bare feet, which seemed to glide effortlessly until he was standing behind his intended victim. ''You have nothing to loose, and all the things you have ever dreamed of to gain'' he whispered. ''But to lose my soul?'' ''Your soul! Ha!. I'll bet you never ever thought of it until I came along.'' The red spotlight completed the illusion of evil as it focused on the figure of the slowly spinning devil, arms held high as he encircled the hapless Faust, the flowing drapes of his garment loosely entwined around the poor man's neck as he moved. ''And what is so great about your life that you want to hang on to?'' He hissed ''Where is your reward?'' Christopher had all but forgotten his curious encounter, so quickly had he becomes engrossed in the events unfolding before him. Faust stood up and walked to the front of the stage; the lights dimmed and only a spotlight illuminated his face, while behind him moving to a slow rhythmic beat danced Mephistopheles, just visible in a faint but luminous glow. Faust started to speak, quietly, almost a whisper as if to talking to himself, yet every word was audible, such was the power that the actor had over the rows of spellbound theatergoers. In the darkness of the auditorium the intensity of his delivery was riveting. In his distress he pleaded with his unseen audience for understanding of his torment, imploring forgiveness for his weakness. Few of those watching and listening were unaware that he had lost his internal battle, his soul; his very being; all but lost. It was a moving soliloquy in which he spoke of his life's work; of his dreams mostly unrealized of his ambitions mostly unfulfilled, and of his loneliness. The audience was silent, responding both to the drama and the emotion, as a lonely broken man teetered on the edge of mortality and sanity. ''Who is there to help me? He was imploring ''Who has seen the other side of this veil to tell me right from wrong?'' As he sank sobbing to his knees the light switched to the devil, standing erect now, legs apart, in victorious attitude, hands on his hips and smiling, his victory assured. His sharp features and clipped red beard accentuated his jubilation as he anticipated another human sacrifice. Faust lifted his head and stared out into the blackness his eyes piercing as he gazed, as if searching. Christopher was enthralled by such theatre. Never had he felt so involved, so drawn as now. He wanted to communicate with Faust. Like a child at the pantomime he wanted to shout out to warn him of the 'bad man' standing behind. The power of the performance was such that Christopher was feeling faint, his breathing hard and his eyes unblinking. It was as though the man on the stage was no longer acting and that his eyes were no longer searching. Christopher felt a stab of pain in his chest when he realized that they were now locked on him. ''Who will save me from the evil thing I am about to do?'' Christopher heard the words as he rose from his seat and walked towards the stage. ''I will.'' He climbed the steps at the side of the stage and went first to Faust. ''You're the man in the mirror.'' He said simply. ''Yes, I hoped you would come.'' Faust replied.'' No more words were spoken as he approached Mephistopheles, and took from him the paper that was being offered. Christopher's last impression was of the cruel eyes and smiling mouth of the devil, and of the uncontrolled laughter that rang out as he signed his name. In the newspaper the next day, the following report was printed. '''Man suffers massive heart attack in theatre.'' shouted the headline. ''Punter found dead in his seat at the end of the performance as Faust sells his soul to the Devil'' It was not reported however, that the man's face, far from displaying signs of distress, almost appeared to be smiling.
Archived comments for The Devil and the Man
tai on 24-10-2005
The Devil and the Man
Hi Kipper, nice take on the age old story and I learned a little too!lol It is so easy in this day and age to lose your soul but it's the essence of us and well worth hanging on to imo.

9 from me

Smiling, devilishly

Tai

Author's Reply:
Hello tai
Thank you for your supportive comment, and for the 9. (Very generous!)
I'm smiling devilishly too!!
Michael

Scabby on 25-10-2005
The Devil and the Man
Hi Michael, a very gripping read! I particularly enjoy it as I have just been reading the original Dr Faustus recently. The version you portray sounds a lot more interesting.

Was the heart attack a result of drinking three double whiskies? Fantastic way to go, I would probably be smiling too.

Cheers, Jon.

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 26-10-2005
The Devil and the Man
A very well-written take, I thought - the ending was particularly neatly handled. Presumably we're being teased with the name Christopher (Marlowe)? Nice touch...and a good read too!

Author's Reply:
Thank you Roy for your generous comments.
I have to say - like George Washington - who could never tell a lie, that my choice of name was simply based on the eternal struggle between Christ and the Devil. Christopher seemed like the right choice, an opportunity for 'Him' to win a round. I never thought of Marlowe, but it could be that you have given me an idea.
Hope that doesn't change your enjoyment of the piece
Thanks again.....Michael

Jen_Christabel on 28-10-2005
The Devil and the Man
Excellent! I thought it was particularly clever how you weaved Faust into the story and the 'blurring' therefore worked well. I agree with Roy about the man's name - intentional?!
Jennifer :o)

Author's Reply:
Hi Jennifer
Thank you for your encouragement; glad you enjoyed the story.
As you can see from my reply to Roy, perhaps I missed a trick by not alluding in some way to Marlowe, but in this little episode in the ongoing battle between good and evil, Christopher(Christ) and Mephistopheles (Devil) seemed like well matched protagonists.
Thank you again
Michael


They All Said (posted on: 26-09-05)
It's so easy to be wise after the event.

They all said They all said that love means never having to say you're sorry. So I never did. They all said that no matter what I said or did, she'd understand. So I did what I liked. They all said when she left in such a hurry, It's just a huff. So I smiled. They all said, She'll come back; just you wait and see. So I waited. They all said, Take my word, you're better off without her. So I took their word. They all said, You'll soon find another. But I never did. They all said that I would forget her. But I never will.
Archived comments for They All Said
Kipper on 2005-09-26 11:10:47
Re: They All Said
Thank you Tai-Li for this. Small but important changes on line 3, and a couple of punctuation suggestions. Kind of you to take the trouble.
I will not make the changes just yet so that If there are any others brave enough to venture into my space they will see what you have suggested.
Thanks again. Michael

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-09-26 12:33:09
Re: They All Said
Hi kipper! New author are you I wonder?lol I liked this very much and I see Tai-Li has suggested little changes. My suggestion is, never take any notice of what others say...they don't give a shit about you, at the end of the day. Follow your heart and do what you know to be the right thing. Go find her, if it's not too late. And, it never is in my book.

9 from me.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-26 15:06:45
Re: They All Said
Hello tie.
First of all thank you for your support, though your advice is very direct and somewhat took my breath away.
You tell me not to take notice of what others say, and I feel that I understand you - to thine own self be true, sort of thing - but I would find it hard not to take notice of more experienced writers. You say that they 'don't give a shit' about me, but they do you see (well at least some of them) and you sending me encouragement is only further proof of that. I am not prolific, but I do spend quite a lot of time reading UKA submissions and the forums, and I am impressed by the way so many of you are there to help when someone needs it.
Perhaps you are telling me to believe in myself? If so that only confirms my belief that some people do care.
My Best - Michael

PS I have been writing on and off since I retired (Seven years; wow how the time flies) and a UKA member for two years.



Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-09-27 00:31:20
Re: They All Said
Hi kipper, I agree some you can listen to, but listen to your heart first, is the most important thing in my book. I am glad you get the right vibes from UkA that is what we are for, to back each other up and encourage, because it is so hard being a writer of words. Every writer suffers from feeling not quite good enough. That is the reason we write, cus some barsteward told us were weren't good enough. Senitivity is our cross to bare. Bring it on honey, I look forward to reading much more of your work.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

littleditty on 2005-09-27 02:05:37
Re: They All Said
hello Kipper - i liked the idea very much -it works well i think - i enjoyed it, thanks -xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-09-27 03:46:08
Re: They All Said
Hi Kipper

A very poignant poem which I enjoyed very much - thanks.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

karenuk on 2005-09-29 10:41:09
Re: They All Said
A clever poem with a serious meaning amongst the light style. Well written 🙂
Karen x

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-29 11:01:44
Re: They All Said
Thank you Karen for your kind words. Very encouraging.
Michael

Author's Reply:


The Ties That Bind (posted on: 26-09-05)
what keeps people together can so much less than that which may keep them apart.

The Ties That Bind Time goes by and the thread weakens. Without the will the ties that bind unravel. Time and distance may separate (wedge) apart as can a cold and unresponsive heart. Or sever us from those we love, from those whose ancestors we share. But in every passing moment we may unite. if the will is there to take a cousins hand. Time may indeed be the sum of all lifetimes, or just a fleeting moment after a harsh word. But in that moment of pain or sorrow, 'I'm sorry' would hold back the tide of hurt. For while distance may be half a silken thread, or twice the sky's that host the Milky Way, it could also be the person next to you, or maybe standing just across the road but seeming just as far away. For we, who are blood of our blood, whose genes come from a common seed, are joined by a force unchangeable, no matter our pride and prejudice. And yet, though that is fixed and cannot be undone, The links may yet exist, unknown; unseen. But what if another thread should entwine, and gathers in those who reach for it. Let not time or distance, anger or jealousy, careless words or lack of understanding, fray that slender thread; and let not the thread break, for once parted those shattered ends may never be rejoined.
Archived comments for The Ties That Bind
Sunken on 2005-09-27 09:06:12
Re: The Ties That Bind
Isn't it pleasant for the time of year young Kipper me lad? Oh it may be a little grey, but that's to be expected towards the end of September. Blimey, it'll soon be Xmas, it doesn't bear thinking about. Ya know, when I was a child I once discovered that my teddy bear (Monty) had been decapitated. I never found out who did it, but I think it scarred me mentally young Kipper. Anyway, none of this is important right now. I feel like a better person for reading your post. I will, however, need to read it for many years to become a totally good person. Yes, that teddy incident turned me into a bad un and no mistake. Well done Mr. Kipper. Please except my apologies for such a dumb comment. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

he says the beatles were ok but not as good as E17

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-27 11:46:09
Re: The Ties That Bind
Thank you Tai-Li for your comments, helpful as usual. I guess this is one that shows up my lack of experience as a poet, so it may prove to be a (minor) crossroad for me.
However, when I read it back I feel the same emotion that I felt when I wrote it, so it still works for me (Sounds silly doesn't it ?) Glad it works a little bit for you.
Bye for now; Michael

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-27 12:12:04
Re: The Ties That Bind
Hi Sunken. Thanks for your kind words (at least I think so) I'm sure I spotted them somewhere in there.
To say that reading my work has made you a better person is high praise indeed, and even if that is only a teeny weeny bit true I am very flattered.
Sorry to hear about Monty.
BTW I am impressed by your perception, having 'sussed' that my claim to be 'getting on a bit' is a deception, and that I am really just a lad.
Cheers . Michael

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-27 23:50:44
Re: The Ties That Bind
Thanks again Tai-Li.
It's nice to have such great support. Nothing silly about that, and I will have a look to see how it can be restructured.
Bye for now.
Toodles ? Yoyo ?
Michael

Author's Reply:

karenuk on 2005-09-29 10:44:40
Re: The Ties That Bind
This felt more like an outpouring of things you needed to say than a poem. I wrote something similar on Hiroshima. A while later, I went back and organised it into a more poetic form, which worked better. I think it will be great if you revise it a little.
Karen x

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-29 18:03:32
Re: The Ties That Bind
Very perceptive Karen.
It was prompted by the realization that families drift when parents are no longer with us, and with each generation the drift accelerates. As the younger ones grow and spread their wings - more now than ever in this shrinking world - we all seem to be further apart. It is so easy to lose touch and sooner than you think, it may be too late. It would be nice to think that my little contribution might make a difference. Am I just a hopeless optimist?

