The Hat by Pete Brammer

The Hat by Pete Brammer

The cruise ship Ocean Splendour had been at sea seven days and just entered port at Cadiz.
Penny Dixon-Wright and her daughter Carla Elizabeth, disembarked, to make their way into town. On their way back, Mrs Dixon- Wright suddenly grabbed Carla’s arm. “Look at that beautiful hat. It’s the most fantastic hat I have ever seen.”
The ladies entered the establishment to be met by a tall, long legged, black shiny haired, Spanish assistant. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“You certainly can my dear.” Penny pointed to the hat on the manikin, in the window. “I would like that hat, my dear.”
The assistant reached in and removed the hat. “You like it very much? Yes?”
“Yes. Very much.”
Minutes later she skipped out of the shop, box swinging from her hand, with a beaming smile across her face.
“I think you are happy mother, you look as if you’ve lost a penny, and found a thousand pounds.”
“I’ve never paid so much for a hat in all my life, but it sure was worth it.”
“It’s my cousin Jessica’s wedding soon after we get back,” said Carla, “It should be perfect,” she grinned. “There’ll be a few bursting with jealousy mum, you can bet.”
The following day, Mrs Dixon-Wright strutted up and down the numerous decks, like a peacock showing off her new headgear.
Suddenly an unexpected gust of wind whipped the hat off her head.
“Oh God! My beautiful hat!” she screamed, running across the deck, only tosee it fly off into the ocean.
Seconds later, passengers gasped as a crew member hit the water. “Man overboard” the cry went out.
It took what seemed an age, for the ship to eventually turn round and head back in the direction of the unfortunate seaman.
When they eventually rescued him, he was holding aloft the hat, with passengers cheering loudly.
As they hauled him back on board, the captain slapped him on the back. “Woodall, you should not have put your life at risk like that, especially, not for a bloody stupid hat. But after saying that; is there anything I can do for you?”
In reply, the crewman said. “Yes captain, you can tell me who on earth pushed me in!”



Once there were ten aspiring writers

At first everything was fine

One did not understand punctuation,

Notably the apostrophe’s location,     

So then there were nine.

There were now nine aspiring writers

But one failed to differentiate

Their acronyms from their synonyms,

Their allonyms from their pseudonyms,

So then there were eight.


There were now eight aspiring writers

Sadly one was taken up to heaven.

Their death by electrocution

Severely limiting their contribution

So then there were seven.


There were now seven aspiring writers

But one was given to polemics

Chairman ruled it counterproductive,

Said this criticism wasn’t constructive,

So then there were six.


There were now six aspiring writers

But one of them didn’t survive

The pressure of periodic presentation

Which led to the death of inspiration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

So then there were five.


There were now five aspiring writers

But one was shown the door

The pieces they wrote were much too long,

And the sexual content much too strong,

So then there were four.


There were now four aspiring writers

One was told their poetry should be free

But, for the purposes of timing,

They insisted it must be rhyming

So then there were three.


There were now three aspiring writers

There was him and me and you

They said I used too many clichés, I was cut to the quick,

I could see the writing on the wall, I had to get out quick,

So then there were two.


There were now two aspiring writers

They could see nothing could be done.

These writers were quite bereft

They put their pens in their pockets and left

And then there were none.


With the writers gone the room was silent

The empty table spoke of shattered dreams

Empty chairs a testament to their conceit,

Their struggles and their ultimate defeat

They’d found writing is not as easy as it seems.

AT THE WHEEL by Pete Brammer

AT THE WHEEL by Pete Brammer

 Anthony Parr drove his car,

But could only turn it right,

He never went round to the left,

And yet he was quite bright.


Now he didn’t have a licence,

No insurance cover too,

How he loved this little Mini,

In purple and light blue.


In fact he hadn’t passed his test,

So this story must unfold,

He was on a fairground round-a-bout,

And was only six years old.

Coming Home to War by David R Graham

David’s response to the trigger ‘then’:

Coming Home to War

By David R Graham. 26.09.16


‘What d—! Who d’feck–!’


‘Killian? Is that you, Killian?’


‘Jesus Killian! What d’feck are ye doin’ comin’ up on me in d’dark like that? Ye frightened d’feckin’ shite out’a me. Whew. Ye made it back then? Come in’t d’light an’ let me have a look at ye.’

‘No, Callum. I live in the shadows now.’

