My current library . . .

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Below is a small selection of the books I have read in May. I do realise that most of these books should be read a lot sooner, but in my defence I am just starting my literary journey and I hope you agree that I am taking the correct travelling buddies with me. I will add others next month.


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am a huge believer in the new world transparency movement. Julian Assange – WikiLeaks, despite current media manipulation, is a fantastic ambassador for this cause. Here is his recent talk at the TED. Fascinating:

What are your thoughts on the new transparency movement?

Time of death?

May 23, 2011 § 8 Comments

12pm, 4th April 2011: Memphis PD. Offices: 201 Poplar Avenue.

You wouldn’t think to look at her, but Angela was a drifter. A hardened, highly conditioned drifter with streets-smarts. There wasn’t much you could get past her but she wasn’t well educated and she could hardly read.

Angela had been moving from town to town since she was a little girl, in fact she was 10 years old when she ran away from home. Apparently, it was after a disagreement with her . . er . . stepfather . . . or something or other . . . anyway . . . she packed a small ruck-sack and hadn’t been seen since, by her family.

Angela had lived in over 50 different towns across all states, from  Nevada to D.C. She seemed to be enjoying the lifestyle and the people she had met along the way. She was on her way back home when it happened.

It was the 4th April 1968 – I believe. It just happened to be Angela’s 16th birthday. She had travelled from Jackson, down highway 40 towards Memphis, accompanied by a man by the name of Martin King. Who was a travelling preacher of some kind. He had no previous, so we had no reason to detain him, for any length of time.

They travelled for a day or two ’till they arrived in Memphis. He mentioned that she had asked where a motel was, just somewhere she could stay for a night. He told her there was a lovely motel called the Lorraine Motel on Mulberry Street. He was going to stay there until Angela had mentioned the local flood warnings he decided to continue to the next town.

King dropped Angela off at the motel, he wished her well and went on his way. We caught up with him two days later in Madison. He was extremely cooperative when questioned. He did mention one thing which the other officers felt was a little odd. Apparently, she had a clock in her hands and didn’t put it down – at all. His description of the alarm clock was even odder – it constantly showed the wrong time, it beeped at 6.01pm on both days, had a large orange and green lettering on the top, which read – “Time to Die”.

King had asked her whether she knew what it read and she told him that she thought it said, “Time Today”, cos that’s what her stepfather had told her. He mentioned to her that it was an unorthodox alarm clock and she replied with, ‘it was the only thing her stepfather had given her. It showed the time and date of the last time she had seen him’. He also mentioned that Angela started to cry, so asked her if she wanted a paper towel. She quizzingly replied with, “paper towns?, that made him laugh out loud, which made her laugh. He said she was fine for a time afterwards. It’s all in the report, you can read it yourself – honestly, I don’t know why you are asking me again.

Mr King had asked about her reasons for leaving, all he could say was, something along the lines of – ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time and she had to get away from that bastard . . ‘. He was shocked at her outburst, she looked so sweet and innocent, not the type to cuss.

All I can tell you is; She entered room 306 at 5:45pm, it was in the left hand corner, on the top floor of the motel, at 6.01pm shots were heard coming from her room and she was found dead soon after. Witnesses have stated that there had been a visitor to her room 5 minutes after she had arrived but he was never identified, there wasn’t any evidence, but you know that.

I’m sorry – I have said enough, we must conclude. ”

“Mr Ray, is it?. I didn’t know that actually – thank you, interesting. More importantly, how is it that you know all of this? If Angela hadn’t been seen since she ran away from home, how could you have known where she had been and what she had done? It just doesn’t add up.” questioned Gez. Gerry Posner was a reporter from the Memphis Flyer. He was currently writing a novel on the mysterious death of Angela Davis.

“I never said I’d spoken to her.” replied Commissioner James Ray – the officer in charge of the investigation at the time.

Sharply, Ray stood from his chair, leant forward to where Posner was sitting and pointed towards to the door. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE!”

