Sunshine on A Cigarette


“Ahh Sunshine, even brighter than the… actually scratch that; It’s impossible. Pass me another cigarette, would you?”

“You don’t smoke.”

“I could smoke.”

“No, you couldn’t.”

Are they fighting again?

“Who says I’m gonna smoke it anyway?”

“So why do you want one?”

“To stop you smoking them.”

Really? Why can’t they just get on?

“Greedy! Besides I’ve got plenty.”

“Me too. I could sell them.”

“To who?”

“…back to you when you eventually run out.”


Hang on, I’m going to have to sort these guys out.

“Oh, look out. Here she comes.”

“She’s always so happy, isn’t she?”

“It’s probably because of you. I think you’re her favourite.”

Now, what are you guys up to? Where’s me lighter? Oh, there it is. Do you want a carry?

“I think I am too. Then again you cry every time she lights up.”

“I can’t breathe properly around that.”

“Takes practice. Quite nice when you get used to it.”

“I don’t like it.”

Someone has a slight cold. Calpol when we get in?

“Why don’t you tell her?”

“I will, when I can speak her language properly.”

“How far have you got so far?”

Can you say Mama?

“Quite far, listen… Mama …. Da…. Doggydog.”

“Oh, she likes that, look she’s gonna pick you up instead.”

“Ha, I’m the new favourite. Here I go. Save me a cigarette. I’ll be back soon.”

The Curse Of 2016

The Year of The Scythe


I died last year.

Dangerous time to be a musician, or a celebrity of any kind really!

I remember thinking:

If I can just last a little longer – see 2017 in then I’ll be fine; the curse will be lifted, I’ll be immune.

Fat chance!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “I wonder which one he or she is.”

Bit heartless and unsympathetic but probably true.

I’ll give you a clue – I’m not Carrie Fisher, or her mom.

Oh good, you might say. That only leaves One hundred and seventy-two, that’s if you are only counting the ‘A’ listers.

I loved Carrie Fisher, she really was the anti-Darth. Came through so much in her life, only to be swallowed up by the curse of 2016.

The traditional depiction of the Grim Reaper, long black cloak and scythe is all wrong; it’s four numbers, 2016 – An all-encompassing death cloud!

Does that make anyone who survived it immortal?

Safe to say I hate that year.

You know, David Bowie released an album, all new songs before he bit the bullet. Shows he wanted to go on tour and enjoy the fruits of his labour. Shows he wasn’t prepared for… or was he?

His last two songs were called ‘Killing A Little Time’ and ‘No Plan.’

It’s a brave man who will write that sort of stuff in the ‘Year of the Scythe’ (My not so affectionate name for it).

He was tempting fate somewhat I think, but I still miss him.

I recon 2016 is the year that the Death Eaters actually came out on top. If you don’t believe me then ask my old friend Severus Snape, or as his other family members knew him, Alan Rickman.

Bruce Willis (Kudos for surviving) was good in that Die Hard movie but for me, Alan Rickman made it.

And what about me?

I know it’s a little self-involved but I died that year too!

The Death Eaters came here too.

Where do they find the time?

I miss me.

It wasn’t even my time, was it?

Harper Lee – you know, the guy who wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ he died then too. He was 89 though.

Again, and I’m seeing a bit of a pattern here, the word ‘kill’ kinda stands out in his most famous work. Maybe the Year of The Scythe only rained down on those who had written about or been in movies where death plays a title role.

Maybe death was pissed off, not being in the credits.

I started to think of 2016 as the year real talent died. Justin Bieber is still alive.

I mean, let’s compare here! Sir George Martin also died in 2016. George martin!

What do you mean, who’s he?

The Beatles producer, the fifth Beatle, the…

Cut me up when he departed. Ok, he was quite old too but the Beatles were the greatest rock band in history, and he ups and drifts off leaving Paul and Ringo to carry the torch.

Maybe me being dead is not such a bad thing; If you’re hosting a house party and all your friends leave the room to have a smoke, do you stay and make the most of your desolate domicile or do you walk out and join them?

Well, we all know what I did.

No offence to the non-existent people left in the room – as that famous comedian once said:

I never speak behind other people’s backs. If I’ve anything nasty to say, I pop it on a postcard.

This is my postcard.

Who said that?

Victoria Wood… wait a minute, did she?

… Yes, she did. 2016 engulfed and spat out her comic genius too!

How old is the Queen?

No idea, but she’s still kicking. I have nothing against the Queen, in fact I quite like her, but it just shows Royalty have a free pass at this life lark. Look how long the Queens mother lasted!

