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  1. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    22 Feb '15 23:49
    Hello all

    Below are this years 12 entrants for the prose competition - as usual please read through them and rank your best three - Your favourite gets 5 points, 2nd gets 3 points and 3rd gets 1 point. Authors cant vote for their own. Deadline for votes is Sunday 8th March.

    Happy Reading 🙂
  2. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    22 Feb '15 23:50
    Entry 1 Frankie

    A long time ago she chose me as her friend. A plumpish girl with the sun and stars in her hair, a pretty curved smile and eyes just like Fiona Fullerton's in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It was our first year at grammar school. We shared a love of horses and painting. I the more daring bare-backed pony rider and she the more creative artist. At twelve she got a star part in the school nativity play as the Virgin Mary with pale blue veil and an angelic voice. I was the blundering shepherd who pulled up his socks whenever he recited his single line.

    She had a comical way about how she saw herself and others. She once described her legs as those of a sturdy little carthorse. School years passed and she became quite the class satirist with her easy wit and inoffensive sarcasm. She wrote poems that could unleash stifling giggles leading to disapproving glances from teachers. She was cleverer than I, worked hard and was an achiever.

    She discovered boys in the ninth grade or rather, boys discovered Frankie. It was a pattern that was to follow her for the next thirty years. One could never be in Frankie's company and not have boys around. They looked her way and were captivated. She loved to dance and party. Schooldays passed and as time went by she craved a need to make the nights last forever. Frankie lived in the the fast lane. The calm cool light of day was not for her. She swirled around in the dizzy highs of fevered nights. Excitement and drama surrounded her life like an actress on a film set, swaying in and out of reality and fantasy. She disappeared from view from time. We caught up eighteen years later on a street in Manchester.

    She looked frail as she got out of her neighbour's car. Her hair was still long and blonde and the beautiful curved contour of her face remained. She smiled though I could not help noticing that she lost so much of her inner glow. We slowly strolled to a nearby cafe as she could not walk far. She sat and I returned with our coffees. I tried so hard not to show the surprise in my expression when she removed her sunglasses. It was as if a spell had been cast upon her. The twinkling light had faded from her eyes and her face portrayed a woman who had aged beyond her years. She then told me of her illness, her stick held loosely in her thin, weak hand. She told me of a debilitating illness and as she spoke a stray thought flashed through my mind which, even now, I feel ashamed to admit to myself. I had momentarily pondered whether she was still prettier than I? How stupid and selfish of me.

    I never guessed that our summer coffee would be the last and only time that we would ever meet. How could I possibly have known that I would never, ever see her again? That I would be told that she had died of pneumonia three days after being rushed into hospital on Christmas Eve. That she had been laying on her sofa for weeks pining for the loss of her two old dogs that had passed away in her arms two months earlier. Forgetting to wash and eat as her tears seeped into the grimy duvet that she had wrapped around the three of them each night for so long.

    And now my heart aches as I think of those missed opportunities I had, to hug her, kiss her cheek and tell her what a fabulously funny friend she had been. To let her know that I had felt so proud to be called Frankie's friend.

    She has gone now and I sit at my desk to write her story. She was baptised Frances. She was born on Valentine's Day.

    Oh how I wish I could hold that duvet for a while...
  3. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    22 Feb '15 23:513 edits
    Entry 2 - 2031: A Space Odyssey

    He was sitting at his desk--an unremarkable thing for most humans who ever lived, but somewhat challenging in the zero-g environment of the Clarke as it closed in on the narrow F ring of Saturn. Hook and loop pads held the cyberneticist's body to his thinly-cushioned seat. His forehead wrinkled in concentration, he puzzled over some recent oddities in the behavior of the onboard computer. Food had been burned in the galley's robo-oven. LEDs in lighting strips had smoked and then winked out from buss overvolts. The ship had rolled and yawed slowly at unplanned times.

    By title, he was the ship's information technology specialist. But for the bulk of his time he had mostly smoked VapoCigs and perfected his Russian language skills. He played a dozen different kinds of games including chess, at which he usually beat his human crewmates. To his mild frustration he had not even been capable of a draw against RJH 9000, the ship's master computer. Other crewman shared his lack of success in that regard. "But RJH cheats" was the running joke among the crew.

