The challenge in this piece of writing was a time one. I had 10 minutes!
They had to drag him away kicking and screaming.
Breakfast was as usual-arguing about the brownness of the toast; moaning about the lack of thick cut marmalade. First, there was a kiss goodbye. Then he was going his way and she hers-never to be seen together again.
They were to be separated, by an exploding megaton bomb, which had created a cataclysmic black hole in their lives. The destruction was total; the area annihilated and the despair was tangible as survivors ploughed through dust and rubble searching frantically for loved ones.
She’d walked and so was closer; had felt the full force of the explosion blast her body into oblivion. Tiny pieces of clothing, hair and skin were left to litter the streets. She wouldn’t have felt a thing; just heard the whoosh of the drop and in her slight hesitation had received the enormous shock wave as it cascaded across the street.
He’d been luckier I suppose. The car had taken him further away but still he felt the bomb’s impact. He rolled with the car over and over; head cocooned in the airbag and with help from passing strangers heaved himself upright into the barren wasteland that was his home.
He ran; no he stumbled, disorientated then gaining momentum as adrenalin kicked in. Feeling no pain or sense of his surroundings, he raced towards the debris.
With torn bleeding hands he searched; climbing rocky hills of fallen masonry; scratched away at splintered doorways and pulled huge panes of glass to find her.
His beloved. His best friend. His wife. Then as he saw the ragged remnants of the flowery raincoat, newly purchased, he flung himself forward; his primeval howl ricocheted across the devastation. Passersby had to drag him away kicking and screaming.
Sue Westcott(C.) 2017
I wrote this as a homework piece given at one of my writing workshops. I'm sure that many mothers out there will empathise with Cass, my main character, however I didn't want it to be a story, full of just doom and gloom- hence my ending!
Shed A Tear.
Cass stood at the gate and acknowledged the casual salute, the cheery wave and then the slamming of doors as she watched the light of her world drive away. A solitary teardrop slid down her cheek and as the car disappeared into the distance memories rushed back flooding her injured senses.
Was it not so long ago when tears of unashamed joy cascaded as she found out to her delight that she was pregnant after so many barren years? A complicated birth followed by a torrential flood of relief washed her face as she successfully delivered a baby girl. Then came the happy tears; at the first smile, the first step and the wonder of her baby growing up.
Cass sighed and turned to walk back up the drive to the house. Without realising it her steps gravitated upstairs into Clare’s bedroom and as she sat and gazed at the blue walls she could still see the faint smudges of a mural of the solar system complete with nine planets that Clare had painted when she was only ten years old.
A slight hiccup as she wiped her face and Cass glimpsed the photo frame outlines which once housed Clare’s certificates of achievements as she made her way through school, college and finally university. The graduation photograph still remained- a parting gift and another tissue was needed. ‘A physics degree no less,’ Cass thought proudly. ‘Who would have thought it?’
Sporadic visits had followed and over the next four years money or lack of it, washing especially the cleaning of it, food and refuge all vied for her attention- distracting at times but always greeted with a loving smile and a warm welcome.
Feeling better Cass stood and walked over to the window; once more gazing at the road still seeing in her mind’s eye the car imprint as Clare had been driven away.
Was it only six months ago when she had arrived home one weekend with a guest? As Clare had flung her arms around her, Cass had felt her moist cheeks next to hers and then she had whispered, “This is the one!” And what a one he was! 6ft 4ins of muscle-bound rugby hulk- a sports and fitness instructor with tattoos covering both his arms! Not at all what Cass had imagined for her baby girl. A torrent of sleeplessness had flooded her nights and thought provoking; soul searching discussions with Robert had ensued. He had held her close and soothed her in his embrace as she had sobbed out her anguish and worry.
However, whatever her misgivings, Josh was indeed the one and Cass had never seen Clare so happy and content. Yet the next few months had been fraught and a rueful smile flitted across her face. Plans were made, changed, argued about and copious tissue boxes had been consigned to the dust as they had navigated the wedding.
Silent tears of joy had greeted Clare as she entered the church as both Cass and Robert couldn’t contain them as she had walked happily towards her new life.
Party poppers, disco music and brightly coloured balloons festooned the celebration and Josh had cornered Cass in the reception area. Enveloped in a huge hug he had whispered, “Don’t worry Mama Cass, I’ll take good care of her for you!”