“But, you said she wasn’t . . . . educated, how did you know?. . . you said —”

“THANK YOU, whatever-your-name-is . . . “. Ray rudely interrupted. “That’s all the time I have.”

“It’s not all the time you gave Angela is it Commissioner Ray? You’re her . . . . . . . ”

This piece was inspired by the remaining prompts on the bekindrewrite site from their InMon XII page. I have just started writing. I am using my blog to experiment and find my natural style, so this won’t be the best story you have ever read. This is the first time I have written in this way and have found it an interesting challenge. I would love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

An eternal, comforting embrace

May 21, 2011 § 7 Comments

There was a girl, one of five that summer, alone. There had been so many before her, too many in my wavering opinion. It wasn’t my fault, location added to my appeal. I was in the centre of beautiful woodland, picturesque surroundings and it was remote. If we needed privacy, we would certainly get it here. However, she was definitely the prettiest of them all – I declare. I will never forget her beauty or how her lustrous skin felt as we touched for the first time.

On this particular summer’s morning, she stopped for longer than usual. She stood, silently staring across the unbroken, tranquil surface of the manor’s deepest lake, where I lay.

The morning sun shone across her troubled brow. For a solitary moment, I felt a deeply, undisturbed hope, things would be different this time. Her long blonde hair, flowing, shimmering gold in the dawning sun and refracting only the happiest of moments from within. The summer dress she wore complimenting her eternal beauty. Her gazed expression was not of sorrow but emptiness, of tiring lonely emptiness.

She had lost unconditional connection with other souls, left hollow by the passing of her loving parents. Unable to reconstruct the fragments of her fractured existence, she was lost in an eternal longing for untroubled times and a second of serenity. I knew, in empathy, as I had done so many times before her, I could guide her and help her through these troubled and tormented times.

Suddenly, the once calm breeze of the summer morning was broken by a tempest wind. The tree tops playfulness and the settled foliage of the forest floor shattered by gusts of deviant air. The chaos of her summer dress broke this once tranquil scene, exacerbating the confusion of her mind. The beautiful girls angelic expression echoed the troubles of her turbulent life.

As I rushed towards her, for a seemingly endless moment, quiescent she stood, defiant in her desires for resolution. Then, in a butterfly’s heartbeat, she stepped forward releasing and spreading her troubled hands like the wings of an angel. Taking a lasting breath, she left the security of the broken bridge and the shattered pieces of her broken life.

There was a moment. An irreplaceable moment, where all hope was lost, where the peace of what she longed for, disappeared, forever. A moment where the last breathe of a beautiful girl signalled the inevitable akin of two entities. A soul, lost in purposefulness and a body, desirous to guide her to the depths of everlasting peace.

As she crashed through my surface, our bodies met, and our existences collided, the silence of her breath was broken with the deafening sounds of my despair. I could do no more. I was helpless to comfort her in whatever she had known. All I can do is smother her and encapsulate her in my compassion, my empathy and my flowing love.

For, what seems an eternity, her heartbeat slows to the rhythm of my ebb. We hold each other, we gaze, we dance, we kiss and we comfort one another. I look deep into my beautiful angels eyes, they reflect and refract the piercing rays of sunshine from my surface for the last time.

The final rays of hope and light are diminishing as we fall deeper into each other and inevitably become one.

Before her soul departs, her life is lost in my tenebrous abyss and she fails to hear my timeless song I whisper to her departing soul, the words I often spoke, comforting her last breath. Words she longed to hear in her mortal form, ‘My fallen angel, your sufferance will be lost with me, forever, in my eternal comforting embrace’.

Evils of camping . . . . .

May 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

The 3pm drive into the village was an hair-raising one to say the least, from the tight and even tighter 90 degree turns of the roads to the seemingly aimless sheep who, through some unfathomable sense of divine navigation, had decided to adorn the middle of the bending meandering B roads like fallen, unkempt clouds.

