Mary, Mary, Very Contrary

“How does your garden grow, Mary?”

“Oh, not so good these days. Kids stole the silver bells, smashed the cockle shells; and when Jack died, the council cut down the beanstalk.”

“Isn’t that a different nursery rhyme?”

(Sigh) “Oh, I don’t know. It’s difficult to keep up at my age”

Spotlight on Mr McGovern

spotlight on mr mcgovern

Worse than the cane, out came the dreaded phrase: “Illuminate me, please do,” along with the trademark condescending smile; Mr McGovern towered over the twelve-year-old me. Caught in the shadow of this self-proclaimed genius, I’d drawn attention to myself. I should’ve kept quiet like everyone else, not expressed my ‘radical’ political theories in class. The teacher known as ‘The Master’ liked nothing more than to crush young ideals. It worked. I crumbled. I withdrew. I am an idiot.

But I don’t forget.

Years later the Civil War began. Physical conflict favours the young. Out with the old.

The elderly McGovern awoke in darkness. Cold. Cheek pressed against glass. Gagged and unable to move, his limbs were bound, not together but spaced apart like a starfish. And he was face down.

In the night sky enemy aircraft rumbled. I switched the giant searchlight on.

Upon impending death we are told to look into the light. McGovern had no option; brilliant white, his sight lasted barely a second. Skin crisping and crackling. Acrid fumes billowed in the beam. He vaporised, no trace of genius, merely a burnt shadow.

As bombs dropped, I snickered, ‘ “Illuminate me”, who was the stupid one now?’

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This piece won a competition to write a 200 word story prompted by one. That word was Illumination. For such a bright word my story is a tad dark.

I wrote several other different stories first but these attempts weren’t really happening. I was off-course, fumbling about in the dark. Eventually I had a lightbulb moment. Now I realise why the idea had taken so long to mature: it was an energy-efficient bulb and therefore took longer to achieve full brightness.

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If this post messed with your mind in a way you liked, you’ll enjoy Mind Clearance

The Joke That Bombed

1945 punchline

Moonlight cast a blue glow over the desolate quarry. The chain-link fence had been cut, dusty footprints formed a path leading into the disused mine, now a forgotten storage facility.

‘There it is!’ Jed and Sam’s phone lights rested on the unexploded bomb rumoured to be stored here.

Sam’s beam picked out the stencil writing on its side: “1945 Punchline.”

‘Punchline,’ said Jed, ‘also known as the “Joke Bomb”, developed by the Peaceniks to end WW2 in a nonviolent manner; through laughter. Made of rubber, the bomb was designed to burst on impact releasing a failsafe joke targeting both sides equally. Boom, war over: no one can fight when laughing that hard. And the clever bit is the addition of a memory-suppressant causing everyone to forget a Joke Bomb had even been dropped.’

‘Did it work?’

‘They never tried it… (??) What are you doing?’

Sam pushed the bomb over the edge of the mineshaft. After several seconds silence there came a distant fart noise.

Both boys sniggered. Then jumped as a whoosh of blue air erupted from the deep hole.

Sam guffawed, struggling to say: ‘What just happened?’

Jed rolled on the ground weeping with laughter, ‘Dunno, I can’t remember.’

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This story appeared in Mind Clearance

If it messed with your mind in a way you liked then why not buy a copy?