Anne Frank-alike by Michael Healy

 Anne Frank-alike by Michael Healy

I gave a great yawn and turned to my wife,

‘I soon get so tired in this new, retired life.

‘I think I will go and have a short rest,

Half an hour on my bed I am sure will be best’.


I went upstairs and settled down

In no time at all I was sleeping sound.

But after about an hour I disturbed,

My bedroom door opened, and someone entered

I lay still and said not a word to the intruder,

My wife, I thought, must have brought me a drink

 Ann Frank intruder

I heard the door close as the person departed,

And sat up smart to find what they’d brought,

Nothing was on my bedside table

Except a length of white lamp cable

How very strange that did seem

What did the noises I heard mean?


I decided I might as well get up,

And went down stairs in trace of my cup

I asked my wife why she came to my room?

Not me, she said, I was out in the garden

I related to her what had occurred,

‘You must have been dreaming with what you heard’.

‘No, I think not’, was all I could say

Let us see what happens on another day.

Curious and curious.


A few weeks later I was awoken by banging.

I put this down to a noisy old crow

Something we have had before, making a show, (see 1.)

Next day I was out of bed quite early, a journey to make.

When I returned some hours later,

My wife was anxious, almost shaking.

‘After you had gone, I heard a huge bang,

I have looked all over but not found the source’.

By the way, there is no hot water.


I went upstairs and felt the hot water cylinder.

Sure enough, it was completely cold


I called our friendly local plumber to explain,

About the lack of hot water, (not the sound)

He said, as soon as he could, he would be around.


Next day came a knock at our front door

I opened the door and there stood the plumber,

Tony, please do come in, we need your help.

‘A new boiler and its heaters is needed, as you have a leak.

I will have to drain the cylinder and the cold water tank in your loft.’

‘Of course’ said I, ‘but when? Give me two days to get the equipment.’

As good as his word, that was when he arrived.


He explained he needed to go into our loft to empty our cold water tank.

‘Fill a few saucepans and kettles’ he said, ‘so you can have a drink.’

‘First I will drain the hot water off and get at the heaters.’

I left him to it and the banging began. And then he went into the loft.

Quite soon I heard him come down the stairs,

He came to find me, he looked worried.


‘I will have to disturb the room you have in the loft I’m afraid.’

Room in the loft? I was puzzled. We do not have a room in the loft.

Well I am sorry but you do. Come and look. I followed him back

Upstairs. ‘When did you last go up here?’ he pointed to the loft.

‘Probably a couple of years ago’ I replied. ‘Lead on’.


I followed him up through the loft entrance and gasped as I entered.

My eyes must be lying. Before me was a furnished lounge¸

then a bedroom, and even a small kitchenette. How, why, WHO?

Never had we agreed to anyone living here, nor converting it.

‘Have you told my wife?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then please don’t. Just get on with

the job as normal.   Remove anything that gets in your way.’


My wife was out with her craft group that evening and after Tony

had gone, I had my tea and then went inside the loft and hid myself

and turned off the lights.


I must have dozed but suddenly there was a noise by the loft hatch

Then light came flooding through from below.

A man’s head poked up and he then, athletically, pulled the

rest of himself through.

I waited until he came towards me but he then sat in his lounge

area resting.

‘Good Evening’ I said and pulled myself out of my resting place.

He was clearly very startled, but I held my .22 rifle steady.

‘Please, do not do anything stupid. I just want to talk with you.’

Then, I noticed a length of white lamp flex leading to his table lamp.

He saw me look. ‘From my bedroom’? I asked.

‘Yes, I am sorry, I did not realise you were in’.

I sat down in one of his chairs and rested my rifle on my lap.

‘Now, I want to go through this whole matter in detail.’


The interrogation lasted almost four hours, in between he had

made us a cup of tea. The story was fascinating and one day it

might make a book, as I recorded every word on my small

dictaphone. Suffice to say he was an educated man who

had read the story of Anne Frank. He was mesmerised by the

young heroine’s story and decided to see if it could be emulated

today. For a while it had worked but now it was over.

He had chosen our house as it had one of the he largest roof areas

in the village, in which he could squat.

‘May I go? ‘ he asked, at what seemed a natural end to our talk.

