J is for Janice

J is for Janice From the day she was born, Janice was given everything she wanted. She didn’t need to cry for too long before either her doting father or loving mother would be at her side, fussing over her with reassuring words of comfort and kisses on her forehead. From this moment on Janice knew that she was a very special person and because of that she could have Read more

I is for Impossible

I is for impossible. Having blown out her one hundred candles, with a slight relieve that her dentures didn’t come flying out covering the butter icing, Alice was quite exhausted and glad to be back in the solitary of her room, where she lit up a stogie and sat back in her chair. As much as everyone had made a great fuss over her centenary birthday, with just as many making Read more

H is for Hipster

H is for Hipster. The reason the new eatery stood out so much to Donald, was its choice of setting up shop in a part of town where the most exotic experience to be had was a mangey charity shop for a local cat charity. But that’s how these Hipster cafe’s start isn’t it, they move into a place with low rent and once they are established others move in. Read more

G is for Glenn

G is for Glenn. I’ve always loved horror stories. Skeletons have been at the forefront. I had a full size paper, glow in the dark skeleton and then a bit later the poster on the opposite side of my bed was of a skeleton on a motorbike, which I thought was great! I think i got it after seeing th esketon riding a motoabike in the Hammer Horror, Doctor, Terrors, Read more

F is for Fur

F is for Fur. Roger lay in bed, every time he opened his eyes the room span madly making him shut his eyes tight again. Downstairs he could hear the others getting on and knew that he too had to get up. Ever so gradually, Roger held both hands tight round his face as he lifted his head off the pillow. With his eyes still tightly shut he made the familiar Read more

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Gay Icons: Saluting the Sissy

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First published in www.gscene.com 01/01/2017:

Happy New Year! If I close my eyes I can take myself right back to living at home with my Nana and Sister, laughing at the campness of the likes of Larry Grayson (Shut that Door) and John Inman (I’m Free!) which we all really loved. As I got a bit older, these two characters where lambasted by right-on gay men, with cries that they did not represent the gay community. My guess was that it was never their intention, they were just being themselves, doing their job. There was further outcry that their characters were deemed safe’ to be on the telly as they were both sexless. I think if anyone bothered to re-watch a few episodes of Larry Grayson’s stand up performances they’d see plenty of sexual innuendo going on with his references to his postman, Pop it In Pete, or his more romantic suggestions with his song, My Friend Everard (get-it?) Is More Then A Friend To Me.th-1
Of course the writers of Our You Being Served and John Inmman both said the character, Mr Humpries wasn’t gay, the gag was the same with Mrs Slocombe was genuinely about her cat each time she mentioned her pussy, to do otherwise was to ruin the magicial nod, nod, wink wink on which the series was famed for. For me, I recognised the gay ellement in John Inman’s character and connected with that. I clearly remember sitting up straight when watching an episode of Are You Being Served, whth-3en John Inman suddenly popped out of a Wendy House, alongside a gorgeous bloke dressed up as a sailor, sporting a black beard…maybe that’s when my fixation with bearded men first began. To me, both these men are gay icons, along with the brilliant Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams aka Julian and Sandy (Ohh, how Bona!)

Sure, it would have been great to have a more diverse set of gay characters on the TV/radio but back then, and for a good while after, camp men where the only visible gays out there; the alternative would be guilt ridden stereotypes, I know which ones I prefer.
Another favourite gay icon of mine is Quentin Crisp. When I was eighteen, I saw Crisp’s autobiography TV drama, The Naked Civil Servant in which Crisp describes how he wanted to make his homosexuality, ‘abundantly clear’, by hennaing his hairand painting his nails red, even though such acts made him the target of homophobia. Crisp’s bravery made me all the more determined to be a happy, out, gay man.

