Friday, 27 March 2009

The Cruel hand of fate 3

Raymond was forty five, married with children and lived just outside Cheedle. He caught Aids one afternoon in a plush hotel in Frankfurt through a site specialising in glamorous and adventurous Escorts for international businessmen.

Raymond reckoned he qualified. After all he was a long way from Cheedle. When he saw Ana’s photos, he decided to do more than just scroll through the site. He made the call.

By the time Ana arrived at his room, Raymond’s anxiety was at manageable proportions. Ana was beautiful and dressed in lingerie he had only seen in magazines. She slipped his money into her designer bag. Then she dropped to her knees

Raymond barely recognised the man in the mirror standing over her. Then he lay back while she applied a condom and straddled him. He became young again. Then as he withdrew to adopt a more adventurous position he noticed the condom had split.

He showed Ana in a panic but she just shrugged, said she hardly ever used them and threw it away. She drew him into her deeply and continued to ply her trade until she noticed Raymond was in a rictus of fear

She got out of bed and shouted at him. Did he think she was diseased? She had regular tests! Something was wrong with him! She dressed in seconds and stormed out. Raymond knelt on the bed in the first stages of Aids.

Back in Cheedle, Raymond wouldn’t go near his doctor because he couldn’t bear to hear the diagnosis confirmed. He wouldn’t go near his wife, because he didn’t want to infect her too. He couldn’t explain because the guilt and fear would break him.

So he went into a depression. And sat in it till he noticed the world had left him quite alone.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Cruel hand of fate 2

Click picture to enlarge

Kurt slipped into the Four Seasons as part of the plant maintenance crew, his Canon Eos 10 secreted in his apron, a baby palm in his arms. He flanked the lobby into the fire escape, set the plant down and tore up the stairs.

He made his way to the top secret rooftop pool. Leading Lady Number One would be up there, humping. She earned her millions smiling winsomely into the camera. Off camera she was a sexual animal. Kurt would make sure America found out.

He’d paid well for the tip off. He didn’t know who she was humping but he didn’t care. He listened carefully to her animal grunts through the service door, checked his equipment and burst through to the pool.

Leading Lady Number One was thrashing about on the poolside tiles alone. Convulsed by epilepsy rather than passion, she barked and juddered and foamed. Kurt framed and reframed. The price had gone up. This was hard news, European syndication, the works.

Her feet kicked a lounger into the pool as Kurt dashed back down the stairs to deliver and collect. He sprinted into the underground car park, leapt onto his Motoguzzi, revved it hard and lurched for the Exit.

A Japanese tourist lost control of his rented Chevrolet and scooted backwards into Kurt’s path. Kurt tried to steer round but lost it and skidded in a shower of sparks into the plant maintenance van.

The Motoguzzi’s tank exploded immediately, blinding Kurt and filling his lungs with flame. The Eos 10 crumpled into the bike frame and burned along with the rest of it.
The sirens were the last thing he heard.

Kurt didn’t make the news. The big story was the death by drowning of Leading Lady Number One, during one of her tragic seizures.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Cruel hand of fate.

When Andreas saw the bend in the river he knew he was home. He built a makeshift shack so that Elsa and Britt could nurse their mother and set about clearing enough land to set out the foundations for a plantation house.

If Bergit had been stronger he would have started clearing the plantation itself. The rainy season was weeks away and he needed the soil turned for the first sowing. But with his wife’s fever unremitting, Andreas resolved to get at least a kitchen and a family room constructed and then prepare whatever land he could before the storms broke.

The horses were tired and the trees deep-rooted but slowly the house site appeared before them. Elsa fished and cooked while Britt nursed her mother, wiping her sweats away. Bergit’s breathing racked her constantly. Mercifully, Andreas collapsed into bed each night, smelling of earth and horse sweat, too exhausted to worry.

Within a month, Bergit and the girls were in the rudimentary back rooms of their future home. Water boiled over a woodstove in the kitchen. Blankets stretched out to air. Beds were filled with dried grass.

Andreas turned towards the forest, and sparing neither himself nor the horses, carved out the fields where their cash crops would grow. Bergit watched him from a porch still sticky with sap. She saw the steadfastness in him, the will to provide. She loved him beyond measure.

