Friday, 25 May 2012

A diamond for Beverley

She would have her diamond ring, to propose without one was unthinkable.

I scrubbed hard at the old brass curtain ring, spat on my threadbare shirt cuff and scrubbed some more. The metal began to un-dull, the gleam deepened, the shine began to shimmy.

Poor man's gold, but gold still the same, to me anyway.

A piece of glass, bright enough to catch the eye, to snatch the light, to capture a heart.

A smidgen of gum from the wad.

I had my offering.

* * * * * * * * * *

Beverley was beautiful, and I loved her. The princess of cardboard city, the dirt-encrusted duchess of the homeless.

This was our palace. I no longer saw the peeling wallpaper or the skeletal wall laths, the piles of rubbish and rubble meant nothing to me.

A squat is a squat is a squat.

But I saw Beverley, and loved her.

I sank to one knee and stretched my hand out towards her, hope sparkling between my thumb and forefinger.

I daren't speak for fear my voice would crack.

She looked at the ring, then into my eyes.

Gossamer wings fluttered my heart as I awaited her answer.

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

42 The meaning of life

I wrote this very short piece for the competition that Alison Wells hosted to celebrate the launch of her novel:- Housewife with a Half-Life.

The challenge was to write a story of exactly 42 words, prompted by - “The meaning of Life, The Universe, and Everything.” - from Douglas Adams' - The Hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy.

The competition received a very good response of fifty submissions, and you can check out all of the entries, and the competition results here:-

Competition entries:-
Competition results:-

* * * * * * * * * *

42 The meaning of life.

In my prison, life has no meaning.

Forty two goddamn centuries they gave me.

You've heard the story of the man who sold the world?

An amateur.

I stole the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Trouble is, I got caught.

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Slice of life

It's been long time since I opened this tiny shop, over forty years now, and I wouldn't have swapped a single day of it, even if I could.

I provide a service you see, to the local community, keep them provided with things, so to speak. Things that no-one else can provide.

It took a while for the locals to accept me, and my wares, but once word got around I became the most successful shop in the village, and a jealously guarded secret from any outsiders, which was fine by me. I wasn't in it for the money you see, I was sent here as a kind of experiment, from them up there.

Today has been much of a typical one. Mrs Furlong popped in just after I flipped the sign to OPEN, her twin daughters in tow. “Half a pound of Interest please, Mister Godfrey. I'm feeling a bit lack-lustre today.”

Mister Godfrey, that's me, not my real name, but then again, what's in a name?

We chatted amiably as I weighed out the Interest, wrapped it, and took her money.

“You use that as soon as you can, dear.” I told her as she was leaving, she did look as though she needed it.

And so the day went on, and the sales were regular and frequent. A jar of happiness, a tin of self esteem, two sticks of determination, an ounce of kindness, a bottle of love, a sprig of sympathy, a packet of inspiration. The usual stuff.

Sometimes a small queue grew whilst I served some unfortunate with a long list, and occasionally I had time for a breather when the shop was empty for a few minutes.

The doorbell jangled, and in walked Martha Blessingham. Now Martha had been one of my very first customers, she had been a pensioner when I first came here and was well over a hundred years old now.

“Hiya Martha, lovely to see you my dear, your smile always brings the sunshine to my day. Will it be the usual?”

“Yes please Mister Godfrey, a slice of life please.” Her eyes twinkled and her mouth smiled its natural smile, she was a truly lovely, and lovable person.

“I've got a nice new piece, fresh in today.” I told her, as I reached under the counter and hefted the heavy slab of life up onto the cutting board. I placed the carving knife an inch or so along the slab, then glanced at Martha flirtatiously, twitching my eyebrows rapidly, smiling broadly.

“Oh, you are such a tease, Mister Godfrey.” She chuckled, as she waggled her finger, indicating that I should move the knife up a bit.

“A thicker slice than usual today then Martha? You must be ravenous.”

“Oh I am, Mister Godfrey, I am indeed, I just can't seem to get enough of it”

“There you go Martha.” I said, handing her the wrapped slice of life. “You'll enjoy that, it's prime quality, nothing but the best for you my dear.”

“Why thank you kindly Mister Godfrey, must dash now, I have all sorts of things to do today. See you again tomorrow.”

“Bye dear.” I called after her. Lovely lady.

I love the life that they have given me, and like I said, I wouldn't swap a single day of it, even if I could.

I'm hoping that this experiment is a success, and that them up there decide to expand it to a global level, I think it could be a real winner.

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.