Category Archives: Fiction

Bloom in the Time of Covid

Letting my country die for me is the escape I seek
As I find myself running from myself
To one who says love loves to love love
Says yes when I ask again says yes again
As I walk through myself
Encountering ferrymen journeymen fairground barkers
uncertain apprentices shimmering spectres orphans
widowers Gargantua running from David
Me running from me
To find the long way around to the short way home
Back to myself
On Saturday
Having buried Friday who buried Crusoe
Whose darkness could not comprehend the light
The latest in an infinite procession toward the ether
Pursued by the reproachful gaze of the cow
Consumed at noon to fend off a narrow end
Mindful that achievement heralds the death of intellect
A walk through myself feeds imagination averts success
Applauding my country as it mounts the scaffold
Saying it is a far better thing than it has ever done

Some American Presidents

George Washington (1789 – 1797)
Washington was the first President of the United States and is said never to have lied through his wooden teeth. Which places him at variance with the majority of his successors, none of whom had wooden teeth but lied with great energy and imagination. As Washington was born prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the dates supplied above. For all I know, he may even still be alive and serving as an aide to the current incumbent.


Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809)
Jefferson was the third President and one of the most important political figures in furthering the cause of popular music. Appointing George Clinton (b 1941) as Vice President undoubtedly gave rise to a surge in the popularity of Funk music. And the irony of his band name, Parliament Funkadelic Collective, was not lost on anyone, let me tell you.
If you are concerned that Clinton’s birth date is anachronistic, blame it on the bloody Gregorian calendar.


Andrew Jackson (1829 – 1837)
The 7th President, Jackson is the one to blame for the formation of The Democratic Party. He’s also the first and only President to pay off the national debt. He did this by selling off hundreds of his slaves as well as his entire collection of George Clinton albums.
Jackson’s legacy is celebrated in Lonnie Donegan’s ‘The Battle of New Orleans’. Donegan, an itinerant musician, was Jackson’s Vice President from 1960 to 1964. (You know it. Gregorian lassitude once more)


Zachary Taylor (1849 – 1850)
The 12th President was the son of plantation and slave owners. He joined the military and was soon killing hundreds of Mexicans and Native Americans. All of which made him the perfect candidate for the Presidency. However, with only a year under his belt, Congress urged action on slavery – and this caused Taylor so much consternation that he went on a nervous eating binge, so much so, that his stomach exploded in a fashionable restaurant. (It is now generally accepted that this incident was the inspiration for the Monty Python Mr Creosote sketch.)


Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
The 16th US President, although a brilliant automotive engineer and the inventor of the Model T Lincoln, was extremely forgetful. Thought to be partly caused by hearing difficulties, (see picture) his transient amnesia resulted in him often not being able to remember where he lived. Consequently, his parents arranged for their Gettysburg address to be tattooed on his left forearm.
Lincoln’s success in the automotive industry led to a bitter rivalry with his main competitor, Henry Ford. On Good Friday, 1865, Ford invited Lincoln to his own theatre (Ford’s Theatre) where he was held down and the tattoo surgically removed. The dazed and confused Lincoln stumbled out into the Washington night, unable to remember where he lived, and was never heard from again.







Some English Monarchs – Part the Second


Elizabeth 1 (1558 – 1603)
Last of the Tudor monarchs and known as The Virgin Queen due to her being an ancestor of Richard Branson. She succeeded her half-sister, Mary 1, who had died from consuming vast quantities of vodka and tomato juice in the company of the Russian ambassador.
Elizabeth wanted to extend English influence abroad and commissioned Sir Francis Drake to establish pirate radio outside the 3 mile limit. This really annoyed Philip of Spain who threatened to pull out of the Trade Agreement with England. So Elizabeth sent Drake to Cadiz to singe Philip’s bread. This really cheesed off Phil who told his admirals to launch the Armada against England. Unfortunately, things were done in such a rush that the galleons sailed without the stoppers in their bung holes and very quickly sank.
Elizabeth died without issue so they sent to Scotland for a distant rellie, Jimmy, to take over. Not such a good idea as it turned out. He had a bad attitude, razors in his boots and a passion for deep-fried Mars bars. Unforgivably, he also brought Charles 1 into the world.

