Spooning With Colin
Colin is an estate agent with idiosyncrasies and a hatred of cats - which drives the narrator to despair. "When we met, Colin was thirty-five, an estate agent with a collection of vinyl records that stretched from floor to ceiling and a head of hair like Lee van Cleef. For the first few months we were together Colin adored me. He adored my turned up nose, my wonky smile, the way I read a map upside down. Quirky he called me..."
Twenty-Five Tenpenny Tales
Brindley Hallam Dennis
A collection of twenty five flash fictions. "It frightened him when she walked out alone like that in the early evenings and in the mornings. Sometimes he watched her from the upstairs windows, a flickering upright between the hedgerow trees beyond fields. She ranged a little further every time, in widening circuits of the empty space between them. Sometimes he tried to follow her, though not to catch her up, and by the time he’d put his coat on and the heavy shoes – the fields and tracks were often wet and muddy after rain – she was too far ahead for him even to be sure that he was following; not merely walking in his own unravelling circles. Sometimes, when walking out like that he knew that she was one side or another of him, perhaps ahead, and felt they were like planets in their orbits, or rather comets. Their orbits were not perfect circles around the house, but stretched, elongated ellipses. Sometimes when he walked, searching for glimpses of her through the trees along the rides and lanes, he would glance back towards the house and see it setting like a sun, glinting in the early morning light or lit with yellow panes at evening in its deep cut windows..."
Home to Roost and Other Stories
JD Mac Namara
A collection of almost true stories concerning the doings, nefarious and otherwise, of the unique people of Erris, where the next parish west is America and where nothing is quite as one might expect... "Erris is a land on the edge of northern Europe and one of its least inhabited regions. It is regarded as a mysterious land alive with legends; legends which have been preserved and embellished through the centuries by its uniquely independent people. In his book ‘A tour in Ireland 1775’ Richard Twiss wrote’ I did not visit Erris since it is inhabited by some form of savage native and there are no roads.’ The people are far from savage and these days Erris has a few roads. Erris has vast stretches of unspoilt bog land, golden beaches and coves, secluded bays, crystal clear streams and lakes magical landscapes and spectacular cliffs. Gaelic dialect is spoken by some as their first language but when strangers are around the craic is in an English which can be pure poetry. Erris is a land of turf smoke, good strong tea, Guinness, Whiskey, both legal and illegal, soda bread, warm hospitality and a great welcome for strangers lucky enough to visit what used to be known as the back of beyond. The back of beyond it is no more, Knock has an international airport and even Belmullet has a death defying airstrip for bold pilots. The main highway has improved thanks to the European Union and there is even a fine golf links and a luxury hotel in Belmullet. But most of all, Erris is the sum of its people. Long may they thrive..."
Hugh McPearson and the Confounding Riddles
In his sixth bizarre adventure Hugh (and his brother who is also called Hugh) face their nemesis. This mysterious master villain has already stolen all the gold from The Bank of England and all the paintings from Buckingham Palace and now Hugh (and Hugh) have to prevent the villain from... well, they don't know what to prevent unless they can crack the villain's mysterious coded riddles. According to Hugh (Hugh's brother) a total twit is needed. Confused... read on... "I was sitting at my desk ready for work, appreciating the fact that my desk was sitting at me, also ready for work. I hoped it had enjoyed its evening off the night before, like I had. However, for the desk that meant enjoying being in the same place as it was all day while we were sitting at each other ready for work (or actually working) but without us both sitting at each other being ready for work (or actually working.) The phone began ringing so I presumed that the desk and I would soon be working rather than being ready for work (or enjoying time off not sitting at each other.) I answered the phone. “Hugh McPearson Detective Agency…” I began. “All Mysteries solved for a small few plus exp…” “Oh, forget all that baloney!” interrupted a voice I recognised. “Particularly your ludicrous claim to be a ‘detective’ – someone should have you up for abuse of trade’s description – your claim’s an insult to we real detectives! You should describe yourself as ‘Hugh McPearson Totally Incompetent Twit’. After a while I recognised the voice denigrating me. It was my brother the so-called ‘Ace Detective’… Well to be honest the actual Ace Detective. “Hugh!” I declared when the penny finally dropped. “Why have you called me?” Despite his opinion of my competence – or rather lack of it – as a detective, Hugh had never bothered to call me just for the purpose of insulting me. Normally he saved up a year’s worth of insults for our annual family dinner at Christmas. I think mum and dad were finally getting fed up with it. “I need a total twit,” replied my brother curtly. “What?” I responded. Hugh seemed to have graduated to a higher level of brotherly abuse than usual but I still had no idea why he’d really called me. “I need a total twit,” repeated Hugh. “The villain I’m trying to catch is completely unpredictable – I need someone who might be on the same wavelength as them. So I need a total twit. Obviously I immediately thought of you.” “Let me get this straight…” I replied, trying to get things clear. “Despite calling me up out of the blue and insulting me, you actually need my help.” “Yes… you’re the biggest and therefore most completely total twit I know,” replied Hugh. Grudgingly, he continued, “Please will you help me?” There was a long pause. Hugh had never used the word ‘please’ in any sentence addressed to me… except possibly “please, go away” or “please, get out of the way” … although the word please was generally missing from those sentences in any case..."
