Up The Junction

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to C.E.Ayr for the photographic prompt and to Messrs Difford and Tilbrook for the title. 


There’s not so many of them these days, the trainspotters. It’s the internet, I suppose, sparing them from the weather and the derision of commuters. A few remain, usually male, making video recordings on their phones these days, instead of jotting numbers in their notebooks. They rarely notice me watching them; they never did.
The wife says I should give up, that our boy’s not coming back, but she’s wrong. One day, the pull of the locomotive will be too strong. He’ll forget about that other stuff that took him away and we’ll get back to our shared hobby again.


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Of Mice And Men (Doggerel #12)

This was a Scribblers Flash Poesy submission. The challenge was to base a poem around the title of a book. Now, parenthood, work and Netflix have conspired to create a situation where I average a pitiful number of books per year and I happened to be reading East Of Eden at the time. I couldn’t think of anything for that title and The Grapes Of Wrath only inspired an unpleasant mental image involving Mr Orange and some haemarrhoid cream, so I feel back on this GCSE standard. With hindsight, I wonder if the fact I last read the book when I was fifteen inspired the subject matter. Incidentally, this is one of about three pieces of mine to be placed first in a contest on Authonomy or a successor website.


What sultry sordid passion hangs,
Behind the lustrous brunette bangs

Of the comely and inviting lass,

Gazed upon behind the glass

Of the laptop screen astride the lap,

Of this dull, unprepossessing chap?

Len hasn’t seen his wife in weeks,

And when he does, he barely speaks,

As his thoughts return, again, again

To the simpler games of mice and men,


Far easier to get his kicks,

Through a furtive run of button clicks,

Than coupledom in the old fashioned way,

With drawn out talk about his day,

Which, once enjoyed, now seem to grate

As household chores he’s left too late,

And the awkward way he holds his fork,
Dominate the parlour talk,

Till he finds his thoughts wandering again,

To the gentler games of mice and men


Len’s lost his heart to an avatar,
In thigh length boots and peephole bra,

Who’s frozen like a mannequin,

Until he types his bank details in

Then when a playful smile you’d call coquettish,

She gratifies his Draylon fetish,

And the thing for lace he’s discovered lurks
With myriad other unspeakable quirks,

All awoken when he discovered his yen,

For the mysterious games of mice and men


And Len tells himself his wife doesn’t suspect,

The reasons behind the outrageous neglect

But she listens out, until she’s sure,

He’s locked behind the bathroom door,

Then creeps out for her tryst in the liveried van 

That belongs to her lover, the pest control man

As Len’s chases the past on a smudged laptop screen,
She’s the one who remembers what passion can mean,

She’ll remind herself later, on Tuesday at ten

More delectable games of mice and men

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This is a Friday Fictioneers foray.

Thanks to Shaktiki Sharma for the prompt.


The youths had set about Raymond with a rare vigour. His nose had been broken, his arm dislocated and his scarf left dangling on Mr Yate’s garden wall. The snowman’s lot has never been a happy one: forced into anachronistic knitwear by day and assaulted by feral youth at night.
When he’d seen one of the gang loitering alone by the bus stop, it looked like a chance for revenge. Alas, his nerves got the better of him and he froze to the spot, wishing that the puddle which was forming around him could be put down to global warming.


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Hellas Other People

This is a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers submission. Thanks to Footy and Foodie for the inspiration. Apologies for my failure to stick to the word limit. I tried and tried to pare it down, but the story just wasn’t the same. This is my first offering for a number of months so I’m hoping I’ll be allowed to carry over 20 words or so.

(apologies, too, that the title makes no sense. I really need to get to bed and that’s the best I can do)


Dimitri couldn’t help but ruminate wistfully whenever he gazed over a body of water. It was what made him such a gifted screenwriter. It was a pity, then, that he’d chosen to make his home on the Island of Kos. Surrounded, as he was by the Aegean Sea, he found himself too busy ruminating to actually get any writing done. Forced to make ends meet, he took a job in a petrol station. Oil might make the world go round, but as liquids went, it wasn’t particularly evocative. 

He’d’ve been fine if the manager hadn’t decided to run a promotion on bottled water. A portly trucker, looking for something to wash down a pasty, handed over a bottle of Volvic.Dimitri  couldn’t help himself and, by the time the punter handed over his debit card, our man was lost in a reverie about the time he beat his father at tennis. When the robber came in demanding the day’s takings, the poor sap didn’t stand a chance.  
Some say his ghost still haunts the island but as anyone who’s met him will attest, Dimitri’s stuck on the banks of the Styx, pining for his first love, whilst the ferryman glowers on.


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A Closeted Atheist?

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. I’ve not done one of these in months and I’d forgotten how hard it can be to condense a story into 100 words. I managed it, I’m pleased to say, and all I had to do was leave out a rather awkward reference to turkish delight. I’ll try not to be a stranger from now on, though thanks to a combination of work and writer’s block, I’m not writing as much as I’d like.

