Fiction: Beware of politicians bearing gifts

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I wrote the following for a short story competition but figured I can put whatever I like on my blog so am apparently now including a bit of fiction along with everything else.

Skinny and squinty - bp image‘New jPhone X2 for UK Partiality Party Voters!’ read the Underground ad, accompanied by some illegible small print.

“What do you reckon?” asked a skinny young women, hair scraped back to show off earrings with the word ‘freedom’ scrawled within large gold-coloured hoops.

The curly haired girl in the orange jumpsuit squinted at the poster and replied “if it’s in writing it must be legit, right? Otherwise we could sue or something.”

*

newsman - bp image‘I can confirm that the United Kingdom Partiality Party are the new government after a landslide victory. They really found a new way to connect with the voters but what isn’t clear is what policies the new government will look to implement …’

‘Turn it off, will you?” huffed the scraggly haired man, reclining in the easy chair with the tattered blue throw. “I can’t believe that whim of a party got elected, what do they even stand for anyway?”

“Well, if they were so bad you should have voted for one of the other lot,” chirped the smartly suited woman, still looking fresh after a day of helping the common man. She added, “anyway they were chosen by the people and can’t be any worse than what we’ve currently got.”

Scraggly glared but Suit was too distracted trying to fit the SIM into her new phone to notice.

*

Skinny squinty talk - bp image“Haven’t seen any of our usual dealers by the chicken shop for a while. Mind you haven’t seen the owners of the chicken shop either. Did they get shipped out under the Alien Liberation Act or whatever it was that flashed up on my phone?” wondered Squinty.

“Nah, ‘chicken-2-go’ is like a national institution, probably just on holiday or something.” replied Skinny.

“Can’t you call someone to sort us out tonight?” said Squinty, “my phone’s not working.”

Skinny shrugged “nah, I’ve got a connection problem.”

*

skinny jail - bp image“You can’t just shut me up in here! I’ve got rights,” wailed Skinny as the Surly officer shut the door behind her.

Surly sneered, “don’t know about your rights but I let you keep your nice jX2 didn’t I?”

“But,” she sniffed, “it doesn’t even work anymore – only lets me call through to the UKPP guidance line or access their home page!”

*

skint suit jail - bp imageIn a crumpled suit, the overworked lawyer looked nervously behind her as the door locked into place.

Skinny demanded to know when she’d go free.

“Look,” Suit tried to explain, “when you accepted the phone you signed a contract and that’s legally binding. Without the EU or UN anymore, I can’t do anything. You’ve been classed ‘undesirable’ and under the National Re-Ordering Act section 1, paragraph 29.3(a) the government has a right to keep you indefinitely.”

“Indefiwhat!” exploded Skinny, “you’re useless! I want another lawyer! Give me your phone, I’m calling Citizen’s Advice.”

Suit rubbed her temples wearily with the hand supporting her head. “You can’t. Citizen’s Advice was abolished under the NGO Compliance Act,” she sighed, “and anyway, I’ve been having problems with my phone recently.”

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An Image of Youth Unbroken

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In memory of Megan Biddle


Whilst we live, you are immortal;
Apart from us but a part of us for ever more.
To you minutes and hours take no toll,
But march on us, unwanted and unasked for.

Like a flower pressed between
Two perfect sheets of glass and frozen;
You are free of time and yet trapped within,
An image of youth unbroken.

Unconcernedly the world keeps spinning,
Pulling us further and further from you;
It cannot erase what once had meaning,
But takes from us what we never knew.

Grey hairs will never leave their trace,
Although years dispense us this aging gift;
Wrinkles will never crease your face,
But fold in ours the dates you missed.

And when we are blurred, and fade away,
And are extinguished one-by-one,
Your memory will burn bright until the day,
That final flickering image too is gone.

When we too are liberated from our time,
Then you shall move from this eternity into the next;
Today’s sorrow will be redefined,
And we shall be reunited for all the rest.


On Monday I received the terribly sad news of the death of my parent’s neighbour, Megan. Megan was an eighteen year old woman I had known since she was a little girl. Her mother used to babysit for me and my brothers when we were small and when they moved next door to my parents house some years later I had the opportunity to babysit Megan and her brother Jack. It had amused me to think maybe someday she would babysit my children.

I knew Megan as a happy girl, full of love and life and laughter, like her whole family. Whilst I did not know Megan well as a young woman, having moved away by this point, I never saw her without a smile on her face and believe she grew up in the same spirit of happy adventure I knew when she was younger. It is overwhelmingly sad to think that she is no longer with us and I cannot imagine what her friends and family are suffering.

