CUCULUS By David R Graham

CUCULUS By David R Graham

‘Mr Miller?’
‘Mr William, Miller?’
‘Yes. And you are?’
‘My name is Edmund Varley.’
‘How can I help you?’
‘I wonder if I might speak to you about the package you sent to the Imperial War Museum.’
‘Oh, you’re from the museum. Why didn’t you say so? Come in, come in.’
‘Thank you.’
‘I must say, this is the last thing I expected when I sent those documents off.  Take a seat. Would you like some tea?’
‘Thank you.’
‘Here we are. Now then; what exactly has brought you all the way out here in this weather, and how can I help you?’
‘In your letter you sent with the documents, you mentioned a suitcase containing Second World War paraphernalia.’
‘Yes. I came across it quite by accident when I was sorting out my father’s effects, at his cottage in Falmouth.’
‘Forgive me if I am remiss. Is your father deceased?’
‘You’re not remiss. He passed away seven weeks ago. Lung cancer, I’m afraid. His smoking got him in the end.’
‘I am sorry for your loss.’
‘Thank you.’
‘Please go on.’
‘Well, as I mentioned in my letter, the suitcase is full of mementos from the last war. Those documents I sent to you where in there; mostly German, along with several different passports; French and German identity papers, assorted bric a brac, a couple of old handguns, several knives. Things my father must have collected on his travels around Europe, I expect. As I said in my letter, the museum is more than welcome to have the lot, if you think they might be of some interest.’
‘Is it here?’
‘The case?’
‘It’s upstairs.’
‘May I see it?’
‘Yes of course.’
‘There is rather a lot in it,’ Mr Miller said, hefting the suitcase onto the dining table.
Mr Varley rose to his feet.
The suitcase was an Asprey, typical of its time, with reinforced leather corners. ‘I made a thorough search for a key; but I’m afraid I forced the locks,’ Mr Miller said apologetically. He lifted the lid. ‘I imagine the contents are of more interest, though. I doubt that they are of much interest to anyone, other than a collector. I thought they might make an interesting display at the museum.’
Mr Varley examined the cases contents: A radio, concealed in a biscuit tin, a magnetic compass disguised as a coat button; five passports: American, British, German, French, and Italian, a silenced one shot pistol disguised as a tobacco pipe, a silenced .22, a silenced .32 automatic, a sleeve gun, silk printed maps of continental Europe, Great Britain and the American continent, several acetone time-delay fuses. A selection of booby-trap devices. Detonators, vehicle engine disabling kit, close quarter combat weapons: a knife, a garrotte, a weighed ball, a sleeve dagger, a machete knife for piercing helmets. A matchbox camera, a pencil dagger, hollow coins of various continental currencies; spikes for puncturing vehicle tyres, a saboteur’s multi function knife. Several carrier pigeon message canisters. A set of brass knuckles, several codebooks, 1940’s English, French, and German, currencies. A tube of shaving cream and a tube of toothpaste, and bottle corks with hidden compartments.
‘May I?’ Mr Varley asked.
‘Please do.’
Mr Varley examined the passports in turn. The American bore the name Walt Mailer, the English, Walter Marlowe, the German, Wilhelm Muller, the French, Guillaume Meunier, and the Italian, Guglielmo Mugnaio. Baring slight variations in facial appearance, the photographs were of the same man.‘Do you recognise the man in these?’
‘Yes, of course. He’s my father.’
Mr Varley examined the identity papers in turn.
The papers bore photographs and details corresponding to their respective passports.
Mr Varley held up the papers, ‘…and in these?’
‘Yes. The pictures are of my father.’
‘Why do you ask?’
‘Mr Miller, these passports, and identity papers represent five countries; America, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.’
‘Yes. They do.’
‘The photographs on all of these documents are of the same man.’
‘Yes. I noticed that. I assumed that my father had had them made up for him; as mementos of his travels.’
‘Mr Miller, these are authentic documents issued by the proper authorities in each of the five countries they represent.’ He opened the British passport to reveal the bearers photograph. ‘Twelve years ago,’ he said, ‘in June of nineteen thirty five, this was issued to a Walter Marlowe.’
‘Well, as I said, I thought perhaps my father had…’
Mr Varley held up the passport, ‘all of these passports and identification papers were issued to the same man using variations of the same name,’ he said. ‘In Italian, Miller is Mugnaio; in French, it is Meunier, and in German, it is Muller. Granted, there are small variations in the appearance of the man in each of these passports, but not enough to disguise the fact that they are of the same man: a man with five different passports, Mr Miller.’
‘What exactly are you saying…?’
‘The moment I saw these photographs, I recognised the face. I know who the man was.’
‘How could you possibly know … look here, Mr Varley. Exactly who are you? You are not from the War Museum, are you?’
‘No, Mr Miller. I am not from the museum. I am here because of the documents you sent to the museum. Those documents were passed to me the moment they were recognised for what they are.’
‘And just what are they, Mr Varley. What are you, for that matter? Where have you come from? Why are you really, here?’
‘I represent Her Majesty’s Government, Mr Miller. You might say that I am a researcher.’
‘Are you indeed? Well would you mind telling me exactly what possible interest the Government has in my father’s … war mementos?’
‘Mr Miller this suitcase does not contain your father’s war mementos; it contains the tools of his trade.’
‘Tools of his trade…? What are you saying?’