It may interest you to know that I have already started to restructure it.
Thank you for your interest.
Michael

Author's Reply:


Phone in my ear (posted on: 23-09-05)
This is my first submission for about a year; inspired by my observations of a modern phenomena.
I have chosen humour as the genre. Should it be horror?
Comments welcome !!

Phone in my ear There's a phone in my ear Dr Livingstone-Brown, and it's something I really don't need. And I'm sure that it's there when I walk through the town, though it's hard to be seen, I'll concede. I cover it up, Dr Livingstone-Peach with my hand as I walk down the street And smile as I talk, with pretend laughing speech, just in case, one I know, I should meet. Can you hear the phone ringing Dr Livingstone-White, if you step up this way you will hear it. It's no good standing back! Oh please don't be contrite, but from right over there you'll not near it. Can you see it my dear Dr Livingstone-Green? A protuberance like that is alarming. And there's some who will think that it's really obscene; they won't care that my head it is harming. It's a catching condition Dr Livingstone-Hue, Nearly everyone seems to have caught it. It's become epidemical, just like the flue; maybe hypodermic syringes will sort it ! Can you help me at all Dr Livingstone-Black? If it doesn't go soon I'll explode. Well I've asked all my friends if they'll give it a whack, but it's stuck like an amorous toad. And I've seen others too Dr Livingstone-Gray, With their hands on their ears they are trying. To pull the thing off while they're taken away, making gibberish noises and crying. And aren't you ashamed Dr Livingstone-Orange? - though for your name I know there's no rhyme. It's your fault that I'm here on the lunatic fringe There's no hope any more; no more time. Well perhaps there's a glimmer Dr Livingstone-God. As I stand in the dust and the grime. I'm down on my knees, like a broken old sod. Please, please, try to connect me this time?
Archived comments for Phone in my ear
karenuk on 2005-09-23 11:39:15
Re: Phone in my ear
Enjoyed the humour. A modern-day phenomenon indeed. I liked the names too, the colours reminded me of Reservoir Dogs.
Karen.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-23 12:47:59
Re: Phone in my ear
Thank you Karen. I guess pieces like this are for fun - glad you enjoyed it.
I know that some of the lines need to be read in a certain way to maintain the rhythm, so I have been practicing to record it.
Scary stuff !! Listen to this space !!
Michael

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-25 15:45:50
Re: Phone in my ear
Thank you Susan for your generous comments, and your suggestion which I will certainly act upon. I was aware that I lost my rhythm in S6 (See my comment to Karen)
and I did consider your suggestion at the time. However, I am a newish writer - no doubt it shows - and a hoarder. I just hate throwing things away!!
I'll just have to bite the bullet, close my eyes; and out it goes.
Thanks again; Michael


Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-25 15:48:54
Re: Phone in my ear
Thank you Susan for your generous comments, and your suggestion which I will certainly act upon. I was aware that I lost my rhythm in S6 (See my comment to Karen)
and I did consider your suggestion at the time. However, I am a newish writer - no doubt it shows - and a hoarder. I just hate throwing things away!!
I'll just have to bite the bullet, close my eyes; and out it goes.
Thanks again; Michael


Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-25 20:10:25
Re: Phone in my ear
Hi hey you (aka Sunsun Tai-li)
Sorry about my mistake over your 'name'. The Susun was an error as I thought I was typing Sunsun, which you include with your name. I guess there is a meaning hiding in there?
You will see that I have taken your advice; for which thanks again.
Wonder what you will think of my next two items?
Bye Michael

Author's Reply:


In The Garden (posted on: 29-10-04)
A self explanitary appreciation of one of lifes pleasures.

Mary Mary heaven knows,
this is how our garden grows.
With forty shades of greens and hue,
and all the spectrum colours true.

There's flowers here that grow so tall,
and shrubs in pots of brown and green.
And then there's others sweet and small,
who wave their arms just to be seen.

Some crave the sun - and rain desire -
they dance and sway in heavenly breeze.
But some to shade and damp aspire,
yet quietly they try to please.

In summer's glare and winter's cold,
where else can we be nearer than.
In verdant spring and autumn's gold,
natures treasures and greater plan.

With butterflies and bees all humming,
and myriad insects all around.
And water down the cascade running,
to lift the soul with natures sound.

And if for you a greater being,
guides us through in glory's name.
No better place exists for seeing,
his work, his joy, each day the same.
Archived comments for In The Garden
MrBlueFace on 2004-10-30 16:36:39
Re: In The Garden
<b>Kipper, Hello. I’m brand new on here - this is my first crit on UKA... hope you find it helpful.

a Mary Mary heaven knows, (Mary, Mary)
a this is how our garden grows.
b With forty shades of greens and hue,
b and all the spectrum colours true.

a There's flowers here that grow so tall,
b and shrubs in pots of brown and green.
a And then there's others sweet and small,
b who wave their arms just to be seen. (Flowers don’t even have metaphorical arms, do they?)

a Some crave the sun - and rain desire -
b they dance and sway in heavenly breeze.
a But some to shade and damp aspire, (But is rather harsh - “though” maybe?)
b yet quietly they try to please. (Do flowers try to please - surely pathetic fallacy here?)

a In summer's glare and winter's cold,
b where else can we be nearer than.
a In verdant spring and autumn's gold, (the than lines needs to be third for this to make proper sense, I think)
b natures treasures and greater plan. (nature’s)

a With butterflies and bees all humming, (Butterflies don’t hum. Or do they?)
b and myriad insects all around.
a And water down the cascade running, (Best line in the poem methinks)
b to lift the soul with natures sound. (nature’s)

a And if for you a greater being,
b guides us through in glory's name. (If glory = God then Glory)
a No better place exists for seeing,
b his work, his joy, each day the same. (His work, His joy - use capitals for God)

I have outlined the a-b scheme of your verses... Now, I’m a chap who doesn’t really give a fig for rhyme schemes and poetry formats but if you are going to employ them I think you ought to be consistent. Verse 1 (stanza one to the purists) has a different scheme to all the other verses.

Your end-of-line punctuation is very good and does help one to read the poem.

Hope that is ok - Cheerio.

Regards, MBF.</b>






Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-10-31 08:39:19
Re: In The Garden
Hello MBF
Thank you for your crit. You clearly took some time with it, and you made a good point about the first verse. I am aware of it; indeed it its original form all the verses were as the first stanza. In effect they became rhyming couplets; not what I wanted, so I rearranged them to what you see now. Except that is for the first verse, which defied all attempts to convert. So I left it and hoped that no-one would notice. I should have known better. Not consistent as you say - but is consistency a yardstick that writers must always adhere to?
Thank you for commenting, but may I ask one thing? Did you like it? You didn't say, and in the end that's all that counts. (I think !)
Kipper

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-10-31 08:56:28
Re: In The Garden
Hello again MBF
I intended to say that you made 'some' good points, but in explaining how V1 came about I forgot all the other points you made. Some were corrections and others were more to do with interpretation. I didn't agree with everything you said but there are some usefully points to ponder.
Thank you again for the time you spent on me. If you do that with everyone, you are going to have a busy time here on UKA.
May I close by welcoming you to the community.
Michael


Author's Reply:

MrBlueFace on 2004-10-31 10:49:24
Re: In The Garden
Michael, Hi Good to meet you.

Thank you for your welcome; much appreciated.

I tend to choose only a few pieces to make a decent crit on, otherwise just a quick "good work". I know my pieces need decent crit so I try to help others. I don't have too much time so I can't do that with every piece I would wish to I'm afraid.

You say you don't agree with all my points. Of course not! It is your work - you keep/change what you will. I don't think I have ever agreed with all of anybody's crit on my work - but as long as it was helpful that is fine by me.

As regards your questions:

Thank you for commenting, but may I ask one thing? Did you like it? You didn't say, and in the end that's all that counts. (I think !)

Do I like it? Yes and no. I thought your writing needed to be a little less "sentimental" - e.g. the pathetic fallacy argument but, overall, I thought you composed the verses well.

However, as regards the subject... You have written a lyrical interpretation of a garden but, though I enjoy gardening itself, I am not really into such poems. Also, being a long-standing atheist and converting to some degree of anti-theism, I cannot share your last verse. However, I did like the way that (most unusually) the first line of that last verse left for some degree of movement.

Not consistent as you say - but is consistency a yardstick that writers must always adhere to?

Ah! Absolutely not; I agree. However, in the case of your poem the one different verse does look odd because of the tight formulation of all the verses (that included). If it were more changing or free verse, no problem but just one out of place looks rather strange I believe.

Thank you for your replies and best wishes.

James.

Author's Reply:



One of Those Things (posted on: 29-10-04)
It could happen to you. It once happened to me - You just never know!!