Thanks to CAyr for the photo.
Mr Tumnus could live with being the White Witch’s lackey. He was a faun, after all, and fawning was what he did best. Besides, if Aslan had invited him to make up the numbers at five-a-side, maybe he’d never have fallen under the spell of his frosty mistress. 
It was only when Maugrim lent him the Dawkins book that he realised: he’d been trapped in a religious allegory all this time. Servitude, he could live with, but he’d have no truck with covert proselytising. As soon as he got the chance, he sealed off the portal to the Professor’s wardrobe.


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Subtle Diplomacy (Albany 1891)

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission for 22nd July 2016. Thanks to Jan Wayne Fields for the prompt. Unusually, this one’s exactly 100 words, but that’s mainly because it spared me having to think up a punchline. I have no doubt that this will contain anachronisms and British colloquialisms but that’s part of the charm of flash, n’est ce pas?

-Darnit, the French are coming.

-Why, Governor?

-To cement Franco-American relations, supposedly.

-Can’t they do that in Paris, France?

-I told you, Farb, they don’t call it Paris, France over there. 

-What do they call it?

-Paree, France. Besides, the ambassador wants to take his wife to Macy’s.

-Won’t they notice we haven’t got that statue up?


-…Of Liberty?

-I’m not following.

-They presented it to us as a gift. Remember, we only got them a box of chocolates…?

-Not ringing any bells.

-The broad with the hat?

-Ah…Where did we put it?

-A parking lot in New Jersey.


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The ‘Mare Of The Brownite of Bridlington (Doggerel #11)

I’m not a member if the Labour party, and I’ve only ever voted for them once, in  2015, and that was out of disgust with the Liberal Democrats after they’d spent the preceding five years enablinf one of ths most toxic Conservative Governments in living memory. As such, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the current tribulations of the official opposition. Jeremy Corbyn seems a decent enough bloke and I probably agree with him aboutore things than I don’t. On the other hand, he’s struggling. Whatever says, someone’s going to undermine him, be it the press or his colleagues and he doesn’t always seem to put that much effort in. I’d quite like a Corbyn government, but it’s increasingly difficult to see it happening and the prospect of 9 or so years with Gove or May at the Helm is, frankly, horrifying so I don’t actually blame the Parliamentary Labour Party.  I’ve got nowt against Angela Eagle, either, but when I discovered she’s from Bridlington, it seemed rude not to use the fact to inspire a pastiche of one of the best songs set in the East Riding of Yorkshire(1). 


She was a Brownite from Bridlington,
She was, was the Brownite of Brid,
Who’d hitched her mast to a ghastly crew,

Whose politics were reddish blue,

And what the papers thought they ought to do,

They did, they did, they did,

And what the papers said they ought to do,

Did the friends of the Brownite of Brid

The referendum campaign had just ended in a farce,

Labour In had acted like they could not be arsed,

But rather than apportioning blame where blame was due,

They thought they’d use it as an excuse for a coup

They tried talking to their leader,

Did the friends of the Brownite of Brid,

Explaining to him gently,

That possibly he shouldn’t see,

A future as head of the PLP

They did, they did, they did,

Urged him to stand down from the PLP,

Did the friends of the Brownite of Brid

But in spite of all the jockeying, the leader wouldn’t budge,

Oblivious to every subtle nudge,

So some sort of formal challenge seemed to be the only thing,

But no one dared to throw their hat into the ring

She decided that she should step up,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

And when the moment came, she, sort of, pounced

When one by one, her colleagues flounced,

What she’d praised before, she 

now renounced,

She did, she did, she did

What she’d praised before, she now renounced,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

“Our leader may be decent with a rare integrity,

But he hasn’t even got a PPE

So we’ll override the membership now we’ve let them have their say,

For Eagles, well we’re nothing but a sort of a bird of prey

So she quit her shadow cabinet post,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

To fight to end the leader’s reign

(She’d registered her web domain

Days before deciding to campaign

She did, she did, she did

Days before deciding to campaign, 

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,)

But the website notwithstanding, the leader stayed resolute,

And she wished they could just give their man the boot,

And they couldn’t seem to shift him, however hard they tried,

Because their leader had the membership onside

She got laying down the ground work,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

And with PLP running amok,

Got thumbing through her contact book,

But when she got to ‘c’, she came unstuck,

She did, she did, she did

When she got to ‘c’ she came unstuck,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

Her parliamentary colleagues said she was a shoo-in for the race,

But they were living in a quite insular place,

And what makes sense in the Village, may not do so in the town,

And they really should have talked her chances down

She went to her consituents,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

But then they dealt the fatal blow,

As tactfully, they let her know,

They were happy with the status quo,

They did, they did, they did

They were happy with the status quo,

The told her, the Brownite of Brid

It’s a sad and often thankless task,

To be a stalking horse,

Which leads to ignominy and remorse,

For even when you win, there’ll still be trouble left in store,

And someone will have to clean up the manure

She decided to put her plans on ice,

She did, did the Brownite of Brid,

And so with her ambitions sadly curbed,

Said it was not her turn to cause a stir,

In Wallasey or Westminster,

She did, she did, she did

She said, “Bugger this for a campaign

It’s proved a momental pain

And my chance will always come again.”

She did, she did, she did

“My chance will always come again,”

Unless it comes for our kid.”


(1) This is probably the best.

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