Arse from His Elbow

Most Flexible Woman Meet Zlata 10

(550 words)

“Promenaders, they get on my friggin’ nerves! Pull over, Jacko.”
The sleek black police car pulled up, just ahead of a man, tall, leaning forward as he walked, as if forward motion was the only thing preventing him from toppling over. He had a distinguished face, probably handsome when young, thinning grey hair, silver steel-rimmed glasses, and a long nose. He looked up with surprise.
Joshua got out of the police car. “Hi, Buddy, what are you doin’?”
“Who, me? Just walking.”
“Why? Don’t you know what’s on tonight? The final of The World’s Got Talent!”
The man’s face looked blank. “I don’t watch TV.”
“Don’t watch TV, you cannot be serious! Come on, man, everyone’s glued to the screen right now!”
“Well, not me. I just wanted some … fresh air, exercise, you know.”
“Actually, I don’t know, buddy. Think about Little Thelma, right now probably singing her heart out with The Nation’s Favourite Song. And you say you don’t wanna watch her!”
“Who’s Little Thelma?”
What?!” Joshua looked shell-shocked. “What?! You don’t know Little Thelma? You must do, buddy! C’mon, you’re kiddin’ me!”
The man remained silent.
“Hey, Jacko, c’mon out here. We’ve got us a live one!”
Jacko got out of the car and the two black-clothed cops stood up close, their sweaty bodies invading the man’s space by design. Jacko took out a notebook and pen. “OK, buddy, name and address?”
“What, why, I mean, er ….”
“Look, buddy, either you cooperate or you’ll be spending the night in the cooler.”
“It’s Matthew. Er, Matthew Morris.” Stammering, his thin lips revealed his street and house number.
“Why, that’s over two miles away!” said Jacko.
“Yes, I’ve been walking for forty-five minutes.”
“Forty-five minutes! Well, you’ll have missed Suzy Chang and her dancing poodles, not to mention Jigsaw, the world’s greatest contortionist! Come on man, tell me you’re kiddin’ us!”
Mathew Morris looked up and down the empty street, nervously. It was growing dark and he could see flickering coloured light coming from unlit houses along both sides of the road. Suddenly he felt emboldened. “Look, I’m simply going for a walk. When I get home, I’m going to work on an essay I’m writing – on Totalitarianism – and then I shall sit by the fire, drink a bottle of beer and read some poetry before supper!”
Jacko raised his eyebrows. “Meanwhile, everyone else in the world has a TV or can get near one and is cheering on their country’s top star! But not Mr Mathew Morris, no, an essay is more important than Luther Steel’s ventriloquism, Totalit … whassname, more important than Silvia de Fuego’s amazing juggling, and goddamn poetry, if you puhleeze, more important than Fanny de la Mare, the world’s greatest compère!”
“I’ve had enough of this joker.” Joshua took out a radio and pressed a button. “Never heard of Little Thelma. Pah! Hello, Control, we need an ECT squad down here, now. Gotta guy who needs some serious rewiring!”
A raised voice came from the radio.
“Oh, my sweet Jesus!” Joshua turned, ashen faced. “The show’s been taken off air! Jigsaw got his elbow stuck up his arse, Little Thelma forgot her words and is having a nervous breakdown and Suzy Chang’s going crazy with Silvia de Fuego for juggling her poodles!”

 

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Red Snow

north-korea-colorful-order-nic-ojae-00

(500 words)