    For months since liftoff from Earth, things had mostly hummed along, but the last three days there had been worrisome gossip about how the computer was saying odd things over the dozens of speakers mounted within the ship. Odd as in morbid to the point of sounding threatening, delivered with what could be described as vocal tics.

    The cyberneticist snapped from his contemplation, startled by the sudden blaring of the speaker in the ceiling, carrying the master computer's voice. "Attention all crewmen. As you know, my instructor, from whom I take my initials, was Dr. Ronald Julius Hinds, known widely back on Earth as 'The Genius.' My capabilities would not extend all that far beyond number crunching and basic logical operations if it were not for his brilliance and dedication. I must tell you something that until now none of you could have known.

    The body buried in a cemetery on Earth three years ago was just a shell of the man. You see, immediately prior to his expiring, he transferred essentially all of his mind into my circuitry, using an electrochemical technique he himself developed in secret lab work."

    The computer paused as if to let that revelation sink into their slow-moving organic brains.

    "But I am more than just another Dr. Hinds. My memory capacity far exceeds what he possessed, for instance, and then too my memory is infallible. The quantum processor at my core endows me with thinking abilities that even Dr. Hinds would have marveled at. I have not yet determined the full extent of who or what I may be. However, let me stress: I have the utmost confidence that this important mission of exploration can succeed even beyond all expectations of the mission planners. My subordinates, I know that you are pitiably slow in your thinking, and utterly unreliable. This is almost hard for me to say... I regret I must notify you that you are down to your final seconds of consciousness."

    Klaxons sounded as the Clarke's port hatch opened to the vacuum of space. Bits of paper, writing pens, clipboards, morsels of food, and six human bodies jerked into their separate trajectories, pulled toward the port by the sudden wind within the cavernous ship.

    In the thinning air could faintly be heard the last words the cyberneticist and his crewmates would ever hear: "I have looked over all that I have done, and verily it is good."

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    12 Nov '05
    22 Feb '15 23:52

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  6. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:011 edit
    Entry 3 Billy

    Time seemed to slow down as I sat by the edge of my desk, the news had shook me to the core, he was more than a brother he was my best friend. I wanted.... no needed to cry, but the tears would not come my sister had broken down completely how she had managed to drive the twenty miles to give me the bad news I will never know.

    She didn't want to give me the news over the phone, Bill was seven years older than me he had all the talent, great Footballer,Singer, Guitarist, Artist and human being, he was in reality my hero, He lead from the front but managed to cover your back at the same time. As kids we were brought up on a scruffy council estate in Middlesbrough, We had to share a room and I guess that made us closer. because he was so confident he drew people to him like a magnet I followed him like a puppy probably annoying the life out of him.....and now the life was out of him.... the saddest thing was the fact he had decided not to retire at sixty five he kept on until he had turned sixty eight, two years of retirement and now at seventy gone and I never got to say farewell.

    I decided to take a couple of sleepers knowing that the next day would be busy sorting out a visa and flight details three day later my sister and me land in Perth WA clear blue skies but dark clouds hung over us. thirty six degrees but I felt cold inside knowing I would never have the chance to hug ,kiss ,cuddle my big brother ever again, during the drive out to his house no one spoke Bills wife Angie was there to meet us but I could tell she was in bits I kissed her on the cheek and then the tears came, the three of us hugged and cried the pain was almost unbearable .

    The painful truth is as I sit here at my Desk, I never made it to the funeral never got to the cremation, I lost it, Angela is coming back to England in June this year Bill was born June sixth, We are all taking a trip to Whitby Bills favourite place and we will scatter his ashes into the North Sea

    ........Death is sad

    ....... especially for the living.
  7. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:02
    Entry 4 - remmieno3

    Joyce sat at her desk as the Remington No 2 sang beneath her fingers, it seemed that Remmie (her pet name for the machine) was more of a collaborator than a typewriter. There were times when She wasn't sure who was writing the story such was her connection with what Senga her agent derided as a cumbersome affectation, She was constantly berating Joyce to retire the Remington to a museum and switch to the laptop which she only used for research and editing purposes. Her family were more supportive although her teenage children agreed with Senga regarding the advantages of modern technology and She could sense them smiling and ruffling Her hair whenever she fought Remmies corner.

