Saturday, 9 August 2014

The brief: Old but not grown up

The brief: Old but not grown up

Write 150 on this topic
Deadline Friday 15th August,  12pm

Friday, 1 August 2014

The brief: Moving on

Write 150 words on this weeks brief - Moving on
Deadline Friday 1st August, good luck!

Response 1: Heavy Heart

“I guess that’s it…”

We looked at each other nervously. The decision to split was made months ago and, although there was no regret in that moment, there was a pang of fear. What happens next? The question we both thought but could not ask.

“Yes, I suppose so…”

The comment did nothing to dull the feeling. Best to just leave. It needed force but the car boot finally clicked shut. Boxes, bags and scraps of a life pressed against the window.

“I’ll call you…”

The sentiment was sincere but empty. Once I’d left, what reason would I have to call? In that moment, I couldn’t help but think a row and storming exit would have been an easier getaway. This was consensual but so much more personal.

“Yes…please do…”

I wouldn’t but I think we both knew that. I left. She stayed. Two lives moving on in separate directions.

Response 2: Moving on

Still only 10.30am?
I’ve already updated my CV, emailed all my Personal files to myself, deleted any incriminating ones – and also deleted some which if they unexpectedly ‘got lost’ would cause certain people a LOT of problems. Hey ho – that’s Karma, right?
12pm. Time for lunch. Possibly extended. Possibly liquid too! And a spot of shopping thrown in also.
Only 2pm?!! Seriously – I’ve got 3 more hours of this to go!?
Time for another coffee, and some mints, to mask my ‘eau de liquid lunch’ aroma.
What to do now? Check my Hotmail, methinks.
Well, that didn’t take long. Let’s see what’s going on in the world on Sky instead.
Blimey – this ‘multi-shirking’ business is pretty tiring. Maybe I need a little walk round the office to perk me up, and make me look like I really AM putting in all the hours on my final week at work.

Response 3: In a case like this

Before the morning lights the street
While sodium still burns and rats plunder bins
Into the world of drivers and drunks
I’m taking myself away

Everything I own, in one case
Everything that has been bought, leastways
The rest is packed in my head
Or sleeping, insensible, in the bed

Twenty-three years, six months, two days
There are better ways to do this
Only a coward leaves like a thief in the night
But in a case like this, I have no choice

T shirts and underwear, toothbrush and razor
iPhone and books, read and unread
My favourite hat and second-best glasses
Half-finished bottles and half-finished conversations

Half a life packed up and zipped
Not even bulging, I thought there would be more
It’s amazing what will fit, when you need it to
When you have no choice
When you must take what you can
In a case like this

Response 4: Six bloody numbers changed my life and not for the better!

I´m moving on up. You´re moving on out.
Movin´ on up. Nothing can stop me.

That may be easy for M people, not so easy, for me.  I’ve worked here for 20 years man and boy.  I thought I’d be here until I retired or died.  Everybody expected me to leave as soon as it happened, but no, what will I do?  I never married, I do not have any children, any friends I had slipped away as I concentrated on building my career.

Helpful colleagues said ‘go on a cruise, see the world’ you can do anything now Jeff, just enjoy yourself.  I am enjoying myself – at work!  It’s my raison d'ĂȘtre. 

Monday meeting, Mr Hardman explains he is very grateful that I didn’t leave straight away but he has now moved my work to a colleague so I am free to go at the end of the week.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Brief: The goings on at Buckingham Palace

The Brief:
The goings on at Buckingham Palace
Write 150 words on this weeks topic

Response 1: Peanuts

“Get the **** out! What the hell are you doing here at this time, poking around in the middle of the night?”

“I’m just looking for some peanuts.”

“I….. ma’am, I’m so sorry….. didn’t realise, I thought…… peanuts. Yes, peanuts. I’ll get some.”

“No need. Sit down, young man. I’ve found them.”

“Ma’am if you’d rung, I would’ve brought them to you. You don’t need to come to the kitchens.”

“At my age I don’t sleep much. I like to explore at night. It’s quiet. No boring politicians to talk to. You can smell the dust on the pictures.

I have quite a game with the officers. I sneaked past three armed policemen to get here, isn’t that fun? Three policemen with guns that is. Not excess limbs. It’s a weak joke, you don’t need to laugh so much.

