Short Story

Fiction: Wish You Were Here

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Fiction: The Project

Gordon O’Dowd waited outside the management offices of Universal Consulting. He’d been with the company since he left school. As he sat in the ornate hallway with wooden panelled walls and golden lamps that barely lifted the gloom Gordon felt every inch the schoolboy. He remembered when he got sent to the Headteachers office for gluing a mirror to his shoes and using it to look up girls skirts.

Happy days, he thought.

Mr Murphy was running late. Gordon had been waiting a full thirty minutes, unless the large clock at the end of the hallway was wrong. The thing ticked so loudly that Gordon was pretty sure he would be able to hear it back at his desk even behind the soundproofing effect of the paperwork walls its was buried under. Gordon could have done without this today.

With a creek befitting the finest cheesy horror flick, the door to Gordon’s left yawned open. Ms Murphy the bosses daughter and secretary, (No-one, including her, was sure in which order that was) beckoned Gordon “Dad.. oh no.. Mr Murphy will see you now” she said. Grinning at her non-corporate slip she pulled the door back so that Gordon could walk through the door out of the gloomy hallway into the modern open plan style office that was home to Mr Murphy.

Murphy bounded over to see him like a happy puppy and shook Gordons hand.
“O’Dowd” he boomed. “Thanks for coming to see me, I know you are extremely busy”
“Well when the boss calls you gotta go right.” Replied Gordon trying to match the light-hearted bouncy dog.
“Right, right. Please take a seat” Murphy himself drew back a big old leather chair from behind his glass desk. Gordon selected a rather more modest affair and sat, not relaxed, although trying to appear so, across from his boss.

Ms Murphy meanwhile had been busying herself with making a fresh pot of coffee which she placed down on the glass desk along with two unbelievably small cups. In the brighter light of the office Gordon noticed she was wearing a bright green dress, almost too short for office wear, the evil part of Gordon’s mind longed for his mirrored shoes.

As Ms Murphy walked away Gordon’s brain was awoken from it’s sleazy state by the echoing tone of her Father. “I’ve called you here today to discuss project 82734.”
“Oh the Arrde project?” Gordon replied.
“Yes that’s the one.” Murphy said, pushing the plunger down on the coffee pot. “How do you think it’s going?”
“Arrde, well like all projects there have been issues we have had to overcome but I think it’s on track. The current stage of development has been prone to scope creep, but that is expected on a project of this size.”
Mr Murphy sighed and poured himself a very small cup of coffee. “Want some?” he offered.

Gordon shook his head.
“I’ve been in this line of work a long time.” Murphy continued, coffee cup dwarfed in his hand. “Spare me your models and ‘scope creep’. What in the hell is that anyway?”
“Well Sir, its where..”
“Don’t tell me son I just don’t care.” Murphy interrupted. “The result is the same I’ve seen the files. It’s a fucking mess.”
“Sir with respect, that is a little harsh.” replied Gordon on the defensive, “More people are alive than ever before, I have enabled the use of cutting edge technologies. Over 3% of clients absolutely love the project.”
“Gordon, we both know the clients don’t know shit about the project. The 3% are so rich they don’t know their arse from their elbow.”
“Ok, ok.” insisted Gordon. “I know there are problems but look at the healthcare people benefit form.”
“People wouldn’t need healthcare if they didn’t get sick from your mistakes. Babies die Gordon. Fucking babies.”
“People love me.”
“Thats the other thing O’Dowd. Other agents on projects have not used the projects to self promote them or their families. There are statues of your son everywhere.”
“Branding, easier to market if there is a clear brand. You told me that.”
“There is branding and what you have done. Your name is everywhere, on money on buildings. It’s just overkill.”
“My name is nowhere Sir, look at the file. It’s just initials.”

Murphy stood up from behind his desk.
“Gordon, I like you. But you have fucked up bad. Everywhere I look in this file there are diseases, wars, famine. Instead of sorting this out you have promoted yourself, not even the company. ‘In God we trust’ people have that everywhere. They trust you Gordon O’Dowd, they think you have the ability to help them. Yet time and again you have failed. The project is a disaster. I’m gonna have to let you go.”

Celestia earth2


The idea for this piece was taken from this Reddit post from the Writing Prompts subreddit and from u/LSDbag.