Water off a Duck's Back
Except for the duck, the wedding is unremarkable. It’s a celebrity marriage, but all the usual things happen, and in more or less the correct order. The caterers are too early, and the flowers are late. The best man—who is not Rowan’s best man but the brother of the bride—pretends to lose the ring. Gloria has a last minute fight with her mother over her intention to honour, but not to obey in her wedding vows, and one of the bridesmaids eats too many chocolates and has to go home. It’s at the reception that things start to go seriously awry. And almost everything can be blamed, at least in the beginning, on a small, male mandarin duck. "The duck had been there since the early morning. Gloria told Rowan that she had seen it from her bedroom window. She’d woken early because the new wind-chimes in the Versailles potted orange trees had disturbed her. The duck had been swimming in lazy circles on the turquoise surface of the swimming pool and, apart from noting a pleasing splash of bright orange against dark aubergine that might have a place in a colour scheme somewhere in their new ranch house, she gave it not a moment’s more thought. This was a mistake ..."
The Non-Adventures of Mr Sproutface and Mr Wibbleton
Mr Sproutface and Mr Wibbleton, committed jumper wearers, museum visitors and lovers of minestrone soup, are looking for a way to escape their work in the circus. One afternoon, while sitting in a puddle of spilt breakfast cereal, they decide to follow their dream and bring cheese to the people of Basingstoke. However, the modern world is difficult. Sometimes, one faces prolems that cannot be fixed with a list and a damp cloth. Whether it is cheese-dinosaurs, bakers intent on World Domination, missing hamsters or being locked in a trouser museum, non-adventures are never far away. But for every problem, there is a solution. And as long as Mr Sproutface and Mr Wibbleton have their jumpers, a bowl of minestrone soup and each other, they will find a way to keep their dream alive. This story is aimed at children between 7 and 11 but there's plenty for adults to enjoy as well.
Countdown and Other Horror Stories
A date from hell; a camping trip with freshly-caught meat on the menu; a Spanish lesson concerning the futility of life; an alcohol-fuelled dream or was it reality?; a secret assignation at a graveyard; the nosy neighbour who found more than he expected; the hair of the dog that wasn't a cure; the effects of the moon on a near-empty beach; exploring an alien landscape - a new collection of nine stories with a theme of horror running through them.
A Rat's Tale
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Doctor Dominic du Mortier and I am a hundred and sixty one years old. No no, stay where you are please. It’s not that I’m unwilling to shake your hand, please don’t think that. It’s really more a case of my being unable. Permit me to explain. I am beyond reach. And behind glass. And a rodent. Nothing special you understand – just a Rattus norvegicus, or a common brown rat to you. Oh yes, and dead. Did I mention that?
The Buttered Fly Effect
When feisty 35-year-old Jane decides to confront Fear 37 she soon finds herself adrift in a sea of chaos. In a rundown hotel in Dawson Creek, Canada, to achieve her goal she must contend with crazed middle-aged bikers, drunk oil workers and a hippy called Ralf. Will she survive to face Fear 38?
Crisis Meeting in Hell
Seven days into the end of the world, there was a crisis meeting in Hell. This was a rare occurrence. A crisis meeting implies of course that a crisis had taken place, and needs to be resolved in some way. The usual reaction to a crisis in the seven circles was a street party.
When a bank forecloses on a company it's a case of numbers of a spreadsheet, but for those giving and receiving the news... things are more immediate. Bad news travels fast, so we had to travel faster. This, in essence, was the notion that guided us. You get it, you give it, you move on. Do it right and you’re away before things get messy, before the condemned have had time to let the reality of their new circumstances sink in, before that hollow look they get in their eyes has had a chance to take root in your memory. Do it that way and it’s smooth and efficient. Do it that way and it’s as close as something like this gets to being a job well done. And that’s generally how it went. Most of the time. This particular call came in late morning one Christmas Eve and swiftly killed off any hopes I’d had of any early finish. That disappointment was then exacerbated by the fact my car wouldn’t start, having been left parked up with the lights on for a few days. I’d been drinking most nights, medicating a malaise that often reared its head around that time of year. Happily, my thirst meshed well with the festive season. Our office’s underlying culture of functional alcoholism always received a shot in the arm that time of year. Yet, that morning as I sat in the car park turning the key in hope and then without, I wasn’t feeling all that functional. Jump leads and attempted push starts proved useless. The battery didn’t need so much a mechanic as a coroner. I was calling a taxi to take me to the train station when Russell Boyd sauntered over, all three-piece suit and Italian loafers. He sparked up ceremoniously and took a long pull before acknowledging me. It never did to be too cosy with the underlings. “Shouldn’t you be out bringing comfort and joy to the masses?” he asked. I explained the situation. Russell’s smoke curled in my direction. “Where to?” “Grantham, Lincolnshire.” “Sounds a shithole.” He paused a moment, as if sounding out a thought and finding that it pleased him, “I’ll drive you.” I laughed and waited for the punchline. It came in the form of the central locking system of his gleaming, bottle-green Jaguar yipping eagerly to attention..."