The Photograph

Every morning, your photo sits with me at my desk.

I see you every time I look up from my writing; it focuses me more.

The whole essence of the photographxnovel is centred on you and how your future entwines with me. The block is gone and I now keep writing.

Events from the past fall in to build the backstory as you reminisce the currency of your new being. The phantom fox extends this into extended possibilities as you are chased across the pages. Nothing is clear until the turn and your true personality explodes into driving new chapters. I couldn’t see this before, but now the photo takes me onwards.

In the evening, the photograph is bathed by the side light.

I watch it as the darkness fills my room and colours my words. The pages develop into where we should be, where we should end, but the means is lacking somewhat and I am at a loss.

The writing stops and I look at you glowing from the photo and colouring my study brown. I have difficulty thinking on, as the world is brown. My heavy eyes see little, so I rest.

The coffee is bitter as it descends my oesophagus to the sharp pains of my continued affliction. I sip some more and suffer in the pause.

The flaming fire burns at me as I huddle closer, peering into the flames that flicker scenes and characters across the coals. The fleeting glimpses miss my mind as they play like clouds on a summer’s day, but do not rest long enough to form enough thought.

I look back at the desk and your photo still stares at me, haunting me across the room.

The ending waits as I finish my coffee and take a stiff one from the decanter. The pain jabs me as it goes down; like a stabbing dagger landing in my gut.

I see you cutting there. I see you jabbing over a lifetime of indiscretions as the cuts afirere felt. There is only one way to go and I see it happening to the end. I take the photo from the frame and throw it in the fire and for a time you look back at me as the edges smoulder and burn. The image lasts for what seems an age until you are gone and I poke you into the coal and dust.

I lift my pen and you are again there; driving me.

You take me to the last chapter. The building is on fire and you rescue all from the inferno, but leave me stuck in the study, grinding out the final words of the story. I look up and see you in the doorway fighting to get in, screaming at me. I grimace and hold my stomach. A falling beam crashes down and pins me to the floor and forever my pain disappears. No words are left to give.


Anything You Want


Sale Picture

All over the shop window were plastered notices proclaiming the Shoe Sale. Bob hesitated for a moment then joined the bustling throng within.

Bob moved on into the area for men’s’ shoes and gazed at the array before him. He didn’t know where to start. Soon he was cornered by a shop assistant.

“What can I help you with?” said the assistant.

“Well….” said Bob.

“Colour?” said the assistant.

“Well.…” said Bob.

“Black or Brown?”

“Any,” said Bob.

“What style suits?”

“Well, any,” said Bob.

“Any particular size?”



Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area

A wry smile flickers across Alan’s face. His arms folded, pressed against his store-issued fleece.

‘Martin…pssst Martin’ he hisses.

Martin, crouching by the vegetable aisle, looks up to see Alan gesturing wildly at him to come over.

‘What is it?’

‘Shhh…’ smiles Alan, ‘listen, that old lady over there…she’s chatting with the self-service machine.’

‘She bloody is too…’ smirks Martin.

I know they’re talking about me. Those boys over there. That’s ok though. They can’t see you, can’t hear you like I can.

I’ll keep coming though.

Keep talking.

Every day.

Until we’re back together again.

The Journey

Ambling lazily as usual, I rested for a moment on the crumbling dry stone dyke and watched clouds gather. I turned the flowers in my hand over once more, examining them closely. Would she like them? Would the rain start before I got there? Would I manage back up the hill at all? Did it matter?

I heard the bells of the old church chime eleven times. One more to go, I thought.

When I got there, I laid the flowers down, where none were there before and said my last farewell. It was time to go, rest in peace.

A Kind of Magic


Fringe time again and Angela was on my back.

“I need you to take me somewhere different this year. Something with an atmosphere that’s rich and meaty, but with a magical focus to it. You can manage that can’t you? The city is teaming with venues and hundreds of shows filling them,” said Angela. She hung up and my head was free once more.

I decided that I better get on with it. There were only three weeks and the first shows had started. First I needed a programme. I found my sunglasses and walked down along the Water of Leith, near the art galleries, passing the weir to the West End.

Edinburgh was in its best cosmopolitan month and steps had to be taken to avoid the throng. I crossed into Lothian Road and skirted the castle, ascending up to the top of the Royal Mile. I avoided the scary impression of Mel Gibson in drag and the pipers then passed Deacon Brodie’s near the High Court. The end was in my sight as I collected show leaflets by the dozen on my way to the Fringe Festival centre.

I secured the brochure and went across the bridge to Café Royal and some sanity; only the most searching tourist finds this place. I now had a pint of Kilburn, a magnificent cheese platter and the brochure. Searching began.

The comedy shows seemed to be a main focus; rich and meaty. It took me to ‘J’ before the answer stared me in the eye; Jerry Sadowitz Britain’s Top Magician. I read on.

An aggressive stand-up, and accomplished close-up magician, Sadowitz made his name by bristling with anger, much of it vented at the right-on comedy circuit around him and the audiences who came to see it. He famously opened the Montreal comedy festival with the line “Hello, moose-fuckers” and was promptly knocked unconscious.

‘Great, that’ll sort Angela out. She seems to be a bit pruddy,’ I thought and ordered another Kilburn. In time, I made my way along George Street to the Assembly Rooms and bought tickets for next Saturday.

I texted Angela; Booked great magician for next Saturday. Need to get there early as front seats are essential. 

Saturday came and I met Angela at The Dome. We love that place and again wondered at its excellent architecture. After a few drinks we left behind the Doric columns and walked the short distance to the Assembly Rooms. The queue for Jerry was already growing.

Even I was a bit taken back by Jerry’s entrance. In his black attire, he came forward, looked at everyone and announced, “I was at a gay bar today. Well I am in Edinburgh.”

A series of thought evoking foul and pseudo-racist rants preceded a magnificent performance of outstanding magic. More jokes ended the show.

I looked at Angela, who was seriously focused.

‘Oh hell,’ I thought.

“What did you think?” I said.

“Different,” said Angela. “Really fecking magic. No disappointment there.”




On Display

Aug2017I’d been doing this for years. Years! Ever since I left school and old Mr Withers took me in as a young shop assistant, first working in shoes, then shirts, and finally suits. I like a good tailored suit and I’m really good at what I do, everyone always says so.

‘Why don’t you modernise the window display?’, says Mike – I have a degree – married into the family – Arsehole McManus.

‘What’s wrong with it?’, I ask, ‘it’s showing the range of suits we have’. What more could we do and what was ‘modernising’ a display all about anyway?

So he brings in young Larry, who still sucks his thumb, on day release from art college or somewhere useless like that. And Larry creates this window montage of random mess, as if that’s how men keep their rooms these days. It was an insult.

I felt sorry when Larry’s body was discovered, not for Larry, obviously, but his mum on the telly looked really distraught. Apparently his head was all caved in as though smashed by a brick. They never did find the murder weapon.