With a few more turns, twists and titchy tiny hump backed bridges came the entrance to the campsite, or rather the gates to a darker, less favourable, outdoor living experience.

The surroundings looked excellent, the canal – with its boats, yachts and barges – looked idyllic. Was this the holy grail of campsites? Had we found the Shangri-La of camping? And on my birthday too, this was the beginning of a successful year of travelling heaven . . . or so I thought, would all my hopes, wishes and dreams be dashed? I was only 300m from knowing the horrible truth.

The smell . . . it was the eternal odour of decay, death and disease. The burning smells, the animal smells, the smouldering flesh from the barbeque smells, the stench was rank, it was all wrong, it was all right-now.

Greeted by a dog, at least it appeared to be a dog. On closer inspection, it only had 3 legs, its left ear was missing and one good eye.  It was and still is a dog of whose description escapes me – I am still shocked. It looked like its last meal would have been remains of Lucifer’s last supper. It hobbled around trying to follow our wallowing van into the second gates. The gates that signalled the last chance to get the hell out of there and to get out of they’re alive. Not that anyone would ever survive getting out of somewhere not alive or dead.

The last few gear changes, the last few rotations of the wheels and turns of the steering wheel, revealed the gate master, the keeper of the camp-yards deepest and darkest secrets. She, the one who covets the gold and silver the weary travellers wish to part with for a piece of camping nirvana.

“Herrrlllo” was the greeting from the withered lips below the crooked nose on her tarnished face.

She couldn’t have been taller than 4 feet tall, slightly built with long brown scruffy hair.  She didn’t have anything on here feet apart from dog mess and chicken droppings. Not the type of shoes you could find on the shelves of Barratts Shoes, wearing a brown cardigan that looked like it had been made from the pelt of the campsites previous dog – it smelled like it too. I couldn’t follow directly behind her; I had to follow just to the left with my head in the air to get a fresh breath to stop the stink building up on the inner walls of my nose.

“Thiiiissss waaaay”, she crowed

“Am I ok to leave my van here?” I nervously answered

“It’s aaalllll gooooood” was her response, then she turned and walked away.

With a building sense of dread, regret and tense nervousness I couldn’t shake – I left the security of the van and made my way to the doorway of the wooden shack from which all transactions were executed, for want of a better expression.

Time seemed to expand, things outside looked to me as if they were being distorted, was this nerves? Was it some strange bend in evil time I was experiencing? Oh I wanted to be in my van again. Oh I wanted to be at another campsite. But I was here, I was going to survive, it wasn’t in my ever-crumbling nature to give in, to relent.

“How much do I owe you?”, there was no turning back now, I had created the first bond with the demon, was she a demon? Or was she simply an innocent old lady trying to make a living and provide expectant travellers a warming place to stay in the wilderness? I don’t think so. She-shaman-demon-hose-beast would be more fitting.

There was a cat, glaring, smelly striped feline of evil. I went to stroke it, it let out a screech, a noise so disturbing it could be used to signal the start to the end of all time. Maybe it was, maybe this was the last time I would be camping, living outdoors, experiencing any camper recreational bliss. I would soon find out.

She-demon appeared from nowhere, “Fifteeeeen poouuunds!” she barked. I nearly jumped out of my, already crawling, undulating skin. While I was outlining my spiritual demise, she had summonsed the toll for my stay from the devils dowry.

I handed her a crisp twenty-pound note, which I have acquired from the ATM in the previous village. Her eyes gazed upon it like it was some kind of extraterrestrial monetary offering.

“Fiiiiive pooouuunds chaaaaange!” she had done her maths, she was from this planet, thank god– or was it a rouse? So many questions. I hardly had room in my brain for the sense I would need to survive this leg of my journey.

I removed the five pounds change from her unwashed, wizened old hand quicker than a hare going round a dog track, she didn’t even see my hand move. I just wanted to get away from her before she turned me into a large, wet slimy toad. I didn’t even want to hang around long enough to check if the note was from this century or a darker time where paying the ferryman was as regular as the plague.

