Prose: A Christmas Story

It takes a lot to surprise a department store Santa. There hadn’t been a hint of this sort of thing in Santa school. We had, of course, been taught the politically correct manner of perching a small child on the knee, acceptable ways of addressing our diminutive clients and the danger of making unreliable promises. […]

Read More

Prose: A Kitchen Conversation

  The new house was a snip at six million — old money that is — I can’t get used to Globals. I was filled with excitement at getting my first Smart House and a great deal of trepidation at having to train it. The manual describes it as customization. The technician had burnt me […]

Read More

Prose: Accident

It was no accident. The boy picked his way across the unfenced plantation. He paused to examine a small sapling, his tree, the one he had planted during Beautification Week. He set down his school bag and knelt to adjust the rabbit mesh and pull out a few weeds, picked up the bag, and walked […]

Read More

Prose: Ah! Venice

I’m sure it must be Venice; you can see one of the bridges to the left of that column with the lion on it. It’s funny though, that ought to be San Marco square but there’s no sign of the Campanile. Maybe the artist has his back to it. What sort of a picture of […]

Read More

Prose: Annie

Annie hesitated shyly in the doorway of the classroom. Already there were two or three people seated in the rough semicircle of chairs, those strange chairs with a hinged flap for writing notes (If you’re right-handed, she thought). A brisk looking woman stood in the centre talking to them. With a birdlike motion of her […]

Read More

Prose: Bad Samaritan

  The priest entered the cell. He raised his hand in a blessing and murmured a greeting as the young man got to his feet. Thank you for coming Father. I know it is a bit irregular, but I really need to talk to someone.’ They said you asked to see a counselor. How may […]

Read More

Prose: Beards

  Before investigating this fascinating subject one should be clear from the start that beards are not merely hairy things that grow on the face. Admittedly they are hairy, but so are moustaches. They grow on the face it is true but so, of course, do eyebrows. No, there is more, far more, to them […]

Read More

Prose: Bell, Book, and Candle

  The cathedral was silent now. The echoes of the sonorous Latin phrases died away, vanishing into the murk of the domed ceiling. With both hands, the Bishop closed the huge bible, and, with a ritual gesture, swept the giant candlestick to the ground. The golden wax candle was broken and extinguished. As the flame […]

Read More

Prose: Betty Plum

The great star smiled sweetly, her professional smile. Underneath she fumed as the headmaster bumbled on. “As you know, Miss Elizabeth Thatcher is a world-famous superstar. She has honoured us with her presence today, her return to the town of her birth, because she was at one time a pupil at this very school. Yes,” […]

Read More

Prose: Bird Watching

  “I rather like watchin’ birds meself, Prof” said Leo with an evil leer. He skillfully drove the veteran 4WD along the narrow track into the depths of an ancient forest in southeast Victoria, tracts of which had been mercifully spared from modern loggers and wood-chippers. Maybe they owed their reprieve to the gullies and […]

Read More

Prose: Chestnuts

  She stood as close to the glowing brazier as possible, her hands thrust deep into the pockets of her bulky jacket, watching as the vendor shovelled the hot chestnuts into a paper bag. And I watched her. Our relationship was at that wonderful Can it really be true? stage and I found myself looking […]

Read More

Prose: Childhood

  Childe Hood, the brat of Sherwood was in trouble again. Robin junior was the despair of his mother, Marion, and a considerable annoyance to his father. Birch twig and bribery, both had failed to curb the mischievous demon that took possession of the infant from the time he could walk. Now, at eight years […]

Read More

Prose: Christmas Father

  The street lights fought a losing battle against the dawn as the twins clumped out of the house, tottering precariously on their new roller-blades. They clung to the fence, each reluctant to leave its security but anxious to be the first to break free and fly like a bird down the wide sloping pavement […]

Read More

Prose: Competition

  ‘NO!’ said the Master. ‘I fear you do not yet understand. Do not you Christians say, “Love thine enemy”?’ You must see competition for what it is — Co-operation. Without ‘Yin’, there can be no Yang’. And once again, we met in battle — and once again I was defeated. There were times though […]

