Jude

Popshot Quarterly 20 (2018) pp 62-67

When my wife handed me the telephone, saying there was a strange woman wanting to speak to me, I experienced one of those inexplicable insights that occur to all of us from time to time, and which have no satisfactory explanation.

'Is her name Jude?' I asked, already knowing the answer.

 

 

Brightly Shining

Prole 25 (2018) pp 31-42

The Websters were a rough family. There was no getting away from it. We were a bad lot, we were trouble, we were the kind of people parents told their children to steer clear of, to have nothing to do with. Noisy neighbours. Always up to no good. In America, we'd have been called white trash or trailer trash.

 

The Beautiful Game

Sentinel Literary Quarterly (April-June 2018) pp 71-81

He was one of the most assured players I've ever seen. Duncan Lacey had it all. Speed, balance, vision, and above all, time on the ball. Even as a youngster, his maturity set him apart from the rest of the squad. At twelve, he was holding his own with the fifteen and sixteen-year-olds. At seventeen, he was in the first team. Some of the older, seasoned professionals tried to intimidate him, but soon stopped when they realised the extent of his talent.

 

Snow

Crackers: An Anthology (Bridge House 2018) pp 149-158

Whenever the snow fell, he remembered a time from his childhood. Alastair Beech was fourteen years old when his parents decided to move from their three-bedroomed, terraced house near the town centre to a four-bedroomed, double-fronted, detached house in a new housing development on the site of an old convent just half a mile away.

Saying Sorry

Bandit Fiction 6 (2019) pp 28-33

As the years have multiplied, so too have my regrets...slowly at first, then more rapidly, and finally in a rush that threatens sometimes to overwhelm me. I've come to realise, with increasing sadness, that over the seventy-five years of my life, I have slighted, offended, betrayed, disappointed or abandoned scores, perhaps hundreds, of people who did nothing to deserve such treatment. 'All writers are vain, selfish and lazy' - that was Orwell's conclusion. And I wouldn't argue with him.

After Work Drinks

Bandit Fiction 6 (2019) pp 101-110

When Clive saw Erica standing at the bar, he was uncertain whether to approach her. He watched as she ordered a large glass of white wine - Pinot Grigio? Sauvignon Blanc? - and carried it, deftly weaving a path through the knots of early evening drinkers, to a solitary table in a quiet corner of the room. She hooked her handbag over the back of the chair and started to read the newspaper that had been tucked under her left arm.

Dog

Aloe 1 (2020) pp 34-37

I wanted him to live forever. But he couldn’t and he didn’t. I called him for his afternoon walk, and when he didn’t come trotting through the house to the front door I went looking for him. He was in the garden, lying in a pool of sunlight. I knelt beside him and stroked his neck.

Au Cafe De La Mairie

Sentinel Literary Quarterly (June-September 2020) pp 45-52

'Est-ce que je peux m'asseoir ici, Monsieur?'

I looked up to see a smartly-dressed woman in her mid-thirties standing before me. She was wearing a black trouser-suit and dazzling white blouse. Beneath her outsize sunglasses her features were unremarkable, but the glorious, blazing red hair that fell below her shoulders attracted envious and admiring glances from the other customers - men and women - sitting at the nearby tables under the pavement awning.

Birthday Story

Fiction Pool (September 2020)  pp 1-3

As lunchtime approached on the day of her husband’s forty-fifth birthday, the prospect of the empty afternoon ahead decided Jan to contact one of her two lovers. Having one lover (she knew from experience) was too restrictive; having two gave her an element of choice; having three (again, she knew from experience) was far too unwieldy and led to complications. She stepped over her discarded underwear tossed carelessly around the floor, lay back in the bath, and weighed up the merits of each. 

The Island (1)

Climate Matters (Riptide/Culture Matters 2020) pp 113-118

This part of the island had stuck doggedly to the ancient traditions of 

its agricultural past and, although its inhabitants were often derided

for an unwillingness to move with the times, or a reluctance to embrace

new opportunities, or any number of additional perceived deficiencies,

the spectacular beauty of the land and the evident contentment of the

people who lived there were powerful rejoinders to those who sought

to introduce or encourage change.

What's In A Name?

Secret Attic 6 (2020) pp 51-53

There's not much to tell really, but before I explain what happened,

there are two things you need to know about Jacko. First, he's very 

good-looking...no, not just good-looking - really handsome. Tall,

dark and handsome. Like a Mediterranean-style Latin lover. Or a

movie star.

Benno, Trippi & Benno

Litro (February 2021) pp 1-6

Yes, come on in...I have a little time to talk, before I'm needed. And

I know you must have many questions. Perhaps the best way to

answer them is to tell you my story. You might think it a strange

tale, but here, now, today, I have to say it seems to me entirely

natural.

Sithifricker

Black Lives Anthology (Nottingham Writers Studio 2021) pp 279-290

I was twelve years old when Adrian Wicks came to our school in the Autumn of 1962.

'It says here, Wicks,' said Kerr, our form master and Physics teacher, 'you're from Durban. Is that correct?'

'Yes, sir.'

'And where is that, might I ask?'

'Sithifricker, sir.'

Kite In the Sky

Riffs 5.1 (2021) pp 14-18

I was born in the 1970s and grew from childhood into adolescence and adulthood to the accompaniment of all the unruly music of the next twenty years - heavy metal, punk, new wave, disco, reggae, grunge. I bought lots of records and, over time, changed from a mere purchaser into an enthusiastic collector. Only of vinyl. Music on vinyl has a texture, a sound of its own, quite different from the clinical perfection of a CD.

The Island (2)

Aliens Anthology (Iron Press 2021) pp 30-35

There was nobody left alive who could remember their coming, but the

legends told that they had arrived from the East in small boats. Hoping

for nothing more than a safe refuge, they were unprepared for the hostility

that their language and their appearance provoked. They opposed all

attempts to disperse them around the country, and were eventually

resettled on a small, unpopulated island and left to fend for themselves.

Not Guilty

The Frogmore Papers 98 (2021) pp 8-11

It all began when Robert Dixon came to school one day wearing a denim 

shirt. In the Lower Sixth, the rules on dress were relaxed and we were

exempted from the standard uniform of maroon blazer, white cotton shirt, 

school tie and grey flannel trousers. That's not to say we could wear whatever we wanted. Far from it.

The New Guitar

Spellbinder 4 (2021) pp 94-103

If there'd been a decent film on at the cinema or an interesting

documentary on television, I wouldn't have gone. But there wasn't, and

rather than spend yet another quiet evening in, I decided to go along to a 

folk club that had recently opened. I was never a true folkie - my musical

tastes are much more eclectic - and there were some things about folk

clubs I didn't particularly enjoy.

Robbie

The Year's Best Dog Stories 2021 (Secant publishing) pp 143-156

Derek and Marjorie Brough would probably never have met had they not

shared the same birthday. In the early 1960s, they joined Birmingham's

18 Plus group. Both were new to the city (Derek from Somerset, Marjorie

from Norfolk), both were living in digs, and both were happy to respond

to the promise of regular meetings with other young adults in a range of

social and educational activities. They believed it would be good for them.

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