With thanks to Cole Porter for his words and music, and for his inspiration. One of Those Things John was not given to coarse language, but the words in his thoughts did not match those that came from his mouth. "Sod it!" he muttered, as the lift juddered to a halt, it's top half just above the sixth floor. He was alone so there was no-one to bear witness to his rare, if mild, expletive. "Dam and blast," he cursed, this time a little louder "if I'm not f . . . .ing blessed." But just the same, he couldn't quite say the word.. He looked around for an emergency button, or some means of communication, and there at the bottom of the panel he found it. 'Press in case of emergency' it said. He pressed it, and was surprised to hear the sound of music disappear. Surprised because until it stopped he hadn't much noticed it, but somehow he felt that it had been familiar "Can I help you?" a voice enquired, slightly squeaky but not entirely unpleasant, bringing him back to the business at hand. John couldn't tell where the new voice came from, or if its rather strange quality was inherent of its owner, or the equipment; but he knew at once that it was not from the same source as the music which now eluded him. "Er...yes - the lift has stopped" "Alright" said the voice apparently unworried, "Don't go away; we'll get someone to help you." John could not detect much from the voice, other than that it was female. There didn't seem to be any emotion; no concern or a sense of urgency. Even less a sense of humour, and yet, had she not just made a joke? He waited quite a while in silence expecting some further communication from the voice; perhaps some indication of how long he might expect to be entombed before he was released. There was none. He looked at his wristwatch but it didn't seem to register. He hadn't noticed the time when he stepped into the lift, and therefore didn't know exactly how long he had been its prisoner. Two minutes later (which seemed like an age) he looked again. On that basis he guessed he had been stuck about twenty minutes, and apart from that brief exchange he had heard nothing from the outside world. Cautiously he pressed the 'emergency' button again. He couldn't help wondering if anyone else thought that his plight was an emergency. "Can I help you?" the voice enquired. Exactly as before, and with no apparent recognition. "It's me again" John said, a little tetchily, but not wanting to sound too annoyed. After all, he reasoned, she could keep me here for a long time. "Who is me?" the voice asked, but with no more - or no less - engagement than before. "You know - the man in the lift" "You still there then?" "Of course I am; the lift is stuck; remember?" Unexpectedly; indeed remarkably for him, he spoke with a degree of anger "Will you send someone to get me out?" That modest but positive change in his manner seemed to have had some effect, for the voice responded, for the first time, with something like concern. "Sorry," it said, "I didn't realize you were still there." John resisted the urge to swear. He usually did. "Just get me out please. Oh, and while I'm waiting, can I have the music back on?" "You sure?" "Yes please." There was no further response, but a sound somewhere; something less than a click but quite discernable, was followed by the same music he had subconsciously heard when he entered the lift. . . . . . when we started painting the town, we'd have been aware that our love affair was too hot not to cool down. So goodbye dear and . . . John's thoughts took over as the song continued.. Funny thing really, for he was on his way to say goodbye, but he didn't think it would be as easy as Frank Sinatra was suggesting. He had met Susanna a couple of months ago at a disco after being persuaded by two of his mates to go. "It'll be a waste of time;" he protested "you know I'll spend the night drinking at the bar while you are dancing - and at twice the price. I'll be better off down at the Queens." They wouldn't listen though, and at first he was right in his prediction. He was, as he expected, alone at the bar. Until that is, this vision stood in front of him. "You John?" she enquired. "Yes." "Your mates Terry and . . . can't remember the other's name . . . sent me to get you." she held out her hand "Come on." "But I can't dance." "Course you can. Everyone can. Even if you only wiggle your bum." She laughed at that, and John laughed too. A little nervously true, but he allowed himself to be lead onto the dance floor. It was just one of those things; just one of those crazy things; one of those bells that now and then rings; just one of those things . . . A small lurch had brought John out of his thoughts just in time to hear Frank start the song again. "Was it Frank Sinatra?" he wondered. "If not he was a good imitator." He could hear the faint but reassuring noises of someone in the lift shaft. Help was on the way. But Frank, unaware of the drama in that vertical tunnel continued to croon, and John remembered again that first night with Susanna. "Susanna" John said the name out loud, confident that no-one could hear. He had never been in love before, and he wasn't sure quite what to make of it. But Susanna knew what to make of it, and soon made it clear that she fancied this tall well built young man. Just how much she liked him he was to find out that very night. Brushing aside any protests of incompetence on the dance floor she soon had him moving and swaying. Not too close at first, but close enough for John to feel her aura, and to be aware of some envious glances from some of the other lads. Some were acting out John's usual role as wallflowers, while others, more experienced maybe, looked over the shoulders of their partners, aware that tonight John had a better chance than they of hitting the jackpot. Oblivious of his good fortune John did his best to look good on the dance floor, and somewhat to his surprise found that, far from being a like a fish out of water, he was managing quite well. He was an athletic young man and he had, unrealised until now, a natural sense of rhythm. Lucky it was for him, for at one point, with no apparent warning she launched herself at him. He caught her chest to chest, and twisting perfectly to her momentum grasped her arm and threw her into spin. And, as if it were choreographed, she returned gaspingly into his arms. She was in ecstasy at the move thinking that she had found a new champion, while John was in a state of near shock.. For not only had that manoeuver been an incredible piece of good fortune, he now held in his arms the most gorgeous girl in the hall, and her lips were just inches from his. Even more incredibly, she was making no attempt to move away. "Have you been holding out on me?" Susanna asked, the tip of her nose now brushing John's. "What do you mean?" he asked breathlessly, partly from the exertion, but more because he could feel her body pressed against his. He could feel her breasts against his chest, while lower down her hips were pressed firmly against his, slowly moving right and left, making no concessions to his growing sense of excitement. "You said you couldn't dance." She moved a little, until their lips lightly touched. "Well maybe a bit." he replied, and in doing so allowed her mouth to close on his, and he felt the tip of her tongue as it searched for a mate. His heart was pounding, and the drumming in his head was louder than that from the stage. He didn't know what to do, but neither did he want it to stop. He had always been a bit shy with girls, but he wasn't that daft not to realise that tonight could be the night that dreams are made of. That was when his knees buckled. "You alright?" Susanna was asking, her passion changing to compassion, as John started to wilt before her. "I think I could use some air." "Good idea." As they left the dance hall John didn't hear the calls or see the gestures from his friends. They were not aware of how John was feeling, seeing only that at last the last virgin of their trio was about to get a crash course in love. Neither of them would have bet against, that come tomorrow, their friend the boy, would not be their friend the man. So began the love affair. At least John thought it was love. The girls he had met before had usually been as shy as he, so progress - if any - was always slow; and never conclusive. There had been a few occasions when explorations had exceeded expectations, but always one or the other had developed cold feet before the moment of truth, and the encounter would come to an embarrassing end. But not this time. Susanna fancied John because he was a big man. Big and strong and fit; just as she liked them. And when his friends had told her that he was still in 'pristine' condition, she had been unable to resist the challenge. But it was no contest; John was swept away - starting that very night behind the dance hall - on a magic carpet of love. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn, added to her experience and knowledge in the ways of the world, took them at breakneck speed to the very heights of ecstasy, to the summit of Everest, to the moon and the stars. Another sound brought John back to reality. The sound of someone banging on the lift door. "Won't be long now." someone was calling. And, he realised, Frank was still singing. It was just one of those nights, just one of those fabulous flights, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings . . . "You alright in there?" . . . just one of those things . . . "Some trip." John mouthed the words almost silently as he tried to remember the blur of the last couple of months, but the music was starting to get on his nerves again. Once more he pressed the emergency button "Can I help you?" a now familiar and slightly softer voice said. "It's me again," John answered rather pointlessly "can you do anything about the music?" "Oh, don't you like it ... It's one of my favourites." "Yes, the songs' alright, it's just that it is playing over and over. Isn't there something else?" "Sorry about that. It's a continuous loop, and most people aren't in the lift long enough to hear it more than once. We do change it every day." "Well that's alright then, at least I have something to look forward to." It wasn't intended to be funny, but the remark made her laugh. "Silly; I didn't mean that . . . shall I put something else on?" Before he could answer there was a sound like a rusty gate being opened for the first time in a hundred years, as the lift door was prized open two inches. John moved forward where he found, somewhat to his surprise, that he was roughly eyeball to eyeball with the lift engineer, who was lying on the floor. "Shouldn't be long now." the eyeball said John could not help the feeling of relief, but as reality returned he heard another sound. Lots and lots of people. He looked at his watch. Five Thirty Three. "Sod it." he said again, knowing that he had missed her. Susanna worked in an office on the ninth floor. He had intended to meet her and to finish the affair, but he knew that she would be gone before he was released. Ah' well; that would have to wait. As the sound of walking feet and other lifts continued, he suddenly felt rather lonely. The music had stopped. He pressed the red button again. "Hello." said the voice from behind the panel, and for the first time John detected some warmth "I hear they will soon have you out, are you OK? . . . would you like a cup of tea?" "Yes please, and can you put the music back on. I'll put up with Frank Sinatra." Almost at once the voice of'Old Blue-eyes was filling the small space which had been John's prison for the last hour or so. If we'd thought a bit, bout the end of it when we started painting the town; we'd have been aware that our love affair was too hot not to cool down. So . . . John remembered the feeling of dismay when he discovered that when it came to her affections, Susanna was very generous, happy to share them with more than one man at a time. Worse was the discovery that however she might describe her relationship with John, it wasn't love. He had to admit that she had never claimed it to be so. It just never occurred to him that this, the biggest love of his life, was not hers too. "But my; was it hot?" He smiled as he remembered the words he had just heard. 'I guess it had to cool down', he mimicked. . . . goodbye dear and amen, here's hoping we meet now and then; it was great fun, but it was just one of those things. Just as those words filled the space the lift door creaked noisily open, and he could see at eye level two pairs of feet; one in heavy boots, while the others were lightly clad, and feminine. "Do you think you can scramble out of there?" the boots said "give me your hands and I'll try to pull you up." But before he could make a move something else came into his view. A beaker. And though he could not see it's contents at eye level, he could see the steam. Then a face appeared; a pretty face. "Hello," it said, "can I help you?" but this time the voice came with a lovely smile. Five minutes later, refreshed and free, John was able to take stock of the situation. All the office staff had gone, so he had missed the chance to see Susanna; to put things straight; to say goodbye. No matter; some other time would do; and anyway, it didn't seem to matter any more. Jennifer seemed like a nice girl; 'everyone calls me Jenny' she had told him. She had stayed on past her time, and had then agreed to go out with him to celebrate his great escape. He could tell she was shy like the others, but somehow he felt that he could cope with that now. They left the lift in the capable hands of the engineer, and as they walked away they heard once again the opening line of that song . . . It was just one of those things, just one of tho . . . and then, as they turned a corner, it was gone.
Archived comments for One of Those Things
Kazzmoss on 2005-08-25 16:29:22
Re: One of Those Things
Hi Kipper. I pressed the featured member on the tool bar on the top and came up with this story from you and no one had commented.