‘Collect your things, go, and never ever come back’.

He collected a few books and his razor and things, and

Climbed through the trap door, straight into the arms of my good

friend, Chief Inspector Taylor, and a dozen of his best officers.

I almost felt sorry for him, but only almost. After all, my wife and I

had worked very hard over the years for our home, not to share it with a squatter.   


  1. See ‘Intruder’ by Michael Healy,

On Retwords, July, 2014






Wildlife story by Pete Brammer

Wildlife story by Pete Brammer

[Pete has enjoyed the challenge of ‘Fit as many ***** words into’ a poem or story. He has done several including how many Elvis songs. This one is animals. He decided to underline the words so I have left it that way. Have a try yourself – any topic – and send them in. Ed.]

Gloria Stoat slid out of bed, leaving her husband Anthony snoring like a They had met and married, a year after she left the Royal Navy, serving as a Wren, on HMS Gillimot. Tom on the other hand was still in the service, as a Petty Officer on the destroyer, HMS Condor. Her throat was as dry as a Bears arse, leaving her a little Horse. In fact, to tell the truth, she was feeling Dog rough. Looking in the bathroom mirror, she could see her throat was as red as a Robin’s breast, and extremely difficult to Swallow. Then, a sudden bout of coughing, caused her toes to grip into the Shag pile carpet surrounding the fixtures.

“Do I ring in sick, or don’t I?” She pondered. “The supervisor will not believe me, anyway. He’ll swear blind I’m spinning him a Cock and Bull story.

A picture of him surfaced in her mind. Steve Vole, what a despicable little man? All he could talk about was sex and Cricket. She even hated his vulgar diction, like. “I’m going to the canteen for some Grub, and some Hens periods.” ‘

Gloria had nicknamed him ‘Porcupine’ due to him forever needling office staff. His eating habits left a lot to be desired too. He ate with his mouth open, and was forever picking his teeth. Jellied Eels being one of his favourites; that made Gloria want to wretch. A Gannet, if ever there was one.

The little Weasel constantly sucked up to management, in an effort to Worm his way in to their good books. A real Snake in the grass. He would Swan around the office, strutting like a Peacock. Should any of the women openly challenge him, you could guarantee he would turn to look good in their eyes. Oh how she despised him! One very rarely saw him smile, so his other nickname was ‘Aardvark‘. Eventually this got to him, and he snapped, asking. “Why are you calling me that?” imagine the look on his face, when someone said. “He with the long face!”

Well, it was make your mind up time. “I’m going.” She finally decided, sorting out her work clothes.

Slipping on her Mink coat, she headed for the garage and their silver Jaguar, with its registration GNU 763.

It was still dark as she set off, with a Barn Owl hooting from as nearby tree. The Cats’ eyes showing up brightly in the car headlights, as she drove towards them.

“The Buzzard Inn.” She thought, as the car passed the pub on the corner. “God, that’s where we got married, ten years ago. Doesn’t time fly?”

Fifteen minutes later she pulled into the office car park, next to her

best friend Beryl Fox from switchboard.

“Morning Gloria.” Beryl shouted.

Gloria gave a little wave and pointed to her throat.

“Lost your voice?” she laughed. “You’ll be quiet as a Mouse today


Gloria nodded before adding as she got much closer. “Steve better watch it this morning. Just let the little say one word out of place, and I’m having him!”

“Yes, and if I have any truck with him on the phone today, he’ll get a right Flea in his ear, I can tell you.” Then she added with a little snigger. “One of the girls told me, that he once tried to show her his Sparrow. She laughed at it, making him embarrassed, and said it wasn’t much of a Perch anyway!”

“It gets my Goat, how management can’t see through him. He wants locking up?”

“Look Gloria, that is just what they want. He’s a ‘Yes Man’ all gaffers like to have one on the books. It’s their way of having a Mole in the office.”

“Anyway Beryl, how are you today?”

The telephonist shook her head. “Not that good if the truth be known. I’m fed up of spending a penny.” “Why’s that?”

“I’ve got a touch of Thrush luv, and I can assure you it aint Pheasant. I mean, pleasant.” She grimaces. “It’s coming on again, now. I’ll have to shoot off.”

“Oh you poor Deer. Better let you go before you wet yourself.”