Around this time, early 1980’s, there came a new influx of ballsie gay/bi men via the music scene, including: Marc Almond, Boy George, Marilyn, Pete Burns; these guys where ‘out there’ with their looks, but I was really drawn to the likes of Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford (Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and theth-5 trio from Bronski Beat, Jimmy Someville, Larry Stienbachek and Steve Bronski. Frankie for their sexually explicit lyrics and video for Relax and Bronski Beat for their many unashamedly political gay songs, from Small Town Boy, Why and It Ain’t Necessarily So.th-6 th-7

These musicians may name check, David Bowie as a major influence, but it is the likes of Grayson, Inmanand Crisp who way before them were shaking up the norm, paving the way for other peacocks to shine. However, there’s a section of society both LGBT and straight who find camp men offensive. I recently saw the Play, Boys in The Band  (see clips from the movie) that shows that although we can all be a bit camp, it is very easy to turn on the sissy. I personally salute the sissy, the camp man, the queer. What isn’t right is that there is still very little acknowledgement for these camp men’s (as Ru Paul would say) “Charisma, uniqueness, th-8nerve and talent”. They may not have seen themselves as queer pioneers but without them this world would most certainly be a much less interesting place.

for more camp:The Queens of Camp Comedy

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Writing Everyday In October: Childhood Memory

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Describe the clearest, most vivid memory of your childhood – a moment that has stayed with you for life.

I just have to close my eyes and I can see it, this tall blue box, not unlike Doctor Who’s, TARDIS, standing proudly at the top of the stairs of my Nana’s house. I must have been a bout five or six years old, but even today as I sit here typing, I can see that blue box very clearly.

Standing either side of the blue box are my Nana’s neighbours, Dot and Harry Scott, I cannot remember their features, but a memory recalls that they both looked lovely, smily people, straight out of a 1950’s advert. The two things I remember about Dot and Harry Scott is that Harry died young and Dot woke up one day to find her eyelashes had turned painfully inward.

But before that time, before they left to live somewhere else, they had given me this blue box, a wardrobe.

That night I dreamt about them standing on the top of the stairs, smiling. I was at the very bottom of the stairs, looking up, watching them open the wardrobe door, their smiles getting larger and larger. Then out of the wardrobe, this black mass came tumbling towards me. Before it got to the bottom step I woke up. I don’t remember telling anyone about my bad dream, or being fearful of opening the wardrobe the next morning. But that is one of my earliest nightmares, one of my most vivid memories of when I young.

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Writing Everyday in October: The Tenner

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Saturday night at the hole in the wall and Jerry takes out an extra tenner, put it in the back of his wallet telling himself that no matter what else he spends tonight the tenner will be marked as taxi money only. There was no way he is going to end up dazed and soiled with his flatmate’s one night stand stepping over him the next day, taking an incriminating shot before leaving the flat and posting it on Facebook.

(click here) Six hours later…200

Pissed and hardly able to say his name, mainly because he had forgotten it, Jerry staggers into the kebab shop and screams as he shields his eyes to the bright fluorescent light. Although he can’t remember his name, he can remember to ask for extra chilli sauce of his shish kebab. Jerry knows that all he needs is some food inside him and then he’ll feel much better. It is only when he reaches for his wallet and finds it gone does he’s world start to tumble down. With no food to fuel his brain, Jerry loses all memories completely, from what club he’d been to, to where he lives. Jerry promises himself (again) that he’ll never, ever drink this much ever, ever, ever.

Meanwhile, outside The Ritzy…

Linda has had a horrible night. First she had a steaming row with her best mate, Gazza over a bloke who looked okay, but as soon as the cold air had hit it quickly transpired he was too pissed to remember his own name, let alone where he lived and had staggered off towards the local kebab shop, not realising that Linda had stayed back. Meanwhile Linda was hanging outside The Ritzy, hoping Gazza would come out too so they could go home and make up over a curry pot-noodle.

