Favourite 3 Writers:
12:20, 18 Jan 2018
Is Hour Of Writes Closing down does anyone Know?
Would be a shame
23:13, 24 May 2016
We moved early November 1983, the first signs of heavy frost settling hard against the fertile land. The wintry greyness merged well with our new surroundings; Yorkshire landscape, rugged and harsh. Unforgiving perhaps. But, the house itself, resting high above the tiny village, was the dreariest. It wasn't as if we wanted it. No. My late Uncle, Richard, left it to us, and with little choice, except to remain living out of an even dreariest bed sit, I decided that an extra20 mile trip to work ( longer ) was worth it if just to be rent free for my wife and little daughter, Emma.
I'd never met my Uncle, who'd lived his years out alone here, since his wife had gone missing back in the late sixties; someone he'd never got over according to my late father. She'd been a star of the silent era films going back to the early twenties, drawing love and attention until she dissapeared, thus drawing further popularity. Her beautiful features- fired auburn hair, silken white skin, mesmerising smiles attracted everyone. From little boys and toothless freckled girls to aging pensioners struggling to battle the winding, hilly roads without the aid of walking sticks, they all adored her. A glamorous heroine, that emerged from the depressed darkened days of the Great War.
' A beautiful, beautiful thing' my dad called her on many occasions.
'She had those eyes, unlike your mothers, but don't tell her that.' He'd say to me and then giggle, childishly over his brown ale. I was almost too young to admire on what he was on about, but old pictures of her from well-loved scenes of her silent screen days did capture my attention, raising a subdued dormant pubescence into flickers of attention.
20:16, 29 Apr 2016
A haze of intoxication from the night before
Same clothes, the pink and white striped shirt.
Worn with heady confidence, a smile of effort, of indifference.
The old platform stands alone, worn drum skins, singers gone
Pink and white shirt tails hang over hired stained pants
As he asks of the girl in the tight jeans with his useless giggle.
His tone shaky, unfortunate initiates simmered smiles
Amongst a spacious ungracious cigarette butt filled floor
But that night had rolled on
Their is another left in the tank, a quick sweep, empty bar.
No one can see, his thinking confirms.
Grand mother looks on, grandson looks on
In a shallow smugness he lights a bent Rothmans
Pulling on the sharpness, he watches the wide window
The vast vacant vision of grey consumes his freshened buzz
And echoes of previous nights foolishness abates
The buffet was good, he opens, the buffet was lovely.
Long fingers grabbing at defrosted shrimps
Sauce running off his chin
But the band played on that night.
But the girl looked good, under coloured shimmers
Really good, the real deal.
Un like the snot rolling emissions from the sad face
Once a glad face
A face demanding love, insisting success
A fool playing it
Formica topped stained, surfaces enhance coldness
As the people speak without tone.
Sunlight attempting to break through a consistent insistent cloud.
And the fool played on
21:53, 25 Mar 2016
I didn't question my love for coffee. An irreplaceable beverage I’d thought many times. Especially after quitting the booze- at one time, a drink that substituted nothing, I remembered, shuddering. Nowadays, coffee a better alternative, no more. Most afternoons I lazed around my favourite coffee haunt, a place for the thinker and reader; the walls filled with pictures of famed poets, writers, musicians, mostly in black and white. Monochrome images always beautified the nostalgia of these famous folk from bygone eras, I thought. Even Sylvia Plath, someone whose poetry I detested. And I disliked all poetry, but did attempt to read it now and again. My buddy, Jim, a construction worker, who’d often spill words with me over an Americano or two, adored poetry, he’d told me many times.
‘I’m not one for the poetic,’ I said to him, a father of three, and a lover of everything from Dr Seuss to Shakespeare's sonnets.
‘So you keep saying, Mel,’ I replied.
We were sitting in the corner of of one of the rooms of ‘Coffee Ass.’ Mr Albert the proprietor, preferred to use ‘Ass,’instead of ‘House,’ in the title of his business, as he’d told me a long time ago, that it was something personal to him. He had a fondness for pronouncing the name of his thriving café in harsh cockney. He said it tickled him. It tickled me, too. In fact it amused a lot of patrons, who’d ultimately be inspired to speak in a cockney accent when ordering their coffee. Eventually, this had become the norm for the regulars, and a great source of entertainment, especially new faces, who’d look on with baffled smiles, as cockney accents, especially during the late morning rush, would be flying left, right, and centre. ‘Coffee Ass,’ based in Liverpool, a location, causing a clash in dialects, made it an even greater feature for the humble customer.
