December 31 Warmer homes with new powers

on Saturday 31 December 2011
Kragor the almighty surveyed his home and was happy. In the hearth, the black nebula matrix roared into life at a glance from his cybernetic eye implant. At the other end of the room, his robot wife sung Wagner waiting for the synthi meal to stop blinking whilst the twins Rex and Rebel played 3 dimensional chess in the Zero-G conservatory. Today, as every other day, was going to be a real humdinger.
And then he coughed and the world ended.

December 30 Dead couple tests 'inconclusive'

on Friday 30 December 2011
They took a table in the corner, kissed briefly and ordered the food. Soup to start and a glass of white wine. Afterwards whilst waiting for the main the woman reached into her bag, pulled out a book and began to read.
" Out of 365 days I thought about you, in a favourable light on 34 occasions, badly, that is, I thought about you negatively, 32 times "
She smiled and raised her glass, he gave a little laugh and raised his own.
" ok, sounds about right, last year I have thought about you, " he took a scrap of paper out and squinted his eyes to examine it, " in a good way, ", a little smirk, " that's all I'm saying, in a good way, on 78 times, I also thought about you in a not so pleasant way, on 32 times. "
They nodded and chinked glasses, " So I'm the nicer person " he concluded.
" But we knew that already dear, " she answered.
The main arrived shortly after, pasta and a plain tomato salad. After the meal they embraced and she left whilst he picked up the bill. A tiny scene of every life life.

December 29 Two bodies discovered in house

on Thursday 29 December 2011
They talked on the phone all night, stitching themselves into each other lives, papering over the cracks that had grown between them. Distance made their differences seem less important. By the time the first light appeared they were together, entwined.

December 28 Design flaws' caused China crash

on Wednesday 28 December 2011
My beautiful wife, hand picked over fine fibre optic cables gave me the finest day of my life. Unfortunately her idea of a good sense of humour and mine were quite different, mind you I'd never have imagined hair could burn so quickly. And smell so bad.
I think she smiles sometimes when the nurse leaves us alone so I guess time will tell.

December 27 Suspicious fires hit paper mill

on Tuesday 27 December 2011
The pig removed his helmet and took a swig from his hip flask.
"To learn from our mistakes is no longer enough, to survive; we, as pigs need to be able to extrapolate from our experiences, to predict future events and patterns of change. " 
The TV camera zoomed in.
" When the straw house failed so miserably we, as a rapidly evolving society should have investigated steel framed concrete construction systems straight away, not mess about with flimsy paper buildings. That lack of foresight couple with allowing wolves to have a final cigarette will go down as low points in our history. "
Georgie, the owner of the burnt out paper mill hit the TV remote and turned it off,  where were these forward thinking engineers when they were needed  eh ?

December 26 Ancient forest 'recovering well'

on Monday 26 December 2011
Pulling Old Frank from the well we all cheered to see his left leg had grown back just as the bent fisherman had told us it would. That he had also drowned was unfortunate and that was when Aunt Roberta began to cry.
" Don't worry Bobby, we'll get the timing right next time, put on your goggles " Ma said.
And that is as much as I can tell you children, until you're much older. Night Night.

December 25 Rare blueprints of Discovery ship

on Sunday 25 December 2011
The hours we spend chasing are more pleasurable than the minutes we spend enjoying our catch.
Back when I was fifteen I'd plan so many scenarios to meet girls , all acutely embarrassing but doubly so when read aloud by my teenage daughter as she climbs down the loft ladder.

(Life moves forwards with the appetite of a shark and if you try to swim against the current you may end up getting the bends )

December 24 Residents rescued from city flats

on Saturday 24 December 2011
We drank home-made wine and watched everyone gather on the street, some dressed for bed, others clearly having put on clothes for the alarm. A man with a ruddy face and a younger girl stole guilty looks; they arrived at the same time but then stood with different partners. That was the last time we played that particular trick. Looking back it's just one of the many things I'm not proud of, wish the list was shorter, never got that 'regret the things you haven't done' mentality, it's the things I have done that keep me awake at night. But we did laugh a lot more back then and that's the truth.

December 23 Trailer full of sludge abandoned

on Friday 23 December 2011
For the last twenty miles we walked far quicker but also in near silence, the air a stench of bad feeling. Grays revelation that the trailer we'd been hauling up the mountain was just sludge hadn't gone down well at all. We're at the end of our endurance, feet blistered, lips chapped, muscles ready to fall away from our bones and all trying our best to keep going despite the weather; the cold, the damp and despite the fact that for four days we'd been dragging a trailer of sludge for no apparent reason other than to ' make it more of a challenge'.
If this were an old Hammer film the final scene would see Gray sinking into the biscuit coloured sludge, big red letters spelling out The End seconds after his grasping hand disappears forever. 
We left the trailer back there, abandoned it once he told us the truth. If I close my eyes I can hear the soundtrack to this film, it's being played on an eighties synth, probably by Goblin.

December 22 Independence warning from Sir Gus

on Thursday 22 December 2011
She cooked me pork and mustard and I knew, as she was from Irish stock, my granddad would love her. Relationships have been built on firmer footings but it worked for a while, we went to the coast and I bought her hats, she liked to hold hands and then one day I told her I wanted to try dahl and couscous.
She moved to Bolton. Heed Me.

December 21 Sleeper service funds announced

on Wednesday 21 December 2011
We need to become our enemy and we have a plan to do so. But first the rationale for you all .
If we imagine the history of warfare drawn as a proximity arc; in ancient times man needed to get up close and personal to fight , the distance between opposing sides minimal. Then arrows and spears made more space less safe as the distances grew wider. Mechanical weaponry such as guns and later missiles widened the divide further still and this trajectory reached its zenith in the 1970's with the star wars program; opposing satellite controlled weapons of mass destruction holding the world in an equilibrium of uneasy peace, the distance larger than the earth itself. Since then, the so called war on terror and conflicts in increasingly inhospitable lands mankind has been forced once again closer and closer to each other in order to fight and kill one another. Our arc contracts, and now, if we consider the suicide bombers of modern day our proximity arc has flat-lined. The next stage, we believe is to become our enemy, to plant sleeper cells in not just one particular potential threat but in all groups outside the norm; those that worship a different god but also those who listen to loud music, those that drive Eco Friendly cars, those that shop in Delis and those that refuse to complete all the questions on our monitoring forms. When the next battle begins we will be ready.

December 20 Two jailed for sham marriage plot

on Tuesday 20 December 2011
As I sat there, tears streaming down my face, Uncle Barry punching the wall and Dezzie off searching the churchyard for relatives I read the text again.
We are sorry your wife is face mean, this was not your beautiful intended. If you wait we shall reimburse you soon, in many years as we have been illegling. Thank you for your continued custom.
Papa always said you get what you pay for. My Kids smile and tell me everything is going to be ok and they are right, sunlight breaks through the clouds and I am a panther again, on the prowl.

December 19 Lessons to be learnt after flood

on Monday 19 December 2011
Moving house I find an envelope from many years ago. On it are words I can recite by heart.

"When I get stuck in a place or a situation I dislike I dissolve into a clear liquid and seep away, finding my escape through the tiniest of gaps"

They are written on scraps of sodden paper left in Uncle Morris' Lab, I am five and know I shouldn't be there but I gingerly pick them up and run upstairs to my Mum. She's been crying and we walk outside where we lay the paper on the ground to dry. As we sit there she explains that sometimes people feel trapped and we wait until Uncle Morris arrives. When he finally emerges from the house I get a big hug and he tells me that he loves me and Mum. I pocket the scraps of paper and read them later under the bedclothes with the help of my dictionary.

I remember saying to myself, when I grow up I'll never go somewhere I don't like. And today I am moving to Mansfield.

December 18 MP sacked after 'Nazi' stag photo

on Sunday 18 December 2011
The hours spent training a stag to goose step now seem a waste of time Donald thinks as he fills in a Millets application form. She was right after all, how annoying.

December 17 Section of wall in city collapses

on Saturday 17 December 2011
The latest hole to appear is the shape of bowling pin, about a foot across at its base, widening slightly to 18 " before narrowing and forming a neatly turned head 4 '6 high. If you stand on one side and look through the gap you can see the edge of the co-op , part of a bus shelter and the common ground behind both, in the distance an enclosed MUGA, Multi Use Games Area, which iss rarely used for games at all, well not sporting ones anyway. If you stand the other side, you can see number 37 and a bit of a street lamp. When these events were first reported it was naturally assumed to be the work of students or artists, the precision of the beer bottle and claw hammer seemed impossible to arise naturally. But when the third section of wall, part of the library, began to crumble whilst a wedding party posed for photographs outside, at least 14 different videos showed the wall crumbling away, nibbled until the shape of a capital T was created. There are now unreported  reports of shapes spontaneously occurring in walls in Belgium, Taiwan, St Louis and Luxembourg. There is a developing pattern here and we wait to see what happens next. 