Now, is that a bottle of gin? Thank you, young man.”

Response 2: Within These Walls

If these walls could talk?
Well, now I am.
People say they’d have more sense talking to the wall – and they’re right you know.
We see everything – silent, all-seeing, all-knowing, discreet. The holders of all the Kingdom’s secrets.
And there are many.
My favourite period? The Eighties. Those young ladies brought a bit more life to the old place – sorry, Palace.
Sure the redhead was a bit loud, but she cheered that thin, shy one right up. When they were together we’d watch them furtively leaving in disguise, then roll back the next morning laughing and stumbling like a pair of carefree teenagers.
Course, after the redhead left, the thin one stopped laughing so much – but kept on with the stumbling. Pitched herself right down that big staircase once. Nobody noticed – so she did it again, when she knew there were more people about.
I wonder what happened to her?

Response 3: It's Buckingham, Not Battersea

One doesn’t just run. There is etiquette to be observed. Rules to be upheld. One cannot just eat when hungry. Dinnertime is precisely set. The waiting staff live to serve but do hate it when we flounce into the kitchen yelping for sustenance. It’s not becoming to beg in this house. It may come natural to our kind but it’s just not cricket and should therefore be avoided.

Speaking of matters to avoid, visitors are in regular attendance at the house but contact is not expected. Overeager attempts to curry favour will be noted and reported back. That means no leg humping, we save such etiquette for young princes who will remain nameless. Finally, our toilet training must be observed. Our royal business can be done anywhere but Mummy hates a pooper. It’s just not British for one to defecate on the carpet even if for a Corgi. Be warned.

Response 4: Secrets

Remember that time you got the runs? Or that time you farted and it cleared the whole dance floor?
Well, The Queen does that too…
She’s had the runs, let’s out sneaky trumps in her sleep and has been known to dribble and snore.
And when she’s had one too many sherries after being bored out of her head at yet another tedious, unfunny Royal Variety Performance – she gets a large big mac meal delivered with a chicken nugget chaser for the hangover. If it’s really bad she’ll get a double cheeseburger starter too.
And when she’s had the whole family over on Christmas day – after her speech, she likes to have a quick fag. No one knows. Not even Philip. This makes her smile.
And when Philip really pisses her off she tells him to eff off and starves him of any sexual activity for a week
Signed: Elizabeth

Friday, 4 July 2014

The brief: The perfect alibi

Dust off your pens Nifties and get writing on this weeks topic - The perfect alibi

Response 1: At Sharky's Bar

The neon streets glistened as I made my way to Sharky’s that night, but no amount of rain can wash the filth from this stinking town. My usual shot was already waiting on the bar, and I pushed through the lowlife and the smoke and the sneering broads.

Sharky gave me that look, the one he gives when he knows I’ve gone too far. I took the whisky down in one. It wrenched at my empty guts but it would take more than hard liquor to erase the memory of what I had done. Guys jostled and packed around as I signalled for another glass of oblivion.

A tall man in a raincoat nodded a greeting and grunted “Hey Sam”. He never was one for conversation.

“A’right Dave? I told your Maureen that you’re round at ours babysitting the kids. Perfect alibi to watch the match, eh? Up the Villa!”

Response 2: I have an alibi

I had nothing to worry about, why the police had even arrested me I have no idea but I wasn’t scared as I had my alibi, it was my boyfriend of 10 years who I loved dearly...we were together all night long, just him and me as I lay on his chest until the sun broke through the curtains in the early morning.

It’s a shame on the victim really, young good looking man, done well for himself had a good job, a girlfriend, just sad that he cheated on his girlfriend who happened to be a nut job, when she found out not even he would have dreamed of what happened!

Anyway back to me, like I said I don’t have to worry I have my alibi I was with him all night… I just hope it doesn’t matter that my alibi and the victim… is the same person!

Response 3: SMOKIN !!

Before the smoking ban it was fine.  I could sit in a restaurant and smoke my head off knowing that when my children smelt the smoke I could say ‘I was out for dinner everybody smokes!’ Since the ban it’s become more difficult.

‘Yuck, Mum you stink’ said my 8 year old disgustedly, my 15 year old joined in ‘don’t go near your work colleagues their smoking makes you stink’

I should stop, I am a single Mum after all and my children hate people smoking.  The look of shock and disgust on their little faces when they caught me mid puff in the back garden was enough to make me stop.  I felt terrible and would do anything to make it up to them, you’d think they were the parents and me the child.  But they were acting much more grown up than me.  Here’s to a smoke-free future!

