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Pretty Little Lie

I once knew a story so well

that I loved it; willingly enchanted 

by the sweet scent of deceit

that made my heart sing songs 

with a hypnotic beat – based

implicitly on duplicitous stammerings; hammering 

tiny smiles in pockets

of pain. I fed it, I fed it

and I fed it – this beast; I, no more

than its vessel

Its contents so indisguishable with mine own

that a solution was created – to hate 

dispicable truths

and smile through tainted fables

until the time came to admit defeat 

and write a line or two of

my own


The Date


I met this girl – Ronnie, she called herself. She was far too pretty, too fragile to be a Ronnie, so I kept things formal with Veronica. It made her giggle.

I liked to watch her; the blood in her cheeks would rise and I could taste her enthusiasm for my face. She liked my eyes, just like all the rest.

But this one was different. “Why don’t you smile?” she would ask, “Aren’t you happy?”

Her innocence warmed me and all of a sudden, it was too late. I wanted her. I wanted to keep her.

“Come home with me.” I stated boldly. Her eyes locked mine and she knew.

Veronica thought she knew everything. I heard her heart begin to drum as her hair blew the perfume that always made me burn.

“How do you sleep at night?” She asked; staring up at my home as her night began; the beginning of her end.

I opened the door and let her pass. “I don’t.”

I watched the artery at her neck and heard the delicious sound of it beginning to swell.

Veronica laughed. “Bram Stoker would have loved your place.”

I shut the door behind her…with a smile.


The Encounter


‘Please don’t hurt me.’, I heard her say as she slept. And that was the beginning of it. The precise moment my evening ended.
I lay there tormented; just wondering where she came from; what horrors she had seen, underneath her closed eyelids.
Her disturbing slumber meant no more for me and so I left her side to indulge in coffee that made me think of the waitress, in the Coffeehouse down town. It was the colour of her skin.
Those images soon evaporated in the steam as she came forward, dressed in a towel too short for her modesty.
‘Who hurts you?’ I asked as I stirred the whirling thoughts with my spoon.
‘Sorry?’ Said the stranger, walking around my kitchen like she worked there.
‘You cried out in your sleep…’
She sat down and sighed,
‘Your knee was lodged in my spine. I was trying to be polite.’

Conversations With Claude #4

So come on then.


You said it was time.

Oh yes, right. So let’s start at the beginning.


The concept of flying is simple:/-



Why can I hear you?

You have ears, my dear.

No, I mean…why me? Why only me?

I can’t answer that.

You could at least try.

Well…maybe they could hear but don’t.


You could think upon it…as a gift.

The Pigeon Whisperer.  Lucky, lucky me.

So ungrateful:/-

I’d just have preferred x-ray vision or:/-

Really, can you not just be happy with what you have?

I’m ecstatic.

I can see that.  Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, you know.

Oh, just get on with it.

As you wish!

I wish.



Go on, then!

Yes, yes. Keep your knickers on, I’m building up to it!

Build faster!

Do you understand the concept?

Of what?

Of flying.


Really, what do they teach in schools, these days?



Get. On. With. It.

Right. So. Imagine I have a badger on my back.

Are you taking the pi:/-

Stay with me, Dear. Imagine the badger.


Could I take flight, with said badger, on my back?

Is this rhetorical?



Right. He would weigh me down, making it impossible for me to soar through the treetops, at one with the:/-

I get it.


So…what has this got to do with me?

You need to lose your badger.

Excuse me?

Lose the badger.

I haven’t got a fucking badger!

Now, listen here, young lady:/-

Oh, forget it.

Wait!  You need to lose the badger! Baggage! I mean baggage! You need to lose the
baggage that weighs you down!

Why didn’t you just say that!

I like metaphors…

What are you looking at?

Incredible, Claude.

Thank you!

It was definitely not a compliment.


So what’s my badger, I mean…baggage?

You need to work that out by yourself.


Think about it.

I’ve got nothing.

You have plenty. A full set, actually.

Of badgers or baggage?

Definitely both.

Oh, can’t you just tell me!

I could…but it doesn’t work like that.

Why not! Be a rebel!

Absolutely not, don’t be absurd. Me a rebel! Honestly,  I can’t believe you just:/-

Alright, alright! Jesus! I’ll do it myself.

That’s the spirit!

Isn’t it. What about a hint?



Get rid of the badger.


I mean it.


You’ll not even try, will you?

Probably not.

You really are impossible! I don’t know how I got lumbered with this, this really is the last time I ever; Well come on then!


I’ll take you.




You’re getting right under my feathers,  so let’s just get this done. I really haven’t got the patience for:/-

I’m annoying you?


I’m annoying you? I’mannoyingyou. I’m. Annoying. YOU!

Oh, wait up; Claude! Slow down, where we going?

Badger culling!

Did you just crack a funny? Claude! Did you just; Wait!  

Oh, be quiet.  And get a wriggle on!