December 16 Viking silver hoard is treasure

on Friday 16 December 2011
A Viking silver hoard is a treasure, as is a five year old making rose perfume for mothers day, what isn't treasure is having your granddad stuffed and placed in his favourite chair to remind you of the good times. Charlie outlines  this argument again and again but feels Paddy is ignoring his pleas, ' you're just a kid Charlie '.
In less than fifteen days Paddy will die yet Charlie is still more worried about Feng Shui than losing a grandparent.

December 15 Duffy has case to answer - judge

on Thursday 15 December 2011
Thank you for this opportunity to speak. When I was a youngster I'd steal things, not small things like other kids but big things like dustbins and alsatians. And I was damn good at it too, took them and returned them all before their owners realised, had a gift I guess you could say. I know that's not the sort of thing I should be saying, I'm sorry. I dedicated my life to it, didn't learn it from masters in temples or any of that I just practiced and now, I'm here, you're there aren't you. And what you really want to know is why that lift shaft is empty, am I right or are you just yanking my chain?

December 14 Diamond Jubilee plan is unveiled

on Wednesday 14 December 2011
Ok, run that by me again.
... a bank holiday for all
of course
... flags and streamers
at least
... coverage on telly ( at least ITV, preferably BBC)
will you consider channel 4
... as a last resort
good, and...
... and Catweasel to officiate a ceremony
yes, Catweasel..?
... the skinny wrestler
and you're sure this is what the Queen wants
... Ha ha, no, of course not, but it wants she gonna get...

I'll have to speak to people and get back to you

December 13 Fletcher takes 'extended break'

on Tuesday 13 December 2011
The girl with the Alice band licks the tips of her fingers and sticks her hand out of the bus window. No one notices this happening except me. She is totally beautiful. I thought this when we first met a month ago and since then I've followed her. Tomorrow I'll introduce myself and she will be my friend.

December 12 Scientists make new Mekong finds

on Monday 12 December 2011
Sitting in the waiting room at St Pancras station drinking tea too hot to hold comfortably I stared at silent footage of pop stars and politicians on the TV screen helpfully erected for us in the corner of the coffee shop. Something caught my eye, a rolling headline ending with ' make new Mekong finds' and for the briefest of micro seconds I confuse Mekong with the Mekon and understand with great clarity and calmness we are now in  Dan Dares world. A place where alien overlords plot, robot armies are controlled by a talking cat and fight smugglers and I can't trust anyone as they may be a doppelganger grown from a pod. I felt myself smiling, no, I felt myself grinning.
I've never stopped grinning and also never got back on that train.

December 11 Woman dies after road accident

on Sunday 11 December 2011
Somewhere along my life important things have been overwritten by less important things. I know how to ski but can't remember what it felt like to kiss Charlotte. The taste of her lips, the smell of her breath. I came to the church by taxi not out of respect or guilt but out of practicality.
As the hymn starts and I check my phone for an important email I hope no one is watching.

December 10 Engineers battle to restore power

on Saturday 10 December 2011
As we walk away from the fire I try to call Audrey. Behind us the battle is raging, the others are coming, they grind into the ground , snakes in their hips, plastic lips and empty eyes. Whilst we were sleeping they grew strong but we're going to re-group and Audrey will be fine, she always is. This night has only just started. 

December 9 Atlas charts Irish cancer rates

on Friday 9 December 2011
Hilda placed my gift down on the side and sipped her tea before thanking me.
" That's lovely Graham, thank you very much"
Next door Georgia held it up to her good eye.
" What is it ? "
" It's a ..." A glance towards me for help, " I think it's African ? It's a traditional design I think...? "
" That's right Auntie Hilda, it's from the Gabon "
She composed herself and appraised it afresh, pulling her pointy chin back into her turkey neck. I almost told her then that I'd decorated with a colour coded map of cancer deaths across the globe but highlighting those in Ireland, her place of birth. But I didn't, I think the spirit of Christmas must've got to me.
" You're a lovely artist Graham, you should go to college, you really should "
" Thanks Auntie Hilda "

December 8 'Rubbish Island' is 'overwhelmed'

on Thursday 8 December 2011
It's all very well to have a gorgeous wife and a bounding dog with fluffy ears but if you live round here the stench of despair smacks you full in the chops as soon as you leave your front door.
I read this in her diary.

December 7 Doubt on basketball's 'hot hands'

on Wednesday 7 December 2011
Finally, I'm about to get some action, Big Sam motions to me to put on my hat. That's what I think anyway, we have a very complicated signalling system and it's often difficult to remember all the combinations in the heat of a game. I'm a basketball player and a damn good one. The ref blows once and I jump up and take my place on the court, knocking knuckles with Lou, mutual respect for a fellow oldie. The opposing team know me, their fans know me and I am greeted by a chorus of abuse. I raise my hands to the air, hot rocks in my palm. The game has become like a pantomime but I play my part, I act immortal, like Kung Fu. The whistle blows again, Sam shouts out something, the ball comes towards me, the horns on my hat mark me out as a special player, I jump, and catch the ball. Cheers! Spinning like Robin Cousins I flex and shoot. The ball is stuck to my hand, the Spalding rips and tears a little. Big Sam is talking to the robot duck. My hat falls over my eyes. Someone is clapping, the court is on fire. I can't follow this anymore, time out.

December 6 Belgium swears in new cabinet

on Tuesday 6 December 2011
They had only been in the house for two weeks but already the old patterns were re-establishing themselves. Jude choose to ignore the curse emanating from the cabinet, she didn't know her daughter's exotically named boyfriend had stood in the cat litter tray, (another of her little secrets) but understood Hannah was as far away as she'd ever been.

December 5 Chaos after rubble falls in street

on Monday 5 December 2011
He said

Next time you casually drop a crisp on way from bag to mouth and think, oh well, a bird will eat it I hope you think again. For the discarded potato product that seems so light and delicious to you is but another another rock of pure krypton to the microscopic families going about their daily business underfoot. A Valhalla for those hard working miniature creatures that scurry in the grooves of our concrete paving. Once we were only that big in the grand scheme of things and someone dropped an asteriod that killed our dinosaur forefathers, the universe is infinite but hideous cruel, anything we can do to minimise the scars we make on this planet is a step in the right direction. One day these weird tiny things may grow up to be our overlords and we don't want them angry.

Then I heard him say

Hmmm, good point,

And the last thing I heard was

Maybe we should destroy them while we have the chance, pass me the Cheese and Onion.

And when I turned the corner, there was no one there.

December 4 Panda plane arrives in Edinburgh

on Sunday 4 December 2011
The man described them stepping onto the runway into the gathered throng like oversized rock star in fur coats. Ang , who'd identifed himself as the pilot addressed the worlds media.
" Thank you Humans of 2012, on behalf of the Interstellar Panda Federation I bring you grave news"
I listen transfixed to the radio the keeper ironically tied to the tree in our enclosure and nod to Frank and Benji; our time has come.

December 3 Colombia uncovers 'ghost pupils'

on Saturday 3 December 2011
The house was empty, she was too late. Whoever had been writing the essays was gone and Columbia was no closer to understanding why. For the past two months teachers had been reporting unsolicited coursework amongst their regular marking. She had been asked to look into the matter, to flush out the culprit, a personal favour to the Dean. The names on the papers had all been from ex pupils, ones that would be in their eighties today were they still alive. Columbia and her team had worked long into nights, following multiple lines of enquiry until by tracing email accounts they'd been led to this house, in a suburb of Kasugai; they'd done a methodical job, they'd followed the bread crumbs so confidently.
Columbia drew on a cigarette and closed the door behind her, there would be no answers here.

December 2 Pump hack 'false alarm' explained

on Friday 2 December 2011
As Paul entered the final digit and heard the siren kick in he slunk to the floor. The fourth time in six weeks he'd made the same mistake, the unit would begin to shut down now.  In the dark, waiting for maintenance to arrive he tries to work up a suitable explanation emphasising his bad luck over carelessness. Nothing too convoluted, keep your lies simple, that's what his Granddad had always told him. It's time to get another job, he thinks, one lacking two similarly named key mechanical devices.  A knock on the door, he lets the man in and begins.
" How in heck do you think a racoon got into the facility ? "
His next job had also better be one that isn't too fussy over references.

December 1 Planning change comes into effect

on Thursday 1 December 2011
I find myself crouched down behind my door as the sound of five heavy set men in stilettos knocking loudly begins to die down. In the mirror I catch sight of myself and that's all the encouragement I need to remain hidden.
" We'll go without you ! "
That's the plan, I think.

November 30 Kinnock's family history secret

on Wednesday 30 November 2011
If I could push hard enough, into my chest, I'd be able to force a panel open, confirmation that I am a robot. This recurring thought came to me at random times between the ages of 6 and 12, replaced by an ongoing fear that I'd enter my home to be greeted by my family, sat on the settee smiling, but all skeletons. After that I had the one about the man in the mirror and bottom of the bath giving way, the hands that'd grab mine in the dark, the thing at the bottom of my duvet and the fear that my nose had disappeared without me noticing. By the time I reached 16 I'd outgrown most of my adolescent fears, packaged them up and placed them in my memory and in this way I grew into a healthy well balanced young man. This all changed last week when I read my grandfathers diary, every experience I'd had he'd had, every one. I asked my dad about it but he told me to be quiet and clipped me round the ear. I'm 44. 