Friday Fiction: The Lift

“17th floor please.”
“Oh, in to the frying pan eh”
“Well I told them, I said there is no way that was going to work.”
“You got nothing to worry about then have you… Why does this lift take so long?”
“Maybe the hamster died!”
“Hamster?”
“Yeah the one in the wheel that powers all three lifts!”
“Finally! Movement, if you can call it that. When is your meeting? Do you have time?”
“I have about 10 minutes”
“Should just about make it then. You know he won’t let you in if you are late don’t you?”
“I heard that but I thought it was just a rumour”

Fifth Floor, doors closing lift going up

“Morning…”

Seventh Floor, doors opening.
Doors closing, going up.

“God I hate him.”
“Watkinson, yeah. I saw you gazing at the floor”
“The guy is a idiot. Part of the reason it all failed, but will he get any flack?”
“No course not, he’ll get promoted.”
“I’d laugh but it’s all too true. Lets hope no-one gets in from nine!”
“Here he goes again with the totally unjustified hatred of the workers of floor nine”
“Unjustified it’s not unjustified.”
“Steve, if you choose to have sexual intercourse, no less, next to the photocopier and then get caught it’s hardly their fault.”
“Hmm. They got me suspended for…”
“9 months.. Yes I know, you’ve told me. At least once, maybe six hundred times”
“Yeah well it’s not like she was worth it.”
“You are only bitter cos you got toner dust on your bum”
“That stuff doesn’t come off… My wife noticed.”
“What did she say when you got suspended?”
“She didn’t stick around. All because of those bastards on nine.”
“Yes OK Steve. Whatever you say.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.”
“Loud wasn’t it? These lifts are clunky but that was something else.”
“Now the lights.”
“Hang on I’ve got my lighter in here somewhere.”
“I thought you’d given up.”
“Anyone would think you wanted to stay in the dark. Here we go”
“Should I press the alarm button?”
“Now would be the very best time I would think.”
“Did you hear anything?”
“Nope. Try again.”
“Still nothing. For fucks sake”
“Don’t worry I’m sure someone will be along in a minute, Watkinson knows we are in here”
“Oh yes!…. Do you have any signal on your phone?”
“No.. I don’t think so..let me check.. Oh fuck that’s hot.”
“Oh well done Steve. The end with the flame is hot! Good luck finding it in the dark down there.”
“Move over I think you are stood on it.”
“I move, it creaks.”
“It’s only creaking, besides it’s not like you weigh anything”
“Ok but I’m scared.”
“I’m sure it will be fine, better when it’s not pitch black eh Suze”
“Ok ok, You found it?”
“Yep got it.”
“That’s better”
“Suze?”
“Yes Steve”
“Are you holding my hand?”
“I’m scared, I hate these lifts. I’m sorry I’ll let go if you like”
“No it’s ok. I kinda like it.”
“Good as long as it’s not weirding you out”
“No not at all….”
“…. Steve…”
“Yeah”
“I have often thought what it would have been like if it were me by the photocopier. With you I mean.”
“Wha… Wait it’s the doors, they’re opening.”

Ponderosa elevator


The beautiful Captivating Kitten has given me a lift this week by participating in #FridayFiction here with another dialogue only story which encouraged me to write this one. My earlier dialogue drama is here if you liked this one. The Resident Weeble has something good in the offing, but it’s not ready yet.

Friday Fiction: A New Beginning

Today is the day. My time to shine, make my mark or whatever other snappy phrase you want to call it. Time for a new beginning.

To be fair I’ve been in my comfort zone now for too long and I’m itching to get out and get started. I’ve heard murmurs about great opportunities for me, but it is the great unknown out there and really it’s frightening to think about. But I have to get out of here, I’ve outgrown it really y’know. That must sound arrogant, I’m not really like that, at least I hope I’m not, I suppose we’ll find out in time.

Strange thing is, I have no real plans at the moment, other than my escape, my emergence from the darkness. Some might say this is foolhardy but I’m pretty sure, as daunting as the world outside is, I’m sure there will be people who look out for me. I’m not one to shun assistance, not to begin with anyway. No shame in getting a little help here and there until I’m standing on my own two feet.

I don’t know how I got stuck here anyway. I’ve acted instinctively for as long as I can remember, done what felt right. Moved around where I could in order to grow and develop. Yet I still find myself in the same place, doing the same things. I’m hoping my skills will stand me in good stead for life out-there in the future. Fingers and toes crossed eh!

As restless as I am, I will miss this old place, I have grown attached to it over my time here and it has been good to me. There is a great deal of security here, I know every lump and bump on the walls. Whilst all that has its benefits it can get real boring at times. Sometimes I get frustrated and kick out, but after a few seconds of movement and more murmurs nothing changes. All feels like wasted effort. That’s why I know it’s time to go.