I've read it through and found the layout a little hard to read, but the basic story was good and I like the way the song is interwoven in it.

I would say it is worth re-editing this one, perhaps cutting it down a little and the last line didn't quite work, perhaps finishing it with... then it was gone. We knew he had already forgotten about Susanna.

Hope these comments are okay. - Kazz

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-08-30 21:20:45
Re: One of Those Things
Hi Kazzmoss
So sorry you have had to wait so long for my reply. First of all thank you for your remarks. It's nearly a year since this piece was posted, and you are the first person to comment on it.
As I mentioned elsewhere, I have been unable to log in to UKA for ages, (and therefore to respond) and just five minutes ago I received an Email from Andrea with the solution.
I guess the story is constrained somewhat by the need to work with the song. but I will certainly look at the possibility of loosening it up in re-editing. Also I think your suggestion for the shortened ending does work.
Thank you for taking the time...Kipper
PS Your web site is very interesting - I will be back !


Author's Reply:


The best things in life are three (posted on: 28-06-04)
A look back at what might have been

The best things in life are three Met a sister, then I kissed her, If she'd left me I'd have missed her. What a feeling, my heart stealing, she took my heart and sent me reeling. Was a virgin, needed urgin, before the joy of bodies mergin. Would she do it? Should I pursue it? Like a fool I nearly blew it. Then the wedding, shyness shedding, oh the bliss of joyful bedding. Home fires burning, marrieds learning, thoughts of life together yearning. Now she's yelling, tears are welling, just because her middle's swelling. Comes the hatching, my head scratching, one won't do so she's been batching. Babies crying, nappies drying, for one and all I'm really trying. She's still desired, but very tired. It's been so long I think I'm fired. Single bed, enough said, seems I might as well be dead. But I'm not sad, cos I'm a dad, in one go two girls one lad. But now we're back to loving ways, we'll be happy for all our days. This time next year - who knows - there'll be, another one, or two, or three.
Archived comments for The best things in life are three
uppercase on 2004-06-28 13:50:10
Re: The best things in life are three
However did you keep it going that long. I love it ....Erma

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-06-28 15:08:05
Re: The best things in life are three
Thanks Erma,
I admire your work so much, so it's worth double to hear your praise.
Michael



Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2004-06-29 02:16:19
Re: The best things in life are three
Reminded me of the song 'Making Whoopie' - A nice run through of life.

Emma:)

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-06-29 02:57:54
Re: The best things in life are three
Thanks Emma
'A nice run through life' I like that; but sadly not my life. One of those 'If only's.' (I think we all have a few of them)
Miichael

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-06-29 09:14:44
Re: The best things in life are three
Clever. Not easy to sustain a piece like that. You pretty much nailed it. Nice one.

s
u
n
k

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-06-29 10:21:09
Re: The best things in life are three
Thanks sunk. Praise indeed from one who seems to 'nail it' every week.

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-06-30 14:25:31
Re: The best things in life are three
Good one Kipper. Good old fashioned humour in rhyme. Can't beat it! Enjoyed this - bye now.

Author's Reply:

Skeeter on 2004-06-30 18:42:39
Re: The best things in life are three
This is really nice, light hearted, full of warmth, a joy to read. (btw, is it 'steeling' or 'stealing'?). Loved it.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-07-01 10:52:22
Re: The best things in life are three
Thank you shackleton; thank you Skeeta, for your complimentary remarks. It's nice when something works out right. Even nicer if someone else notices it too.
Yes of course it should be 'stealing'; thanks for pointing that out. I think my eye got the better of my brain with the double e's.
Thanks again - Michael


Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-07-01 12:17:07
Re: The best things in life are three
Clever idea and well executed. It was very much like the song making whoopee. Was this based on song titles? I noticed quite a few in there. Though that might be my annoying little habit!!!

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-07-02 14:18:46
Re: The best things in life are three
Hello spacegirl, and thank s for your kind words. It was not consciously based on song titles, but as I am constantly singing ( my wife might describe it otherwise) it could easily be subconscious.
I have been informed that you have nominated me as a hot author. That is very generous of you and I can only say thank you. I hope that from time to time I can come up with something to make your kind gesture worthwhile.
Michael

Author's Reply:


This Sunday Afternoon (posted on: 05-04-04)
Country folk may not recognize this scene.
Rows of estate 'semi's' with gardens in between,
People trying to enjoy the 'race'
Sunday afternoon in their own bit of space.

Not really Philosphy; more philosophical really.



Kipper

This Sunday Afternoon

The pale sapphire of the afternoon sky, moves
gradually to darker shades.
And gently streaked with lacy white; denies
the sun a place to hide.
What colour is the sky above?
In subtle change of hue it merges dawn and dusk, each
hour a different canvas, none more perfect than now.
The sun, more yellow now than the fiery globe of it's birth, is
warm and comforting.
Perhaps a little more than comfort, for
stinging arms and legs foretell a fretful night.
This Sunday afternoon.

The silvery tinkle as the little waterfall, empties
into the inky blackness of the pool.
Perpetual motion in this private world, this
miniature of man-made aquatica.
It's residents, orange and gold, flash
as they rise to seize a tasty insect morsel.
The water surface ripples, accentuated
by the magic of the liquid prism.
Summer visitors push their heads through the surface tension, where
half submerged, they sit and croak.
While others more adventurous still, climb out to the warm stones to bask.
This Sunday afternoon.

Little birds flutter and hop. Sparrows uncertain, unsure
if they dare to investigate the little house on the pole.
But brave Finches fly off victorious, their beaks full of seed, while
up above the Crows and Magpies squabble.
Their raucous shouts persistent, each
trying to oust the other from a nearby tree.
Determined they swoop and dive, to
drive them from the favoured branches of the Ash.
Resplendent in her new clothes with foliage fresh and green, it's
drooping arms trying, like a crinoline, to reach the ground.
The latest canopy fashion, hiding a private place.
This Sunday afternoon.

Below them the patchwork ribbon of gardens, multi-
coloured like Joseph's coat.
Thousand of heads in every hue sway to the welcome breeze, amid
patches of green and brown; gardens backed on to gardens.
They join side by side to form a piebald river, between
rows of gardeners castles.
The terra-cotta roofs with their smokeless bastion towers, sprouting
thin metal branches.
Winged travellers sit heavily on these precarious perches, and
rest awhile before flying off once more.
Unerringly they swoop to the next stage of their journey.
This Sunday afternoon.

Nearby the sound of children playing, bright
laughter and dark tears.
The whine of machinery, as somewhere a lawn is assailed, already
smooth as a bowling green - needlessly denuded.
Beyond the roofs a yapping dog sets forth to chase the noisy bike, its
bark overwhelmed by screeching engine, its eager legs out-run.
A window opens; a secret entrance to a teenage world, submerging
what peace remains beneath a thumping beat.
Its message loud loud loud, for some who cannot bide to hear, and
those who come from another age trudge wearily inside.
Hiding, safe, behind the double glazing.
This Sunday afternoon.

Another Sunday, sadly gone the way of most, no
peace, no quiet to enjoy the scene,
The book remains unread, a paper dart to find the place, the
pen laid aside, all inspiration gone.
But the birds, the fish, the frogs, and
the neighbours's cat as well, remain unmoved.
Perhaps somehow they didn't notice, or
could it be they just don't care?
And anyway, it doesn't matter any more for look, once
more the sky has changed.
It's coming on to rain again.
This Sunday Afternoon

Archived comments for This Sunday Afternoon


Sunken on 2004-04-06 14:00:39
Re: This Sunday Afternoon

Wow. Can't understand why this hasn't received more hits. Fantastically descriptive stuff.
s
u
n
k
e
n


Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-04-06 15:16:26
Re: This Sunday Afternoon
Wow this is a fantastic piece of work I really enjoyed reading it. This is a picture painted with words takes you right there on a Sunday afternoon. Where did I put my sun screen?...Erma

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-04-07 03:29:49
Re: This Sunday Afternoon
Thank you so much Erma and sunken for your encouragement to this fledgeling poet. This is a new world for me, and one in which I am keen to explore.
Your support can only spur me on.
My thanks again....Michael

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2004-06-27 14:47:22
Re: This Sunday Afternoon
What a really good poem and no better time to read it than this Sunday with the rain falling. A well written and satisfying read ...L

Author's Reply:

Redrose1 on 2004-06-27 15:36:46
Re: This Sunday Afternoon
Fantastic piece of poetry really enjoyed it. Loved the bike photo as well

Redrose

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-06-28 05:29:51
Re: This Sunday Afternoon
Thank you Leila and Redrose 1
So pleased you found it after all. With so much new stuff every week, a piece is soon submerged. And of course I am even more pleased that you liked it. With that kind of encouragement I will try even harder.
Michael

Author's Reply:


Wishing (posted on: 22-03-04)
Wish I was a poet

Not everyone can penetrate the mystic curtain of poetry
Here's one who's trying and finding it hard to get into the minds of other writers.



Kipper

Wish I could see what others see, and hear what others hear - your
'thinkings' transcendental.
For while they eulogize with glee, it seems that I have nought to cheer - not
even elemental

If you were close, just over here, instead of being far away - I'd
whisper, wouldn't need to shout.
And I'd beseech "what is it dear,* that you are trying to say - what
is it all about?"

I closely look at all the words, and prise asunder line from line - to
see what's written in between.
Is there something that's inferred, or clarity that's only thine - or
aptness veiled that I can glean?

There must be others just like me, who do not always comprehend - yet
try to find a meaning.
And sometimes lost they feel at sea, but stumble blindly to the end - in
hope of portents gleaming

So let me come in from the cold, to share the secret of the brothers # - and
be at one with you who know it.
Be gen'rous with your gifts untold, for me, and surely, many others - who
wish they could become a poet.