November 29 Tree disease found further south

on Tuesday 29 November 2011
Frank stood there and took it all. So much guff.  I told him it wasn't good enough, the steps we would have to put in place, the changes he'd need to make if he wanted to keep his job and he just nodded and agreed with me. The aching doesn't go away, no matter many mornings you wake up alone. Finally, he left and I stood up, the disease is getting worse day by day, I took out my knife and hacked at the roots to free my legs. It's only a matter of time, that's what they tell me.

November 28 DR Congo votes in tense election

on Monday 28 November 2011
On my fifteenth birthday I joined the queue in our school election dressed as Alex from Clockwork Orange,it was to be the third and final time I put myself forward as Celebrity Year Rep. Dr Congo aka Carl Holmes and his grotty sidekick Kid Congo aka Philip Jameson were ahead of me, threatening the year 7's and whooping like angry apes.
" WHOYAGUNNAVOTEFORGIRLYFACE " Carl spoke without punctuation or obvious signs of breathing, I wondered once more how long I could hold his head under water and again decided the answer most would come to is not long enough.
" Me, Carl, I'm standing for election too "
I let this go without comment, been around the school long enough to know when to remain silent.
" Come on come on Mr Gadd, take a slip and pop it into the box over there" Mr Harris growled at me without looking up from his desk, a knack he'd perfected long before I'd started at the school.
"SLIPITINTHEBOX!" Jameson blew up in a adolescent snort of wit as his mentor shoved me in the chest with his makeshift spear.
I walked forwards, holding my head high, trying hard not to let my bowler hat drop.

November 27 New twist in theatre funding row

on Sunday 27 November 2011
Abi ignores her phone, screws up the sheet of paper and tosses it towards the bin, the daily rewrites have become the norm but are still annoying, especially tonight as Pete is waiting in the Polar Bear.
Ever since they'd taken on the New Challenge Funding work has been mental. She licks her pencil, back to basics, need to perform a side step, send the audience one way whilst building a logical foundation for the climax. The aim of NCF is laudable enough: to produce innovative and challenging theatrical experiences but the methodology of monitoring is laughable, stifling. After each performance if more than 25% of the audience claim the plot to be predicable she, as head writer would be docked part of her wage. This focus on originality had led to some interesting final acts in recent months not least a robotic aphid with the head of John Prescott, the art department had never been so happy but Abi is a writer not an artist. She reaches for her phone to text Pete, it's going to be another long evening.

November 26 Barrymore charged after car crash

on Saturday 26 November 2011
I gave the driver my address and leant back, closing my eyes, it was late and all I wanted was to get home.
"You want me to go motorway or the A52 ?"
"Don't mind mate, whichever quicker"
That sorted I decided to drop off for a few minutes, it'd take us a good half hour at least to cross the city. I can't say for sure how long I was asleep but as I hit the grill separating the driver from his customers I woke very quickly.
"Wha ? Look at him, idiot, look at him"
 In front of the taxi a young man, probably yet to reach 20 slowly swaggered down the road, purposely stepping from one white stripe to the next in exaggerated strides.
"Get out the way you bugger "
What you doing ? I think but before I say anything the car inches forwards, scooping up the surprised youth. "What'd I tell ya eh ? Like that do ya ?".  I wanted to get out, do something to help but I didn't.
"See ?", Said the driver as we drove off, " told you the motorway would've been better "
I nodded my agreement and decided not to question him further and ten minutes later I was home unaware of what was to come.

November 25 New nuncio is 'unusual choice'

on Friday 25 November 2011
Let me tell you how it is here, our middle management congratulate themselves on weighing the pig so frequently it forgets how to walk. So today, when they unveiled Clive Hargreaves as their new Nuncio, despite not checking his credentials, their joy at this conspicuous efficiency, ever more self self-congratulatory was to be expected. Later however, us worker ants, we came together to laugh at their ineptitude and feed Arno, the real future Nuncio, the one we've rescued from the waste lands, the one that will lead us to our destiny. And that is how it will be.

November 24 Murder answers 'were mumbo jumbo'

on Thursday 24 November 2011
When I kill people I do it quickly, their last words are never like in the movies, more odes than soliloquys. Often prosaic, frequently profane, most usually merely sounds so it came as quite a surprise this morning as Bent Louie, fatally wounded from three neat shots to the chest sung the first verse of ' Halfway Down the Stairs ' from the Muppet Show as he made his journey to the afterlife.

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
i'm not at the bottom,
i'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Quite a shock but strangely moving.

November 23 Lawrence scientist 'made errors'

on Wednesday 23 November 2011

There was the way he leant to the right when using a microscope or the habit he had of spelling words out with his fingers when anxious. The way I'd felt him watch me that night; by the time I'd made the short distance from the taxi to the porch I must have looked like Alice Cooper and that was the last time he saw me, as I waved him off. Maybe he couldn't see much through the foggy windscreen by then. So maybe that was what caused the accident, not the rain. He always had a knack of knowing when I was uncomfortable and popping up with coffee or a hand on my shoulder, or no hand on my shoulder, whatever was needed. He clicked his fingers when he listened to the radio, like James Dean. I hope it was the rain.

November 22 Beach radiation deadline issued

on Tuesday 22 November 2011
This is what I'll do when I'm king. Firstly all financial institutions will have to hoist a jolly roger from the top of their buildings, old people will have the right to sit on any child that insists on playing music through their mobile and then I'll bring back National Service - In Space.
And that's just for starters, if The Atomic Energy Agency hasn't released enough gamma rays on the Californian coast to cause people to become superhuman within a reasonable time, say six months, then they'll get closed down.
This is not a threat, this is a prophecy
Vote for Me.

November 21 Sea death boy family hail locals

on Monday 21 November 2011
Softer than air
We stand together, our feet in the lapping waves
people look the other way

November 20 Face painful past says UUP deputy

on Sunday 20 November 2011
When the deputy whom the concrete slab fell on came round, he found to his surprise that he'd suffered a series of minor strokes, the least serious of which caused him to end every sentence with the word 'past'.

This story was told to me by a man in glasses too large for his face and to whom I had to buy four pints as payment for this entertainment. Jimmy Carr you have been warned. 

November 19 Tributes to 'fun-loving' soldier

on Saturday 19 November 2011
In the last seconds of Joe Kirbys life, as he pulled the trigger only to produce a bunch of silk flower his mind flashed to Curly Chris, the lieutenant famous for his sense of quirky sense of humour.

November 18 Former hotelier jailed for fraud

on Friday 18 November 2011
He forgot most of the story and what he remembered the police ripped to shreds but Connor hoped he'd bought his sister enough time to rescue the troglodyte people and lead them back once more to the surface, the money they'd managed to squirrel away had easily paid for the new burrowing device. Now, to convince Nicholas Cage to play him in the film.

November 17 Abertay 'to remain independent'

on Thursday 17 November 2011
Now I can buy meals for one, now I can watch the ice truckers. The rings on the sideboard are all I have left of our time together and if that wasn't veneer I'd sand it. This is what you mean, or meant, you'll never hear from me again.

I send the email and spend the next two hours refreshing my Inbox.

November 16 Liquid lakes close to moon's skin

on Wednesday 16 November 2011
As the lift door closes Sam jabs at the button but he's too late and as the sound of the cables tightening begins he know he'll never get her eyes out of his head. She'd been only two feet away, a single step. He feels cold suddenly, freezing, all body heat evaporated as if every blood cell and platelet has rushed to his brain, to record her eye in high defination, to torment him for eternity. He lifts his hand to cheek, cold as the moon. But in his mind, her eyes, green with brown flecks, pupils caught dilating as she met his gaze, the iris molten, swirling, a galaxy.

November 15 Implants recycled by crematorium

on Tuesday 15 November 2011
Ashes to ashes...

I sit quietly, not out of respect or grief but out of fear. I know what goes on behind those doors. I do not want to see the organist with fifteen extra prosthetic limbs, no, I'd rather avoid the tea lady , her mouth with three layers of dentures, a Mako in an apron and I'd definitely run a mile before agreeing to clean out the furnace with Old Bob who's twin pacemakers give him the energy of two 50 year old men. My brother dealt with the passing of our uncle in strange ways, the stories he told me as we sat there in the pews. Well, who laughing now eh Ray, Hows your hip now ?
..dust to dust..

November 14 YouTube wrong way driver banned

on Monday 14 November 2011
To begin with the messages were instructional, go here, go there, place parcel on table, speak to guard, things like that and Robert waltzed his way through these early days. Then they became a little more elliptical, find where the sparrows go, measure the head of a gnat and although Robert carried on as best he could , a knot of doubt began to grow in the pit of his stomach, declining enthusiasm. When the messages became real and not just voices in his head Robert realised it was time to retrace his steps, to unplug the beast and re boot himself. In this way he brought about his own excommunication and now he lives in the woods and avoids electricity. We could all be Robert one day.

