(1100 words) Seen at the top clubs and casinos, always with a glamorous woman on his arm, usually a different one each time, he was ebullient, witty, handsome and, at a time when the usual darts stars were stretching their XXL nylon darts shirts to the limit with enormous beer bellies, Sam, though he liked his ‘ciggies,’ appeared slim and fit. Everyone said he was a lovely man. It was only when he was under the influence of alcohol that he became abusive, aggressive, and gargantuan-headed. As Roger Merrill, doorkeeper at the Ritz, says of him, “We all loved Sam when he was sober. He could do great impersonations – Prince Charles, The Fonz, Shirley Temple, Fred Flintstone, you name it. Then you could give him a dart and he’d put an apple on someone’s head, usually a good-looking girl, and throw the dart right into the middle of it from ten feet away!” “Did he ever miss?” I asked. “Not when he was sober.” Roger gave a wry smile. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t very often.”
(950 words) Lighted from above by three bright spotlights, a dartboard was mounted on the yellowing paint of a wall in The Golden Calf. It stood in a corner, housed in a cabinet with blackboards for scoring on the inner side of each cabinet door. It was only Thomas Scaman’s second visit to The Golden Calf, having moved to the village of Little Muchly with his wife, Judith, just two weeks earlier. Their first visit had been at lunchtime and the pub had been full of jovial families with their kiddies. Tonight, he’d fancied a pint, and leaving Judith to her writing he’d headed down the lane to the pub, expecting to be met with a friendly greeting and to make new pals over a game of ‘arrows.’ As a former league player, he expected to be met with, well, a kind of hero’s welcome, he told himself. Instead, he opened the door onto an empty, sparsely furnished, and equally sparsely populated bar.
“Deeply Dippy was a good song, right?” said Fred, my drinking buddy. “I liked I’m too Sexy!” laughed Amanda, his wife. “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation.” A lady in a long red dress stood at our table. “Only, my husband and I have a disagreement.” She gestured to a corner of the … Continue reading Hopes and Arrows