*With apologies to the gentlemen
#With apologies to the ladies






Archived comments for Wishing


Claire on 2004-03-25 08:15:03
Re: Wishing
A few of your words threw me a bit with this. I think keeping to simpler words would help this a lot. I did like it though. It is still a good piece.
If you feel you needed the complex words then keep them. But some readers might find them a bit awkward to read.

Here's the parts which threw me a bit

your
‘thinkings' transcendental. - transcendental a bit of a mouthful

eulogize with glee - eulogize I have no idea what that means, must look it up

in
hope of portents gleaming - portents it doesn't seem to fit well with this line

Hope this is helpful.


Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-27 16:41:38
Re: Wishing
Hi Claire.

Thanks for your comments; sorry to be a bit long winded getting back to you; been a touch busy.
I take your point about fancy words. Trouble is, I am one of those old fashioned chaps who likes poetry to rhyme, and being a newcomer to the art I have to use words that say what I am wanting to say, but still fit the line. I know 'eulogise' wasn't rhymed, but it allowed me to use glee which was - if you see what I mean. Glad you liked it just the same.
I'm sure you are correct in sugesting that simple is better but sometimes, I'll bet you will agree, it aint that simple - but I will try to follow your advice. Thanks again....Michael


Author's Reply:

len on 2004-04-05 02:41:34
Re: Wishing
I'm going to disagree with Claire.I don't think you need to dumb this write down for anybody.It is a very eloqent write.I applaud the honesty of admitting there are things you don't get.In many cases,I suspect ,that isn't your fault.I wrote one called "Modern Poetry"...Here's the last three lines,

"If you can't comprehend
What the poet could mean
My money says, neither can he" :O}...len

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-04-05 13:38:11
Re: Wishing
Thank you len for your your comments; very generous and supportive. And also for paying me the compliment of adding my poem to your list of favourites.
Praise indeed. Michael

Author's Reply:

glennie on 2004-04-07 19:00:22
Re: Wishing
Very well done. I, like you, am struggling to come to terms with poetry. I haven't attempted to write one yet cos i'm scared of being laughed at. One day when i've had a few drinks i'll put pen to paper.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-04-08 01:37:44
Re: Wishing
Hi glennie
Thank you for your nice comment.
When I came to UKA it was with a view to improving my story writing skills; novels and short stories. I had little interest in poetry. But as you know, there is so much of it here that gradually it started to become more important.
My poem 'Wishing' was I suppose a reflection of my frustration in not always understanding what I was reading. I hope that will change with time and experience. After all, other people seem to get the message!
If I may be so bold as to advise you. Don't even think of being laughed at. I have found fellow writers here (UKA) to be supportive and helpfull.
Have a few drinks if you must, but do it.
Good luck....Michael


Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2005-09-26 19:09:26
Re: Wishing
Hi Michael,

I am so sorry to have missed your work!

I like this and I think it was Len who applauded your honesty in not understanding poetry or poets.

I do feel that you could perhaps convey your feelings in a lesser form, by that I mean shorten the piece but keep the nice words in.

This is a good piece and I enjoyed reading it.

To be honest I don't think of myself as a poet and don't rate my work very highly. Thanks by the way for popping by and reading my poem Fallen Angels.

All the best.
Si:-)

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2005-09-26 21:31:34
Re: Wishing
Hi eddiesolo
UKA is a great site, full of (mostly) helpful and supportive fellow writers. It's main problem as I see it is that it too big and there just isn't time to see everyones submissions, and the forums and the journals, and then reply to the all. So I guess we all miss a lot of good work. That's a pity but it seems inevitable.
It was about time that someone gave this an airing, and I am glad you enjoyed it.
There does seem to be a mystique in poetry writing, and I find much of it still hard to grasp, but now and again when I can see through the curtain it seems worthwhile.
Thanks for your support,
Regards; Michael

Author's Reply:


Lament (posted on: 01-03-04)
Just a bit of fun, in anticipation of a forthcoming event.

Lament of a middle aged man


(Middle aged?; ha! Who do you think you're kidding?)


Oh' what is life without a care, until you find you've lost your hair.
Look in the mirror, squint and grin, yes there it is, that double chin.
Put on your specs; Oh' yes, they're free; without them you just cannot see.
Too little walking, too much telly; no wonder that enormous belly.


Your arms won't lift, your knees won't bend, you get to thinking , where'll it end?
You ponder more, life's weary knocks; it's far to far to put on socks.
And then - one night - man's special task; Oh' cruel fate - no need to ask !
So what is left, to please this man, soon a septuagenarian.


But then you find, what e'er the game, your lady loves you just the same.
And sure, it's plain for all to see, there's plenty others just like he.
No rush to work, no 'larm bells ring; do what you like, most anything.
Not finished yet, ambitious still, no way is he beyond that hill.


So mark you well, he'll keep on trying, not for him the thought of dying.
Until they say, and mean it well; that this man's got a tale to tell.
And when they do, and say it loud; he'll stand up straight, his head unbowed.
For then he'll know, he is a fighter, he has become a creative writer.
Archived comments for Lament
uppercase on 2004-03-01 08:02:07
Re: Lament
hahahahahah very good and true too true. I gave up on socks a long time ago. Did you know your arms get shorter with each pound you gain.....Erma

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-01 08:50:16
Re: Lament
And your feet are harder to see.
Thanks Erma - praise indeed.
Michael

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2004-03-01 08:52:19
Re: Lament
A situation only too recognisable, alas (apart from the hair). Ah well, it's being so cheerful keeps us going 😉

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-01 15:09:53
Re: Lament
Hi shadow
It's nice to know i'm not own my own up hear (numerically speaking)
Great to think that we still have something to be cheerful about.
PS About the hair; don't misunderstand; i've still got a dozen or so.

Author's Reply:

Kazzmoss on 2004-03-02 15:29:14
Re: Lament
Very good, it made me chuckle and looking at the other half who is sat with me, can agree with many of your words!!

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-03 05:34:54
Re: Lament
Thanks Kazzmoss. I am happy that my little bit of fun made you smile. I hope it made your 'other half' smile too.

Author's Reply:

len on 2004-03-13 06:16:29
Re: Lament
Marvelous.....Funny how when you are young,being young just seems like a natural stae to be in.There are old people and young people.You're one of the young people.Having never been anything else,you can't imagine it being different.....len


Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-13 08:43:50
Re: Lament
Thanks len
It's nice to know that I can still be percieved as young - very generous of you. It is true that I still think young, but I get my share of physical reminders of the passing years.....Michael

Author's Reply:

JackSteiger on 2004-04-01 08:22:21
Re: Lament
I enjoyed this poem and thought it was going to allude to a thirty-something - anything for cheap laughs!! Works well. Particularily describing a septuagenarian !

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-04-02 07:58:01
Re: Lament
Thanks for your comment. I smiled (or was it a grimace) at your suggestion that I was writing about a thirty something. I wish.
I'm not quite a septuagenarian yet either; but every day it gets a little closer.
Cheers, Michael

Author's Reply:

superted on 2004-04-02 08:28:37
Re: Lament
I liked this a lot, it made me laugh. I'm getting wider around the hips, flabbier arms and fall asleep a lot more than I used to. 'The lady loves you just the same' is a very sweet line, if only it was true for everyone.
mimi xx

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-04-03 00:53:26
Re: Lament
Thanks for your kind words. glad you enjoyed my bit of fun. It's good to hear that I caused you to smile.
Michael

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-07-01 12:27:31
Re: Lament
Oooh, the joys of getting older.

Your arms won't lift, your knees won't bend, you get to thinking , where'll it end

Not just when you're old!!!

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2004-07-01 15:37:36
Re: Lament
lament...should I be laughing...what else is there to do! Very good, liked this...L

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-07-02 14:27:58
Re: Lament
Thanks Leila. The clock ticks steadily on, and as you say 'what can you do except keep laughing?'
Thank you for smiling with me ( PS I'm nearlt there)
Michael

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-07-02 14:31:38
Re: Lament
Hi spacegirl
Thanks for your support and encouragemnt. Who knows, maybe one day I will be a proper writer.
Thanks again....Michael

Author's Reply:


Oh to be Happy (posted on: 27-02-04)
A new romance may not allways be what you expect it will be.

Oh' to be happy

John looked gloomily over the parapet. It was early and what little light there was did not quite penetrate the depth of the ravine. Far below he could just make out the river, and its rocky banks.
It had come to this - he was going to jump, and all because of a woman!

He had met Sally a year earlier while on a walking holiday in the Lake District. They were both members of the Youth Hostel Association, though, in their twenties, neither of them were youths anymore. But they were both avid walkers, with a particular fondness for the Cumbrian hills.
The weather had stayed fine so it had been a happy time for the twenty odd young people sharing the holiday, as brilliant walks by day were followed by a wonderful camaraderie in the evenings. Everybody enjoyed the magic of the scenery, the companionship, and, paradoxically, the quiet solitude.
None more than John and Sally, who felt at home on the high passes, and at peace on the peaks. They were of course very fit; were interested in most sports, and were active, indeed accomplished, in many. He had a love of football and his solid, but athletic build, made him an ideal midfield player. Racquet sports came easily to him, as did cricket. She was as adept on the net-ball court as she was on the hockey field, and was more than useful at tennis. They shared (they were to discover) a love for the noble game of bowls, where the physical gave best to the tactical.
Add to this the fact that they were both blessed with glorious good looks. She had the classic fair skin and hair in the Aryan mould, while his black hair and darker skin hinted at a touch of Italian blood in his ancestry.
With all these things going for them it was inevitable that they would notice each other; and notice each other they did. But for some reason they both seemed to be a little shy of making a move, even though they had joined in all the communal activities and games, and had found themselves in each others 'space' from time to time.
On the fourth night, after all the clearing up had been done following the evening meal, he spotted her sitting alone. She was inevitably a popular girl, and John knew that there would not be many opportunities, so he was determined not to miss a chance like this.
"Can I get you a coffee or a tea" he asked.
His heart leapt when she gave him a lovely smile
"Thank you" she answered "a coffee please"
She had a nice voice, easy to listen to, smooth and well modulated, but without a trace of edge.
He hurried off as quick as he could, hoping upon hope that she would still be on her own when he returned with the coffee, and was glad therefore to find that his briskly muttered prayer had been answered.
"May I sit here for a while?" he asked, indicating a little stool at her side.
"That would be nice" still smiling, such a smile that it lit up the room "we haven't had chance to say 'hello' yet"
John moved the stool so that he could face her, but not quite directly; just enough space so that she would not feel crowded, but he knew he would have to be bold.
"No one has introduced us, so I guess I will have to it myself; I'm John"
"And I am Sally" she answered, taking the hand he had offered, and not seeming to mind too much, that he kept hold of it a little longer than perhaps he should.
From that moment on their fate was sealed, and their destiny. An evening walk gave them the chance to touch and to hold, and to kiss. Before the holiday was over they were lovers, and in love. He simply adored her, and she him. It was not first love for either of them, but something more than either of them had ever known. Every sense was heightened, touch and smell, everything looked brighter, and even the wind was like music. It was as though their meeting had been pre-ordained; that some other force was guiding them, and it mattered not that they lived two hundred miles apart. The relationship and their love grew, and in spite of the difficulties, they met every week. They were extremely happy, but never-the-less, the time came when John decided that it was right to remove the one and only obstacle to complete their happiness. Those two hundred miles!.
He asked Sally to marry him.