November 13 Nothing discovered in city alert

on Sunday 13 November 2011
I kick through the rubbish as we work our way through the streets, empty tins of nectarines, a single marigold glove in pink, greying lumps that once were paper, broken bits of plastic crushed by boot or wheel.
The sweat forms on my back but I prefer to remain covered, a noise brings me out of my thoughts.
" Over here, "  Jie, indicating a pile of rocks that used to be a home.
" What you got ? " Breath quickening, hard to run with all the kit. Time is short, Jie called out too loudly, we won't be on our own for much longer.
" Just help "
And I hear a sound, breathing perhaps, blood pumping, but I'm now not sure if it's external or internal now so I join him, pulling at the rocks, cutting our hands, splitting our nails.
As we dig I hear a voice, quietly, calmly, telling me to hurry. Jie hears it too and begins clambering into the rocks like they're breakers on the Cornish coast, parting them with his knees, hurling them over his head, kicking the ground with his boots. I move to the left and follow his lead, triangulating the centre of the rock pile. More rocks than I can count are lifted, strewn and thrown behind us, the pile begins to flatten out, deflated, but ominously flat. And quiet.
The sun is higher now, sending shadows out towards us.
" It's nothing " Jie speaks, his voice measured " let's go "
I nod and we retrace our steps back to the outside of the rock pile. It's time to go home.

November 12 Thousands join remembrance events

on Saturday 12 November 2011
A skinny woman dressed in more male clothes than female coughs, introduces her video, the last one of the evening to be shown.
The lights dim and a figure fills the screen, an angry man with a thin moustache. He kicks a door in, close up of his eyes, squinting, a blank rage milking them. The camera pans down to his thigh, partly hidden by splinters of wood. Zoom in closer to the wood, tiny bugs creep out confused and dazed, closer still microscopic parasites on these bugs chewing flesh, slowly but determined.
Over the top a Mancunian voice explaining how every day a scene such as this, or similar or different but equally terrifying is happening to someone, most likely innocent children.
The presentation fades to black and the crowd begin to cheer. The woman stands there, stoically, waiting until the noise quietens before stepping forwards.
" Bow down your heads and be thankful. "

November 11 Meeting due at road crossing site

on Friday 11 November 2011
Alan painted the outlines of twelve chairs on the road during the cover of darkness. Dave kept watch. Convening the inaugural meeting of the Dangerous Sports Soc on the intersection between Beverly Road and Cottingham Road seemed a mighty fine idea but one they both knew needed to be acted upon immediately before sobriety dulled their passion.
Once complete they walked back home, the sun beginning to rise, outlining the finer points of the plan. 

November 10 Pirates defeated by fishing crew

on Thursday 10 November 2011
He has a beard, possibly greying, likely unkempt which he's playing with as he asks if I can come to the meeting later.
" Erm, sorry, what meeting ?" I stare at my phone for an explanation.
" The RCP, Revolutionary Communist Party ? you gave your phone number to one of our members last week." His voice impossibly deep and old now as I remember the girl and her lop sided smile. She'd asked me if I'd like to come to a meeting, we'd been in the Student Union and I was dressed as Adam Ant. She'd said she'd liked my white stripe.
" We meet at the Sal at 8 0'clock, if you're serious about politics " 
I thank him for his call and hang up before my mum comes back from Asda. I really hope he doesn't call back.

November 9 No magic economic fix, says Jones

on Wednesday 9 November 2011
The curtain comes down and a flurry of tiny banknotes are thrown over Jonah Jones, the Economic Magician his fifteen minutes of fame well and truly over.
We might as well have paid to watch a chimp fall off a bicycle. One Banana Two Banana Three Banana Four.
" I'm sorry " Jonah says as he walks off stage, to no one in particular, least of all to the grumpy chimp fixing a puncture.

November 8 Goalkeeper arrested after fight

on Tuesday 8 November 2011
Clayton Laws stopped punching as the siren filled the air, waking up the neighbourhood. Frank spat blood onto the gravel before getting to his feet. The pair of them stood there and waited for the police to arrive, each breathing heavy. Curtains twitched around the close as the police car squealed to a halt, Clayton turned and waved once to his daughter before stepping towards the car, arms raised high.
From the landing Honey, purposely ignoring her boyfriend, opened the window and called out. .
"See you later Dad ! "

November 7 Number let in unchecked 'unknown'

on Monday 7 November 2011
We watched as they rolled down the hill together, he in blue, she in garish red and purple. Gathering speed they began to accumulate a covering of dust, followed by grass, small stones and scraps of discarded plastic ripped from pop bottles. By the time they neared the pond their girth was over a metre across, he, mainly turf and a few small sticks by now whist she'd rolled off onto the path acquiring all kinds of human detritus, receipts, old pens, triangular sandwich boxes and a surprised and rapidly sickening squirrel.
We held our breaths as they roared towards the city gates. The guards couldn't hope to identify everything that bundled through their checkpoint that evening and decided to not record it at all.
Somewhere deep inside the city he and she will begin to wriggle and vibrate, undercover butterflies about to burst their cocoons.

November 6 McDonnell makes 'new era' promise

on Sunday 6 November 2011
Twelve hundred assembled clowns cheered their delight, each honking an over size car horn into the air as 24 year old Brian McDonnel stepped from behind the curtain, the new and youngest ever president of Clown Europe. A firebrand, militant young man who'd cobbled together a hotchpotch of historical mythology and promised to change the world.

" Let me begin by making you a promise. As our forefathers, in Egypt, the religious and social leaders of their day so shall we rise up and reclaim our rightful positions, not as jesters but as Kings and Queens of the new world order "
A flurry of shaving foam pies spurted towards the stage and somewhere an old man with a red nose lit an exploding cigar.

November 5 Rain brings floods and stops play

on Saturday 5 November 2011
I turn on the shower to block out the noise.
From inside the bathroom I can see into next doors kitchen. He's sat at the table reading something, the woman is no where to be seen. If he glanced up now he'd see me, alone, in the dark whilst below the party goes on. From his viewpoint he'd be able to see the top of the lounge window, the lights flashing and at the same time the sound of laughter and bass lines. He'd understand what's going on, he'd put down the paper and mouth ' are you ok ? ' , I'd shake my head but not before he'd reached for that pencil on the dresser behind him and scrawled in nice big letters, thick to make them stand out against the news print ' R U OK?'.
He just needs to look up.
I'm not going anywhere.

November 4 Sun man held in police cash probe

on Friday 4 November 2011
My father told me stories, so magical they wrapped round my shoulders and kept me warm on nights alone,  watching an old episode of Star Trek, waiting for him to get home.  He told me once that he would be away for a few days, he needed to visit Russia and capture a rogue bear that was killing members of the Royal Family. I think he was testing my knowledge, if I had told him Russia no longer had a royal family he may well have congratulated me on passing the test. But then I'd never have heard his stories, so I remained silent. He told me another tale, they'd caught the man in the sun, the nemesis of the man in the moon and for reasons explained in earlier stories one of the most fearsome boogy men in the world. They'd caught him using fake credit cards, father had said and he was locked up in the cells waiting to make a confession. That was what he was going to do that night, get the sun man to confess. I watched an episode of Wogan and then a Hammer House of Horror film - the one where pipes bled blood before falling asleep. That was the last time I saw my dad, as he smiled and told me to watch the news later, standing their in his uniform, all shiny and gigantic.

November 3 Axed project's 'limited success'

on Thursday 3 November 2011
There are things that bind people together, blood, love and surplus stock. Joanna sits on the train station with her unsold sombreros, 14,000 of them and texts her sleeping partner. It is raining.

November 2 Half of workers 'are ill-treated'

on Wednesday 2 November 2011
Justine pours herself from the kitchen to the sofa with and pats the shiny white leather seat to her left.
" Aren't you going to join me? "
The three waiters glanced to one another nervously.
" It's ok, my father owns the company "
Before they answer she giggles and stands up, adjusting her dress, opening her arms out in a well practiced pose, chin tilted towards the chandelier.
Music begins to play, violins, a tango. 

que no vea en tus pupilas
una lágrima furtiva,
ni una sombra, ni un dolor.

Let’s dance
may I not see in your eyes
a furtive tear,
not a shadow, not any pain
Let’s dance

The young men have no choices left, they have been here before. Ivor steps forward, " I'll dance with you Miss Justine "

November 1 Terry facing police investigation

on Tuesday 1 November 2011
Barry lives in a house with no stairs but he gets by fine.
Garry lost his bike in a bet with a travelling snake oil salesman that time had forgot.
Me, I just write down their stories.

Mary follows people on buses all day, randomly selected, swapping victims if discovered. It was this trail of events that led her and Terry to make a go of it.
I describe what they do to the policeman on the end of the phone.

