Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thought Police Teabreak

 “I'll  get  them  in.  Okay!  Okay!  Let  me  guess  what  you  want.   A....chocolate  donut!”
“Look...Bill,  for  the  last  time...we  can't  actually  read  minds.  That's  not  how  it  works.”
“But  you  do  want  a   chocolate  donut  right?”
“Woooohhhh! Spooky eh?”
“Bill,  I  have  a  chocolate  donut  every  day.  Every.  Single.  Day. And  anyhow,  you're  not  even  supposed  to  call  them  chocolate  donuts  anymore. Chocolate  donuts  don't  exist.  There's  fudge.  Or  unfudge.  That's  all.”
“Unfudge  it  is  then.”
“Actually.  Make  it  a  doubleplusunfudge.  And  an  untea.  No  sugar.”
“See!  I  knew  you  were  going  to  say  that.”
“No  you  didn’t  Bill.”
“I  knew  you  were  going  to  say  that  too.”
“Pick  a  card.”
“Look  Bill...”
“Four  of  clubs!”
“I  haven't  even  picked  a  card.”
“Ah  but  you  will!”
“Okay  Bill.  Okay. What  am  I  thinking  right  now? “
“You're  thinking...I wish I had a big box of Chelsea Woppas.”
“No  Bill.  That's  what  you’re  thinking.”
“Well  I do. What are they made of? So malty. Yet so very bendy.”
“What  I'm  thinking  is  ‘I  want  my  donut.  Doubleplus sharpish’."
“Its 'speedwise' Jim. Sprinkles on the  donut  though  eh?”
 “No  Bill.  I'm  allergic.  If  you  get  me  sprinkles  I  go  into  enaphalactic  shock  and  my  head  explodes.  I  tell  you  this  every  day.”
“Right.  Sorry  Jim.  I  should've  remembered  that. It’s well seen we’re not the Memory Police eh? Eh?”
“No Bill. That’s why we go through this whole routine every day.”
“All I’m trying to do is bring a little sunshine into the totalitarian regime and…”
“There isn’t supposed to be any sunshine in a totalitarian regime. That’s why we painted everything grey and killed all those people. We’re not out here to have a laugh. We’re supposed to be making sure other people aren’t having a laugh.”
“Okay. Okay Jim. Sorry. But before I go get the donuts, I’d like you to take a look at this piece of paper. Earlier on today I wrote down how I thought you’d react to my comment about sunshine. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at this. What does it say?”
“It says exactly what I said a minute ago. Word for word.”
“Word for word?”
“And how could I know? How could I know unless I had read your mind!
Bill bowed and headed off to the counter.
Jim was fairly sure he was going to report him for thoughtcrime.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Illuminati Office Politics

In the hidden meeting room on floor 23, the shadowy figures sat down and sipped their lattes in a most sinister fashion.
“Okay then. Hi.” said Mick “I'd just like to welcome everyone to the first quarterly meeting of the Brotherhood of Evil. First order of business is I suppose to decide exactly how we're going to control the world via our subtle behind the scenes machinations.”
Three of the figures nodded seriously, the fourth, Chris, put up his hand.
“Yes brother.” said Mick.
“I eh...I think I'm in the wrong meeting.” said Chris.
“What?” said Wendy from accounts.
“I don't think I'm supposed to be here.” said Chris, “I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, so...I think I'm just going to...shoot off.”
Chris picked up his latte and stood to leave.
“Hang on! He can't go now.” said Wendy, “He's heard our plans. Kill him. Kill the infidel!”
Everyone looked a little confused.
“Him.” said Wendy, pointing, “Him there.”
“Listen. Listen with the greatest didn't actually have any plans.” said Chris “You just said you were going to rule the world.”
“That is the plan.” explained Wendy.
“What sort of a plan is that?”
“A secret plan. Quickly minions! Destroy him!” said Wendy.
No one moved. Then Steve coughed a bit.
“I think...I think actually that the minions might be on tea break.” said Steve, “Hang on....I'll buzz through.”
Steve commandeered the phone.
“Hi’s Steve. Are the minions about at all? Right. Yeah. Okay.If you could just ask them to pop through when they get back. Thanks. No they've nipped out to Boots, Mark's got a bit of a sniffle coming on so..."
“Look. It doesn't matter...Wendy’s right.” said Mick, “Minions or not...he must be eliminated.”
“I don’t want to be difficult, but it's not really in my job description to eliminate.” said Steve.
“Yes. That's really why we have the minions.” said Wendy, “In fact, I've been meaning to bring this whole teabreak thing up. How can we seriously expect to usher in a new Dark Age if we can't even get these breaks coordinated?”
Chris crunched on a caramelised biscuit.
“That's really the least of your worries.” he said.
“Silence fool!” said Wendy, “Rest assured mortal, that when the soldiers of darkness return from Boots...”
“And once they've had a scone…” said Steve
“And once they've had a will be ripped limb from limb.”
There was an urgent knocking at the meeting room door, people quickly shuffled their agendas out of sight. Carol from admin entered.
“Hi. Sorry to bother you.” said Carol, “It's just, we're having a whip round for Susanne...”
“Oh is it this week she leaves?” said Mick.
“Yeah Friday. So we were hoping to get the card and everything sorted for tomorrow.”
“What are you getting?” asked Wendy.
“Just vouchers I think.” said Carol.
“Vouchers? You can't get her vouchers.” said Mick.
Chris finished his biscuit and took a final sip of his latte.
“Listen. You're clearly very busy.” said Chris, “And delusional. So...”
“Do not move!” commanded Wendy.
“Or what? What will you do?”
There was a silence, broken only by the 10 o’clock alarm bell test.
“Look I'll pop back later.” said Carol.
“Well?” asked Chris.
“Very well. Leave.” said Mick, “But know this...we will follow you always. And if you ever talk of all you have seen and heard in this place, we will make you...disappear.”
“How? You don't know my name or where I live so...”
Again silence. Steve cleared his throat.
“Run! Run while you can.” said Wendy, “For we are the puppet masters and the keeper of your destiny!”
“Right. Well...I'll be off then.” said Chris.
“The puppet masters. Ahahahahaha!”
The door closed and Chris escaped back into the safety of the real world, once again happy in his ignorance of all the machinations and schemes of the dark brotherhood.
“Listen I've been meaning to say, the toners going on that photocopier.” said Steve.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


