Category Archives: Short Story

Head in the Sand

100 Word Wednesday – week 29

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Head in the Sand.

(DARK CONTENT WARNING)

Josh liked it that way, in the dark – laptop on his knees.
He typed his reply.
[yea it looks good}
[are you coming]
{No}
[Oh Josh – there’s no one near us. Come on]
{so!!}
[just us – warm sand and sea – we have a wind breaker, no one will see you]
{Yea heard that before}
[Don’t Josh, we love you]
.
.
[Josh, we are coming to get you]
{no don’t come round my Ma will kill me}
{we’re coming}
.
.
Josh checked his pile of candy bars – his hockey stick.
He pulled the AK47 from under his bed, it was loaded -safety off.
.
.
The knocking on the cellar door started.
“Josh! your friends are here.”
Ma is going to kill him.
“Come on Josh! I know you are in there.” she banged harder. “You can’t bury your head in the sand all your life.”
He pointed the barrel of the AK47 at the door.
What life?

The Doctor

The Doctor

100 Word Wednesday – Week 28

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Image by Bikurgurl

Holmes was immortal, and distraught as he felt like an inanimate antique hoarded by an impulsive collector. He was in a delirious mood and was not making sense in his drug induce daze, mumbling about eternal regeneration and the beginning with no end to an infinitive universe.
“Quick, bring some hot chicken broth,” I called to Mrs Hudson.
Holmes leapt to his feet and sprinted from the room.
’Too late,’ I shouted. Running after him, I caught up and found him in a curiosity shop.
“Watson, we are but dusty relics,” said Holmes, and he blew dark smoke from his obnoxious weed across my face.
“I wish you’d refrain.” I coughed. “Why are we here? Pottery?”
“Why does the Doctor need this stoneware from Old Kent Road?”
“A gift or perhaps an inheritance?”
“Yes, his nostalgia for all things London.”
These days, I was at my wits end with Holmes as he had become obsessed, and I often recoiled from his constant rages, madness and frustrations. He was determined to uncover the identity of the Time Lord, the imposter.
“What does this collection tell you Watson?’
“He is having guests for tea.”
“No Watson, can’t you see his next location is surely eighteen hundreds mid-west.”
“Oh, I like the flowers, a nice feminine touch.”
“Damn Watson! It is a woman!”
“About time.” I chuckled, and couldn’t imagine Holmes with a wife.
“No, no, no.” Holmes fell to his knees. “I’m now searching for an elusive woman.”
I put my hand on his shoulder to console the poor chap. I smiled.

Reader Expectations.

I am aware that all readers have their own tastes and expectations when they choose a book. Many are die hard fans of their chosen genre and will consume every variation of their vampire sagas, romantic encounters or else stories about the flawed detective in police procedurals and crime novels. Readers know what they like and what they want!

Do we write to please the reader or please ourselves?  It is almost like two different planets of the universe. Those who write to please the reader live in big houses, while those who write to please themselves are on welfare – I believe – or else have a day job.

Book review:Case of the Mahjong Dragon

The latest review on my collection of Russell Holmes stories has made me consider some awkward realisations about my book.

Have I misled or deceived the readers’ expectations?

By using the name Holmes and having a similar collection of characters, albeit the stories are set in Glasgow rather than London, have I unwittingly sullied the genre? The POV is that of the lead character and the idea is similar in style to Sir Author Conan Doyle’s most famous private detective Sherlock Holmes. However, I did not adhere to the strict code of the true pastiche and have unintentionally varied the imitation such to confuse readers, who may have expected a firm Sherlock Holmes story, by creating conflicting images in their minds.

Perhaps publishing my take on a Victorian detective, I have inadvertently fell into a trap set by Moriarty and dipped my toes in an acidic bath of offence towards all true Holmes fans. But then again for all ‘you’ know I just might have accepted Moriarty’s challenge to subvert all who live in 221B.

I note however the world of films have their own unwritten rules: that is just do what sells.

In all honestly I am grateful to the reviewer for their honest opinion and the fact they have taken the trouble to read my book and I am sure secretly enjoyed it.

Is She my Type?

Blind Date.

