The Saturday Shed – Rule Britannia

This is a scheduled post using the phrase TONE-DEAF for inspiration.
I will be back online after August 7th: I’m on a blogging break!

Dave sashayed into the living room. “What do you think?”

“A white linen suit?” Lola dropped her handbag in horror. “Are you insane?”

“It’s stylish and cool, and I can wear it with my Panama hat.”

“You can be such an insensitive idiot,” Lola tutted. “Here’s a brief hint, we no longer have an empire.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” Dave picked up Lola’s bag and handed it to her.

She snatched it from him and pulled two gilt-edge cards from the front pocket. “We have invitations to a retrospective of Britain’s rather murky colonial past and you want to dress up as the last Viceroy of India.”

“It’s a classic look!”

“So are Brown Shirts and funny salutes.”

“You take this woke crap too far sometimes: I’m not a Nazi or some kind of screaming racist.”

“No, but you are tone-deaf.” Lola pushed him from the room.” Go upstairs and change into your jeans and that tee-shirt I bought for your birthday.”

“You mean the one made in a Bangladeshi sweatshop?”

R is for Revenge

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An attempt to produce a poem or story from now until the end of April (except Sundays).
The theme for the 2022 A to Z Challenge is the human condition.

My workload is shrinking: he’s only sending a fraction of his usual non-post-worthy inane nonsense. And it doesn’t require as much tarting up these days. I can’t believe the thick berk has developed enough savvy to produce good copy and manage his own media profile. This is a man who thinks TikTok is the noise a clock makes. So, why am I only in charge of FaceFarce and Twatter these days?

I remember the interview, where he assured me how busy, how full-time this job would be. He smiled and offered me £25 an hour. I laughed in his face. It worked, and he upped the offer to £35. At first, the job was easy, a piece of piss, as my father would say.

We had a few teething problems until I took away his admin rights. I had to save the planet from his assaults on the English language. A fact made all the more depressing because he is English. At least he speaks the language beautifully, his posh accent has opened doors and legs for him ever since he was spotted in the crowd at THAT football match.

And thanks to me, he is worth squillions: stick his image on a dog turd, and people will kill to buy it. But I bask anonymously in his reflected glory because I am contractually bound not to reveal the true nature of my job.

Sad state of affairs for a marketing graduate, but this gig pays more than being on the dole. And up until recently, I had high hopes he would commission me to ghostwrite his autobiography. But our once harmonious relationship is slowly disintegrating all because of Jaydee Meriwether.

Ever since she won the last series of Campus Creepshow, she has been unstoppable. If you have no idea what CC is, I applaud your good taste. It’s a cross between The Hunger Games and The Apprentice. And she won, not just for her ruthlessness and business savvy, but because of her willingness to flash her jugs to the camera. And I suspect my client has been seduced into abandoning me with a few private showings of her plastic bazookas.

I am not happy with this, I’ve spent weeks building up his profile. And if she poaches him now, I’m history. But believe me, that won’t happen without a fight. I also have a couple of WMDs in my arsenal. And I’m not afraid to use them.

Put it this way, I know where the bodies are buried and I have the photos to boot. Time to put the screws on my fake, floppy-haired employer and the fear of God up Jaydee’s Prada kilt. If they don’t come around to my way of thinking then I will destroy them both.

C is for Crushed

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An attempt to produce a poem or story from now until the end of April (except Sundays)
The theme for the 2022 A to Z Challenge is the human condition.

Titanic dreams
His plans for the future that became hers
The scrimping and saving to buy the ramshackle cottage with a plot of land

Titanic dreams
The love that was there from their first date
A trip to the cinema, with Jack and Rose racing through sinking corridors

Shrieking, laughing, running through their waterlogged house
Rain pouring through holes in the roof
Tumbling into bed

Titanic dreams
Pointing, plastering, painting
Watertight and snug
Planting, hoeing, harvesting
Selling organic soaps and candles
Slaughtering their first chicken
Holding it on the block as she lifts the axe

Titanic dreams
The car, the storm, the broken bridge
She floats to the surface
The woman in the nightgown
But cold water brought cold death

Titanic dreams
The echoes fade as she awakes
And remembers
It wasn’t a dream
How can her heart go on?

A is for Antipathy

An attempt to produce a poem or story from now until the end of April (except Sundays)
The theme for the 2022 A to Z Challenge is the human condition.

“Yo, James Stewart, seen any murders yet?” Dorian burst into the room.

“You’re very funny.” Bart gave her a sour look. “Haven’t heard that joke at all in the last hour.”

“That’s because you’re scaring your visitors away with your new Mr Grumpy persona.” She flung herself into the armchair by the bed and started eating the cherries on the bedside cabinet, spitting the pips into her hand.

“Gross.” Bart winced. “I’m sure Grace Kelly never did that.”

“Don’t be fooled. Under that pristine exterior, there lurked a barbarian. I bet she used to pick her nose in private and flick bogies up the wall.”

“Shut up,” Bart shifted uncomfortably. “Next thing, you’ll be telling me Hitchcock was a serial killer.”