‘So, Jim,’ I’d continued. ‘You’d really be lost without poetry, wouldn't you?’
‘Certainly would, pal,’ he responded, sipping the dregs from his cup.
‘What if you no longer were able to read poetry? What if for example, reading poetry became illegal?’ A charcoal drawing of the Bard looked down on us, the artist had included a cigarette which the world famous writer held daintily between thumb and forefinger. I could never decide if this was offensive, or simply, an endearing addition.
‘I’d be well pissed off, mate’ he returned, getting up.
‘Another coffee?’ he asked.
‘Colombian filter please, Jim’
While he was gone I looked at the waitress, Mandy, admiring her curves, cuddled by her tight yellow frock. I wondered if she was okay, as she was always so quiet. Unusually quiet, especially for someone whose work connected them to the general public. I struggled to recall a time recently that I’d had a conversation with her. It was likely she had burdens, I thought.
‘You okay today, Mandy?’ I asked as she cleared napkins, and a couple of empty glasses from our table.
‘Yeah, Mel, not too bad,’ she replied, a hint of a smile forming, creating lovely dimples in her cheeks. Then she was gone. I considered my wicked way with her, and I thought I could impress her by showing her the final draft of my novel. I smiled to himself, a brief wave of pleasure overcame me, then Jim returned with the coffees.
‘It's like cheese and crackers, isn’t it, Pal,’ he said after taking his seat, emptying paper sachets of demerara sugar in to his coffee.
‘What is,’ I asked, my eyes looking in the direction of Mandy, who was chatting to Mr Albert about something.
‘Poetry, and coffee, pal’ he replied. His broad Glaswegian accent, annoyed me, not something I’d tell him, of course. Jim was one of the folks who didn’t take part in the cockney speech game. I didn’t blame him. Even if he did, I doubt he’d make a good job of speaking in that dialect.
‘I suppose it is, well for you, perhaps.’
‘No perhaps about it,’ he said. ‘They go hand in hand, pal. Reading poetry or writing poetry. If I don't have a coffee to prop me up, then it just isn’t the same.’
‘I see,’ I said, taking a long slurp and savouring my favourite blend- sharp, bitter, slightly smoky.
‘I find this with writing stories, and reading them too,’ I said. ‘But I wouldn't consider it essential. I mean, I can easily drink tea, fruit juice, even water. Coffee for relaxing like right now, for instance, and to start the day, but that's about it.’
‘See that's where we differ, Mel.’ I was surprised to hear him use my name instead of using ‘pal.’
‘You have commercial success now, and are an accomplished writer. Me? I’m just this part timer, that fills in between work. But I simply got to have the fuckin’ coffee.’
‘I hear you,’ I said, more interested in looking at Mandy who was still chatting with Mr Albert. Their conversation appeared to have become heated.
‘It’s like bacon without the eggs, or a holiday in the Bahamas without any sun. It's that simple, pal. Sipping coffee and reading poetry, merge together like sand and sea. Writing it becomes less arduous when sipping a favourite blend- they mingle, and flirt together. There is a harmony I find irresistible with this beverage. They compliment one another, the taste of good verse does harmonise with that of good coffee. The struggles in writing satisfactory verse, are, for me improved with the injection of a steady flow of coffee.’
I was quite surprised at the seriousness of Jim’s theory. It made sense, to a certain extent; my own writing perked up, especially with the re write, if I was gorging on a big mug of brew. But, I couldn't help thinking, Jim was exaggerating. This irritated me, as much as his Scottish accent, and his insistence on referring to me as ‘Pal’. Sometimes I did consider that Jim was perhaps lying about things. Last week I’d seen his wife in here. She’d been sitting alone for some time. Eventually, a man joined her, and after a few minutes, I’d noticed that their body language and facial expressions suggested more than just a friendly chat. As Jim never has a bad word to say about her, I concluded that he was putting on some kind of façade. His appearance wasn’t as bright these days either; grey had formed around the sides, his cheeks hollowed, and something in his smile didn’t quite ring true. Jim was only 43.
‘Why do you keep looking at that girl,’ Jim suddenly asked, shifting the subject. My eyes had been glancing towards Mandy again, her conversation with Mr Albert persisting.
