Google+ A Tangled Rope: 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Book Out Now: The Theory of Car Parks

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The Theory of Car Parks

The title piece of this great new collection features an historical appreciation of the great car park theorist; Heinrich Von Rectangle, his life, work and tragic untimely end.

In over a hundred other essays, a wide variety of subjects of interest and fascination to the modern reader are also discussed:

Such as:

The latest the latest European Union Working Time Directives .and how they relate to the employment circumstances of the undead.

In science, the ramifications of the Biscuit Tin Event Horizon are explored in an attempt to aid our understanding of the physical forces that make biscuits, pies and other such foodstuffs irresistible.

There is also some very exciting research with throws new light on the development and history of the spoon.

This book also features a report on the new TV phenomenon taking the world by storm that is Live Celebrity Woodworking.

Along with:

An appreciation and celebration of the cult film: 2030: A Lingerie Odyssey which featured the world’s first lingerie-wearing supercomputer.

An essay celebrating the Victorian inventor who famously developed Spadgecock’s Wildfowl Distractor.

A look forward to what will undoubtedly be this year’s film of the year: The Penguin Always Eats Omelettes.

An appreciation of on of the forgotten classics of Romantic poetry in: Ode to a Stickleback and Romanticism.

A study of the role played by the British army’s use of camouflage pastry to bring about the end of the First World War.

Along with articles and pieces on other similar fascinating subjects, such as: Full-Frontal Cookery, The Great Cheese Conspiracies, International Celebrity Underwater Cheese Grating, The Sensual Arts of the Secret Accountancy Sect, The Unauthorised Use of a Banjo, Post-War Extreme Sports and much, much more.

Available here (UK) or here (US) for the Kindle.

New Book Out Now: The Theory of Car Parks

clip_image002

The Theory of Car Parks

The title piece of this great new collection features an historical appreciation of the great car park theorist; Heinrich Von Rectangle, his life, work and tragic untimely end.

In over a hundred other essays, a wide variety of subjects of interest and fascination to the modern reader are also discussed:

Such as:

The latest the latest European Union Working Time Directives .and how they relate to the employment circumstances of the undead.

In science, the ramifications of the Biscuit Tin Event Horizon are explored in an attempt to aid our understanding of the physical forces that make biscuits, pies and other such foodstuffs irresistible.

There is also some very exciting research with throws new light on the development and history of the spoon.

This book also features a report on the new TV phenomenon taking the world by storm that is Live Celebrity Woodworking.

Along with:

An appreciation and celebration of the cult film: 2030: A Lingerie Odyssey which featured the world’s first lingerie-wearing supercomputer.

An essay celebrating the Victorian inventor who famously developed Spadgecock’s Wildfowl Distractor.

A look forward to what will undoubtedly be this year’s film of the year: The Penguin Always Eats Omelettes.

An appreciation of on of the forgotten classics of Romantic poetry in: Ode to a Stickleback and Romanticism.

A study of the role played by the British army’s use of camouflage pastry to bring about the end of the First World War.

Along with articles and pieces on other similar fascinating subjects, such as: Full-Frontal Cookery, The Great Cheese Conspiracies, International Celebrity Underwater Cheese Grating, The Sensual Arts of the Secret Accountancy Sect, The Unauthorised Use of a Banjo, Post-War Extreme Sports and much, much more.

Available here (UK) or here (US) for the Kindle.

Household Security Concerns

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Obviously, if you are considering using one of the more rapacious predators as some form of additional household security, then you should always make sure they clean up all the bloodstains off your doormat when they have finished discouraging unwelcome callers, otherwise you could end up with scavengers, such as a flock of vultures perched on your guttering, thus reducing property values in the locality and – in the case of a well-fed flock of vultures – risk of some damage to your guttering.

This did actually, turn out to be the case in one cul-de-sac in Tewksbury recently visited by a group of utility salespeople hoping to convert the residents from their current utility supplier to the one represented by the sales team. Unfortunately, no-one told them about either the pride of lions at number 32, or – for that matter - number 17’s rather hungry leopard. Although, one of the more altruistic members of the sales team did manage to warn his colleagues about the piranhas in number 12’s garden pond with his final scream.

Unfortunately, however, as most of the residents of the cul-de-sac were at number 27 for a swinger’s party, none of the residents had time to clear up the remaining body parts left by the various guard animals. Consequently, a large flock of vultures descended on what had been – up until then (apart from the screams of the mortally-wounded, of course) a quiet residential street.

Later estimates put the damage to the guttering of the various residences at several thousand pounds, as well as considerable vulture-related damage to quite a few flowerbeds and a broken front garden gate, as well as a rather unwelcome visit from a local TV news team.

However, as luck would have it, by the time the TV crew arrived the leopard was starting to feel a bit peckish again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Poem: Departure

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Departure

I shall stand on top of the distant hill
and look down on these lands. I shall
walk away, letting these times go
like those warm fingers that rise up

to grasp out of a welcoming bed.
I go with weary reluctance
and I go slowly with regret.
I hope not to look back with longing.

Leaving is all we allow ourselves.
I have good enough reasons
and I see the stories that I can tell
about all I left behind and lost.