As Beryl made for the ‘Ladies’ Gloria took the stairs, up to the second

floor. Entering the office, she tried to Crane her neck over one of the

partitions trying to locate the supervisor.

“Looking for someone, Duck?” came a voice from behind her.

A Swift Turn, brought her face to face with the man she was looking

for. “Oh nobody in particular.” she replied, slightly Puffin’ from the

exertion of climbing the stairs.

It was then, that she felt his hands grasping her buttocks, like a couple of Limpets. Without thinking, she spun round, smacking him across the face. “You dirty Swine!” she cried, as he staggered back into the company chairman.

“In my office, now!” the chairman ordered, Frog marching him along the corridor.

“I was only having a bit of a     , boss!” “I saw where you had your Grubby hands.”

“The little Monkey.” said one of the typists. “I’d give anything to be a

Fly on the wall, to Earwig into what’s being said.”

“There’s one thing for sure, he’ll be Sheepish when he comes back. I

would demand an apology, if it was me.”

Gloria grinned. “He might not be coming back.”

A few minutes later, Gloria’s telephone rang. It was the chairman.

“Do you wish to press charges?” she was asked.

Numerous heads nodded around the office after she repeated his

words. “Err, yes sir I do.”

The last the girls saw of him, he was being driven away in a police Panda car, as it tried to Snake its way through the crowded car park and through the ornate gates. Their columns supporting a couple of rampant Lions.

Turning away from the window, Gloria began to tremble. “Here love.” offered one of the other typists, reaching into her bag. “Have a swig of this.” she pulled out a small bottle of brandy. Breaking the Seal, she offered it to Gloria. “You poor Lamb. He’s been Badge ing you for ages, hasn’t he?”

Gloria gratefully took a Slug and passed it back. “Thank you, I needed that.”

One of the two new office girls, Dorothy Crow, quietly suggested. “This might teach him a lesson, and he might be alright in the future.”

Leopards don’t change their spots.” Gloria reminded her, politely. It wasn’t long before word quickly circulated around the building, that the supervisor had, indeed been sacked.

When Gloria arrived home, her Eagle eyed husband sensed there

was something she was not telling him. “Are you alright my love?

What’s wrong?” trying to Ferret out what was the matter with her.

“Nothing my precious.” she daren’t tell him what happened, or he’d

go Ape. So she had to be Shrewd. “Just a little tired and run-down as

usual, pet and I’m, desperate to empty my bladder.”

“Well, your tea is in the fridge. I’ve done you a Crab and Prawn salad,

with Anchovies.” He called as she disappeared upstairs.

“I hope you’ve washed the lettuce. I don’t want to find a Caterpillar

on it’

“There’s no need to Nit-pick….Yes, it has been washed.” Now she felt guilty, after he had gone to the trouble of making her tea. “You must think I’m an ungrateful Cow.” “No I don’t. But we’ll be OK if we run short of milk for breakfast.” “I don’t think I could face going to the Beatle Drive with mother, tonight.” She thought.

Later she wished she had gone, as Ant settled down in front of the television, to watch his beloved Manchester United playing Wolverhampton Wanderers in the F.A. Cup Final. Even more so, after

Wolves won 9-3 after extra time………………………….. (Well you can dream,

can’t you?).

CONFIRMED by Charles Baker

CONFIRMED by Charles Baker

They thought it would stiffen the men.


Their backbones were already rigid. They thought it would produce discipline.


The men endured horrific conditions. They thought it would make an example.


Some volunteers were merely eager boys. They thought it would prevent desertion.


Days of shelling would shred a man’s nerve. They thought they sat in judgment.


From men lacking basic human compassion. They thought it would deter cowardice.


Men bravely faced an early morning execution.


Later a callous hand wrote ‘confirmed’.


Photo Credit: Dave Green. The Shot at Dawn Memorial is a British Monument at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, in Staffordshire, UK. It memorialises the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers executed after courts-martial for cowardice or desertion during World War I



Uncivilisation by Chris South

Uncivilisation by Chris South

 I was born to serve

Given every day to give

To spend my vigour and my verve

So those I meet might live

This life in happiness and peace

But all that I encounter now

Is sorrow without cease

And so I wonder how

Can I achieve my task

When our cultures lack direction

Bringing misery and war

So I ask in my dejection

What can I do anymore?

