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


The Two-Minute Manager – 4

Another dose of management and leadership advice from the somewhat cynical mind of guest blogger, See Yi-Oh… You only have yourselves to blame if you follow this advice!

Attending Operational Meetings

Show your importance
To the lessers in the room:
Head down and email

Gift them your presence
But deny them eye contact.
Who knows where that leads?


Are you strategic?
There’s always scope to up-think.
Be more strategic.

Any report that’s
Longer than a page in length,
Isn’t for your eyes.

The true strategic
Does not think in words, numbers:
Start to think in shapes.



Coming Up!

I’ve settled into a regular-ish blogging routine now, based around a handful of challenges that I enjoy, and that tolerate my continued wibbling. So, in an attempt to manage my own time as much as your fervent expectations (honestly, it’s like Beatlemania meets Biebermania every time I step out of my own front door), this is what you can expect each day, between now and April (when the poem-a-day blogging challenge kicks in, and I cry myself to sleep every day for failing to prepare despite having no excuse this year).

The BIG NEWS is that I have secured an exciting guest blogger to come and join me every Monday until April… See Yi-Oh will be sharing the benefits of his business nous (in haiku form, obviously) in a new series “The Two-Minute Manager“. I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome when he joins me tomorrow!

MONDAY – Limerick Challenge / The Two-Minute Manager

TUESDAY – Haiku Challenges – Ronovan & haiku horizons

WEDNESDAY – Secret Keeper’s Challenge

THURSDAY – Pop-Culture Thursday… the name needs work, but it’ll be something rhyme-y whyme-y, about something pop-culture-y

FRIDAY – The Great Book of Lists

WEEKENDS – no planned posts, unless for a specific challenge. I’ll be spending Saturdays entirely offline. Go and have some outdoor fun, people!

Plus there will be other bouts of randomness as and when inspiration strikes.

If there are any burning topics, ignored by better poets, that you think need covering in rhyme, let me know below the line 🙂



The scene outside my front door every morning… makes the commute to work a challenge…

Picture credit:

Merry Zombie Christmas!

I hadn’t planned on writing another poem before Christmas, but yesterday’s haiku about broken hearts and betrayal didn’t seem to strike the right festive note for me… This is far more up my street!

(Two things I can promise you about 2016: more haikumore zombies.)

Thank you to everyone for your comments, likes and all-round awesomeness this year. I really do appreciate it <3. Love and best wishes to you and your families x

The Christmas zombies
Wish you festive brain chomping
And happy fresh flesh !




Christmas is Coming!

In an effort to curb my natural Grinchyness, I’m going to try some festive poetry over the next week or so…


Christmas is coming, this dad is getting fat
The tinsel’s off the tree and is wrapped around the cat

There’s nothing on the telly and the boys are getting bored
Why is this the holiday that everyone adored?




Postman Pat is Dangerous!

Kids TV is dangerous
It shouldn’t be allowed.
Have you ever watched Postman Pat,
With his helicopter in the clouds?

It seems to get used for everything,
For every cat stuck up a tree,
Or an implausible balloon rescue
Of the hapless PC Selby

And you can guarantee,
That if a magpie takes a shine
To Mrs Goggins’ glasses,
Then WHOOSH – it’s heli-time!

Within the village of Greendale,
There’s only 50 or so,
In a surprisingly diverse microcosm
Of a world some used to know.

But in these times of austerity,
With services cut back,
Shouldn’t we tell the truth
About the real Postman Pat?

Helicopter fuel’s expensive,
And the post people just deliver mail.
I’m all for raising kids’ expectations,
But aren’t we setting them up to fail?



What’s in a name?

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that I’ve changed the header on my blog to “A Certain Point of View”… bonus points if you recognised it as a Star Wars reference. This uses “certain” in the sense of “particular”, rather than in the sense of “being” certain. I rarely am.

I called this “Al the Author” originally as a statement to myself as much as anything. My thinking was that I wear many hats, Al the Dad, Al the Husband, Al the Office Drone… and this blog was for the writing part of me, that had no voice, no outlet. (Obviously there has been some blurring at the edges since.) What I didn’t think through back then was that that makes for a pretty clunky blog title… ain’t hindsight wonderful!

Nothing else is changing with my blog. Yet. I’ve got some other ideas and loose plans for the future, but we’ll see what comes of them.

So, thanks for reading my blog, and please keep liking, commenting and sharing… and hold me to account if my material’s not good enough to warrant it! 🙂


OctPoWriMo #24 – The Cat on the Stair

The cat sat.
Sat and stared.
Sat and stared upon the stair.
Upon the stair, it sat and stared.

It was a cat and mouse affair.

Without the mouse.



Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was to search through the photos at until you find one that sparks a story poem for you…