Ten minutes later…

After arguing with the bouncer that she was in fact not that drunk and promised she would not end up causing another scene in the club, Linda gave up and decided to go home alone. it was then she saw a wallet on the ground and picked it up to see it belonged to the drunk who had staggered off to the kebab shop. The good part of Linda thought about trying to find him, but when she saw the tenner folded neatly in the back of the wallet, she thought, Oh fuck it, took the tenner, dropped the wallet in the nearest bin and made her way to the taxi rank.

Outside the taxi rank…

Underneath the blanket was huddled Jamie and his dog, Wordsworth. Unbeknown to the ignoring crowds above, Jamie had a lot of interesting tales to tell, but no one had time to stop and listen. If he was lucky, he would get the occasional coin thrown, but what he really needed was a lucky break to get enough money for  and his dog Wordsworth to get the train back home to his mum and dads, but Lady Luck, The Good-fairy Godmother and his Guardian Angel had all been on an extnded holiday for what felt like years. However! Tonight Jamie’s luck changes when he watches a ten pound note fall to the ground as a pissed passer by precariously past him and plonks herself into a cab.

Then the drug dealer appeared…

Growing up, Jamie had been an avid fan of the kids TV show, Jamie and the Magic Torch and had eventually convinced himself he was the real life, Jamie. At first his parents had humoured him when he came home with a dog and said its name was Wordsworth, they even ignored his late night sessions spent under his bed shining his torch at the floor, but when it became apparent he had a serious problem with drugs, so they had kicked him out. Life on the streets was no picnic for Jamie, but his drug dealer was always popping past and doing cheeky deals with Jamie.

Jamie was delighted to have the tenner, but it was far too little for a train ticket home, so Jamie was greatly relived to see the drug dealer who who had the powder that enabled Jamie to travel once agin (Unfortunately without his magic torch as he’d pawned that a long while back) ’d pawned a long time ago) to better, kinder worlds beyond this realm.

With the deal done…

The drug dealer slipped off into the shadows and broke the one cardinal rule of drug dealing, don’t take the stuff yourself. With his newly acquired tenner, the drug dealer got out his bag of the latest street drug, Trish, rolled the tenner up and took a hearty snort of the powder and promptly collapsed. Gradually his fingers unraveled as Trish took hold and pulled him into a nightmare not that dissimilar to a short story called, I love Trish in a book, called, Blanche Street, you dear reader can downloaded from amazon.co.uk.

A gush of wind took the tenner out of the dealer’s hand and something very unusual happened in one of Glenn’s story, a happy ending! You see, the wind caught the tenner, took the rolled tube high into the air and as it unraveled, it floated down, landing in front of Jerry.

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Writing Everyday In October: Breaking the Magician’s Code.

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Wandering around with a glass of chilled Champaign in one hand, while balancing a trio of hors d’oeuvres in a napkin in the other; Bunny Brunson mingled among the tuxedo clad/designer dressed partiers, chit-chatted some empty conversation, before deciding that actually she was bored to tears and she should just ask for her handbag and fake-fur and leave… that was until she heard a voice from her distant past, and knew fate had finally dealt her a chance for revenge.

Disposing of her fancy pastries in the nearest plant-pot, Bunny downed her Champaign, grabbed another from a passing waiter and pushed her hips in to the massed circle of doe eyed fans who hung on to every word of her ex-flat mate and foe, Brandon Blade, the UK’s most celebrated close up magician; only back then Bunny had known him as plain old Steve.

Steve hadn’t changed a bit; he still had all of the ladies, and some of the men, wrapped around his pinky finger as he connected three diamond rings together like a daisy chain, then made them disappear into thin air. Bunny rolled her eyes as she watched Steve rub his hands together, before pulling each ring out from three different women’s cleavages. The crowd roared with laughter, applauding the great magician, but Bunny knew his true character.
Thirty years previous, Bunny and Steve had been roommates, both piss poor and working in one of the less fragrant Soho night spot, known to its clientele as The Rancid Rat, due to the nightly sighting of vermin scurrying across the bar floor whenever someone dropped a homemade pork scratching.

