One saw-edged slice of paper on finger and a drop of blood sits ready squeezed on the surface of the skin.
Fat and glistening and red-black. A ladybird.
I could flick it away – send it flying across the room to land wings outspread on the wall.
I could squash it – crush the hemisphere on a piece of paper and see what Rorschach splat appears.
I could.
But instead, I suck my fingertip to taste the ferrous tang of blood on tongue like one of my grandmother’s old spoons or a nine volt battery as I short circuit the juice of life.

The Immortal Budgie

Mrs Pargeter lived in 32B with an immortal budgie called Bob.
He was yellow and green and chirruped at odd intervals as though passing comment on the old woman’s behaviour. He would swing manically back and forth on a trapeze looking for the catcher in his dirty hexagonal prism mirror. The floor of his cage was littered with feathers, poo and Trill. He lived his lives behind thin, plastic coated wire bars.
Every now and then Bob died, the cage got a scrub in hot soapy water and a new Bob moved in.
Much, thought Mrs P., like Flat 32B.

Treason – A very British point of view

It stands to reason that where there is treason
There’s mistrust, suspicion and doubt
If you suffer temptation to damage the nation
I strongly suggest : leave it out

It’s really no mystery why all throughout history
Treason would earn you the rope
If the law of the land goes and falls at your hand
I very much doubt we would cope

We’re British we two, and the things that we do
and the thoughts that we think are alright
These are rights we enjoy, every girl every boy
And to mess with that’s just impolite


In the grounds of the Children’s Benevolent Trust was a large pond, cupped by willows on three sides, creating a curtain of green and willow-white. It was under this curtain that the warden Mrs Chattenoire hid her refrigeration unit – a small diesel engine that pumped heat from the pond, leaching it of vital centigrades. As a result, there was always a layer of ice on the surface – thick enough to hold the first few steps of a curious child, but thin enough to crack and swallow them whole.
“That ice” chuckled Mrs Chattenoire, “is mostly malice.”


Nonunhappiness. A deadened, dulled state of existing not living, where the horror of unhappy is avoided at the cost of happy.
Two thirds of the way through every romantic comedy is the part where it’s all going wrong, where I hug a cushion and yell “No ! No ! No !” at the screen and my wife laughs at me for taking it all so seriously.
But without the cushiongrabbing moment there is no heartfilling, triumphal “Yes !”

Wrestling against the edges of emotion is pinning your life to the mat shouting “Submit !”
Through gritted teeth I shout “No ! No ! No !”

Twelfth Night – Misunderstanding

These were written for the #SmallTales writing challenge on Twitter.
In celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and because the lovely @LiterallyGeeked who runs the show is a professional Wagstaffian, the triggers for this month are Shakespeare plays and a theme word.
I couldn’t decide whether to end on a positive note or not, so I’ll let you choose according to your mood !

If music be the food of love play on
But careful how you choose your lover’s fare
The melodies you love alone may on
Occasion drive your loved one to despair

“Play on” I say but just don’t make me dance
It’s likelier to piss off than inspire
Most likely it would just reduce my chance
Whose heart is captured watching me perspire ?

On second thoughts don’t play for goodness sake
The permutations are too hard to see
The whole thing may just be a big mistake
Love’s labour lost by errors aurally
Perhaps I’m over-thinking, it has oft
Been said of me I doubt humanity
Her ardent heart by music be wrought soft
Miss Right might be Miss Understanding see ?

The Forecast’s Reign

100 words for #SmallTales (temporarily #ShakespeareTales) on the Scottish play and the word ‘Prophecy’

A witches’ tale of ill starr’d prophecy
of Mac the soldier and his rise in life
to Thane of Cawdor then becoming King:
A man who listened closely to his wife.
He murdered Duncan, then had Banquo killed,
Whose ghost would shake his mind and make him rant.
Then witches once again the future tell
Macduff, a fatal arrow set in flight.
The Lady Mac, her bloodstained hands lie still
Macbeth in Dunsinane believes he’s safe
Yet Birnam Wood approaches with Macduff
of woman cut not born. Macbeth is slain
And where the forecasts end is Malcolm’s reign


100 words for #SmallTales on the keyword ‘dimple’

A blemish. A deviation from the norm.
The otherwise smooth surface marred by a pinch point.
And yet this place, this space, this void in her cheek, this is where my focus falls.
This hollow fills her face with beauty.
Without this lack, she is merely pretty: forgettable, anonymous.
Just one more red rose on the crowded flower stall – the only thing wrong with it ?
Nothing wrong with it.
With a dimple, a kink, she becomes fascinating.
My eye can’t help but return to the point, again and again.
She should probably have got a less obsessive plastic surgeon.


100 words for #SmallTales on the keyword ‘shrink’

I was bigger when I was four.

I was a dinosaur hunter, an astronaut, I single-handedly tamed the Wild West. In the morning, while painting my third artwork of the day, I would relate how the knight in the picture (me) slew the fearsome dragon.
Half an hour later I would be a tiger, prowling the jungles of India and my ROAR could be heard throughout the land.

This morning though I am an ant in a suit on a train going to the ant city to work.
I didn’t grow up, I just shrank.


100 words on the keyword ‘capacity‘ for #SmallTales

It occurred to George as he prepared his latest robot, that people often confuse the words ‘capacity’ and ‘volume’.
Not just his physics pupils messing about with water containers, but ordinary people messing about with love.
Jenny had been described as having ‘a great capacity for love’ as if that meant she had a lot of love to give.
In truth it meant she had a large space for love which she expected someone to fill.
The volume of love she had to give seemed … scant.
Humans were so hard to measure accurately.
Perhaps Jenny Mk. 2 would fare better.