Terry left his family years ago when the science stuff started paying real money.
Barry bought a bungalow for alliteration purposes.
Garry used to like Mary but that was before he found out what she did all day.
Terry and Garry have met in the past but in different lives.
My testimony will be no use whatsoever if this eventually goes to court.

Mary caught Terry when Barry broke Garry.

I think the policeman on the end of the telephone isn't listening to me.

Is this what you wanted ?

October 31 Traders oppose parking meter plan

on Monday 31 October 2011
Alex stood back and admired his monotlithic parking meter. A monument to strutured waiting, a metaphor for life. Fifteen foot tall, it watched over the consumerist hub of the town.
As Alex returned to his car he failed to see the irony in the newly installed wheel clamp nor the juxtaposition of his solitary state and the baying mass of bruised odds and sods merchants looking to question his working practice.
This is verite, bring me my camcorder.

October 30 Deadly snowstorm on US East Coast

on Sunday 30 October 2011
You've eaten by the time I get home, the clocks are going back and the radio is warning of a snowstorm. We are told to stay indoors, once we'd have called it ironic.
The fridge is full of things I don't recognise, we move around one another silently and I wonder what you're thinking. I bite down on ham and mustard in chunky white bread. Afterwards I join you in the lounge, as I sit down you hand me your glass of red wine and disappear to the kitchen to fetch another.
You can't trust the weather I think as you lean in to kiss me.

October 29 McGuinness 'under shadow of past'

on Saturday 29 October 2011
My nephew Michael is seven today, he's opened his presents and been left with me to play marbles, his birthday present from an uncle we never see. I know he'd rather play with his Nintendo but he's been told to play with me first. I used to have the best collection of marbles in our primary school. The marble man used to appear every few weeks, he'd be on the other side of the fence and always had a handful of marbles for my sister and me. I must have been 10 ish which means Cath would have been 7. Our garden backed onto the Depot, an army base and if you went on the top of our shed it was possible to jump over to the fence, usually to retrieve a ball but sometimes just for the thrill of it. These were before soldiers carried guns as they patrolled the area. Mum and dad knew about the marble man and would smile as we shared our new marbles, steel ball bearings, tiger eyes, some pearlescent ones occasionally, deep blue. Never did we think he was anything other than a kindly old man.
This all comes back to me in a single flash, the whole memory downloaded as I hear the marbles collide.
I can't recollect the marble mans face but something feels wrong, I try not to judge my past by our current sensibilities. It's happening more and more, memories from my past intercepting my present. I have one where I'm running , running so fast I have to use my hands to keep up the speed. Michael looks at me and pulls a face, he tells me I'm doing it again.
"  You can go and play with your Nintendo now Michael, I think I'm remembered enough for today ".

October 28 Planner warned for airing views

on Friday 28 October 2011
We stared open mouthed at the creatures emerging form the Mayor's mouth. Carol nudged me in the ribs and whispered rather too loudly, " I told you this would happen if we cut corners "
I stifled a laugh as henchman Baz leaned forwards, his hand on the ceremonial machete. 
"And we will have a swimming pool here, here and here " Susan stepped in and ushered us away to the ante room, " and if you follow me ladies and gentlemen I will show you our plans for the water treatment plant".
I smiled meakly at Carol who replied with a neck slitting action, a slight at my earlier cowardice I assumed.
As we left I took one last look at the Mayor who raised his hand to say goodbye, his cheeks bulging.

October 27 Europe 'closer to solving crisis'

on Thursday 27 October 2011
Today is March 13th 2023, I am in Frankfurt and I care.
After the Munich Treaty failed to get ratified, questions began to be asked. Few took notice then as the wave of apathy that had crippled Asia began to take took hold of mainland Europe.
No one understands how it happened, a kind of group hypnosis or paranoia perhaps, possibly air borne or a contaminated food chain. The speed of it's progress across the globe the real problem, in 20 days a third of the planet had succumbed to the apathetic virus. As soon as people realised what was happening it was too late, they didn't care, c'est la vie. 
As the contagion spread westwards and southwards the Americans and Africans put in place as many emergency procedures as they could but the outbreak was gathering speed and within the month the whole of the Earth had given up caring.
Obviously, when I say the whole of the Earth, I am lying, if I didn't care I wouldn't be recording this now. There are pockets of us, all over the world, a few in every major country, we've been saved for some reason and are working on a cure.
I think we're close now, but some of us are having doubts, do we have the moral right to wake up those 6.8 billion people, they look so content, lying there in the hammocks.
In fact, I'm not that bothered about moral dilemmas anymore, those hammocks look so comfy.
They look dead nice.

October 26 Murray defence begins arguments

on Wednesday 26 October 2011
I had to shout to make myself heard above the music.
"And I am saying Murray couldn't have borrowed your jacket because he was in Newark skinning my dog to make a djembe skin"
From the opposite side of the rink Janice floored her dodgem and headed straight for me, ignoring the signs telling drivers to drive in a clockwise direction only. I'd hit a nerve there and  I knew it, he'd never made any instruments when they'd been together.
" Bring it on Janice" 

October 25 Woman to be sentenced for murder

on Tuesday 25 October 2011
The shopkeeper refused to sell me the pair of trainers I wanted, Puma high tops torquoise and black, she said I was too old and would rather lose a sale than send me out looking like a clown.
I didn't take it very well, no I went back and I did something I now regret.

October 24 Chandlers criticise rescue effort

on Monday 24 October 2011
Emerging from the lift shaft Mr and Mrs Chandler appeared to have blacked up and resembled cartoon minstrels strolling in from dixie.
"That's typical isn't it", Mr Chandler scowls, "you only rescue us when we go black "
The gathered liberal firemen bow their heads in shame.

October 23 Independence drive 'starts today'

on Sunday 23 October 2011
I watch until my Peugeot 307 becomes a dot on the horizon rubbing the side of my head where Louise first indicated her surprise at my news. As I walked I remember the unexpected swiftness of her fists, if she is at home when I get there I'm going to be very quiet. 

October 22 Illegal staff found in restaurant

on Saturday 22 October 2011
Stay calm, I’m going to tell you a secret, a really big secret, bigger than tesco, bigger than Jupiter.
There are times when the weight of coincidence outgrows our understanding of the world. This causes changes fundamental changes to what is, what was and what will be. Most times the new reality is written over the old, leaving no trace of the original, much like when you hit save instead of save as and lose your previous document. Yet sometimes, fragments remain which become folk lore and legend or evolution or enlightenment, those moments of déjà-vu? ; the way we know when we are being watched even though our backs are turned? These are all remnants of realities consigned to the worlds recycle bin. And now, why I am here; there are people next door, workers, in your kitchen, who shouldn’t be here anymore, descendants of the first erect apes that never made it this far. You see creating our world is complex, far more complex than even I can understand and sometimes there are mistakes, elements that are being used at the time history became deleted. This is what I do, I find these things, these dead men walking and, well, make them not walk anymore.

I’ll leave in ten minutes by the back door and you won’t see me again. You will be freed by the police later and can decide to tell them what I’ve told you or not, but bear in mind, those people next door will never have worked here, so think carefully. Toodles.

October 21 Jobs vowed to 'destroy' Android

on Friday 21 October 2011
It was my second week of working in the mobile library and the first time I'd met Dan. As we wrestled to establish superiority I remembered Mr Jobs, my old English teacher waging war on those he viewed as less than human, androids in school uniforms. Basically anyone who didn't cry when the dog dies in Of Mice and Men.
The library is only ever full when it's raining.

October 20 Body discovered in Camlough Lake

on Thursday 20 October 2011
We found a body at elevent nineteen this morning.

Lamai had never felt one of lifes winners and staring across at her sleeping oaf of a husband she thought, not for the first time of plunging a knife into his chest. Instead, she sat and ate a bowl of dried sunflower seeds, peppered with soft dates and turned each obscene, snore-cough into a word. By the time her bowl had been refilled with noodles and broth she'd ticked off hat, motor car, jealousy, leapfrog and satsuma.
In this way Lamai happily passed an hour before Arthur belched himself awake.
This is what happened before the drowning.
We are sure of these facts.

October 19 Police appeal over village murder

on Wednesday 19 October 2011
 I can confirm that the officer responsible for the sign asking for help with a murder incident in Loscombe Hall will never be asked to do so again. And yes, thank you, I am aware we are now investigating two murders.
Any other smart questions Columbo ?

October 18 Officials grilled on bad potatoes

on Tuesday 18 October 2011
I left her interview till the end, it's the way she sits that gets me, her body seems only moments away from melting.
" Excuse me, " I begin.
" Yes? "
" The bag, " I say, " are you going to tell me where it is ?"
She smiles and brings the tips of her fingers to her forehead, " Where I come from they say bad potatoes are all eyes but no heart. " 
This is my new office, it's very different to the one I came from, I used to work for Asda.