Nope I’m wrong.

Royalty is not safe.

Prince is no more.

Not Prince Phillip (he’s still here), but Purple Rain Prince!

Multi-talented and brilliant but it didn’t stop life handing him his p45 either.

His demise was so unexpected that the cash grabbing capitalists in the record stores didn’t have a chance to put a compilation album together to serve to his grieving fans with their pre-prepared tear soup.

Even Muhammad Ali couldn’t fight his way out of 2016.

I cried when he died, George Michael too.

As for my own death, I didn’t shed a … all that is left is a feeling of numbness.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – my heart still beats of a fashion. More out of habit from than any great desire to go on sampling the delicacies of the here and now.

But all my friends are gone. The ones I grew up with, the ones with whom I shared the beauty of life, my constant companions throughout the years.

All gone.

They died in 2016 and took me with them.


Supply Teacher Part II



Dave closed his eyes, took a deep breath and rested his head on the driver’s side window; He welcomed the familiar incandescent waves from the radio, allowing them to wash right through him. It was a song that always meant so much – In times of trouble or deep emotional upset John Lennon would always show up with ‘Beautiful Boy.’

Life is what happens to you, whilst you’re busy making other plans.

His favourite song, normally his favourite lyric, though now it was particularly poignant, considering his recent ‘after life’ experience at Highfield High.

He started to drift into a reluctant slumber and his thoughts wandered back to Carolyn, the former teaching assistant. She had discovered that the assistant head was having an affair with a year 10 student, and was brutally murdered for her concern.

Dave had been just too late to save her and a sharp blow to the back of his head had nearly ensured that he would share her fate too, but somehow, he survived.

He shuffled uneasy in the driver’s seat. Tiny beads of sweat filled his brow and made their way down his face like they had a purpose.

His sleep deepened.

In his mind’s eye, Dave was crouching down over the mangled bruised and battered body. The face had been caved in to such an extent that identification was impossible, but he knew who it was.

One eye was closed, the other locked in a perpetual bloodshot stare of terror. He slowly reached his hand forward and toward her face…

The closed eye suddenly snapped open and the congealed flesh and bone below the space where her nose should have been rapidly formed itself once more into a mouth.

He snatched his hand back.

“Wake up!”

Chapter 1

I Still See Dead People


To be continued….

Excuse Me


As a kid, I wished I had one of those stop watches – you know the ones? You hit stop and time stands still for everyone except you. I remember thinking how great that would be. The things I would get done.

As a kid, it would be the homework and the cramming for that all important test, then show up the next day, ace it and come off as some sort of genius.

Now as an adult, the extra hours I could grab each morning before I rise from my pit and go to work. The freedom to meet deadlines without the constant bother from friends, family, bosses.

Again, those people would be so amazed by what I had achieved and how I had done it (come to think of it, it’s possible that some people I know, may already own such a watch).

Its only now that I feel that this magical wonder watch is not so much of a blessing.

I mean for starters it’s not as though I don’t age. Every time I hit stop, the people around me enter a cryogenic beauty sleep as I, the weary traveller, trundle on with my day’s duties without ever questioning why.

It feels like the watch would be used to compensate for all the crappy decisions that I made in life!

If I truly enjoy my job and the people around me then what is to be gained by purposefully avoiding that?

Thing is, many people don’t enjoy their jobs and will make excuses as to why they do what they do, or they can’t stand the people that they spend the majority of their time around but are quite adept at conjuring reasons why they engage with these negative influences on a daily basis.

It’s not time that needs to stop, it’s the excuses.

Recognise that behind the smokescreen of ‘I can’t’ lies a scared trembling heart of ‘I won’t’, and that heart pumps perfectly crafted made-up reasons why ‘you won’t’ round your mind, till they seem perfectly feasible.

If you really want to take time out then do it whilst the world is active and going on around you.

Just observe.

Appreciate the people, choices and situations that enrich and help make you the happiest most powerful version of yourself and also recognise the self-inflicted cancer you subject yourself to – and know that this is entirely your choice.

If you hate your job then get a different one.

If you don’t like being in the company of certain people then don’t!

The people you naturally gravitate toward are also the people who are attracted to you.

This was written in a café, on a beautiful sunny day.

I have hugged a friend, helped an elderly lady with her breakfast tray, smiled at several people and had several smiles and compliments in return. For 15 minutes I was truly part of life, and I smile in eager anticipation for what the next fifteen minutes has in store.