Eyes leaking once more, Cass smiled her appreciation at his thoughtfulness. And now, in the calming of the aftermath, Cass shrugged the cold off her shoulders as she left the room, closing the door behind her. She gulped once more and took a deep breath just as the front door crashed open and her two beautiful, boisterous twin boys bounced into the hall.
“Mum!” they bellowed. "Where are you?”
As Cass walked down the stairs she was greeted with two bunches of daffodils- still with their £1 price tags attached,
“We bought you these!” said Ben. “Thought they’d cheer you up!” said Sam. As they scampered into the kitchen searching for food, Cass buried her face into the flowers' golden glow and shed a tear for the delight that was still yet to come.
Sue Westcott (C.) 2017
15th May 2016. This piece was written with the idea that the weather played a significant part in the writing. Hopefully I achieved it.
Wednesday Dear Diary, I don’t think that I can take another grey, dismal day, which is cold and wet and miserable. I can’t stand to see everywhere I look soulless and empty. Gusts of freezing wind turned my body and soul into a cold nothingness as I made my way to work.
And when I got there the same old repetition form filling and requisitions. I was driven to distraction by the persistent rain that lashed down pitter - patter in an annoying staccato rhythm on my office window.
I don’t think that I can last another day in my dead end job; being the old ‘gal’ in the corner cubicle who’s been here for years and years. I hate it that no one speaks to me for days on end, unless they want details or information about a case that they working on. And still it rained.
I crunch numbers for faceless insurance quotes; where I am consistently being overlooked year after year for promotion because I am competent not outstanding. And the rain continues to fall and streaks of greasy raindrops disappear down the window pane just like the best years of my life, which have past me by.
On the way home the sleeting rain penetrated my clothes and I wanted so badly to have thrown my chair out of the window and pounded the glass with my fists until it broke just like me and I wanted so very much to have had the guts to jump and fly through that hailstorm and embrace whatever came next but as usual the coward that I am didn’t do anything at all. I just packed my things away and joined the endless commuter hordes home.
I don’t think that I can take another grey dismal day. I really don’t!
Thursday Dear Diary, A pinpoint prick of white light pierced my eyes this morning waking me up. There was gap in my curtains and this thin streak of gold persisted in teasing me out of bed. I stretched for the first time in a long while and as I opened the curtains the flash of yellow whipped across my face.
The sky believe it or not was blue. I’d forgotten what a beautiful colour blue can be especially with the glorious sun settled in its centre. It was still cold out so the sunshine was as cheat; it’s supposed to warm you up but the smiles on people’s face as I boarded the train into the city more than made up for it.
I made it to work on time for a change as there were no delays due to floods on the line or blown down cables or leaves being trapped in the tracks. Halleluiah!
Mr Johnson, my supervisor, actually greeted me by name today and Janice who sits across from me and is twenty years my junior offered me coffee and biscuits.
The glare from the sun annoyed me as I tried to see the figures on my computer screen but I didn’t close my blinds. Not today when the sun was out shining and my heart smiled.
I didn’t feel like jumping today. I’ll give tomorrow another go.
Friday Dear Diary, I woke up to another grey and dismal day. And I laughed!
Sue Westcott(C.) 2016
26th April 2016. A change today- just an account of an incident long forgotten and then remembered. It is still so clear in my mind I don't think I'll ever forget it.
A True Account.
Have you ever stopped a robbery? Well I have. It happened many years ago when I Lived in Leeds. I was waiting for my fiancée in the downstairs music department of Schofield’s (The Kendal’s of Leeds).
There I was standing in the corner surrounded by LP’s and 45” records. (Nowadays these are known as Vinyls) when I noticed two young men loitering with intent.
One of them stood near the till and the doorway and the other browsed the LP covers which in those days still contained the actual record inside them. I noticed him because of his coat.
It was a cold day and everyone including myself was wrapped up warm but this young man had his over coat placed over his shoulder so that it dangled down by his side. He kept lifting it and fidgeting with it. Then to my amazement as he lifted the coat once more as if he were rearranging it he slipped a handful of LP records under his arm; beneath his coat.
Shamelessly he continued to browse the record counter as if nothing had happened. I was momentarily stunned. Had I just seen that? Was I mistaken?
I continued to watch him and as he fiddled with his coat one more time I saw the records nestled neatly in a prepared pouch obviously sewn into the lining of his over coat. What should I do?
