Pigeon Pageantry

This is a 300-word FF on the theme of “Royalty”, for the Bloggers Bash competition… My second entry – this one’s less likely to get me a knighthood! Hope you enjoy!

“Alright, Trev?”

“Not so bad. Yourself, Dave?” The first pigeon shrugged his barely discernible shoulders.

“Can’t complain. Found half a box of KFC last week. Seemed a bit of a coup in the circumstances.”

“Haha, ‘coup/coo’… good one,” he laughed, in that way that pigeons do.

“ ‘ere, Trev, have you seen Sal lately?”

“Yeah, I see ‘er now and again. How come?”

“Have you seen that ‘er with that bracelet? Big rattley thing, wears it ‘round her neck.”

“Can’t say I’d noticed… hang on, wasn’t that her mum’s?”

“Yeah that’s it. Her mum’s shuffled off to join the choir invisible…”

“That’s a shame. Well, I say a shame. Never really liked ‘er. All those airs and graces. La-de-das and all that. Thought she was better than us, just ‘cause her dad left her a big nest. She never had to scrabble around in the mud for a worm like the likes of us, did she, Dave?”

“No, she did not… ‘ere remember, that daft little tip of the wing she used to do to her “adoring crowds”. Give me strength!”

“Haha, it’s a wonder that any of the other pigeons fall for it!”

“Yeah, but you know what we’re like. Suckers for a bit of pigeon-pomp and pageantry.”

“Too true, my friend, too true…. What were you saying about Sal?”

“Well, just that with that bracelet she seems to think she’s lady of the manor now. As if it makes a bit of difference who her parents were!”

“Never even knew my Dad. Never ‘eld me back.”

“You’re made of hardier stuff, Trev. The world needs more pigeons like you.”

“Aw, cheers mate… don’t suppose you’ve …got any of that KFC left, have you?”

“It’s been a few days…”

“I don’t mind if you don’t”

They fly off, together.




Annus Miraculis

This is a 300-word FF on the theme of “Royalty”, for the Bloggers Bash competition… Hope you enjoy!

What does one get, for the mother who has everything? (Literally, everything.) Charles went through the same dilemma every year, and every year fell short. Not that she said anything, of course. A lifetime of not speaking out had …consequences, but he knew better.

He pulled his coat tight to his face against the December chill, readjusted his cap, and continued his search through Knightsbridge. He grimaced as he passed Harrod’s, but the next store along was somewhere he hadn’t noticed before. As he stood in the neon glare on the crowded pavement, the answer came to him. “I’ve got it!” In any other city, this exclamation would have attracted glances, but not here, not now. He rushed into the store, his grin broad enough to reach both of those ears.

After their traditional Christmas family lunch, it was time for the presents. Charles eagerly urged mother to open his first. Impassively, she opened the large box. She stared at him. “Thank you… what is it?”

“Let me plug it in.”

With palpable indifference, mother waited as Charles fiddled with the leads.

“Choose one,” he urged.

She stared down at the electronic karaoke screen. She scrolled past “Who Let The Dogs Out”, “Who Wants to Live Forever” (it just felt cruel), and “One”.

Charles’ enthusiasm was waning by the second. Not again…

“Hm,” she thought, then paused for the briefest moment before launching into an enthusiastic “Dancing Queen”.

Philip spat his tea clean across the living room, much to Harry’s amusement.

All sat open-mouthed as she sang with a HUGE smile on her face. Charles nearly cried with joy.

Song after song she belted out, until after “one ain’t nothing but a hound dog”, she dropped the microphone and walked off. “thangyouverymuch…Old Liz has left the building!”



The Knock

A 650-word piece of flash fiction. Just because 🙂

There was a gentle knock at the door. Confused, I paused the TV, wrapped my dressing gown to conceal my Batman pyjamas, and trudged to the door.

There was no one there.


I looked down.

“Hi, didn’t want to startle you,” said a suggestively purple snail on my doorstep.

“You’re a snail,” I said, never one to miss an opportunity to state the obvious.

“Not really, but the confusion is understandable. Mind if I come in?”

I shrugged an agreement, and the not-snail insinuated itself through the open door and into my house. There was something very unusual about the way it moved. Not at all snail-like.

“How did you knock on the door?” I asked, dealing with the weightiest questions first.

“I’m slightly psychic,” it replied, an air of pride unmistakeable.

“You’re a slightly psychic snail?…” I closed the door behind it. Did it control me to do that?…

“Not a snail.”

“Right. Cup of tea?” Social conventions offer a lifeline out of any situation.

“Err, no thanks. Tea is poisonous to my race. The effects can be …unpredictable. Violently so. Tea is banned under our version of the Geneva Convention. The Tannin Wars were a dark time in our history.” It looked up, saw my reaction. “You weren’t to know.”

“Sorry…. Coffee then?”

“Yeah, that’d be great. I take it black.” With that, it glided (glid?) into the living room, while I went on autopilot into the kitchen to dig out the coffee from the back of the cupboard.