Friday, 25 April 2014

The brief: Wedding bells

The brief for this week is 'Wedding Bells.'  Due to the Easter break the deadline for entries is
Friday 25th April.  Dust your pens off folks!!

Response 1: The Scret

Grabbing my hand tightly Harry looked into my eyes, are you ready? I couldn't control my nerves But we did it, 100 metres off the cliffside into the sea, the tide was coming in but we didn't care, we had each other. Around him I was different, I could be me. This was our world, our secret world.
My father would appear to be the doting type, a respectable religious man with a loving family. Being the first born son I had an example to set. My father living his life now vicariously through mine made me resent him.

The final ""meeting"" as my father would like to call it had sealed my future, my pending marriage was set, father had chosen my soon to be wife and the wedding date set. My only option now to live a lie, Harry and I's secret world would remain that- a secret."

Response 2: Wedding bells

I looked at my beautiful wedding dress and wondered if I should be doing this.  Sure I loved Dave, but did I love him enough to leave my life with my Dad?  Dad and I had lived alone together for years. We were best mates, shared everything, cooking, cleaning, laughing, yes mostly laughing.
We stood alone together, the last two to leave.  I started crying, ‘I’m going to miss you Dad’ I sobbed ‘aww honey, remember you have two homes now’ his eyes watered ‘you and Dave are welcome here anytime, I love you’ Yes I knew he loved me but things would never be the same between me and Dad.

Ten years, two children, another wedding to attend I am so happy.  Dad and his wife Janet are off on a cruise, me, Dave and the kids are off to Disneyland.  Dad and I still laugh, all the time!

Response 3: The bells of St. Andrew's

"I stood facing the altar until I was completely sure that everyone was gone, that they were already back home with their families or in the pub making weak jokes about me. The church was entirely quiet, but I noticed for the first time that even silence can echo.

 Stewart had tried to make light of it at first, laughing “she’s ditched you mate!” But after pained minutes and family phone-calls, it slowly became obvious that this was true.  He carried on with muted banter for a while, probably feeling that this was an unwritten duty of the best-man, though in a while even he tailed off and shuffled away with a nod.

Without warning, even to myself, I sprinted down the aisle and climbed up the ladder through the trapdoor to the belfry. I pulled every rope, madly, randomly, until the cacophony filled my head and made thought impossible.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The brief: Speed

Write 150 words on:


Response 1: The speed charge

Prosecutor:        Please state your name and occupation

McGinty:             John McGinty, Knox County Sheriff

Prosecutor:        Tell the court about events on January 4th

McGinty:            I was patrolling Highway 6 when I observed the defendant driving erratically. I sounded my siren and he accelerated so I gave pursuit.

Prosecutor:        You pulled him over. For speeding?

McGinty:            Yes

Prosecutor:        Please continue

McGinty:           I requested his license and registration papers. They checked out so I asked him to step out of the vehicle while I search it

Prosecutor:        You find anything?

McGinty:           A parcel in the trunk with a timer on it. I thought it was a bomb so I called it in. Turns out it was methamphetamine.

Prosecutor:        The drug speed? Why the timer?

McGinty:             He said he was coerced by the Mafia to deliver it to a Tyson Gay before time ran out.

Prosecutor:        Tyson Gay the US Olympic athlete?

McGinty:            Affirmative

Response 2: A woman’s work is never done!

‘Have you had a good weekend?’ My single childless colleague asked. Without thinking and as per usual I said ‘yes, good thanks.’

Let’s think about it. I left work at 7.30pm on Friday, I was very busy! Home at 8pm, started dinner, my husband and eldest child were away, so dinner for two. I put a load of washing on, emptied the dishwasher, emptied the dryer and filled the ironing basket, fed the dog, rabbit, guinea pigs and fish. Served my daughter her dinner and ate mine at the same time as washing the breakfast pots. At 11pm I fell into bed.

Up at 7.30am to take my daughter to the stables, back home after food shopping at 10.30am. Put more washing on, started the ironing. Emptied washer and re-filled ironing basket, cleaned the windows, dusted, vac’d up. Very similar on Sunday, back to work on Monday, for a rest.

