Monthly Archives: March 2012

Harsh Mistress

As I closed the door behind me and walked up the unlit hall I sensed her in the bedroom. I spoke no words of greeting and received none. I put my keys down on the coffee table in the lounge and headed for the kitchen. The cats food bowl was empty and the light on the extractor fan above the hob that I had forgotten to switch off in the morning was still glowing. I switched it off and turned on the main kitchen light over the sink. The water from the tap sprayed over my hand as I filled the kettle with enough water for one cup. I tossed a tea bag into a mug and reached over to the fridge for the milk.

While I was waiting for the kettle to boil I switched the TV on and flicked to channel four for the news. Another scandal involving the prime minister and the media filled the screen. The kettle finished boiling and I walked back past the breakfast bar to my mug. Water in, I let it steep for a minute then squeezed the bag twice with a teaspoon. I flung the squashed tea bag into the bin. The milk, as always, went in last.

As I sat down on the sofa in front of the TV my thoughts turned to the bedroom. I would at some point have to go in there. My heart pounded in my chest and the usual knot of guilt made it’s presence felt in my stomach. We started two years ago. On a dark wintry day in London I had taken the day off the work and walked to the local park. It had just begun to rain when she came to me.

It had started off well, so exciting and interesting. And new. At work I thought about her all day and couldn’t wait to come home to her. I would dream about her every time I slept. I guess the beginnings are always the best.

I first started to have doubts about five months in. I began to think about her less. I would find reasons to not come straight home. A pint after work. Slow, leisurely shops around the supermarket. I had even stopped dreaming about her.

Eventually, I don’t remember exactly when, I began to think about moving on. I felt numb and passionless. My life had become boring and mundane. All of the initial spark had left. The guilt I felt when I thought about leaving her was tremendous. It felt like such a waste. All of that love and energy for nothing. I couldn’t leave her.

My eyes and thoughts began to wander. I started to look elsewhere. I wanted that buzz of the beginning. A new start. I wanted to feel passion again. To feel alive. She came to me on the bus on the way back from the cinema. I had gone alone to watch a documentary. A documentary about a chimp being brought up like a human.

She was amazing. Suddenly I felt alive again. I hadn’t felt this for so long. She was different from her. She was unpredictable, spontaneous, passionate. So passionate. But no sooner had we begun than it was over. I felt good about it though. My confidence was soaring. It was brief but powerful. Of course I felt guilt but that lessened with every new affair. And there were many. I just couldn’t give her up.

I picked up my mug of tea, switched off the television and walked towards the bedroom. The handle felt cold to my touch as I opened the door. I switched on the light on my desk and pressed the power button on my laptop. As it whirred into life I was debating whether I was in the mood. I hadn’t looked at her in a while.

I opened her up and skipped through to chapter eight. This was as far as I had got. Two years to write eight chapters. If it had not been for all the short stories I would have undoubtedly already finished her.

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Being Down

Play without ego. Relax and focus. When I start telling myself to relax I know I am beyond help. Well, beyond any help that my brain can provide at that specific moment. Short of someone walking in to the club, physically carrying me out and locking the door behind me I am fairly helpless. Glasses guy in the small blind has three bet my open from the button for the fifth orbit in a row. I folded the first two times. I have four bet him twice, I took it down once and folded once to his five bet. In my mind it has ceased to be about the cards we are holding. In fact I do not even remember him looking at his hand. Did he even look at his cards this time? The tight passive moustache guy in the big blind folds. I four bet to £400. Glasses guy thinks for about a minute then five bet shoves all in. His last five bet was to £950. He is weak this time. He is trying to get me off my hand. Effective stacks are £2000. £1540 to call. I have pocket 9s. I know I’m a 70/30 favourite against a random hand. I know he could have any two cards. I know I’m calling. I call.

“On their backs, gentleman,” the dealer says, pulling the chips into the middle of the table. The pot stands at just over £4000. Well over a months wages for me. I flip over my nines. He flips over his kings. My heart sinks to my knees, pounding all the way down. I know I’m an 80/20 dog before the flop. On the rainbow flop of four, seven, jack I know I’m a 90/10 dog. My face is red and flushed. It is difficult to breathe and I can not feel or hear anything other than my heart pounding. The turn brings a queen, leaving me a 4% chance of hitting a nine on the river. I shakily stand up as another jack hits the felt. “Nice hand,” I say, pushing my chair back and heading for the bar…

From a novel I am currently writing, set to be published sometime in the next decade or so..


Re:Birthday

Soon to be available for a minimal fee on Amazon, a story of murder, mayhem and fun in the beautiful English countryside. Turning forty proved a little too daunting for Simon Tompkins but at least his friends were there to help him through it..

Did you pick up the body paint for me today, Simon?,” Rebecca shouted as I shut the front door behind me and walked up the narrow hallway. I have more than my fair share of pet hates but the simple unwillingness to say ‘hello’, or ‘hi’, when I come home ranks fairly high among them. Just a little annoyance but these things can build up occasionally.

“Hello, my dear,” I said, as I came up behind her and kissed the top of her head. “Yes, I did. It’s in the boot of the car.” She was sitting at her dressing table in front of the mirror using a lip pencil. As I looked down at my hand on her shoulder I noticed a large smudge of gold paint between my thumb and forefinger.

“Well, would you bring it in please? I want to try it against my new dress,” her eyes met mine in the mirror as she said this. She raised her eyebrows slightly and paused the pencil on her lip while waiting for my response.


No Tall Stories

A  new blog site for short story writers, poets and readers. Not all stories have happy endings, and no tall stories are true but all short stories are, undoubtedly, short. This is a place to come to tell tales, spin yarns, drop lines, write stories and, most importantly, enjoy words.