Charles 1

Charles 1 (1625 – 1649)
The first of the contrarian monarchs, Charles would argue with anyone about anything. He was, though, an elegant boxer and possessed a divine right. But his constant bickering and fighting were always going to lead to disaster. And so it proved when he insulted the House bully, Ollie, by calling him a ’roundhead’ (a crude reference to circumcision). This  led Parliament to order the cutting off of Charles’ moustache, an indignity from which he never recovered. The moustache is buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor alongside Henry VIII’s penis.

George 3

George III (1760 – 1820)
The third successive George from the House of Hangover. (There are 3 movies about these monarchs – and like their subjects, each worse than the last) This George was absent-minded and managed to lose America. But he did beat Napoleon because he was reluctant to share his brandy – and when he did – passed it, incorrectly, anti-clockwise around the table. Succeeded by his son – you guessed it – George IV, of whom it was famously asked; ‘Who’s your fat friend?’


Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901)
The only English monarch to be named after a railway station, Victoria continued the tradition of marrying a first cousin to ensure the incidence of imbecility in future generations so valued by the monarchy. She and her Consort, Prince Albert, who invented genital piercing for men, had nine children – all of whom married into other European royal families, thus ensuring that haemophilia research would always be well-funded.
Victoria’s reign was marked by the expansion of British rule and influence around the world. So much so that enormous warehouses were built to house the bounty of Empire. These buildings are called Museums.
Victoria was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII, who was the inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ because he liked to have two breakfasts.


Some English Monarchs


William 1 (1066 – 1087)
Bon viveur from Normandy, so incensed at the paucity of  tasty cheese across the channel, that he invaded England in order to remedy the situation. Fortunately for him and his following of lager louts, the day they arrived on the Sussex coast, the bloke in charge of the Home Guard, Harold somebody or other, was at Stamford Bridge watching an International between Denmark and Northumbria.
So William took charge, fixed the cheese situation, gave good jobs to his rellies and mates and even found time to write some lists of important stuff.  He was succeeded by his son, imaginatively named William II, (Also known as William Roofless because the Normans still hadn’t figured out how to put roofs on buildings) who, like his dad, didn’t bother with Wales.

NB  William 1 was also known as William the Concubine for reasons that remain unclear.

Richard 1

Richard 1 (1189 – 1199)

Absentee landlord king who bore a striking resemblance to Sean Connery. Spent a lot of time in the Holy Land, slaughtering the locals who opposed his plans to establish a fast food franchise, The Salad Inn.  After that, he lounged around in an Austrian castle waiting for Blondie to turn up and whistle the right tune.
Succeeded by his slacker brother, John, known as Lacklustre, due to the dry, dull appearance of his hair which he could never do a thing with.

NB  Richard’s nickname ‘The Lying Heart’ is attributable to his propensity to take power naps at every opportunity. (See picture above) His last words, on 6 April 1199, were, ‘I’m just going to put my cardy on and have a lie down.’


Richard 3



Richard III (1483 – 1485)

Top bloke. Having established his legitimate claim to a chocolate-making business in the so-called War of the Roses, Richard became President of the Yorkshire Rugby League (see picture) and also gained a reputation as a superb horseman – often jesting that he felt his horses to be more valuable than his kingdom.
But it all went wrong for Richard when his accountant, Henry Tudor, embezzled the Crown Jewels with the help of Stanley, the accounts payable clerk, and then mugged Richard in a Leicester car park when he discovered what they were up to. As he lay dying, Richard muttered the now immortal phrase, ‘Another fine mess you’ve got me into Stanley.’

NB  It’s not widely appreciated that Richard’s sobriquet, ‘Tricky Dicky’ was acquired by a far less worthy leader many years later.
henry 8





Henry VIII (1509 – 1547)

Homicidal maniac who succeeded to the throne when his lover, Catherine the Arrogant, slew his brother, Art, and his father, Henry, in a week-long ménage a trois of extreme sex and mummery. Henry later used this against Catherine and had her hung, drawn, quartered, beheaded and called lots of nasty names. Historians argue over how many wives Henry had but most of them were either murdered or paid off by his lawyer. Eventually, through misuse, all of Henry’s body parts atrophied and fell off. All that was left was a withered, blackened penis which is buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor next to Charles I’s moustache.

NB Despite everything, Henry was a gifted musician and won the 1518 Eurovision Song Contest for England with his ‘Sup Greensleeves?’


