CONFUSED by Cynthia Smith

Cynthia was inspired to this by our ‘confuse    confused   confusion’ trigger.
CONFUSED    by Cynthia Smith
Marjorie was standing in the middle of … a room. She had that frightening feeling again – not being able to remember where she was or why she was there. She looked around. There were a table and chairs, a sofa, and a flowering plant on the window sill. “I wonder who lives here and where they are”, pondered Marjorie.
Just then she was startled by an unexpected sound. Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Turning, Marjorie saw that the noisy bird had come out of a little wooden house, which looked just like the one … Marjorie laughed out loud, realising that it was her cuckoo clock and this was her living room. Relieved, she sat down on the sofa.
She thought perhaps this had been going on for a while: not recognising things and forgetting where she was. Well, whenever Mam and Dad had had a problem, their first solution was … was to make a brew. Through a half-open door Marjorie could see some cupboards and a sink. Of course, that was the kitchen! She shuffled over to it and through the door. On the side were some green canisters and in front of them a flowery cup and saucer sat, as though waiting to be filled.
Again, the strange feeling came, a fuzziness in her head. What should she do now, she wondered in panic. She looked around. Ah, there it was, the …the … Marjorie picked it up, shuffled to the sink and carefully filled it with water. Pleased with herself, she took it back and, after a little fumbling, got it to sit on its stand. Now what? She remembered that the kettle – that was it, kettle! – would make a noise like a toy train and then the water would be hot. But how did she make it do that? Marjorie wished the nice young woman who visited her would come soon and sort this out.
Deflated, she shuffled back into the living room and sat on the sofa again. Her mind drifted off; to other living rooms; to people whose names she could not quite recall; to crying babies and laughing small children; a fluffy grey cat sitting on her lap …
Marjorie started violently. The doorbell was ringing and she struggled up from the deep cushion to answer it. For a moment she hesitated to open the door, but then a kindly voice said: “Hello Mam, it’s only me.” Marjorie was delighted to see the young woman again: it seemed so long since she had seen her. She smiled as her visitor gently showed her how to switch on the kettle. Having made the tea, she then produced some cake from her bag and cut a large wedge for each of them, warning Marjorie how careful she must be when using a sharp knife. Marjorie did not really take that in; she was just delighted to have some company.
They sat on the sofa, enjoying the chocolate cake and sipping hot sweet tea. Marjorie decided that the young woman must be from the … from the … the Council. People had come from the Council before, but none as nice as this one. But Marjorie did wish she wouldn’t call her ‘Mam’ – it made her sound like the Queen! “Do call me Marjorie”, she admonished gently. “Oh Mam, I can’t do that”, she laughed, giving Marjorie a little hug.
There it was again: the feeling that a thought, a name, a memory was just over the edge of her mind … She tried to pull it back. But it was gone.
She asked the young woman, who said her name was ‘Beth, short for Bethany’ (what a pretty name), if she would put the television on for her, so she could watch it after she had left. Beth showed her how to do it, how to mute the sound and put it back on, but Marjorie just smiled, knowing she would not remember.
They chatted for a while and Marjorie wished that she could have this pleasant company every day. Suddenly, the noisy bird burst out again, with five ‘Cuckoos’ this time. Marjorie did not realise that that meant it was five o’clock, but she noticed through the window that it was getting dark.
“Oh, Ron will be home soon! I must get his tea ready. I’m sorry, but I think it’s time for you to go dear. Thank you for coming.”
Beth passed a hand across her eyes to hide the tears that were welling up. It hurt so much that her mother did not recognise her. There was no point in telling her again that Dad had died two years ago – she would have forgotten before she saw her out the door. Far better to let her think Dad was still here. So she smiled and pressed her mother’s hand, promising to call as usual the next day. Marjorie bustled her out, because it was late, and because … What?
She sat down on the sofa again and looked at the television set. The young woman had turned the sound off while they were talking. Marjorie pressed a button to turn it back on, but it must have been the wrong one as the picture disappeared.
Oh well, if she couldn’t see pictures in the box in the corner, she could look at the pictures in her head … Some children were playing games on the sea shore … a little black dog raced after the ball … A family sat round a table, eating, drinking and laughing. Wasn’t that Uncle …Uncle …? Paper chains …a tree indoors, covered in lights … There was that pretty baby again … Why didn’t her mother come to stop her crying? …

Paradox by Chris South

Chris’s responses to our two triggers – Confusion, followed in a separate post by Definition

Paradox by Chris South

Betwixt and between

Neither seen nor unseen

Amongst them I’m alone

Eyes shut tight sleep wide awake

Each sigh a deafening tone

Heat turns cold

As youth grows old

Right is always wrong

Trees stand tall before they fall

The weak become the strong

Good is bad

And happy sad

Insane is sound of mind

Remembered times are soon forgot

Lost for all to find

Day is night

As black is white

The end has now begun

Dawn draws nigh when dusk descends

The moon outshines the sun

Birth brings death

First-final breath

This heart beats on in vain

Life sprang from a virgin’s womb

Then died and rose again

Truth is lies

When love despises

All but none the less

Freedom binds my soul in chains

Its peace is my distress.

Homophones by Michael Healy

Michael’s response to the ‘Confuse’ trigger.