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Street Art in Glasgow, Scotland

They said she’s nice, so don’t be late
You’ll recognise her beautiful smile
And she’ll be wearing the latest Prada style
My nervous excitement, on a blind date

I saw her, gorgeous, laughing at the bar
Dressed in fashionable hugging stripes
Enchanting, attracting extroverted types
Like a prowling stag, ready armed for war

There is something about the fading light
That brings out an instinct in my mind
A sort of sublime emotional mating kind
That drives survival, but perhaps not tonight.

 

 

Alice Wants Home

Alice Wants Home – Three Line Tales

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photo by Fleur Treurniet via Unsplash

‘Only the Unicorn knows your way home,’ the owl screeched. ‘Which way, which way, which way.’ It glided into the dark.
‘Wait!’ shouted Alice. Alone she looked around. No entry, one way street going both ways. A window in the yard.
She stamped her foot and wept. Could she really climb the drain pipe? But she must to find the Unicorn.

Three Line Tales – Great Expectations

Three Line Tales -Great Expectations.

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Photo by Annie Sprat via Unsplash

Just another large gin to steady the nerves, must be presentable; you understand.
I hope they bring a red and some Jack Daniels or better, a Glenmorangie.
Food! Too late they are here. Why the white coats? What have I done?

Book Week Scotland -Simply Read Too

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I had a book and CD launch today with the completion of my project for Book Week Scotland.

The book contains the transcripts of a collection of poetry and short stories written by Lanark Writers, which I published. The recordings on the Audio CD, which are the authentic voices of the authors, were arranged by the gentleman on the left, Mr Boom. He also composed the music and did the sound engineering. The result is a professionally finished piece of entertainment. Mr Boom is a TV entertainer as well as a sound recorder for local music groups and bands.

Here is an example of one of the poems; Villanelle for an Ancient Lover by Edith Ryan.

 

How did this lover get to be so old?

Who once was young and in his prime

In whom the fire of the love has not gone cold.

This ardent mate with passion bold

Whose days were full of summertime,

How did this lover get to be so old?

A lover with a heart of beaten gold,

Now slower, all he needs is time

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

Life’s race is run, perhaps life’s story told

In fireside tale or ballad rhyme

How did this lover get to be so old?

I thought that he had split the mould

Eternal youth, an ardour so sublime

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

Time’s etched his face with line and fold

And on his hair there’s frosty rime.

How did this lover get to be so old?

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

*****

Simply Read Too in Other Writings

 

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales – Mojito Sting

Three Line Tales

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Photo by Wolf Schram

Mojito Sting.

‘Oye que bola,’ she sipped mojito in the Bertolt Brecht bar, hustling canasta. I had a sure winner and dropped in my Chevrolet keys. She turned a full house. ‘Want to come for a ride?’ She laughed. At the beach in the back seat, was I lucky or being screwed for my car?

***

I have added a short story from my collection The Listener.

Ellen

A Girl on the Train.Short Story by James McEwan

On my journey by train into Glasgow yesterday I was reminded how anonymous we are to other passengers and seemingly invisible -unless they try and sit on your lap. We become strangers thrown together for a short period – and we sit in silence. Or do we?

I tried to capture this in a short story I wrote sometime ago where the interaction of sounds, furtive glances and seemingly disinterest is a cover for our instinctive curiosity.

Tell me what you think, can you envisage this situation?

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A Girl on the Train.

(She Blew Me A Kiss.)

 

The girl rushed into the train compartment and she dropped into the seat diagonally opposite me, to my right by the window. Seemingly agitated, she looked out and down the platform as if searching for a friend or relative, who perhaps might wave. But no one was there. Rapid beeps preceded the closing of the doors and the train smoothly moved off.

Her red hair was tied in a ponytail. Freckles dotted around her nose, her cheeks were clear and soft. She wore a white blouse underneath a tight tweed jacket, a short skirt and her faint green tights stretched down her legs into the ankle boots that matched the light tan of her satchel. Early twenties.

A woman directly opposite from me shook her Hello magazine and we exchanged glances.

I returned my attention to the crossword. Four down, the colour of jealousy, five letters. Green and isn’t that also the colour of envy?