Response 3: Ode to the Star

When Sandra set off on the bus, there was no way she could know
that lives would be risked, just by driving too slow.

Keanu starred in this film, but it sure is a fact,
that it would have been better, if he’d learnt how to act.

With a long list of turkeys, she’s just turned the table
as she’s now showed the world, that she’s finally able.

The Blindside was moving, but it’s her journey to space.
that has made people realise, well…just that she’s ace!

With an Oscar in hand, you can see she’s come far,
but there’s more fame to be had, with this ode to the star.

If only she knew, a few months before fifty,
she’d gain glory once more, by becoming a Nifty.

So all hail to the Bullock, and long may it last,
let’s forget Cruise Control, as a thing of the past.

Response 4: I'm Free

I was always told I couldn’t
Always told ‘No Matt!’
I listened to my elders,
They knew best and that

But suddenly it happened
Suddenly 18!
An adult now, it’s up to me
Finally I’m free

No more ‘don’t do that’
‘Be home in time for tea’
I can do whatever I want,
Coz I’m 18 and free

Can’t believe I listened to them
They don’t know best at all!
Yeah I can buy a bike
Now to make that call

Got serious mular for my birthday
Enough to buy these wheels
The open road is calling
At 200 quid it’s a steal

30 quid left over
Enough for a night on the lash
Big Ste and gay Barry
I love a night with the lads

One pint necked, then 2, 3, 4
Ste offers me some speed
‘no’ I say, ‘It’s not for me’
Then I remember ‘I’m free’

Response 5: The car

Old Joe finished fixing the harness and took hold of the handle of the plough, worn smooth with years of use. He reflected with a smile that many people might say the same of him. Little Joe was watching from the gate. He helped every day in the fields and the two were seen together so often that they had acquired the nicknames to distinguish the farmer from his twelve-year-old grandson. This gave the old man a glow of satisfaction, but didn’t make him miss his son any less.

Rooks rose and scattered and Old Joe looked up, puzzled. He knew what cars were of course, he wasn’t such a crusty stick-in-the-mud, but he was sure that this was the first time one had been along the road.

Little Joe stared transfixed at the dust-cloud in the vehicle’s wake, and Old Joe knew nothing would ever be the same again.

Friday, 28 February 2014

The brief: What's in the box?

This weeks brief, write 150 words on the topic What's in the box?

Response 1: A web of mystery

It started innocently. A silly online riddle sent by a friend. Solving it revealed a clue to another and I was soon hooked on a scintillating trail of web mystery. I wasn’t alone – I soon learned of dozens of others, scattered across the globe vying to be the first to reach the end of the line and bask in the glory of solving that final challenge.

The puzzles got harder and numbers dwindled until a year down the line there were just 2 of us left in the game. I’d spent the last week cracking a cryptogram which led me to the Federal bank armed with a code to a safety deposit box. Led into the vault, I hoped I was getting there first.

Inside the box was a laptop which I powered up to trigger a video feed showing a gagged woman bound to a chair.

Fuck! Now what?

Response 2: What IS IN the box?

Stare at the clock, tick TOCK tick TOCK. The sound is getting louder now. I can’t concentrate. Deadline looms and all I can hear is a bastard clock. No time to think of a clever interpretation of the ‘box’ theme, only time to get on and write…

Improvisation. Ad hoc some may say. I can do this. What can I see? A computer. A computer came in a box. Maybe it was struck by lightning that caused a technology-less apocalypse! Lame. A book. Once packaged in an Amazon box that travelled from the US, posted by a possessed man in the woods. AN EXPLORER. Wait, that’s the plot to Evil Dead.

What is IN the box? A head, a letter, a bunny, a gift? A gift that is a bunnies head accompanied with a letter from the killer! That’s it, I’m out. This Nifty is never going to write itself.

Response 3: Box number 8!

Omg box 8! it’s me! I picked up my box and joined Noel to start my game.

According to Noel I had one of the best games in history, having 1p and £250,000 left at the end … I gambled and I won £250,000 all my dreams had come true!

I woke up to my alarm, oh shit, it was a dream…but I really was on deal or no deal today so maybe my dreams will come true after all!

Box 8 got called. OMG is this really happening?

The game was played out almost identical to my dream… then I was left with 1p and £250,000, I had to gamble my dream was a sign!

