The Fault in My Star



They say you should never return, the memories are never the same as the reality.
Standing at the rusting, paint peeling gates of my former home in La Rochelle, I knew why.
Ours had been a relationship built on dreams. We had stars in our eyes, pie in the sky ideas, rose coloured glasses and every other cliché fired at us, for our inspiration and ideals.
So called friends and rivals queued up to say I told you so. When our world fell apart.
Innovation was the drive behind our success, he invented the dream, I was the marketing mastermind.
We won the rising stars business awards three years in a row.
Built with the profits of our hard work, all consuming hard work, Grande Maison Mon Étoile, and it’s grounds were once reminiscent of Monet’s garden, a delight of blues, purples and pinks.
Now it was more akin to Van Gogh’s dead sunflowers, with it’s tangled mess of mucky browns and dying greens.
I remember how we lay in the moonlight, stargazing. After a day’s work we’d kick off our shoes, take a blanket, a bottle of champagne and two flutes, out on to the lawn.
“A toast,” he’d say, gazing into my eyes, “to my star.”
“No, to My star,” I’d reply.
“To our stars, may they always shine.”
Someone blew our stars out the morning we read the news headlines; ‘Oil stocks not so slick.’
Our money.
Our house.
Our business.
Everything, in that slump, disappeared.
It was inevitable that our marriage fell with it.
I kicked at a piece of twisted metal. Once I’d nudged it free from the brambles I recognised the shape. I looked up at the arch over the gates.
Just as I thought.
No longer ‘My Star’, the ‘oile’ had fallen from the Mon Étoile. How ironic!
They were right, you should never return.


Lad’s Night


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Lad’s night
by A Lad

When drinking with the lads my plight is plain to see
My thoughts freeze, and here lies my flaw.
They presume I have a meagre repartee
Then they dismiss me as a bore.
It isn’t that I try to act the prude
I don’t intend to play that role at all
I try not to be misconstrued
But age has dimmed my memory recall.
I vowed to keep a notebook in my pocket
To write in ideas and tales to tell,
A list of deeds I don’t want to forget,
To entertain my drinking pals as well.
Still the note pad is unopened, my deeds are small.
I confess to having nothing to confess to, after all.

Train of Thought



The tutor handed back her final assessment.

“Read my example of a happy ever after, again. Then maybe I could meet you after the course to give you some pointers. You show promise.”
“No thanks.”

She remembered the corny example.

‘John jumped across the gap, onto the last carriage. The bomb was set to go off soon. He leant forward to unhitch the carriage from the rest of the train, as he did so he looked straight into her eyes.
“Goodbye, darling. Remember I loved you.”
 Her heart lurched as he separated the carriage. It was in that moment she realised If she couldn’t be with him, she didn’t want to be with anyone else either.
She jumped across the gap to join him.’

Bleugh! Her heroine wasn’t that stupid, if the hero was daft enough to get himself blown up, then he could do it on his own, she’d find someone else.

She packed away her laptop, tossed her Romance Writers course booklet into the bin on the way out of the room, heard the tutor call her name, but carried on walking.

She turned, glimpsed the pink briefcase, and quickened her step. How very ‘Barbara Cartland’, she would stick to writing crime and thriller novels. Romance was definitely not for her.

The tram was at the platform.

She was aware of her tutor still following as she boarded the last carriage.

Then as the tram began to pull away, he shouted to her.
 “Don’t go! Give me your hand to help me on, I need to see you again. We need to talk.”

Something cruel inside her made her reach out, despite having no intention of helping him up.
  He threw his briefcase at her feet and stretched, almost grasping her hand.

“I’ve loved you from the moment you joined my class. If I can’t be with you, I don’t want you to be with anyone else either.”

She withdrew her hand, as planned.

Then as she looked at the briefcase, the realisation of his words and intention slowly dawned on her.

Walking in My Girlfriends Shoes



It was time to open the door.

When they first met they discovered a common ground. It bound them together.
Theirs was a freedom which kept them a prisoner.
Take their careers for instance.

He; a fire fighter.

She; a model.

They discussed the expectations which accompanied their roles.
“You have a heroic career and the appearance of a Greek God, but you’re complaining that it attracts too many women? Is it such a hard status to live up to?”
“It’s alright for you,” he said, “all you have to do is look pretty and pose for the camera.”
“You want to try walking in these shoes.” She said.

So he did.

He liked it.

His inner gaoler locked him in the room with the black dog, then threw away the key.

“Why don’t you leave me here?” He said.