I shall stand on top of that hill
to see a new dawn’s sun rising
before I leave for a distant place
to learn the art of remembering.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

50 Sheds of Grey

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‘It is the inalienable right of every free—born Englishman to have a shed of his own.’ Such were the closing words of Winston Churchill’s victory speech at the end of the Second World War, when to the horror of the male populace, including many still in uniform overseas, the full awfulness of the German blitz’s destruction of British garden sheds was finally admitted by the UK government.

Since that time though, the erotic lives of British men have improved immeasurably with it now common for nearly all home-owning adult males in the British Isles to have a shed of their own to use for their own personal erotic purposes.

Of course, it has long been understood that for the male the shed plays the role that the boudoir, Hollywood film stars, romantic and erotic writing, chocolate and the intimate personal massager play for a women; especially if the man has a set of tools in his shed that he can use, fondle or – even – display or demonstrate to other men upon whom he bestows the honour of allowing into his personal shed space.

Until the advent of the e-reader, however, this use of the shed for male erotic purposes had been a rather quiet, surreptitious and suburban pastime. However, since the release of E.B.G Henry’s 50 Sheds of Grey, first as an e-book now as a traditionally published book, all that has changed as Sheddism has now – at long last - become mainstream.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Capturing Her Youth

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There are times when the day crystallises around a moment, a moment when time becomes solid, a permanence in an otherwise fleeting world. It is as if time carves certain moments from the transient, giving them permanent form in the mind. Times I will always turn to when I remember… especially when I remember her.

She was long ago and it was spring, spring on the turn into summer. I was young, of course, but she was not. All I had was still unformed, verging on the possible. She was stumbling towards that time where life becomes a time of less looking forward and more about looking back.

She said, once, and only half-joking that she ‘wanted to recapture my youth,’ she smiled as she turned to me, running a finger down my chest. ’…and you are that youth I’ve captured.’ Then she kissed down the path her finger had traced, as I turned and lay back letting her hand, her tongue, her mouth capture all my youth.

She had a life, of course, husband and children, even though the children were mostly grown, and – at times – I felt myself replacing both husband and children in her otherwise slowly-emptying life. As she said, some other time, as we lay together down by the river: ‘My husband left me years ago. The trouble is he never actually got around to moving out. We live our lives like two trains on parallel tracks, sometimes passing each other on our routes to different places… occasional sometimes even meeting for a few moments in a station or train yard, but other than that….’ She turned away to lie on her back and watch the clouds, and that was the moment that crystallised, became an unforgettable memory, as I realised that we would both be one of those passing clouds in each other’s lives, there and then gone.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Poem: Here is the Place

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Here is the Place

Here is the place we stood
to see the world begin.
Here is the time we took
to get to know the world.

Now all that is gone and lost
and the days begin without us.
We do not need the ceremonies
of morning. We know the sun

will rise without us. We do not
need to be there to witness
its rebirth from the distant horizon,
coming over the hillsides

and out of the morning mists
and shadows to meet us.
These days we do not need
a shadow to touch the earth

or to let hot sacrificial blood
seep deep into the ground,
even though too much blood
still gets wasted in the dust.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Dark Forest Path

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The path led off into the trees, deep into the shadowed darkness of the dense wood. She knew, she had been told enough times, what happened to girls who walked off into the woods, but she was – she thought – no longer a girl. She was a woman, especially since that evening after the village barn dance when the woodman’s son had taken her by the hand and led her out, away from the dancing, and they had laughed and fallen together into the hay where he had stopped laughing and become urgent, hot, insistent.

No, she was no longer a girl.

Anyway, there was a path, and those old stories only ever told of the bad things happened to those girls who strayed from the path. So she set off with determination in her step, a determination that faltered somewhat as the darkness under the trees seemed to rob the air of some quality it had out in the open.

It seemed as though the trees were arching over her head to steal the light of the sun away, that the soft green darkness was a blanket the forest threw over her as she stepped further and further away from that dwindling area of bright sunlight and on into the woods.

She shivered, not knowing what to expect, telling herself that those old stories were… well, just old stories. She didn’t believe in stories anyway, stories were just for children and old women sitting around the fire in the dark.

No, stories were for the others, not for her.

Then, some new story rose suddenly out of the dark shadows. A dark and terrible story grabbed her, pulling her down into the undergrowth, taking her far, far away from the world she knew. Grasping her tight in its claws, the story took her into the deep and the dark; far into a dark, ancient, story she had never heard before and would never hear again.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Walking Alone

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It was never going to be an exciting life. I should have realised that from the start, or at least from the time I found myself making up quadratic equations in my head for my own entertainment. I should have known then that I would not be the action-hero type.

I was no wimp though, bigger and stronger than most of the people I knew, I was never bullied or picked on. It was more that I never could fit in with those around me. They seemed to exist almost on a different planet, I felt like a foreigner, newly arrived, who does not speak the language or know the customs. I felt like someone who has arrived in a small insular village where the locals regard outsiders with suspicion.

That was not unusual though, as far as I could see there were probably more teenage outsiders than insiders, or so it seemed from the books, TV and films I saw. Or maybe it was more that I was always drawn to outsiders, found something there that I could not find on the inside.

I still am a loner, though, even after all these years; a loner, but not lonely, not very social but not anti-social. I am not scared to be alone, or to do my own thing, regardless to who is with me or where I am. I do not feel the social pressure to conform, to keep up with the Joneses, to do the latest popular thing.