I’ve prepared best I can, following those instincts once more I’ve made sure I am in the perfect position, don’t want to start fighting the good fight with one arm behind my back or anything like that. This will be a day to remember, a day the murmurs stop for good.

Its beginning I can feel it.

The walls around me moving, pushing me, forcing me to leave all that I have ever known behind. I feel cold cold air on the top of my head. This is definitely it. I’m going out into the big wide world, it’s so scary, so new. My ears are next to feel the cold, then my face. I open my eyes, it’s oh so bright.

Oh my, I want to go back! Forget all that I said.

My body sliding out , the murmured tones, are now clear voices. “One last push” I hear. Followed very closely by a piercing wail that seems to be coming from me.
Then excited voices continue “It’s a boy!”

Vector



Happy Birthday Jay

Rama-ramama-argh

I am far from being a professional writer. Some people actually like what I write, which continues to amaze me. I do favour the macabre, my stories often featuring a gruesome end for one of many of my characters. I am no good at fantasy, story wise of course give me a beautiful american, Karen Gillan a Nun’s outfit and a stick of Celery and I can fantasise all day!

Rollerblading nuns

Sex on wheels.. no?

I digress I have been challenged to write different genres, sci-fi and more recently romance. Now I class myself as a romantic kinda guy, the candles, moonlight, diamonds and poetic serenades have all played a part in my life. But writing romance for me is proving very difficult.

OK so it’s going to be published here. So I try therefore to keep it under 1000 words, otherwise no-one will read it. So that gives me a thousand words to establish at least two likeable (a stretch for me) characters who you dear reader will be championing, wondering will they, won’t they, but knowing that they will for it is a Romance after all. Believable dialog is also required along with  some kind of tension that allows me to twist and turn.

Trouble is, everything I have tried so far is cliché central. “She looked deep into his steely grey eyes and trembled” OK not quite but close. I don’t want trembling in my story, not lips or knees (I have enough trouble standing as it is) I want strong characters. It’s too easy to write about a bewildered woman who cannot exist without a man. I don’t believe these women actually exist (if they do my email is in the about section.. just saying)

I know these stories are supposed to pander to a fantasy. A fantasy where the dragons and wizards are replaced with perfect men who’s farts smell of roses and has baby soft skin with the talent for fucking, sorry “making love” that rivals Neymars skills with a football. The rose tinted quest continues.

Fiction: A Warm Welcome

Welcome to my house. It’s not much but I’ve lived here as long as I can remember, it has a nice garden Don’t you think? Come in why don’t you, I am pleased to see you. Although it has to be said I’m not sure why you are here. But the more the merrier.

I like visitors, well most of the time. They stop me getting bored, each visitor brings a thousand stories, stories which they don’t even know they are telling. I am an excellent reader of body language and behaviour, I find it very useful it helps me get what I want. Not that I want for much, everything is here. My family, refreshment and a comfy place to lay my head. Anything else is just fluff don’t ya think?

I see you walked here. I am very active. Well you have to be, I don’t want to get fat. That happened to a friend of mine. They put him on a diet his food was horrible! I like to run out in the sunshine, feel the breeze against my face. You should come along sometime, you’ll really enjoy it. Although those shoes don’t seem like running shoes to me. Maybe another day?

The others? Oh yes follow me. They are in the kitchen with all the wonderful food, Can you smell it? Isn’t it amazing? It really makes my mouth water. You can have whatever you want. I’ve already eaten but if you want to save some for me It won’t get wasted.

I’ll leave you to introduce yourself to the others, shake hands and such things. I’ve always found that a strange custom. In my experience I’ve found you can learn so much about new friends in other ways. Handshakes are boring, although I have been told that my handshaking skills are very good. People seem to like them.

You’ll have to excuse me. I am quite tired now after greeting everyone. I am going to go and lie down. Just call me though and I’ll come running. I am so very pleased you are all here. After you have had your food and I’ve had a little snooze, how about I show you the garden. It’s my favourite place in the whole wide world. As we are the best of friends maybe you can throw my favourite ball just a few times.

I might even bring it back. But only after I chewed it.

By the road in Åmotsdal (3845346438)

Fiction: 3386 Seconds

Time is relative. For instance it is infinite but also limited, never ending but running out. Simultaneously best and worst ever all across the world. Babies being born whilst one mans time is almost up. In 56 minutes or indeed 3386 seconds, to be more precise, the man everyone knew as Mr Anthony Di Costa would be dead.

That is of course if I did the job properly.