It is snowing at the checkpoint and John and Abbie are outside, gazing over the border to the Taebaek mountains, and freedom.
“You come, please,” says the guard, his green tunic emblazoned with enigmatic decorations and his oversized green cap looking surprisingly uncomic.
I look through the window to see Abbie throw a snowball at her dad. They are both laughing. “But we’re going soon, the bus’ll be here.”
“You come.”
North Korean guards aren’t people you ignore. He leads me into a small, austere office. Pictures of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un hang on the wall above a desk. Their official cleaning cloth lies folded neatly on top of a filing cabinet nearby. I remember hearing about a woman who lost her cloth and used a different type. A random inspection resulted in three harsh months in a Gulag. Could that be true, I wonder?
The man at the desk looks up. His tunic has twice as many emblems and decorations as the guard. A colonel, apparently. The guard was young, not unfriendly. This man’s face is older, gaunt. It looks like he doesn’t smile often, if at all. “Mrs. Hernandez. There’s an irregularity with your visa.”
“What, no, we’ve been through this. It’s all been sorted!”
The man pushes his chair back and sits with his hands clasped together and his chin resting on them. “Mrs. Hernandez. There’s something we need you to do. Then … no problem with the visa.”
It is snowing and we’re getting on the plane. The white flakes are settling on Abbie’s golden hair as we cross the gangway. A young, pretty, oriental woman with a smart blue jacket and matching cap, wearing a very short skirt, smiles a greeting. I stare at her in a daze. I feel I’m about to crumble. Stay strong, just till the plane’s in the air. Then I can go to the toilet and dissolve.
I’d been taken to a room. Three women were sitting on a bench. Their faces were frightened but resigned, their eyes huge with pleading.
“You pick one,” said the colonel.
“Why me?”
He shrugged. “Orders.”

I made the impossible choice, the oldest one, but still only middle-aged. I caught her eyes for a split second but it was enough. We went outside to a snow-covered yard, the flakes coming down harder now. My hands were shaking. The colonel handed me a heavy pistol with a squat silencer. He showed me the safety catch, put the gun against his head in demonstration, and motioned the woman to kneel.

It is snowing at Las Angeles airport. Is it snowing everywhere in the world, I wonder? Everyone is there to greet us. John’s mum and dad, Abbie’s friends, my sister Madeleine – ‘Mads,’ and a newspaper reporter from our home town.

I smile, wave, and reply to questions on autopilot. In my mind there’s one image. Beautiful huge white snowflakes swirling and settling on the ground by the woman’s head – instantly turning red.

 

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Time out of Joint

 

oob281-backwards-clocks
(500 words)
 –
It is raining, it’s nine o’clock in the morning, and I’ve taken all the pictures off the walls like that nice Mr. Hughes at UTC asked me to.
I do like the rain, I like to stand in it and close my eyes, feel it on my face and on my bare hands and arms.
I’d been doing that at eight thirty whilst my tea was brewing, when I’d heard the phone ring.
“Good morning, is that Mr. Gordon Smith?”
“Yes, who’s calling?”
“It’s Roger Hughes, I’m calling from Universal Time Control.”
“Who?”
“Well, it’s all rather hush-hush, but people think time’s a simple matter, running in one direction at an even pace.”
“Er, well, doesn’t it?!”
“Actually, no! It’s more a case of millions of ‘time bubbles,’ ‘temporal capsules,’ as we, er, boffins call them. Sometimes they can go out of sync.”
I really wanted to go and stand in the rain again.
“So, your ‘bubble’ is running about twenty minutes fast. You think it’s eight thirty but it’s actually ten past eight!”
“Oh, well, how would I know?”
“Well, you’d only notice it if you crossed into a normal bubble, then suddenly, you’d find your watch would be twenty minutes faster than everyone else’s.”
“How big are these bubbles then?”
“Ah, well, that depends. Some are tiny, some are enormous, and they fluctuate in size too! Anyway, we can reset you at nine, the real nine! There might be a bit of vibration so to be on the safe side, just make sure pictures, vases etc. are secure, there’s a good fellow.”
It is raining again and the sun’s playing hide and seek. There’s a beautiful rainbow and I’m sitting under a patio umbrella, thinking about time. Just to check, not that I disbelieved Mr. Hughes you understand, but just, you know, to be sure, I’d put the television on. If that was being broadcast from a different ‘bubble’ then surely it couldn’t pass into mine twenty minutes early?!
Well, the local station announced nine o’clock when my watch said nine, then I looked at the BBC and that said the same. Well, just as I was thinking the whole thing was an elaborate practical joke, I looked on the internet, and at a news program in Buenos Aires, and, blow me, their time WAS twenty minutes ahead of ours! Taking the normal time difference into account, of course.
It is raining and I’m dancing in it!
Well, bang on nine twenty the whole house had quivered, very briefly, like a stiff jelly given a quick flick. I’d looked at my watch and, blow me, it had jumped back twenty minutes. This time stuff was bloomin’ confusing!