As Noel lifted the lid the gasp from the pilgrims said it all! How stupid could I be…?

At least I made it in the hall of fame for the 1p in my box.

Response 4: What's in the box?

At first I thought it was a trick question – I wasn’t expecting a delivery. But I reflected that the postman didn’t know that, so it was just inappropriate nosiness.

“I don’t know”, I answered truthfully.

“Cat! Cat is in the box! Alive or dead?”

Oh – that old chestnut. Though I was curious why a famous conundrum had presented itself on my doorstep in this unusual way. I should have been alerted earlier that something odd was happening, because the postie was a King Charles Spaniel in a smart peaked cap.

“It’s a common misconception that Schrodinger was proposing….. ”, I began. But the little dog was not listening. It was staring at the lid and yapping.

So instead I just ripped it open. The box was empty. The spaniel sighed as though disappointed at being robbed once again of an answer. Then it trudged slowly, disconsolately, out of the gate.

Friday, 21 February 2014

The brief: The arrogance of youth

Write 150 words on the arrogance of youth

Response 1: The arrogance of youth

A smile of self-satisfaction enveloped my face as another, immaculately timed, one-liner had my class in stitches. This was my domain. My mastery of it was absolute, the figure at the front powerless to counteract my insouciance. Sure, they had certain tactics they could try to use, but we all knew where the sovereignty lay.
Standing in front of the class, I knew the moment to act was approaching, as the decibel level steadily rose. The self-appointed, ringleader was getting into their stride. The options clarified in my mind, the delicate interplay of the group calculated for, until one emerged. A carefully chosen question is all it would take. I knew it would be batted back with nonchalance giving them a, false, sense of victory. I also knew well the smile of self-satisfaction on their face, that in fact, was my cue to continue the lesson.

Response 2: I'm not arrogant, I really am that good

It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the instructions. How could I not? I am highly intelligent, after all, the top of the class in everything. Well, in nearly everything.

I’m fit, too, and I’m strong. I run every day, I lift, I’m on the football team. Well I should be, everyone knows that. I should have been picked, he just doesn’t like me.

So the chances of my ever getting into a situation that I can’t get out of are really small. It’s so unlikely that I would not get it right, and even if I didn’t see it coming I’m sure I would be able to deal with almost anything. There’s nothing I can’t handle.

I could always keep up with the group, I’d never lose my way in the dark, and if I did I could navigate back. By the stars or something. If it wasn’t cloudy.


Response 3: Free running

I love the thrill of jumping between high buildings, there is nothing on earth like it.  I’ve been a free runner since the age of 16.  I’ve also been a drinker since the age of 16, a user since the age of 18, but I’m invincible.

Up at 7am every day, bed by 2am that’s plenty of sleep.   Off to town today, but first to score I pat my pocket, the best candycaine money can buy is in there.

Feeling amped after my line I set off.  First on cars to get my height, then up a wall my speed and height increasing, up on top of the car park.  Wow that was immense, what a thrill.  I take a breather stood on the edge and notice my lace is undone, you’d think a fall from two storeys would be nothing, but no my free running didn’t help me this time.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The brief: Picture this

Write 150 words on:

Picture this

Response 1: Picture this

While standing in line at the bank one afternoon, my three year old toddler decided to release some pent-up energy and run amok.  I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons.  I told her that if she did not start behaving "right now", she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!"

The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange.  Even the tellers stopped what they were doing.  Mustering up the last shreds of dignity I had, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and marched quickly out of the bank. The last thing I heard as the doors closed behind me were loud screams of uncontrolled laughter.

Response 2: The end of the human race?

People aren’t that different from those in the past. We all have the same motivations and needs. Your great-great-great-grandparents and their governments had to overcome their own versions of the same problems that we wake up worrying about. Many of our problems aren’t new yet we still make the same mistakes.

We have come a long way in coping with the problems of terrorism and disease, but have been less successful in solving or avoiding problems that are caused by greed and land. The same religious beliefs have been around for centuries yet now they are being used as an excuse for war. 

If we are ever going to stand a chance of saving ourselves then we need to start looking at the causes and solutions to past problems that are similar or close to those we face today. This hopefully will help us to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Response 3: New life

I’m walking as fast as I can – not so fast I draw attention to myself, but fast enough to get there.
Smiling at the passers by, giving the occasional ‘nod’ and ‘hello’.
Do they know it’s me? They can’t – surely.
You’re nearly there - keep on walking Clare.