October 17 'End of the road' for travellers

on Monday 17 October 2011
Walking means we haven't given up. The weather is doing its best to claim back the land from the people, to put us in our boxes. We can only be out for an hour at a time now and we make less and less headway each day. We're ok for food, once we realised each home, each store provides more than enough tinned food, where once we were careful with our rations now we eat as we see fit, there's more than enough for our small group, if we lived for a thousand years I doubt we'd go hungry. We're the last of the eaters and no one's seen or heard another person since March. Soon though, it seems inevitable we will find our last place to stay, this world no longer wants us crawling on it.

October 16 Israel publishes prison swap list

on Sunday 16 October 2011
Thank you for agreeing to see me at such short notice but then, with my connections this was the only sensible decision you could have made. I will not take up much of your time.
There are groups all over the world that require individuals with certain qualities. These organsiations come to people like me, to source their employees and I in turn come to people like you. I provide a service, for a fee.
I am offering you a way to empty your prisons, to save money and recieve goods and equity in return. All that is required from you is a list of the lowest of your incarcerated wretches, those without family or public interest, we take all sorts. From all sorts.
Now then gentlemen, let us not waste time.

October 15 Cordon is lifted at skeleton site

on Saturday 15 October 2011
Cat darts between my legs as I walk upstairs, the door open. A phone number written on a tiny scrap of paper pushes all the air out of my body. Me and Cat, now the only ones left in the house.

October 14 New pylon design winner revealed

on Friday 14 October 2011
Somewhere in a parallel but skewed world Pontius Pilate, the CEO of a major Electrical Utility company is shaking the hand of Jesus Christ, a young and gifted engineer, whose winning Pylon design resembles a giant man, arms outstretched.
" Are you familiar with Anthony Gormley's work Mr Christ ? "
" No, but sometimes ideas just pop into my head and I don't know where they come from "
And in this world, he never finds out.

October 13 Fox 'back to normal working mode'

on Thursday 13 October 2011
"We knew today would come", holding his paws in my hands I try to explain everything one last time to Mr Fox.
"We're different you and I and now you must return to your life, your real life"
I don't know how much he understands but as I remove the post office hat and unpin the badge from his fur I'm sure he shrinks back into himself. 
" Christmas, Mr Fox, come and see us at Christmas, we're always busy at Christmas"
I watch as he scratches himself all over before darting through the dog flap, my dreams going with him, holding on to the tips of his tail.
Look now, through the window as he winds his way back to the wood.

October 12 Barroso unveils crisis 'roadmap'

on Wednesday 12 October 2011
That was how it began, a ghetto blaster operated by a man with a face like blotting paper. Since the invasion it'd been like this, so many changes. Men fell from the sky, their faces painted, teachers disappeared overnight, walls gave way to secret passages.

The song tells the story of Barroso, he who brings presents wrapped in puzzles, they open outwards, too wide, their edges fall back on themselves and fold inside the holes left. It makes sense when she sings it, in her accent, the song's been number one for months now.

I'm standing on the beach looking for a game of chess. This is how it starts.

October 11 Cardy cause of death contradicted

on Tuesday 11 October 2011
As the new pathologist suggested tightness of his cardigan to have contributed to the young mans death, Harris once again, doubted his judgement. The man in question was still to be cut free from the mangled Vauxhall Corsa and, Harris couldn't help but notice, was whistling.

October 10 Second silver ship found by firm

on Monday 10 October 2011
A man who looks rather too like Oliver Hardy for my liking has become my boss. He is neither witty nor world weary but is actually, quite insufferable and is forever taking time off. Apparently, within the last three months he has unearthed the remains of a creature he calls the real 'Yeti', decrytped the hidden meanings behind a number of key Greek sculptures and only last week claimed to have found the tail fin of a second UFO.
Whilst he's off making all these discoveries, it's me that's having to man the desk at the lighting section of John Lewis. I hope someone recognises his gifts soon so I can get back to napping in the store room.

October 9 Fire destroys empty social club

on Sunday 9 October 2011
The charred remants of the Hilltop Club gave a gothic silhouette to the photograph Avery had just taken. Few details were clear although he could clearly see the metal spiral staircase still standing, alone. Closing his eyes Avery saw the arsonist climbing up it, hands leaving petrol prints on the handrail, escaping into the sky. The logic of television: surely it was important, the only object left intact.

Whilst the investigator puzzled this, 27 miles away, on the coast, a young lighthouse keeper, filling in long hours studying a distance learning Sociology Diploma  puts the finishing touches to a simplistic account of the disintegration of working class social life, completely unaware of the dramatic events heading his way.

October 8 PM demands Fox answers by Monday

on Saturday 8 October 2011
We sit and watch the recording of the last conversation our Prime Minister gave, the sound drops out occasionally and the lighting is by candle light.

And you are sure of what you bring to me ?
Yes Pm
           really slipped into Africa ?
    afraid so
I see, and the        ship above us..?
Is taking one human man every      days and still we don't know       .
         the fox I heard last night, outside, the one I always hear,      that seems to mock me,     have your men found out ?
Nothing yet Pm,       as ephemeral as smoke , I have no news for you yet
        by Monday you shall or         the aliens take you before I      .
So shall it be Pm

One last       George ?
Yes ?
When will it be safe for me to leave this         ?
Soon            we are almost there.
Good, bring me           the blessed fox
Good night 

After it's finished I label the tape and Roy files away the transcript. This has been the strangest work experience week of my life.

October 7 Woman had broken hip in care home

on Friday 7 October 2011
I placed my card in the reader and realised almost at once it was too early. The swollen face on the raised platform before me narrowed her slits of eyes.
" I've given up, don't bother any more telling em to wait, just let them work it out for themselves."
I apologised and desperately searched for a suitable piece of small talk, to smooth over the tension between us.
" huh, yeah, guess you have to "
A poor attempt but at least it made sense, she smiled back, ripped off a reciept which she layed aside and then a second which was handed over.
Turning to leave I walked into a display of poor quality gadgets and oversized chocolate bars.
" I can't help you luv, did my hip in , at the nursing home, can you believe it, no wonder I'm a miserable old sod, eh? "
I was willing to bet her disposition hadn't radically changed since this incident, but thought better of it.
" They really are awful places aren't they, absolute hideous "
A single tear, I saw it briefly before the armour plating came up once more.
" I'm in one of those moods, can't even be nice to myself so god help the rest of you!"
I'll not be going back there in a hurry.

October 6 Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle

on Thursday 6 October 2011
She huffs at me again for my latest failure and in turn I try to make my expression less annoying and pretend to listen. Pretty soon all my faults will be seen as the small beans they truly are when compared to the maelstrom that is about to descend upon us. I'd read an email, sent in error, my username being remarkably similar to a member of the government. In June the shadow cabinet is to be reshuffled. Now, I don't do current affairs or science but I've never heard a more ominous sounding phrase than 'shadow cabinet'.
I check the computer screen , just been outbid for one of the last available nuclear bunkers. I make a move to the keyboard but as I do so the screen dies. Sound behind me.
I'm not sure if she's laughing or furious, standing there holding the plug in her hand. Need to act fast.
" Darling, " I say, " I have something to tell you "

October 5 Bahrain grants medics a retrial

on Wednesday 5 October 2011
She was blessed and she never forgot that, Huda Azra Ibrahim Nunu, the first ever female Jew to appointed Ambassador by an Arab nation. That was what she'd always thought she'd be remembered for, long after her body had returned to the soil. Looks like she was wrong.
The Jewish community in Bahrain only numbers 37 people now, the exodus having started shortly after the second world war when the oppression and repression became too much to bear. But her fmaily had stayed, and she'd survived and blosomed, becoming the dutiful Ambassador, wheeled out as necessary, to show the inclusivity and progressive nature of the new regime. She'd smiled and bowed and laughed and clapped. Shown strength but not aggression, biding her time.
She looks at the document ,her signature curvy and confident, clear, nothing spidery or evasive about it. The best things in life grow slowly, advice sagely offered by her Grandmother when as an 8 year old girl Huda had been a full five inches shorter than everyone in her school.
Her passport was in order, after today there would repercussions, contacts she'd built up over years criss crossing the globe were all linked up and waiting. She was ready to be passed down the line, like a bucket of water to a fire, but in reverse, the fire would erupt here.
Four men, all medics, and coincidently all Jewish, had been found guilty of crimes against the Bahrain people, all rubbish of course but if this paperwork went through they'd be bailed. On her say so, by her name and then she could spirit them away with her.Their passports were in her bag ready, all she had to do was press send on her computer.
This is what she will be remembered for.

October 4 Mob takes emergency water bottles

on Tuesday 4 October 2011
The lift door opened. And that wouldn't have been too bad if I couldn't hear a tiger roar. I stood there unable to move, counting the decisions I could have taken to avoid ending up trapped in a lift in a hotel. Of course it wasn't a tiger but the cry of a thousand angry men storming the building, searching for the last of the water. I'm going to stand here for ever, that's what ill do.