To do something like this you have to be in the correct frame of mind you see. Focused on the outcome at all times otherwise the job ends up half done and it’s really messy. Not an experience I want again. That’s why timing is crucial, even down to the last second. True there are variables to consider, especially in a city of this size. Relatives for example tend to get in the way of a task like this if they are not held up in the Wednesday afternoon traffic on the way back from Target.

Today is a Wednesday. Almost like I planned it.

Method of course is also important. I have learnt this from experience too. You use the wrong tool for the job and you will have lots of explaining to do. A considerable pain as I recall. So today I have prepared a shotgun, with shells big enough to dispose of a bear from 100 feet away. This is not a weapon for second chances. One shot, all over.

I often wonder how I found myself in this situation. I mean here I am in a city full of opportunity. College years now long behind me, but I came out of that with some good grades. A boring but well paid job was just out there waiting for me they said. But here I am.
If I let myself think back to those college days for too long, my mind always wanders. There was a girl, there is always a girl, she lived out on the island with this little dog that always barked like a mad thing whenever I visited her. If she had said “yes” to me on the day I gazed into those beautiful eyes and asked her to be my wife, would I be here, gun in hand? Who knows. I don’t have time to ponder that anymore. My window of opportunity grows smaller.

Gun loaded, ready for the task. That’s how I had to think of it, a task, something to be done, finished. No emotion, that was another mistake from before. I guess you can say I am far from the best man for the job, but options, I suppose, are very thin on the ground.

The time is upon me now. This needs to be done before I back out. Eyes on the prize. C’mon now Anthony. Step into the light, I can do this. Focus, fingers on the trigger, white with pressure and adrenaline. This was the moment, shotgun barrel pointed upwards and pressed hard against my chin and now to embrace the end.

Embed from Getty Images

Fiction: The Call

It was always like this. The torment of the passing time, bleary head swimming with paranoid thoughts. Thoughts that were almost so improbable he would have laughed at them at any other moment.

Not now though.

Now his palms were wet, his tongue felt like it had never before experienced moisture and never would again, his whole body tingled and he was sure his heart was going to hammer it’s way out of his rib cage within the next ten seconds. He would have like to have said this was just a one off reaction, built around circumstance. That wasn’t true though. Indeed this was a situation that his younger self would never have dreamt of experiencing but nerves had always ruled him.

He looked at the phone he had laid before him on the table. He stared at it like a dog trying by telepathic will alone to make a treat jump from its packet.

Nothing.

He kept telling himself it was early yet. Largely because it was, he’d been sat there for forty five minutes already. A full hour before the time contact was to be made. He never understood why he had to be somewhere to take the call. It was his phone, he could have taken the call on the toilet for all that it mattered. He thought of nowhere he would rather be as his stomach joined in with the nervous party his body appeared to be throwing.

He groaned, a groan which echoed around the marble walls of the gallery. The paintings dotted around did little to deaden the sound chamber and he was sure that people on the floor below would hear if he as much as scratched himself. Why here?

The art on the walls made him wonder why it had been chosen to be exhibited. He didn’t think it was very good. All landscapes, scenes from a bygone era that never existed anywhere except inside the artists head. He liked portraits, people, something going on. Hell even the dogs playing poker would have helped distract him.

He glanced at the phone again, in case he had missed anything in the 3 seconds he had let his mind wander. Still nothing. Why did this piece of black glass and aluminium not spring into life and let him know one way or the other. Not too much to ask surely.

The paranoia was putting him through the wringer now. Sweat beads appeared on his brow despite the coolness of the room. His head whizzing to different conclusions at a million miles an hour, only pausing briefly on the worse case scenarios. He had been given assurances, he wouldn’t have embarked on this journey if he hadn’t. It didn’t surprise him how little comfort they brought now. To his paranoid mind even the most honest and loved became liars. Liars playing him like a puppet for their own amusement. He would be all over the news, the police would come, his mother….

And then it rang.

IPhone 4 top and other sides

Fiction: Still Water BC (A re-imagining)

First a little explanation. The Costa Coffee Short Story Award has recently revealed it’s finalists. You can read or listen to all the entries via the link. One of those finalist stories is one called Still Water, BC. Which I read today, I have to say it wasn’t my kinda thing. Not that I’m saying it’s bad, it’s a finalist which is more than I have ever been. I thought it might be fun to write my own version of it. I hope you (and the person who wrote Still Water BC) like my version and take time to read the original. Of course this is not my idea.. nor am I claiming it is. So don’t take me to court! Good Luck to all the Costa Coffee finalists.