I took a minute to compose myself, while the chrome kettle did its thing. Keep it together, Al. There’s a snail-thing in your living room, that’s popped in for coffee. Totally normal. Just a normal day.

I returned a minute later with two coffees, and some rich tea biscuits. “It’s the best I had,” I explained, by way of apology.

The not-snail did not look pleased, but made no comment. Is anyone ever happy getting offered rich tea biscuits?

“You’re probably wondering why I’m here,” said the snail, psychically moving the coffee from cup to mouth. I tried not to stare.

“Well, yeah…”

“I come from an alien world. You would identify it in the constellation Sirius. Our homeworld is quite unpronounceable in your language.” That pride again.

It continued: “I am here to make first contact. To form an impression of humanity, and build towards a pan-galactic alliance between our peoples.”

I kicked myself at the rich tea offer.

“We are a far more technologically advanced civilisation than yours. We have evolved beyond war, disease, poverty, intergalactic travel, and the distortion of time felt in dentist’s waiting rooms… in fact, we have conquered not only death, but the suggestion of it. Poof, gone.”

It bristled in its shell, waiting for all of this to sink in.

I sensed it was waiting for a reply. “Err… well done?” I glanced at the paused TV. Homes Under the Hammer would be on soon. Wonder how much longer this will take?

It sensed my impatience; slurped down the rest of its coffee. It looked at the biscuits and shook its small head. “Right, well I’d better be off then. I’ve only travelled 137 light years across space, left a glorious home and family that I’ll never see again, only devoted my entire existence and every waking thought to this moment, but I wouldn’t want to keep you.”

I showed it to the door, waved it goodbye, instinctively. It did not speak another word, or look back at me as it glided out of my front gate.

I closed the door and leant against it; exhaled loudly. I re-attached the “no cold callers” sign that had slipped down behind the landline phone. Then, “a-ha!” and rushed back to the kitchen, rummaging around, deep in the bottom cupboard. The emergency Hobnobs!

I shuffled back to the living room, and unpaused the TV.

This day’s taken a turn for the better.




ET, crawl home…

Photo by Johan Desaeyere on Unsplash

Last Christmas

With apologies to George Michael…

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
You bought me a Lynx deodorant gift set from Boots, £4.99.

I’m not a materialist
But that feels a little one-sided to me.

I don’t even like Lynx.



Merry Christmas!


Halloween HORROR!

Happy Halloween everyone! The poem below carries a huge health warning…once read, it cannot be unread. The images it will leave you with cannot be wiped (a score of witnesses will testify to this)… If you are easily offended, or have any ounce of self-respect, taste or decency, DO NOT READ ON! You have been warned!

It started as a joke
Then grew into a dare
It *may* have been the alcohol
When I agreed to wear
the mankini

Now, for those who do not know,
A mankini’s quite the thing
(Picture me in a posing pouch
Pulled up tight with bright green string)

My abs are long since absent
The six pack’s more a barrel
And without getting into fat shaming
There’s too much padding in this saddle

the mankini
…It barely hides my wedding tackle
But bares the rest for all
All this hairy flesh, all this…
And an unmanly spread of balls

You see, I’ll never be a swordsman
No Don Juan legendary lover.
If your body’s a lethal weapon,
I’m more like Danny Glover.

But a dare’s a dare and that’s that
You’ve got to live by a code.
Well, you’ve got to tell yourself something
When your ass cheeks are on show…

So, a distinctive Halloween outfit…
But it’s not easy trick or treating
On a cold, dark night in autumn
With cock and balls retreating!



I was born a bonny zombie baby
It’s the only life I’ve known
But years and moons have passed since then
How I’ve zombie-grown!

Growing up sure ain’t easy
Juicy brains don’t come for free
And there’s no chance those screaming humans
Will ever let me be!

See, I’ve never craved attention
I just want an axe-free life
Somewhere peaceful in the country
Where I can find a loving, kind, decaying wife

I never knew my zombie father
Spent no childhood catching ball
No mother there to catch me
When rotting limbs would fall

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed
But zombie role models are lacking
We’re just used in films to show off
The hero’s muscles as they’re hacking

And don’t you see the irony
In claiming we love brains
Then trying to bash our heads in.
It’s prejudice ingrained!

I don’t wanna fight you.
Set aside your sword.
Quit swinging that bloody baseball bat.
Let’s sit, and have a word.

I know my tongue’s necrotic
But there’s a message ‘neath my growling
If only you would listen, really listen,
We could end this midnight prowling

Our demands are very few:
Just leave us all alone,
In basements, malls or graveyards,
Where we can rot and roam.

We’re the next step in evolution:
These are Darwinian growing pains.
We don’t want to harm you

We just want to eat your brains!




A gratuitous bribe

One way to win people over is with the power of your words… another way is bribery… another bit of January fun to #banishtheblues !