Back then, Steve had promised they would be best friends forever, riding through the bad times in a vapour of Blue Nun, embracing the good times with a bottle of the house gin. Whenever Steve got pissed he would slur, “Me and you, Bunny are like swans, bonded for life,  together we’re gonna make it to the big time.” Even when the hangover’s had subsided, Bunny had believed him; so it felt only right that Bunny would share all her secrets, from how she had lost her virginity, aged sixteen with the lad who’s dad owned the local chip shop, to more recent gossip that an up and coming magician had come to The Rancid Rat early that evening and was on the look out for help with his act.

Later that night when all the punters had left The Rancid Rat, Steve smiled through gritted teeth as Bunny spilled out her news in greater detail: “His name’s Paul and he’s a proper magician; pulls a rabbit out of the hat, card tricks, the lot. He said he’ll soon have his own show at The Ritzy and that if I joined him and this other girl, Debbie, I could earn twice what I’m getting now.”

Steve began to take more of an interest as he filled Bunny’s glass with a splash of tonic and a good glug of gin and told her to carry on.

“He asked if I was honest and said I needed to promise him that as long as i’m never late and never break the magician’s code, I can be part of his act. Aren’t you pleased for me Steve?”

By this point Steve was only half listening, as he topped Bunny’s glass with more gin, while giving his best alligator smile

The next morning Bunny had woken with her head banging ten bells a second, while her mouth felt as if it had just been sprayed with industrial strength dog deodorant. Pulling herself out of bed, she stared at the silent clock, both hands firmly stuck at midnight.

By the time she had managed to stumbled out of the house, catch a cab she could ill afford and eventually got to the audition, she saw Steve sitting were she th-1should have rightly been,
Steve turned to Bunny and said, “Sorry Bunny love, didn’t I tell you I was also auditioning; you’ll like this, not a lot… but you’re never guess what, the Darling Mr. Daniels had offered me the job.”

Bunny tried to get Paul to change his mind, but his only reply was that he could not stand tardiness, and left.

 

By the time Bunny had managed to walk back to the flat, she found that Steve had already been and gone, taking anything of value with him.

Although the next few years were tough onth Bunny, she too managed to get out of Soho and became the glamorous assistant to Fay Presto.

Bunny put all bitter thoughts out of her mind as she traveled the world with Fay and in time forgot all about her slime-ball flatmate Steve…until now.

Bunny pulled her top down a little, knowing that Steve aka Brandon could not resist a bit of breast and pushed her way to the front of his adoring crowd. Of course Brandon didn’t recognise Bunny, he just saw her as another admiring face, wanting to see him do his magic. With the rings all rightly returned, and a business card slipped to a woman young enough to be his daughter, Bunny knew it was time to break her promise and reveal the magician’s code.

With all eyes on Brandon, Bunny piped up, “Do you ever do anything more elaborate, then pulling jewellery from women’s cleavages?”
Everyone turned to see who had dared say such a thing to the great Brandon Blade. Without saying a word, Brandon turned his back and began to levitate. The crowd cheered and gave an applause; everyone that is except Bunny.

“Don’t you get bored of copying David Blaine’s magic? Said Bunny, “Don’t you think the world wants to hark back to some good old fashioned magic, say like…Paul Daniels?”

Brandon scoffed, “That’s end of the pier stuff, no real skill involved, just a lot of smoke and mirrors.”

Holding back her smile, Bunny pressed on, “Oh you’re right, particularly when they have those silly assistants, with their big hair, tits and teeth.”

With the champagne and adoration flowing through his veins, Steve found his tongue running away with him. “I couldn’t agree with you less, Paul Daniels would still be working the clubs in Soho if it hadn’t been for his assistants. As Daniels would whole heartily agree; with the big illusions it’s the assistances that do all the work.