October 3 Council secures Dale Farm ruling

on Monday 3 October 2011
The man rises and speaks confidently, with obvious distain.
"From a certain angle I can make the farm hands, as they stand in line waiting for their money, look like insignificant ants, drowning in honey. Although early days I am convinced this can become reality. This entirely innocent thought has led me to this court room where I must now waste my time by explaining my machine to you lot. M'lud."

October 2 McClaren resigns as Forest boss

on Sunday 2 October 2011
I said he wouldn't last and when the squirrels started to disappear finally McClaren accepted his time in charge of the Forest was drawing to a close. When they returned driving tiny tanks armed with spears made from porcupine quills he understood a little clearer it was time for him to go. He was a brave man, a learned man with big ideas who wanted to bring the forest into the twenty first century, he had plans and excel spreadsheets, 3d visualisations of tree clusters and a paper for undergrowth renewal. He'd been to college and wore a tie and liked meeting people and animals.
If you want my opinion he was lucky it was the squirrels that got to him first as the recent toileting guidance hadn't gone down well with the bears at all .

October 1 Australian swimmer lies to police

on Saturday 1 October 2011
If you ever end up in the outback, in an area name of Gawler Ranges you may see, amongst the salt lakes, emus and kangaroos, a water tower some forty foot high. And if you climb that tower you could stand inside the now famous and empty water tank and look out towards Lake Everard in the west and Lake Acraman in the north, take in the beauty and majesty of our country. I guess, if you did find yourself in the water tower it was the crime and scandal that brought you there in the first place. But remain open minded, I suggest you concentrate on the panorama, the bouldered rock fields rather than looking to the container itself. Ignore the ticc tac scratches in the rust that marked the last days of his captives, ignore too the stains on the floor and the corroded chains. Climb back down and marvel at Mother Natures gift to humanity, remember those who were released, the photographs from the newspapers as they were reunited with their loved ones and of those people who prosecuted the swimmer, ripped apart his claim that the tower was his training pool. Look to find the good in life as the bad will find you soon enough.

September 30 Farmers 'lose out' under scheme

on Friday 30 September 2011
After the appeal courts upheld the freisans claim Ba Rowbottom had to throw every penny she had into making the necessary adaptions yet still it wasn't enough. This wouldn't have happened if the townies hadn't have won the election. Anyone with experience of guerilla warfare or civil disobeience, please leave your email adress with Barry.
Thank you, that's it for now, meeting closed, lets have a cloudy ale.

September 29 'Grave' health board cash warning

on Thursday 29 September 2011

Somewhere near your house, the last of tonights bodies are being put back in the ground. That's why you can sleep; been four months since the world ended, you've got by without too much upheaval, one of lifes survivors. Tomorrow, when you hear the money to keep the dead buried has run out I wonder what you'll decide to do. Doubt I'll see you again but if our paths do cross I hope it'll be as friends.

September 28 Part of Moderator's ring returned

on Wednesday 28 September 2011

Blood and bone everywhere, a mighty battle carved into the fabric of her house, you could stand in the garden and see the road at the front. Hellog has never seen anything like it and he'd lived in Scandinavia for most of his life. The floor full of strewn papers, examination scripts for A level citizenship, he stoops to pick up a bloody finger, half a golden ring gouged into its side, flush with the bruised skin.

There will have to be a remark for sure.

September 27 Japan receives first Dreamliner

on Tuesday 27 September 2011
I remember it was meant to herald the dawn of a new era, a computer system that could map our dreams so vividly visitors would be able to travel through them; the structures and people generated in real time. A whole new frontier but one as old as mankind, the television boffins couldn't get enough of it.
To great ceremony, the first dreamliner went online at 8.00 am JST on the 27th September, three men in white suits waved to the camera before disappearing into a sleek gun metal blue cylinder. The watching world held it's breath whilst three long hours ticked by.  And then, the door opened and out they came, waving still, smiling and giving thumbs up signals to the assembled media. But, if you pause these images and zoom in on Hamaguchi Soshu's face ( as I have) you can see it in his eyes, a pebble that appeared so shiny in the sea yet taken out of the water, a dull lifeless blank. Apparently, so the data revealed, experiencing other peoples dreams is every bit as tiresome as listening to them being retold.
I guess there is a limit to how much humans should share, take note Zuckerberg.

September 26 Stewart quizzed on pixie comments

on Monday 26 September 2011
I looked like Daffy Duck when I came back from the barbers, that hadn't been the plan I was sure but life seemed twisted out of shape at the time so even this I doubted. George called and asked me to pick up some cards for the night; the boys nights in thing seemed something we should've grown out of by now but as women clearly found us unsuitable to their needs we continued.
I made some pasta and ate it watching the telly, on it, a plump woman showed rich people how to buy big houses, I turned it off and went to the toilet.
Whilst sat there I heard my neighbour next door quizzing her boyfriend, it's a partition wall, we live in a very poor part of town.
" You said I looked like a Pixie, what did you mean by that? "
" I didn't, I said you looked foxy "
" No you didn't, pixie you said, like one of those pixies on toadstools or something, why do you say hateful things like that to me ? "
I missed the next part of the conversation due to a loud splash and instinctively I pulled the chain so by the time that died down I only caught the end of the discussion.
" No, I think you're the one with a rotten heart "
And then laughter, hers first and then his, big booming laughter that filled the air. All the tension evaporated, and the laughter seeped through the wall and made its way inside me and planted a seed. Ok, I thought, we're going out tonight boys, it's time we had some fun.
They moved out shortly afterwards, I pretend to myself they were sent from heaven, to show me the way.
I'm a better person now.

September 25 Korean bank head in death plunge

on Sunday 25 September 2011
The man in the television scares me, late at night it began to turn itself on and when I woke to hear the now familiar hum and went downstairs he was there, on the screen.
I always see his eyes first as I enter the front room, doesn't matter how long I wait and put it off, always his eyes filling the screen. I know he's Korean. Just know it somehow, subconsciously, I'm no Asian scholar and until this began I'd have been hard pressed to tell the difference between a Chinese or Japanese face, but I know he's Korean.
We sit there in the darkness, he and I. It can last minutes or hours, he holding my gaze for as I long as I hold his. That first time lasted a minute or two, I thought him a character on a TV show but as I pressed the power button the camera pulled back, revealing his lack of a body, his mouth wide, screaming, eyes closed as he turned and disappeared into the darkness.
And it always ends that way, his head screaming into the abyss and if I turn the TV back on he's not there. If I sit and watch he waits with me, only if I go to turn him off does it happen.
It's been twelve days now, I can hear him in there, last night I'm sure he started speaking.

September 24 Mexico drops internet terror case

on Saturday 24 September 2011
You gets the mouse like and it's boom, a touchpaper, a wick to the ticking bomb of the internet. The wickedness of all the world curated and stated bold as brass. There are times for us to be strong and this is one of those. I, your president today give you my promise, my faith, my honesty that we will manage this matter, I have personally taken hold of the terror at the heart of the internet, I have smelt its rotting heart and felt it's lust and aggression send it's messages to every cell in my body. But, I, like our great country, am strong. Like tigers I can eat poisoned meat and still rip down trees. We drop this down like a righteous anvil.

And this is why the Mexican Government is monitoring all internet activity of it's people now ?

The terror continues and builds, if we do not siphon it's power we will become a flabby decadent society without morals.

And these steps will halt this 

A blueprint for the world, knowledge is no longer power, knowledge is crippling, in time you will come to understand this.

After that last sentence he logged out, I'm still not sure if he was telling the truth.

September 23 African 'land rush' warning

on Friday 23 September 2011
The last of the sunlight mixes with the first of the street lamps
and I walk into another world
the colour of a petrol heat haze
Wish I could walk this way forever

Long ago I forgot if I was chasing or being chased, now it doesn't matter
When I grow weary, I want to lie in this place, this street, forever

September 22 Parties 'cagey' on using powers

on Thursday 22 September 2011
There's a feeling of deja-vu I get every time slide past the laboratory. Look who's back, back once again with the renegade masters. Shouldn't be here I think, from another place, the marks on my arms and wrists suggest I've been bound or confined recently. There's crust on my lips and I can't seem to shift the smell of sulphur.
Every time we conduct this experiment it's the same, the cabinet, the controlled explosion, the faster than light sub atomic particles, back once again from where I've always been.
Throwing the switch back once again, there's a sense this has already happend recently, I see her face through the window before the white light and then we're back at the beginning once more, the days seems blurred at the edges now. They decided not to continue with the tests, I hear them saying this as I shift past them on the other side, the power is too unstable, they can't risk anymore men.
So I'm here again, in a loop, my life eternal, I understand it all so briefly before I'm snuffed out. Just like before.