 I said to my Grandchildren,
‘The sun is shining, I will take you to the Park’
When we got there we parked the car at the Park.
As we got out a large stork glided overhead
Shall we go exploring and search for some bare Bears in the wood? Said Tom.
No, we will have a picnic first, here are some bags of crisps
Now for our crisp walk to stalk that stork, he is heading for the lake.
Just over the fence pranced a happy young horse.
I shouted him over until I was horse, but he carried on his way.
In the old farm buildings they were making cheese,
We watched them weigh the curds and whey before going on our way.
Down the path we saw the woodman with a saw to cut off some branches.
He said ‘Hello’ as we walked by, with a pile of wood for sale to buy.
Ahh!, there is our stork inside his nest.  I wonder if it came from the woodman.
Just then the workman finished his toil and the nearby church bells began to toll.
What a lovely sound those bells are making as their notes ring out.
Just then my phone rang; note from Mum,
‘time to go home or we will miss our chips’.
We collected our car from the park, and left the Park.
                                                                                                    Michael Healy

Confused by Kevin Murphy

Confused by Kevin Murphy

(September 2015 Flash fiction from Trigger)


It had been one of those sort of days. We had at last sat down to our cup of tea. Mine was stewed and cold. I picked up where I had left off when the cold caller rang. “Confused…” I started

“Lights are okay!” she said.

I looked at my fag. I got what she meant. “No Martin,” I said “just mixed up.”

“I said he shouldn’t be hanging around with that course lot.”

She’s a bit stuck up is my wife, wants him to stick with Pony Club, but I told her he’s a bit grown up for all that now. “Not that pack,” I said, ” just mean he’s got his knickers in a twist about his suit.”

“He’s not wanting a red coat and one of those velvet hats is he? Those saboteurs from his college won’t stand for that if they get wind of it.”

“Let’s hope the wind blows out their fuse before it blows him up.”

“I thought you said the fuse was okay. I thought you meant ours, not our Rachel’s.”

I shook my head. How had we arrived at this impasse? Reminded me of the two Ronnies’ four candles. It’s age that’s what it is. I had better start again. “They’ve got a code at his new office, see…”

“Oh I get you,” she laughed, ” he couldn’t get in and…” she chuckled some more, “…he didn’t get caught up with the cats and dogs waiting outside!”

I looked under the chair. Sammy wasn’t there. I looked out the window and saw he was warming himself on the bench in my Summer house and Bonzo was sitting staring at him. “What, Martin? In our Summer house? When? Today?”

“No. Thought maybe he didn’t have a key.”

“Course he has Margaret. This is his house and always will be. Course he’s got a key. You haven’t taken it off him have you.”

“I’ve thought about it. Don’t want any of them getting in a looking in my drawers.”

I had had enough of her and blokes looking in her drawers. Pretty glad she had given up encouraging them. “What’s that got to do with our Martin and his jeans?”

She looked at me as if it was me that had the wrong end of the stick.

“You don’t mean he’s plumped for one of the girls in that gang? You never know where they were bread. Think of the grandchildren.”

“Won’t be like the war,” I said. “They never had it so good.”

She shook her head this time. “What’s the war got to do with it, Ron?”

“Rationing,” I said. “Bread queues and that. They’ve never had it so good.”

“He hasn’t had it with her yet, has he? How long’s he known her? They’re all on the pill these days aren’t they?”

“Now, now Margaret,” I said, “it’s you now…”

“It’s bloody, not,” she said, “I haven’t had it for ages, what with you and your prostrate…”

I took a gasp but she ploughed on.

“… I hope you’re not accusing me of having it with anyone else, Ronald Pickering.” She stood up and glowered down at me, hands on hips.

“Now sit yourself down, Margaret, don’t be going over all that again. I mean it’s you…”

Her eyes narrowed. Her lips pursed.

“… it’s just that it’s you that’s, well, confused.”

Confusion by Pete Brammer

September’s trigger ‘Confuse … Confused … Confusion’ – possibly based on words that sound the same, produced a great variety of pieces. A few follow Pete’s which takes the ‘pun’ route.

Confusion by Pete Brammer

Why does the washer eat my socks?

How does it achieve this ‘Feat’?

The way it’s going, I’ll soon be wearing,

Add socks upon my ‘Feet’.


It’s said, if someone’s clever,

That they are in the ‘Know’

But if you answer, in the negative,

You will then be saying, ‘No’


Words and many letters make,

A book containing a ‘Story’

Several floors of windows and doors,

Then, one could be a ‘Storey’.


Rasp, black, straw and tay,

All these are types of ‘Berry’

But you could live, in a town up north,

With a football team, called ‘Bury’.


Right in the middle of one’s face,

You’ll find you have a ‘Nose’

And how many hairs you have inside?

I’m afraid nobody ‘Knows’.


After a young lady marries,

Her name comes after ‘Nee’

And of all those pretty ladies,

I’d like some, on my ‘Knee’.


If you go and strip your clothes off,

Then you’re known as being ‘Bare’

But one who cannot do that,

Is the humble teddy ‘Bear’.


That bright light, high up in the sky,

Giving off heat, is the ‘Sun’

But a little male offspring,

Is of course, your ‘Son’.


A baker who’s been brought up well,

Could well be called well ‘Bred’

But then he makes his living,

By baking stuff, called ‘Bread’.


Long ago in days of old,

On a fire, you’d use a ‘Poker’

Then settle down, with a friend or two,

To enjoy a game of ‘Poker’.


A wild strike in a cricket game,

One might hear the shout of ‘Duck!’

But please don’t look into the sky,

Hoping to see a ‘Duck’.


Little girls, out for a walk,

For mum, may pick a ‘Flower’

But the miller, he gets covered in dust,

When turning wheat, to ‘Flour’.


Shopping for things at Harrods,

Could turn out very ‘Dear’

Like a pound or two of venison,

From that lovable, little ‘Deer’.


Every morning on your doorstep,

Came milk, in a glass pint ‘Bottle’

Yet when you’re scared of something,

They say, you’ve lost your ‘Bottle’.


Attending Retford Writers’ Group,

Stories and verse, we ‘Write’

But for me, the poems that do not rhyme,

I think, are just not ‘Right’.

Pete Brammer