‘Gottcha’, thought Bunny as she went in for the kill. “You mean like when he saws Debbie McGee in half.”

Caught in the moment, Brandon yelled, “Exactly!”

“But there’s no skill there”, retorted Bunny, “Doesn’t she just push a pair of mannequin legs through the hole?”

“That’s what I thought,” piped up someone else in the crowd, “Doesn’t the magician just wiggle a lever to make the feet move?”

Incensed beyond belief, Brandon threw his arms above his head and said, “Of course it isn’t a mannequin, it’s another person in there. They have to manoeuvre themselves into a tight spot and wiggle their stilettos on cue, it takes someone of great dexterity, not forgetting great legs!

Bunny threw her head back and laughed, “I heard Debbie had complained their assistant in the early days was forever farting like a trouper, making Debbie gag.

With a little too much champagne flowing through his veins, Brandon retorted, Oh Really? I think you’ll find it was Debbie with the tooting toosh, It was Debbie who farted.

By now the crowd had stopped smiling as metaphorical penny’s began to drop all around, but Bunny knew she just needed to push Brandon with one final comment. “Wasn’t it also true that Debbie complained that the assistant had blotch legs, didn’t she say they resembled a half baked Spotted Dick??!”

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Unable to contain his anger, Brandon exploded, “That woman was always jealous of Paul’s hidden assistance and for the record, Debbie has breath like a cat!

“How would you know?!” Screamed Bunny in a tone that Brandon just wasn’t used to. Puffing out his chest Brandon shouted back, “Because I was the legs of Debbie McGee!”
The crowd quickly dispersed with the young woman tearing Brandon’s business card up and throwing it in his face. Bunny in turn looked around the empty room and said, “Wow, you’ve made them all vanish Steve; now that’s Magic!

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Writing everyday in October: My Tattoo Obsession

 

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I have always had a fascination with tattoos. My dad, who had been in the Navy, sported a tattoo of a snake wrapped round a dagger whichIMG_3742 I really liked. My uncle Eric had a small heart on his wrist which he was able to cover up with his watch. But it was years later when I had moved to Norwich and had gone to a gym; while changing, a burly bloke was also getting undressed. It was only when he took his shirt off that I took much notice as he had a hunting scene covering the whole of his back. At the top were hunts men on horse back, in the middle hounds where chasing down towards his lower back. The tattoo was completed with a fox tail disappearing up his bum hole.

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A couple of years later, living in Brighton I was sat round a table at my mates Davey and Rob and we got talking about getting a tattoo. In that moment we all agreed we should have a sun tattoo each. I was very excited at the idea and went off and got one. Davey and Rob never did!
What many people who get a tattoo will tell you tat once you get one, you want another. Some people want lots more; I’m in the latter category.

After the sun, I thought i’d get a moon on the other arm to match, which I really liked. A few more months passed and on impulse I walked into a tattoo studio in Brighton, saw a Buddha style tattoo and decided that is what I wanted next.
This was when I learnt the lesson not to pop into a tattoo shop and get inked ad-hoc by a tattooists you have not really spoken to before. The Buddha looked very odd, particularly as it looked like he was wearing a sock half hanging off his foot.
My next two tattoos where done from a guy in Nottingham, My mate Wayne had a Celtic tattoo on the back of his head, while I got two men, conjoined on my arm (I’m not a Gemini, I just liked the design) and later a tribal looking design on the back of my neck, again just done because I liked the tattooist’s work.

