If I Could Turn Back Time

This is a Sunday photo fiction story. Thanks to AMixedBag for the prompt. Apologies for the title, but a pun didn’t feel appropriate.

Stills frowns, “It’s smaller than I expected.

“The inventor looks like he’s fighting back the urge to say something cutting. Good call, thinks Stills; it’s never a good idea to get lippy with the paymasters. “It needs to be inconspicuous at the other end.”

“I see,” nods Stills, “I’d’ve thought a time machine would need to be bigger.”
“We can do a lot with nanotechnology these days,” said the inventor, leaning over the console, “So, where will you be going?”
“Munich,” says Stills.
The inventor doesn’t bother to conceal his distaste for the predictability of the answer, “What year?”
“Before the Beer Hall Putsch?”
“Before Goebbels had a chance to create the Hitler myth.”
The inventor smiles noncomittally, “You’re the boss.”

“That I am,” says Stills, pulling the knife from the pocket of his greatcoat. 

The inventor looks unimpressed, “You’re going to use that to kill Hitler?”

Stills shakes his head, “Who said anything about killing Hitler?” He says, driving the knife into the other man’s chest, “I’m going to offer my services. Imagine what the badtard’d’ve accomplished with a proper spin doctor.”


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Doggerel 16: When I Was One Over The Eight

A pastiche of a poem by AE Housman.

When I was one over the eight,

I heard the bar man grunt,

“You’ve had enough tonight, mate,

There’s a taxi rank out front,

You’re staggering and slobbering,

Your reasoning’s unsound.”

But I was one over the eight,

So I bought another round
When I was one over the eight,

My world seemed to extend,

To limitless horizons,

To prospects without end.

But the choices I was making,

Would only bring me endless rue.

And today, I’m wan and aching,

And I can’t find my left shoe.

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Doggerel 15: Tryst in my Sobriety

Another Scribblers challenge, this time to write a poem based around the days of the week. This was a pastiche of a classic from a favourite band of mine. Like most versions of that song, this leaves out the last two verses-though anyone interested in the original can find the missing verses online. 


As I went out on a Monday night,From my pilates class,

I was taken by a hankering,

For an illicit piece of ass,

I called your wife and I told her,

Of the plans I had in store,

So she said, “hotfoot it straight to bed,

Leave the horse outside the door,

Get up the stairs, you silly old fool, and get yourself to work,

I’ve been waiting up for half the night,, the dripping’s sent me berserk”

And it’s true my life’s been changing, now I’m very seldom pissed,

But never before have I mended a tap, as a part of a clandestine tryst


As I went out on a Tuesday night,

Pumped up on wheatgrass juice,

I felt a certain bouyancy, 

My waistband newly loose,

I called your wife and I told her,

I was keen to get me leg

Over, your wall. She said, “come up,

Leave you coat upon the peg,

And get up the stairs, you silly old fool, we’ll find a use for that physique, 

I want to see you go to it and make that ceiling creak”,

Well, it’s true my life’s been changing, since me sobriety was restored,

But it was the first time I’d found romance, in buffing up floorboards


As I went out on a Wednesday night,

To the squash and tennis court

I started aching after pleasures of a rather baser sort,

I called you wife and I told her, 

That my thoughts were growing ripe,

And she said, “You shouldn’t hang about, shimmy up my old drainpipe,

And come up to me, you silly old fool, 

For our most exhausting evening yet,

I want to see you groaning, dripping head to toe in sweat”

Well it’s true me life’s been changing, since I stopped drinking with me mates,

But it was the only night of passion, I spent replacing cracked roof slates


As I went out on a Thursday night

For a jog around the park,

I thought there must be better ways

To keep busy after dark,

I called your wife and told her,

I was yearning for her touch,

And she told me that she sympathised and the longing was too much

“Get up the stairs, you silly old fool, and don’t you mooch around,

I ‘ve got hammering in mind tonight, and I want to see you pound,”

Well it’s true me life’s been changing. since I started thinking of my health,

But I’d never likened philandering to putting up a shelf


As I went out on Friday night,

I thought I’d take my final chance,

To win your lady from you, 

While you were boozing at a dance,

But when I saw you wife, I noticed,

She was falling out of a cab

And you clambered out behind her, gave her arse a furtive grab,

She said, “You’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, but who cares when so am I?

It’s a good job I found a loser, with a flair for DIY,

And it’s true my life’s been changing, now I’m very seldom pissed,

And the strain that I put on my liver, is now going onto my wrist

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Doggerel 14: p p p pick up a penguin

Another Scribbler’s submission, this time a poem on the theme of penguins.


On my chilly archipelago,
All bitter squalls and knee-deep snow,

I pines for his love, all bereft and forlorn,

And marooned on her rock off the coast of Cape Horn,

From Spitsbergen, South Georgia’s the other side of the Earth,

In the cool constant sunlight, for what sunlight’s worth,

Without her beside me, I think that I might

As well be consigned to perpetual night

For the whole twelve months, not the usual six,

As I curse providence’s perfidious tricks 

How fate cruelly gazed on me  and laughed,

And made me fall for the fickle belle of her raft

How unpromising the auguries,

For ill-matched couples such as these?

For an ursine hunk, pristinely furred

And a flirty, flighty, flightless bird,

It’s a sorry, tawdry, doomed affair,

Between a penguin and a polar bear,

How cruel that Cupid’s bow should appear

To have hit its target in the wrong hemisphere,

So I’ll hide his pain beneath my pelt,

Until the day the ice caps melt,

And console myself that it’s somehow romantic

To wait for our tears to meet in the Atlantic,

Unrequited love in the artic chills,

An abiding tale as old as the hills

And assiduous readers will potentially spot,

It’s a metaphor for something, but who can say what?

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Doggerel 13: Wapping

I’m doing a bit of desktop clearance in an effort to keep myself awake as I watch the general election results come in. This was a winning entry in a Scribblers Flash Poesy contest, inspired by the James McNeill Whistler painting of the same name. Before reading on, be warned, this is a poem in the rap idiom written by a middle aged doctor from Cheshire.


Yo, listen up bitches, it’s the captain on the decks,
All you other pirates be pwesiding over wrecks,

I got sixty foot sails,

This bitch never fails,

Assailing armadas or harpooning whales

Got a maximum speed of 47 knots,

Makes other piwate’s galleons look like Thames regatta yachts


Got more gold Doubloons than Barclay’s Bank,

Don’t tell me it ain’t so, or I’ll make you walk the plank,

I’m top of pirate class,

Got a 3 foot cutlass,

And that pwotwusion in my pocket it ain’t my spyglass,

Say it all you want but that don’t make it right,

Me landlubbing Barque is worse than my bight


Pipe down Teddy Teach with your Gwecian 1900,

And don’t be banging on abound the schooners that you plundered

Listen Teach, you got taught,

You got caught short,

I been going behind your back with your girl in every port

If you cwoss me again, I’ll make you beg

Me not to find another use for Long John Silver’s leg


Yo ho, yo ho: a piwate’s life for me,

It’d be alwight if I didn’t mind the sea,

And the cheap rum, 

Still made my mind numb,

Instead of making me pine for me humble Pompey slum,

Now me mizzenmast’s sagging and me bowswit’s jiggered,

And one of these days, I’ll just up and say fwigate.

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Forever England

This is a quick Friday Fictioneers effort, vaguely inspired by today’s election. I can’t help but wonder how much unnecessary pain we’d have been spared if someone had bought Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall a shed. Thanks to sarah potter for the prompt.

(100 words exactly.)

Eustace could barely stand to think about the way the country was going. Too much immigration, he thought, though you weren’t supposed to say that. After Irene died, the kids had stopped visiting. Embarrassed of their old man, he supposed, though they’d understand in time.
For now, though, he had his potting shed. He could say what he liked to the broadbeans, and they wouldn’t call him racist. With government determined to send the country to the dogs, why would he leave?
Six months later, his son found his body, emaciated, encased in tendrils, a beatific smile on his face. 


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Deny Everything

This is a slightly delayed Sunday Photofiction submission. Thanks to Dawm M.Miller for the prompt. I don’t often try to be topical, because there’s always a risk of coming across overly worthy. Perhaps I should keep politics out of it, too, but this is a subject that’s occupied a lot of my thoughts so I make no apologies.

(Nb. For reasons I don’t understand, the photo isn’t uploading so there’s a risk the last line won’t make a lot of sense)

-Your brother still working at Vauxhall?


-He worried about them selling it off to the frogs?

-Nah.He’s a riveter.

-What about Brexit?

-What about it?

-He not worried about that?

-Why’d he worry?

-Well…If we leave the single market, won’t the ensuing export duties make the cars uncompetitive on the continental marketplace?

-Your typical frenchman ain’t going to let a couple of thousand Euro come between him and his Vectra.

-And those punitive duties on imported components are really going to hit their profit margin. 


-So that’s going to have a knock on effect on terms and conditions.
-How come?

-Well, the cost of manufacturing’ll go up and their profits’ll go down.

-But…we’re taking back control. Like that Priti Patel said.

-Yeah, till they lay off the workforce and shift the whole shebang to Cologne.

-Still…An extra £350 million a week for the NHS.

-If you believe that, you’ll probably believe the Antara’s a class-leading mid-size SUV.

-Now you’re just being a naysayer.

-What. Like a horse?

-Nah. A naysayer. Like that Michael Gove was on about. You’ll be banging on about global warming next.

-You not worried about that, then?

-Would I have bought myself 50 patio heaters if I was?


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