If anything, I found that trying to fit it, trying to conform was harder for me than being alone, on the outside, looking in. I was always happy walking my own path and find my own route to that place where I’d always wanted to be.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Caught in the Act

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Obviously, the wardrobe was out of the question. That would be the first place anyone would look; either that or under the bed. I wasn’t going out of the window either. I remember the last time that happened, out of a student hall of residence window; naked and into the snow. I wasn’t going to do that again… ever. No matter how big the boyfriend and his rugby team-mates… well, maybe…..

Now, though, she was running around the bedroom, half-dressed in various bits of clothing and gathering up all of mine in her hands, whilst a stream of some of the filthiest swearwords I’d ever heard – and I’ve worked in the building trade – poured from her mouth.

Meanwhile, her husband’s car was just sitting on the drive with the engine still running.

‘He’s probably just listening to the end of a song. He does that,’ Johanna inserted into her stream of conscious swearing marathon. ‘Bastard,’ she added just to keep the swearword count up near 100%.

I pulled my trousers free, from where she was clutching them against her one naked breast, whilst trying to pull her bra back on over the other. I felt rather wistful for a moment, contemplating those breasts I’d got so close to, but were now slipping further from my reach.

‘What sort of music does he listen to?’

‘What?’ Jo stopped her swearing tirade, her knickers at half-mast. ‘I dunno… the usual stuff…. Why?’

‘Well…,’ I said, trying to untangle the legs of my trousers. ‘If he likes progressive rock or something like that, those songs go on forever, but classic Motown… well, you’re looking at around three minutes per song.’

Jo glared. ‘What the fu…!’

I thought about pointing out she’d got her knickers on wrong: one leg down a leg hole and the other through the waist, which was why her current batch of swearwords was directed at the fact she was finding it impossible to get the knickers further than halfway up her thigh.

Those thighs….

‘Hurry!’ I yelled at myself.

Then I heard the car door slam.

Jo found a untapped reserve of swearwords I last heard when a chippie had sliced his thumb off on a building site I was working on.

At least I’ve got my trousers on, though, I thought to myself, as I wondered what would happen next….

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Poem: Fragile world

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Fragile world

She walks alone in silence
out along the water’s edge.
The river is clear, calm, cold
and so inviting, calling to her.

The dawning light is bright
behind the darker heavy clouds,
so big, their weight is pressing down
forever on her delicate, fragile world.

A world that she holds so carefully
wrapped up tight in her hands, kept
safe from everything that could harm it.
She does not want her small world

swallowed up by this wider universe
to become something insignificant
easily mislaid or overlooked, forgotten
as the days go by, until one day

it is found, broken in a dusty heap
unclaimed and unloved, ignored
left behind on this empty riverbank
where she once walked alone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man carrying a mallard duck in an inverted dustbin lid doesn’t usually need to engage in conversation, especially any discourse about why he is so engaged with the aforesaid wildfowl.

So, if you don’t mind, I will be going about my – and, of course, the duck’s – business without anyone here attempting to distract me – or the duck – from what we are about to do.

After all, even in this day and age of social media and everyone tweeting, texting and Arsebooking themselves into everyone else’s life, there is still room for a certain amount of privacy for man… and duck.

Sometimes, there are things – and for those with that sort of mind, I don’t mean in that way – where a man, either with or without an accompanying mallard duck, and whatever mode of transport he is using to convey that duck (should there be one), should be free to continue to their mutual destination without having his progress blocked by someone attempting to engage him in conversation when it should be obvious that it is not suitable time for such a dalliance, and – furthermore – he would be much obliged if the aforesaid interlocutor would just piss off out of the way as mallard ducks are – surprisingly – much heavier than they look.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Memorable Games of Naked Hide and Seek

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It began – as these things often do – with the cheese. Sometimes, these things do start with the naked woman, of course. More often than not, though, they do start with the cheese. After all – and be honest here – how often do you open you fridge looking for a naked woman?

Yes, well… apart from that time, obviously.

Although, I do have to admit that was one of our more memorable games of Naked Hide and Seek.

Not quite as good as the one in Tesco, admittedly, but hiding out in a chest freezer of own-brand Pizza BOGOFs, did give her somewhat of a chill, and put her off concealing herself inside low-temperature hiding places for quite a while. I was rubbing for ages to get her circulation going again, even if some of the places she suggested I rub seemed not to need much in the way of re-invigoration… certainly not in that way, anyway.

Anyway, it began with the cheese, this time, without encountering any young ladies in a state of total undress, when I opened the fridge door. Which, now I come to think about it was much more disappointing than the rather past-its-best portion of Smoked Applewood I did eventually find underneath the partially-squashed iceberg lettuce with the naked footprint on it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Better the Devil you Know

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Well, there you have it, not much to look at, but it does tend to frighten away many of those who seem to delight in coming to the front door in order to attempt to sell you stuff, up to and including a very dubious notion of an afterlife so bland, dull and humourless it makes you prefer a posthumous fate with all the charm of having your liver eaten by an eagle for all eternity.

Still, it is one of the advantages of making the pact with the devil, providing you can find a crossroads where the traffic lights let you hang around long enough for him to turn up. What with him being so busy arranging bankers bonuses, expense schemes for politicians and all the other things he has marked in his diary, it is a surprise he even has time for his demon-hire business.

