Only the Flags Moved

He didn’t trust his his eyes. So he watched and waited. And when he was sure he called out, “Baba, Baba, it’s land. I see it.”

His father raised himself up on his elbows so he could see over the side of their dingy. He looked, then dropped back down, weakened by days of foul weather and lack of food. “I am glad, my son,” he murmured. “Now we can start to build a new life for you, to help you get a future.”

“And for you too, Baba,” said the boy, “For both of us.”

They were both quiet, both thinking about the terrible journey, how they had been cheated, how the rest of the family had been lost, taken by hunger, taken by the sea.

The boy watched carefully as the tide and currents slowly carried them towards the coastline, towards sanctuary. Eventually he could make out the crowd of people watching them. Standing and watching.

“They can see us, Baba. They have a telescope. They see us and are waiting. We are saved,” sang the boy.

And on the quayside, the people stood without speaking. Watching, waiting. Only the flags moved, blowing in the wind.

This for Sunday Photo Fiction 200 word challenge.

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Day 7: World War III Tweets

@POTUS: Armada heading south to North Korea. Massive.
@VP: POTUS fools world media with fake news. Armada is heading north.
@POTUS: Armada now heads north to South Korea. Goodbye @Kim.
@PresXi: Love ya Donald. Knew you would join my team.
@VP: #PresXi not cool. North Korea, South Korea, who cares. #USA has the power.
@KIM: We will destroy convoy with powerful inter-ballistics. #USA to become redundant.
@POTUS: #USA standby. Massive deployment. Good. Hide in cellars. Under tables. Huge.
@Triggercarrier: #POTUS your nuclear button briefcase is at Mar-a-Lago.
@Vladimir: Heh heh. Sad.
@Kim: So many mad leaders in the club.
@PopeFrancis: We thank you Lord.

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A proposal is rejected


Wikipedia Media

The church is booked, the caterers signed up, and the florist is standing by.
All I need now is someone to love me, someone to say, Oh aye.
I’ve been lonely a long, long time, for far too many a year,
And a lonely bachelor I’ll remain, it’s what me and my family fear.
But when I asked a sweet young lass to be my love, my bride
And to cook my meals and wash and iron and scrub and tup and tup and scrub
I got dark looks and frowns and tears and I sighed when she replied,
“Ah, Old Herbert, woo me not but keep tha nose in tha beer.”

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Day 3: Choice

Continue reading

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Day 2: The Essential List

Image: Wikipedia

This is day two of the Everyday project – Write a list of pre-WW3 personalities I would invite for dinner. Tricky so I googled and here’s what I got:

Famous personalities before the War
Mother Teresa – Mayor of India
Napoleon Bonaparte – a Frenchman
Lawrence of Arabia – an Englishman
William Shakespeare – inventor of old English
Queen Elizabeth – a monarch – named after a famous passenger liner
George Washington – inventor of America
Barack Obama – president of Kenya
Mahatma Gandi – fashion designer
Florence Nightingale – peacemaker
Pope Francis II – the last Christian
Spartacus – decorated war hero
Angela Merkel – world leader
Jane Austen – chick lit writer
Dr Who – the first human time traveller
Lady Hamilton – a sailor’s friend
Duke Ellington – a knight of the realm

Disclaimer: Google writes that so few pre-twenty first century archives survived the nuclear holocausts that it cannot guarantee the veracity of the given information.

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Day 1: Why I Write

This is for Day 1 of the WordPress “Everyday Inspiration” thingy so not the usual stuff. It’s really only the last two stanzas that appeal to me and may be worth working up at some point. Here goes:

I write:
Because I am
Because I want to be
Because I wouldn’t be
Because I have to be

I write:
To express
To impress
To teach
To preach

I write:
To pretend
To offend
To undermine
To wear ermine

I write:
To chastise
To disguise
To invent
To circumvent

I write because:
My heavenly mission is
The world to enchant
I sometimes can
But I sometimes can’t

I write:
The gods to appease
My anger to freeze
My enemies to tease
My ego to please

Ah, ego! There’s the thing.
Let’s dance, let’s sing
Life’s a carnival

(The angel appeared to me one morning bright,
Said to me, “Sonny boy, it’s time to write”.
From his robe he produced a soft lead sharpened pencil
A virgin Moleskine, cream, ready to receive my piffle
And a heartless alarm clock to ring at 7am each night.)

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The True Path




“To what do we owe this visit, my son?”

“Father. It’s these oranges. Produce of Israel.”

“Ah, and you seek, what? Guidance, prayers?”

“I do, Father.”

“And you come to me even though we’ve not seen you at communion for the past five years or so?”

“Yes, Father. It was my wedding. To Mary. And it’s four years although it feels like forty.”

“Well my son, I can only hope you consider the words of Titimus 5: 11 in which he ponders the concept of loyalty to the holy spirit.”

“Father. I will.”

“Bless you my son, etc, but back to the oranges?”

“They were packed under the supervision of a rabbi.”

“Yet you bought them?”

“It’s the small print, Father, a busy supermarket, baby Patricia screaming her head off, young Michael pulling packs of condoms from the shelves. Too stressed to read the labels. It’s just a pack of oranges, for god’s sake.”