IMG_3739 IMG_3740 IMG_3741 By this point I started to think back to the hunting scene. I hate blood sports but thought I should just go for it and get the whole of my back tattooed. Around this time a new tattooist shop had opened, called Angelic Hell. Back then it was a room just big enough for two people. The tattooist was a fierce, female biker called, Natasha. Together we decided a devil would be a great. The one thing I remember clearly about Natasha was her barking at me to keep still as she punched ink into my upper lefthand shoulder: the end result was great. After a couple of sessions the ink was complete and Natasha suggested I had a demonic looking Jesus bursting out of the middle of my back. I politely said no and said I’d be back when I had thought it through. When I did go back, Natasha had gone, deciding instead to go traveling on her motorbike and so I started looking around for a new tattooist and was told there where two guys, Wurze and Scrow, from Tattooing at Gunpoint in Hove who I should check out.

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I chatted to Wurze, a wise cracking, skull tattoo loving, brilliant tattoo artist. Very quickly it became apparent that Wurze had an idea of what style of tattoo I wanted and over the next few years has been my go to man to get inked. First he balanced my back with an ageing angel, which he followed up with a heaven and hell scene inspired by Gustave Dore’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The theme of my tattoo’s progressed with these elements of light and dark and were followed by similar interpretations of this theme with fire (dragon) and water (Koi Carp) which covered up my earlier tattoos.

I had a break for a good number of years, but as many people with tattoos will tell you there is always a pull to get another and decide that now my back was complete, what I really wanted was a tattoo sleeve. First came my latin/Vision-On inspired tattoo, Carpe Diem, reminding me to ‘Seize the Day’, followed by a collection of flowers (life) and skulls, (death) carrying on the dark and light theme.

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When I reached the milestone of 50, I had another latin/Vision-On tattoo, this time: ‘Memento Mori’, this time reminding me, “One day you will die” which prompts me to look at my Carpe Diem ‘Seize the Day’.

My most recent ink follows that theme in an abstract way with a Death Head Moth (Silence of the lambs) heading towards a screaming flower (inspired by Terry Gilligan’s art work).

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Tomorrow I get the screaming flower finished and that will be my sleeve complete….but i’m sure that will not be the end of my tattoo obsession.

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Writing everyday in October: True Story

Writing everyday in October: True Story.

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Some childhood memories are still very clear to me, particularly the time I lived in Blanche Street. I was seven, my stepbrother was six and our dad decided to give us an opportunity to murder. It was the 1970’s and everything seemed more brutal back then and very much so in the house we all lived in Blanche Street, two adults, three children, one baby in a two bedroom terraced house with no bathroom and an outside toilet.

On this occasion my stepmother had seen a mouse dash under the electric airer; a tin, oblong, upright contraption with removable wooden slats which also double as her weapon of choice to cane us with.

My dad seemed to take great relish in his plan. First he blocked off the door of the lean-to kitchen and the yard outside. He then got a large wooden mallet and said to my stepbrother and I, “When I move the airer, who ever sees the mouse first, grab the mallet and smash it.”

My stepmother with my half sister in her arms and sister stood behind the barricade in the middle room while my dad slowly moved the airer. To be honest, I don’t think I really knew what was going to happen next but when the terrified mouse shot out, I screamed, my stepbrother screamed, my stepmother, sister and half sister also screamed. I tried jumping over the barricade as my dad grabbed the mallet and smashed the mouse into oblivion . Some images never leave you, particularly childhood horrors like that and they still have the power to make me cry.

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Writing everyday in October: Run!

 

IMG_3720“Run!”

Her horror snares me. I’m on my feet running, fast, but from what?

Crowds scurry, infectious fear.

A chorus of terror urges us, to run, run faster.

Hysteria rules, out of their homes they pour: stampeding, screaming, caterwauling.

The horror! Faces underfoot, no time to stop, just keep running.

But running, running from what?

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Writing Everyday in October: Telephone.

IMG_3655Telephone.

The toilet had been a place to step out of the engulfing fog more then anything else. Thankfully it wasn’t one of those rank smelling ones Jess found herself in, in fact it looked like it had only been recently opened to the public.
Not wanting to look like a creep, Jess stepped into a cubical, tipped the toilet seat down with the tip of her shoe, and sat down. She was about to get her phone out of her bag when she saw a phone number neatly written at the top of the door. Jess paused as she went to call her parents to tell then that this time she had left George for good this time, but instead she found herself punching in the numbers from the toilet door.

