Your call is important to us

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright Ted Strutz


“Have you checked that it’s plugged in?

“I’m sorry sir, there is no need for that sort of language.

“That’s ok sir, we can proceed. Now, the ‘D-fence NEVA-MISS-ile Shield’ is rated up to 20,000 tetra-joules, can you advise of the approximate number and yield of the missiles currently headed your way?

“Because yields in excess of these limits will void your warranty sir.

“Please sir, I understand… No sir, I…

“Sir. Please, I must insist you moderate your volume, otherwise I’m afraid I cannot continue this call.

“Thank you sir.

“Sir? Sir?” Continue reading


A captain’s share

photo credit: late night movie via photopin cc

photo credit: late night movie via photopin cc

CAPTAIN: “Fire in the hold, abandon ship you careless bastards!”

FIRST MATE GALLAGHER: “Captain, forget the ship, forget the damn treasure; there’s room yet on this lifeboat!”

CAPTAIN: “Get out of here you dogs; a Captain’s duty is to go down with the ship, so I’ll spend my share in hell!”

SAILOR: “Damn you Gallagher, this lifeboat leaks and the oars are rotten through!”

FIRST MATE GALLAGHER: “Hold up you men… did anyone actually see smoke?”

A bit pressed for time today, so a super short Five Sentence Fiction with the word prompt ‘Abandon’ from Lillie McFerrin’s site.






Betrayal and the burning sand

photo credit: mahalie via photopin cc

photo credit: mahalie via photopin cc


“Gladys! Gladys! Goddammit Gladys if you don’t get your ass back here right now I’mma put you in the ground!” Dusty’s boots trudged across the burning sand, pounding out a repetitive, monotonous beat.

Godammit Gladys. Get back here before I die in this goddamn desert.

“You hearing me Gladys? I’mma slit your throat and leave you for the buzzards. The buzzards Gladys!” The threat finished in a croak, a squeak.

Holding his hand up to block out the midday sun, he could see Gladys up ahead, a silhouette against the bleached whiteness of the sands. She looked a million miles away. Impossible, he thought, she only had a couple of hours head start. She couldn’t be no more than a few miles off.

“You could’ve left me some water Gladys.” Sullen now, muttering. Yelling was pointless, Gladys couldn’t hear or wasn’t listening, and the sun stole moisture every time he opened his mouth. “You could’ve left my goddamn hat Gladys. You could’ve left the hat.”

Who the hell takes a man’s hat?

But he knew the answer to this.

Someone who’s been hurt, that’s who.

Come back.

I’m so sorry.

“I’m sorry, Gladys.” Continue reading

“Grandfather,” asked the dead boy


“Grandfather,” asked the dead boy, “why do those sad people stand at the water’s edge and wail?”

“These people were bad; they were selfish and did not earn enough karma to pay the passage to the other side.”

“Grandfather,” asked the dead boy, “why do those happy people get onto boats so grand?”

“Those people were good; they gave more than they took, and earned enough karma to pay for a comfortable trip to the other side.”

“Grandfather,” asked the dead boy, “why is our boat so humble?”

“We are Hindu, grandson. We save some karma for the return fare.” Continue reading

Her unmoving eyes

“Tell me your story.” Vic whispered to the lady, staring into the statue’s unmoving eyes. He had visited the museum every day for weeks now, solely to obsess over this statue.

Furtively checking he was alone, he leant forward and quickly kissed the lady on the lips. She felt cold, much colder than the marble should be, and Vic’s feet give way under him. He tumbled into darkness. Continue reading

Short Book Review: Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey – Chuck Wendig


Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey – Chuck Wendig

I recognize that writing a novel is hard. And I don’t give a lemur’s left foot. I don’t give a good goddamn. I don’t give two shits in a wicker basket. The best things in life are hard. Like hunting pterodactyls. Like getting married. Like climbing a mountain and building a ladder to the moon. Like raising children. Like raising robotic children. Like making a golem who will build a robot who will raise your robotic children.

Writing a novel is hard because it needs to be hard. It if were easy, every jackalope with chalk dust on his fingers would write an epic masterpiece on his cave wall.

– Confessions of a Penmonkey: Chuck Wendig

Confessions Of A Penmonkey – 4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining, metaphor-twisting, profanity-laden exploration of how to be a freelance writer – or penmonkey.

I love the word penmonkey.

Dance for me penmonkey, dance!

Ultimately this is a guide book on how to be a writer, the things one must think of, the issues you encounter when writing, an exploration of editing, and a discussion of the publishing industry as it is right now, all screamed into your face with the aggression of an orang-utan rubbing faeces in your hair for touching up its wife at the Halloween party.

Chuck strips away the magic, the muse, the myths, and leaves any want-to-be-writer naked and trembling in pool of their own disillusionment, tears and blood. This is hard, no-nonsense writing advice, and is not for the delicate flower who refuses to believe that writing is work.

Wendig’s fundamental proposition is that writing is not just an art, but a craft, like carpentry. This means you need to get your powertools out and work that dead tree until your table is built. Or your book written.

A longish advice book, it is essentially a series of rambling essays that Chuck originally posted on his blog ‘terribleminds‘. If you are unsure of whether this book is for you, I strongly recommend you trawl though his blog to get a feel for Wendig’s style. The short essay/blog post style make it convenient to read when time or attention is limited, waiting in a line, watching some dreary TV because your wife wants to watch it, or neglecting your children as they scream to be fed.

I bought this when I picked up five or six of his writing books in a bundle last year, and I went through them all, skimming them for the bits that resonated, but not really trying hard to absorb what he says. This year I hope to get through them all in a more studious fashion. Now, these books are all writing advice, and all by the same dude, so I’m certain there is repetition throughout these books, but I’m ok with that – I got a good price overall, and I’m a bit thick, so repetition helps me remember.

Tell me about the rabbits again George.

If you are thinking about writing, and don’t mind creative profanity, this is good advice wrapped up in an amusing bacon blanket.



Book Review: Sacrament – Clive Barker

Sacrament - Clive Barker

“I am a man, and men are animals who tell stories. This is a gift from God, who spoke our species into being, but left the end of our story untold. That mystery is troubling to us. How could it be otherwise? Without the final part, we think, how are we to make sense of all that went before: which is to say, our lives?

So we make stories of our own, in fevered and envious imitation of our Maker, hoping that we’ll tell, by chance, what God left untold. And finishing our tale, come to understand why we were born.”   Sacrament – Clive Barker

Well, I am back to the grindstone for my second book review, and it is another one from my BookRiot Read Harder Challenge. This time I am covering off the ‘book by or about someone who identifies as LGBTQ’ category – Sacrament by Clive Barker. Continue reading