Her friends have organised a paypal collection to raise money for a commemorative bench, festival-style bands to remember Megan and for anything remaining to go to a charity Megan would have liked.

If anyone would like to donate you can do so through Paypal to the email address:
alice-rose.brooks(a)hotmail.com *

*replace the (a) with an @ – Writing it as above limits the likelihood of that email address getting spam.

The Christmas Eve Wrap

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Where’s the scissors?
Where’s the tape?
Where’s the paper?
Where’s the crepe?

Where’s the bow?
Where’s the string?
Where’s the ribbon?
Where’s the trimming?

Where’s the box?
Where’s the bag?
Where’s the wrap?
Where’s the tag?

Where are the presents?

Where are the scissors - bp image

 

Where are the presents?

Where are the presents!
How did I forget?
Which shops are open?
What can I get?

Where is my coat?
Who can give me a lift?
Where are my shoes?
Can we be swift?

Does this go faster?
Can we up the speed?
What did everyone want?
What does everyone need?

Who needs a gift?

Where are the presents? - bp image

 

Who needs a gift?

Who needs a gift!
Did we make a list?
How many to buy?
Who have we missed?

Can this be an offering?
Could this be a prize?
Is this a present?
Is this the right size?

Where is the till?
Have we enough time?
Is it possible?
Are we going to be fine?

Where is my bag?

Who needs a gift - bp image

Where is my bag?

Where is my bag!
Where is my card?
Where is my purse?
Why’s there a guard?

What will we do?
Have we nothing to give?
How will we manage?
Can it still be festive?

Can we still be happy
Without any stuff?
Could being together
Really be enough?

Will it still be Christmas?

Where is my bag - bp image

Will it still be Christmas?

Will it still be Christmas!
With family and friends,
It’s love, not presents,
On which Christmas depends.

We don’t need gifts,
Under the tree.
Just a little cheer
Between you and me

So if you were expecting
A little something,
Don’t be disappointed
When you get nothing!

Will it still be Christmas - bp image

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

‘Twas the night’ – L’escalade Part 1

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Twas the night of midwinter, when all through Geneva,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a beaver,
The washing all hung, by the chimney with care,
In hopes that come morning, dry clothes would be there,
The children were nestled, all safe in their beds,
While scents of hot soup, filled their sweet heads,
And Madame in her bonnet, apron in her lap,
Had just settled down, for a long winters nap,
When out on the walls, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed, to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash,
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to object below,
When what to my wandering eyes should appear,
But enemy troops, in formidable gear,
With the Duke of Savoy, so lively and quick
I knew in a moment, this was a devilish trick.
In blackened armour, they scaled the walls,
As they clambered, and scrambled, and planned our downfall.
Now musketeer, now canoneer, now pikeman, now fusilier,
On scoundrel, on crook, on rascal, damned villains!
To the top of the outer wall, to the foot of the inner wall
Now dash-away, dash-away, and damned you all!
A sentry alerted that all is awry,
Having met with alarm, emits a loud cry,
But up to the money gate, the rapscallions they flew,
With an armoury full of weapons, and bad intent too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the gloom,
A rattling, and clattering from our little room,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Away from the kitchen, Mère Royaume came with a bound.
She was dressed in night wear, from her head to her foot,
And her apron, tied round her, had remained put,
A cauldron of soup, she turned to with a knack,
And engaged in removing it from the hot rack,
Her eyes, how they darkened; her brows, how creased,
Her lips were drawn tight, her anger unceased,
Her bare little feet scuttled across the floor,
As she emerged from the kitchen door,
The lump of her pot, she held tight with gritted teeth,
And the steam it encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a broad face, and little beads of sweat,
From all the effort were making her wet,
She was determined and grim, a right angry old elf,
I started when I saw her, in spite of myself,
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread,
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And from the window, her soup she upturned, with a jerk,
From the enemy below a cry soon arose,
Rising up through the night, we heard their woes,
The brigands at bay, burned by the soup, gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle,
But I heard Madame exclaim, as the enemy fled from sight,
“Happy Escalade to all, and to all a goodnight!”
© Courtesy of www.1602.ch
© Image courtesy of http://www.1602.ch

 


With credit to Clement Clarke Moore’s “‘Twas the night before Christmas” poem which inspired, and provided some of the lines, for my parody.
You can find l’escalade Part 2 here.