Oopsy me, how careless
I don’t know what to say
You said there was no charge…
But I thought I had to pay

So here’s some rhyming chocolate
A piece of poem pie
Left down on a table
With a winking of my eye

And just in case you do not love
Those words what I have wrote
You’ll find beneath this poem
A crisp new ten pound note





Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/dysanovic/197527093




Sleep In Beauty

One way to #banishtheblues is through humour. There are other ways…

My beauty, my love, my heart’s desire,
Curls up beside me, in front of the fire
Sleeping so soundly, peaceful, serene,
Enjoying the deepest and softest of dreams.

I snuggle in behind her, cuddle her tight,
Whisper so gently, what I’d do tonight,
If only she’d wake and kiss me right here
Imagine the sounds those ears would hear…


Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/cuppini/622856689


Then There Was One

To help us all get through the dismal dirtsack we lovingly call January, I’ve started a #banishtheblues hashtag. I’d love it if you joined me! Just write, or draw, or photograph, something light, or fun, or happy, or even joyous… anything to #banishtheblues !

This is another that was written as part of an (unsuccessful) application to join the funeverse, a children’s poetry collective. It was inspired by Jion Sheibani’s sharktastic image of a shark looking hungrily at eight teeny tiny fish…

There’s eight of us, and one of him
No need to feel afraid
If we just stick together,
He’ll need First AND Second Aid!

Oh, we’re down to seven,
Mikey’s wandered off…
He had been feeling peaky,
With that ticklish, wheezy cough

But still, we’re strong at seven!
Err… has anyone seen Jill?
Six is plenty to beat that shark
We’ll not end up like those krill!

There’s six, sorry five, of us
He’ll be quaking in his boots
There’s plenty here to scare him.
No need for new recruits.

Us five will hold the line…
Oops, we’re down to four.
I hope that shark can’t count,
That he isn’t keeping score!

Still, four’s a goodly number…
Now where has Betty gone?
We only need to stick together,
Stay with me, come on!

Three will see us right…
Err… guess it’s just us two
I reckon we’ve got his number,
We’ll take him, me and you!

Simon? Simon? Where’ve you gone?
No time for playing games!
Well, if you want me Sharkey,
You’re going down in flames

What d’you mean you’re full?
I think you’re full of it.
If you won’t face me, coward,
You’d better run off quick!



The Night Before Christmas, 2016

I wrote this as my entry for the Amazon competition, for a modern take on The Night Before Christmas. I’m guessing I didn’t win, so here it is for your seasonal entertainment, from this Grinchiest of writers 🙂 Merry Christmas everyone!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all over town
A sprinkling of snow began to come down.
Few could remember the last time it snowed
But on this night of enchantment, soft magic flowed.

A gentle white blanket, a snuggly sheet
Covered each house, every flat, every street.
Inside each bed, wrapped-up children slept well
As their hopes and their dreams started to swell.

They’d been good this year. Perhaps an X-Box
Would be under their tree, and not silly socks!
Maybe an i-Pad, or mobile phone,
Some books or some films, maybe even a drone!

Anything but socks would bring them a smile,
…Or Gran’s knitted jumpers, in her own special style!
So the children slept on, and their parents did too
(Mum dreamt a long list of jobs she must do…)

Then out in the garden, a hullabaloo,
Awoke one small child, who took in the view:
Santa and crew had been riding too fast
Racing the Space Station as it flew past!

They’d landed too hard; a crash and a bump:
Santa collided with reindeer rump!
His big belly wobbled. He laughed and he said,
“Time for mince pies. Time we were fed!”

Santa – with help – filled a sack up with toys
Whispering softly to keep down the noise.
The boy in his bedroom was straining to hear,
But didn’t want Santa to know he was near.

He peeked around curtains, moved barely a muscle
As Santa continued his sack-filling bustle.
Then stroking and feeding each one of the team
Using the light from Rudolph’s nose-beam!

Santa greeted each reindeer, from Dancer
To daredevil Dasher, and Cupid, and Prancer.
To red-nosed Rudolph, Donner and Blitzen
To cranky old Comet, and tricksy young Vixen.

The boy held his breath. He dared be no louder!
As Santa got out the pink magic powder,
Sprinkled a little to enter the house…
The dust made him shrink to size of a mouse.

(Santa liked chimneys, despite soot and ash,
But moved with the times as quick as a flash.)
He popped up in the house, next to the tree,
With his sack on his shoulder to spread Christmas glee.

He placed the presents for every good child
By the sparkly tree; carefully piled.
Helped himself to a mince pie or two,
And picked up some carrots for his reindeer crew.

He drank up the milk, and licking his lips,
Took a quick look around, his hands on his hips.
With a stroke of his beard, he spied by itself,
A cheeky but lonely, elf on the shelf.

He greeted the elf like a long-lost old friend,
And made sure to move him along to the end.
Between Advent chocolate, baubles and lights
Wrapping blue tinsel all ‘round his red tights.

With a rub of his tummy, his work here complete
Santa sprinkled some dust to make his retreat.
Back to the reindeer, waiting outside,
And hopped in his sled to continue this ride!

Santa took the reins, but before taking flight
He turned to the boy, winked in the moonlight,
Beamed him a smile, so happy and bright:
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!



Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3124443099