Still, at least, he does – eventually - turn up, unlike some other supernatural beings I could mention. In particular, the one who buggered off as soon as He’d got this bodge-job of a universe up and running; leaving water leaking from the skies all over the place, lava appearing though all the shoddy cracks in the planet surface and far more insects than are really necessary.

Stick with the devil you know, that’s what I say, even if the demon-rental terms can be a bit steep. However, like I said, it does cut down all those annoying cold-callers, and what is the price of a mere soul compared to peace of mind like that?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some New Furniture

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It was a bit odd, I’ll give you that. After all, domestic furniture is not supposed to breed – at least, not as far as I know. Although, I do tend to fall behind and miss out on the latest trends, fashions and so forth, I think I would have noticed something in the news about the spawning habits of furniture. At least, I’d like to think so.

Anyway, there it was. I opened the door to what others in the family call the lounge, and I call the front room, to find it there.

A brand new baby sofa.

It certainly looked like one of ours; we have two normal sized sofas in the loun… front room, rather than the traditional three-piece suite. But that morning when I walked into the room, while the rest of the family slept, there were our normal two sofas and on the rug between them another tiny little sofa about the size of a full-grown Labrador.

After standing and staring for a while, I did what any normal, sensible person does when confronted by an unexplainable mystery. I shut the door and walked away… into the kitchen.

In the kitchen, I busied myself with the kettle and the coffee-making equipment while that small part of my mind that functions in the early-morning pre-coffee state tried to make sense of what I’d seen.

The tiny little sofa was the same colour and design as our two, or rather both are leather three-seaters, but there are slight differences between them in the colour and design, not enough for a man to care about, but my wife and daughters still agonised over whether the two sofas really ‘went together’… whatever that means. All I know is that I can put the telly on, lie down on either of them and be asleep in a few minutes. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned they are fine – anyway, who cares what colour something is when you are asleep on it?

The little sofa had the look of being the offspring of the other two. A blend, like our kids look like someone has taken the essence of us two parents and whizzed it all up in a blender and poured the mix out, with their best features being mine, of course, and their bad tempers and general irritability down to their mother’s less, than perfect genetic inheritance, which – if you knew her parents – would certainly make sense to you.

I remembered, as the kettle boiled, the wife – Jenny – complaining recently about one of the sofas being lumpy in the middle. Perhaps that was why: one of our sofas had been pregnant, and now here was the little one.

Smiling to myself, I made my way to the stairs to tell everyone else in the family the good news.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post-Olympic Legacy (with Pancakes)

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Of course, in this Olympic year – concerned as we now are with the post-games legacy issues – the fact that she was Nuneaton and District All-Nude Pancake Ignoring champion was something that could not be glossed over when her misdemeanour was discovered by a tabloid press eager to regain some journalistic credibility. As well as that tabloid industry’s desire to feature several prominent photographs of an undressed young lady in the prime of her sporting prowess blithely ignoring pancakes under competitive conditions - which as connoisseurs of the sport know only too well – can only enhance the erotic appeal of the lady herself.

The fact that she had been caught out not utilising the regulation lemon juice on her pancakes was taken as proof that the Olympian ideals were no longer paramount in the minds of today’s young athletes, for whom sponsorship and other such mercenary attributes of their calling have now become more important to them - in what has now become a career - than mere sporting excellence.

However, for those of us who know and understand the true erotic nature of lemon juice, further comment has become more than superfluous, especially when contrasted with the subtle tactical awareness of the use of nudity in competitive Pancake Ignoring and the concomitant strain it inevitably places on the contestant’s elbows.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

They Call Me The Hunter

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They call me The Hunter. I moved between the shadows, between the trees, behind the bushes. I moved from place to place and the prey would never know I was there, they could only sense something was there; that there was something changed about the world they thought they were living in and only then when it was too late.

Back in my young days, I learnt the ways the prey took to pass through the woods and the forests. Then, when I grew older and the prey grew wiser to my habits and actions they began to create paths, lanes and then roads; still though the shadowed dark places existed, out on the edges of the roads and the places where the paths ended. I would be waiting there and the prey would come to me… eventually. It would fall into my grasp as easily as back in the days before the paths, lanes and roads existed.

Then they built their dwelling places. First, they made the hamlets with the dark shadows out beyond the flickering firelight, then the villages and the towns and then the cities. The cities became the most dangerous of all, for the prey thought they were safe in their crowded hives where their own kind could keep them company in the dark places. But as the cities grew, so did the dark places and the lonely places and the places where I could hunt and find the prey.

Now, I sit here up on a high roof watching the street below and I sense something coming….

Then I see her strolling from lit area to lit area and I see the shadows she will pass through, so I crawl down to wait in the place she will enter, but never pass beyond into the light ever again.

The Hunter – Free youtube:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Other Uses for a Parachute

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Still, it was not as if we’d made any real use of the parachute, so even if it was second-hand (or, rather, previously-owned) there was not much danger of it failing through over-use.

However, as with all such things you don’t tend to want to use them until strictly necessary, unless your idea of fun is falling out of aeroplanes.