Shit, Michelle. I mean Michelle. My name is Michelle. Michelle Montgomery - born 1st Feb 1964. Widowed, no children, shop owner. Repeat….
My name is Michelle. Michelle Montgomery - born 1st Feb 1964. Widowed, no children, shop owner
Goodbye Clare Farrelly. Married – mother of two beautiful, innocent, perfect children, teacher.
Don’t cry – people are looking.
So close. It’s not too late to turn back? To hug Caitlin and Marshall one last time. But they’d see me, they’d find me.
Passport control… my heart beating, my palms sweating.
When I thought about how I’d be spending my 50th Birthday – I didn’t picture this.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The brief: Travelling light

Inspired by the (supposed) appearance of the  Aurora Borealis over Britain, the next topic is 'Travelling Light'.

Write 150 words on this weeks topic

Response 1: Travelling light

As she looked down at the small charge grasping her hand she knew she had made the right decision. Leaving the UK for a brand new life in Australia was frightening but something she had to do.

Charlotte felt guilty for taking her sister’s and her niece’s passport, but there was no other way. The tiny girl holding her hand had been systematically abused by all adults she had spent any time with. It took weeks of coaxing for Lily to finally speak, then trust Charlotte. As a social worker she came into contact with many abused children but Lily tugged at her heart more than the others.

The sale of her parents’ house had given her the funds she needed to leave the country with Lily. It was going to be difficult, but they had two changes of clothes each and with money in her pocket they would be fine.

Response 2: Travelling light

Another day, another flight - my 30th in as many days. After 3 years as a travelling rep I’ve got the routine down to a tee. Everything I need jammed into hand luggage, no needless airport delays. Airport – taxi – hotel – client meeting. Reverse and repeat, that’s my life in a nutshell. Occasionally I get a fleeting stop at my city apartment but it doesn’t feel like home. How could it when I spend so little time there?

My traditionalist mother wants me to be happy, i.e. meet a good man, marry and have children. Sounds great but I’ve chosen career for now. Still, clock’s ticking and I’ve yet to meet my knight in shining armour. Ironic that I meet so many people through work but never properly – it’s only superficial meetings.

In that sense I travel light both physically and emotionally. 

“Hi, I’m Jim” smiles the passenger sat beside me.

Response 3: Getting there

She came from Cologne. She walked into my life just as we struck up Hark the Herald Angels Sing. 'Which one is Sue?'
I was impressed with her ability to immerse herself in the lives of others whilst maintaining a dignified detachment. She loved her Manchester family.

Then two years later her work here ended. And an opportunity popped up in Mexico.
She stayed with me the night before she left.
Whilst she slept I took pictures of her luggage. Two suitcases and a backpack. All she owned.
I thought my head might burst as I looked around my home. Stuff. Everywhere.
Is this it? Will I one day be buried beneath the rubble of a half lived existence?

And slowly my journey begun. Every day digging through the crap that was stopping me breathing.

It's work in progress. But I get it now. This is travelling light.

Declutter the mind and get ready for life. 

Response 4: Travelling Light

In the darkness, I am waiting.
Every atom within me is ‘pending’.
My energy is dormant - anticipating.
I am coiled ‘asleep’ - but I am not sleeping.

The cold is biting.
The dark all-consuming.
The damp is encroaching
And the dirt soul-destroying.

The inertia is stifling,
The frustration is physical.
The temptation substantial,
The waiting, intolerable.

The people are gathering.
Their breath is arising.
Their hands are freezing.
And excitement is increasing.

Gloved hands,
Wellington boots,
Muffled ears,
Two pairs of socks.

The small ones sit on shoulders.
The short stand at the front.
The taller lurk at the back.
The older stay indoors.

Footsteps: nearer, nearer.
Voices: clearer, clearer.
Upturned faces: eager, eager.
Expectations: turning to fever.

One joyous spark!
One magical touch!
One physical reaction,
One pure flash of life!

My power released, my energy free,
My colours are burning,
My moment complete –
I am
Travelling light.

Response 5: Women!