Read More

Prose: Deception

  I once met a Spanish cabaret star in Seville, his stage name was Albert Smith, and his speciality was English dancing; I understand that the local senoritas thought this was wildly romantic. One evening the Albert Smith fan club resolved to get a lock of his hair. They got the lot! He was wearing […]

Read More

Prose: Dialogue

  “USUAL LIFE”, said the sage, “IS VERY TAO”. “How Tao is Mao and his little red book? How Tao the Bomb? How Tao Black Power?” “AS WELL TO ASK ‘HOW WHEN IS ZEN?”. “And Then? – What then?” “ORDINARY LIFE IS VERY TAO” smiles the sage. “CEASE ONLY TO CHERISH ILLUSIONS. ALL YOUR CONFUSIONS […]

Read More

Prose: Dialogue #2

  “Have you finished in there? We haven’t got all day!” “You’ll just have to wait, Constable, things are difficult one-handed. Besides, I shouldn’t be in here, I should be in the Ladies.” Some Lady! Come off it George, you are right where you belong – in the Disabled toilet. That’s what you are – […]

Read More

Prose: Dossier

PROJECT: TO SELECT PHRASE TO ACT AS INSPIRATION FOR STORY AND THEN DEVISE A LEADING CHARACTER FOR IT. PRODUCE DOSSIER. PHRASE: “THE LETTER OF THE LAW” A short story about a man who is completely “literal-minded” who finds himself in a situation where his only salvation, and that of someone very dear to him, is […]

Read More

Prose: Dozing

  He dozed as he waited for Meals on Wheels. He/d hear them, no worry about that – the squeaking rear brake shoe, the click of the old cyclone gate, the chink of the soup ladle. They’d bring it in cheerful but hurried. Two ladles of soup sloshed in the cracked soup bowl he had […]

Read More

Prose: Emma

  NO, I won’t change my mind. I quit! Finished! Finito! I’m out. As far as I’m concerned the Cool Cucumber is history. Who knows, maybe I’ll start another ‘zine; Start small again. Turn another small newsletter into an international magazine with a readership of millions. Maybe I was just lucky, or maybe it was […]

Read More

Prose: Enchanted

  Enchante Madame. The Frenchman bowed over me wife’s hand. “Pierre DuBonnet.” The wife simpered as I looked .on a bit shirty. Ya gotta hand it to them Frogs, they sure know how to chat up a Sheila. “Charmed, I’m sure, Mon-sewer,” she said, batting her big blues. I said nuthin’ “And you, Monsieur, I […]

Read More

Prose: Face To Face

The dictator regarded the face in the mirror with satisfaction. “A fine face, doctor. You have surpassed yourself. A firm, strong, face! Yet not too outstanding. With this face, one could merge with a crowd, but it is not nondescript. No, it is a very good face.” The plastic surgeon stood on the other side […]

Read More

Prose: Fashion

Aubrey Bean swept through the salon trailing havoc in his wake. He was obviously in a foul mood. The models, normally prima donnas in their own right, wilted and shrank into the sidelines, unwilling to confront the Maestro in full flight. Aubrey, in a temper, was a force to be feared. No sign there of […]

Read More

Prose: Father Tom

  It is always hard for a priest to pick up the threads of a new parish. I could see why the bishop had chosen a troubleshooter. “My son,” he said, “I have not given you an easy task. There is a spiritual malaise to be sought out and conquered. It is never a light […]

Read More

Prose: Fear

  Its onset was subtle, he hardly noticed it at first, just a prickling of the neck hairs, a feeling of vague unease. Something was teasing at the edge of his peripheral vision, but when he dated a quick glance there was nothing there. The bland countryside was empty of human life and the little […]

Read More

Prose: Fourteen Postcards

Fourteen Postcards 1 Well here I am! The coast at last! Booked in at the Premium Motel. Bought this card at the desk and dashing this off before I do the town. H. 2 Hi again. After steak and chips at the Diner I found the Gold Star Disco. Noisy but nice. Didn’t dance much […]

Read More

Prose: Friends

  She checked it all again; first the stove, where the leg of lamb browned slowly behind the heat-misted glass of the oven door, the little internal light tantalising with its meagre vision of roasting potatoes. Time for basting again? No, it is scarcely ten minutes since last time. Ten minutes. She looked anxiously at […]

Read More

Prose: Girl Meets Boy

GIRL MEETS BOY To cut a long story short I will just give you the basic details about Pearl and Paddy. There was this chick, see. To put it in a nutshell she was no blushing bride. For the almighty dollar, she would be all things to all men. Up to now, Dame Fortune had […]

Read More

Prose: Grief

  When I was young, and I must admit that this was in the days before antibiotics, I had a boil. Besides being painful I hated it with all the passion that a child is capable of. The ignominy I the sense of injustice that such a thing could happen to me, that this alien […]

Read More

Prose: Has Evil Triumphed?

