The Nature of Government


As the trees shed their leaves, the bankrupt government passed a bill demanding they pick them all up again.

With only the law of gravity as their defense, the trees lost their case and were all cut down to make way for a giant lorry park.

The government celebrated. You can tax motorists, not trees.


The Prodigal Story: The above was a 55-worder I submitted to a competition site earlier this year. It got a few nice comments but was in danger of getting lost in the ether. So, while there were still a few leaves left on the trees, I thought I’d bring it back home again.

If you need to laugh rather than cry, here’s another short (100 words)
published at the wonderful Café Lit. – Having A Rubbish Time

Caught up in the mellow drama

The other night I was watching a TV programme about murder in fiction; it was good except for one annoying aspect. The presenter talked about melodrama but insisted on pronouncing it “mellow drama”. As if the sinister was fine. Like: “Hey man, let’s do a murder.”

“Mellow drama”

It spoiled the effect really.

“Mellow drama” – stop saying it like that! The Victorian crime scene depicted on-screen suddenly lost all of its haunting black&white magic of bare brick streets bathed in expressionistic shadows – the swirling London smog more likely to be just a marijuana haze. In the dark back street, two costumed innocents stumbled across a body.

‘Dude, someone’s dead.’

‘They are? Far out.’

Who did the police suspect? Everyone. No, I’m not being paranoid. Crackers. I’ve just eaten a whole tub of humous. I need more. What were we talking about? Oh look, ants.

“Mellow drama,” Oh, man! This is crazy Victorian shit cut with a sixties vibe.

Who could have committed such a despicable crime? The police were in two minds which was a massive clue. They arrested Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde-the-drugs. Except he got off on a technicality as his defence successfully argued he was suffering from a spliff personality. Jekyll, or Hyde, whoever, should been hanged but instead they got stoned.

I rest my case. It’s tired.

So am I.

That’s definitely enough mellow drama for one day.


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

Having A Wild Time.

wild timeHere is a piece I entered for the
Writers Talkback Forum
‘One Word Challenge’:
a 200 word story inspired
by a one word prompt.

The word? Wild.

The result? I was judged to have won.

Talk about having your cake…


Having A Wild Time.

If there was ever a place not to lose it, it was here. The Savoy. Afternoon tea. Jane’s parents. First encounter.

Civilised conversation in faux tropical surroundings complete with aquarium; I wasn’t used to such finery, my upbringing primitive by comparison. I had to change my behaviour, above all remember not to swear.

“…apparently we taste like pork!” said her father.

“Shi…” I stuffed a whole crustless triangular sandwich in my mouth to prevent the final ‘t’ escaping, only to realise it was ham; I’d been vegetarian for years. My girlfriend’s expression said ‘don’t spit it out’, so I chewed. After a glistening top lip, sweat broke out on my forehead. My eyes widened. I snorted, stamped my feet. I banged the table.

“Ni! Ni! Ni!”

I leaped up, knocking a waiter over, sending a shower of tea and snowstorm of doilies across the room. A woman screamed. I couldn’t stop.

“Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!!”

I bounded across tables, trampling sponge cake, wrestling potted palms until I reached the fish tank and plunged my head in, mouth gaping – giant carp cowered under rocks.

Relieved, I dragged my sopping head out.

Everyone stared.

“F**k, that mustard goes right up your nose.”


Ever have a mustard moment?Better cover

This story appears in Better, a collection of 19 absurd & funny short stories.

If laughter is the best medicine: you should get Better.

Web-based Artist (another Drabble)

deck upI was getting fed up of working at my desk and looking out the window to see the dump of a garden we inherited with this house. So, I took some time off, got lucky with the weather, and took up the decking that covered almost the entire garden. Disappointingly I found only concrete and spiders underneath – no treasure, but at least no bodies either.

I’ve since recycled the deck boards, cutting them and making planters, a new deck and pergola.

I dodged one shower and one massive spider which inspired me to write a 100 word story. It has been published on the CaféLit site, here.

I must get rid of the shed.

the cube


Zest For Life

A beautiful family walk serenely towards a perfect horizon where a wonderful new day dawns. A soft disembodied voice fills the sky:

“Zest, everything you’ve ever wanted. Zest for life.”

A crumpled beer can hit the television screen.
‘Life’s not like that!’ said Davey opening another beer.
‘You mean our life’s not like that.’ Rosie hoovered noisily, nudging the spent tin under the worn sofa where it clanked, joining the others. ‘But if we got us some Zest…’
‘Ah, Zest Schmest!!’

We interrupt this story – “Zest for ever. Zest for life.” The calm voice says.

