Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009's Ten Things Lists

As the year comes to a close, I decided to take a look back on things that I had read, watched, listened to etc, and made of list of my ten favourites. By no means are these complete lists but they do encompass what my year has been like.

Ten Books I Read From 2009

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
Under The Dome – Stephen King
Driven To Distraction – Jeremy Clarkson
True Blue – David Baldacci
Rain Gods – James Lee Burke
Last Chance To See – Mark Carwadine & Stephen Fry
In America – Stephen Fry (Re-Issue)
Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica – Joel McIver
Toy Stories – James May
Drood – Dan Simmons

Ten CD’s That I Bought In 2009

Colour Me Free – Joss Stone
21st Century Breakdown – Green Day
Preliminaires – Iggy Pop
Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot
Battlefield – Jordan Sparks
Breakthrough – Colbie Caillat
Endgame – Megadeth
World Painted Blood – Slayer
The Fall – Norah Jones
Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures

Ten TV Shows I Have Been Collecting on DVD in 2009

House M.D.
American Gothic
30 Rock
King Of Queens
That 70’s Show
Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Dharma & Greg

Ten Songs I Am Learning On The Piano in 2009

Right To Be Wrong – Joss Stone
Humble Me – Norah Jones
Van Nuys – Sixx A.M.
My Immortal – Evanescence
In The End – Linkin Park
Unforgiven III – Metallica
I Wish It Would Rain – Phil Collins
Bed Of Roses – Bon Jovi
Overcome – Live
Uninvited – Alanis Morrisette

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bully and Victim

The hiccups had started when the verbal abuse did.



I had been used to these taunts all through my childhood. The other kids just didn’t understand me. They didn’t realise what these verbal barbs did to a young man’s confidence and self-esteem.

“Hey, poof, want another pillow to bite?”

As if my future wasn’t bleak enough, growing up in a foster home, this constant abuse had almost sent me over the edge. I had stolen the pistol my foster father kept in the bottom drawer of his bedside table – he won’t notice until it is too late.

“Hey, queer, we’re talking to you.”

The first punch landed on the side of my head, knocking me off balance; the second one hit me in the kidneys which made me groan in pain. I felt the nausea rise, along with the years of anger and humiliation.

The first shot, much to my surprise, hit the bully between the eyes. Shock formed on his face, gradually melting away as his life did the same.

I will never be the victim again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Money (In God We Trust)

...and we shall see how godless a nation we have become...

Whirlwinds dance upon the empty streets. The cracked and faded sign that once proudly proclaimed "You are Now Entering The City of Joy" leans against a rotten tree stump, awaiting another resurrection in a long line of resurrections. Another coat of paint - applied by another newcomer - in the hope of lifting the spirits of a town long-since forgotten.

Brian lazily eyed the lone crow, flying low across the now-barren crops in search of nourishment. Taking in what was left of this community, he smiled to himself in the knowledge that this had been a thriving economic town before he and his entourage of purse-emptiers had arrived. He remembered the singing, the dancing, and the praising of his Lord’s name. He also remembered the pressing of the flesh and the swelling of the bank balance.

Now, just a few short months later, it was bankrupt. It was just a desolate outpost on the road to redemption - a shadow of its former self. First, it had been the small businesses that went under, unable to sustain the rent and utilities payments after giving more than half of their profits in the name of God, followed by the bigger chain stores relocating as they realised that the money was slowly dwindling in town. The younger generations were moving away in search of other opportunities.

Pastor Brian Jackson removed his dog-collar, undid the top button of his freshly starch ironed shirt. He had been the only one to profit from the venture. As it was meant to be - at least, that was how he saw it. Brian bent down, picked up his suitcases and loaded them into the trunk of his very new car. All part and parcel of the benefits of bringing the Word of God to His people. However, all good things must come to an end. With one final look around the near-abandoned Main Street, Brian got into the driver’s seat and closed the door behind him.

"City of Joy?” He thought to himself. “Not anymore.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Brave Days Indeed.

Bravery and courage are words I hear on the news, usually in reference to some sport star that played with an injury. That is cool, but neither brave nor courageous.

I have always thought that these traits were more appropriate for people who go above and beyond what is expected of them, usually selflessly.

I am hoping that people will refer to me as brave and courageous after successfully pulling off this stunt.

If I don't succeed, I don't really mind - chicks dig scars!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Story Virus v.5

Right, then. Tagged in a project with some pretty amazing writers. Let's hope I don't let the team down.

Here's the lowdown: This is basically a series of flash stories. I was tagged by the wonderful Michael Solender, and given the list of previous posts so I could continue this on. I will add to the story, then tag more people for them to keep it moving. It is a wonderful concept and a lot of fun.

Start here:
I, Splotchy

Then here:
Cormac Writes

And then here:
Lost In The BoZone

Then here:
David Barber's Fiction World

And then:
Writing The Hard Way

Not From Here, Are You?

And here is my addition to this story:

Detective Gary Houston was dining with his mother at Erica's immediately across the road from the Poof Palace Spa and Beautification centre. He had been listening to her drone on and on for the last forty-five minutes, occassionally focusing on her words, but generally ignoring her whilst picking at his lunch.

His mother's voice penetrated his thoughts.

"Are we expecting a storm today, Gary?"

"Not of the wet variety, Mother, but I feel a shitstorm coming."

His mother looked at him disapprovingly. "You know I don't like it when you use that language." She glanced out the window, at the rain-laden clouds. "I think it will rain, dear."