‘I think I have the hots for her, Jim.’ I replied, smiling.
‘Your old enough to be her father, Pal,’ he piped, lifting his mug to his mouth.
Can't help it, Jim,’ I said, still grinning. ‘Jim, women and men, regardless of colour, age or creed shouldn’t matter, should it? Isn’t it like poetry and coffee. You've made several comparisons about it yourself today.’
‘Absolutely, Pal. But there is strong coffee and weak coffee. There is bad coffee and good coffee. There is instant coffee, and freshly percolated coffee. Do you see what I’m getting at?’
‘Strong men and weak women mix, don't they, Jim,’ I responded, smirking.
‘Perhaps they do, but strong instant men, don't really, or shouldn't mix with good percolated women,’
I laughed, at this, and although I found some kind of acceptance in this ridiculous correlation, I thought Jim was going over the top. I spotted a new addition to the artwork on the walls. In fine scribe, it was a quote from Robert Burns. At the foot of this piece of prose was a drawing of a steaming cup of coffee which related appropriately to the accompanying words. I thought it was a bit too PC for the kind of café we were in.
‘What a load of bollocks,’ I said still laughing. ‘Hey, she may be old enough to be my father, but there is such a thing as old classic blend, and new improved, isn’t there?
‘Oh piss off, pal,’ he replied, forcing back a grin. It was good to see this. I wanted to address the circumstances with his wife, but decided to let it slide, and wait. Although we weren’t close, Jim and me, and as irritating a person he was at times, I didn’t like to see any man being cheated on.
‘Well, I’d better get back to the wife.’ Said Jim. He rose from his chair. As I took in the pictures covering the walls; Simon and Garfunkel, Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, Dylan Thomas, and Bob Dylan, amongst many others, I decided I’d hang about for a bit.
Perhaps I’lol try to have a look at some verse, get my head round it, I thought. I still had a little time on my hands, and after all I was getting a little concerned about the, what now seemed, an altercation between Mr Albert, and Mandy.
‘She wants to discuss divorce proceedings,’
‘You what?’ I said, turning back to him, hearing enough despite the distraction to know what he was on about.
‘She’s leaving me, Mel’ he said, putting his coat on. ‘The fucking bitch been cheating on me for two years. Gotta go, pal. See you later.’
Just like that my curiosity had been answered. He was on his way out before I had a chance to respond. Then, immediately, I became angry with myself; we were barely friends, so what right did I have to judge him for the way he spoke? Because that is what I’d been doing. Yes, the accent irritated me, but I was allowing myself to ascertain, even conclude on the level of his moral fibre based on his accent. Maybe he did adore his poetry with coffee? He certainly had adored his wife. What did I know? Not much, was what I concluded. I decided to leave, not to bother with concerns over Mandy and Mr Albert.
On my way home I picked up a copy of popular 20th century poetry. I decided to give it a bash. My wife made me some coffee to drink while I slowly paged through the paperback.
Later that evening she said that my final draft was brilliant, and we made love before sleep.
I didn’t feel I deserved the love of a good woman because of my thinking. I did enjoy the poetry though, and this surprised me. But, I didn’t like the coffee. My wife makes dreadful coffee, but I do love my wife. And lusting over young Mandy earlier on? Hey, men and women. Just like coffee and poetry, right?
21:54, 12 Feb 2016
Name Of Love
Ralph didn't think she loved him, really. Not in the true sense of the word anyway. He also knew he had to come clean. But, when she called him from New York to tell him she would be over next week, he started to believe it might be possible that she did.
‘ I’ll be on the Heathrow flight’, she’d said, her Manhattan twang shrill, intense through the hand set, thought Ralph.
‘So’ he’d replied. ‘You’re really coming then’. He’d just finished brushing his teeth when the phone had rang, and not quite got as far as the Listerine. A few specks of white froth had flown from his mouth as he'd spoke.
‘Of course I’m really coming, Ralph. What is that supposed to mean? Eh?
‘It's just that you said a lot of things in the past, and they never came off,’ said Ralph, feeling brave for being firm. Silence ensued. Ralph engaged the Listerine bottle, swigging from it, gargled, and spat in to the kitchen sink. Still, a silence.
‘You still their’ he asked, feeling like he had some semblance of an upper hand here, a modicum of an advantage, a stream of steadiness. Ralph also knew that he’d loved her dearly for almost five years now. Everything from the green eyes to the flowing locks, to the high cheekbones, to her steady addictive giggles. The whole caboodle.