‘Jesus Christ, Killian. What d’hell have they done t’ye man? Ye have eyes that would frightin’ d’divil himself. Was it bad?’

‘Worse than bad, Callum.’

‘When did ye get back?’

‘I didn’t.’

‘What? What are ye say—?’

‘You haven’t seen me, Callum. I’m not here.’


‘You haven’t seen me.’

‘Right. I’m with ye, Killian. What about Sean, an’ d’Hardy boys? Are they with ye? ’

‘No. They didn’t make it.’

‘Jesus, Killian. All five a them?’


‘Thank God Maddy’s not here t’hear that. The news would a killed her deader than Carpenter did.’

‘He made his play, then?’

‘O aye, he did that. Not long after you lads went off. An’ a bloody play it was too.’

‘Tell me.’

‘He killed everyone, Killian. Burned, bombed, an’ shot his way t’d’top a d’shite heap.’

‘You’re alive.’

‘Ye can call me that, Killian. Others might call me walkin’ dead. I escaped death by d’skin a me teeth. I’m worth fifty pounds to whoever takes me in. You found me, Killian. That worries me. How long have I got? He’s sittin’ up there now lordin’ it over d’whole city. No one can touch him, Killian. He has everyone eatin’ out a his slop bowl.’

‘No one is going to find you, Callum. Or me.’

‘What are ye goin’ t’do, Killian? What can d’two a do against Carpenter’s army?’

‘Tell me about his empire, Callum. Every detail.’

‘Empire’s right, Killian. He sits on top of the entire pile. From City Hall down to d’sewers an’ every club, bar, restaurant, casino, cinema, bettin’ shop, an’ barbers in between. You name it, Killian, an’ if Carpenter doesn’t already own it, he soon will. An’ he’s a army a coldblooded villains who are only too happy t’do whatever dirty work is necessary t’keep his slaves coughin’ up their cash. So you tell me, Killian. What can d’two a us do against him?’

‘Others are on their way, Callum.’

‘Who? Where are they comin’ from?’

‘From the battlefields of Europe. I’ve gathered my own army of coldblooded villains, Callum. Carpenter’s army will be no match for them.’

‘Jesus, Killian. Are ye goin’ t’take him on?’

‘No, Callum. I’m not going to take him on. I’m going to destroy him.’

‘Jesus, Killian. What d’ye want me t’do?’

‘I need to know everything about every one of his soldiers, Callum. They fear no one. They’ll all have a daily routine. I want to know those routines. I want to know the details of every building Carpenter owns, every vehicle he owns and uses. I want to know all of his daily movements; where he eats, where he sleeps, where he works, where he plays, where he does business, and where he keeps his money.’

‘I can’t do it, Killian. I’ve a price on me head. I wouldn’t last five minutes.’

‘You’re going to live, Callum. Disguise yourself. Go behind your enemy’s lines, and move freely among them. You’ll not be alone. I will be covering you. Others will not be far away.’

‘When d’ye plan t’make y’ur move, Killian?’

‘You’ll know, Callum.’

‘When, Killian?  When will I know?’

‘When each of Carpenter’s soldiers lies with a spike through his throat, Callum: You will know then.’

AIR’S A FUNNY THING by Barrie Purnell

Barrie’s piece on the ‘Air’ trigger.


Air’s a very funny thing

You can’t tell if it’s fat or thin

You cannot grasp it in your hand

It’s very hard to understand

It can be hot it can be cold

You don’t know if it’s young or old

If you’re cold it makes you colder still

A phenomenon they call wind chill

If you’re hot a cool breeze relief will bring

Yes air’s a very funny thing


Air’s got no back it’s got no front

You don’t know if it’s sharp or blunt

It’s colourless yet the sky is blue

It’s odourless when it is new

We need to breathe it to survive

It’s oxygen keeps us alive

You need air to speak and laugh and sing

Yes air’s a very funny thing


There’s no air at all in outer space

So for us it is a hostile place

There’s very little in the sea

Well not enough for you and me

Air causes parachutes to float

And blows along the sailing boat

It holds the glider up in flight

It’s full of owls and bats at night

I’m an engineer haven’t figured yet

How if air sucks up a jumbo jet

Then why doesn’t it suck up everything

Yes air’s a very funny thing


We call it wind when it’s moving

If it’s slow a breeze but it’s confusing

If it’s fast a gale but I can’t explain

Why if it goes round it’s a hurricane

All the air we breathe you’ll understand

Has been used before it’s second hand

Air does not discriminate

You breathe the same air as your mate

The same air as the Queen and King

Yes air’s a very funny thing




The sun slowly climbed over the horizon, bringing a welcoming warmth to the animals living in the jungle. As the rays filtered through the trees, their shadows lengthened across the clearings, looking like green striped carpets.