A bed-ridden elderly couple bathed in flickering blue TV light. Commercials washing over them. Their glassy eyes fixed.
‘Zest is supposed to give you another ten years,’ said Frank.
‘Of what?’ Doris asked.

Zest board room:
‘Projected profits are looking astronomically good,’ announced the suit in charge of the figures. ‘They’ve made a giant leap.’
Applause filled the room.
‘Research has proven Zest to be the best thing ever for mankind.’

MetroLab Research:
Professor Walters flicked through the analysis report.
‘Zest contains no special ingredient to enhance anything.’
‘It’s a placebo effect?’ whispered his assistant.
Walters nodded and dropped the hefty document in the shredder. It was wise to not bite the hand that feeds. Walters didn’t want to end up dead. Zest paid for the report. Zest owned MetroLab. Zest was all.

“Zest for life,” says the calm voice.

Davey dialled the order line, ‘I guess there’s no harm in trying some. Rosie, I’m going to gets us some Zest.’

This story was brought to you by Zest. Zest for happiness. Zest for life.

If you liked this story and want to read more I have another short one published in Issue 3 of StrippedLit500

A New Vision


‘Hello, New Age Opticians…’

‘Oh hi, I’m having trouble with the contact lens you supplied me this morning.’

‘I thought we’d sorted this out?’

‘It’s still not right.’

‘So what seems to be the problem now?’

‘It’s making my eye water. A lot.’

‘I see…’

‘No actually, it’s more of an ocean. In fact there’s a dolphin in my field of vision right now.’

‘Oh how lovely… I mean: that is serious. Is it in the left eye or the right?’


‘Oh, the third one.’

‘Yes, my mind’s eye.’

‘Then there’s nothing to worry about, Sir, you’re imagining it.’


Friday Fictioneers (FF) is a challenge open to writers all over the world: write a 100 word story using the week’s unique photo as inspiration. This week’s picture is supplied by Jean L. Hays.

More hows, whens and whats of FF can be found here at Rochelle’s site. (Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting.)

Read more FF stories here.

The Blur of Celebrity


‘Have you done a lot of these?’


‘This is my first, as a stand-alone out-of-focus person.’

‘It’s ‘background artiste’.’

‘Do you ever get recognised?’

‘No, I’m a professional.’

‘Oh. Easy job though, isn’t it? Just stand at the back and look fuzzy.’

‘Hardly! This isn’t crowd work, my dear.’

‘No, you’re right. I used to be in crowds but my agent said I was better than that.’

‘Pah! Agents.’

‘He promised me I was going to be one of those two walking down the passage.’

‘No chance!’

‘I’d love to go foreground.’

‘Wouldn’t we all, darling. Wouldn’t we all.’


Friday Fictioneers (FF) is a challenge open to writers all over the world: write a 100 word story using the week’s unique photo as inspiration. This week’s picture is supplied by Kent Bonham.

More hows, whens and whats of FF can be found here at Rochelle’s site. (Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting.)

More stories here

Message received


‘I see they’ve had a reshuffle at Mount Olympus.’

‘Have they?’

‘Yes, they’ve gone all modern. Embracing new technology.’

‘About time, so who’s gone where?’

‘Well, Zeus is still tops but remember that wood-nymph, Skype?’

‘In charge of the toadstools?’

‘That’s the one, she’s been promoted, part of visual communications now; but here’s the shock: Hermes is out.’


‘Well, no one wants a winged messenger these days, not when you’ve got Facebook and texting.’

‘Yes, I suppose not. So where’s he gone?’

‘They’ve put him in a call centre dealing with technical enquiries.’

‘Hermes? Computer hardware?’

‘No, Windows support.’


Friday Fictioneers (FF) is a challenge open to writers all over the world: write a 100 word story using the week’s unique photo as inspiration. This week’s picture is supplied by Al Forbes. (© Al Forbes)

More hows, whens and whats of FF can be found here at Rochelle’s site. (Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting.)

More FF stories here

Having to make cuts…

I’ve had this short story for a couple of weeks now and don’t know what to do with it. I was aiming for ultra-short fiction but at 36 words this piece seems a little bloated somewhere around the middle. However, owing to the nature of the subject matter, I’m a little hesitant to cut any more.

See what you think…


bloodbathA Close Shave:

His back twitched and he breathed hard onto the cold mirror, steaming his view. Blood dripped into the bath. He cursed.

The paramedics were dumbfounded
when they arrived:
‘What idiot tries to extract their own kidney?’


This is based on a true story I read in the ’90s.

If this post messed with your mind in a way you liked
but wished you’d have read it after breakfast because now you feel queasy,
then you need to get Better