It was only when the phone started to ring that she realised what she was doing and hung up. She then scrolled through her list of M’s until she got to Mum & Dad and pressed dial but only got the engaged tone.
Thinking how silly it was to be sitting in a public toilet, Jess stood up when she heard someone else come in the toilet. Without thinking why, Jess called out, “Hello?” but no one answered. She tried again, but whoever it was ignored her call and went into the cubical next to her.

Jess sat back down again and leaned forward enough to see a pair of black leather boots with a spiked heel through the partition.
Jess stared at the boots when suddenly her phone rang. Jumping up, she rummaged through her bag and saw it was, Mum & Dad calling. Now with someone else in ear shot, Jess felt really conspicuous as she pressed answer and whispered, “Hello.”

It was her mum on the other end, “Jess? Is that you? It’s a very bad line.”
Again, Jess found it difficult to speak up, without really knowing why. “Yes, mum, it’s me. I’ve left George.”

Jess’s mum raised her voice, even though it wasn’t necessary, “Sorry darling, You’ll have to speak up. George called said you and he had had an argument and that he was worried. He said you had taken the car. Jess, are you there?”
Jess raised her voice above a whisper as she heard the person next door move, their heels clicking on the tiled floor, “Yes, mum, i’m…” before she could continue, her phone bleeped telling her there was a call waiting. Pulling the phone from her ear, Jess looked to see the number was from the toilet wall, without thinking, Jess pressed answer. At the same time the person next door left their cubical and tapped on Jess’s door.

Jess held the phone to her ear, a voice said, “It’s time Jess, come on, i’m waiting for you outside.

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Writing everyday in October: Room Number 4

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Okay, this is the plan to write a short, short story for fifteen minutes each morning. Some will be complete, some, I’ll return to either later in the month or for a different project.

 

 

 

First up,

Room 4

The receptionist to the little guest house looked up and said, “I’m afraid only number four is free.”

Before I had a chance to question her concern, a man, her husband I guessed, was by my side. He picked up my suitcase and nodded for me to follow him.
As we reached the top of the first floor he looked down at my key fob and said, “Oh”.
There was a bit of a pause before he added, “Your in number four.”
I jokingly asked if number four was haunted but he just shook his head and said, no, that will be number six”.
I was about to ask what was wrong with number four but had a sudden pang in the pit of my stomach.
A cold sweat form on my top lip as the husband gripped the door-handle to number four and pushed the door open.
A smell of fresh laundry and soap filled my nostrils. The husband hurried across the room, flicked the light switch, hurried back while ushering me in. he then stood in just outside of the threshold and said very quickly, “The bathroom is just down the hall, tea and coffee making facilities are in the corner, breakfast is served between 6:30 and 9:a.m, if you need anything either my wife or I will be on call at reception until then, a night-porter, Derrick, will see to your needs thereafter”.
The husband then took in a deep breath and hurried off back down the hall.
Dusk was thickly disguised by the thick fog that had been building up all day and was now wrapped firmly around the guesthouse. All thoughts of checking out the nightlife were put on hold. Besides, what I really wanted to do was a soak in the bath, something I only allowed myself when staying someplace else and an early night ready for tomorrows funeral.

With my small case unpacked I grabbed my toiletries and made my way down the hall. I had expected to hear the voices or televisions in any of the three rooms I passed, but each was silent. I checked my watch, 8pm, too late for dinner, perhaps the other guests were down in the main reception room having drinks. I thought I might join them, but I really wasn’t in the mood for small talk. So instead locked the bathroom door behind me and ran the bath.

While the water filled, I checked myself in the mirror, the family are going to comment that I’ve got older, but then if I have then so will they.