It was lighter now; enough for John to see the river far below; the rocky banks and the steep cliffs at either side. Now he could see it more clearly it was even more foreboding. Standing now on the narrow ledge of the bridge, he looked down. Feeling unsteady, never at ease with heights unless he could feel the solid ground beneath him.
He gritted his teeth, knowing what he had to do. There was no other way, and what did it matter anyway if he fell?
Why hadn't she just say no when he had proposed?.. Why didn't she just walk away?
Why?
He took a look behind him before he jumped, perhaps hoping for some cowardly reason to change his mind, but it was too late for that now.
"This is it then" he said to himself, "no point putting it off"
One last look before he closed his eyes and then, almost calmly, he went over the edge.
In his almost hypnotic state he imagined he saw her smiling face as he disappeared from view?
So what! There could be no going back now.
"Why did she have to push me this far?"
His mind was racing as he fell, falling falling, gaining speed.
"Why did she bring me to this?" falling falling, faster faster.
"She knows that will be the death of me" falling spinning, round and round.
"No matter" his final thought as he saw the raging river coming up at him at alarming speed "any moment know, and it will all be over"
It felt like being hit by a train and all the wind seemed to have been knocked out of him.
"And just to prove I love her I've got to do this bloody bungee jump"


Archived comments for Oh to be Happy
Smellybaby on 2004-03-17 08:37:55
Re: Oh to be Happy
Nice story. Kindda saw that coming though.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-03-17 13:55:28
Re: Oh to be Happy
Thanks for your comment. Encouraging, even if the twist didn't stop you dead (like a bungee rope)
Any suggestions as to where I might have given the game away?
Cheers - Michael


Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-07-01 12:23:10
Re: Oh to be Happy
Well that hit me like a truck. I didn't expect that at all. I enjoyed that.

A good twist imo

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-07-02 14:23:41
Re: Oh to be Happy
Thank you spacegirl.
This little tale goes back a while so it was nice to see that someone had retrieved it from the depths (so to speak) and had enjoyed it. Very grateful
Michael.

Author's Reply:


The Little House (posted on: 27-02-04)
Can love be everlasting? Who knows?

The little house

Joe rubbed the window with his coat sleeve, trying to remove some of the accumulated dust and grime. Then he pressed his face to the glass, his eyes shielded with his cupped hands against the reflection.
He could see that the room was barren, completely empty except for a few abandoned boxes and some old newspapers. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust, and a quick check through other windows confirmed what was more than apparent; that the house was empty and desolate.
With just one floor it wasn't really a house, but neither would it be described as a bungalow. It was more like a seaside shack, but without the sea. It had seen better days, and Joe remembered that it had once been a home; and a happy one at that. He should know for it had been his home, which he had shared with Susan his bride. Now it was a sorry sight.
Memories of that happy day over ten years ago came into his mind. Memories that he tried to shut out, but which returned like a bad penny whenever his soul was troubled.
He remembered that day like it was yesterday, as he had carried her over the threshold, then quickly closing the door, deftly shutting out a group of friends who had accompanied them from their small reception. They of course were hoping for another drink, and probably keen to see the happy couple tucked up in bed.
The grin he had been wearing just then was etched into his memory, as, ignoring the cat-calls from outside, but still leaning on the door, he and his wife embraced for the first time as man and wife in their first home. Unintended, but soon unstoppable, the embrace was to become something more as he slowly dropped her to the floor, and hands and lips began to explore. One by one the garments fell and in no time their marriage was consummated right there behind the door, just yards from their unsuspecting friends, but encouraged by their chanting and singing.
A little later, there were cheers and jeers from outside when the bedroom light was switched on. The choir renewed its serenading with enthusiasm and gusto, quite unaware that it was too late.
The memory faded and the smile changed to a frown, and suddenly his eyes felt wet.
This tumbled down little shack, destined to collapse completely from lack of care, had been so nice when they moved in. Six months of hard work then, had rescued it from the fate it faced now, but they had turned it into a little palace, so that on that happy day it was a joy. Creosote and paint, nails and screws, fall pipes and gutters, walls and doors, inside and out, blood sweat and tears, everything had been done. Even the grass had been cut.
Ten years ago.
And for five of those years they had lived in this little house. Years that had started so happy, but which had changed as they saw their dreams turn into illusion, their happiness to sadness, and their pleasure to pain.
They had followed the plan diligently. Two years making sure that there would be no children, and as much cash in the bank as they could manage.
Their love life had been perfect, adventurous and exciting, hampered only by the need to be careful. Then, when the conception brakes had been removed they went for it like newlyweds again, enthusiastically engaging at every opportunity, impatient to use their pleasure to generate new life.
What is it in life that decrees that there is no such thing as perfection? Even nature's most beautiful offerings are mutations, natural selection constantly changing, ultimate flawlessness never attained. Perfection in this case was so near, and, they thought, so easy to achieve, yet in spite of their perpetual attempts, the longed for bump never showed.
Five years went by, and with them their dreams, and their love.
Everything had become routine, and gradually they lost their affection for their home and for each other. The sparkle was gone, the house became untidy and run down, revealing the same lack of tender loving care, that they now displayed for each other. In its place was a weary acceptance of decay and apathy
Joe wiped some windswept hair from his eyes. He felt like crying, it so reminded him of those unhappy times, but he could not find the tears.
Such was the depth of misery that they had sunk into he couldn't remember what finally brought it to an end. Some small incident probably, something that not long before would have had them rolling in each others arms, yet this time it had been the blue touch paper. Once it was alight there was no way to put it out.
Suddenly they were no longer a couple. It was over.
Oddly neither of then wanted the little house. Susan packed her bags, took a few small things and moved out, and soon Joe would follow.
That was five years ago, and as far as he knew no one but Susan had set foot in the place since. And indeed he had only come here in the first place because his mum had nattered him; said she was worried about vandals.
"So what" he had said to her "they can pull the place down if they want to". But he had promised her that he would have a look. That had been a few months ago and now he was back again.
Following the breakup he had not had another girlfriend; he had not wanted one, neither had he looked for any casual relationships; not even a one night stand. He had lived alone since that day, for a while in the little house, but was unable to see any kind of future.
He often thought of Susan, but lacked the courage to contact her until somehow it seemed too late.
At first his mother would gently scold him, chiding and persuading, to try again.
"She's still on her own you know" she would tell him occasionally, ever the romantic; whose optimistic spirit never gave up. But since the split he and Susan had never met.
He suddenly felt very weary, and wanted to sit down. Almost without thinking he was through the front door. It opened with little resistance, save a timely mutter, but he was soon inside, and as he pushed the door shut he remembered his wedding day and that encounter just where he was standing. He fancied too that he could hear the shouts of his friends. But no; more likely it was the wind, or some birds on the roof.
There was a upturned wooden box in the centre of the little lounge, covered, as was the floor all around, with dust. Before sitting down he brushed his hand across this makeshift seat, clearing away some of the accumulated grime, and saw the envelope fall. He had seen it before on his last visit so he was not surprised when he picked it up to find his name on it.
Joe.
That was all it said.
He opened the envelope, knowing what he would find, but still wanting to see. Turning a little on the box, so as to get more light, he started to read.

My dearest Joe,
I hope one day you will read this, before our little home rots
away completely, just like our love.
I come here each year on our wedding anniversary, just to have
a look at the place, and each time I cry.
We loved each other so much, but somehow neither of us could
hang on to it. When it was too late I realized that I still loved
you . . . but it was . . . too late.
God Bless you; I hope you are happy.
Susan.


This time it was not his hair getting into his eyes. This time it was the tears that earlier he could not find. He had not wept like this for years, and, like that same blue paper, once started he could not stop.
After a while he stood up, more composed now and ready to leave. When he had visited the little house those few months ago, and had seen the letter, he had not known how to respond. But he knew he must, and now he knew how.

It was raining hard, and Susan's mother called after her.
"Are you sure lass" she said "It's a pity to be going out in this lot"
"Yes mother, I know. I do want to go, but I wonder if I should leave it this time"
"I suppose you'd better go . . . you'll only be upset if you don't"
Susan left the house with a heavy heart, but her mother was right; she would have been upset to have broken her routine. Strange though, that she should be so keen to push her off, as though she knew something that Susan didn't.
It was eleven years to the day since she and Joe had married, and though it was more than five years since they had gone their separate ways, she still felt a 'pull' on their anniversary. They were after all still married, and she had developed the habit of visiting their little house on the anniversary. Two years ago when she had gone she was so appalled to see how it had deteriorated, that she burst into tears.
She knew that Joe had stayed on in the little house for a while, but when eventually she found that he had gone, she had no idea what had happened to him.
She had planned to go back and clean it up, but somehow it seemed too much for her. A brush and a wet rag just would not do it. The plan was abandoned, and when she went last year it was even worse. She resigned herself to watch her little house crumble to dust, and with it her dreams.