With a final screech and scrawk from the cat and a final exhale of my own clean breath I left the cabin.

“Theeere iiis yoooour pllllot” was the final banshee moan from the old woman as she pointed to a spidery-branched bush with an crushed orange traffic cone behind it. Why I heard “weeellllcommme to Saaallloms lllllot”, I do not know. Maybe it was the sounds that resembled the devils garden all around me, maybe it was the stares from all of the farm yard and domestic animals everywhere I turned, whichever it was it was nurturing the dark thoughts whirring around my head and they weren’t subsiding.

“Are you happy with your site?”, before I’d reversed the van into the bumpy, potholed pitch, a voice from half-a-toyota-rav-four hollered.

With a puzzled look on my face, “er . . . . its fine thanks, is this all yours” I replied, looking around and pointing at the grounds, animals, strange woman in the cabin and with nervous anticipation of any sort of recognisable response.

“Yup, unfortunately!” looking as if he’s been landed with sorting out the national debt in an hour, “It’s all mine” Then he drove off towards the cluster of caravans and campers that adorned the entrance when I arrived.

Without hesitation I climbed back in my van, turned the key and put it into gear. There was no measurable time between me getting the van going to actually being on the pitch with the electric hook-up plugged in and the doors of the van locked and me safe inside. I felt like a 12 year old after watching Jaws for the first time, I felt stupid. All this was in my head but yet the fear was still there, but still felt I should be hiding behind a sofa somewhere, not here facing this horror.

“Bugger!” I needed a pee.  Why now? What a time to need a pee. Should I play it safe and use a pot-noodle container instead? It was a king-sized pot-noodle container, it would definitely hold but I would still have to discard it. “Damn! – I need to go for a wee!”

I played the whole journey, to the shower block, over in my mind.

Get out of the front door, drivers door. Lock it with the key that has “FB”on it. Be sure to have it ready. Have the shower block key in the other hand. Quickly open the van door, lock it behind me. Walk briskly to the shower block, making sure not to walk in an animal remains or droppings, get into the shower room, got to the loo, wash hands. Head down another brisk walk on the opposite direction to the van, get in, lock the door . . . . . safe and bloody well sound.

What actually happened was; I fell out of the van, dropped the keys, walked into a pile of dog poo and tripped over the steps to the shower block. I couldn’t find the right shower room, no loo roll when I finally did, no soap, barely any water. Slightly stressed, I walked back to the van after a very satisfying pee – washed the dog poo from my shoes, got back in the van, crawled into my sleeping bag . . . .safe and bloody well sound . . . . until night time.

It’s 8pm before I actually settle and stop peering out of the window to see if someone’s tampering with the van, the bikes or my sanity. The strange looking cluster of well-embedded caravans that welcomed me when I arrived are still active with the joys, merriment and ruckus of a teen party gone wrong, when will it end? The dogs are barking. Are they the beasts that call the demons to their nightly endeavours?

It is now 11pm, the ducks are still squawking, the dogs are the still barking, the demons are still screaming and I am sitting in horrid anticipation of a night of debauchery and din and, honestly, I am shitting myself.

Will I survive till morning? If this is my last line of text and I haven’t written anything else . . . . . then no, I was right and this was the hell site of all campsites, get my body out of here.

I wrote this while sitting in my campervan on my birthday this year. It was an interesting time, to say the least.It is only a draft – a germ of an idea. Let me know what you think of my writing. I will use your comments to improve. Thank you in advance.

The tears of a clown . . . .

May 19, 2011 § 9 Comments

Bingo was the happiest clown in the circus. He was naturally jolly and always had a smile on his face.

The doors of Bingo’s caravan were thrown open. Flashes of bright white light were being directed into his eyes. Multiple voices were ringing in his ears. ‘BINGO THE CLOWN, GET UP, GET OUTTA BED. YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR MURDER’.