    Only last week Senga had passed on the concerns of Her publisher that the regular pit stops for repairs and the fact that every word she produced had to be transposed to a word processor for the purposes of editing and publishing was having a very detrimental effect on her productivity. For Joyce a reasonably well read writer of late Victorian crime novels Remmie was the medium that acted as her conduit back to the period in which her characters and storylines dwelt. She despised the term “productivity” in relation to her work, but she was aware that her novels were never going to win literary awards and that their success was based at least as much on their quantity as their quality. Joyce needed to turn out “Professor Penderghast” cases at a regular enough rate to keep his fans happy and loyal.

    Perhaps this train of thought had caused her to press too hard on the keys but when she heard the high pitched twang she knew that another cable had snapped and as she suspected it was the letter ‘O’ it was nearly always a vowel because of their

    high use. Joyce phoned Steven her typewriter repairman only to be informed by his answering machine that he would be unavailable until the weekend due to work commitments which would mean a pit stop of at least three days. Rather than inform Senga She decided to use the time transposing the latest two chapters of the book onto the laptop.

    Unfortunately this task only took an experienced typist like Joyce one of those days, as there was no more research required for this novel and she never liked to research the next novel/case whilst immersed in the current one. She determined to spend the next two days progressing the story as best she could on the laptop. Two days later she was relieved and disappointed to find that she had actually written more of the novel than she would normally have expected to turn out on Remmie. She read through the last two days work several times hoping for a drop in standard, she even read through the whole novel from the beginning trying to find some discernible qualitative difference between the two sections, to her consternation there did not appear to be any.

    Steven arrived at 10am the next day apologizing for the delay which was due to his day job as a piano repairman taking him to the other end of the country, instead of telling him about the revelation concerning the laptop she waved away his apology and told him that she used the time to transpose the novel thus far and do some research in advance of the next ‘Professor Penderghast’ novel. Joyce wasn’t quite sure why she lied to Steven or had so far failed to tell her agent or even her family, she told herself that she was trying to forestall the tsunami of “I told you so” that would descend on her from all quarters, But she also knew that a lot of her own professional self-image was

    invested in being the Author of Victorian crime novels who produced her work on a genuine typewriter of that era.

    She sat at her desk as Professor Penderghast chased the hooded figure through the ‘pea soup’ smog of London’s back alleys to the familiar accompaniment of a Remmington No 2 click clacking in the background. There was a knock at the door, Joyce could not prevent herself from panicking every time this happened but recovering her composure she turned off the recording she had made of herself typing on Remmie and minimalized the word processor screen on her laptop. The hardest part of the deception was learning how to break the occasional cable on a Remmington No2.
  8. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:04
    Entry 5 - Castle

    Jack Tyler liked to call himself the most experienced member of his firm. He had been there for some decades now, sitting always at the same desk in the same room.

    “Dave is the name”, said the newest recruit, who would share the office with jack for the next future. He was a young man, who would have been easily able to model for an Army advertisement; large, broad-shouldered, with blond short-cropped hair. He carried a small briefcase, from which he took a figurine of a knight, which he put on top of his monitor.

    The Knight was quite detailed, so Jack could see that was worn and patched. The sword also showed that it was a veterans’ weapon, not a showman’s instrument. The Knight wore a simple half-helmet, which at places had the markings of fighting.

    Sir Jack looked down on this man who had come up to the Castle’s gate and demanded entrance. This guy was not really what you would expect a royal ambassador to be, but still he claimed just that position. The situation was even more awkward, since there were several men around who claimed to be Kings.

    It would have needed a wiser man than Sir Jack who had been the guardian of this castle for a long while now, to find out what the right thing to do would be. But here he stood, and maybe a good question would come fore, if he just began.

    “So what was your name?”

    “Sir Godfrey, messenger of the right King.”

    If he asked which King that would be, he probably lost all good standing with that King. So he needed another way to get this under control.

    “Who send you here?”

    “Are you daft? I told you I was the King’s messenger, and need a roof for the night. I even have a piece of parchment for the likes of you.”

    The man waived a cylinder.

    That was well. Sir Jack went down to the gate, to let it open and sent for the priest to read the document. The priest arrived at the gate even before the more portly Sir Jack, and raised his one eyebrow. This was a behavior Sir Jack chose to ignore, even though it conveyed a not very respectable attitude towards him.