So, everything, was back to normal. With just one exception. Before I’d been ‘reset,’ I’d made a quick phone call to my sister in Melbourne with some info gleaned from the internet. She’d just had time to buy a lottery ticket that couldn’t lose!

 

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The Final Crossing

choppy sea

(550 words)

 

Other times Justin Schneider would have stayed in his warm, lighted cabin, or mingled in the bar, but he’d needed some real air. He wanted to breath the sea breeze and feel alive. Out on the stern it was cold, wet and misty, and his companion’s words were suddenly drowned out by the gargantuan blare of a foghorn. The ferry bucked in the heavy sea and he held onto the handrail tightly, gazing down nervously at the green-black waves crashing below.
Justin had recognised his companion from the television. Mike Murphy, some kind of political figure, seen occasionally on tedious news clips about Ireland. A tall man with receding hair and a lean face, wearing a heavy charcoal overcoat, he’d been gazing fixedly out to sea, as if seeking answers to unsurmoutable problems.
In life, though, he seemed a different man, animated and imaginative. “Would you look at the waves now,” Murphy was saying. “The power of a wave, it’s something. 36 kilowatts of power potential per meter of wave crest!“
“But how would you harness the power of these waves, for example?” Justin asked, gesticulating downwards.
“Well, that’s for the Good Lord to tell us, and for the boffins to pay good heed to!” Murphy laughed. “But look how they’ve extracted gas and oil from the sea bed!” He winced as a spray of salty water splashed over them both. “And what, pray, brings you to this cold, damp spot, when you could be warm inside, watching the football on the big screen?”
“I don’t like football,” said Justin, “and … and there’s something else ….”
Murphy’s eyes gazed sympathetically at him, like a faithful dog’s. “Yes?”
He found himself opening up. “Well, it’s my dad, he always wanted to be buried at sea.” The ferry bucked again and Justin steadied himself. It was growing dark and starting to rain. “I have his ashes. Inside.” He gestured towards the lighted cabins.
“Now’s as good a time as any,” said Murphy.
“Well, I was hoping for some sunshine.”
Murphy pulled his overcoat tight against the wind. He had a persuasive, easy-going manner. “There’s no time like the present. Just wait for a lull in the wind.” He smiled.
Justin hesitated. Perhaps Murphy was right. He reasoned he could scatter the ashes in the presence of, well, a kind of celebrity. That would make a more memorable sending off. Perhaps Murphy would even say a prayer?
He went down the deck, balancing carefully against the rocking of the ferry. Inside he caught sight of a television screen, stopping him dead in his tracks. A group of football fans sat watching a news bulletin featuring a shockingly familiar face. He opened the door and listened, stunned. “… and it’s been announced that councillor Michael Murphy is being sought for questioning into the murder of a catholic, Father Patrick O’Connor in 1975 ….”
The football match resumed to a cheer and the swill of beer. He retraced his steps to the deck. At least he owed it to Murphy to let him know, Justin thought. As he battled through the rain and the gloom towards the stern, he saw something dark on the deck. A heavy black overcoat, lying on the wet planks, empty sleeves blowing in the wind like a priest’s supplicating arms, but its occupant … gone.

—-

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Where’s Superman When He’s Needed?

superman-reeve

(600 words)

Monday

Took the coach to Skegness with mother. I loathe the place, all crowded streets, tacky ‘souvenir’ shops and the ubiquitous smell of frying, but she wanted a day out. The tide was in, so the beach wasn’t wide. We sat on the sand in an area of large black boulders. I think they’re to stop erosion. She read her latest book-circle title, Superman – A Retrospective. l listened to Tommy Bolin’s Teaser, the brilliant legacy of another heroin ‘victim.’ What a waste.