‘You don't think I love you’, she said breaking the silence. ‘Do you, Ralph? You don't believe we have anything now, Is that so?’
It was Ralph’s turn to feel deflated, he thought. Jimmy Grimshaw, Ralph's best friend and fellow musician, had told him to be careful ‘ with this one’ he’d quoted. Something Ralph hadn't forgotten, despite this announcement almost three years ago. Ralph knew it was the danger element of their relationship that grabbed him, the excitement, the torrid aggressive love making, the meaningful, rich discussions always lasting in to the early hours. Ralph loved her too much, yet still wondered if this was reciprocal now.
‘I don't know,’ said Ralph.’ One minute you say you’re coming, the next you’re not. What am I supposed to think, Kalyn. Just what am I supposed to think?’
‘You know how much work I have to complete with the departments, and the heads of congress. You know that I can't just fucking drop everything like that. You choose to live in England and you know that I can't live over their with you right now.’
Another silence. Long. Kalyn was upset, thought Ralph. Moira Stewart was reading the ten o clock news he noticed, flickers of light from the television dancing around his dimly lit living room.
Jimmy Grimshaw had been married three times after finally throwing in the towel to it.
‘I’m done with that Ralph’ he’d told him, also three years before. Perhaps it's me, perhaps not, but I can't get to grips with them. I simply can't.’ This was something else Ralph had clearly remembered, and he’d considered his opinion, not for the first time, may well apply to him too.
The only problem was that he loved her, madly. He ought to consider her political commitments, he ought to remember her torrid past. Perhaps it was selfish of him not to. But, in the name of love, what was he to do. Jimmy couldn’t help him here. Ralph was on his own with this one.
‘Please come over then, Kalyn. We can talk for a week and try to sort this out’ he said in his quiet way, a tone he always managed to maintain. Ralph absently picked some nuts from the bowl on the table and popped them in his mouth. They tasted strange, he thought. A combination of Listerine, and cashew nuts, he decided, was nothing short of revolting. He quickly cushioned the headset against his ear and shoulder and poured a large MacAllan to douse the taste in his mouth. It worked.
‘I can't leave my Mum, Kalyn. You know she is dying up there in the home. When the time comes, I’ll be over, but now isn't it. Just come here, and we can talk for a week.’ Ralph took another generous sip from his drink and swept back his long hair. He thought that wearing it this length made him look younger, at least that's what Jimmy Grimshaw had said. Ralph didn’t think it did. Ralph thought, especially on days like these ones, he looked every day of his 55 years. The drugs and wildness from years back had taken its toll. The life of a successful musician had its pit falls, however, Ralph knew that it had been worth every minute. He enjoyed the life of writing songs now, and an occasional appearance filling in as a session musician. He earned enough, and besides, royalties still accumulated from the early days especially though out the Summer. The Macllan engaged his head, something he wasn't that familiar with these days. Booze, thankfully was something he could still take or leave. Many of his friends weren’t so lucky. But some, quite a number in fact enjoyed their lives without it.
‘Ten am Heathrow, the usual flight. Saturday’ she said. And Let's stay in London for the night, like we did a couple of years ago.
‘ I’ll book the Mayfair, like I did a couple of years ago,’ returned Ralph, feeling somewhat resigned to his thoughts, instead a decision of acceptance, something that he’d done many times before. Ralph could hear her laugh at the other end, a quiet laugh, audible enough to satisfy him. It was the kind of laughter that said all was okay with her, that pronounced, for the time being, things were acceptable.
I’ll bring the rabbit’ she said.
‘What’ said Ralph, surprised. ‘Rabbit?’
And she laughed again. Loud this time.
‘You know, the scented rabbit you gave me all those years ago. You’d sprayed your cologne over it.’
‘Oh yeah. My God, I remember that’
‘I never forgot that, Ralph. The day it arrived in the post. The whole mail box reeked of Ralph Lauren.’
Ralph thought of Jimmy Grimshaw again, and a time his comments had been thought provoking. He’d told him he had to surrender sometimes, if things were to be wonderful. He’d have to love her enough to want her every day of his life. Sacrifices came with a price, he’d said. But, those sacrifices had to be worth making for every second of their lives together. Highs and lows, he’d said many times. Jimmy was, indeed a friend. Although it’d been two years since he’d died - a victim of excesses, Jimmy’s advices spoke to him regularly, as if he was some kind of guardian angel.