I made my way towards the payment desk and indicated that I wanted to talk to the assistant. I remember having a record in my hand as a reason for approaching the desk as I was terrified that I would alert the two young shoplifters that they had been discovered.
I whispered to the assistant about what I had seen. She was young maybe seventeen or eighteen years old. She listened as I told her to call security. She nodded and then to my utter amazement, disbelief and shock she pressed the tannoy button and announced to all and sundry that security was needed in the music department.
Needless to say the two young men hotfooted it out if the department store pretty quickly leaving the LP records behind!
Sue Westcott(C.) 2016
The door opened! It gave a little squeak. Who came through the door?
“SHSH!” hissed Manny to his companions standing behind him and he opened the Mouse Hole door. “No more squeaks or squeals”, he told them. “Keep quiet!”
The two recruits for Mouse Patrol trembled in anticipation. Their tiny bodies quivered as they suddenly realised that this was to be their first mission into hostile territory. They struggled to hold back the squeaks that threatened to burst from their mouths. Manny glared at them until their trembling abated and they had themselves under control.
“Now remember,” Manny continued. “When I give you the signal we are going to circle the perimeter. Keep to the shadows and hug close the wall. If you see anything; a movement, a shadow- you freeze. If you hear anything or anyone; you freeze. Got it?”
The two recruits nodded their tiny heads. With quivering whiskers and black eyes bold and bright; they were ready. Manny smiled. “No noise now,” he said as he stepped out into the ROOM. The two recruits followed tentatively; stepping where Manny had stepped. They kept close to the wall as ordered but their eyes darted this way and that taking in the sight of the ROOM.
It was huge. For as far as they could see; there was a wide wooden expanse. The most dangerous place in the Mouse World and it was lit up like a beacon flare. Manny stopped and searched the perimeter. He’d take it slow so that his new members of Mouse Patrol could take it all in. He scuttled past chair legs and then crawled to relative safety under the chest of drawers. Here he rested- the distance that they had already travelled was far beyond that of the Mouse Hole’s living quarters and he knew that his two recruits would be feeling tired and overwhelmed.
Manny stood on his hind legs, nose twitching, whiskers vibrating and ears flapping as he gauged the air temperature and atmosphere of the ROOM before moving on. He was delighted when his sense of smell began to tingle. “Crumbs of goodness,” he thought.
Just beyond the safety of the cupboard’s dark shadow was a pile of confectionary – if his smell detector was correct; and it usually was, sweet cake crumbs had been left carelessly behind. He motioned to his recruits to wait whilst he reconnoitred the surrounding area. He detected nothing out of the ordinary so signalling them forward, the two recruits scuttled after him across the floor towards their tasty treasure...
Each one nibbled the minute pieces of cake, and then Manny indicated that they should continue their journey around the perimeter. They moved as one, leaving the delicious treat behind. Feeling full of energy once again the two young mice became more confident and bolder in their search.
Suddenly Manny froze; the BEAST hole had opened and in crawled the BEAST. It was huge; covered in black and white fur. Its eyes were evil green. Its whiskers were long and delicately sharp. Its teeth were pointed and dangerous. It sauntered across the wooden expanse and settled somewhere in the middle and started to lick its deadly paws.
Manny signalled for his two recruits to retreat closer to the wall and the safety of the shadows but one of them was curious to see the BEAST close. He didn’t respond to the command and was enraptured in a dangerous moment.
As soon as Manny realised that the young mouse was in a mesmerised state he sprang into action. He leapt out from the shadows and raced as fast as he could towards the BEAST. His sudden movement broke the motionless spell and both the Beast and the mouse reacted. First the youngster scampered as if his tail was on fire towards his friend who was hidden under the cupboard,
The BEAST reacted to Manny’s burst of speed and high pitched squeak and left the other mouse until later. The Beast sprang like a wire trap on a mouse killer. He pounced like a cheetah pounces on its prey. Manny, nimble and quick, dodged and squirmed; zigzagging across the floor with the Beast in hot pursuit.
Out of the corner of his eye Manny saw his two recruits scuttling back to the protection of the Mouse Hole. He felt relieved. At least they would be safe. Now all he had to do was get out of here! The Beast’s breath clouded his judgment as death stalked him. The Beast was too close. It was too late!
Suddenly from the direction of the Mouse Hole doorway came a cacophony of squeaks and squeals as hundreds of tiny mice exploded into the room.