Coming, wait; I’m coming! Ha, Claude! Wait for me!

And I ran behind him, struggling to keep up; ready to take down my badgers…whoever or whatever they might be.

**This is the fourth in a series of ‘Conversations With Claude’ – you can find the previous three on G&T homepage.

Tommy’s Short Story.

Tommy didn’t dare leave the water’s edge as he watched his Sister disappear beneath the murky abyss. He scanned the surface for signs of life; broken stillness, ripples, circles of air being brought to the top.


So what could he do? He called her name a few times, in his head; peered over the banks as far as he dared; desperately wishing that he had never shown her the glint that caught his eye.

There, hanging lifelessly on a broken reed, was a medal. He could see it clear as day, just as they had, oh. Nearly an hour a go, now. It’s ribbon was red and blue and white striped, dirtied from something putrid green. The ribbon took nothing away from the grandeur of the medallion. A thought crossed his mind as to whether it could be real gold. They would be rich, richer than they had ever dreamed. Except they wouldn’t now. Not both of them.

He sat down on a rock that felt hard and uncomfortable, beneath him. It’s sharp shape caused him pain underneath his thigh but he didn’t move an inch; happy to be feeling something. He hadn’t taken his eyes off the prize; a perfect gold disc, the size of a doughnut. There was a man with no face, running to somewhere and it made him wonder if he should do the same.

Maybe the man was him. Just a boy who’s Sister had recently told him that he should play out some more. That staying inside reading was not good for him and that he would end up with rickets and bow legs.

He really hadn’t liked the sound of bowed legs. He had never known a person with legs like bows but he didn’t want to be the first, either. So, when his Sister had begged him to climb trees in the woods, he looked at his shins and decided to let her win.

They had walked out of the door; his Sister skipping ahead, shouting him to hurry up and to stop being a slowcoach. Tommy didn’t reply, just followed behind her; looking about him, taking it all in.

The trees were making that hissing sound, when the wind dances in their branches. He walked with his head tilted to the sky, watching out for the breeze that he had never managed to catch a glimpse of. Birds were chattering away and he wondered what on earth they were talking about.

His Sister must have ran back to him because he felt her warm little hands around his wrist;

”Come on, Tommy! We’re nearly there!”

He didn’t speak the words that were assembling in his mind. He simply allowed her to pull him through the woods; their feet occasionally causing a snap between the crunching of leaves.

Soon they had reached an opening. Luscious greens framed by rustic downturns. He watched her run ahead of him then twirl with her hands up high. She reminded him of a ballerina. He would have told her so but he decided that ballerinas don’t wear wellies. Maybe she was more like a fairy.

”Come on Tommy! Like this!”

She twirled and twirled and laughed and laughed. He could feel his heart warming, excitement brewing in the pit of his stomach. Something broke inside and he felt that he was smiling. Soon that smile was so big that he was laughing. Really laughing. They laughed together as Tommy followed her, clumsily trying to run but slipping.

”Just get back up, Tommy. You can do it! Like this!”

He looked up and watched her spin and jump and laugh like she was magic. He decided there and then that she was definitely more of a fairy. Clambering to his heavy feet, he followed her steps and they danced and laughed and moved to their own imaginary music. Tommy sang along to his Sister’s song which made them giggle until their bellies hurt.

As they reached the other side of all that green, the stream came into view. It wooshed with a strength that only water can achieve; bloated from heavy rainfall, days before.

They stood side by side and watched the gushing slap the banks. His Sister smiled at him. And he smiled back.

It was as he turned to her, that he saw it. The medal. Glistening in the sunlight; bouncing colours onto the waters below. His eyes widened and he found himself pointing; showing her his discovery.

Her eyes danced like her body; her teeth clasped over her bottom lip as she clapped her hands quickly, jumping up and down.

”Treasure! Let’s get it!’

Tommy scowled. The medal dangled from long grass, shining as it swayed into light.

”Don’t be a baby! Go and get it!”

He felt her little hands again, still warm but with a firmer grasp.

”Get it!”

His heart was warming again but this time from a pounding. A fear. He knew it would not be easy.

”Nothing is easy, Tommy!”

Tommy swallowed hard, pulled himself against the grip. He advanced on the treasure, with haste.

”Just lean over and grab it. Come on Tommy, you can do it. Be brave! You have to be brave!”

Tommy couldn’t stand it. He heaved with a breath that was short and he felt the ache of his legs. He closed his eyes and imagined he was Superman; slick hair and superpowers. He so badly wanted to be super, there and then.

”Oh, you big baby! I’ll get it!”

Before he could say a word, he watched her stretch over the bank and fall in. She made a splash but didn’t cry out or swim. Why didn’t she try to swim? In seconds, she was gone from his sight and he was on the bank, staring down at the water. Looking for her.


He waited and waited and hoped and prayed. Still nothing. The medal continued to tease him. That bloody, bastard thing. He hated it now but sat staring at it as he felt the pain in his thigh.