  Perhaps I should just say “The Rape and Child-murder of Julia Price”, thus giving at least the dignity of truth to her memory. But then I might have done an injustice to the serious ethical considerations of her violator, Austin Clarke (God damn his soul), who claimed he was no paedophile because he had […]

Read More

Prose: He and She

  There, already I have told you something. If I had said, “His and Hers” or “Him and Her” you would have had completely different expectations; the one about possessions, the other about ‘pawns of fate’ to whom things happen. There are other possible combinations: He: dominant, loving her, using her. She: loving him, hating […]

Read More

Prose: Holiday

I will just lie here—Thinking Thinking. Perhaps if I think hard enough they will go away “Mother! Stop this nonsense!” The voice was exasperated. “Snap out of it. You are not doing anyone any good just lying there. You are being childish” Never would I speak to Mutti so. She would rap me with her […]

Read More

Prose: Humour

In one of the philosophical moods that engulf me from time to time, it was my good fortune to stumble on a truism – I woke my wife, it was three a.m. “There is something funny about Humour!” I said. She was not amused. She failed to see the joke, she said, in being woken […]

Read More

Prose: Intercession (a Memorandum)

CONFIDENTIAL DATE: TO: FROM: SUBJECT: MEMORANDUM November 9, 1987 St.Bridget of Ireland St.Vincent Australis Intercession   One of my flock is in a wondrous state of confusion which appears to concern one of your lasses. Therefore, St. Bridget, I am asking, informally of course, for your help in this matter. It appears that my lad […]

Read More

Prose: It isn’t fair!

It was on all the TV news channels and I knew it would make the headlines in all the morning papers: Prize-Winning Australian Journalist Dies in Africa. Kevin Moran’s Last Battle. But I remember his first battle. Even as a boy he was a battler and a rebel. My first memories of him are of […]

Read More

Prose: Love Thyself

You are a Special Person In the Biblical injunction to Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself attention is usually directed to the neighbour’s side of the equation. The implication is nevertheless plain that to do this effectively we must first love ourselves. This is not a call for narcissism: for excessive self-love, but for a good […]

Read More

Prose: Mediscare

Is it that serious, eh James? Well, you are the expert, Old Boy. I’m not casting aspersions on your professional ability – but really! I know that you know your stuff. That is why I pay your whacking great fees without a murmur. But you’re serious this time. The situation is bad. Ah well! I […]

Read More

Prose: Meditation

Fear us! Society – We are the Changelings! And you are right to feel uneasy. For we are NEW. Rebels there have been – Revolts and Insurrections And Wars – civil and uncivil. And you have played that game and know the rules And take measures – and usually succeed, or fail To be replaced […]

Read More

Prose: Necker

Karl Gustav Necker sat in the shabby cafe, gazing through the hole he had rubbed in the steam on the window, gazing at where the wall had been, at where the wall should be. He sighed. “Hey, Professor.” The young man called as he bustled through the door in a flurry of snowflakes and made […]

Read More

Prose: New Year [no. 1]

The clock struck the expected twelve times, hooters hooted, sirens screamed champagne corks popped and the usual intoxicated voices chanted the customary song. ‘Should Old acquaintance be forgot?” Well, should it? The philosopher considered the question. Let us face it. Those referred to are Acquaintances, not friends. If they were that old an acquaintance and […]

Read More

Prose: New Year [no. 2]

On the TV the countdown had begun. He took up his glass and paced himself, silently counting the seconds as he moved towards the gate, timing himself to arrive there on the stroke of midnight. The street was empty, bleak beneath the streetlights stretching in each direction. Not a soul to be seen. As his […]

