The Saturday Shed: Handfasted

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Tales from the Saturday Shed: The prompt this week is PAYBACK.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!

“Martine, for the love of God.” His voice is soft, and she strains to hear him. “Please, take my hand.”

She shakes her head and stares at his other hand. The one clenching the railing, the one that clutched hers when he asked her to marry him.

“We don’t want a big wedding, do we, Marty?” Dean said as he slid an engagement ring on her finger. “We’ll go to a registry office.”

She hated that stupid, sterile ceremony.

“Marty, I’m begging you,” he pleads, the words almost blown away by the wind that tears at their clothes. He adjusts his grip and reaches for her.

Just like Daddy did before Mummy pulled her away.

“You’re not taking her, you bastard.” Spit flew from her mouth, hitting Daddy. He took out a handkerchief, but instead of wiping his face, he held it out.

“Don’t cry, Marty,” he said, but he was the one with tears in his eyes. “I’ll be back to see you soon.”

“Over my dead body,” her mother hissed, pushing him off the doorstep and slamming the door.

Marty never saw him again, but the next day she found the crumpled handkerchief lying on the path. Mummy snatched it from her and burnt it on the fire.

“Martine!” There is fear in Dean’s voice and on his face.

“I’m tired,” she tells him.

He shuffles forward and speaks to her as if she is hard of hearing. “We can talk about this later. Why don’t you step away from the edge?” He extends both hands to her.

She closes her eyes and remembers…

Mummy dragging her past the tumblers and fire-eaters. “For goodness’ sake, Martine, will you stop dawdling.”

The nurse whisking away her stillborn son before she had a chance to hold him. “I’ll just take this.”

Dean clasping her to him and sobbing, “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”

But it did.

Marty opens her eyes and for the first time in her life, she takes a hand rather than let a hand take her.

Dean’s face falls slack with relief. “Come on, let’s go home.” He pulls her towards him.

“No, I have a better idea.” She takes a firm grip.


“This!” she says, stepping backwards. As they tumble over the cliff, Marty lets go.

The Saturday Shed: Fixing Banjo’s Wagon

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Tales from the Saturday Shed: The prompt this week is MOB.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!

Thanks to Banjo, I have to reassess our equality and diversity training. And put all future assignments on hold until everyone is up to speed. Annoying, but it could have been worse because at least he didn’t piss off any of my gold card customers. If that cockwomble had done something like that with someone like Anjay, the comeback would have been swift and brutal. But Moody? He took it on the chin.

“Shit happens,” he said. “But a word of warning: it wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t cute.”

No, it wasn’t. When Moody hired us to sort out his problem with some yardies muscling in on his patch, I never expected Banjo to dress up in a white pointy hat and wave a burning cross around. God knows what was going through his tiny mind, and I said as much to Moody.

But he shrugged it off. “His rather unsavoury solution worked. So, no harm done! Well, not to my reputation.” Then he winked.

And I realised I would be in serious trouble if word got around, especially if Anjay heard about this. With a big, friendly smile for Moody, I steered the conversation around to the subject of compensation.

“I’ll take a full refund for the last job plus,” he grinned, “an extra five hundred. And a 50% discount if I hire your services again.”

“No problem,” I said, thinking; you greedy bastard. “And how about a meal on the house tonight in Raj’s restaurant?”

“Don’t mind if I do: me and the missus love a good curry!”

That was handy; it masked the poison. Raj put Moody and his party in a side room and asked them to use the executive entrance. After the groans and screams stopped, Banjo moved the bodies and arranged them around Moody’s dining table. By lucky chance, I managed to pin the blame on one of Anjay’s rivals. Win-win for all concerned, except for Banjo. I disposed of him myself. He’s under the foundations of the new synagogue on Oswestry Lane.

The Saturday Shed: 24-Hour Party People

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Tales from the Saturday Shed: The prompt this week is TIME.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!

The celebrations always started in Kiritimati. That first time, Mamalou gave him a carved figure of his private jet. “You must bring this back,” she hissed, placing it in his hand and squeezing with enough force to make him wince. He didn’t understand why, but nodded in agreement and prepared for take-off.

The first stop was Aukland, where he hooked up with a woman dressed as a penguin. And thanks to the autopilot, they joined the Mile High club before landing in Sydney. The fireworks were stunning, but they missed the end because they had to get to Moscow. There, they picked up a South African rugby squad, who sang Zulu warrior chants all the way to Dublin, where they stayed. As did the penguin: she ran off with a lumberjack.

He replaced them with a bevy of Disney princesses, an off-duty copper, two pig farmers from Devon, and a crate of champagne. He didn’t indulge, not with a plane to fly. But he found time to enjoy a threesome with Merida and Jasmin before they landed in Rio. Now, there was a city that loved to party.

He danced with a lady wearing little more than a handful of white feathers and kissed her passionately as the crowd counted down in exuberant Portuguese. He whisked her away, leaving everyone behind except for a pig farmer and Belle.

They couldn’t decide between New York or Washington. And argued so much; he flew them to Mexico City instead, where a mariachi band joined them. The farmer and Belle tried to dance the jarabe tapatío in the aisle, but turbulence forced everyone to sit down and buckle up. And the band played on.