Ten minutes waiting for the bus in the rain, and then a forty minute journey out of town, followed by another ten minutes walking, finally brought her to within sight of the little house. It was still raining hard and she could not see too well, the squally wind causing her to keep her umbrella quite low.
But what was that? She could see through the blur that there was a light on in her little house.
She quickened her step, fearful of an intruder; perhaps a squatter. As she got closer she could see that the gutter, which, at her last visit had fallen to the ground, one end bent and suspended half across the window where it hung as if dejected. Now it was back in place, and all the other signs of dilapidation were gone, and yes, the whole house had been painted.
She was just about at the gate, rehung on new posts, when the door opened, and there stood Joe. Susan gasped, hardly able to take it in. Joe was smiling and holding out his arms, inviting her into that special place which once had been hers alone.
She stopped, but Joe's arms and his smile stayed where they were. She moved forward again, slowly, until she was close to him. One more step and she was in his arms, held tight as he enfolded her.
Not a word had been said, and she offered no resistance when he picked her up and carried her, once more, over the threshold, into their little house, fully restored to its former glory.
History did not quite repeat itself that day for there was no hurried and frantic encounter behind the door, but later, when the bedroom lights were turned on they were glad that there was no chorus of well-wishers outside.
It was not a night of unending passion, though they were both happy to share their hearts and bodies with each other; content with their closeness, love renewed, forever and always.
When Susan woke up it was daylight, and she was surprised to find herself alone. Having no nightclothes or dressing gown with her she got up and dressed quickly except for her raincoat, which had not quite dried, and went outside.
Yesterdays rain had given way to a fine morning with just a gentle breeze and a pale blue sky and Susan was able to see the garden clearly. The last time she was here it was overgrown and abandoned, nature greedily taking back what was hers; but now all the beds were resplendent with colour and the small lawn neatly cut.
In the far corner some wisps of smoke curled lazily into the sky, the remnants no doubt of a small garden fire. Susan looked around expecting to find Joe busy tidying up, collecting yet more rubbish to dispose of, but of him there was no sign. Curiously she walked to the fire, and was surprised to see that there was nothing burning, just a very thin wisp of 'smoke' coming from the soil, next to a small cross set firmly into the ground.
Suddenly her heart was pounding, as she bent down to read the inscription.

Joe Wilson 1968 - 1997.
Where once I was happy, and where my love will always be

Susan fled from the garden and the little house just as she was, without a backward glance, while Joe stood in the widow amongst the ruin and the decay, watching her go, her coat over his arm. He hoped that she would come to realise that he too had loved her to the end, when he had finally lost the battle with misery and anguish, knowing that most of the blame was his; and with that realisation his loss of a reason to carry on.
"If only I had known before ... before I ..."
He banished the thought from his mind.
"What's the use anyway; it's too late, but at least now Susan can go forward ... she can start to live again"
As he started to fade for the last time, another tile slid off the roof.
Archived comments for The Little House
sirat on 2004-02-27 11:44:55
Re: The Little House
I was beginning to think that this one was a bit predictable and then the ending caught me unawares, as intended. I think the plot is a very interesting one, though it's easy to find criticisms of detail. For example, would a well cared-for house really deteriorate that much in ten years of non-occupation? Would it remain squatter-free? Surely the owners would want to sell it so as to have a deposit to put down on another place to live? I can't imagine them just abandoning it. Why didn't they seek help about the infertility? Why didn't the couple talk about the intervening ten years during their passionate reunion night? Had Joe really died of a broken heart? For the story to work well I think you would need to make the details more plausible, tie up some of the loose ends. You have concentrated on the emotional and romantic side to the exclusion of the practical side.
One phrase that you used struck me as odd:
"...his mum had nattered him"
Do you mean "nagged"?
One minor typo:
"It's a pity to going out in this lot" (to be going out)
The other thing I would suggest is telling the whole story from Susan's point of view rather than having an omniscient author telling things directly to the reader. But with all these minor flaws I still thought it was a very good read.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-27 14:32:21
Re: The Little House
Thank you sirat. As usual you make some valid points: why did they not get help; sell the house, and the other things. All of which are in themselves correct.
I am, I think I mentioned before, a relatively new writer, so I can't - nor do I wish to - challenge you on these points, except to say that I write what feels right. I think I could loose more than I would gain if I tried to present a complete picture, and a simple plot would suffer.
That is not to say I cannot learn from more experienced writers such as yourself, and I will certainly try to fill the kind of gaps you mention where I can.
Nattered is probably a colloquialism, not that I wanted particularly to dwell upon a northern setting.
Thanks for pointing out that typo. I will correct it at once, so anyone reading the story after this will wonder what you were on about.
Thank you for your final summing up. A little praise goes a long way.
Michael

Author's Reply:


A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy (posted on: 09-02-04)
Which is the weaker sex?

A touch of Yorkshire fancy

The man lay on the bed, his back to the woman standing by the window. The same light from behind, which threw her into silhouette, glistened on his skin, his rising buttocks outlining his manly shape. He could sense her presence, and he flinched involuntarily when her fingers touched, his muscles tensing as he anticipated her next move.
Slim, beautiful and dark haired, she had a touch that would overcome the resistance of any man.
She didn't speak; she didn't have to. She knew she had him at her mercy, just like so many men before, and that there was nothing he could do. She was not about to stop now.
The moment came when his self control was gone, and he turned abruptly to face her. She smiled at him. She was in control and once more in the battle of the sexes, woman had come out on top.
''By eck!'' He said abruptly, his Yorkshire dialect unrestrained, ''that bloody urt''
''Sorry'' said the nurse, as she lay aside the syringe, checking, before she drew back the curtains around his bed, that he was covered.
''It'll only sting for a moment'' she said as she walked away, her smile changing slowly to a grin.
Archived comments for A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Romany on 2004-02-11 09:01:00
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Nice twist!

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-11 14:01:04
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Thank you Romany for your short, but supportive comment.

Author's Reply:

OolonColoophid on 2004-02-17 11:50:19
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Hmm. I'm not sure if you're being ironic or not - but a nice little scenette. Did you mean for me to laugh when the guy says "By 'eck"? A bit like that old Boddingtons advert. I liked the piece generally - but I would remove the 'battle of the sexes' line, which I think is overstating it a bit. But quite enjoyable.

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-17 14:13:11
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Hello OolonColoopid (Phew)
This was a little aside following a short stay in 'Jimmy's'.
You might say it was autobiographical as I was inspired to put down my thoughts after a needle was stuck into my back side.
Of course Boddingtons have given the phrase a focus, but here in Yorkshire some people still say 'By eck' (Not me though) and yes, I hope that readers will laugh - or at least smile - at the idea. Just a bit of fun, but thanks for your kind words
PS The nurse was a darling: but aren't they all?

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-17 14:14:53
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Hello OolonColoopid (Phew)
This was a little aside following a short stay in 'Jimmy's'.
You might say it was autobiographical as I was inspired to put down my thoughts after a needle was stuck into my back side.
Of course Boddingtons have given the phrase a focus, but here in Yorkshire some people still say 'By eck' (Not me though) and yes, I hope that readers will laugh - or at least smile - at the idea. Just a bit of fun, but thanks for your kind words
PS The nurse was a darling: but aren't they all?

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-17 14:17:48
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Sorry folks - I double clicked by mistake

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-02-17 15:04:03
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
By the eck lad, that were funny.

I did work with a Yorkshireman who eck and by the eck in every sentence. That was a definite lol bit of writing. The twist was excellent

Author's Reply:

OolonColoophid on 2004-02-17 16:41:14
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Darlings the lot of them, even when they don't have needles 🙂

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-18 09:37:52
Re: A touch of 'Yorkshire' fancy
Thank you so much. It's great when an occasional 'ecky thump' hits the spot, with or without some help from Boddintons

Author's Reply:


Altered Ego's (posted on: 09-02-04)
A young man and a young woman meet when they are involved in a road accident. After the anger and recriminations they start to 'notice' each other. Is this the start of a new romance; or is it something else altogether?