There was some sort of mist that made our eyes sting. We came back early. Others on the coach complaining about it. One lady’s eyes were red and streaming, other people were coughing.

Tuesday

My eyes felt sore today. Mother complained too. Read on the internet that hundreds affected. People told to keep away from Skegness and other places along the coast. Authorities haven’t a clue what’s going on. A chemical ‘spill’ at sea the most likely culprit, apparently.

Wednesday

Well, the ‘mist problem’ seems to have got worse. It’s now affecting the whole coastal area, people being told to stay indoors whilst the authorities find out what’s going on. My eyes are OK now but mother coughing a lot. I told her to see the doc, but she says she ‘doesn’t want to be a nuisance’! She seems confused, talking about Christopher Reeve as if he’s a close personal friend! Dementia is cruel.

Thursday

This thing is serious! Sky’s even changed the headline from ‘Mystery Mist’ to ‘Killer Fog,’ on account of the number of car crashes there’ve been. It’s affecting the whole East Midlands coast, and has come up to fifty miles inland. Authorities say they ‘are working on identifying the problem.’ Tossers!

Friday

Well, the fog’s reached us here in Welby. You can’t see anything out of the windows and it’s impossible to drive. You can’t have the headlights on – too much reflection – and you have to keep the windows closed. Mother’s saying that Superman will sort it out. She’s gone completely doolally, poor old soul!

Saturday

Donna called round on horseback – with gas masks! Seems she’d bought a ‘his ‘n’ hers’ set of WW2 gas masks at auction a few years ago and found they’re still OK. Amazing!

She’d brought Jamjar on a tether. I hadn’t ridden for years but he’s a gentle soul. The horses’ eyes don’t seem affected but they’re a bit spooked by this bloody fog. We rode into town to try to get some bread and milk. It was so weird riding down the high street. You couldn’t see the shops until a few feet away and it was deathly quiet. All closed, but the Co-op windows had been broken. All the fresh stuff had been looted but we found some dried milk and Ryvita.

I managed to bring back a boxload of CDs, well if I hadn’t taken them, someone else would’ve. A mixed bag, including some ancient stuff. Been listening to the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ U.S.A. Still sounds so good, but don’t think there’ll be much surfing going on around here for a while.

Sunday

PM on the telly saying there’s no need for panic. Silly cow, she should come out here! The source of the fog’s still unknown, but they’re now saying it might be some kind of chemical warfare. Great! It could be the Russians, the Chinese, or even North Korea, not that it makes much difference. It’s reached the East End now though, so everyone is finally taking it seriously. Mother’s still asking if Superman is coming to the rescue. If only!

—-

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Out and out and out

nuclearwar-1920x960

(400 words)

Out of time, out of joint,
Out and about, what’s the bloody point?
Out and out insanity,
Losing touch with reality.

Out of my mind, completely off my head,
Out and out stupidity, time to go to bed.
Out a space, out a luck,
Out a limits, who gives a tuck?

Out for the count, I don’t mean Dracula,
Did you see Miss Jones, eating from a spatula?
Out of the EU, Rod Hull and Emu,
Brexit, Bricks it, Brocks it, Brew
a pot of tea, for thee and me,
Thine, fine, a cup for you.

All out superpower confrontation,
War, annihilate, tell it to the nation.
More money for bombs, you know it makes sense,
Bigger bombs, better bombs, we’ll call it defence.
Out on the tiles, I can see for miles,
Out of touch? Moi? No, I likes it on the fence.

What could be better than a sexy cruise missile?
Plutonium’s lovely, especially when it’s fissile.
Satellite-guided bombs, multi re-entry warheads,
Nice little cluster bomblets,
Invented by the dead-heads.
Warhead, head of war,
Who knows what we’re fighting for?

Have you ever met a bomb designer?
What a job, there’s nothing finer!
Designer shirts, designer dresses,
Designer shoes, designer tresses.

But who designs the designers?
That’s what we’d all like to know.
They sit in an office with a pen and a board,
and a book of explosives, written just so.

Materials properties, shatter coefficients,
Kill the most for a buck, you gotta be efficient!
But never mind the total, it’s a bottomless pit,
Pay ‘em a fortune, who gives a shit?