A sloth, slowly stretched and yawned as it hung to a branch by its long claws.

Tongue flicking in and out, testing the odours in the air, a green, yellow and red snake eased out from under rocks, searching for an early meal.

The deafening cries of a group of howler monkeys, echoed through the canopy high above, drowning out any other sounds in the vicinity.

Responding to the pangs of hunger, a large monkey decided he must search further afield for his favourite berries, nuts, and fruit. This essential food supply was becoming ever scarcer in this neck of the woods.

Minutes after reaching the ground, he happened upon one of the local hyenas.

“Good morrow to you, my fine friend. Where might you be heading on such a nice day?” enquired the monkey.

“Me? I thought I’d take a leisurely stroll before breakfast to give mean appetite. Then, I might fancy one of those giddy, tail flickinggazelles that frequent the hippo lake, for a drink every morning.” Helaughed. “I need something to get my teeth into.”

“Well don’t look at me!” the monkey told him.

“You are certainly not on my menu, my friend. I don’t fancy gettingmy teeth into that manky, flea infested coat of yours.”

“Oh charming!…anyway, I enjoy scratching immensely. I find it quite therapeutic.”

“You see.” continued the hyena. “I relish the chase. One gets more of a thrill, than just knocking off the odd lazy monkey.” He raised his nose in the air. “One must keep up ones reputation, mustn’t one?” “Reputation?….What reputation is that, may I be so bold as to ask?”

Sticking his nose in the air again. “Well, it does so happen; that I am the bravest animal, in this entire jungle.”

Now it was the monkey’s turn to laugh. “You, the bravest animal inthe jungle!….l should cocoa….I’m braver than you!”

“Who are you kidding?….I’ve heard fairies fart afore.”

The monkey stood erect. “Are you trying to say, you are braver than


“Sure am, old chap.”

At that moment, the grass parted to reveal an extremely angry lion. Teeth showing, it roared as it headed straight for the pair. “Oh my God!” cried the monkey. With a c-chunk, he was up the nearest tree in a flash.

Meanwhile, with the hyena mesmerised with fear, the lion latched onto him. Its teeth ripped into the poor animal, tearing a massive hole down one side.

Then, as if nothing had happened, the lion licked his lips, shook his mane and padded off, back into the jungle, from whence he came.

Carefully, the monkey began to shin down the tree, peering all around for any potential danger. “Are you alright?” he called down to his friend.

With a hole in his side and guts spilling out, he looked up at themonkey through a blood filled eye, hanging out of its socket. “Am I alright?….Am I, all bloody right?….Do I look alright?….Do I?”

“I thought you were supposed to be brave?” reminded the monkey.

“I thought you were brave too. Why didn’t you come and help me?” pleaded the hyena.

“Well replied the monkey. “The way you were laughing, I thought you were getting on top.”hyena for Pete

WHAT’S IN A NAME by Michael Healy

WHAT’S IN A NAME by Michael Healy


‘What’s in a name’, we have been asked.  And answers came their aplenty.

Your name may be seen as your address, your body being the parcel which it identifies.

Names are not unique, so John Brown might live in the English Midlands.

Similarly named, he could be in Philadelphia, Australia, New York or France.

Most likely¸ they will never meet and never know of each other’s existence,


Sometimes parents do not think things through when allocating names.

So the little bright boy with the surname Hall really does not want to be called Albert.

The Irish family O’Teen, might  not want a son named Nick.

And even worse would be to call young Master Mann, Andy.

Or little Miss Tree, Cherry


Those of us with plain common names can only be but pleased.

Whatever name it is, given any chance to distort it to a nickname,

Then so called friends will do that.

Those of us with unusual surnames have no choice.  Thus:


Jensen Button, Bill Gates, Stirling Moss, etc.  

Because of their fame, I doubt it has been detrimental to these.

On the other hand if your name is famous, it can open doors,

And gain access to places for you.  For example; ‘Your Majesty’.