“Ah, but what about Semolina 10: 3?”

“The oranges, Father. Can we eat them?”

“Is it exorcism you’ll be wanting, my son?”

“Maybe just a blessing?”

“It’s certainly cheaper.”

“And you’ll write to the supermarket.”

“I will my son. And I’ll pray for them. And for you.”

“Thank you, Father.”

“And for Mary. And Patricia. And Michael.”

“Is all that extra?”

“Fifteen percent? Is that okay?”

“Credit card okay?”


“Love thy neighbour, eh?”

“Peace to all mankind, not so?”

“Blessed are the meek.”

“And the money lenders.”

“Is the Pope…?”

“Do bears…?”

“Amandicus 3:4-7.”

“Eye for an eye.”

“Do unto others…”

“Blowing in the wind…”

“All you need is love…”

“The bells of St Clement’s…”

“St Martin’s…”


“Can’t afford Shoreditch. Gone all gentrified.”

“Blessed are the developers…”

“And interior designers…”

“Money lenders, again…”

“That’s enough, son. Go home to your family now, they need you.”

“Thank you, Father.”

“Bless you my son, and don’t leave it so long again. Classifucus 2:4, eh?” Continue reading

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No More Honey, Honey

Delighted that the Oxford comma rules: read about it here. I’ll list my reasons some other time.

Image copyright: Jennifer Pendergast

“So how come they can fit into a coffee cup?”

“There’re small, small. That’s all.”

“Yes, but they weren’t yesterday, were they?”

“Well, memory plays tricks; maybe yesterday they were small, we can’t tell.”

Expletive deleted.

“Okay, so they’re less big. I dunno, something they ate, something they read – that bloody Alice book? Something genetic – look at your mother; she’s pretty weird.”

“What? You shrunk the kids and now you’re blaming my mother. She always said I shouldn’t take up with you. I should’ve listened. I’m leaving.”

“Go then, and take those kids with you. ”

Expletive deleted.

“You too!”


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly 100 word challenge found here.

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Every cloud

Image copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Image copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The cats have all gone.

A month ago we could walk around the neighbourhood and all sorts of tabbys and moggies would make their lazy ways off doorsteps, from under bushes, from the bonnets of parked cars, come up to us, entwine themselves around our ankles or stretch out on their backs looking for a tickle, a stroke.

Now, they’re gone. We miss them and those short bursts of therapy they offered, those moments when our cares and woes slipped away.

On the other hand, the birds are back, and the dawn chorus is heard once more.

Silver linings, eh?

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly 100 word challenge found here.

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The Lesser Gatsby


“Jay,” his mother would say, “We’ve named you, you gotta live up to it.”

His dad would roll him a spliff or two out his very own stash but Jay never did light up. And if you asked him why, he probably wouldn’t be able to tell you.

His teachers would say, “That young Gatsby, shy beyond belief.”

When he grew up and lived in a small suite of rooms his parents rented for him, he would spend most evenings watching television and surrounded by odds and ends from the kitchen – measuring spoons, his frying pans, the can opener; his particular favourite was his egg beater because, as he would have said had he ever been asked, it’s a really non-judgemental piece of equipment and beautifully designed.

By day Jay worked in a bookshop – it’s what the career adviser at school suggested – stacking books and occasionally behind the till if they were short-staffed and someone needed to make a trip to the lavatory. He enjoyed that with its sense of responsibility and was able to look people in the eye and make small talk and maybe even be cool although he wasn’t that sure of what being cool felt like. Sometimes one of his colleagues would give him an unwanted sandwich which he would then eat back in the storeroom amongst the film-wrapped pallets of books head office had sent.

The shop sold more cookery books than any other shop in the chain.

Every now and then Jay’s life would light up when he won something on the lottery – never big stuff, but always welcome. And those times when he collected his winnings felt like the only time when anyone would smile at him and congratulate saying things like, “Well done,” “You done good,” or “You’re a smart cookie.”

And so he kept on buying the tickets neither realizing nor caring that his chances of winning a big one were very many millions to one.

And possibly because he never did fret over that statistic and possibly because someone somewhere had had enough of sticking pins into a clay doll modeled in his likeness, one rainy December Saturday his numbers came in and he became very rich. Very rich indeed.

He hired a life coach, a fitness instructor, and invested in two years of talking therapy with a gorgeous redhead called Verity and transformed himself into the confident creature we see featured so often in the glossy gossip magazines.

He’s changed his name of course, and the only link with his past is the egg beater hanging next to the wedding pictures.

The motto on his newly commissioned coat of arms reads, “custodi redemptio”.

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Bent, broken and busted

Image copyright: Liz Young

Image copyright: Liz Young

Drain the swamp – you’ll find me.

I used to be important, used to have clout.

And then it all went wrong. I reached that age – you know, THAT age – that age when the boss calls you in, looks you in the eye/avoids your eye, puts on a sympathetic face and says, “Happy birthday.”

And you say, “But it’s not my birthday.”

And he/she says, “Human resources says it is, so it must be.”

He/she says, “Clear your desk. We’ll give you a good reference.”

But that’s no help. You’re THAT age now.

And soon you’re bent, broken and busted.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly 100 word challenge found here.

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