fluffy gets the sack

Warning: contains cruelty to an animal. Daddy passes me the tin lid, full of birdseed. I rattle it, call “tom-tom-tom” into the sky and watch for the pigeons coming home. It’s hot up here on the roof of the pigeon loft. My head’s a bit dizzy but it’s a very important job. The pigeons are flying home from France and I need to get…

famous

After school, I have to play outside. Mammy’s at the factory and Daddy’s in England looking for work. I’m not allowed in the house on my own because I can’t be trusted.  Me and my best friend, Rosemary, sit on the pavement, poking sticks in the soft tar. It’s getting all over our hands and we’ll be in trouble, but we’re bored. “What would…

come into the light

“I know you’re there.” “Ears like a hawk, you.” “Come into the light, where I can see you.” “Not yet.” “Will you join me in a dram?” “It’ll kill you, that stuff.” “Ah well, we all have to go sometime.” ‘That’s for sure.” “Come into the light, my heart’s sore to see you.” “In a while.” “How did it go? Everybody safe?” “We hit…

dinner for billy

Billy lived alone in a corridor and wore blue silk drawers. On wash day, Mammy closed the curtains on our kitchen window so she couldn’t see them on Billy’s clothes line. He had a matching vest, a bit frayed at the edges, but without the faint brown stain on the drawers. He was a Roman Catholic and we were Protestants, but Mammy did her…

celestial chess

Heaven. Friday morning.  Angel number 4501 is summoned to His Presence, or HP, as he likes to be called. “I have an important job for you, 4501. There’s a music festival tomorrow in Everyman’s Park.”  HP’s magnificent voice rolls out, setting clouds, cherubim and seraphim a-tremble. A few feathers shiver and fall off 4501’s wings. “I was very upset at the amount of sin…

Black is black

He sidled round the edge of the door just before closing time. His face was waxy yellow, the tightly-stretched skin giving him a cadaverous mien. Wisps of white hair clung to a dandruff-dusted scalp. His bony arms dangled out of an over-sized sports coat and he shuffled into the office on heavy, highly polished brogues. “Eh, we’re closed, mate.” He advanced to my desk…

Bridget’s story

Note: this is not my story. It was given to me many years ago by a friend with one proviso: that I didn’t publish it until she was no longer with us. It is set in Ireland and I believe the era she was writing about is late 1940s / early 1950s. I have changed nothing. It is exactly as ‘Bridget’ gave it to…