And Generation X Shall Inherit The Earth

Dateline January 2036 –  New York

So how does it feel now that you’re in your 60s or 70s to finally have thrown off the yoke of the Baby Boomers? Now that they’re all gone. Or mostly.
It started 20 years ago with Bowie. And since then, Spielberg, Scorsese, McCartney, Dylan, Queen Elizabeth and King Charles, (Although I acknowledge the cruel irony of Chazza  surviving  only until the day after his coronation. Still, Wills makes a fine representative of modern monarchy as he cycles each morning, clad in blue overalls, to his job at the Recycling Plant.) the Clintons, Putin, Letterman, Clapton, Cameron and all of the Murdochs in that attack on Chequers in 2020, (That brought about Corbynism of course, the dissolution of the Upper House and the abandonment of hereditary titles and the Honours List. That is why, dear readers, I must now address you as plain, humble Wilson Parking, my knighthood having been rescinded.) Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, Meryl bloody Streep, Bob Geldof and, finally to much relief and global celebration, Bono.
So they’re all, more or less, gone. Keith Richards remains in suspended animation at the Brian Cox Centre for Immunology Research in Weybridge while scientists investigate the strand of alien DNA that was found after a routine examination following yet another accident involving Keef and a palm tree. (More irony. To think that Keef may be the source to the unravelling of that most impenetrable of mysteries; the meaning of life.) There’s a few sports commentators such as Ian Botham, Vince McMahon and, in New Zealand, Keith Quinn who are still hanging on. But mostly they’re gone.
I’m still here of course. Just. As I’ve got older, I have to admit to turning gradually into my opposite. Corbynism was not for me. So I came Stateside. Individuality is still respected and following President Trump’s assassination at an NRA rally in 2018, wealth and privilege are virtues that inform every aspect of life here. Particularly as the NRA is now, by far, the largest political party and Barack Obama is but a distant memory.
That’s our legacy you Gen X questers. You can have it. And when those that remain finally meet the conqueror worm, you can explain it all to Generation Y. Good luck with that.

Wilson Parking


Two Characters In Search Of A Relationship – Short Story

So  How long is it that we’ve known each other?
Why do you ask?
Look – I know it’s not possible – well, we shouldn’t try is what I mean – to quantify how valuable it’s been Mmm. But if you could divide the length of time by that accrued value, then you could get a standard unit. We’d be able to see – measure – whether its been worth it or not. But, as I say, I guess we shouldn’t try.
No. It’s a fair point. How do you feel about these meetings then?
That’s it though, isn’t it? I don’t want to have to rely on feelings. Feelings are so unreliable, aren’t they? I mean – there are several respectable branches of medicine that have prospered because of that very premise.
And the law.
The law also prospers because feelings are unreliable. The law has a symbiotic relationship with forensic psychology. The alchemy of guilt – turning feelings into fact.
Is that an admission then?
If it were, there’d be an admission charge.
Then I’d certainly need to know if it’s been worth it, wouldn’t I? The price of admission, yeah?
Twenty years, more or less. That’s how long we’ve known each other.
You changing the subject?
Not at all. I’m answering your question. Scroll back and you’ll see.
Okay. Well then. Do you feel, think, know – whatever – that it’s been worth it?
Certainly I do. The actuaries and the clinicians tell me – it is their considered opinion – that I have many good years in front of me. So the proportion of time spent to time available at the rate of return – the standard unit you mentioned – is favourable, A broker would describe it as attractive. Whereas in your case, well, the rate of return would have that same broker on the phone screaming, ‘sell, sell, sell!‘.
Are you telling me that I ought to take a negative view of these meetings? That they’re worth more to you than they are to me?
I’m not telling you anything. I’m answering your questions
Now you scroll back. Mostly, you answer my questions with questions of your own, don’t you?
Are you beyond being accountable then? Over these many years has your sense of entitlement grown to the point where all interrogative statements, shot like a bolt from that crossbow of a mouth, must be rewarded by the perfectly divided apple of a response? Are you now the William Tell of rhetoric?
Is it really twenty years?





Billy Liar and The Glittering Zombies (A pome, I think)

Can I ask you something?
Go on then
When you dream that you’re making love to someone else, do you tell your missus about it?
She’s not a citizen of Ambrosia. Why would I?