An increasing volume of a ring tone from a mobile telephone had the girl rummaging in her satchel. I looked up. The woman opposite lowered her magazine, tightened her lips and shook her head at me as she glared over her glasses. I tried to ignore her and returned to the crossword.

Six across, slight discomfort in the organs. Ten letters, try irritation.

The girl placed a notebook on the seat, before retrieving her telephone from the bag.

‘Where are you?’ She spoke into her mobile.

The woman opposite rustled her magazine to a new page and turned sideways.

‘Well get the next one.’

I stared at my crossword. What kind of boyfriend misses meeting this girl, with bright blue eyes? Seven down, an inferior assistant, three letters. Slave, no that’s five, try cad.

‘Carol, you always say that.’

Not a boyfriend then, perhaps it was just a friend with a lame excuse, and who had probably slept in.

‘No its Ok, I can wait in Starbucks, you owe me.’

The woman opposite stared through her glasses at me. Well don’t listen I telepathically glared back and clearly you should avoid Starbucks.

‘He did what?’ The girl stamped a foot on the floor. ‘Oh Carol he didn’t. … He did.’

The woman took a deep breath and lifted her hand to cover an ear. Perhaps she doesn’t want to know what he did. I do.

Three down, something rare or unusual, nine letters. A curiosity. What was it he did?

‘But, is he coming with us? … He is.’ The girl stamped her foot again.

The woman folded her magazine and shifted in her seat, she crossed over a leg and accidentally kicked me. Ouch that hurt, I telepathically smiled at her and rubbed my shin.

‘I’m going to ask Mark along, if that’s Ok?’ The girl continued on her mobile and looked at me.

The woman opposite mouthed sorry.

‘No harm done.’ I said and return to my crossword.

‘What do you mean?’ The girl continued her conversation. She glanced at the woman and then stared across at me. She shifted the mobile to her other ear and turned to look out of the train window. ‘But Carol he’s good looking and …’

Eight down, having no choice eleven letters. Involuntary, now that’s an interesting word.

I watched the girl’s reflection flicker in the window where her face appeared contorted by the diffractions of light and passing background.

‘No no Carol … Mark said what?’ The girl stomped both feet.

Oh dear, what did he say? Perhaps Mark is too good looking or perhaps he is a two timing selfish sort. The woman turned a page in her magazine and a picture, of George Clooney with a beautiful woman in an evening dress, smiled at me. Oh how the celebrities live their lives.

‘I never want to speak to him again.’ The girl hugged the satchel resting on her knees.

So many times I’ve heard that before. Nine across intended to mislead, six letters. Deceit, yes we all fall for the same old excuses.

She started to laugh. ‘I know … you should have seen him.’

So clearly he made a fool of himself, somewhere.

‘I know what an idiot.’

So you’re better off without him, he can’t be trusted and you’ll find someone else. Twenty-four down, influenced by proximity, ten letters. Attraction, what does she find attractive?

The girl looked at me. ‘Who should I invite?’ She said into the mobile.

Why not me? I smiled.

Next clue: four across, an impractical person, and eight letters. Idealist.

‘No Carol, he’s too old for me.’ She looked out of the window.

She’s noticed me, but surely we could try. The woman turned over another page of her magazine and I saw Michael Douglas with Catherine Zeta-Jones holding hands. It works for some.

‘I don’t care, I am not going to ask him.’

She has no sense of adventure, I am sure if she got to know me, we’d be a perfect match.

‘That’s what you think.’ She spoke into her mobile and looked at me. ‘I’ll tell you later … later I said.’

The train announcement called out, ‘the next station is Central Low Level.’

In a connecting glance with the girl I instinctively felt a mutual desire and a perception of more to come.

‘No way,’ she said. ‘I’ll meet you in Starbucks, bye … bye.’ She returned her mobile telephone into her satchel.

Sixteen down inspired with foolish passion, ten letters. It can only be infatuated.

The girl shouldered her satchel and left the train. Rapid beeps preceded the closing of the doors and the train started to move off.

