Nice Guy

I open the door for you, not because I am a nice person.
I smile as you walk past, not because I am a nice person.
I say you look nice, not because I am a nice person.
But because I want you to see me as a nice person.
Then I can see that too.

Pfenning for Your Thoughts?

When the honours system was first introduced on the Munich underground system in 1982, the one person to abuse it was nineteen year old student Colm Regan from Roscommon in Ireland.
Thirty years on and Colm felt Ireland's financial bailout, spearheaded by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, was perhaps a grotesque example of Karma at work.

Anything The Matter?

"I think I might have ADHD, Dad"
"You don't have ADHD son".
"But look at me, look. I keep jumping around. Can't stay still. I'm all over the place".
"We got all the tests done, remember"?
"Maybe it's OCD".
"It's not OCD".
"Could be Tourettes, couldn't it"?
"You were tested for that too and Aspergers and anxiety and Williams syndrome. It's all in your head".
"That's typical that is. You're only saying that because I'm gay". 

Fox In The Hood

Out of nowhere he seemed to appear.
Tail hanging low, head bowed, vigilant eyes darting from left to right.
Thin. Aware.
Young and stupid or old and desperate. One of those combinations had brought him to the point where he skulked between the houses on Jameston Road.
No longer his patch but rich with the history of his ancestors.
Their proud stomping ground, where legends were made.
Now home to the conqueror.
Gaunt, wary and fatigued - back to scavenge in a final tragic quest for scraps or defiantly re-claim what once belonged to his type.
This was ours - and it was great.


Sally Gap, County Wicklow, Ireland.
October, 1883.
Dark. Cold. Windy. Barren. Empty.
Far away, a two room cottage. Half way up a shaved slope. Moonlight accentuating the grey walls and thatched roof.
Smoke trailing from the stump of a rooftop chimney. Towards the stars.
Silence. Routine. Life.
He spat and continued walking.

Can't Believe Your Eyes

“If you look to the left…now to the right. Excellent. I’m going to ask you to look forward now and tell me what letters you see on the bottom line”.
They said S-H-I-T.
I could see the four letters on the bottom line clearly.
I couldn't say that out loud.
No way it could actually say that, could it?
Unless they did it on purpose – as part of the test. To see if people would say it even though they were sure it must be wrong.
“S-N-L-T” I said.
That’s how I ended up with the wrong prescription.

A Raise.

Asking your boss for a raise is never easy. Maybe your work hasn't warranted extra pay or perhaps he literally can’t afford to hand out any more and maybe you should just be content to at least be earning and be grateful for that.
What if he freaks and tells me to get out. Then what?
On the other hand, I know we can’t survive much longer on what I’m earning. Rent has gone up, kids need school books, and winter’s on the way so there’ll be heating bills.
He looks at me – his expression a mixture of pity, sadness and regret with a small but noticeable amount of resentment creeping in.
Time to pull out the secret weapon.
“I drew you a picture”.
On an A4 sheet of unruled white paper, a blue and red crayon drawing of a little boy in a cowboy hat sitting atop a horse.
He looks at it. For quite a while.
A single tear emerges from his left eye - slowly rolling southwards.
“It’s a cowboy on a horse” he whispers.
He always wanted to be a cowboy on a horse.

The extra two fifty an hour will see us through until March.

In Training

Dujom Rimpoche may have been the only Tibetan monk travelling on the Central Line Tube from Holland Park to Oxford Circus that morning.
He was also quite possibly the only person deriving solace and comfort from the recorded announcement to 'Mind The Gap'.

Squint and You'll Miss It

"If you follow the line all the way down to the bottom of the page, it will create an illusion of continuity. Squint your eyes just before the line and page end, then concentrate very hard. The line will go on for as long as you wish.Until you decide when it should stop. If you are able to do this, then fortune will favour you. But if the line stops before the end of the page, the opposite may be true".
It was worth a shot.
I prepared to squint.

Sweet Dreams

In the town of Dunworthy, located North East of Sunderland, sat a small sweet shop called 'Devons'.
The local children had been buying their BullsEyes, Blackjacks and BonBons there for generations. Ever since the original Mister Devon opened for business at the turn of the last century.
Killed in the Great War, he was. Never made it home.
Unlike his friend Maurice.
Both fought in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Maurice shot once.
His survival owed to a German bullet grazing the boiled sweet housed in the upper left jacket pocket.
Saving it for after dinner he was.
These days, 'Devons' opens at the weekends only.
Their big seller is still the 'Bullet Stopper' for 20p.

Past Pain

"Where does it hurt"? he asked.
"Mostly in the space between the back of my head and whatever is behind me".
The look of concern increased.
"Not ON your head"?
"No, the space behind me".
A pain existing in the invisible mass trailing in my wake. In front - no pain. Behind - pain.
The further the distance between me and whatever lies behind me, the greater the pain.
I knew a man once whose pain lived in all that lay before him. That sounds bad.
"Take this prescription and come back in a month".
"Will it work"?
"I don't know".

Oh Too.

Her voice grated.
One-sided conversation.
Half the story.
Louder – as if the distance between her and the recipient required a boost of extra volume.
Did you see, do you know, are you going…hello, hello can you hear me?
I grabbed her phone and threw it away.

'Just Super'

In his eleven years as Superintendent in the police department, right up to his retirement, Denis Dooper remained completely unaware that the men and women under his command giggled each time he signed an internal memo ‘Super D Dooper’.

'Bloody Selfish'

Just because he didn’t care what other people did, said, wore, thought or imagined – did not mean that he was selfish.
The fact that she said it was just “her opinion” was neither here nor there.
Indeed, his thinking about it in the first place only went to prove that he could align himself to others and how they feel.
He just chose not to.
If anyone was selfish in this scenario it was her for forcing her opinion of him onto him in the first place.
Some people!

'Number 62'

The ticket said ‘Number 62’.
Eighteen spaces away. Two windows open meant if each person took two minutes to complete whatever it is they need to complete, that would make for a thirty six minute wait. Average.
Long time standing, waiting.
Should have brought a book.
Number forty-five doesn't show!
Excellent. Little victories.
Rumble of excitement in the waiting room.
We’re closing in now. Might look for a seat and get comfortable.


The sun had left.
Well, probably more accurate to say it had been replaced.
By a deep purple orb.
It sent out heat, just like the sun, but a different type of heat. This heat seemed to lie on the skin for a brief whisper of a moment, as if dipping its toe into water to test the temperature.
Then, gradually and steadily and purposefully burrowing into the bones and fibres and blood cells and membranes.
All consuming and all enveloping.
Calming too. Very calming and soothing. Powerful but gentle. Reassuring and commanding.
The faces of those around took on the role of concern.
There was no need though; for the purple orb had replaced the sun forever and she had now become part of its light and warmth.