Out of their brains, off their pretty faces,
Listen closely now, we’re out of car park spaces!
Out on the town, me and my clown,
Out of the picture, falling up, climbing down.
Out of order, out of shape,
Out of my league, I just gawp and gape.

Put me out to grass, I need to rest my arse,
Stammering, yammering, rumbling, tumbling,
Out in the fields, there forever bumbling.
Out of jail, out of the clink,
Get me more wine, I need another drink.

But out’s a useful word, out and out handy,
For a thousand idioms, just ask any dandy.
Bawl out, bail out, bang out, bat out,
Not forgetting ask out, if you’re feeling randy.
A flexible friend, without any doubt,
So out, in, down, up, over and OUT!

—-

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But Can You Hide?

mini gun

(600 words)

To Whom It May Concern

First, the good news. If you are reading this, you are still alive. Now, the bad news. In 24 hours’ time you probably won’t be!
You see, you took something that didn’t belong to you. Oh yes, you likely thought, ‘I’d better take this briefcase to lost property,’ didn’t you? But then curiosity got the better of you. ‘I’ll just take it home first, have a quick look inside, maybe I can find the owner’s phone number. It’ll be quicker that way.’ Pull the other one!
Well, wherever you are. At home, in a seedy cafe, maybe in a dirty, smelly little toilet, there’s something you need to know. YOU are now the target in an assassination game! You have 24 hours to hide or be killed, probably in quite a nasty way.
You see, the briefcase had a chemical powder on the handle. Nothing that’ll harm you (much). You can’t see the stain it made on your hand but it IS visible through special glasses. The ones worn by our agents. And by the way, it takes a few days to wash off!
The briefcase has a hidden camera. Ha, you didn’t expect that, did you?! A number of images have been taken of you and posted on secret websites. The ones used by our spies. Yes, there are such people and, furthermore, they need ‘live’ training exercises from time to time. Hence this little ‘challenge.’
So, as you are reading this, you may feel a little frightened. ‘Is this real?’ you are asking. Or maybe you’re thinking, ‘Oh, this is one of those silly TV pranks. I’ll be on the telly! Better brush my hair!’ Sorry! It isn’t. REALLY!
So, when you’ve finished reading this letter, you will have to start thinking and running. And by the way, just like the old TV program, this letter has a coating, which once exposed to air, will dissolve it within three minutes. Perhaps you’d better read a bit faster!
Well, maybe I shouldn’t tell you this (it’s all rather hush-hush), however I think it’s only fair. But between you and me, there are twenty agents vying for a job. A very prestigious job, a bit like James Bond. They have your picture, your hand(s) will glow when seen through their special glasses and they know where the briefcase is right now. So ‘they are coming to get you,’ as they say in the old horror films!

 

Well, every other day for two weeks, a briefcase, just like the one you ‘borrowed,’ will be left on a train somewhere. The successful agent will be the one who accrues the most points over the fortnight. The agents get points for both their speed in locating the ‘target’ (people like yourself!) and the originality of his/her ‘dispatch.’
For example, it could be a poisoned dart from a blowpipe (yes, we’ve borrowed a few ideas from our jungle ‘cousins’!), it could be a ‘crazed Japanese,’ slashing you across the throat with a ceremonial sword, or perhaps a noose thrown over your head from a passing motorbike, before you are dragged to your death along the road. I know the agents are having fun with their ideas! They’ll each have a partner on hand to film your demise!
Anyway, the clock is ticking so you’d better get moving. The good news. The hunt will be called off, and you’ll be a free man (or woman) if you survive 24 hours! Good luck, you will (definitely) need it!

MI6

PS. I know what I’d do. But I’m not telling 😉

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The Downfall of British Journalism

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Nearly one year since it was first published, another chance to read my most popular post ever.