“Your prison is my prison.” She said.

He looked deep into her eyes, saw his reflection mirrored in there and cried.
He rested his head on her shoulder and played with her long brown hair.

“I am feeling how you are feeling.” She said

“That is exactly how it is.” He said.

Being caged is a lonely existence, cooped up in one room, and now the door was unlocked.
“Let’s go.” She turned to look at the pile of long thick brown hair, on the tiled floor by the sink.
Then smoothed her palm over the new cropped style, before she dug her hands into her trouser pockets.
In contrast he flicked his long fair hair from his shoulder, and smoothed down his dress.
They stepped out onto the sunlit road, and faced the town.
They’d found their freedom, unlocked the chains binding them to expectations.

Each walked forward and onward, heads held high, in their girlfriend’s shoes.

Giving Them Wings



The boy waited.
His own banishment did not worry him. His concern lay with the outcome of his argument with the Elders of the district.
He dared to challenge the wisdom behind the district cleansing, caging of the slow witted, stubborn, impaired and unloveable. They were labelled dirty vermin.
“They have other qualities. Give them time to discover their inner beauty and knowledge. Let them free.”
“Who are you to question the decisions of the Elders and the district tradition?”
He broke into their cage at night, left the door open for them to walk free.
The Elders drove him away. Sent him to the city of a hundred tongues, amongst the homeless and the nameless.
The Vermin, determined to find the boy so he could tell them more about their qualities, homed in on his light.
It was not an easy quest. Some stayed behind, nervous about what lay ahead. The rest followed the path of his flight. They negotiated labyrinths of temptations, pain and gluttony. They  braved storms, abuse, rejection and predators.
Some fell away, weakened by the journey, others found death waiting for them. It was a difficult search, even for the strong amongst them, but still they ploughed on.

Close to the fetid vagrants with sleeping bags, but far removed from the suited and brief-cased, the boy sat on the steps of the square. He heard calls and raised his head.
His lips parted into a wide smile, his obvious delight showed clearly on his face.
One by one they appeared.
All of the remaining Vermin found enlightenment, as he predicted they would.
Each had learnt their qualities and value to society along the way.
They delivered, to the boy, their gifts of love, unity, truth, understanding, determination, loyalty, faithfulness and above all experience and wisdom.
Their self discovery gave them wings.

The Greatest Show

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Two years in the making, today he would show them all he was still the King of entertainment, there was a young rival to compete against now, he had to make it spectacular.

Satisfied with the technical details, he only had the one chance, he chose to perform his new magic stunt in the woods. There, no-one could accuse him of trickery, the audience would be able to walk around him as he pulled off the best stunt of his life.

He knew it would be a success, despite not being able to practise due to the side effects of draining his energy and putting pressure on his organs.

There was a hush as he lowered himself into the empty frame.
Gasps of disbelief and horror rang out as his lower half gradually disappeared.

Too late he realised he’d omitted to devise a way of returning from the abyss!

I did it my way

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Prompt was ‘Are you sure about that?’  300 words.

I did it, my way.

“I am sure it is.”
“Believe me sweetheart, if I say it isn’t possible; it isn’t.”

He was getting on my nerves, big time. We were supposed to be collaborating on a script for a Television series. The deadline was looming and every contribution I made he shot down in his superior, sneering, way that made him unpopular amongst the rest of the group.

I gritted my teeth, spoke from between them.
“It stays in. I insist.”

His laugh rumbled inside his huge belly, like some ancient clanging boiler, then exploded from his wide, ugly mouth. The exertion from this scornful act of ridicule, caused sweat to drip from his forehead. As he leant forward to grope in his trouser pocket for a handkerchief to wipe his face, a few drops of sweat landed on my cheek.

A whole year of anger therapy rapidly unravelled in my head.
I sprung to my feet.
My full five foot, one inch frame, brought me level with his shiny round head, despite him being seated.

“Sweetheart, we all know, if it were possible you wouldn’t be in this group with us ‘Petty’s’. We are writing ‘True Crimes’ not fairy stories. The Judge and jury decided it wasn’t physically possible for someone of your petite size to break the neck of that heavyweight boxer. All the evidence showed how ridiculous the suggestion was.”

“Are you sure about that?”
I lunged at him.
His bulky frame was slow to move.
I had my arm around his neck, his eyes were bulging, his tongue lolled from between his swollen lips, I placed my lips near to his ear while he could still hear me.
“I had the best solicitor.”
The crack of bones was satisfying.
I finished the script; my way.