As he listened to her giggles through the receiver, Ralph paid close attention to his dog, Lulu, an old white German Shepard, lying by the long radiator. The dog didn't move about much anymore, and Ralph knew the old girls days were numbered. It's colour, mostly greyish white now with balding patches here and there, were well earned age signs, that embraced her, epitomizing her enriched life, not a decayed one. To Ralph they were symbols of grace, of battles won, of love earned, and power respected. Lulu suddenly yawned, looked up at Ralph, emitted a shallow bark, then rested her head back on her feet, and closed her eyes.
‘I do love you Ralph’, said Kalyn, finally serious again. ‘How could I not’
‘I know you do’ he replied, turning away from Lulu, and knowing, within himself that he wasn’t sure. This thought, he considered was merely a testament to how he felt. Jimmy had told him many times that you got to love yourself, on all occasions. If you don't then you’re doomed. Yep, another thing Jimmy was right about. Ralph hadn’t always liked himself. And there was good reason to. He knew that. Of course Kalyn loved him, he supposed, but did he love himself? That was a question with multiple answers. Multiple choice if you will. Perhaps it was time to come clean he thought.
‘Do you really’ she asked.
‘Do I really what’, he asked, her question distracting his thoughts.
‘Know that I love you’ she said. He could hear her puffing on a cigarette, exhaling the smoke in long fast motions. He admired the way she smoked, powerful, aggressive, the way her nature sometimes was.
‘Of course I do’ he said, and finished off the whisky. He’d tried putting it behind him, believing it was something that shouldn’t affect him because it happened years ago. Before they’d even met. Another part of his life. But, it did. And this was, in some way, whether he liked it or not, fucking with his head. He looked at the town lights from the window. So much light, he thought. So many more buildings had been erected in the last three years. So much more to look at. Ralph didn't think it was a good thing. Everything moved so fast now, rushed, frenetic, ugly.
‘That's good then. Well, I’ll see you Saturday. Don't forget to book the restaurant too. It's going to be busy.
‘Yeah course I won't, love. Right must be off to bed. Rehearsals in the morning’
‘Sweet dreams and I love you’. Then she was gone.
A week later they were sitting in one of the restaurants at the Mayfair Hotel. Kalyn was armed with Harrods bags by her side. They sipped on Crystal, and toasted their six month gap. They ordered food, conversed with the Maitre D. They had a special dessert, on the house; Strawberries flambe with peach ice cream. They toasted again, and smiled engagingly as the restaurant slowly emptied of patrons. Later, they made passionate love, mostly throughout the night, in between more champagne and cigarettes. They even serenaded as the sun emerged gently over the London skyline.
I have got something to tell you’ said Ralph, later that morning. They were breakfasting on the terrace.
‘Have you now,’ she answered folding her arms, a small smile, possibly sarcastic emerged on her lips.
‘It happened a long time ago, and I hadn't considered it important’
‘I don't know, perhaps it is important after all, otherwise I wouldn’t want to be telling you’ Ralph found himself saying.
‘You took the words out of my mouth, Ralph’ Ralph paused
‘You may not like it’ he concluded.
‘I may not but tell me anyway’.
He drained the rest of the espresso, hoping it would alleviate his champagne head, evading his hope that Kalyn wasn't going to leave him.
‘Come on then’ she said, a smile still evident, her eyes digging in to him
‘I killed a man in cold blood, Kalyn’ he said.
Silence. Kalyn replaced her cup in the saucer, and dropped her head.
‘You what’, she said, her head remaining down.
‘You heard me, love. You heard me’
‘I just can't believe this’ she said. A waitress came over and cleared their plates, and quickly made herself scarce again noticing the tension between the couple.
‘I,m so sorry’ he said.
‘I just can't believe this,’ she repeated, and raised her head. She broke out in to a smile
‘What? Asked Ralph, amazed at her cheer. Then she began to laugh.
‘Are you alright’ said Ralph, her reaction concerning him enough to think that this may be too much for her altogether.
‘Yes I am’ she replied sweeping back her hair from her eyes.
‘You know what, Ralph’ she asked
‘What's that’ he asked, impatience engulfing him
‘So did I,’ she said. ‘So did I’ she repeated.