"Not until Christmas Eve, Mother." Gary sighed, knowing that the joke would be wasted on her. He stood, needing to use the rest rooms when he caught sight of Blanco exiting the building across the road. He stood motionless, stunned by the hue of the man's skin. He quickly excused himself from the table and made his way outside.

"Blanco, over here. What in the fuc..."

"No time for that now. Houston, we have a problem. Big Bopper is on the loose again. Damn I hate Christmas."

A stern look came over Gary's face. "You know what we have to do, right?"

"I will ring him now, Houston. If this fails, we are in deep shit."


Ok, now I will tag the following people:

Daniel Stine
Erin Cole
Mike Whitney
Word Vamp
Harry Sanderford

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dressed To Impress on BlinkInk

My very short story "Dressed To Impress" is now up on BlinkInk. A big thanks to Lynn Alexander for accepting it and putting it in such a highly impressive publication.

Click here to read.

Losing Weight is Quite An Affair - 3WW Post

Hello, my name is Andy, and I am an asshole. It must be true; everyone says so. My family tells me all the time; Rebecca’s family does the same. Even my secretary thinks I am an asshole. While there may be some truth to it, you need to know the whole story, from the beginning...

Rebecca had always wanted to be slim; she had pored over the fashion magazines, pointing out to me the women who had the best figures – the women she wanted to be like. We had only been together for a few weeks and I thought she was beautiful and curvy. A great catch for a private dick with a few extra pounds of my own.

As the months passed, Rebecca became obsessed; walks in the morning, gym at night. Things came to a head one day, however, when I suggested that she should just forget about it. After a few choice words about the size of my ass (I was quite offended), she came at me, waving her arms and screaming at me about not being sensitive to her needs, not caring for our relationship. I grabbed her by her slender, lithe wrists and told her that if this madness didn’t stop, that our relationship would be over.

Two weeks later, I started to notice a definite change in her attitude to me and began to wonder if she may have been having an affair. One morning, I decided that I had to put my mind at rest and decided to follow her. After weaving through the morning traffic snarls and avoiding detection, I saw her pull into a side street and park her car. I drove around the block, parked and got out of the car to observe.

A young man came out of a nearby house, waved in her direction and made a beeline towards her. He leaned in through the driver’s window and gave her a kiss. Went around to the other side of the car and got into the passenger seat. Rebecca did a u-turn in the middle of the street and headed back the way she came. I raced back to my car and jumped in; making sure my Smith & Wesson semi-auto was in the glove-box and followed from a discreet distance.

I followed them to Mac’s, where they had lunch. Afterwards, they drove across town to the cemetery. I had no idea what they were doing here; Rebecca had been known to have a few, shall we say, eccentricities when it came to sex, but we had never done anything this morbid or bizarre. Sure, I was jumping to conclusions but, in my line of work, that can usually save your ass from trouble.

Once again, I parked the car down the road from where Rebecca and her beau had stopped. Cautiously following on foot, pistol secure in my belt, I watched as they walked, arm in arm, down the leafy path until they arrived at a huge mausoleum. Rebecca made a quick, cursory glance around. When she appeared to be satisfied that all was well, she hugged the young man tightly. Gun in hand, I broke through the bushes from behind the mausoleum.

“What in the fuck is going on here?” I screamed at Rebecca, scaring them both.
I saw shock and fear in Rebecca’s eyes, obviously distressed at being caught in the middle of her afternoon tryst.

“Andy? What are you doing here?” It took her a few minutes to process the picture she saw before her. “Have you been following us? What is going on?”

I turned from her without responding and stared at the young man next to her. A puddle had formed at his feet and it sure as hell wasn’t rain. I didn’t feel any sympathy for him – he was doing my girl.

“You, shit-for-brains, who in the fuck do you think you are?” When he tried to respond, I pointed the gun at his head and flicked off the safety. He shut his mouth soon enough. “I have one question for you. Nod your head for yes, shake your head for no. Got it?”

He nodded vigourously.

“One nod, asshole, or I swear to God, you and a bullet are gonna be real close friends. Okay, here’s what I want to know. Do you love Rebecca? I don’t give a fuck if this is a casual screw or a full-blown relationship. I don’t care. Just answer the question. Do you love her?”

Silence hung over the small clearing. I could see the kid weighing up his answer; I think he knew there was no right answer, yet he nodded his head slowly. Once.

“That’s all I needed to know. Thank you.” I gently squeezed the trigger, the echo of the shot reverberating around the cemetery grounds, as the young man collapsed onto the ground, a significant part of his head missing; most of it painted in giant splashes on the grave markers behind him.

“So, that puts a bit of a dampener on your sex life, doesn’t it? The question is - what do I do with you?” I said, swinging around to face her. I could see her eyes flitting about, hoping to catch sight of someone – anyone – to come to her aid and rescue. That wasn’t likely to happen.

“But, Andy, you don’t understand,” Rebecca pleaded between sobs, “He was my...”

One bullet. That’s all it ever takes.

So, what do you think? Killing people for having an affair is harsh, that’s true, but that is just the kind of guy I am. Had I waited a few more seconds and found out that the young guy was Rebecca’s brother and that they were visiting their grandparent’s grave, things may have turned out differently – also true. But, there is one positive to come from this: after ten months buried in a shallow grave, Rebecca’s wish of losing weight has come true.

I really am an asshole.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making Their Day up at the NOT

Michael Solender has been running a wonderful series of writes revolving around a Thanksgiving theme. There are wonderful stories from some of my favourite writers. Today, mine has been included in his Feast of Flash. It is entitled "Making Their Day" and can be found here.

Michael's blog, not from here, are you can be found by clicking on the title.