Anyway, that wasn’t the reason why we’d wanted the parachute, as those of you who have read past chapter 86 in the Big Boy’s Book of Advanced Sexual Perversions, or – purely in the interests of research - glanced at the accompanying illustrations (especially fig. 234b).

Although, I suppose if you were attempting to perform the exercises from the aforesaid chapter on the upper part of a bunk-bed, then I suppose there would be times where a parachute could be used for its intended purpose.

Anyway, it all became a bit moot when she accidentally turned over two pages at once and utilised the pineapple without slicing it into rings first. So, for the next few months - at least, according to my doctor – I should avoid attempting to climb into the top bunk at all… even with a parachute.

So, all-in-all we decided – in the end – it would be best if we could see if we could sell the parachute and, at least, get some money back that we could – perhaps – us to buy an automatic pineapple slicer.

It would – we both agree – be for the best.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Doing the Decorating

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Still, despite a rather unusual approach to wallpaper hanging, she did get the decorating done, even if it did mean the full erotic capabilities of the stepladder were not quite as extensively explored as her apprentice would have wished. Still after that particular half an hour of her more than expert ministrations with the pasting brush, he should consider himself lucky to have escaped with only a slight limp.

Although, he was not the first – and will not be the last – she has left with a limp of one sort or another. She does tend to demand the best from her underlings and when they are – indeed – under her on the pasting table, then they are going to have to give her their all, of that we can have no doubt.

I – for one (well, for several, if the truth be told) know the wot of which I speak. I still have the scars from her over-enthusiastic wielding of the emulsion brush on the backs of my knees… even after all these years.

However, no matter what she says and does elsewhere, you know you are in for a hard day when, in a dust-sheeted room, she walks up to you dressed only in her peephole overalls, hands you a wallpaper scraper and says: ‘strip!’

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Diary

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Sometimes it is as though the time we live through has all the appearance of some kind of dream: as though this is not our real life, as though this is some kind of practice for the main event, a rehearsal. At least, that was what Beth thought as she sat up on the high headland, looking out across the beach way down below her, where the rest of her family were living through their summer. Beth had her diary open on her crossed legs in front of her. She had picked a few daisies and buttercups and left them lying on the blank page of that day when she began to wonder if this was really some kind of diary she was writing after all.

After all, if this was not her real life, as she was becoming increasingly convinced it wasn’t, then this could not be her diary, her record of her days as she lived through them. Rather it was… it was… what was it?

It was not fiction, at least not in the accepted sense, but neither was it fact.

This was not real life, nor was it invented. It was not a play; it was merely the rehearsal for a life… and one that she could see was not going well.

Now she came to think of it, Beth sat up straighter with a start; it seemed that none of her family, with all their secrets they kept so imperfectly from each other and all their ruses and stratagems they played out against each other, really thought this was real life too. All of them knew – or seemed to know – that this was just some elaborate dress rehearsal for some play that had yet to stage, where they were all both actors and audience.

Smiling, Beth clicked her pen, ready to begin.

At the top of the blank new page she wrote:

ACT ONE.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Something for the Weekend: Free Short Story – Twisting the Night Away

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Available FREE this weekend for the Kindle.

Twisting the Night Away

(Short story – 5,000 words approx.)

If you want to get an ex-girlfriend back, what could be a better way of impressing her than a magic carpet ride through the night to a romantic evening together in some alternate dimension?

[…]

I looked at my hands, they didn’t look that powerful. I had trouble opening a new jam jar with them, let alone creating a world out of nothing.

Morgan took my right hand in his, holding it just below the wrist. ‘Relax,’ he said.

I tried to relax as he manoeuvred my arm around, outlining some weird shape in the cold night air.

I felt something in the air change, as though the air around us had grown thick and heavy, then an instant later the feeling was gone. He jerked my hand back with a short sharp tug and let my arm drop.

‘Ah…’ he said.

The duck quacked.

Up until then there had been only the two of us standing up on the cold damp roof.

Now there was the two of us… and a duck.

The weather may have been suitable for ducks, but the duck itself seemed far from happy. It quacked and stared up at us.

‘That….’ Morgan said. ‘That doesn’t usually happen.’

I was staring at my hand. It had done a lot of things that hand, sometimes some very strange things, but this was the first time it had produced a duck out of thin air. I didn’t know how I expected my hand to look different, just that I was disappointed it didn’t.

Meanwhile, Morgan was walking around the duck with the cautious air of someone half-expecting the waterfowl to explode. He glanced up at me, keeping half an eye on the duck ‘It’s definitely a duck,’ he said.

I raised my eyebrows….

‘Sometimes a duck is not a duck,’ Morgan said with a tone to his voice that suggested his caution about the possibility of the duck exploding was based on some personal experience.

I took a step back. ‘What are we going to do with it?’ I said, watching the duck carefully. ‘Can’t we send it back?’

Morgan looked at me. ‘Back where?’

‘Back where it came from?’

‘Do you know where it came from?’

‘No… I thought….’

Morgan raised a hand, while he stroked his chin with the other. ‘Tony,’ he said in a universe-weary sounding voice. ‘It is not that simple.’

‘Oh….’ I said, knowing it wouldn’t be…. Nothing ever is.

Morgan stepped back from the duck and moved his hand in a gesture that seemed to slip sideways out of this universe and into some other place.