The old stone walls draw in history like moisture, trapping the past inside.

The people come and look and touch, caressing yesterday, trying to feel as if they were there. They look and touch, but they do not listen.

In the evening silence, those old bricks sing and laugh and shriek and cry; 300 years of family life and love. You can hear the waulking songs of the women weaving, the children playing on the cobbled streets, the hammering of the toymaker and the cooper. And you can hear the screams - the screams and cries for help from that night.

The people pass, they do not hear. Just as no one heard me then.

Wednesday 16 May is National Flash Fiction Day, this is my Flashpoint, a story written and left in a place. Why not try it yourself. This particular place happens to be the oldest surviving house in my home town, its part of a project  I'm working on just now, The Dutch Gable House.

There are many other places to enjoy flash fiction, today and every day, but in particular check out 1000 words, flashflood, and the incredible and ambitious 3hundredand65 twitter graphic novel, created in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wizards Teeth

Wizards teeth are very valuable in the right hands.

These were not the right hands however, these were the meaty fists of Tavish McFarlane, not known for their subtlety. Quite how he had forged himself a successful career in magical crime, we may never know, yet from crates of tequila bottle imps through to banshee sheet music and elf scalps, he had hocked, stolen, fenced and sold it all. But to the dismay of his more elegant peers, he showed no sensitivity for the craft. Where folk still spoke in awe of Persimmon’s Unicorn Gambit or Rouvelliers Yeti pelt feint, Tavish’s crimes were a catalogue of brutal simplicity; he violently stole things and sold them.

Tavish wasnt in it for the money, he’d take the best price over the right price every time. He wasn’t in it for the glamour either, secret clubs filled with rose eyed nymphs or high stakes poker games with sharp suited demons did not impress him. Tavish was much more straightforward, he just enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all; while his criminal friends spent their time peddling drugs or stealing cars in the real world, he passed his evenings blinding cyclops and drowning mermaids. Why would he waste his time doing anything less interesting?

He’d had word of a buyer for his latest prize and had arranged a meet at one of the occasional bars down at the east docks, it was there most Tuesdays. Tavish’s contact was waiting at the bar, he nodded towards the far corner of the room, a booth, partially obscured by red curtains.

Tavish made his way over, sat down at the table and found himself staring into the jagged, broken grin of a wizard.
“Evening Tavish. I hear you’ve got some wizards teeth.”
The bar was suddenly silent and Tavish noted his contact smiling unpleasantly.
“I don’t suppose you know what spell wizards teeth are used for?”
Finding himself unable to speak, Tavish shook his head.
“Course you don’t. They make you disappear. Properly.”
The teeth in Tavish’s hands started to burn. The wizard gestured, and two massive creatures hulked out of the darkness.
“I can’t say I enjoyed having my teeth smashed out, but needs must. It’s not just that you’re making us look bad Tavish, it’s that you’ve got no style.”
The wizards teeth fizzed and crackled in Tavish’s hands, filling the air with the smell of skin and old toothpaste.
As the heavy grey hands of a cyclops he was sure he’d seen before held him still, Tavish briefly wondered if he’d be remembered. And then, he was never there at all.

Friday, 4 May 2012

May the 4th

To celebrate international Star Wars day, here is "Crazy Jawa", a 1995 comic strip cobbled together for a Star Wars fanzine by myself and Ross Ahlfeld...obviously...back then it was just slightly more original to try and treat Star Wars lightheartedly. Now people do it much better all the time. Much better.

To enjoy some more Star Wars fan fun and even some political cartoons, why not have a look at "The Best of Holocron", the mid 90s Star Wars zine once voted literally 4th best fanzine in the UK by the readers of SFX magazine. That's top 5. Sadly, a few issues remain missing (or "ultra rare") and so you cannot enjoy the Star Wars / Trainspotting crossover or the Roy of the Rovers style exploits of the A.C Alliance football team.

May 2012 also celebrates the 200th anniversary of Edward Lear, King of Nonsense, here therefore, is a hastily prepared Star Wars limerick...

There once was a droid from Cloud City,
Who got shiny new parts to look pretty,
But whenever she coughed,
The bits all fell off,
So they melted her down, what a pity.

And if you think that's questionable, then I suggest you watch this and think on...