When humanity is stricken

With a sickness so profound

That the blood will never thicken

In its gaping, festering wound

With too few clots remaining

To bind and mend and heal

The ones now left are waning

And forgetting how to feel

Compassion drowns as dark descends

And bathes this world in woe

Sinking as the shadow spends

The light I used to know

Yet still I must endure

As my daily bread I make

Wading through a mire so impure

It taints my heart and mind

But for the sake

Of others I must find

The strength to carry on

So in piety I’ll travel


Whose unfitness now astounds me

And in quiet desperation

Watch society unravel

As I witness the disease that now surrounds me

Another Man’s War by Faymarie Morris

Through reddened, rheumy eyes the old man gazed
At a hostile face he didn’t know.
Why should he feel as defeated as this
When he overcame much worse, years ago.
He never sought thanks or glory, or praise
And he didn’t crave medals to prove it,
But a little respect might help heal the wounds
Or at least go a long way towards it.
But what did he get instead for his loss,
All those arduous years of devotion?
A pittance to last the rest of his days
In a world without warmth or emotion.
Oh how he longed for his life on the land.
All the heartbreak. The pleasure.The sorrow.
He would happily trade all his todays
Without even a thought of tomorrow,
For that sweet smelling soil, after the rain.
For those sunsets of red, gold and yellow.
For his mother’s laughter, even her tears,
And the way that his father would bellow.
But these were such long distant memories
Of some far away, more innocent time.
Before he decided to give his all
To another man’s war, in another clime.
He had fought for a world fit to live in
And despaired at the misery around,
As those other brave souls fell before him
And their crimson blood sank into the ground.
They were told that the world would be freer.
That their sacrifice would not be unsung.
That repression and terror were ended,
That the bells of peace would always be rung.
But the fact was, that angry young stranger,
Who had beaten his old face black and blue,
Lived alone in his own private war zone,
[And all he’d got was a dollar or two.]
Hadn’t cared who had fought for his freedom
Or the sacrifices that had been made.
And what was the point of remembrance,
When remembering only brings pain?

Faymarie Morris

The Envelope by Michael Healy

The Envelope by Michael Healy

the envelope


There it sat where it had been, for the last five days,

Unopened on my desk, at the edge, as was my way.

In a bright ring of light when the table lamp shone

Clear, on the back, the name of the sender printed on.

I picked it up and looked it over again, as I had so often before.


I fingered the quality paper of the envelope, and weighed it in my hands

The addressee was clearly me. I picked up my paper knife and waited, poised, as respect demands.

I started an incision at the right hand corner of the paper flap.

My hands began to shake. I carefully returned knife and envelope to the table top

I still had to complete that opening. Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow would be so much better.


I opened my briefcase, took out the file of papers within, and started work.

It was dark as I finished. There sat the envelope in a pool of light.

I closed my study door. Bed. Sleep if I could. Forget that envelope.


 Next day I awoke with my bed all tousled, and that envelope on my mind. I had to open it, I really must. But not now, later, after work.

My day was busy and my mind was on my job. Time soon went by, so now it was time to go home.

Usually I delight at the thought of returning to my comfy home,

But I knew what awaited me on my study desk; that blessed Envelope.

As I drove home I felt determined, today it would be over.


Dinner was ready as I walked in, so my task must wait a little longer

My hunger satiated I went to my study and sat at my desk


This was it, no more procrastination, I had to complete the opening.

I picked up the envelope and read the hospital’s address on the back.

Then there was the name of the consultant for urology and oncology.

I breathed in deep and picked up my paper knife.

Quite rapidy I finished the cut and pulled out the contents.

I held the page before me, and read:

‘Herewith are the results of your recent prostate biopsy’. I read and read and read it. It was clear. All this time of worry and I need not have worried.

And then, I caught my breath. The name at the top of the page was not mine. The realization dawned;

I had held someone’s results and still knew not my own.

Next morning I phoned the hospital and asked that my results be sent

This time I was ready for the envelope to come

And be opened straight away!


You see I had asked for my results on the phone, all clear.

That coming envelope held no fear.

Michael Healy