Deaf Date


(500 words) As a man who’d been almost stone-deaf since birth, meeting women was something out of Christian Brown’s comfort zone. They may have smiled, but from their eyes, and replies, he knew he was less than intelligible. Now he was shown to a seat in the Koh-I-Noor restaurant. He took a deep breath and looked around at the mainly empty seats, then at his watch. 7.55 p.m. His councillor and psychologist, Susan, had arranged a blind date for him with a lady called Stephanie. She’d told him nothing about her, just that she was attractive, divorced and in her early forties.

The Magic Roundabout


(500 words) He looked around, then, with no one in sight, leapt over the six-foot fence and sat on the roundabout. He took a key ring out and played with the cold metals, toying with ideas. Finally, randomly flicking through them, ‘Fuck it,’ he thought. Holding one tight he began to kick the ground, the roundabout spinning in response. “Make the connection. Make the connection!”

Arse from His Elbow


(550 words) The sleek black police car pulled up, just ahead of a man, tall, leaning forward as he walked, as if forward motion was the only thing preventing him from toppling over. He had a distinguished face, probably handsome when young, thinning grey hair, silver steel-rimmed glasses, and a long nose. He looked up with surprise. Joshua got out of the police car. “Hi, Buddy, what are you doin’?” “Who, me? Just walking.” “Why? Don’t you know what’s on tonight? The final of The World’s Got Talent!” The man’s face looked blank. “I don’t watch TV.” “Don’t watch TV, you cannot be serious! Come on, man, everyone’s glued to the screen right now!” “Well, not me. I just wanted some … fresh air, exercise, you know.” “Actually, I don’t know, buddy. Think about Little Thelma, right now probably singing her heart out with The Nation’s Favourite Song. And you say you don’t wanna watch her!”

Red Snow


(500 words) It is snowing at the checkpoint and John and Abbie are outside, gazing over the border to the Taebaek mountains, and freedom. “You come, please,” says the guard, his green tunic emblazoned with enigmatic decorations and his oversized green cap looking surprisingly uncomic. I look through the window to see Abbie throw a snowball at her dad. They are both laughing. “But we’re going soon, the bus’ll be here.” “You come.” North Korean guards aren’t people you ignore. He leads me into a small, austere office.

Time out of Joint


(500 words) It is raining, it’s nine o’clock in the morning, and I’ve taken all the pictures off the walls like that nice Mr. Hughes at UTC asked me to. I do like the rain, I like to stand in it and close my eyes, feel it on my face and on my bare hands and arms. I’d been doing that at eight thirty whilst my tea was brewing, when I’d heard the phone ring. “Good morning, is that Mr. Gordon Smith?” “Yes, who’s calling?” “It’s Roger Hughes, I’m calling from Universal Time Control.” “Who?” “Well, it’s all rather hush-hush, but people think time’s a simple matter, running in one direction at an even pace.”

The Downfall of British Journalism


  Nearly one year since it was first published, another chance to read my most popular post ever. (500 words) Journalism in Britain, impartial investigative journalism, ended on May 3rd 2007, the day our media began saturation coverage of an event that occurred in Portugal. A little girl named Madeleine McCann, aged three, had disappeared … Continue reading The Downfall of British Journalism

Oh, Moo-ah Moo-ah!


(500 words) “Well, people don’t have to think for themselves nowadays, do they?” “How d’you mean?” “Well, in the ‘old’ days they didn’t know the Earth was round or that it went round the Sun. Or that the circumference of a circle is pi times the diameter. People, ancient people, like the Pythagoreans, had to … Continue reading Oh, Moo-ah Moo-ah!

Three Lives


(550 words) “I’m a servant, milord, a maid to Sir Oswald’s household.” “And are you happy there?” I asked. “No, milord, cursed be the day I came into this house!” “What do you see around you?” “Stone flags, milord, and a great fire. There’s a kettle o’water a’heatin’ for the washing.” “Is it the scullery?” … Continue reading Three Lives