17:19, 6 Oct 2015
I never liked working with her, because I ended up doing her duties, the main one being vacuuming, She had the smidgeon of a face, small, mouse-like and she glided regally across the empty restaurant floor during the mornings after the guests had finished breakfast. I am not sure if she liked me, because if she did, I had the most absolute faith she was pretending to. False. Beautifully false with her sequined earrings and flowery frocks. Her English was perfect, evidently foreign of accent, yet a soft well spoken tongue that made me cringe. It made me cringe because it was too nice, too grandiose, even dramatic, but moreover because behind that glowing facade of hers lay something else. I don't know what. I do know that Frau Pesterer always had the upper hand, at least, that’s how I saw it.
20:01, 2 Oct 2015
Waves & Particles
She crouched, reaching into the surf, her tiny hands scooping up little portions of sand that escaped between her minute fingers. Mummy sat watching from some feet away, quoting Molly’s fun with laughter that distracted the seagull away from a stale pastry. Little Molly, tiny Molly, plopped down into the soft, wetness, and clear water flirted against her body in quick caresses while she scooped away at the golden brown texture, inspecting it for hidden treasure, or toys or sweets. The stretch of barren, peaceful beach travelled beyond sight; afternoon mist fogging the view, but enhancing the sense of isolation for coastal lovers- a kind of sanctuary of tranquillity. Little Molly knew no different, as did our seagull that waddled towards the coastline, pastry consumed except for several flakes stuck to its beak. Fifty yards, perhaps less was the gap between mummy and Molly, as the bird could attest if only it could speak! A wail of joy, and a scream that was consumed by the noisy surf and humid air. The Seagull, however, retreated two steps from this, but then knowing no danger advanced again, its size levelling to that of Molly's.
' Come on back Molly' Mum shouted, her laughter simmered and apprehension warming towards her daughter, surrounded by a pool of tropically warm water splashing patiently over her. But, distant surf, larger, beckoned and bubbled on a threshold within the darker waters.
'Here Molly,' her mummy shouted again. Molly scratched away at the sand, inspecting the particles; some fine glass pebbles, blue coral, minute bits of orange bone, likely to have belonged to a lobster or crayfish. The seagull stood right behind her, almost gigantic in proportion, pecking at the moist air, and stretching its wings.
The Cayman coastline, almost masked in mist now was almost eerie if not for the early moon, like a sun trying to burn through the late day, or the surf way out thrashing against rock. Mummy walked towards her little girl now just a head in the water, something she was unfamiliar with; her age denying any comprehension, her hands stubbornly grappling at particles through the waters density.
'Molly, Molly' screamed the mother as her trot accelerated, sand spewing up in puffs behind her bare feet. The seagull, pecked at her tiny blue tee shirt visible through the clear water. For a moment little Molly was oblivious to this as her determined efforts to find treasure pursued, and the growing breakers grew, the waves building closer to the shoreline. Still, the gull pecked, and mummy’s pace increased, her screams now barely audible in the dusky humidity and swelling surf. A paltry tug bobbed on the horizon its yellow light barely simmered across the fading day, flickering at the coast in scant servings.
' Jesus Christ' she shrieked,audible to no one but within ten yards of her, while Molly quickly began to realize things, one of them that she was inhaling water. The pecking gull continued, and flecks of blood emerged in small rivulets through the swell. Molly's hands slowed down, her head disappearing below the line.
Then the seagull was away as mummys approach alarmed and in one swoop fished her daughter from the defiant waves, watery redness dripping off the blue tea shirt.
' Gotcha,' she exclaimed in one long breath.
17:50, 10 Sep 2015
Back in the seventies, our college bar buzzed. It was also the focal point for discussions, and getting drunk. Lets face it most students fight, and drink a lot,
17:02, 28 Jul 2015
''Yes we can' he said, then pulled hard on a Marlboro, staring at her.
'No we can't, Mike, she replied, and waved at the fog of smoke that rushed at her face. Em wiped her eyes, the smoke igniting tears from moments ago, and her pinkness that flushed,was sympathetic to the way she felt.
' Come on, Em' said Mike. 'We've been through this before, over and over again.' He stamped out the cigarette in the full marble ash-tray, a butt spilling on to the table as if making way for the new arrival.