(500 words)

Journalism in Britain, impartial investigative journalism, ended on May 3rd 2007, the day our media began saturation coverage of an event that occurred in Portugal. A little girl named Madeleine McCann, aged three, had disappeared from her holiday apartment.
So what do I recall of that event? Non-stop coverage on TV with a maddening lack of any real information. A woman with chiselled features making a televised appeal. “Please give our little girl back.” Funny, no tears, not even the watering of an eye, and your little ‘princess’ stolen from under your nose!
They’d left the children every night whilst dining with friends. “It was like dining in your back garden.” But it’s OK, they were doing ‘regular checks.’ As if!
Stories of shutters smashed, doors broken, the little girl taken out of a window. These being reports given by the parents to close friends and broadcast within the first 24 hours.
Hearing the Portuguese police say there was NO break-in, that the window sill was unmarked and the girl couldn’t have been taken out of it!
Then an appeal. Hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to ‘find Maddie.’ Maybe millions. Support of the rich and famous. Appeals by famous footballers. David Beckham. “If you’ve seen this little girl …,” holding up a picture.
The father talking about his little girl being ‘abducted.’ Strange, why not use the word ‘kidnapped’? Maybe because that involves a ransom and he knew one wouldn’t be forthcoming?
Four months later, shock, horror! – the parents declared arguidos – suspects! Cadaver dogs hitting upon the scent of human remains in their apartment, the garden below, on their clothes and in their car!
Top Portuguese detective on Panorama saying the statements of the parents and their friends ‘didn’t add up.’ The father, asked about sightings of his daughter, trying to hide a smirk.
Then, very strangely, our journalists made a volte-face. Articles appeared slagging off the Portuguese police. ‘Bunglers, fat sardine-munchers.’ On and on.
Ten years later, regular newspaper articles still tell of the ‘brave, anguished parents’ and their ‘fury’ over a book written by the lead detective. Panorama and Crimewatch on the telly, now portraying the parents, never cleared, as saints. The mother an ambassador for Missing People charity!
Funny, what about the cadaver dogs? Never happened! History rewritten.
So who or what is orchestrating this? Well, their spokesman ‘left’ his highly paid job as head of the government’s Media Monitoring department to work for them. So affected by their plight was he. Allegedly.
What did that department do? It ‘controls what comes out in the media’ according to the man himself.
But why would the government want to plant regular pro-McCann stories in our newspapers and bias towards them in TV programs?
Why set up a huge police investigation, Operation Grange, to find Madeleine, still running six years later, where the ‘cop’ in charge stated that ‘neither the McCanns nor their friends are suspects nor persons of interest’?

Related: The ‘Putney Bridge Jogger’ Case: 20 Questions That Must be Answered!



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Oh, Moo-ah Moo-ah!

oumuamua

(500 words)

“Well, people don’t have to think for themselves nowadays, do they?”
“How d’you mean?”
“Well, in the ‘old’ days they didn’t know the Earth was round or that it went round the Sun. Or that the circumference of a circle is pi times the diameter. People, ancient people, like the Pythagoreans, had to work it all out for themselves, actually reason stuff out! Now you just look it up online and think, ‘oh, yeah.’ You don’t question it, you just accept it as the truth.”
Sue laughed, blue eyes twinkling and the dimples in her smooth brown cheeks making her look adorable. “So who are … were the Pythagoreans when they were at home?”
“They followed the beliefs of Pythagoras, that the universe was ordered around ratios of whole numbers, look never mind all that. I’m just saying that this so-called interstellar rock, Oh-Moo … whatever, it’s got a bloody silly name, could be an alien artefact, a spaceship even.”
“But it says on the news it’s a rock. Similar to asteroids in the outer solar system.” She stretched her long tanned legs out along the sofa and reclined. “Anyway, it looks like a rock!”
“That’s an artist’s impression, you idiot!”
“Oh, are you sure?”
“Yes, of course I’m sure. No one’s taken a photo of it. For God’s sake!”
“Well it looked realistic.”
“Yes, ever wondered why governments would commission fantastic artists to paint a couple of highly realistic rocks, when they know fuck all about what it really looks like?!”
Sue put her hands over her eyes, as if wishing to shut out any doubt.
“Look it’s travelling at nearly 30 kilometres a second, that’s how they know it’s not from our solar system, it’s too fast. Then the brightness varies a lot, that’s how they know it’s spinning.”
“Why would a spaceship spin?”
“I don’t know, it might be damaged, derelict even. Or just some kind of unmanned probe.”
She drew her knees up, showing a flash of pale lemon knickers. “What, you mean like a probe to Uranus?” She giggled.
I ignored her. “Anyway, how many asteroids are eight times as long as they are wide?!”
“How should I know, I’m not interested in space stuff!”
I sighed. “Look, there’s a guy on Twitter, reckons it’s bright pink and likely titanium. That sound like a rock to you?”
She stood up, smoothing back her shoulder-length blonde hair. “Look, you ever thought, people are just making it out to be whatever they want it to be?”
“Huh, maybe. Who knows?” I clicked on Sky News on my laptop. “Bloody hell, hey, listen up! They’ve just detected another one, out beyond Neptune, same speed, same size, same rotation. You reckon that’s just a coincidence? Multiple comets, asteroids or whatever, coming from another star system?”
“Well, we’ll find out soon enough.” She smoothed a hand over her breasts, opened the fridge and extracted a bottle of lemon-coloured nectar. She poured out a large glassful. “You want one?”