“Not impossible.” Dorian barked with laughter. “But you can see why someone would get paranoid, stuck in a room, legs in plaster and all the life you’re missing, going on outside your window.”

“Thank you, little sister. You are such a ray of sunshine.”

She grinned at him and reached for his juice glass, slurped down the contents, and dropped the cherry pits into it. “Can’t stay long today. Got a doctor’s appointment, still getting those weird stomach pains.”

“Poor thing,” said Bart. “Let’s talk about something else to cheer you up. How’s Pete?”

Dorian waffled on about her latest boyfriend for the next ten minutes, then shrieked in horror when she noticed the time.

“Sorry, bro, gotta dash.” She dumped the empty fruit bowl on the bed. “I’ll see you later.”

“Take care of yourself, Dory,” Bart blew her a kiss and smiled with relief when she left the room. He tucked the glass behind a get-well card and waited for his carer to turn up. When Suzi arrived, she settled him in his wheelchair and began stripping the bed.

“You’re out of fruit, Bart, that dopey sister of yours eaten it all again?”

“As ever!” He gave her a rueful grin. “Don’t suppose you have time to pop down the shops for me?”

“Of course, more cherries and a punnet of peaches, do you?”

“And maybe some apricots? They’re not my favourite, but Dory loves them.”

“You think that will stop her from eating the rest of your fruit?”

“I can but hope.” He gave her a twenty-pound note, and off she trotted. When he heard the door slam, Bart wheeled the chair into the kitchen and hid the glass from his bedside table. He would attend to it after Suzi went for the day, but before Clive came to bathe him and put him to bed.


Dorian turned up the following morning, and Bart wondered why she bothered. No doubt their mother bullied her into it. Addicted to self-help books and the misguided belief that all family conflicts could be solved with dialogue. That made him smile. If it wasn’t for his stupid, selfish sister, he wouldn’t have both legs in plaster and another four weeks of sitting in a chair on wheels.

With a soft smile, he listened to Dory’s tales of woe about the cramps, the diarrhoea and her lack of energy. He suggested more fruit and laughed when she stuck a whole apricot in her mouth.

“You get more disgusting by the day,” he told her as yellow pulp dribbled over her chin. “Go and wash your face.”

Grinning, she skipped off to the bathroom. While she was gone, Bart slipped a pill bottle out of his dressing gown pocket. Unscrewing the lid, he poured a light powder into the juice glass, noting she’d already drunk half of it. When she came back, she downed the rest in one. Again, he waited. Surely, forty ground up cherry stones would do the trick this time.

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #151: The Spelling Bee

Image Credit: Darius Bashar at

For the visually challenged writer, the photo shows a woman sitting at a desk writing something down in a notebook. She’s sitting inside and is framed by a window.

Hazel sat back in her chair, glaring out of the window, whilst feral kids charged about, yelling at the tops of their voices. If she wasn’t so drained, she would have done something about them ages ago. But she had little left to give.

Why were some mother’s so ruddy useless? Couldn’t they teach their annoying progeny better manners than this? But no, they sat around, laughing and gossiping while their ankle-biters ran riot. So much for taking a quiet moment to recharge herself.

She grimaced as one brat barrelled into her table, sending a wave of hot chocolate spattering across her notebook. Hazel got him when he pelted past again. She itched to do worse but could only clench a fist and smother a grin as the rug-rat tumbled arse over tip on the hardwood floor.

One of the mother’s, his presumably, darted over and hoisted him to his feet. Hazel made a shooing motion and tilted her head. The woman paused for a second, then loudly informed her friends she was taking Charlie home. There was a flurry of kisses and goodbyes, and she left with another child in tow.

Hazel concentrated, and within minutes they’d all gone, leaving messy tables and upturned chairs. The soothing sounds of gentle conversation, interspersed with the delicate clinks of cutlery on china, washed over her. She smiled with relief: this was just what she needed. Hazel closed her eyes and flexed her right hand: Nothing happened. She frowned and tried the left hand. It wouldn’t move.

“Not working, is it!” A gleeful voice whispered behind her. “And it won’t, not while I’ve got strength in my body.”

Hazel struggled to turn around.

“Oh, no, you don’t!” The unseen speaker continued. “You ain’t going anywhere until you pay me for loss of earnings.”

“What are you talking about?” Hazel spoke with great effort.

“The Mummy Club. They were good for another fifty quid this afternoon, but thanks to you, they’ve all buggered off.”

“Sorry,” Hazel panted; it really was getting harder to talk. “If you release me, I can go to a cash point.”

“I don’t want your money.” Hazel felt a light pressure on the back of her neck. “You’re not the only one who knows the art of regenerative assimilation.”

A low hum filled her ears, and her vision faded. “You’ll be fine in a minute or two. Just don’t expect to do anything like this for a very long time.”

The last thing Hazel heard before she lost consciousness was the voice hissing: “And that’ll teach you to pick on children.”

Flash fiction inspired by:
RDP Monday prompt: spatter
Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 151
Ritu Bhathal’s prompt of chocolate for JusJoJan 10th Jan 2022