' I know we've been through this before'. she replied, taking a sip of tea. 'Too many times, but I just can't see how we can do it'. She walked over to the television and switched it off, the images of post terrorism in Paris adding to an existing, heated emotion.
'I have told you how we can do this, Em,' he shouted. ' You heard what my take on this is. Jesus Christ'. Mike rubbed at his grey stubble and looked around the room, noticing their son in the corner.
' Exactly, you see? Dont you?' She said, ignoring him and pointing at the baby. ' You are thinking the same as me, and don't say you're not.'
Mikes eyes shifted from the boy to Em, and for a moment he glared at her. Em re-coiled from this, something she'd done several times that afternoon.
' Ok, okay, Em.' he said moments later. 'You win.' He lit another Marlboro, again drawing deeply on it. ' I know Uncle Eustace cant take care of Tommy because he drinks too much. And, there is no one else who will look after him while we're away, because they're too, damn busy with their own lives, and we just dont know enough folk in this neighborhood.'
He poured a large scotch in to a crystal tumbler, and lifted the bottle towards Em in a silent offer. She declined, shaking her head. Mike knew they'd both badly needed a break for a very long time. Traffic outside buzzed along in its consistent, evening, rush-hour way, the smell of exhaust fumes almost detectable in their small kitchen.
'Well, if it wasnt for Uncle Eustace and his un quenchable thirst, then our problem would be solved.' she said. 'He cant even take care of himself, let alone a toddler barely out of nappies.
' No need to get like that' Em, he replied. He took a large sip from the glass.
'He isn't a bad man, you know. My Uncle raised me well enough to know stuff.'
'Two recent admissions to hospital on two bottles of Vodka a day suggest he is a sick man, she replied. 'Not a bad one, just a very sick one'. Said Em, calmly and matter of factly.
Mike looked at his watch, noticing the one on the wall had stopped. From this, he knew he still had a half hour before his evening shift began at the station. Then, Tommy began rocking in his high chair, and Em was aware that the on set of tears was imminent.
'Time for bed, for you,' she said conscious of this noisy cue, and picked him up,his thick head of hair smothering over her chest. Mike watched them leave the kitchen, and could hear her footsteps against bare wood as she rose the stairs. He'd been meaning to get around to fitting the new carpet for them for some time now. But, right now, Mike knew something that Em didn't, and didn't think he could continue hiding it for much longer.
'Is he sleeping?' asked Mike as she entered the kitchen.
'Like he should be' she replied, morosely.
'Like a baby!' said Mike, and let out a smile to this little joke they'd often share after she'd set Tommy to bed each evening. But, Em wasn't smiling this evening, and Mikes grin didn't even influence her. She had been wanting this break away together for a long time, as well as her husband. Efforts, she'd thought now utterly futile. Mike watched her load the dish-washer, her jeans, he noticed, how snugly they still fitted her shapely figure after ten married years. He carried the rest of the crockery over to the sink, and then put his arm around her.
'Come and sit down, love' he whispered quietly in her ear.
'Got to get this done, just leave me be for now,' she replied.
' Got to go to work shortly. Come on. Dont want to go off with us having had a row.' Em could smell warm whisky breath on him, and this enticed her to pour a small one in to a plain tumbler, the last clean drinking vessel left in the place. She sat at the the rickety, but clean table, and Mike joined her.
' We can go, you know.' he said.
'Mike, please dont start again. I thought we were going to have a little chat, not another bout of this.' she replied, burying her hands in her face.'We cant go' she concluded, her speech sounding muffled through her hidden appearance, and long hair that had fallen in to it.
'Yes we can' he anwsered.
She removed, her hands exposing tearful eyes and an expression of amazement.
' Why dont you just go to work, love,' she said finally, knowing now she was already upset enough with all this to become further enraged at her apparently sensless husband.. ' And whats that?' she asked noticing the white envelope he'd removed from his pocket,and placed on the table.
'Oh yes we can,' said Mike, ignoring her question, instead developing a barely noticeable grin.
'What you been up to Mister?' she asked, aware of his sudden change in temperament. She drank from the tumbler, then folded her arms.
' I visited Uncle Eustace this afternoon, between shifts, Love.' he said, and lit up a cigarette.
' How is he doing?' she asked curiously, moreso for Mike's change in mood.
'He is okay,' he anwsered. 'A nurse visits him every other day now to check over him, and make sure he is taking the medication. He was up and about which was good to see. He gave me this.' Mike picked up the envelope.