The duck looked at him. ‘Quack?’

‘Bugger…,’ Morgan said. ‘I thought that might be it.’

I pulled my sleeve up. ‘Maybe if I….’ I tried to copy Morgan’s gesture as well as I could. I glanced over at him and noticed he was cowering back away from me with both arms crossed in front of his face.

He warily opened one eye and looked over his protecting arm. ‘Yes,’ he said, letting his arms fall and standing up straighter. ‘Now take hold of the air around the duck and turn it as thought the night is some large sheet or blanket you want to fold into another dimension.’

I nodded, even though I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. Then I felt the night twist.

‘Quack,’ said the duck. The woman didn’t say anything, just stood there staring from me to Morgan and back again as she tried to cover her nudity with a completely inadequate towel.

Morgan sighed. ‘An improvement on the duck, I’ll give you that.’

The woman stared at me, eyes widening. ‘T… Tony?’

Quickly, I tried to recreate the gestures I’d used to somehow bring Suzi here from what looked like her shower.

I felt the night twist again.

‘Quack,’ said the duck.

‘Shit,’ said Morgan.

‘Bollocks,’ I said.

‘What the fu…!’ Suzi stared down at her towel, which was now a nan bread and covering much less of her. She glared at me.

I recognised that glare. I did the thing with the night again, this time as fast as possible. Suzi was a martial arts expert.

The night twisted.

‘Quack,’ said the duck as it waddled over and began nibbling on the nan bread that had fallen to the ground when Suzi vanished.

[…]

[Twisting the Night Away - Free for the weekend - here (UK) or here (US)]

Something for the Weekend: Free Short Story – Twisting the Night Away

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Available FREE this weekend for the Kindle.

Twisting the Night Away

(Short story – 5,000 words approx.)

If you want to get an ex-girlfriend back, what could be a better way of impressing her than a magic carpet ride through the night to a romantic evening together in some alternate dimension?

[…]

I looked at my hands, they didn’t look that powerful. I had trouble opening a new jam jar with them, let alone creating a world out of nothing.

Morgan took my right hand in his, holding it just below the wrist. ‘Relax,’ he said.

I tried to relax as he manoeuvred my arm around, outlining some weird shape in the cold night air.

I felt something in the air change, as though the air around us had grown thick and heavy, then an instant later the feeling was gone. He jerked my hand back with a short sharp tug and let my arm drop.

‘Ah…’ he said.

The duck quacked.

Up until then there had been only the two of us standing up on the cold damp roof.

Now there was the two of us… and a duck.

The weather may have been suitable for ducks, but the duck itself seemed far from happy. It quacked and stared up at us.

‘That….’ Morgan said. ‘That doesn’t usually happen.’

I was staring at my hand. It had done a lot of things that hand, sometimes some very strange things, but this was the first time it had produced a duck out of thin air. I didn’t know how I expected my hand to look different, just that I was disappointed it didn’t.

Meanwhile, Morgan was walking around the duck with the cautious air of someone half-expecting the waterfowl to explode. He glanced up at me, keeping half an eye on the duck ‘It’s definitely a duck,’ he said.

I raised my eyebrows….

‘Sometimes a duck is not a duck,’ Morgan said with a tone to his voice that suggested his caution about the possibility of the duck exploding was based on some personal experience.

I took a step back. ‘What are we going to do with it?’ I said, watching the duck carefully. ‘Can’t we send it back?’

Morgan looked at me. ‘Back where?’

‘Back where it came from?’

‘Do you know where it came from?’

‘No… I thought….’

Morgan raised a hand, while he stroked his chin with the other. ‘Tony,’ he said in a universe-weary sounding voice. ‘It is not that simple.’

‘Oh….’ I said, knowing it wouldn’t be…. Nothing ever is.

Morgan stepped back from the duck and moved his hand in a gesture that seemed to slip sideways out of this universe and into some other place.

The duck looked at him. ‘Quack?’

‘Bugger…,’ Morgan said. ‘I thought that might be it.’

I pulled my sleeve up. ‘Maybe if I….’ I tried to copy Morgan’s gesture as well as I could. I glanced over at him and noticed he was cowering back away from me with both arms crossed in front of his face.

He warily opened one eye and looked over his protecting arm. ‘Yes,’ he said, letting his arms fall and standing up straighter. ‘Now take hold of the air around the duck and turn it as thought the night is some large sheet or blanket you want to fold into another dimension.’

I nodded, even though I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. Then I felt the night twist.

‘Quack,’ said the duck. The woman didn’t say anything, just stood there staring from me to Morgan and back again as she tried to cover her nudity with a completely inadequate towel.

Morgan sighed. ‘An improvement on the duck, I’ll give you that.’

The woman stared at me, eyes widening. ‘T… Tony?’

Quickly, I tried to recreate the gestures I’d used to somehow bring Suzi here from what looked like her shower.

I felt the night twist again.

‘Quack,’ said the duck.

‘Shit,’ said Morgan.

‘Bollocks,’ I said.

‘What the fu…!’ Suzi stared down at her towel, which was now a nan bread and covering much less of her. She glared at me.

I recognised that glare. I did the thing with the night again, this time as fast as possible. Suzi was a martial arts expert.

The night twisted.