‘Wha, what! what’s going on? what!’. Bingo couldn’t believe what was happening. Only seconds before he had been dreaming of dancing in the woods with all of his circus friends as the morning sun shone it’s beautiful rays of fresh daylight through the tree tops onto their playful activities.

Bingo quickly got into his usual clothes – massive green clown shoes, extra large blue trousers, extra stretchy yellow bracers, giant red polka-dot rotating bow-tie, his pink bowler hat with the yellow carnation in its white brim ribbon and he stepped outside to face the familiar crowd that had congregated around the crime scene. All of his friends were there and not a single one of them had a friendly look on their face. They all looked really really sad.

It wasn’t Bingo’s fault that Hanno the elephant had escaped and stampeded his way through the village, killing three children, one chicken, three goats and six horses. He had fed him, as he’d always done, after the show. He had checked his chains and they were as tight as he had made them every day for 45 years. He couldn’t work out what had gone wrong. He went through every step in his mind as the guards marched him off towards the prison van. ‘Wash, chain, feed, stroke and check again. Wash, chain, feed, stroke . . . . I have done everything. I have, I know I have.’ His thoughts weighing heavy on his sorrowful mind.

As he raised his left leg, with the long floppy green shoes at the end, to stand on the first step into the doorway of the van he paused, turned back to look over at Hanno’s cage. ‘I’m so sorry, I really am. I just don’t . . . . . ‘.

One of the guards squeezed Bingo’s arm and pushed him through the van doorway. He caught his shoe on the top step and the second guard slammed the door behind him then turned the key in the lock, trapping his shoe under the door. Bingo’s cheerfully painted face could be seen through the bars. ‘I’m so sorry’, he mouthed as he waved to the crowd that were standing outside of Bumblies big top. Marvin the bearded woman, Kelvin the tallest man in the world, Harvey the dwarf, Bobbins the sad clown, Precious and Jemima the trapeze artists, Ursus the dancing bear, Marcy the fattest lady in the world, the twenty-two ducks, the twelve shire horses, Chaplin the Lion tamer, Leo and Leona the two Lions, Lennon the fire eater – all waved back at him. ‘Goodbye Bingo’, were the silent mouthed replies.

Suddenly the van screeched to a halt and Bingo was thrown towards the front of the van, his face slamming against the bars behind the drivers seat. The shoe which had been trapped under the door was ripped from his foot. As the overwhelming shock of the evenings events started to take it’s toll, he began to sob. This was the worst day of his life, how could it possibly get any worse.

‘Come on Bingo, you’re coming with me’. Said the clumsy guard, who had trapped his foot in the van door. The guard placed two heavy chains around Bingo’s wrists. ‘Now that’s how you chain a dumb animal up, Bingo the clown’. The guard sneered, then dragged Bingo out from the van on to his feet, one of which was missing a very large green clown shoe. ‘Not that you are going to need it where you are going, but can you pick up your shoe and fetch it with you?’. The other guard took hold of the heavy chains and lead Bingo, hopping, through the imposing doors of the jail to the courtyard. Six other guards were milling around, across from where he was to stand. Each had a prison issue rifle at their feet .

Simultaneously the guards picked up their rifles and turned to face Bingo. Suddenly, every single one of them started laughing. Laughing so much that most of them dropped their weapons to the floor.

‘Come on you shameful rabble, sort yourselves out – quit clowning around!’, was the cry from the prison warden, which only made the situation worse. The firing squad couldn’t face him. Every time their guns were raised, Bingo cried. His tears washing away the makeup below his cheerfully painted eyes. The guards fell around laughing – they couldn’t help it – they had to hold their stomachs and wipe tears from their faces because they were laughing so much. This was the first time Bingo hadn’t enjoyed people laughing at him. He was getting sadder and sadder.

It took 3 over hours for the firing squad to regain composure and calm down. By which time, it was discovered that Hanno had simply broken his chains and gone into the woods to play in the moonlight, where he was found. A local lad had reported that; it was one of the tigers from the village which had killed the unfortunate children and animals. She had, apparently, broken free from her cage and gone on a rampage after the owner had left her without any food.