The BEAST’S attention was momentarily distracted and Manny was able to escape from its vice like claws. The BEAST ran this way and that chasing the mice, who had retreated as soon as Manny was safe under the cupboard. They huddled in the shadows then in a co-ordinated pattern the led the BEAST a merry dance whilst a group at a time scampered back into the Mouse Hole.
By the time the last of the mice were safely back in the Mouse Hole the Beast was exhausted. He flopped down breathing heavily. His evil stare bewildered at what had happened.
Inside the Mouse Hole, the squeaks and squeals reached such a crescendo, as the mice congratulated each other on a perfectly performed escape plan that Manny’s shout of SHSH could not be heard. Standing upright, as tall as he could make himself, Manny commanded them all to be quiet. The noise subsided.
Many smiled and said, “Who wants to go on the next patrol tomorrow night?” and he opened the inner sanctum door, The squeaks of the excited mice erupted as the scurried through the doorway!
Sue Westcott. (C.) 2016
25th March 2016 50 word short stories. I have attempted these before but often wonder if they read like riddles. I would appreciate any comments or thoughts about them.
50 word story 1. He stumbled towards the wooden frame. Trembling, he tried to unscrew the screw. Tears fell; he tried again. It wouldn’t budge. He tore at the spindle; attacked until the cot disintegrated. Then the floodgates opened. He wept for his wife, forever gone and for his child who would never be! 50 word story. 2. Clutching the blue booties she trembled. The door opened and the cold air hit her like a hammer. Efficiently he was transferred to greedy hands. Her precious bundle slipped out of her grasp. The door closed; tears told of her lies. She still clutched the blue booties and died inside. 50 word story. 3. Bullying sucks! So does being left behind but an encounter with a stranger brought Ella hope, even though it was only for a short time. She enjoyed the glamour; meeting the man of her dreams and she sailed through the problems next day. Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it! 50 word story.4. Ann was distraught as the world that she had breathed for the past three months disintegrated. “Pink and Black!” she cried. Heather, whose day was about to be destroyed said, “It can be fixed.” Sue’s Separates charged another £250 for the pleasure and the special day went without a hitch.
Sue Westcott (C.) 2016
18th March 2016 Not all stories have happy endings.
The Swimming Pool.
Amidst the squeals and shouts of laughter, her cry for help wasn’t heard. In the turquoise swimming pool, boisterous ball games dandified diving and general good fun frolicking abounded. She cried out, “Help me!” and disappeared under the water causing a minor ripple in the afternoon’s activities. All around people of different ages and nationalities played and enjoyed the holiday sun with a frantic freedom.
She bobbled up again like a balloon; opening her small mouth to utter another cry and as with all balloons once the air had been expelled she soon deflated, vanishing quickly under the ice glass surface.
Youngsters, wearing fluorescent coloured arm bands and responding to hopeful shouts from encouraging parents, jumped into the pool from wet slippery sides. Shrieks of fear and excitement mingled in the air. She surfaced again but only as a last goodbye before her small body finally dropped like a stone to the welcoming depths of the pool.
As the sun began to set over the hotel; casting warm dark shadows and holiday makers made their way inside, happy and satiated with their day in the sun, eagerly awaiting the night’s activities, her body surfaced, floating face down and arms outstretched in front of her as if in supplication to higher form. Then they heard her silent plea for help but it was too late.
This incident actually happened although with a much happier outcome. I saw the girl in distress and jumped into the pool to bring her up. I swam with her to the side of the pool and she climbed out none the worse for her scare.
6th March 2016 A change of direction today. A Strange Encounter- short and sweet!
A Strange Encounter.
The ghost was unexpected!
As Lucy opened the utility room door, arms laden with a dirty washing load, he appeared. His ethereal body looked strange half submerged in the washing machine, half- out, standing at an arm’s length in front of her. Her startled gasp of surprise focused his attention. He stared right through her to some unforgotten memory and then when the stillness became too uncomfortable he moved. He tried to walk towards her but stumbled as if he felt the washing machine block his way.
He wore a long, black frock coat with matching waistcoat and plain white shirt. Grey trousers and black shoes completed his ensemble. He was old, skeletal in fact with wisps of dry parchment strands of hair sticking out around his near bald head.
But what captured Lucy’s attention the most were his eyes. Frightened and troubled; unsure and perplexed. The creases on his lined face puckered as realisation hit him with a gale like force. His body shuddered and he fought wildly against acceptance of his fate.