He swapped them for the cast and crew of a low-budget caper comedy driving around Las Vegas in a London double-decker bus. They were keen to come along, and he agreed to wait ten minutes whilst they bought beer and party snacks. He refused to take the leading lady home to change out of her Elvis costume, much to her chagrin.

With time running out, he paused in Hawaii only long enough to offload his guests. His Brazilian beauty wept. He took a battered feather and asked Elvis to look after her.

The flight back to Kiritimati was dull. He ate some leftovers and tried to play Auld Lang Syne on a discarded trumpet. But he was sick of that tune and already missing the girl from Ipanema.

He touched down with half an hour to spare and sat on the tarmac, caressing the feather. Five minutes later, Mamalou appeared.

“Where is it?” She glared at him as he made a show of patting his pockets. “Have you any idea what you’ve done?”

“Broken the space-time continuum?” He hazarded a guess.

“It’s worse than that, you idiot.” She was frothing at the mouth; he’d never seen anyone do that before. “And only you can put it right.” Spittle flew in all directions.

“How?” He discreetly wiped his face

“Go back the other way as fast as you can. Don’t stop until you get back here. Then start this day again and keep going until you find it.”

“Thought that would be the answer,” he said with a cheerful grin.

As he taxied into position, he tossed a small sculpture onto the co-pilot’s seat and wondered if he should make a play for Tiana this time or save himself for Miss Brazil.

The Saturday Shed: Ever Present

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This is a scheduled post using the word FAITH for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!
The prompt next week is

At ten to midnight, Billy crept downstairs. Mummy was wrong because Daddy never broke his promises.

“Your father is gone,” she said. “We will always miss him, but he’s not coming back. He can’t. You understand, don’t you?”

Of course he did! Billy knew what putting someone in the ground meant; it happened to Grandpa and the hamster. But this was different because of the accident. And when Daddy asked him what he wanted for Christmas and Billy replied, you, Daddy laughed and said he would do his best because he wanted nothing more than to be back home. Then came the compilations and the new-moany-a that left Daddy in a big muddy hole.

Billy tiptoed to the cupboard under the stairs and retrieved the can of beer he’d hidden earlier. He set it on the table next to Santa’s glass of sherry, the mince pie, and the scrubbed carrots. Then he switched on the tree lights and curled up on the sofa. The minutes dragged until the clock on the mantlepiece chimed for Christmas Day.

Twenty minutes later, Billy wiped his wet face with the sleeve of his dressing gown. Santa hadn’t come, and neither had Daddy. With his thumb in his mouth and an ache in his heart, Billy cried himself to sleep.

He woke with a start. A man in a red suit was standing by the fireplace. “Hello, little lad, shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Daddy?” Billy rubbed his eyes.

The man smiled and opened his arms.

“You came!” Billy launched himself forward and hiccoughed with joy as he was spun around and around.

“I said I would.” Daddy sat in an armchair with Billy in his lap. “You were depending on me, and I couldn’t let you down.”

“Can you stay forever now you’re here?”

“You already know the answer to that, don’t you?” 

Billy nodded sadly, and Daddy kissed the top of his head. “But I have a present for you. Remember last Christmas when you asked for a little brother, and mummy said maybe later? Well, it’s later now!”

Billy sighed with delight and snuggled further into his father’s embrace.

“Take care of Mummy for me, Billy, and don’t forget, I’ll always love you.”

“Wake up, sleepyhead, it’s Christmas Day!” Mummy was shaking him. He was back in his bed. “How about some breakfast before we see if Santa has been?”

“Can I have a fry-up?” Billy threw back the covers.

“Wouldn’t you rather have Cornflakes?” Mummy ruffled his hair. “It’s just the thought of cooking is making me feel quite queasy.”

Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, folks!

The Saturday Shed: Bird Watching

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This is a scheduled post using the word BUDGET for inspiration.
For those with the time or inclination: Feel free to join in!
The prompt next week is

“Our outgoings are still outstripping our incomings,” Oliver announced. He slammed a ledger book on the table, spilling a glass of water.

“But we’ve been budgeting like crazy.” Ava grabbed a strip of old bed linen to mop up the mess. “What happened to the money from the sale of my wedding gown?”

“All gone.” Oliver sank into a chair and put on his serious face. “There are more sacrifices to be made.”

“We’ll have to sell your coin collection, after all.” Ava patted his hand. “Like you said, we can’t afford to be sentimental.”

“I have a better idea.” He pointed at Sheila. “I’ll sell her.”

“You wouldn’t!” Ava’s voice cracked in horror. “She’s part of the family!”

“Don’t think I don’t know that, but she’ll bring in a couple of grand and save a fortune in food.”

“But you and Sheila go back years. Ever since I’ve known you, she’s always been there for you.”

“Which is why it will be easy to get rid of her. Familiarity does breed contempt.”

“I can’t let you do this.” Ava walked over to the cage suspended from the ceiling. A hyacinth macaw roosted on a perch, its vivid blue plumage the only colour in a room stripped of all assets. Except the teak cabinet displaying the currency of a hundred countries. Ava pushed a hand between the bars and let Sheila peck at her fingers. “Don’t worry, old girl,” she whispered. “I’ll find a way to save you.”

“What are you mumbling about?” said Oliver.

“Just had an idea for supper.” Ava turned around with a smile. “I think I’ll go foraging for mushrooms this afternoon.”