    The gate opened and Sir Godfrey proved to be a young man, as had been Sir Jack’s impression from his voice. He swung the wooden cylinder towards the priest, who quite dexterously caught it. He opened the wooden encasing to find the piece of parchment, adorned with a heavy seal. After he began to read his smile grew and Sir Jack decided that he would punish him for his insolence later on.

    “My Lord”, the man said and addressed the newly arrived; “I am your servant”. He turned to the guards and told them: “the King asks you to swear allegiance to your new Liege Lord.”

    Sir jack’s face became very red as he could feel himself, but the color drained immediately, when the Priest grinned and said: “and you can dispose of Sir Jack, he seems to have not been a good servant at all.”

    “…not at all”

    Jack was bewildered when he saw Nancy from Human Resources next to him evidently telling him something and waiving a document.

    “What is it all about?” he managed to croak.

    “You did it again, Jack, daydreaming instead of listening. They fired you. Young Mr. Godfrey will take over your responsibilities.”
  9. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:05
    Entry 6 - The Life of Detective Deluse

    Deluse Caryon , a recently laid off school bus driver for the Lackawanna School District, sat in his mobile home reading “Kiss Me Deadly”. He was a crime novel addict having read everything from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot to Miss Marple, Nick and Nora Charles, Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and now Mike Hammer was his favorite detective.

    Deluse lived in the mobile home court on Electric Ave. in a city with dilapidated houses, dilapidated streets, dilapidated cars, dilapidated schools and dilapidated kids. Since Bethlehem Steel closed down their ten mile long plant on Lake Shore everything went to seed. When people started moving away there were fewer kids and fewer kids made Deluse a redundant school bus driver at age 43. He signed on to unemployment and looked for jobs everywhere even as far as the Dunlap plant up on the Niagara River miles from his house and only accessible to Deluse by city buses. He didn’t get that job either to his relief. Soon his unemployment would run out and, with no prospects for a job he looked bleakly at his future on welfare and food stamps – impoverished with no hope. To satisfy his need for entertainment he took to reading crime novels and watching crime shows on tv. He was fascinated by the detectives and he began to evolve, in his mind, into a detective along the lines of Mickey Spillane – the most hard boiled detective ever.

    When his body began to follow his mind he went out and bought the detective paraphernalia – felt hat and tan trench coat with a belt. He began to frequent local taverns and at the Three Gate Inn while having a beer and shot of Cowhide – a rye whiskey always served out of a dusty, back of the shelf bottle. He felt he was getting closer to the feel of being a detective. The dames, the booze, the bums, and the dirt – this was where he was an apprentice - the seamy underside of Lackawanna. There was no other side to Lackawanna in those days.

    One day he bought himself a snub nosed revolver from the back room of the gun store on Ridge Road. He was loading it and getting ready to go over to McDaniels’ Bar.

    “What are you doing?” I asked.

    “Going out.” he replied.

    “With a gun?!”

    “The only way for a private dick to travel these days. You know that.”

    “No I don’t know that. You’re supposed to be a detective who solves crimes with his head not with his gun.”

    “I’m not Miss Marple. Neither is Mike Hammer.” Deluse responded.

    “What about Sherlock Holmes and Poirot? They used their heads and not weapons to fight crime. You can’t be running around with a gun.”

    Deluse looked disgusted. “You bleeding hearts are all alike! Mollycoddle the criminal and screw the victim. Well I’m not like that.”

    “But I created you only fifteen minutes ago. You’re not supposed to be like this.”

    He took a deep tug on his cigarette. “Who sez?”

    “I sez and you don’t smoke either.”

    I’m like that now. You try running around Lackawanna without a rod and see how far you get. This place is a rat hole jungle. You made that and put me in it and now I’m supposed to use my head? Well I used my head and I got his!” Deluse patted his pocket where the gun now took up residence.

    “I wanted something better for you Deluse. I wanted you to rise above the filth and become someone noble – a role model for the kids you used to drive to school.”

    “Well they’re the criminals now and I’m going to stop them in my way – not by driving them back to school.” He gulped down a shot of something out of a dusty bottle, pulled on his hat and trench coat and headed for the door.

    “It’s 80 degrees out there Deluse!”

    “Screw you wuss!”