‘Quack,’ said the duck as it waddled over and began nibbling on the nan bread that had fallen to the ground when Suzi vanished.

[…]

[Twisting the Night Away - Free for the weekend - here (UK) or here (US)]

A Taste of Freedom

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We had little time, we knew that. The security police would be alerted as soon as we made any move towards opening it.

It had been hidden away down in this disused cellar for weeks; each of us taking time on a rota to come and check that it was still here, still working away and still hidden away.

Now we were all here, at great danger and probably at great cost.

It was ready.

We were ready.

For some, this would be their first time, for others the older ones like me; it was a chance to recapture the past and a chance to see if the reality of it matched those golden memories of what we had lost.

We looked around at each other.

I wondered if those others there were wondering the same thing as me. Was there a traitor amongst us, was there a spy here, reporting back to the security police on our every move?

I knew that if there was a spy, an agent here, he would have to make his move soon.

We all glanced at the clock, watching the time count down. I nodded over at Stan who sat, holding the remote. He switched the TV on, just as the final pre-match adverts were coming to a close.

As one, we all stood up, clutching the glasses that seemed to sit so awkwardly in out hands, unfamiliar and strange even to those of us who remembered when it was not illegal.

We queued up, suddenly, eager not to miss the start of the match as Pete opened the tap on the barrel and the first pint of illegal beer began to pour into Andy’s waiting glass.

It looked good, golden brown, pure and clear with a soft foamy head on the top. Those of us behind in the queue licked our lips as the memory of pints drunk in freedom came back to us.

Soon, I knew, I would be drinking my first pint of beer for over five years. It was five years since they had made beer illegal and it seemed ten times as long; especially when there was a match on.

I turned to face the TV, as the whistle blew and they kicked off, holding the glass up to my lips and smelling that smell of malt and hops and yeast that had once been as familiar a smell to me as my own wife’s hair. I could feel the bubbles of the head, soft against my upper lip as I was about to drink.

Then the sirens sounded and the scream of brakes outside told us it was too late.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It Was a Thursday

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It was the best of times and it was the wor….

Well, to be honest it was a Thursday, and you know what Thursdays are like, especially in the summer, when her from three doors down comes out into the garden on her afternoon off and starts oiling up those thighs of hers and you can’t help wondering about all those coconuts and what happens to the rest of it.

Just how do you drill a coconut for oil, anyway?

Sudden visions of a coconut uncontrollably spouting oil – workers fleeing in panic as someone puts in an urgent call to Red Adair.

You don’t get those smug environmentalists wittering on about the dangers of a coconut oil slick either, and the price of Bounties suddenly going through the roof.

Considering the amount of thigh surface area involved there has to be some sort of environmental impact, if only in the number of Third World countries turning into a coconut-based agricultural monoculture economy just so some pampered Westerners can slap some gloop on their thighs instead of doing the sensible things and coming inside for a bit for a nice cup of tea.

As I said, though… it was a Thursday.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Invasion Earth… Nearly

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It is not as if she didn’t know what to do with the table-tennis bat, at least not after last time. There are just only so many things you can do with a table tennis bat when an entire herd of… whatever they were are bearing down on you, seemingly intent on enslaving the entire human race as some kind of planetary… erm… well, we were not entirely sure what.

After all, there were apparently millions of the… the alien creatures and thousands of their craft in orbit around the Earth. Some assumed they wanted to wipe out the population of the Earth and then colonise it, some said they wanted to enslave the population and do… well… do alien things to us all: possibly involving some sort of intimate probing.

She, though, said: ‘well, that’s just aliens for you, always turning up to invade the planet just when you fancied spending a nice quiet afternoon engaged in a few games of naked table tennis before moving on to explore each other’s erotic potential in a variety of other scenarios, some - maybe – including the sensual use of mayonnaise.’

However, the alien invasion put an end to all that, which was probably why she was prepared to go into battle against them all armed only with her table tennis bat.

After all, as they say: hell hath no fury like a woman left un-satiated.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Day of the Donkey

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Not that the donkey was too perturbed. There is usually a certain amount of equanimity in the donkey’s general outlook most of the time, so the sight of her approaching in what could – with a certain amount of leeway – be described as a bikini was not too disconcerting to the aforementioned donkey.

In the donkey’s opinion, and it was one it often put forth with some conviction that belied its usual equanimity, that adults were better than ‘sodding kids’ any time, even if they did tend to be heavier. At least they didn’t leave sticky hand marks all over your coat which attracted that other regular denizen of the summer beach, the wasp.

The donkey hated wasps. After all if you have long ears you definitely do not want some buzzing little sod with a bastard of a sting buzzing about in them searching for some sticky residue left over from a child’s pawings.

Although, this one looked heavy even for an adult, with the bikini – what there was of it – struggling to contain its contents.

It was lucky, the donkey speculated, that she was physically incapable of running because that flimsy bikini would not be able to cope with the stresses and strains and well… there would undoubtedly be casualties buried under the escaping heaps of runaway flesh, left to die a slow, agonising and – seemingly - a rather sweaty death.

Still, the donkey thought, there were worse ways of making a living, although, for the life of it, it couldn’t think if one right at that moment, as it caught - out of the corner of its eye – the sight of a thigh the size of North Wales itself being raised to sit astride the donkey’s back, and it looked like the bikini top was about to give up under the strain….