The clumsy guard freed Bingo from his burdening chains. ‘This has been the saddest day of my life.’ He snapped. Bingo wasn’t very happy. He wasn’t the happiest clown at the circus, he wasn’t naturally jolly and for the first time, he didn’t have a smile on his face. It was a very sad day indeed.

This piece was inspired by a prompt on the bekindrewrite site from their InMon XII page. I have just started writing. I am using my blog to experiment and find my natural style, so this won’t be the best story you have ever read. This is the first time I have written in this way and have found it an interesting challenge. I would love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

Another trip to the coffee shop . . . .

May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have done it. I have sat near a teen mom with her baby on her lap. My arse has hardly touched the seat and I’m already regretting my table choice. I can smell baby puke. The cries of goo-ga-goo-ga are spoiling the ambience and disturbing my inner peace. I want to scream back in it’s face. Shut up you are in public you little oik! Adjust your volume and change your attitude or I’ll steal your dummy.

After ordering her usual small black coffee, Margaret sat alone at her usual table in the coffee shop for the first time in her life. It had taken her two years to find the courage to come alone. It had been that long since her husband Ralph had passed away. The memories of thousands of happy conversations, of soft tender touches and of deep loving gazes into each others eyes across the table were still heavily prominent in her mind. A single large tear rose from the corner of her right eye, it was a tear of both joy and sorrow. Ralph had been a loving husband, a wonderful father and a caring grandfather. He is missed by all, but mostly by Margaret, his loving wife of 60 years.

How can life become so broken? I have dropped the glass bowl which contained the fragile fragments of my fractured existence.

A young boy called Hanson, I know that’s his name because his mum keeps shouting at him to behave, has just arrived with his mum and sister. It could also be mum and grandma – you can never tell tell these days, parents are getting younger and younger. A man in a black baseball cap and a black megadeath tshirt, he doesn’t look the type to be a fan of the band, is sat with a young woman on the comfy sofas. He is pouring the liquid from the tea pot for her, while she sits in her grey granny cardigan and multicoloured old granny specks like the ones Dame Edna Everage would have worn. It seems strange attire for a young woman. Another young woman is sat in the furthest corner surrounded by food and she has a large bag on the chair at her side with the slogan “Team Jacob” emblazoned on the front in large gold and red letters, obviously she is advertising her allegiance to Jacob over Edward of twilight fame. She is stuffing her face with crisps and cake. She doesn’t look any older than 20 but has the appearance of a 20 stone woman, I can’t help but wonder why.

Most of the coffee shop occupants are reading. Some are reading newspapers supplied by the establishment. Some are reading books they may have purchased from the book store which is attached to the coffee shop. One woman, sat to my left, has tears in her eyes. I can see bold letters printed on the front of the document she is reading – “Last will and testament of ….. “, I can’t quite make out the name. Everything in me wants to go over to make sure she’s ok, but I can’t …….

Thomas was sat quietly in the cafe trying to read his book but the babies screams from over his left shoulder pierced every ounce of his concentration. He couldn’t work out how or why a couple, who had a combined age of 100, could ring a baby into a quiet peaceful, reflective place like a bookstore cafe to eat his dinner.

“You have certainly disturbed the peace”, the woman chelped.

“ooh, open wide, arrrrrr …..” added her incompetent partner. Who was trying his hardest, without much success, to get the freshly-made baby food into the little screamers mouth.

After another anger filled sip of coffee, Thomas placed his mug down on the receipts on the tray as the saucer had filled with coffee and every sip from the porcelain cup produced several drips that found their way onto the pristine pages of one of his favourite books, only exacerbating the situation.

People watching is one of Thomas’s favourite pastimes but people hearing is not. He detests sounds which disturb his inner tranquility. Bolders breaking the surface of a summers lake.

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