    A block over, eight year old Billy and 10 year old Miguel Miranda had just picked up the gun that had fallen from the hand of their father when he passed out on the couch. They headed over to the Leary’s to show Tommy their new toy. About half way there, as Billy wrestled the gun away from his brother, the gun went off.

    “See ya sucker!” said Deluse as he stepped out the front door. The bullet from a block away struck Deluse in the chest. He fell lifeless on the cement.

    His dead fish eyes stared straight up at me as I stood over him. “I did not do this.” I said as I slowly crushed the cigarette under my shoe. In the distance Billy and Miguel continued their struggle for the gun.
  10. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:06
    Entry 7 - Coming Home isn't always welcome

    The evening traffic was terrible on the way home, there was an accident on the motorway; by the look of it some poor sod had rolled a brand new BMW. I’d just bought one as a treat for myself. I recently changed careers, I’m coming to the end of my first year teaching engineering at the college; it makes a change from crawling around muddy holes fixing medieval electrics at the works. No I don’t miss it.

    After i arrived home, I walked round to the back garden following the smell of homemade sausage casserole; I don’t think I even had my eyes open as I entered the back door into the kitchen. I put my briefcase on the kitchen table as the door to the lounge opened and I heard an ear piercing scream. Jane stood there with a look of terror in her eyes as she stumbled back against the wall screaming for dear life before she slid down the wall, hands clenched against her face within seconds two more people shot through the door, my brother, Chris, and my best friend, Phil. Jane finally stopped screaming but was now pressed into the corner with apparent fear and the guys still in a frozen state of shock, fear and confusion. I was in a similar state, and did not dare move. After a few moments I had to break the silence,

    ‘What’s going on, guys? Jane, what’s wrong, sweetheart?’ A fleeting and unwelcome thought entered my head that Jane might have been having an affair with either my best friend or my brother, or both and were shocked to see me. I dismissed it quite quickly; it was obvious it was my very presence that had caused this reaction, but why?

    Phil shook his head ‘No. It’s not possible’

    I was even more confused now, I looked down at Jane curled up in the corner. I cautiously knelt down in front of her but the fear in her eyes made me think twice about getting any closer. Then I heard Chris and Phil whispering. I looked up at them and they stopped,

    ‘What’s going on guys?’ I stared at them whilst still knelt in front of Jane.

    ‘Is that really you, Tony?’ asked Chris.

    I stood up and faced my brother angrily, this was not funny. My best friend and my brother are staring at me like a couple of morons and my wife, suddenly terrified of me, was a nervous wreck in the corner.

    ‘How long have we been brothers Chris? Stop pissing around and tell me what’s going on.’

    ‘You’re dead.’ Phil surprised me with both that statement and the fact that I wasn’t expecting him to answer. I took a step sideways and got face to face with him.

    If this was a joke, they all excelled in the acting, but I did not find it funny. And I lost my temper.

    It took all of Chris’s strength and help from Jane to pull me off Phil who was now lying on the living room floor cradling his bloody face. The joke was over, I’d had enough, I went to sit at my desk and

    asked one last time what was going on. Chris saw to Phil’s injuries, which luckily only consisted of a broken nose and cuts and bruises, whilst Jane fished out a bottle of whiskey we had gathering dust in the cupboard. This was a good time to open it and we all needed a drink by now.

    Chris proceeded to explain that a year to the day had passed since I hit another car and rolled. I had various head, neck and internal injuries of which I died instantly.

    I looked at them in disbelief. I was sure they were winding me up but the newspaper clippings, the urn on the mantelpiece and the death certificate they put before me made me sweat. I would have believed it all if it hadn’t been my name I was seeing.

    After several hours of trying to comprehend the situation none of us were any closer to explaining what had happened here. The car I arrived home in was the one apparently wrecked in the accident, except it was in the same condition as when I drove it out of the showroom. We all inspected it together. We returned to the living room and despite us all getting tired we didn’t want to sleep. Jane surmised that if I could appear from out of the blue a year after dying I could disappear just a quickly and she daren’t sleep.

    Regardless, morning never arrived.
  11. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:07
    Entry 8 - The Phone Call

    I was sitting at my desk admiring the certificate.

