‘After’ by Kevin Murphy

For the trigger ‘after’:
An extract from my work in progress: After I left the monastery.
40 years later, fellow novice Brother Fidelis – Liam Murachu – wonders about the departure of Brother Bernard – Sean ‘Tack’ McIntire.

Tack didn’t wait for an answer, turned and headed into his room.

Cell, thought Liam, glancing at his closed door. He looked down at his heavy plaid shirt and brown cords, noticed the matching cardigan in the floor, dreamily draped it over his arm, stretched and yawned.

Tack’s Treasure card peeped out of a pocket. His back cracked as he bent to pick it out. Why bother? The flop onto the bed, was more of a pour. He seeped into the mattress.

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‘Finders Keepers’ by Pete Brammer

Pete has come up with another of his stories incorporating song titles – a great writing challenge for any fan – of books, songs … whatever – GB Stamps?
He had underlined the titles, but we’re going to have more fun: Cliff Richard is the only act to have had a number one single in the UK in five consecutive decades, so even some young ones will know quite a few. (Did you see what I did there?) It’s not an exhaustive list – but how many of the 34 contained, can you find?

FINDERS KEEPERS

In the early 80’s I was in my early 30’s and feeling like a bachelor boy after splitting with my wife Samenita.

For my summer holiday, I decided to take in the sights of Rio de Janeiro and visit the famous Copacabana Beach, a place I had always dreamed of, after hearing the song by Barry Manilow.

My second day there was the day I met Marie. To me, she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
We happened to meet on the beach , where she was dancing very provocatively. It was her wonderful tanned skin and slim body that attracted me to her, and I couldn’t blame it on the Bossa Nova. I felt good vibrations, and as a lump came into my throat, I nervously told her. “I think I’m going to fall in love with you.” It felt like a schoolboy crush all over again.

Her little hand tightened its grip on mine. “Yes, I could easily fall in love as well.”

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SHE FOUGHT FOR A GREENER PLANET by Pete Brammer

Pete’s response to the trigger green

SHE FOUGHT FOR A GREENER PLANET

The world was astounded by a little school girl who took on their governments, her name Greta Thunberg. She was fighting for this planet of ours, against pollution and destruction of the ozone layer. We will never forget how she took on single handed, Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, addressed the United Nations whilst winning all our hearts.

Then, an invisible creature decided to rear its ugly head in Wuhan, China; its name, ‘Coronavirus’ (Covid 19). It grounded aeroplanes; stopped trains, kept vehicles off the road and confined communities to their homes preventing them from disposing of their litter in public places. It did what Greta could not do.

Unfortunately it sadly killed millions as it swept across the globe, taking governments like ours unprepared. For years our government had been slowly running down and destroying the Health Service by privatising areas bit by bit, hoping we wouldn’t notice. This is when it came back to bite them, and boy did it bite them hard. Our nurses, doctors, porters, care workers, and others, too any to mention stepped forward with the ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ putting their own lives at risk, fully aware of a shortage of protective equipment. Unfortunately some paid the ultimate price to protect us. They were angels and we salute them.

During this time, there has been one person who has been overlooked and not given a mention, in any way, shape or form. That person was one of the greatest politicians this country has ever known, Aneurin Bevan the founder of our wonderful NHS.

In order to rectify this, I have written to Her Majesty the Queen, requesting he receive a posthumous Knighthood and appear on a future banknote. This is the least we could do.

Thank God we have great people like Greta Thunberg, Aneurin Bevan and not forgetting Captain Tom Moore.