Lucy put down the washing basket and held out her hands in supplication and welcome. The old man suddenly relaxed and a slight smile appeared. He seemed to settle into the bizarre situation and began to look around the utility room as if searching for something. He peered into the darker corners with a hopeful sigh, but when he didn’t find what he was looking for; he became agitated and struggled in the washing machine’s embrace.
Pleading with her, his eyes terrified and wild; he gestured to Lucy to help him. So, as usual, Lucy closed her eyes and opened her inner consciousness and concentrated until she could detect the portal.A warm, golden light appeared just to the old man’s left and it shimmered and glowed full of welcoming warmth and goodness.
The man hesitantly stepped out, and then as his body moved more easily, he floated with confidence towards the light. Once there his black silhouette bowed a graceful, heartfelt thank you and in the blink of an eye he and the portal vanished!
Lucy felt the familiar freezing shiver as she returned to the real world and with a grin loaded up the washing machine.
Sue Westcott (C.) March 2016
4th March 2016 Sometimes when I write I think of two things that I could describe and hope that my readers can see them both. The obvious is the fish aquarium but do you know what the other scene was, that I watched. There are a few clues in the passage.
Under the bright lights, the shoal darted to and fro; their coloured bodies twisting, turning and swaying to the gentle sounds around. They glimmered and shimmered in the fluorescent glow moving closer together. All of them were the same yet completely different; with their own individuality unquestioned.
As they rocked, their eyes searched constantly for signs of predators and once they were sighted the shoal moved into action. They closed ranks and huddled together forming a tight band with their glistening bodies touching in order to keep the predators at bay. They knew that their dancing display had attracted their attention yet still they continued; defiantly, temptingly and determined to live dangerously.
The predators had been conscious of their prey for some time. Waiting patiently from a distance; they had watched and measuring the time perfectly they advanced. They were a native species; dark, lean and mean. With a menacing purpose they surged forward eager to infiltrate the shoal. They had to disperse its solidarity in order to gain the prize. The predators circled and struck simultaneously on all sides trying to break into the ring.
At once the shoal moved as one, uniformly swaying and denying entrance into their midst. A macabre dance followed. Constantly snapping, jabbing, jostling and bumping from both sides until two of the predators managed to isolate a couple of the shoal members.
Loud screeching and squealing noises emitted from the panic stricken circle. Defensive danger signals were sent out to warn the two individuals to return quickly to the safety of their large numbers. Fortunately the reckless pair heeded the messages and the shoal closed ranks even more tightly than before leaving the predators nonplussed. After a few more abortive attempts to gain access, the predators abandoned the area either to seek pastures new or to retreat intact ready to try another night.
The shoal relaxed; excited and exhilarated by their exotic encounter and continued their ritual dance under the hot flashing lights.
Sue Westcott.(C.) 2016
30th Jan 2016. I like to 'think outside of the box' when I'm given just a title to write about. This was the case for this story. Hopefully I succeeded.
Well hello. How are you? Have you been waiting long? I arrived about an hour ago so I don’t think I’ll be much longer. The queue seems to be moving quite quickly today. Today? Oh yes I was here two days ago and I had to wait for nearly three hours but not to worry I’m use to it. What do you do? Really that seems interesting. Me? Well you may think that my job is boring but I find it rewarding. What do I do? Well, I’m a professional waiter.
You’re raising your eyebrows and frowning. I often get that reaction. What is unusual about that you’re thinking to yourself; being a waiter isn’t unusual or special! You’re thinking serving meals in a restaurant aren’t you. I thought so. You seem perplexed. Not to worry everyone is at first, but please let me explain.
My job is a professional waiter which means that people who live extremely busy lives pay me to wait for them. I wait in queues or lines, if you will, to save them time.
One of my favourite waiting rooms is here at the passport office in Liverpool. I often pass the time imagining all the places I could be visiting if I was getting a new passport for myself. I don’t travel as much as I used to; don’t like travelling on my own any more. Anyway I usually spend two to three days a week at this office and the conversations I’ve had in this waiting room have been illuminating with tales of woe and angst of missed flights and holidays to recollections of happy journeys abroad.
Claire and Joan who work behind the desk are very friendly too as they ply me with tea and biscuits although I do recognise their heartfelt but unwanted sympathy as I sit and wait for others. I must present a sad and lonely figure but hey life goes on even when you think your world has turned upside down. “Don’t feel sorry for me!” I want to shout. “ I’m getting my life back on track.”