Someone knocked on the window from the outside. It was the girl. She frantically pointed at the seat where she had left her notebook. I grabbed hold of it. The top window was jammed and I rushed to the next compartment. The girl was running along side the train and I threw the book out to her. She picked it up, smiled, waved and then she blew me a kiss.

‘Oh really,’ the woman said as I returned to my seat. She shook her magazine to a new page. Renée Zellweger was smiling at me from a picture, as if she knew why the girl blew me a kiss.

Our world – The Physics of Life.

The Physics of life.

I can see I am not the only nerd who is bored, the air is stuffy and people are shielding their iphones under their desks. Their vacant looks are directed at the front in a posture of disinterest, as their fingers collaborate in their cyber conversations. Others are blatantly asleep, and yet this all seems immaterial to the lecturer. “Jason” as we have to address him although he is at least 15 years older than any of us, but he considers “familiarity inspires creativity”. This is one of his big ideas he brought back from America from his time in NASA doing academic research. Put it in your CV, Jason; we get it! Yes, I was impressed at first but repetitive repetition of his self-importance is as interesting as cold tomato soup.

He drones on in a monotonous voice with his explanation of wave-particle duality, and I know he has got it wrong. Why doesn’t he use notes? I am the only one to notice, he is slurring and stuttering his speech and has a hangover. I don’t drink alcohol, but do I find it humorous the way people use this as an excuse; I think they’ve already planned their mischievous notions deep in their subconscious mind and after a few drinks play them out, then feel ill and foolish afterwards. Still it never seems to deter them, and it’s always the same response, it was the drink.

Jason is off at a tangent, me, me, when I was in America, how dull, blah!

I once interrupted him a few weeks ago when he clearly missed the importance of the integral spin of mesons. What a mistake. He didn’t accept my obvious correction but instead rebuked me for the interruption and then made a personal attack on my appearance. He told me I was a Gothic Satanic Vampire with no future in the world of quantum physics. The narrow-minded self-egotistic fn twat, and what an hypocritical view considering his cult following of Scientology, another of his big ideas from America. At least my blood is clean and untainted from the poisonous fluid that is pumped around his body and through his obnoxious brain full of dribble.

I don’t consider myself a Goth, my long black leather coat and boots with their stainless steel buckles is from my admiration of the “Matrix”, a film I felt appealed to my open-minded view of our world’s future. Cutting my hair short and dyeing it blond was great, what a conversation stopper as I walked into the lecture that day. I think I felt a cosmic pulse rush through my body in response to their momentary silence. But not a Goth, after all I wasn’t dressed or covered in make up as characters in the film, “The Crow”.

Image -Welt.de

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I am afraid of Jenny, she is a real Goth with a few meaningful tattoos on her left arm, black and white make up on her face and hair of fluorescent pink stripes with lines of purple. Surreal, dressed as a Halloween doll. She describes herself as a walking canvas reflecting her artistic interpretation of her period in time. I have no idea what she means but I suspect she is suited to her description as a modern artist waiting for her special moment. Normally, I feel uncomfortable near groups of girls and have no idea what to talk about beyond scientific notation. I always felt they were internally laughing at me, but probably not. My new image caused a kind of magnetic solar pulse of attention from them about my appearance.

Jenny spoke to me first, I am sure she had never noticed me before. That is until I started wearing my matrix look. It was exciting and she was an easy talker and the way she looked at me made my adrenaline burst through my veins causing my heart to race. Or was it the grip of testosterone that flared my cheeks?   However, I still felt awkward and flushed aghast when she described her body piercing, and how liberating it felt. I formed an erotic image that remains engrained in my mind and keeps me awake at night.

She insisted that I come with her in June to the Gothic Wave Festival in Leipzig. The photo’s, she showed me from last year were fantastic, all the costumes were amazing. I am drawn to her ideas of Gothic inhibitions and being part of something across Europe, but am still not sure. She wants to share a tent and I keep getting that image in my head of her secret steel pins locking and sealing her virginity until she was ready for her special moment.

The lecture is over and Jason has destroyed wave particle duality. Jenny will be in the café, waiting for my answer. Should I decide to go with her to Leipzig, I wonder if I will discover the meaning of her special moment?

Leipzig 2015 costumes.