Her breathing was easing, her appetite for Elsa’s interminable fish soup growing. As the farm was growing, she was being restored to her family.

At this point, Andreas suffered a deep gash to his forearm from a splintered fencepost. The wound turned septic, the poison sprinted through his debilitated frame and he was dead within three days. His new farm had killed him.

Friday, 13 March 2009

The bigger picture 1

Theresa knew that a handsome man like Andrew Rawson would pass her by. And he did, leaving her plumped on the sofa with her plate of egg and cress while he loomed over her cousin Amy with his most disarming smile.

Amy, a natural flirt, entranced him in turn, with her sun-kissed ringlets and gossamer skin. Her eyes flashed and fluttered, her breasts rose with excitement at his witty reposts.
Theresa returned to her sandwiches. Amy had him hooked. She would wait.

Andrew made as many calls on Amy at Theresa’s rose garlanded cottage as propriety would admit. Theresa had made over the back bedroom to Amy in her hour of need and inevitably Amy started to entertain Andrew on an impromptu and nocturnal basis. Theresa heard Amy accept Andrew’s eventual proposal through the bedroom wall. Not long now, she thought.

Amy went to live with Andrew and prepare for her wedding. Theresa’s cottage returned to its tranquillity. Until late one night, Theresa set down her warm milk and her book to answer the insistent phone.

Andrew was beside himself and slashed about the arms and chest with a boning knife. Amy was locked in the bathroom, naked and screaming, slashing at herself in turn and vowing to cut out Andrew’s intestines and spread them over the walls.

Theresa offered honeyed words of calm and promised to hurry over, once she had contacted Amy’s old clinic. Andrew had nothing to worry about. Theresa would take care of everything.

Amy is back on her medication. Her ward is secure. As is her future.

Andrew is recovering under Theresa’s constant care. His nerves are slowly restoring. In fact on days when the sunlight outlines her figure through Theresa’s loose country gowns, that he feels the sap may one day rise again.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Stereotypical drama: The battlefield butterfly.

Captain Whitney spotted a rare butterfly on a piece of blasted scrub outside the observation post he and his Company were occupying in war torn Lebanon.

It made him think of his schooldays, when he had been very keen on Nature Studies and Gym but not on Latin, and rather lucky that the Officer Training Corps had recognised his true if rather limited capabilities.

He moved stealthily over to the shrub, intending to cup the butterfly in his hands and bring it back to show to his men, as a slight but enriching interlude to the crisp tedium of military stalemate.

He was less than three meters from the post's sandbagged entrance, the butterfly encased in the soft, protective custody of his hands, when the rocket struck, obliterating his Company, his Observation Post and, through a wickedly twisted piece of shrapnel, both his arms to the elbow.

His wife went to work in a Garden Centre owned by a close friend.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Random Acts Of Kindness 2

Miriam Keaton had spent most of her adult life working in a seaside souvenir shop. She dispensed cunningly fashioned seashells and artful displays of coloured sand alongside postcards, beach paraphernalia and the obligatory rock. Rain or shine, she met every hard-pressed holiday maker with a sunny smile, displaying a saint like patience at the simian antics of their fractious offspring.

Once, Miriam had been a tripper too. The railways were still nationalised when she first lugged her suitcase from station to boarding house. Then, overwhelmed by the ozone and the pebbles she tripped down to the sea in unsuitable sandals and a frock that threatened to blow up around her ears with every awkward onshore gust. Although, from experience, she knew few men would be interested in a glimpse of her lingerie.

Within five minutes she had turned her ankle picking her way through the rank and drying seaweed and skidding on a concealed slick of what appeared to be tar. Blinded by tears and pain she leant against a breakwater and smeared lichen down the side of her frock. She stood still, stranded and unsighted, her holiday release at an end.

When he appeared at her side, he seemed too slight and a little too old to be of any help. But he knelt and bound her ankle tightly with his paisley muffler, and then courteously ignoring her protestations that she really was far too heavy, he lifted her in his arms and carried her back up to the promenade, to sit her in the bus shelter.

He then tipped his trilby and disappeared.

Miriam holidayed there every year after that and eventually took the job in a souvenir shop. She made many acquaintances but never reacquainted herself with the slight, older man, whose paisley muffler she yearned to return.