‘Look here, all of those things in there were used by secret agents, and saboteurs, and…’
‘Spies, Mr Miller.’
‘Yes, spies.’

‘Now hang on a minute. Surely, you’re not suggesting that my father was a spy. Are you?’
‘No Mr Miller I am not suggesting that. I am stating it as a fact.’
‘What? My father! A spy…! That is the most preposterous thing I have heard!’
‘The contents of this suitcase are the final pieces of the puzzle, Mr Miller: pieces that have been missing for the past decade.’
‘But how can you be so damn sure that this Cuckoo and my father were one and the same?’
Mr Varley took a photograph from the breast pocket of his jacket.
‘Do you recognise this man?’
‘What? Yes, it’s … it’s my father. Where did you get that?’
‘It is a picture of a German spy: codename “Cuculus”.He was a sleeper agent. We knew of his existence throughout the war. He was spying for the German Abwehr. Despite exhaustive counter-espionage measures, and a continental manhunt, he was never caught.’
‘Cuculus from Cuculus canorus: the Cuckoo. Like the Cookoo,’ Mr Varley said, putting away the photograph, ‘he made his nest here in England and fed information to German military intelligence, almost on a daily basis, throughout the war. Much of that information was of a highly classified nature; the revelation of which led to the loss of the lives of many men and women across Europe.’
‘You are not seriously suggesting that my father was this Cuckoo? That he was a spy, a … traitor. It’s a preposterous notion.’
‘It is neither a suggestion, nor a notion, Mr Miller. What I have seen here today proves the fact. The puzzle is completed. The case is closed.
The Cuckoo has flown the nest.’

The Institute for Economic Research
Ruschestraße and Frankfurter Allee,
10365 Berlin, GDR.

Section 8: Code 1463

I have taken over the nest.



All the Write Pieces

We are delighted to announce that the launch of our printed anthology ‘All the Write Pieces’ will be taking place at 6:00 p.m. on 9th May 2019 at Retford Library. An entertaining evening is promised as some of our talented contributors will be reading pieces from the book. Please do come and raise a glass to this new and exciting chapter for the group.




In my real life I am conventional I wear a suit and tie

A middle class professional is who I typify

In my real life I am a scientist an engineer by trade

I fix things when they’re broken I know how they are made

In my real life I am god fearing no one knows I’ve sinned

I don’t annoy my neighbours my lawns are neatly trimmed


In my real life I avoid an argument I am both mild and meek

I don’t like impetuosity I think before I speak

In my real life my pension is why I worked hard all my life

I achieved a certain status I had a well respected wife

In my real life my friends are all similar to me

But now I’ve got to thinking if that’s how it’s got to be


In my secret life I am a rebel not wanting to conform

I want to be a writer who can inspire and can inform

In my secret life I am a romantic seeking out the truth

Making up for all those years I wasted in my youth

In my secret life I’m Leonard Cohen writing a memorable song

I’m Retford’s answer to Bob Dylan righting every wrong

In my secret life my songs are lovers aphrodisiac of choice

The bereaved they use my poetry to give their grief a voice

In my secret life my stories are read out on radio four

When I sign my book in Waterstone’s the queues are out the door


But these are flights of fancy which I always had assumed

Would stay inside my secret book inside a darkened room

But in real life I joined a group of creative Retford writers

So the light inside that darkened room is now a little brighter

Could it be they will provide me with the inspiration

To resolve the problem of my secret life’s frustration

I may not find fame or fortune or save the world from strife

But I aim to make reality closer to my secret life

WORDS by Joe Lyons

WORDS by Joe Lyons

 Words once wrote did thoughts provoke
They chase around the brain
Flitting here, hovering there, never to be the same
Alighting on paper to leave an entry there
Like a butterfly in the garden hovering without care
Each thought grows ever stronger vivid colours mark the senses
Nothing bad could ever hide there, with innocent pretences
Always changing, always the same
Information is used by any name
Sights, sounds, smells and tastes
Lest we forget them in our haste
Light and dark colours, govern each day
Controlling, calming, come what may
Feelings, memories, the paper takes till full
Whatever you believe thoughts can never be dull
From the pen streams words using vowels and verbs
In truth, to tell a tale no matter how absurd

Empty Page! by Chris South

Empty Page! by Chris South

 Empty page!
4am and yet
Another empty page
Waiting for these words
Here they come once again
Contemplating meanings
They mutter and stutter
Flutter around like birds inside my head
Searching for a perch on which to hide
Somewhere they cannot be read
So here they come
These thoughts
Which should by now be dreams
Some with faces
Some with names
Others bursting at the seams
In desperation to be heard
Those feelings locked away inside
That seldom speak a word
Now vocalise their pain
Rise up to the surface
And then submerge again
Sleep is now an option
Rather than necessity
Perhaps I’ll listen longer
Hear what I would say to me
Where will this all end?
How long shall I spend tonight
What more can I write
To say what has not thus been said?
What else can be written
That cannot yet be read
Within this book?
Take a look
Back through these pages of my life!
Each one tells a story
Some of glory some of strife
Hopes and dreams and fantasy
All laid out in rhyme to see
Fear, pain, frustration, rage
And then?
Empty page!