'Whats in their?' she asked, taking another sip.
' Uncle Eustace took me to one side' Mike said, ignoring Ems question. 'He took me to one side and handed this envelope to me' Mike slid it across the table to Em. 'He said we both needed a holiday, and thanked us for all the help we'd given him recently. He said I looked tired. Cheeky sod, I thought, and asked him if he'd looked in the mirror recently. That made him laugh, it really did, Em. It made me laugh too. Just to see him, his old self back, or some part of it, at least. But hey, I was even happier to find out what was in the envelope.'
As Mike spoke, Em was opening it.
' Oh yes we can, Em. Yes we can.' he said, a larger smirk widening on his face now.
'There's over £500 here, Mike'she said,oblivious to his ranting.
' I know' he said. 'Uncle Eustace said if it wasn't enough to let him know, but....
' Hey you,' Em shouted, interupting. ' Why then have we been arguing just then, when you knew about this already?'
' We have more than enough to pay Toddler Carers for Tommy, so I may give some back to uncle.'he said, ignoring her again but, however, smiling in full awareness of her reaction. He stubbed his cigarette out, this time in a clean marble ash-tray.
' You bastard' she said.
'Holiday is paid for too, Love.'
'When?' she asked. 'When was it paid for?'
'This afternoon, just after I came from Uncles.' he said.
' I cant believe this. Why didnt you tell me' she shouted, getting up from the table while reaching for a hand towel.
' No time, Em. It was all a rush. Had to chat with Lorna at Toddler Carers to arrange to drop Tommy off on Saturday.
'And all that palaver earlier. You knew...
Shhhh' he said,interupting. He got up to meet her and placed a finger horizontally against her lips, smiling.
'Dont shush me Mister' she said backing away, and then suddenely she swiped his backside with the towel. Mike moved away putting his arms up to prevent the blows she tried to apply to him.
' We're leaving Sunday Morning, love' he said trying to get away from her swipes.
'Really? she asked,somewhat out of breath
'Really, Em. Two PM British Airways, non-stop to Bermuda.'
Silence pervaded. Between them both.
' And now, is this the part I'm supposed to say I love you?' she asked, breaking the peace,and putting the tea towel down.
'If you want' he replied, moving towards her. But his sarcasm went unnoticed, and Em shed tears of a different kind,a joy emerging on her face,one that Mike hadn't seen for a very long time.
'Yes we can, my love.'
'Yes we can' she whispered, smiling. ' And yes, you can?
'Yes I can what? Mike asked puzzled.
'Take the night off work' she returned, a smile broadening.
'No, Em, I cant do that.'
'Oh yes you can,' she replied, lifting the tea towel again.'You are going to help me pack, young man. Em started applying blows to his backside once more. Then, she lifted a finger to his lips,horizontally.
' Pack, and more,' she whispered.
Then she giggled, and they kissed in the way only loved ones can.
23:04, 9 Mar 2015
Jake thought it was a matter of heritage. As simple as that.
Alan had been looking at him for sometime, and somewhat concened of his driends expression.
'Whats up Jake' he asked whilst picking up a piece of Neapolitana Pizza from his plate. The restaurant was crowded out for St Georges day, although, quite evidently, St george had nothing to do with this. Francis, their Irish pal sipped at a lager and also observed Jake questioningly
'Nothing really, Matt' he replied. 'It just seems that we dont have much to celebrate any more, and it kinda pisses me off'
'No need to get all sad Jake' said Francis, through a mouthfull of spaghetti, and overtones of irish drawl. 'Lets face it, you lot pissed everyone off'. And he laughed, bits of pasta shooting from his mouth, a couple of strands dribbling down his chin. Jake didn't look too amused by this comment
'Hey, Francis thats a bit harsh innit? said Matt on noticing Jakes reaction. But Francis ignored this, instead was, looking at an attractive backside that belonged to a tall woman.'
'Yeah I know what you mean' said Jake across the table. The noisy retaurant didn't help with his soft voice. 'But that doesnt mean we dont have the right to celebrate our heritage' Matt signalled across to Jake to quit the on set of an argument. He knew Jake was a bit touchy and that Francis could be a bit cocky, especially after a few drinks.
Jake agreed with a small smirk as the waitress walked by which dustracted Francis' attention from one backside to another. The bits of spaghetti were beginning to dry onto parts of his face.