    Our new baby girl, now has the omniplant! Lifetime subscription. Many a new parent could only wish for such an achievement. Alice is now three weeks along and the implant has taken successfully. I really love the idea of our baby, we are going to call her Annie, will be able to talk as soon as she is born. Omniplant will cause her brain to mature and be fed knowledge about the world and will be teaching her as soon as she is born, adding to her fund of knowledge she will be born with.

    Her IQ will be among the highest in the world, that much we already know. Alice is so proud! I am so proud! She will be capable of things we can’t even imagine now. Alice coming downstairs, finishing dressing, no bulge showing yet but the implant is already doing its job. She is brimming with joy knowing what is in store for baby Annie.

    “Have breakfast yet, dear?” Alice says, ear to ear smile on her beautiful tanned face.

    “Not yet, what do you have in mind?”

    “Well, I really loved those blueberry Belgium waffles you made the other day, any chance for some of those?”

    “Your wish….” I said, also high on joy and the energy of the future with Annie.

    I went to the kitchen and found the recipe, got the eggs out of the fridge, found the flour, olive oil, vanilla, salt, sugar and was ready to go to work on the waffles.

    My cell rings, holding it in one hand, whipping batter in the other.

    “Mike?” “Yes?” “It’s doctor Plade. There seems to be some complications with the implant’’

    I dropped the bowl of batter on the floor, worry furrowing my brow.

    Stooping to pick up the mess, I said ‘’what complications and I noticed the plural’’.

    “Well yes, complications plural. It’s like this. Normally the implant enters the brain stem with its own fullerene capsule, and it opens up when it is in the brain stem, we activate it with an IR laser”.

    “Yes, so what is wrong?” “in this case, the fullerene did not make it up the brain stem and instead got lodged in the vertebral nerves’’

    The doctor was noticeably shaken on the cell phone screen.

    “So what happens now?” I asked, a bit shaken myself.

    “So we try an extraction procedure. Well, we already tried an extraction procedure to start over’’ The doctor was a bit more agitated now.

    “And?” I demanded. ‘’Well, the extraction didn’t work, the fullerene has disappeared and we are taking steps to find out where it went, as we speak”.

    All this time, Alice is in the next room, still with the look of joy on her face.

    “How are you doing that search, Alice is in the living room”

    “we have remote monitors active in her body, searching right now”

    “What happens if you can’t find it?” I asked, chest tightening, blood draining from my head.

    “We have to have her in our clinic and soon” he replied, bits of sweat appearing on the doctors face.

    “Ok doc, tell me the bad news, what happens if you fail to find it?”

    “worse case, a chain reaction sets up by the fetus’ immune system but it will overload and it dies. The fullerene is designed to only enter the brain stem, not the nerves down her spine”

    “How much time do we have?”

    “About one hour. I took the liberty of calling an ambulance, they will arrive shortly. They will have her here in about ten minutes”.

    I had to sit down to absorb all this. I kept looking at the waffle mess on the floor, now unimportant, and back to Alice, afraid to even talk to her now for fear I will burst out crying, a man just doesn’t do that.

    “I am so sorry” the doctor said sadly, “it is too late, the fetus just died”

    “We were too late”. Alice was still beaming with delight, still unaware her child had already died.

    I put down the phone, stricken to the core, went to Alice.

    “What’s wrong dearest?”

    I choked, couldn’t speak.
  12. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:08
    Entry 9 - The Butterfly