Actually my life isn’t as miserable as you are imagining although at certain times of the year, like Christmas and New Year, melancholy does hit me. However I digress; life does have its funny side. Only last week one man made me laugh out loud when he told me the story of how he had dashed out of his house, grabbing the passport from the hall table only to find when he reached the airport that he had grabbed his wife’s by mistake.
What’s funny about that? Well, what made the story funny to me was that he had glanced quickly at the photograph before picking it up but unfortunately he only really saw the long blonde hair which both he and his wife share. It wasn’t until he was booking in that he realised he had the wrong one.
Apparently he paid a visit to the hairdressers as soon he as he arrived home from his trip and hence the new passport. How does it work? Once I’m hired I usually wait until I have about half an hour left then I text or phone my employer to let them know I am nearly at the end of the queue and by the time that they have arrived I’m usually the next to be seen.
What was my favourite waiting job? I’m often asked that. Let me think. I don’t really have a favourite although one I enjoyed was at a hospital in Yorkshire. My employer was a millionaire, a CEO of a large manufacturing company and entrepreneur who didn’t believe in private medical practices so when he was diagnosed with a liver complaint he hired me to sit in the waiting room for him until his appointment time. When I asked him why he didn’t go for private treatment his broad Yorkshire accent stated quite clearly that he had paid his bloody National Insurance as much as the next man and he was just entitled to use the NHS as anyone else. “Why spend my brass when I don’t have too!”
He was such a nice man and he paid well.
How much am I paid? I knew you’d ask that- people always do. It often depends on the type of waiting and how long it is likely to be but usually I charge £10 an hour for my time which isn’t a lot I know but there are perks to my job which outweigh the monetary compensation. I mean it helps to get me out of the house more regularly. My family have been worried about me now for about two years, since being alone was beginning to depress me; the days seemed so long and the hours dragged by. It’s amazing how much noise two people make rather than one.
But I can tell you, doing this job has been a godsend. I get to read free magazines as many waiting rooms have a good selection to choose from. On my pension I’m lucky to afford a newspaper once a week. And these waiting rooms have a good selection to choose from. It’s amazing how much I’ve learnt; how many interesting facts and pieces of trivia I’ve picked up that I’ve become quite a good catch at the local pub quiz night which I started attending a couple of months ago.
I’ve read such a variety of magazines from ‘Country Life,’ ‘Women’s Weekly’ to ‘Auto Car and Fly Fishing’ and now know at least twenty different ways to cook a chicken. Yes you may laugh but it is true. Listen to me wool-gathering again. I use to do that more often but these regular outings are helping me to focus my mind and I feel that now I’m finally putting my life back together.
Do I enjoy it? Well of course do. I find it fun and the most exciting part of my job is meeting new and interesting people. You can’t begin to imagine the diverse people I’ve met from countries as far away as Australia, and Korea to America and Hong Kong and I've even begun to pick up a few eastern European phrases such as, ‘Hello!' or 'How are you?' and 'Goodbye!'. At the last count I know how to say these phrases in five different ways. Not bad for someone who left school without qualifications!
The stories I’ve heard have been heart-warming and heartbreaking; they’ve made me smile, frown and shed a tear. They have whipped up my anger and made me realise just how lucky I am in the life that I lead.
Sorry what did you say? Oh yes the queue is moving and look here is my employer. Well it has been nice chatting to you. Have a lovely day. Bye Claire Bye Jean. I’ll be seeing you again on Friday.
Sue Westcott(C.) Jan 2016
28th Jan 2016. I recently had to submit a story to my writing group for inclusion in our annual publication; 'Through the Gateway'. I was delighted to have one of my short stories accepted. Story - What a laugh!
Adam never listened! He didn’t need to. He knew everything all ready. Even at the tender age of 10 years, he knew all that he wanted to know!
For instance, he knew that if you put your foot out ever so slightly when lining up someone always fell over it. What a laugh! He knew that if he poked someone enough times, they would eventually shout out and get into trouble for making a noise. He also knew that no-one would ever tell on him. Oh NO! Never would they do that!
In lessons Adam knew that he could tune out the teacher’s voice quite easily. Blah! Blah! All he had to do is think about his play station games or what he was going to do to the nerds in his class. Yes easy. He knew that if he wrote down a few words he would have at least tried. Adam knew lots of things. Why should he listen to anyone?