I read the News today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
Did you read the News?
Heed the News?
Did the English army win the war?
Or was it the young Americans?
And did they send in the Navy Zeals?
Send them onto the Sands of Iwo Jima
Or was it The Sands, Las Vegas?
And did they gambol on Sunset Strip?
And were they, indeed, zealous?

They gravitate to supermarkets, zombies do.
That music you can hear
It’s chosen by them
Not by management
And they sway, in time, down the aisles
Selecting stuff that may be reached with their stiff, outstretched arms
Always in time
Zombies and African-Americans have natural rhythm
An African-American zombie has never been on Dancing With The Stars
Discrimination abounds

He wants to do stand-up
Stand up, stand up. Stand up for your rights
Don’t give up the fight
Billy is a fisher of words
One-liners; Ocean liners; Billy Ocean liners
Loverboy not Lover Man
That was another Billie
Lady Day at Ladies’ Day At the Races with Groucho

Now let me ask you something
Go on then
When you’re making love to your missus, are you dreaming of someone else?
As President of Ambrosia I would consider it undemocratic to behave otherwise

A note from the author;
Billy Liar is a 1959 novel by Keith Waterhouse. There was a successful film adaptation in 1963, directed by John Schlesinger and starring Tom Courtenay as William Fisher – ‘Billy Liar’.
The ‘Glittering Zombies’ are Billy’s arch-enemies; The smooth, well-dressed but unimaginative – employing class who he longs to leave behind.
As for the rest – you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. If you do – please drop me a line as I don’t have clue one.

Wilson in Wonderland

Readers will recall that previously Wilson had witnessed the rather mediaeval termination of Bentine’s employment by Brian Boru. He is now charged with the task of ‘writing it up’.

Part the Second – In which our hero is concerned with advice and consent.

Back in his office, Wilson decided that a visit to The Holograms was required. Blinds down and lights off, a reproving Cyrano de Bergerac was the first to appear.

A wasted opportunity, young sirrah, to have impressed your perspicacity and wit upon that roseate ruffian, Boru. You may have offered: Sports commentary – Bentine was a man of two halves; Philosophical – He always believed that the whole was more than the sum of the parts; Portraiture; Odd how the left and right profile look quite different; Political – This one’s too close to call, split right down the middle; Riddle – How many Bentines make one? Macabre – His favourite ale was a half and half; Proverbial – Two heads are better than one; Rueful – He always said not to do things by halves.

Wilson did not feel that any of this was helpful and –  avoiding staring at the great swordsman’s proboscis – ushered him away.

Then in quick succession came Ry Cooder singing ‘Slap Dab in the Middle’, Paul McCartney warbling ‘I’m not half the man I used to be…‘ and an excerpt from Brian De Palma’s ‘Body Double’. But eventually Wilson got lucky when Niccolo Machiavelli turned up and together they produced a statement that concluded; Michael gave his all to the Company and often did the work of two men. But following the re-structure, he just fell apart and had to split. Wilson thanked the wily Italian for his help and watched him fade into the ether before sending off the draft to ‘BB’, as he now termed Brian Boru.

Up, up in the glowering sky, the executive pagoda was teeming with prematurely-waistcoated directors, their pneumatic assistants and an assortment of journalists – easily distinguished by their ever-present intravenous alcohol drips and plastified bibs – all gathered to celebrate the latest Company triumph. As was the custom on such occasions, captives from the victory were serving their captors with petite fours and champagne.

The atmosphere was particularly jubilant tonight as Matthew & Son had long been an obstacle to the far-reaching ambition of Rolling Fork Traders. Now, old Matthew himself grimaced as he offered to refill the crystal flute of Sir Basil Basilisk, Principal Person and founder of RFT.

Mmm. Thank you Matthew. This profile please! he barked to the press photographers as he turned half-left and raised his glass. From his position by the balcony, Wilson kept an eye on proceedings as he skimmed the press release. RFT  had acquired, amongst other things, The Financial Times, Playboy and The Beano. Tomorrow would herald the first edition of a new organ that combined all three into a daily glossy tabloid known as Money, Honey and Funnies. Sir Basil had written the leader himself and now saw a brilliant headline opportunity in the crumpled person of old Matthew. Beckoning the reporters, he tapped his champagne flute, called for silence and then – when the room fell silent –  he threw his arm around the old man and drew him close.