Read More

Prose: Nothing Dentured

There was a young lady named Reith Who came from the Scots town of Leith When searching a mate She refused any date Unless he had all his own teeth. Nothing Dentured… Fiona Reith dutifully completed the Computer Dating enrolment form. Some of the questions were, she felt, a little too personal, but what they […]

Read More

Prose: Number Eight O’Connell Street

Bad Joyce Competition 2001 Title: Number Eight O’Connell Street By H.St.V.Bcechcy And phwat are we to make of this modren whorl, with Himself princeprancing the tillhops from hence to thence like a mounting goat with a yard on him full of inches? One thong leading to a nuzzle. Believe me, Tis the tit of the […]

Read More

Prose: Opus

It was to have been his greatest work – his magnum opus. Groups of his students coalesced throughout the campus; generated heated discussions, and dispersed as their energy was spent. And from the towers of learning other eyes looked down; some cynical, some concerned, but all of them alert for further trouble. The cause of […]

Read More

Prose: Painters

“This is the hut.” said the hostel manager. “We want you to do the interior; walls, ceiling, the lot! I hadn’t the heart before – Not until they’d gone.” He flung open the door and I walked into a blaze of colour. The room was one gigantic mural. The wall facing me at the far […]

Read More

Prose: Power

Megatons of water from the huge lake reservoir swept through tunnels, plummeted down shafts, and whirled the great turbines into a frenzy of rotation. Their deafening voices could still be heard in the control room. Subdued by metres of solid rock, the muffled roar tugged at the edges of consciousness. To the white coated men, […]

Read More

Prose: Probation

The probation officer raised his eyes from the file and looked across the broad desk at the youth. His steady gaze held the lad’s defiant eyes until they fell, shifting from side to side like a trapped animal. The officer sniffed and resumed his reading. The heat of the day was oppressive, even in the […]

Read More

Prose: Prosthesis

She was running again, her feet pounding the pavement, the wind cooling the perspiration on her brow. Mile after mile after mile, lost in the private mental world of the marathon runner; there was the strange effect of running on the spot as though the scenery itself was streaming past and she was centred as […]

Read More

Prose: Psychology

I was reading a -woman’s magazine the other day when I was intrigued by the second item I came across. My first interest was, of course, the letter rage to see if ‘Worried Blue-eyes’ was still whooping it up, will that girl never learn? I then turned to the subject of our discourse: the Psychology […]

Read More

Prose: Side Window

Side window/Natural Causes/Baseball Bat Two bodies merited at least a detective inspector, and it fell to the lot of D.I Staines, who chose D.S. Stubbs and D.C. (Gym-shoe) Traynor as his support group. It was not a pleasant task. The bodies had remained undiscovered for at least a week, according to the forensic specialist accompanying […]

Read More

Prose: St. Patrick and the Serpent

Did you hear the tale of how the Blessed St.Patrick rid Ireland of the snakes? and how there’s divil a one to be found there nowadays except in zoos and such for the education of the innocent who would never see such creatures in the wild. That is all down to St. Pat, because in […]

Read More

Prose: Stargazer

It hung therein the blue-black night, a second magnitude star in a minor constellation, hiding among a million others, but his eye found it unerringly it was Home. The tall man turned. Shouldering his pack he set off resolutely to where the beckoning lights of the tiny township offered a lot more warmth than interstellar […]

Read More

Prose: Surealestate

“Seven stairs to seven stars” the phrase ran through my head, recurring, disturbing. Some way off, barely visible through the swirling sea mist, a solitary gas lamp flickered and sang. I pulled my raincoat colour closer about my face and made my way towards it. In the little island of light I looked again at […]

Read More

Prose: Sweetheart

They were at it anew! Michael heaved a silent sigh. His two dearest friends prepared to do battle once again. “I’m sure you could have done better for yourself Dearest/’ she said, “if only you had been a little more selective in your choice of wives.” Adam hesitated under Eve’s watchful gaze. He looked across […]

Read More

Prose: The Boy Who Dreamt Tomorrow

“Hey, Stubbsie, Got a minute?” Briggsie, our giant full forward, was at my elbow. I looked up from my book in surprise, he usually says “Hey Nerd.” I was in my quiet place beneath the trees, and Briggsie looked as out of place as I would have felt, out there, where his mates were kicking […]