Maurice stood at the corner, gazing idly at the traffic as it poured out of the narrow opening on his left. Three lines of continuous movement emerged from the tight confines of the old narrow street, through the ancient arch and then into the relative freedom of the junction and then the open road. It was a blur of sound and movement as each vehicle tried to stick to the one in front as if by some invisible binding. They stayed as close as possible to avoid, or rather to beat, the guillotine blade which would fall when the traffic lights changed, ready to chop off the emerging jet of colour in its tracks. He half closed his eyes and imagined the stream of striped toothpaste from an unseen giant tube being squeezed by an unseen giant hand, then splitting into its separate colours as it emerged, mysteriously and with never-ending certainty, it divided into three directions, as each car followed its route.
Then, as the lights change from green to red and the blade falls, the surge is stopped and no more cars emerge. The tail end of each spurt hurriedly snakes itself away, lest it is swept into the path of a different emission coming with little warning from either side. The drivers of the last vehicles to get through are now relaxing their grips on the steering wheel, and the tenseness in their body, glad that this time they had made it, while those whose whiskers were cut of by the blade, are now cursing their misfortune, and the loss of a hundred and fifty seconds of their live's before that giant hand once again squeezes their tube.
Maurice had stood there, and at many other similar places, lots of times, and the look of bemused pleasure on his face seemed never to leave him.
''Je suis stupfie, pardon; it never ceases to amaze me" he said to group of passing youths, on their way home from school, and preparing any minute now, to chance their lives at the crossing.
They all ignored him, and when he called out a moment later "OK to cross now children" they ignored him again.
"Ce qui elles savant?" he said out loud, but his words were intended only for his own ears, beneath a rather fancy hat. ''What do they know'' he said again, more quietly, with a smile, and a little wave of his hand.
The youngsters decided to charge, late as it happened, for the lights were changing as they made their move and three lanes of roaring engines and squealing tires were hurtling towards them.
Maurice smiled. He knew they would make it, pulling out a piece of paper from his inside pocket and giving it a quick glance. As the last one scrambled to safety, he smiled again.
"Non'' he muttered, folding the paper and returning it to its place of safety "no teenagers on my list, just a young man, and a young lady ''and only in their twenties I see!''
Many people were around him as he chatted to himself, but none of them seemed to notice this decidedly well dressed, if slightly odd looking, middle aged man; or indeed, his slightly odd behavior. At least no-one showed any particular interest. Rather like the way that no-one bothers any more at people using mobile phones.
"Only fourteen seconds" he said " I wonder who the other side have sent" he paused a moment as he recalled "Yes that's right, last time I was on this pitch it was one of Lincoln's generals, and his trainee, a Bosnian freedom fighter.
He stood up straight 'Two seconds'' he muttered, just as the imaginary guillotine fell to make its cut in the traffic which was still being squeezed remorselessly through the ancient gateway.
Maurice looked on impassively as one car, after all the others had stopped, squeezed out at speed from the right hand lane into the no-mans-land in the centre of the junction, desperately trying to catch up its predecessor. At the same time, the first driver in the waiting queue on the right, made her move too quickly, anxious no doubt to get home, to prepare the prepacked evening meal, so that she could be out on the town as soon as possible.
Inevitably they hit in the middle, and as they were both driving with their foot down, their impact was spectacular, and decidedly messy.
Maurice stepped forward at once, and as he did so he saw from the other side of the road his old adversary General Nathan Spencer, coming to join him in the middle of the road.
The other man raised his hand in greeting. "Good evening Maurice" he said "how are you today?"
"Mon Ami" Maurice replied, ''comment ally-vous'' and managed a little bow without actually stopping. He did not want 'his friend' to gain an advantage, "I see you are on your own today"
"Yes, yes, these are busy times, and there never seems to be enough of us, what with cut backs and ... well you know how it is''
They reached the two crashed cars together, and simultaneously reached in and pulled out the dazed and somewhat surprised occupants, taking them to the side of the road.
The young man, Maurice's charge, was angry, ignoring for a moment the helping hand.
"Did you see that? The silly bitch, look what she's done to my car''
By this time the 'silly bitch' was out and was equally vocal.
"You jumped the lights, are you insane?"
"What do you mean, I jumped the lights, it was you! Your lights were still at red when you set off"
''Your lights had changed to red when you went through, and I've got a date'' she added rather ineffectually.
"I did not, I was on the amber - you shot off far too soon - just look at the mess; and how am I going to get home now?''
"Well I hope ... '' her protest tailed off to a sigh ''What a mess'' she added, her eyes filling up.
By this time Maurice and Nathan had come together, and were quietly watching the little pantomime.
"It's always the same" Nathan observed, smiling
"Ah' wee " agreed Maurice " It's a new age - ils nesont pas civilises'' he said, slipping once more, as he was apt to do, into his natural language ''peopled aren't civilized any more"
Maurice and Nathan were sworn enemies, being emissaries from the two opposite camps, but they had been coming together like this for so many years that they had long ago stopped acting like it.
"You're right, people should learn how to behave, show a little decorum, behave like us don't you think?"
"I sometimes wonder where it will end my friend ... vous le croire - but oh dear, just listen to them"
"You're right'' the General said again, ''and we haven't got to the crunch yet"
He burst out laughing and Maurice smiled politely.
"I'm sorry Maurice, I say it every tine but it still breaks me up"
"Maurice gave the smallest of bows, a little gesture to his 'friend', waiting patiently as he acknowledged the joke he had heard so many times before. He reflected for a moment on Nathan's colourful past. He had come from poor farming stock. but in the war of independence he had found an outlet for the roughneck aspect in his character, and he had risen quickly through the ranks.
" Just listen to them and they still haven't noticed" he said, still chuckling.
"And as soon as I can I'll be calling the police'' the young man was shouting ''I'll not let you get away with this".
"I'm not getting away with anyt ..."
There she stopped in mid sentence as they heard the familiar sound of, and then saw; swinging round the corner, an ambulance.
So busy had they been shouting at each other that they had not noticed the large number of people who had collected around the two cars, both bearing much evidence of the crash, both embedded one with the other, as in some abstract mating ritual.
Neither had they noticed the arrival of the policeman, who was doing his best to keep the traffic moving to avoid gridlock.
Both of the young drivers stopped shouting, aware that something was a little odd, yet not quite being able to put their finger on it.
It was the man who spoke first.
"No one has been to see us, to ask how we are, or spoken to these gentlemen who helped us out of the cars. And I wonder why they sent for the ambulance"
"Yes it is very odd'' she agreed, not quite as confident as he, for she was thinking of something else.
''We have been very rude'' she said. ''Neither of us has said thank you to these two kind men for helping us. We might have been hurt"
She gave the two saviors a big smile, and said "Thank you gentlemen, that was very gallant of you
"A pleasure my dear" answered the American, ''General Nathaniel William Brown Maam, always willing to help a damsel in distress - and a gentleman as well" he added, turning a little to face the young man.
"Ma cherri mademoiselle" said the French man, ''Maurice Cordellier; I am delighted to be of service'' melting at her smile, as only a Frenchman can, ''so beautiful; and so handsome" he mouthed almost silently, as he placed the gentlest of kisses on the back of the young ladies hand and gave a little bow to the young man.
The young lady looked at the young man, noticing, perhaps for the first time that he was actually quite good looking and smart.
"How are you anyway?, are you hurt?"she asked
"No, not a bit; now about you?"
She smiled as he asked, and he in turn noticed that his 'victim' was in fact a very pretty young lady who he would have been very happy to have met in more agreeable circumstances.
''Not a scratch as far as I can tell'' she answered, still smiling.
At least they had stopped shouting at each other.
"We both seem to have been very lucky not to have been hurt, when you look at the cars"
Not that you could see much of them, what with all the people standing about. There were lots of bystanders, quite a few policemen now, more ambulance men - another one had turned up - as had a fire engine with half a dozen firemen who were trying to force their way into the cars.
But it had to said that they were very puzzled.
''I can't understand what is going on.'' the young man said ''Surely they saw us getting out of the cars, and another thing'' he lowered his voice a little. ''what about these two characters; don't you think that they're a bit weird?''
''I must admit they do look a bit odd ... how come we didn't notice before?''
The young man spoke up. ''I don't know but I'm jolly well going to find out; right now!''
With that he turned to face them.
''What's with you guys; is it some kind of fancy dress?'' he called ''what's the deal?''
''What's the deal?'' General Brown repeated, standing up straight with full military bearing, and sounding not a little angry ''I'll tell you what the deal is ... ''
But he was interrupted by his friend Maurice.
''Calme vous-mme Nathan, don't upset yourself, I am sure our young friend did not mean to offend you'' But then he turned and looked at the young man ''but what is this robe de fantasize; this, what you call it 'fancy dress'?'' he brushed the sleve of his suede jacket, and straightened a couple of feathers in his hat. ''my dress is not fancy''
Now it was the General's turn to interrupt ''It's something that came in after us Maurice, I'll tell you later'' Nathan whispered.
Now he addressed the young couple.
''In my day I cut quite a dash, I can tell you. I wore my uniform with pride until a cursed Confederate fighter put a musket ball through my chest. It was never the same after that'' he indicated with his finger where a feeble attempt at darning had been made.
Standing upright, still proud, he waited for a response, but the couple, nonplused, could think of none.
''And I do not think I am the least bit weird'' said the Frenchman ''I was a chef de mode; always admired and welcome at court''
''Until they cut your head off'' Nathan interjected, with a big smile.
''That was something of a disadvantage I will grant you'' Maurace conceeded ''but I did get the blood off''
''That's enough'' the young man shouted, then turned to the girl ''I can't stand any more of this, either they're nuts or we're on candid camera. I'm going to have a word with that policeman ... my name is John by the way - are you coming with me?''
"Yes, I'll come too, and my name is Jane"
Nathan gave Maurice a shrug. Maurice responded with a slightly strained smile for they knew that despite all their experience, all their years as escorts, they were coming to the part they liked least of all.
John and Jane reached the people surrounding their cars and were surprised at something they hadn't noticed it before.
The noise. People shouting. Some kind of machine whirring. A big noise from the fire engine, though just what it was wasn't clear.
They tried to get through but they didn't seem to be able to make any of the people move, and with all the noise the policeman didn't seem to hear them calling.
Suddenly there was a shout.
"Clear the way, lets have some room here" a police man was calling as two medics emerged from Jane's car, its top now cut open like a corned beef tin, carrying a stretcher bearing the body of a very attractive blonde young lady.
"About twenty I would say; wonder who she is?" one of the medics said.
"Nice looking lass too, well at least she was, before this. Until we find out, put her down as Jane Doe"
They followed the stretcher as the medics put the body in the ambulance, and they heard one of them say quietly ''Here you are John Doe, some company for you''
The cold silent face of the young man on the opposite side of the ambulance made no response.
John and Jane turned away from the crowd shocked and silent, and walked back to where Maurice and Nathan were waiting for them. Neither of them could speak; dismayed at what they had seen, and at what they had now learned.
Maurice, ever the gentleman geld out his hand to Jane.
"If only'' he seemed stuck for the right words ''un autre manre, there was another way" he said
"Nathan patted John gently on the shoulder.
"It's always a shock, and I've seen plenty" he said in an accent which was of the federal south. "It never get's any easier"
"What do we do now?" it was John who asked, dazed and bewildered, but it could have been either of them.
"Oh' that's the easy bit, now that we've got 'that' over with" Nathan said in an unhurried casual kind of way, and gestured towards the wrecks. ''we'll take you on from here to where you have to go''
"Will we be going together" Jane asked, a little frightened, taking hold of John's hand.
"No, I'm afraid that won't be possible" said Nathan firmly, in a tone which seemed slightly uncaring.
"Why not" asked John abruptly, wanting to support Jane, to whom he was beginning to take a bit of a fancy.
"Puits que vois voyes; le problme est" the Frenchman paused. He had never quite enjoyed being the bringer of bad news, "The problem is you see, that you are not going to the same place"

Archived comments for Altered Ego's
uppercase on 2004-02-20 09:11:59
Re: Altered Ego's
I don't usually read anything over a thousand words because I have a short attention span. I couldn't stop reading this one. It should be an episode on the program Dead Like Me.that we see here in the US. I liked it a lot and look forward to reading more of your work...Erma

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 2004-02-27 07:40:09
Re: Altered Ego's
Thanks Erma. I enjoyed writing this, and I liked the idea that it was never made clear which escort took which took which of the two characters.
(I don't know either!)
Thank you for your support.
Michael

Author's Reply: