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Getting Butterflies

This is a quick bash at a Friday Fictioneers submission which can be viewed as a response to my New Year’s resolution to get back into writing. I’d have liked a couple more sentences to set the context but am taking some satisfaction in the fact this is 100 words exactly. Thanks to Roger Bultot for the prompt.

Wendy watched her father’s reaction as her sister came down the stairs in the lilac ballgown. There was pride there, but something else, too: a sullen recognition that she was growing into a beautiful young woman. Carla had always been the pretty one, but tonight, she was transformed.
Back when they were kids, Wendy had been fascinated by caterpillars. She’d wished she could hole up in a chrysalis for a day or so, and emerge metamorphosed into something beautiful. More likely, she’d have turned out to be a moth, but st least she could have flown from her drab surroundings.


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On The Rocks…

This is a quick Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the prompt.  

I’d like to take this opportunity to plug my annualish festive ghost story, which I’ll put on this site next week. 

After they decommissioned the lighthouse, Bob felt adrift. Adept as he’d become at saving mariners from the rocks, it had left him without any transferable skills. Lacking an income stream, he stayed at his sisters in Deptford and took to loitering under the streetlamp outside the General Lighthouse Authority, warning passers by that it was a treacherous place. The police said he was a nuisance and moved him on. He came back, and this time the magistrate sent him down for 6 months. Bob didn’t mind, of course; he was used to confined spaces and pleased he could still serve as a warning to others.


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A Sketchy Character (Doggerel #17)

This was a submission for the Scribblers flash fiction for October 13th 2017 with the theme, A Stroke of Luck. The link with this story was tenuous at best, I’m sure you’ll agree, which might go some way to explaining why it came fourth out of six entries. Originally, I was trying for an homage to Julia Donaldson’s Monkey Puzzle but I ran out of steam and this is the result.

The sketch artist sat across the desk,

Brush in his ursine paw

Then leant forward, waxing Whistleresque,

“Tell me what it was you saw.”
At first the witness didn’t speak,

And scratched the bald spot on his head,

And gave his beard a pensive tweak,

Before, sighing, he sat back and said,
“I fell victim to a callous crook,

From the rogue’s miscellany,

And found myself brought quite unstuck

By an egregious felony”
The sketch artist smiled, said “There’s no rush,”

As he stood before his easel,

“With what you recall and my trusty brush

We’ll get a likeness of this weasel.”
The witness clutched his pallid throat

Said, “Respectfully I bid,

That you don’t compare her with a stoat,

Or some other mustelid.”
“How would you describe the miscreant?”

Came the sketch artist’s retort.

“I only saw her from the front,”

said his guest, “And our time together was short.
It was a cruelly brief but blissful visit,

From an angel dressed in human guise,

Comely, fair, refined, exquisite,

With the most alluring turquoise eyes”
“Turquoise eyes?” the artist repeated.

“And auburn hair,” the witness said,

“But if your paint box is depleted,

You could make do with blue and red.”
“So, this most decorous of ingenues,”

Asked the sketcher, at his art,

“Of what crime is it you her accuse?”

The victim frowned, “She stole my heart.
“l know to steal a heart is not a crime

On any country’s statute books, 

But the lawmakers will see sense in time,

And she could have killed me with those looks.”
As the victim shared his memories

Of the encounter that he’d had

The artist gave new life to these

I’m strokes of paint upon the pad
But as the hours went on a tension arose

As the sketcher felt a cramp in his hands

And they couldn’t agree on the shape of her nose

Or the victim’s exacting demands
“You told me of her pulchritude,

Enough to stall a herd of bisons

“But I refuse to main her in the nude?

There’s no place for artistic licence.”
“Alas it’s not within my gift

For I am a slave to truth

I can’t give burglars an eyebrow lift,

Or murderers an air of youth.
“The prisons would be full of handsome men

If I ignored my artist’s eye.”

“How about some cleavage then?

Or at least a flash of thigh,”
The victim asked frustratedly,

Taking a peek at the artist’s sketch,

Before he fell to his knees I’ll-fatedly,

Beginning to grumpily retch,
For what the dauber had achieved with his paint,

Was a second rate portrait at best,

But it was hard for the victim to raise a complaint,

With a pallet knife stuck in his chest
Above the artist’s mantel-shelf, 

The picture hangs with pride,

He fell in love with the image himself,

And he’ll yet make the object his bride
For every Picasso or Damien Hirst,

There are a thousand paint-splattered jokes,

But they all of them have the same unslakable thirst,

If you run into one, beware their brush strokes

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Raymond Carver

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the prompt. I’m not sure if the practice of mutilating trees to document transitory affections is known out with the UK, though I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Thanks 

Ray 4 Jan
Ray 4 Jan 4 Wot?
Ray 4 Jan 4 Eva
4 Eva? Eva Who?
Nah, 4 Evah..4FS
4fs? 4 Cough
U 4 Cough…Ray 4 Eva
4 Jan 4 Evah?
Nah, Ray 4 Eva…4 Evah.
Jan 4saken?
2 rite.
Jan 4 Jon, then.
Jan 4 Jon 4 Wot?
Jan 4 Jon 4 Evan.
Jon 4 Evan?
Nah, 4 Eva.
Jon 4 Eva? Nah, Ray 4 Eva, Eva 4 Ray.
Nah, Eva 4 Evan 4 Eva an’ Evah!!
Ray 4saken?
4 certain.
Jan 4giving?
4 Get it.


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Happy Families 

This was written in response to a challenge to base a story around one of Jack Vettriano‘s  paintings. My inspiration, The Billy Boys, is below. If Mr Vetriano or his lawyers happen to be reading then I’m afraid I don’t have any money to pay for the use of the image. However, it’s not unknown for posts on this blog to attract a readership in the high single figures. If even three or four of those readers follow the link above and buy a painting at three quarters of a million pounds, then hopefully that’ll put you up on the deal, eh Jack. If not, give us a shout and I’ll take it down.

 -I say we hit the casinos

-‘Hit the casinos’, Sal? You wanna be careful how you talk.

-You know what I mean…What the hell we doing in Skegness anyway?

-I told you. Team building exercise.

-We’re mafiosi, Gino.


-So mafiosi don’t do ‘team building exercises’.

-It was Rudolfo’s idea.

-Makes sense…Where is he anyway?

-Went back to the caravan in a huff after you kept on about him sniffing round the groyne.

-He was, though.

-…He thought he’d seen a weaver fish. Anyway, stop sulking. Enjoy yourself. They’ve got a Frank Sinatra tribute on at the Embassy tonight.

-Ang said the Triads went to Alton Towers last year.

-Yeah, but Ang said his dad knew where the Brinks Mat bullion was hidden.

-Ey up. Them birds are looking at us.

-The seagulls?

-Nah, birds. Women. Over there on the pier.

-They checking out our Fedoras?

-Maybe they are, Sal, maybe they are..Bugger.


-They’re just looking at that snitch we buried in the sand.


-Dunno. Mebbe they’ve never seen it done head first before.

-A tenner this hat costume me.

-You can wear it down the disco later.

-Disco? I’m not going to the disco l, mate.

-How come?

-I’m meeting Rodolfo, aren’t I?

-What for?

-I dunno…He said summat about a sleepover at the aquarium.

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A Pharoah Palaver

This is a Sunday Photofiction submission for October 8th 2017. I know nothing about Egyptology so apologies in advance for the historical inaccuracies. Thanks to Kathryn Forbes for the photographic prompt.

-So, you like it?

-What is it?

-It’s my mausoleum.

-But, Pharoah…You’re not dead.

-Builders were offering 0% finance, weren’t they?


-So, what do you think?

-…It’s a bit pointy.

-It’s a pyramid.

-You didn’t fancy a nice, tasteful tumulus?

-I’ve got a legacy to think of. Can’t afford to scrimp. I’ve got a state of the art security system, too.

-What’s that?

-Curse, mate.

-A curse? What sort of curse?

-Any one disturbing my remains is gonna die of natural causes several years later.


-I know. 

-Does it have to be this big?

-I’ve gotta have space for my treasures, haven’t I?

-Can’t take it with you when you go I suppose.



-Sometimes I worry about you, Moses.


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Imperfect Recall

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to Roger Bulltot for the prompt.

If anyone enjoys this enough to want to investigate further, my books are free on Kindle for the next few days.

Don’t Carp Marley Tiffin (UK)
Don’t Carp, Marley Tiffin (US)
Rose-Tinted Rifle Sites (UK)
Rose-Tinted Rifles Sites (US)


-What’s up, boss? The missus playing away again.

-Tourist season again.

-I’ll have make small talk with Americans who think they’ve got Celtic roots.

-Think of the TripAdvisor reviews.

-And when the hand towels get stuck in the dispenser again, who’d’you think they’ll get to yank them out?

-So you’ve got a knack.


-And the National Trust’ll take this place off your hands if it gets too much.

-Nah, Camelot’s in my blood.

-That’s the spirit, Arthur.

-Only when you said I’d come back when my country needed me most, I didn’t expect to be running the gift shop.


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