A toothbrush, and toothpaste, your razor and shampoo
Tweezers, earbuds, not forgetting moisturiser too
There’s conditioner and soap, or showergel if ya posh
Your passport, and tickets, and if you’re lucky, some dosh!

Don’t forget your nightie, your knickers your bras and your socks
Your bikini, and your eye patch, your skirts and your frocks
Then there’s make up, and hairdyers of all different makes
Straighteners AND curlers? What’s that about for fucks sakes?

Lipstick, lip balm, lip salve and lip gloss
7 (minimum) magazines to catch all the goss
Nail varnish that’s pink, for big nights on the lash
Hair grips and bobbles, and cream for the ‘tache

Sun cream and sun hat, a lilo and ring
Shorts, T shirts and vests, and after sun for the sting
I’m sure that there’s something I’ve missed from this list
Oh yeah, I’m a bloke, and this list takes the piss!

Response 6: Across the universe

He is already past the moon when he notices that the light from the sun is surging past at incalculable velocity, and he hitches a ride on the rippling beams. The sudden acceleration is shocking; arms and legs stretched out into wires by the force. And heavy, so heavy!

He tries to estimate the speed of his motion, but finds to his surprise that now he does not seem to be moving at all. Or rather, the idea of movement has somehow ceased to be meaningful. And more - when he begins to reckon how long the journey has taken, he finds that he cannot, because time itself has stopped.

And finally he understands, as no other mind has ever done before.

“Einstein! Dummkopf! Traumer!”

It’s the flick of his History teacher’s text-book on his ear that finally brings him back to Earth, and he bends resignedly over his lesson.

Response 7: My safety torch

Moving from house to house, 3 different schools, 3 different years, with dad’s job.

Scary new houses, new bed rooms with only thing that kept me safe was my torch in that new, dark room.

One move, I went to look for my torch before I got into bed in my latest bedroom. I couldn't find it anywhere. I was so distraught.

My dad however said.

"Fear not, Once the lights are out, you don't need the torch. Look out the window and you can see that the moon shines so brightly that the moon is your torch".

He turned off the light and to my surprise the moon shone through my window and lit up my room.

The moon has kept me safe ever since.

I’m all grown up and at uni now. The trouble is that I’m at uni in Manchester where it constantly rains and is cloudy.

Friday, 10 January 2014

The brief: New beginnings

Write 150 words on:

New beginnings

Response 1: New beginnings

I toss the last case into the van, slam the door shut and sigh in resignation.

Here we go again! For the third time in as many years, time to hit the road and find yet another new home somewhere else.

IT is a great enabler. It’s given me a career and handsome salary but it’s also ruined my life since that unfortunate incident. The letter of the law may say otherwise but these days, thanks to camera phones and social media it’s more a case of guilty until proven innocent.

In hindsight, I was incredibly stupid. Staggering home after an all-nighter, I was caught short passing the school and was captured exposing myself by the playground railings on a parent’s phone. The footage spread like wildfire and I was soon on a sex offenders register. Death threats, bricks through windows and shunned by the community, I had to go.

Response 2: Chance Meeting

Well, that's that then. I turned the key for the last time, and turned away from the door. Down the short path, past the railing. Crossed the little half-step into the street, as I had done a thousand times before.

I don't know whether it was because I was still looking back at the house, or he was immersed in his phone, or both. But somehow we collided and he went tumbling to the damp pavement. I went to help him up but he was already rising and we bumped again in a cloud of mutual apology and embarrassment.

He stooped for the phone.

"Sorry, I just need to send this. Right, that's done. Done. All done" A note of finality in his voice. Brushed himself off and smiled at me - a little longer than necessary. Then he was away, and I watched his heels disappear around the corner.

Response 3: New Year resolutions


1. Stop smoking
2. Go to the gym 3 times a week
3. Give up chocolate
4. No alcohol (January only)


Went to the gym this morning yeah! Had a kitkat on the way back, well I need to keep my sugar levels up and it’s not really chocolate, well not Cadbury's, which is the type of chocolate I meant.


Phone call from Jenny asking me if I fancy going out tonight, yeah why not.


My hangover prevented me from going to the gym, so not really my fault and it was only wine, not really alcohol is it? Well not JD and that’s the type of alcohol I meant.


Back to work today. Only 8 cigs. That’s not really smoking is it? I meant cut down to less than 20 a day so still on track.


My best one yet!