At 13 he knew everything there was to know about high school. How you could go into school each morning for register; get his mark and then bunk off for the rest of the day. What a laugh!
Junior school had been left behind and in high school copying had served him well that and threats. GCSE’s weren’t that important. Why did he have to listen to teacher’s going on about punctuation, algebra and World War 1? He didn’t need this information. He knew what he was going to do when he left school. He was going to work with his Uncle Billy on a building site. "You can make a lot of money working on a building site; lots of different angles to play!”
Actually the building site was a bit boring at times. Adam didn’t listen to any of the workers who said that he could go to training college and learn how to lay bricks properly and gain a craft. He didn’t listen to the older men talking about a trade. He didn’t need to as he knew everything there was to know about working on a building site; such as if you meet a mate in the pub and he says he could do with some copper piping or some electrical wire.
.Adam knew where it was kept and that it was easy to put some in his bag and get extra money for it. What a laugh! He didn’t listen to his uncle who told him to be careful because if he got caught he could be arrested by the police for theft. Adam didn’t listen when the boss fired him. He didn’t need a job. All he had to do was creep in at night and start his own recycling business. He didn’t listen when he was in the pub one night trying to off load some gear and one of the men told him that he was under arrest for selling stolen goods.
He didn’t listen when his solicitor told him that he would be better off pleading guilty and taking a fine. Oh No not Adam. Adam knew everything there was to know about the law. Innocent until proven guilty that was him! He’d watched lots of TV police shows so knew everything about court cases. What a laugh!
He didn’t listen to the prosecution or the witnesses. His didn’t listen to anyone until reality hit him; finally words permeated his brain, crashed through his didn’t care attitude, obliterated his arrogance as the judge pronounced, “Guilty! You are sentenced to 5 years in prison!”
Adam listened then, but it was too late! What a laugh!
Sue Westcott.(C.) Oct 2015
26th Jan 2016. I based this story on three news reports found in a local paper. The phrase,' by unknown means' captured my interest and this was the result.
Unknown Means smiled. He had had a good month. First there had been the reprisal break in at Summerhill Road. Magnus O’Brian would regret double crossing him.
As Unknown Means remembered the evening, forcing the downstairs window open and slipping the Molotov cocktail inside, his heart beat faster and the smile widened across his face.
The resulting fire had overwhelmed the building and Magnus and his family had suffered greatly; just as Unknown Means had suffered when Magnus had reneged on a drugs deal which had left Unknown not only out of pocket but more importantly embarrassed in front of one the young upstart gangster boys who had crossed over the river from the City to do the deal.
This insult from Magnus had to be countered and a message sent to all his associates no one messes with Unknown Means! As these negative thoughts caught him Unknown Means began to sweat profusely and he could feel one of his fits coming on.
He bit down hard on his bottom lip until blood appeared and calmed himself down by wiping away the grey spittle on his chin and unclenching his gnarled weary hands he relaxed back into his chair breathing deeply to get his body back into control and his mind focused.
His rheumy eyes noticed the report on the October break in. His smile reappeared and slide across his tense features. Settling down again he was really pleased with this job- no sign of a break in - made it perfect.
The owner of Auton Croft had pissed him off only two days before. She had driven her 'poncey' BMW into the supermarket car park; taken his parking spot and had given him the finger when he had protested.
Unknown Means didn’t take kindly to this level of disrespect and had plotted his revenge as he had followed her home. He’d sent an assistant in disguise as a gasman to retrieve imprints of her house keys and an old friend had copied them for him.
The £5000 cash has been an added bonus after he had ransacked the modern 'poxy' interior. Serve her right Cheeky bitch! The smile which had threatened to disappear resurfaced as he thought about the money. It would come in handy with the run up to Christmas after all he had four grandchildren to buy for. This thought made him chuckle. “Buy for!”
The last time Unknown Means had bought anything was many years in the past, long before he had realised that a life of crime, carefully planned and executed did actually pay.
This philosophy was reinforced by his latest deal. The oil fuel which he had siphoned off only a few nights ago was sitting in his warehouse by the docks waiting for the buyer to collect.100% profit for an hour’s work. A good result for minimum effort! Unknown Means opened up his Twitter account, with the hash tag,” Grumpy Grandpa Joe" to write up his daily Tweet. This time it would be about the lawless and criminal society in which we lived.