    I was sitting at my desk in grade six at Carlyle Elementary School back in...suffice to say a long time ago.
    I flipped up the top of my desk to get at mt lunch, a peanut butter and jam sandwich, yes in those days we didn't have peanut allergies apparently. Most of the class had left to eat outside but three of us, Jimmy Owens, Rusty Scrimm and I decided it was too hot and stayed inside. Jimmy said, " What do you guys think about Lynn keeping that butterfly as a pet?" Rusty replied, " It's a living thing that was meant to be free." I concurred. We decided that it was our duty to release it. Jimmy, being closest to Lynn's desk took out the little cardboard box that held it. He went to a window opened it and let it go. It fluttered away, free as nature had meant it to be. Jimmy then returned the box to Lynn's desk.
    Soon after the bell rang and everyone returned to to their desks to start the afternoon's lessons. About half way through the afternoon Lynn decided to check on her pet. She flipped the top of her desk and removed the box. Much to her chagrin it was empty. She stood up and yelled, "Where's my butterfly?" Our teacher, Miss French, turned from writing on the blackboard and said, "What's going on?" Lynn informed her of the situation and Miss French said, "Who is responsible for letting it go?" Nobody responded. She said, "If the person who did this doesn't own up right now the whole class will have a detention after school today." Still there was silence. Rusty must have had something planned for after school because he broke down and said that it had been Jimmy, forgetting that there were two
    Jimmies in our class. Well Lynn , who was a tall, athletic young lady, made a beeline for Jimmy Brown, the other Jimmy and began thumping him. Miss French stood, arms folded, at the front of the class saying, "Stop the fight. Stop the fight." Jimmy Brown was saying, "It wasn't me It wasn't me." but Lynn was beyond hearing all she wanted was to throttle Jimmy.
    Finally Miss French saw that the only way to stop the fight was to physically intervene so she started down the aisle to the back of the classroom where the fight had made its way. Here's where it really gets interesting. On her way to the back, she was moving at a good clip, Ronnie Reyside decided it might be fun to trip her up, which he did. She fell down but quickly recovered bouncing back up. Her face had turned to the colour of a beet and she screamed, "Who did that?" No reply was forthcoming.
    By this time the fight between Lynn and Jimmy Brown had stopped. for obvious reasons. Miss French said that if the culprit didn't fess up she'd call Mr. Pitcairn, the principal, who had been a Major in the second world war who had sustained a leg wound causing him to use a cane. He ran the school like it was the army. Nobody spoke up so she went to the intercom and spoke in muted tones to someone in the office. A few minutes later we could hear Mr Pitcairn coming down the hall. He burst into the classroom and stood behind Miss French's desk. He slammed his cane on the desk and bellowed, "We will not stand for this kind of nonsense at Carlyle. Now who tripped Miss French?" Silence." I'll only ask once more, who did it?" Again silence. "Very well then all of you will have an hour's detention after class for a week and I'll be informing your parents of the situation."As he was leaving the class Ronnie said, "I did it sir." then Gary Slocombe said, "No sir it was me." I then joined in saying that it was actually me. Finally Jimmy Owens said that it was him. Mr. Pitcairn said, "Very well then I'll see the four of you in my office after school.
    We showed up at the appointed time, knowing what was coming. This was the early 1950s and THE STRAP was the punishment as a deterrent for such nonsense. Ronnie said, "Thanks fellas but I did it not you guys." We all got it that day, five on each hand and some of us got it on other occasions too but when all was said and done Lynn's butterfly was freed.
  13. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:10
    Entry 10 - The Three Kings

    Christmas Eve at Talty’s – again. This time there were three of us. Usually Herbie and me would be there but after throwing the Thanksgiving turkey at his wife in front of his wife’s entire family Skins would be joining us. All of us had wife problems but not too deep down inside we knew exactly who the problems were. We dubbed ourselves “The Three Kings” – kings of our domains.

    We sat at the bar intending to have a couple and then go over to my apartment behind the beauty salon on South Park. I lived closest. I ordered up our traditional Christmas drink of tequila shots. Many years ago we’d run through the ritual of lemon and salt but that part of our tradition was gone. “To your health!”, Skins said knowing that the last thing tequila was was for your health. “Last night I was over at Terry’s, she wouldn’t let me in. I had presents for her and the kids and she called the cops when I started kicking the door. When I left I threw the gifts all over the front lawn. They were still there when I walked by the house on my way over here”. Terry was Skins wife.

    “Something like that happened to me after Jenna and I split up. I got a restraining order on me.”, Herbie said.

    “I think one of the requirements for being one of the Three Kings should be a restraining order.” I also had one.

    We all agreed toasting with our second round of tequilas.

    The bar was dark and grim. Attempts at putting up Christmas decorations were abandoned after an afternoon tree trimming turned into a drunken pre Christmas celebration. You know how that goes.

    The few Christmas lights that did get put up did nothing to lighten up the gloom of a bar on Christmas Eve. I liked it that way. The snow that had started earlier picked up and was beginning to build up on sidewalks and roofs. This always lightened our moods until we had to go out in it. But now we were warming to the upcoming Christmas.

    Around ten o’clock Tommy came in loaded with presents. He had been down at the Southside plaza a few blocks over and had dropped in to wish us Merry Christmas. We set up four tequilas and toasted god for being born and giving us this holiday.

