Archive for the Fiction Category

Show Them Who’s Boss

Posted in Fiction on May 14, 2012 by Johnnie

Once upon a not-too-long ago, there lived a little man in an old, old street. For a long time, the street was mainly populated by old, old people and the little man was able to win their friendship and trust by routinely asking them about their health, their daily movements and their daily intentions. He would even ask if they had any little odd jobs he could do for them in their homes, so that he could get to know their houses, and chat away to them until nightfall. He would also volunteer to look after their properties, look after the street, and guard all and sundry in the locality against the slightest breeze from the terrifying Ill Winds of Progress.

The old, old people tolerated the little man; for, although he was a distinctly inquisitive individual, he was a handy person to have around. Surely no robber or burglar would come near the place, when, at the first sign of a strange face, his window blinds would twitch inquisitively, or he’d tramp out into his forecourt to demand to know said stranger’s particulars or intentions. He was, the old people decided, a sort of guardian; the kind of person who could be relied upon to keep the street safe, familiar and stuck in AD 1956.

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Sepulchral Notices (or The Mystery of Edwyn Pugh)

Posted in Fiction on March 1, 2012 by Johnnie

Clement Wiffen sat at his desk, his trembling hands obscuring his face.

‘Which one was Edwyn Pugh?’ he groaned.  ‘Are there any photographs?’

‘Maybe family ones, sir,’ said Mr Darkin.  ‘But we can hardly ask…’

‘Damn it, why can’t funerals be more like weddings?’ Wiffen snapped, removing his hands and staring down at the page.  He emitted a long sigh.  ‘This… it’s the end of me.  Us.’

‘Sir, do remember, Grave News is a trade publication,’ said Darkin, sitting down opposite his boss.  ‘The public need not find out.’

‘Don’t be naïve all your life, Darkin.  Of course it will get out.  Why do you think Lambrick and Sons suddenly closed down after 93 years?’  Wiffen stabbed the paper with his index finger.

‘Then it’s bad, sir?’

‘Worse.  Read it.’  Wiffen tossed the paper to his assistant.

Darkin read aloud: ‘“Wiffen and Usherwood Funeral Directors, estd. 1896, is now managed by the last of the Wiffens, Cyril’s great-grandson, Clement – a singularly gloomy individual who should carry an ‘Abandon Hope’ plaque around his neck…”Continue reading

So, whatever happened to Rocky Johansson?

Posted in Fiction on February 29, 2012 by Johnnie


‘Mock Turtles… Menswear… Jesus Jones… it’s a treasure trove of ‘where are they now?’ bands.   What else have you got in there?’

‘Well… what I was looking for was… where is it… here!  Remember this guy?’

‘Rocky Johansson… remind me..?’

‘“There’s only one of you? / Damn me if that’s true / Your love is like headlice / headlice…

 ‘Oh, God, Miserable Farewell, that takes me back.  You had a t-shirt of him, didn’t you?’

‘And the rest!  Posters, books, magazines… I bought everything he ever did.  Not that there was much.’

‘Look at that photo – looks a bit up himself, if you ask me.’

‘He probably was, a bit.  But I liked him.  He was the first star I wanted to run away and marry.’ Continue reading

Shadows of Love

Posted in Fiction on February 14, 2012 by Johnnie

Creak… thump… thump… rattle… rattle… … … thump.

It takes only a few seconds each morning but it’s a time I look forward to and dread in equal measure. She’s regular as clockwork, and quite the best reason in the world for me to get up at 3.30 and vacate the bedroom. I can’t be there, I have to be gone, and now I actually look forward to that half-hour’s breathing space before she performs her little routine.

The first time I heard it was only a few days after she passed on. I’d been having a dreadful night’s sleep; somehow, I knew something wasn’t quite right in the house.

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My first “novel” – Never Kill Farmers

Posted in Books, Fiction on January 8, 2012 by Johnnie

It was a morning like any other.  I was sitting at the breakfast table, the television flickering and droning behind me, and I was still trying to figure out why Anne Diamond was my dad’s fantasy woman.  In front of me, Bill (for it was he) failed to notice the corn flakes falling from his spoon, and splatting into the bowl below, as he gawped at Miss Diamond in one of her “trendy” jumpers.  I could hear her laughing behind me, laughing at everything her guest (probably Stan Boardman or someone like that) said, despite none of it being remotely funny.  Meanwhile, I noticed my own corn flakes were revolting.

     ‘Mum, the milk’s sour’ I complained. 

     ‘I should hope so,’ she said.  ‘It’s been maturing in the cupboard for a week.’

     There was a break for the adverts in TV AM, so Bill picked up his giant Herald, and began laughing like an executive, pretending he understood the articles.  ‘Hmm,’ he said.  ‘I see things are dicey in Lebanon.’

     ‘How do you mean “dicey”?’ I asked.

     He coughed, as he turned the page.  ‘You know, like wee cubes.’

     It was then I decided to leave home.  Within ten minutes I had packed a case and left through the back door via the kitchen.  Neither of my parents appeared to notice me leaving.

So began Never Kill Farmers, my juvenile foray into novel writing.  Continue reading