Read More

Prose: The Butterfly Murder

Detective Inspector Staines and his faithful sidekicks, D.S.Stubbs and D.C. Terry ‘Gymshoe’ Traynor, piled into the unmarked CID car. The men allowed Traynor to drive the clapped out vehicle, their laziness overcoming their normal prejudice against women drivers. She, always anxious to please, drove very carefully. She might almost have been participating in a driving […]

Read More

Prose: The Cuckoo Clock

As her fingers fumbled with the wrapping she was conscious of his face, his kind stupid English face. It was filled with a delighted anticipation as he watched her unwrap his Christmas gift to her. “I hope you like it, Eva,” he said. “I had a devil of a time getting the genuine article but […]

Read More

Prose: The Elf Maiden

The moon had turned the wood to silver. The leaves, etched sharply against the shadows, glittered trembling in the light summer breeze as I followed the winding path leading to the clearing. The ancient cromlech gleamed in the moonlight, the white stones of the dolmen framing the entry to another world. As I stepped through […]

Read More

Prose: The End

He stared at her in disbelief. The shock, rendered him speechless. Strange reactions were taking place within his body, incongruous memories of the Big Dipper flashed across his mind. But this stomach churning, free fall sensation, was not pleasant or exciting. The icy slither of feeling that seized his tail bone was the precursor of […]

Read More

Prose: The F*H*P*S

by H.St V.Beechey Felix Hull was a music teacher, a trainee teacher it would seem, for surely one so lacking in the first idea of how to deal with a class of thirteen-year-old boys it would be hard to imagine, They gave him hell. Teacher baiting is an art, and a skilful practitioner would know […]

Read More

Prose: The Gardener

The gardener collected his tools. It was time to start work. Today he would restore the garden to its timeless beauty. He picked up his broom and rake and strode recklessly across the carefully prepared garden and gazed with reluctant admiration at the great colourful Mandala that occupied the centre of his domain. Vibrant in […]

Read More

Prose: The Gun

He has this mental picture — a picture of a gun. At first it is indistinct; a pistol, a rifle, a machine gun? He doesn’t know; only that it will project a missile. He can see the projectile leaving the muzzle. It is in slow motion, deadly, unstoppable — twirling slowly on its axis — […]

Read More

Prose: The Icon

The odd shaped domes, atop the squat towers of the little church, gleamed silver in the last rays of the setting sun as the old man paused to catch his breath. He clasped his precious parcel to his chest. The new building seems toy-like to local eyes, with its yellow bricks highlighted with brown, for […]

Read More

Prose: The Interview

THE INTERVIEW “Well, that concludes the first part of the interview.” His kindly brown eyes regarded me across the desk as his left hand sought and found a bell-push to his right. “Miss Smith will escort you to the executive tea room. She will fetch you back here in twenty minutes. I think we have […]

Read More

Prose: The Interview (no. 2)

Ryan was a little nervous. It was his first time on this side of the desk in a job interview, he took a quick look at the applicant’s C.V. “Tell me, Mr Smith. Why do you wish to work for us?” The reply was a conventional one. Ryan made a note. “I see from your […]

Read More

Prose: The Jonathan Task

Write three sentences about self embodying the three principles of creative writing. 1: Structure. 2: A Creative Idea. 3: The Magic of Language. Why am I a Writer? I love words: Gay little words like GAY (now forever perverted and besmirched); long words like circumlocution; rumbustious words like boisterous and obstreperous; Rabelaisian words such as […]

Read More

Prose: The Journey

I sit in my corner seat, gazing out of the window. The wheels of the train continue their interminable conversation with the rails; the clackety-clack drowning the hum of my fellow passengers as they go about their own business, feeding babies, reading papers, flirting with strangers. But I pay no attention; I am thinking about […]

Read More

Prose: The Launch

The moored vessel rocked gently alongside the little pier, the ripples in the placid water reflecting flashes of sunlight along the white hull to rival the gleaming brass fittings. The fat man gazed at it with satisfaction. Already he peopled the empty deck with a couple of lithe bronze bodies. One, conjured up from last […]