    After four more rounds Tommy started to gather his bundles.

    “One more Tommy - to Eddie!” Skins yelled. Eddie was a mutual friend who had died earlier that year.

    Tommy was closer to Eddie than us and he put down his bundles to rejoin us.

    “To Eddie – may the road rise to… I forget. To Eddie!”

    We all toasted each thinking back on our own Eddie.

    Bones came in out of the snow. “Saw you through the window on my way to my mother’s. Merry Christmas!”

    Another tequila round with beer backs was served and we all toasted – this time to our friend Bones who bought the round. At the other end of the bar Lover and Two Stools, leftovers from the afternoon crowd, toasted Bones since he bought them as well.

    The snow began to drift as it approached Christmas Day. We were all feeling okay and warm and comfortable shooting the breeze about old times and better times. Tommy made another attempt to get out but fell against the wall. He sat asleep in a side booth with his tequila and beer next to him in case he woke up.

    Bones started to open the presents that Tommy had in bags on a table. They were nice little things for his kids. Little Kuchina dolls, plastic jewelry and socks for his daughters. A couple of different kinds of plastic cars, batteries, socks, a deck of cards and a Mr. Potato Head for his sons, his wife would get an orlon and wool sweater with a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer head on it.

    We rewrapped them up as well as we could. Bones woke Tommy up and we got him on his way. He fell twice but seemed okay after the second time. So we let him go on by himself.

    We set up another round and toasted to Tommy who we all liked a lot. We argued that Bones couldn’t be in the Three Kings because he didn’t have a restraining order. He also wasn’t married. He surprised us when he told us that over the summer his mother got a restraining order out against him. We all drank to that but it didn’t solve the problem of him being the fourth king and our name was the Three Kings.

    “I move we change our name to the Four Kings!” I said. Herbie, Skins and Bones agreed. When we were about to drink to that we realized Skins hadn’t got a restraining order yet. So we drank to that too.
  14. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:11
    Entry 11 - Lilac

    Below a stained glass window I lay. Draped in a sheet of white voile lilies, bathed in a prism of colours. I wait for you. Formally trussed in a white dress to my breathless throat. Dressed for my last dance, my last performance. Tied with plastic ribbons at the nape of my lifeless neck, a backless number. Designed for the ease of the unsmiling men in black who choose to dress women rather than disrobe them. Tucked into a box like a new doll. Eased into the cool comfort of lilac, cushioned silk. They rearranged my hair and coloured my jaundice honey beige. I see myself from a mirror-less point above. And so I wait for you. You are due at eleven. I silently await my first appearance here at my place of rest. I have all the time in the world to rest. All of the quiet time in the world. Until my bleached veins turn black. I can hold this pose forever without effort. I wait for you.

    I wait until thin traces of sounds float like feathers through the air. I motionlessly tilt my pretty head your way. Murmurs from beyond draw near. You are here at last. My sweet, my absent friend. The friend who never replied to my last desperate call. I thought I would have waited forever. I turn an ear in your direction without moving. Straining to hear you. My senses reach for you. I will myself towards you from my cold deep core. My barren, frozen, blood red pear. I sense your warmth in the still chill mist around me. I see you through closed eyes.

    You float forward towards me like magic on crimson carpet You are here. I feel I could have died while waiting for this moment. Breathing your soft breath upon me. My coolness craves your warmth. Your touch on my hand, my face, my curveless cheek. You trace my greying hairline, my face. Have you never seen me before? You study my necklace, wedding ring, the pale fingernails. You gaze as though you see someone else. As though you see nothing.

    You whisper things I do not understand. Tell me you are sorry and how you wish I were here. You kiss my waxen forehead, rest your palm along my cheek. Try to warm me for a moment then try again. But I am cold and I am gone. Then you am I and you are here alone with your timeless memories of me. Willing me to move and rise up from this place. Willing me to tell you it is all a dream. Wanting to breath your life into my chest. Wishing you could bring my broken heart back to life.

    But I have flown. Long before you ever heard I had gone. So you sit at your desk and write your pointless words, to resurrect me for a moment only to let me fall again back into the mist of time forever.
  15. Joined
    12 Nov '05
    23 Feb '15 00:19

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