‘I, you and he’ by Limi Jones

Everyone had been stir-crazy sitting at home, waiting for the weather to change, and the first sight of the sun had gone out to the park with picnics and ball games. Dogs ran around, babies crawling across the grass with doting grandparents taking pictures, children on bikes with ice creams and toddlers splashing in the water, the squealing of children, and the chatter of people filled the park. The hard, warm wood of the bench underneath me melted away the cramps and the muscle tension around the back of my thighs and hips. I closed my eyes and lifted my head to the sky and bathed in the fresh spring heat, and the breeze brushed against my face and hands. The sounds of the park flooded my ears, and I breathed in the smell of coffee, hotdogs, and doughnuts. I smiled. It’s been a year since I had left that awful, middle of nowhere town, the abusive husband; the backhanded

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‘Highway Robbery’ by Michael Keeble

From the Casebook of Police Constable John Thoresby

Report of PC John Thoresby 16th April 1846 Gringley on the Hill

I was making my rounds of the village on foot at 10 o’clock this morning and was in discussion with Jabez Wilkinson at the Mill when we heard a commotion coming from the centre of the village.  Mr Wilkinson and I hurried towards the source of the noise and, coming around the corner at Cross Hill were met with the sight of a coach outside the White Hart being held up by two men on foot.  The men were aiming pistols at the driver.  I cried out that I was an officer of the law and ran towards the men.  They both aimed their weapons at Mr Wilkinson and I and discharged them.  Fortunately for both of us, only one of the pistols fired, the other suffering a flash in the pan.  Their aim was not good, and neither of us was hurt. 

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Eight by Pete Brammer

A canoe paddled by natives headed through mangroves and giant water lilies, towards the village of Puntagalula deep in the Amazon jungle. Here, Father Percy Whitaker would be taking up his ministerial work with the missionaries and two nuns. He had left his parish over a week ago. A parish in Devon that he simply adored. But God had called him, and Gods will must be done. He was twenty four, single and devoted to his calling, so it wasn’t too difficult to leave behind, all the friends he had made.

Housekeeper, Mrs Blades cried as she had handed him a leather shopping bag. Here Father, I have packed you some treats for your journey. I know you are bound to get peckish and love my baking and homemade lemonade. The bag may also come in handy for picking bananas or maybe coconuts and things that grow there. Even though there are no shops where you are going you could need a bag”. She wiped away a tear with the bottom of her apron. “I wish you didn’t have to leave us. You will take care, won’t you?”

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Scar by Michael Keeble

Every scar has a story.  Some scars are disfiguring, some may be unobtrusive, and some may be hidden, but they all tell a story.  There are those scars that are perceived to enhance the wearer, but that is usually because those observing them want to know the story.

Anyone who knows me will know that I have a scar that runs for about 3 inches down the left side of my face from the top of my cheekbone towards the corner of my mouth.  My friends have often speculated about how I came to get this facial feature, but I have never told them the true story.  My late wife knew the truth as she was there when I got it,

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“Röslein auf der Heide” – by David R Graham

For a mere second the soldier closed his eyes and succumbed to sleep’s black embrace. It was long enough for him to shuffle off the rain-slicked duckboards; off that narrow avenue between places of fragile safety.

He landed on his back on the thick, bomb churned mud.

Staring wide-eyed at the grey, rain-filled sky, he screamed a muffled cry of commingled anger and terror at his fatal mistake.

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The Brindley Manifestations – by Michael Keeble

Day One

I can’t remember exactly how we four lads from Sheffield decided that a cruise down the Chesterfield Canal might be a good idea, but for me at least it became one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken.  The boat was called the Brindley after the man who kicked off the building of this waterway in the late 18th Century and was a four-berth boat based in West Stockwith.

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A Sea of Troubles – by Andrew Bell

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of this awesome dissembly,

It is my privilege to shriek to you today through the medium of space, without rinsing my worms; to look back to our future; to explore how we may embrace a sea change in our shrinking, free from excessive red tape, pies in the sky or other porkies and assorted paper tigers; to discover, here and now, where we need to stand firm, but also, to find those moments when we need to move on to better timing. And above all, I urge you, with all my sinews, to hold up your palms, especially to this sea of bubbles (and its associated cant and froth), and by opposing, see it off. For, when all else fails, we need to stand above the crowd, cut through this jungle and tangle: all those lies embedded in convention, to reach an avon of peace and contention.

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