He remembered what she had said; that he should be brave. That word echoed all about him; amongst the trees, the stream. Inside of his head. If only he had been. He looked to the surface again, for a miracle.


No miracle came and so he decided. He swallowed his fear and decided that now he would be brave. His hands shook as he untied his shoelaces; the right one had a double knot and so he pulled hard at it, until it gave way.

He was crying now as he removed his coat. He laid it next to his shoes and unbuttoned his shirt. He was brave. He was definitely brave. One last look at the surface, then a glimpse at the tree tops as he filled his lungs with air. He pushed down on his legs.


A cool hand, large and firm, yanked at his arm; pulling him back into theirs.

”Where have you been! We’ve been so worried!”

Tommy cried into his Mother’s chest, unable to do anything but sob like a baby. He wasn’t brave. He was a baby.

”You turned me into a baby!”

His Mother pulled away from him; mouth wide in shock, to match her eyes.

”What did you say? You just said something! Say it again! Say something again!”

Tommy just cried and cried, feeling the cold…beginning to shake.

”Tommy, say it again!”

”Lucy said that I had to not be a baby and be brave!”

His Mother pulled him close, smothering him in her embrace; kissed his head again and again. She was so overwhelmed to hear her Son speak, since not having uttered a single word, since the tragedy. Something broke, inside of her.

”We all miss Lucy, sweetheart. But you must stay safe! You shouldn’t be out here, on your own!”

Tommy’s Mother picked up her Son; panic making room for relief. She turned away from the banks, her Son in her arms and began the walk home.

”Don’t you ever do that again, okay?”

She squeezed him tightly.

Tommy looked over her shoulder at the medal, blowing fiercely now. Somehow that made him smile, too.


”You promise?”

”I promise”

His Mother laughed. Everything would be okay.

A Little Bedtime Story

Somewhere in the sky
nestled between the stars
that litter darkness with light,
is a watchtower.

A monkey and an organ grinder
wear military threads
and walk its perimeter,
Keeping safe
the gemstones of the earth
too bright for our eyes.

These gems knit maps
of lives and futures; needles
tap, tap, tap to the sound
of destiny –

Perfect maps travel
on the backs of sparrows,
tied with knowledge and
best wishes,
leaving trails of magic in the
bursts of wings.

The little
inconspicuous sparrow
delivers to the obedient
dormouse –
wrapping a tale of time
in a tail of strength

And watch him scurry;
carefully crafting a handover
from mice to men,
so that dreams may
at the end of sleep.

Conversations With Claude #3

Thought I might find you here…

Oh, hello Dear:/-

Don’t ‘Dear’ me, Claude, you little:/-  Get back here!  Get down here, now!

Not until you calm down!

I’m gonna wring your bloody neck!

There really is no need for unpleasantries:/-  stop that!  People are looking:/-

I don’t CARE! 

They’ll lock you up!

No, they’ll lock you up.  Lock you up and dissect you! Chop you up into tiny, little, silent pieces, hopefully!

Don’t cry…

Are you alright?

Why, Claude…why’d you do it?

He’s not right for you.

Who the hell are you to decide! 

Trust that I am right.

You shit on him!  You bloody shit all over him!

I’ll admit, it wasn’t pretty but:/-

You must have been saving it up for a week! You and your verminous friends!

They simply did me a favour and I’d do it again if:/-

Do me a favour and leave me alone!  I swear to God, I will pluck every feather from your horrible little head if I so much hear:/-

You’re getting angry again.  Just breathe…relax; wargh!


People. Are. Looking!

So?  You’re the freak, I just:/-

Only you can hear me.


Oh, now.  Come on, dear, please. Please get up.  Stop crying,  I find it very upsetting:/-

What the hell is wrong with me!

Oh, you silly thing.  Nothing! Absolutely nothing, here; would you like a tissue?

You’ve got tissues! Oh, Of course you’ve got tissues!  Why wouldn’t you have tissues! Everybody needs:/-    OWWW!

I’m sorry I had to do that. 

Just go away, Claude.  Please! Just leave me:/-

Calm yourself down.  Just calm down, that’s it.  Just pull yourself together and I’ll explain.

I really liked him, Claude.  I liked him and it was all just fine until you decided to make me look insane…

Insanity is a misused term, he probably just thought you were:/-

For crying out loud!  Shut up!  Just shut up! I can’t take any more of this! What do you want!

I don’t want anything, Dear, simply to help:/-

Help!  Help what?  Ruin my life?  Ruin everything?  Make me crazy?

Make you fly.

Do you want blood, is that it?  Do you want me to die, proving you wrong? Come on then! Let’s climb right up there and I’ll jump! I’ll bloody do it, Claude! I’ll do it right now!

You’ve got everything mixed up.  I assure you that I only have your best intere:/-

Oh my God!  I can’t do this!  I can’t take another min:/-

I think it’s time.

What, Claude!  Time for what?!  What now!


To teach you.