Read More

Prose: The Lino Cut

THE LINO CUT. Her sharp blade slipped, castrating him – once again! And the ruined lino-cut joined the others in the bin. She tried once more; tracing the preliminary sketches afresh onto the lino square. She felt a vague disquiet. Why, always at this point, and why, for heaven’s sake, a lino-cut? Why not just […]

Read More

Prose: The Lordly Ones

The Lordly Ones By H. St V. Beechey ©Copyright 2003 Wherever did you get the idea that THEY are tiny creatures with gossamer wings? You’ll be saying next that they sit on toadstools and flit around in the dusk like mosquitoes. The things you saw probably were mosquitoes. THEY are far more perilous beings, and […]

Read More

Prose: The Luck Stone

THE LUCK STONE The man from forensic prized the stiff fingers apart. “It’s a stone, a pebble.” he said, “let’s see what we have got. Weight, about one gram. Size, six centimeters long; an elongated pear shape, three centimeters at the widest part. one at the tip. Thickness one point five. Colour; slatey grey near […]

Read More

Prose: The Mask

The eyes of the mask are empty now, holes into emptiness, the mask itself the shed skin of a snake. Brady shuddered. As with a snake, it meant that the thing lived on, no knowing where it might be now. Perhaps, like the pupa and the moth, the new form would be completely different — […]

Read More

Prose: The Mountain

There, on the sheer southwest rock face of the widow maker, the concept of “mountain” is too large to grasp. His full attention is concentrated on the red granite six inches in front of his eyes, on the pressure of his body against the rock, on the tiny cracks and concavities that his restless fingers […]

Read More

Prose: The Music

THE MUSIC How to describe the indescribable? I am an old man now, yet if I close my eyes and listen carefully, I can hear the music still; or rather the ghost of the music, and I am transported back to my tenth year. I remember that day well. It was a bright clear day […]

Read More

Prose: The Photo

Ah yes! This were a photo of my cousin Jack. That jacket he’m wearin’ it ‘ad pockets deep enough to ‘ide a rabbit, or even an ‘are. And on the right side, a long pocket for the gun. ‘E were proud of that gun, were Jack. The barrel and stock were shortened, but it were […]

Read More

Prose: The Place

I am back again, but I don’t know for how long. The pencil and paper are here as promised so I will begin. Maybe this time I will succeed. God knows I hope so. My mind is quite clear and I remember everything. It is insidious, this New Age stuff. As a philosopher I should […]

Read More

Prose: The Recluse

No-one knew for sure who had taken the old captain’s house, up there, high on the cliff. There was gossip in the village of course. Mrs Binns, in the local shop, was the most vocal. Righteous anger or sour grapes, she had been hoping for a bit of business; the silver Rolls Royce, with its […]

Read More

Prose: The Red Car

From the road, the little red car looked like a new toy parked on the gravelled forecourt in front of the old farmhouse. A white police car was slewed across the drive way, blocking its escape. The bodies of the two policemen lay like discarded rag dolls between them. Logan uncurled his long body from […]

Read More

Prose: The Return

It wasn’t the same; it never is. He hefted his carryall, switching hands as it became increasingly heavy. He turned, trudging back along the curiously shortened street, searching in vain for the remembered magic of his birthplace, the chill wind piercing his light weight clothing. Although only mid afternoon, the grey sky darkened, pressing down […]

Read More

Prose: The Shades

The house stares blankly across the narrow strip of garden. From the road, its large windows, with blinds of some metallic reflective material, look for all the world like those disquieting mirror sunglasses that used to disturb my wife—I had to throw mine away. The blinds are forever closed—it wasn’t always that way. It was […]

Read More

Prose: The Shadow

I succumbed at first sight. There are people like that; people who are universally appealing. Admittedly all of us a vulnerable to a certain combination of features. But it is usually an individual matter. Perhaps the shape of a nose, an eye colouring, even a gesture that evokes a childhood memory can trigger a feeling […]

Read More

Prose: The Solstice Event

‘You mean Santa doesn’t come here at all?’ Belinda’s bottom lip quivered. She gazed at her sari clad cousin in concern. ‘No, but don’t worry. Alana will bring you some presents while you are here. She is a Deva who lives in the forest and brings presents on Solstice Eve — if you have been […]