Turning of the bath taps, I quickly undressed and gingerly dipped my toe in the bath, the water was on the right side of hot, the water stinging my flesh as it engulfed my skin. I let out a silent, “ohh-ahh-ohh” as I lower myself into the water until I was submerged up to my neck when I became aware of someone on the other side of the door. It was then I noticed that someone had slipped a piece of paper under the door.

Although I was in fully immersed, I knew I could not settle until I had read the note. Pulling myself out of the bath, I quickly dried my hands and pick the note up. Someone had scribbled with some haste, ‘Leave room 4 while you can!!!!’

The four explanation marks seemed a bit excessive,  but still they unnerved me. I turn back to the bath, pulled the plug, wrapped a towel around me, grabbed my toiletry bag and scooted back to my room.

to be continued

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writing 101: Day Nineteen. Free Writing.

Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.
I want you to let it all hang out. So does writer Anne Lamott. At the risk of turning Writing 101 into an Anne Lamott fan club, no one motivates me the way she does. Every time you sit down to write and think your idea is too stupid, too uninteresting, too random, or too unoriginal to be committed to the page, let Anne give you a gentle but firm nudge:

The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.
Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.
I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.

You’ll never feel so good about writing down every half-baked non-sequitur that comes out of the recesses of your lizard brain. And if you’re tempted to reply, “That’s easy for her to say, she’s a famous writer!” I give you:

I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.

Four-hundred words. One at a time. Go.

For an extra prompt I used, The Writer’s Block: a 786 paged book filled with photos, writing prompts and ideas… the prompt I picked is at the end of this tale. Please read the story first.

Photo by me
I don’t think I have ever known the house to be this quiet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever known any place in my lifetime to have been this quiet. As I walk from room to room, I pick up sounds that must have always been there, but I’ve never been given the chance to take that much notice of them.

In the kitchen there is the soft humming of the fridge freezer, while in the front room there is the sound of the clock ticking. I have always wanted one of those clocks that chimes or one that has a cuckoo clock that pops out on the hour. Maybe now I can.

As I step into the backroom, I can hear the birds chirping in the garden, It would be nice to know which birds are making which noise; maybe later, now I have more time on my hands I could get a book from the library and find out just which birds visit the garden. I think you can get a tape that lists all the birdsongs, maybe that would be better.

As I take to the stairs, I am reminded of the creak the third step always makes followed by the seventh and tenth. Over the years I have thought how easy it would be to fix it, to hammer a nail in. I look at the nail-file in my hand; I’d forgotten I was still gripping it so tight. If I had a hammer I would fix those stairs right now. I would really hammer those nails in so the stairs never made another sound ever again.

Instead I’ll put it off for another time, for now I’m just really enjoying the near silence of the house as it talks back to me. The bathroom has its own way as much as the rest of the rooms in the house. Here it’s the dripping tap, it’s been like that for as long as I can remember. There is a big yellow stain where the water has dripped over the years. Makes you think what is really in the water that would cause such a stain.

The back bedroom looks over the gardens. Our garden faces another garden at the back. In all this time I have never met my neighbour. There have been times I’ve seen her pottering about when I’ve been up here, but she has never looked up. I have often made up stories in my head about who she is. Sometimes she’s married with a handsome husband and five beautiful children, on other occasions I see her as a spinster, having never met the love of her life, always dreaming of the one; and then I think that she’s trapped as I had been for so many years. On those days I shudder.

As I walk into the front bedroom, I smile at the sunlight as it streams through the windows. I have never liked this bedroom but today it feels so much nicer, quieter. In here the only sound I can hear is my breathing which is so much calmer now. I look onto the bed and see what I had to do to make the house a better, quieter place. I walk over to the side of the bedside cabinet, with one eye on the bed just in case, I carefully place the nail-file into the drawer, sit on the edge of the bed and pick up the phone.

“Hello, I would like to talk to the police.”

 

Photo by me

writer’s block,prompt

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