Then everything went black.

Monday, September 03, 2012

A Place of Special Scientific Interest

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Ah, but back in those days we were young and free, or – if not free - then willing to offer a generous discount to certain selected individuals. It seemed, back in those days that the summer would last forever… well, until the day after, when it started raining again.

She was young and firm in all the interesting places and soft and welcoming in all the very interesting places and rather rude in one particular place of Special Scientific Interest, enough to shock a protected species of newt anyway. Still, it was one of our more explicit adventures and thus would be little interest to anyone without an interest in such matters, or in the study of easily-embarrassed newts.

Still, though, the thing she did with the mayonnaise and the cheese salad baguette will stay with me for the rest of my life… although, sadly, not for one particular newt who became so embarrassed he dived into a nearby pond to cool his blushes and was swiftly eaten by a pike.

Then, as the long summer afternoon slowly seeped into the evening, she finished off the bottle of wine and then did that thing that – if they had not all gone into hiding at the bottom of another pike-free pond - would have caused several of the remaining newts to write stern letters of disapproval to the editor of the local newspaper about the moral laxity of the youth of today.

Although, I must say my lower back hasn’t been the same since.

Still, though, as summer afternoons go, it easily beat watching yet more bloody tennis.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Waters of the Earth

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When he first took the wrapping off, it didn’t look all that impressive. Still, the adverts had been very good at grabbing his attention and all the reviews he’d seen, suggested that it was one of the best models on the market.

He’d still had a few reservations though, especially when he first saw the demonstration model, set up in the shop.

‘Does it really need that much sea?’ he’d asked the assistant.

‘Well, that depends,’ the assistant said. ‘Are you thinking about introducing life to it?’

‘Well, yes, I don’t really see the point otherwise.’

‘Very true,’ the assistant agreed. ‘Although, barren worlds are becoming more and more popular, especially with the larger solar systems.

‘Really?’ he was surprised. ‘Takes all sorts, I suppose.’

‘So,’ the assistant continued’…the large seas enable a large variety of life to evolve, and….’

‘Evolve?’

‘Yes.’ The assistant stare at him. ‘You weren’t y’know… thinking of doing it all yourself were you?’

‘Well, I thought….’ He stood up a little straighter. ‘I thought that was how it was done.’

‘Oh, no… not these days. All that fiddling about. Do you know how many different species of beetles you’ll need for a stable eco-system? All those fiddly little legs…?’

‘Ah, but y’know being immortal and all that, I thought it would be a way of filling in the time.’ He smiled at the thought of all those happy hours he could spend fiddling with insects in his shed… away from the wife and her constant nagging about him finding something in the business for the boy to do.

Now he’d got it home though, he wasn’t sure if he could be bothered. Sighing, he opened up his universe on his workbench and sorted through the solar systems until he found one that looked a little sparse. Deftly he moved the orbits around and slipped the new planet in-between a red one and another rather dull little yellow one he’d picked up cheap second-hand.

He stood back and had to admit it didn’t look too bad. In a way it seemed a shame to spoil it by introducing life to it, but he’d promised the wife that he would find something for the boy to do in the family business, and this planet was going to be it… eventually.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Just Walking Away

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It happened suddenly. The music was loud and the hot summer night made the club feel oppressive to me. I was standing there, on the edge of the dance floor when I realised – quite suddenly and out of the blue - that I did not want to be there.

I realised with something approaching shock, or dismay, that I did not liker the music; especially not the thudding volume of it. I did not like dancing; although for quite a while I’d been slowly coming to that particular conclusion. I did not like the club and I didn’t like the people I spent my evenings here with… most of them, anyway.

I realised with a kind of sudden jolt, almost akin to an electric shock - that I still recall, even now, all these years later - made my whole body shudder with the realisation that not only could I just walk out of there: but that was exactly what I wanted to do.

So, I turned, walked out into the foyer, out through the doors that turned the pounding beat into a low throb behind me.

I was out by the cloakroom - almost empty, because of the summer heat no-one had brought a coat - when I heard her voice.

‘Dan?’

I turned. Sylvia was standing in the doorway. I could see the darkness, the throbbing disco lights behind her and the shadowed shapes of the moving dancers, looking from the outside like some ancient mystical pagan ritual.

‘What’s the matter?’ she said.

‘I want… I need….’ I pointed to the door and the summer evening, still light, but fading slowly into the greys of twilight, outside.

‘Wait,’ she said, letting the door to the disco shut behind her, cutting off the thudding beat.

We walked out of the club together, Sylvia holding on to my one arm with both of hers. Instead of turning back towards the town, I turned left and took the path down towards the canal.

We walked in silence for a few minutes, leaving the club behind; past the cemetery I turned and started to walk up the hill, away from the town. The summer grass was long on both sides of the path. It felt as though we were walking through jungle, or some shoulder-high crop. All we could see was the green of the grass and the still empty blue sky. It was more or less silent, apart from occasional insect noises and the cries of a few birds as they made their way towards their roosting places.

Up near the top of the hill where the grass was a little shorter I turned and Sylvia looked up at me, wrapping her arms around me.

‘Yes, Now I understand,’ she said as together we slowly lowered ourselves into the grass, kissing all the way down.