She fell rather like one of the Doug Fir trees. That surrounded the logging plant.
The familiar faces around expressed a helpless horror as they watched. Olaf seemed to realise what he had done, a second too late to have stopped. Remorse realised on the face of the youngster as tried to avoid his falling Mother.

She landed on her hip. Missing the scrabbling Olaf by centimetres. Shopping bags splitting upon impact with the floor and adding their own explosions of colour and noise to the scene. Thorvald looked on, moving, his actions like those of his son a mere second too late.

“Eva.” He said speaking calmly despite racing heart. “You OK?”
“Yes.” She replied instantly, despite not being at all sure. She felt the embarrassment of being rather unceremoniously felled by her son and wanted to get up ‘OK’ or not.
“And my little minnow?”
“Yes, safe as houses.”
“You sure?”
“Yes I fell on my hip” Eva replied confidently, denying her own doubt. “Bump was spared.”
“Good.” Said Thorvald helping Eva to her feet.
Eva cradled her swollen baby bump, containing a “little minnow” as it had for the previous 7 months, she was sure it was a girl. The baby moved differently than Olaf had kicking with the strength of a mule with no regard for the day or night regulation of the outside world.

Thorveld led his growing family home, Eva protesting that she was “fine” despite limping like someone who has had Cerebral Palsy for the last 33 years. Olaf, a little more than subdued, held his fathers hand tightly as he made it his mission to kick, even if only gently, every rock on the trail.

Eva managed to prepare that evenings meal for the family. Thorveld, although not the most new age of men, had for his part offered quite firmly to chop and dice the meat. Eva shooed him successfully and after the meal was done she went for a lie down.

This was the time where she would notice movement inside her. During the dimming of the day, baby would usually get a good few kicks in.

Nothing.

Eva didn’t panic initially. Although the impact of the fall earlier was taken by her hip she had been pretty shaken. She guessed baby was too. Olaf had been a very still baby. Eva thought he was making up for it now, tripping her up like that. Mind you those bags were all her own fault.

“C’mon baby.” She said quietly.

Still nothing.

Eva got up and began to pace around the room.

“Calm down” she said more to herself than the baby. As she cradled her bump, protecting it retrospectively from the stresses of the day.

Eva felt an uneasy stillness within. She stopped pacing and sat on the edge of the bed. Although she tried to remain calm. Her eyes welled up and tears began to roll down her cheeks. She shook and sobbed uncontrollably.

Inside everything was still.

Powell River Company's mill

Fiction: Apartment 3386

I seem to have always lived here. Apartment 3385, Sunview, just off Gosling and Forth in the depths of the Big Bad city. She lives in Apartment 3386. She moved in three months ago and she has driven me to distraction ever since. She has long dark hair and a face that made me, even with my atheist leanings, want to believe there was a God. From afar I gazed into her eyes, I think they are light blue.

In the city guys like me do not approach girls like her. Mace stings. I do however, see her twice everyday and at night in my dreams. She’s a good girl, the pushers come calling to the block at least twice a day, dealing their pills and potions. I ain’t never seen them stop at her door. Me, I ain’t perfect. I let those bastards in long ago, now I just take whatever they offer.

Usually my highs are very high, and the lows, well let’s just say if I trusted the light fitting not to come away from the mould marked ceiling I wouldn’t be around. That’s changed since she appeared. I see her, when I go to get my mail in the mornings. Always a vivid vision, her smile lights up the hallway and wakes me up much more effectively than anything the pushers offer. For those few brief seconds in the hall I can marvel at her figure, pert perfection flowing effortlessly into curves that would make a Coke bottle jealous.

I don’t know her name. Of course I checked her mailbox, but the name plate is blank. The way she moves it should be something regal although this place is about as far from a palace as it’s possible to get. Screams often echo through the interconnecting passageways. No-one calls the cops, head down, keep quiet.

Quiet and still until the pushers come.

When the deal has been done, I see her again. She passes my door and casts a beautiful silhouette that is the only part of her that has entered my apartment. I have nearly called out to her, but I fear I’ll scare her away. The pushers have done their work and I am far from my best. They said she’s not good for me. Those white coated bastards said they would make her disappear.

I reached out. I tried to warn her. But soon she was gone.

I would have cried. Had I not been “medicated” as they called it. I am screaming inside.

I seem to have always lived here. Apartment 3385, Sunview Institution just off Gosling and Forth in the depths of the Big Bad city.

Castle Village 120 Cabrini Boulevard building from west