 

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A Visit from Saint Nicholas – 2017 version.

visitfromsaintnicolas

(495 words)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, all quiet in the house,
I sat at my laptop, with hand on my mouse.
I looked at the apps, so many to check!
E-mail, Facebook, WordPress and Tweetdeck.

I opened my mail and smiled with delight
at an e-card received, this cold Christmas night!
I clicked and watched Santa sail over roof top,
pulled by his reindeer, they ne’er seem to stop!

I clicked on ‘reply’ and sent thanks on its way
But Facebook was calling, no time to delay!
So on to my ‘wall,’ Christmas greetings to read
From friends near and far, and those I don’t need!

Just then, from outside I heard such a clatter.
I opened the door, feeling mad as a hatter,
as in front of my startled eyes did appear
a sleigh pulled by eight, rather sweaty, reindeer.

They snorted and stamped their hooves in the snow.
Saint Nick in the sled called, “to the roof we must go!”
“Just a minute,” I cried, a-pointing my phone,
“I must get a shot, for Facebook you know!”

“Quick friend,” he said, “I’ve presents to deliver!”
He laughed and I noticed his belly aquiver.
“That was a good ‘un,” I said with some pride.
“But it’s freezing out here, I’m off back inside!”

As I uploaded my photo, noises came from the roof.
‘Twas the tapping and knocking of each little hoof.
Saint Nick down the chimney came, just like a ghost.
My hand o’er mouse button, about to click ‘post.’

“Speed your hand, friend,” laughed Santa Claus,
“I have presents for all, mamma, kiddies indoors.”
So saying this, from his shoulder a sack,
he put down on the carpet, whilst rubbing his back.

He reached in and flung out packet after packet,
PlayStation, tablets, Xbox … what a racket!
He held up a game, shaking his head,
“In the old days, wooden toys, now Night of the Dead!”

“Times have changed Santa, it’s electronic toys now.
Monopoly, Cluedo, all vanished, somehow.”
Saint Nicolas sighed, his face it was long.
“Yes, son, I’ve had to get elves from Hong Kong.”

“The old ones were sacked, they weren’t internet savvy,
As you may guess, they weren’t none too happy!
And Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen
They do their best, but Elon Musk’s offered to fix ‘em.”

“He’s made nuclear powered versions, don’t you know?
It won’t just be Rudolph who lights up the snow!
I’m undecided, though it’d save on the hay,
But the time it is passing, I must be away!”

So saying, back up the chimney he flew
“Come Comet, come Cupid, Donner and Blixen, yes, you!”
I looked back at Facebook, a comment from a mate,
“Nice pic of Santa and reindeer. Ain’t Photoshop great?!”

Then past the window they all came in flight,
Saint Nicolas, waving, puffed on his pipe.
And I heard him call as they vanished from view,
“Happy Christmas to All and a good night to you!”