Read More

Prose: The Tough One

THE TOUGH ONE I should have guessed when I heard that E was in Kakadu and M had flown to Sydney and that people seemed very thin on the ground in the centre. “It shouldn’t be TOO hard.” said the intake worker (who insists on anonymity), “Though it is a bit unusual.” A Male – […]

Read More

Prose: The Train

As the historic train left Adelaide, the novelist considered the journey ahead with muted excitement. They were all minor V.I.Ps he supposed, in their own way, or else they would never have been given the coveted seats on the first through train to Darwin; Those in his carriage, of course. The real V.I.Ps, in the […]

Read More

Prose: The Unicorn

Carstairs, the hunter, held his breath as he caught his first sight of the fabulous animal. He was upwind, so there was no chance of it scenting him, but he had been told that it had extremely acute hearing and was very timid. This wasn’t to say that it would not charge him if he […]

Read More

Prose: The Visitors

THE VISITORS The children were the first to see Them as They slipped from Whenever to Now. There was barely a ripple in the reality curtain and the visitors were suddenly there, looking as permanent and established as a favourite view of a mountain, or a preloved teddy-bear dozing on a pillow. The children were […]

Read More

Prose: The Wanderer

THE WANDERER It is hard for the likes of me, a homebody, to understand a man like Dermot. A Wanderer, he termed himself, in one of those interminable chats we had that always lasted long into the night. My stock of malt whiskey was sadly depleted on each visit to my lonely cottage, but it […]

Read More

Prose: The Water Way

“Be patient” murmured the old man, his Buddha smile as calm as a still lake; but the young men stirred restlessly, their hands fiddling with the safety catches of their rifles, checking and rechecking the loaded magazines. Peasant boys most of them, they tugged at the collars of their coarse camouflaged uniforms, uncomfortable with the […]

Read More

Prose: The Whistler in the Wind

It is when the wet west wind blows keening through the thickets that I fancy I can hear him. The wild sound of his reed pipe seems to ride the soft mist of moisture bearing the scent of the sea. I tell myself that he is long gone and. together with the other half-dreams of […]

Read More

Prose: The Wound

The peons cross themselves as they pass my door; the men grabbing the sombrero from their head, the women, in the high crowned black hats of the region, take the cigar from their mouths to mumble Aves. They look at me and then, invariably, their eyes turn to the big wooden cross that stands between […]

Read More

Prose: This Door is open

(?) IV ACT IV SCENE IV (incomplete work) Two warders brought him to the governor’s office and stood one at each side of him in front of the broad desk. The governor made a sign and the prison officers left silently without a backward glance at the seventeen year old who stared insolently at the […]

Read More

Prose: Thoughts on Lao Tzu

“Therefore the sage keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practices the teaching that uses no words”   TAO TE CHING II 6   The wise man delights in militant apathy Taking no notice he hopes it will go away In vain the fools hope for words of wisdom and know […]

Read More

Prose: Turkish Delight

For the past eight hours the bus had struggled through the mountains. It was night, and Carstairs was grateful for the fact that the vehicle had not had to halt for its hourly rest to allow the radiator to cool. The night air kept the temperature below boiling point,, but, in the bus, the body […]

Read More

Prose: Virtuous Reality!

“Safe Sex is Cybersex—Cybersex is SAFE!” Victor hummed the advertising jingle as he prepared for his self-promised treat. He had been saving all month for this. This was the big-time, the upmarket program used by VPs and other execs, not a sleazy “Dial-a-Dame” advertised on the Participorn networks. Victor James was a virtual clerk, a […]

Read More

Prose: Walking on the Beach

As he walked along the beach, memories came to him of other beaches he had trodden. The beaches of childhood. The mounting excitement as it was approached in the sunshine; passing the little shops, colourful buckets and spades strung in rows; racks of rude postcards — fat ladies with fat bums and enormous bosoms threatening […]

Read More

Prose: Winter

I dressed to please him, hoping in vain to detect a glint of approval in the ice-blue eyes that so matched his name. Herr Winter, our Special Weapons instructor, showed no sign of favour as he took us through our drills yet again: The killer scent spray, a single press Chanel No.5, a rapid coded […]

Read More