Stay tuned to this channel for the further misadventures of Wilson in Wonderland.

Wilson in Wonderland

Part The First –  in which our hero is discomfited and comforted.

What’s he doing here?   Who?   Him. The big guy with the red hair and the attitude.   That’s Brian Boru, the new HR Manager.   Why would we need an Irish warlord as our new HR Manager? What happened to George?   Mister Orwell was transferred to our Spanish office yesterday.   We usually have a morning tea when people leave.   No time. In any event there were certain…mmm… irregularities discovered and it was best that things…mmm…..   were progressed without embarrassment for anyone?   Exactly.   Thanks Burt. Isn’t that your trapeze?   It’s Mister Lancaster, Wilson – and yes, it is. See you later.     

With that, he swung gracefully across the room, performing a perfect triple – yes triple – somersault before landing front and centre in his ergonomically correct, executive leather chair. With his phone ringing, assistants scurrying and board papers neatly arranged, Burt’s aura seemed to reflect the success of the Company’s drive to rehabilitate impoverished circus artistes. Indeed, Burt was the exemplar of confident ignorance, the very nonpareil of the glittering ineptitude that symbolised the spirit of the new corporate adventurism that had been the brainchild of the erstwhile Mister Orwell. And Wilson envied him.

He envied him his well-filled, sequined tights. He coveted his easy charm, flashing smile and ability to strip down and re-assemble a Thompson machine gun whilst blindfolded. What he most envied though, was his sexual ambivalence. Burt wasn’t just a metro sexual, he was truly androgynous. He is favoured by the Gods, Wilson thought.

Rosa Klebb, the HR guardian, interrupted his ponderings with a violent kick to his shins.

Vat do you vant?   George – Mister Orwell was meant to do my personal assessment this morning.   King Brian vill be doing zet now. Ve vill send you a new appointment but you should familiarise yourself vizz ze protocols first. Kings heff different expectations from left-wing scribblers.

This judgement was accompanied by the sort of triumphant sneer that was the product of survival. Rosa had survived all of the management purges, partnership buy-outs and visioning exercises of the Company’s turbulent past through her ability to always choose the right side. For this reason, Wilson thought of her as Madame Rosa, Clairvoyant. And now, looking around the HR suite, he saw her hand in the decorations; The purple drapes; celtic water fountain and heraldic devices – all of these tastefully augmented by the sprightly rhythms of The Chieftains, lilting and keening through the PA.

Wilson’s reverie was interrupted by the frenetic arrival of his colleague, Bentine. What gives Mike? You have the appearance of a broken windmill.   It is an ignoble attempt to ingratiate myself to our new masters… a jig to honour our new capo de regime.  Ah. For a moment there I thought maybe Pavlov in Research had pressed your button again. Bentine coloured up around the neck and giggled in a way suggestive of both hiccoughs and emphysema – but he continued to jig.   Well, I’m supposed to be here for a meeting with HR and the Union rep about these allegations of Glen Glenda’s.   Christ, Mike. Tell them the truth. Tell them you’re impotent and no threat to anyone!  But Bentine had stopped in mid-gyration, arms folded in front of his chest, mouth gaping open.

At that very moment, Brian Boru re-emerged from his office, cheeks florid, eyes vengeful as he strode toward Bentine – the tassels on his kilt bouncing like a porn star’s gonads. Bentine was gobsmacked at the appearance of the on-rushing Boru who seemed to him to resemble nothing so much as an angry, ginger haystack. He had little time to reflect further however, as in very short order there were two of him, Boru’s flashing broadsword having cleaved him in twain with one blow.

Rosa Klebb was the first to break the rather awkward silence. I’ll cancel the Union then? She ventured. Aye, Boru responded – and turning to Wilson –You can make yourself useful too. Clean this up and then I want a position paper, explaining it, on my desk by 3. No more than two sides of A4, double spacing and a brief executive summary. Confidential – yes? Let’s see if you strategy people can earn your keep.

Wilson nodded crisply and thought; With a brogue like that, I’d swallow razor blades if you asked. On the way back to his office, he smiled at the prospect of earning Boru’s gratitude and –  who knows? –  maybe being offered Bentine’s job.

Stay tuned to Wise Blood for the further strange adventures of Wilson in Wonderland.