September 21 Athlete 'fled because of failure'

on Wednesday 21 September 2011
Beautiful Jane, her caravan shiny as robot spit enjoyed her first cigarette of the day. She stood in the door way breathing in the morning air, her skin prickled against the cold.
" What ya got there ? "
Cousin Lex was stuffing something in the boot of his Vectra, struggling to get it to close.
" my worldly goods J " he squinted up to her and smiled, " you can come with me if you like "
She smiled back, " Shame Lex, I got to smoke this cigarette then have a lie down, otherwise..."
" We got to get going now, you know that dontcha ?"
" Can't worry about Christmas when I'm still fretting over breakfast Lex, things'll come good "
He shook his head and gave the boot one last slam, this time it caught, .
" I'm away "The camp looked too open now people were starting to leave, each family knocking a hole in the side of their giant sandcastle, the water was set to burst in and flood them all.
She threw the Marlboro on the ground and went back inside.
" See the mess I've made Jane ?" Tonto had been listening.
" Shhh, you're meant to be hiding, least ways until everyone else has gone "
" I'm sorry Jane, I really am "
Outside the camp was quiet, you could hear the traffic from the main road now, soon they'd be alone, Jane didn't know what would happen then.
" I know Tonto, I know".

September 20 Murdered woman 'alert and active'

on Tuesday 20 September 2011
Herman hated visiting his Gran, even before she'd died. She'd look at him through misty glasses and poke him in  the ribs, remarking on how skinny he was. Granny Tuppence lived in Hull with his Uncle Ron, a crooked, beaked man with a moustache that bent his whole body over. He was once a big noise in local politics and called in favours with the Rotary Club and the local Mason Lodge to gain permission for a home burial. The service was short but moving, everything seemed in order, ashes to ashes and all that. The following week, however, when Uncle Ron premiered his 'Ultimate Ventriloquist Show' Herman felt his soul curdle.
Those matinee performances spoiled his weekends for the whole summer.

Septmber 19 Cyprus begins controversial drill

on Monday 19 September 2011
As the fundamentalists regained power in Cyprus the world held it's breath as operation Dante began.
In four days, it was claimed, the Underworld would be revealed. Members of the United Nations tutted and threatened to send in advisors, ambassadors and monitoring teams but he's not worried. Pygmy Goza, the new Cypriot President, alone on a hill, chuckling to himself, throwing meat scraps into the air for his his Hawk, if only they knew...

September 18 Collision blocks city bus station

on Sunday 18 September 2011
" Reckon it wouldnt be long before you showed up "
Albert greets me with a plastic cup of liquified coco beans and indicates to follow him. My watch shows it's not nine yet, if I'm lucky I'll still get to Dads for supper.
" how many you think we have ? "
It's hard to answer, there's blood everywhere and a couple of hands, both slightly chinese looking, the rest of the stuff is too small to identify, clods of bone and gristle.
" Well must be a at least three, Id say  "
I indicate the three large areas of flesh and blood, each up to ten feet apart.
" Idiot, "  the cups knocked from my hand and I get a slap round the face for emphasis.
" These goddamn blocks, sent her hurtling from one to another, like a pinball, she got slammed into nothing. Just the one, pretty girl I bet, but she's gone now, mushed. "
I nod, know better than to question.
" Seems like no one saw it again."
The collision blocks were designed to to save lives, to provide buffers in areas of high human / vehicle combinations yet they'd claimed fourteen lives in the past six months, all obviously unreported.
" You do your thing now, decide what happened here, write the story " he holds my gaze until I look down.
I turn my back, Dad will still be up if I rush, the girl could wait till tommorow. I wonder if she has anyone waiting for her, is her father warming soup right now ?
" Ok, Albert, see you next time old man ",

September 17 Dark matter theory 'may be wrong'

on Saturday 17 September 2011
The wind most knocked him sideways, twelve hours since the sun had gone out. Harry checked his watch, he was already late and thinking about how to sneak in without being seen. The world that had been handed from the religious to the scientists had now been left abandoned, nothing made sense anymore, all the prophesies had amounted to nought. In the lift, Harry gets the feeling deep in his gut, the world may be dying but he's still going to get it in the neck.

September 16 Wrexham bid 'agreed in principle'

on Friday 16 September 2011
Like pulling a zip together, bringing the beginning and ending of my life together as it should have been.
You've aged, the lines run deep reminding me of the times you've had without me.
Those you've held, the tears you've shed, the laughing that couldn't stop, a lifetime in those lines.
But as we sip tea and I pretend this is a one off I'm packing my bags and closing the few doors that hadn't been slammed shut in my face.
This is my town now, Wrexham, you said we could meet up, the once and here we are.
You've stopped drinking sugar and you've stop dying your hair, you're more confident and as beautiful as I can remember.
We part and I walk away, my story saved for another day.

September 15 Cameroonian athletes go missing

on Thursday 15 September 2011
We gathered in Stephs room to watch the Olympics, her small black and white telly with the broken volume you needed scissors to change.

The Cameroonians went off fast, and kept on fast, lapping the other runners who'd long since ceased to be competitors. Lia noticed it first, the difference in their stride, then came the booms, like concorde, the cameras struggled to keep everyone in shot until suddenly the Cameroonians ran themselves into a blur that became a hole and then nothing.

It was hard to make out exactly what happened but I remember vividly the other athletes stopping and looking lost, momentarily unsure of what had occurred. Then they knew, some sank to their knees other stood stone still. A scrawny French guy started crying, he's the one I can see still, there in his vest wiping the tears away and crossing himself.

The telly went off after that.

September 14 'Business as usual' says Rangers

on Wednesday 14 September 2011
Since the privatisation of the United Kingdom the number of agencies franchised by the police force has grown at an alarming rate. In rural wales, where the local officers were often slow and drove creaky cars a new breed of horseback deputies has begun to appear. The most recent renegade law protectors arrived dressed as Lone Rangers. Roy, the only one to have appeared on youtube to date, sought to reassure the public by stating he and his gang were 'on the good side, god's side' and that it would be 'business as usual' distancing himself from the rumours of lynchmobs and the panic buying of beans.
Meanwhile in Cornwall a group dressed in black and white striped tops with baseball bats have already claimed Tintagel as their Castle.
It'll get worse before it gets better Mr Potato.

September 13 Kabul attacks continue into night

on Tuesday 13 September 2011
Manizha struggled with belts, hers too tight, his too quick to come. The fire fights outside protected her son from knowing what war and loss can do to people in love. The helplessness that bound them together, closer to one another with each punch, each drop of blood. One night it will be too much, one night it will all end, but for now Manizha sleeps with one eye open and holds her husband as he cries.

September 12 Bad spelling opens security hole

on Monday 12 September 2011
There are some sights life prepares you for and then there's what crawled out of my monitor when I misspelt my email username.

September 11 Fire breaks out at funeral home

on Sunday 11 September 2011
Astonished passerbys stood by as members of Take That torched a funeral home late last night. According to reports the little one that used to have long hair was heard to be chanting something about Haitian curses and never being too careful, as the flames filled the night sky the foursome drank from paper bags and made silhouettes before running offf as the sirens grew closer. This morning journalists lazily interviewed a group of itinerants with issues who were only too happy to throw more mud towards the pop stars; claiming Donut, before starting the blaze, was apparently in a heated argument with someone from Big Brother whom he believed had defecated into a frisbee and thrown it at him.
These and other revelations can be read on Boyzones comeback blog, Still Alive.

September 10 Moon twins to make gravity maps

on Saturday 10 September 2011
It was supposed to be secret. The times and places where gravity fluctuates, the fluctuations that cause ripples which lead to subtle changes of mood. It had remianed secret for over thousands of years, since before mankind. Unfortunately the great bug headed moon twins cared little for our customs and as they waited in a side room at US customs having aririved without a valid passport or ESTA Visa they leaked the details on twitter for a laugh. They come over here, eating our food, not taking our jobs but destroying our understanding of the physical world...

September 9 Gang 'watched millionaire's home'

on Friday 9 September 2011
alright, you coming out tonight
see you later

Danny's there by the time we arrive, he's gutting  a swan, his latest obsession, bought himself proper knives from town specially for it.

seen the tele ? it's a samsung 100 Hertz Plasma 56 inch
I'm going to get one of those
in your dreams
sshh, get down

We've the place to ourselves, Mikes swaps the big binoculars for the telescope whilst I light the disposable barbeque.

Going match tomorow?
going alices party?
nah, whos going ?
I might go then, but I'll tell mum and dad I'm staying at yours right?
k, but what if they call ?
They won't, I'll text them, say your mums being mardy and sent us to bed early and I cant talk

The meats not cooked, we all try a bit but spit it back into the fire. This time next year and Danny will be at University, I take the small binoculars and stand.

whats he doing now
cant see
shes been out back getting something
its a snack

Mike goes off into the woods for a bit and Danny and I make words from the car numberplates we see in his drive.

Cold now
do you like alice
im off its cold

The summer evenings seems to last forever, I envy Danny for being older than me and I envy Mike for looking like his brother. I wished I looked like my father. I'm out of here soon as I can, we won't keep in touch, I know that. Mum used to have lots of friends over the years but they're gone now, it's what happens when you grow up..

I'm getting a car like that when I'm old, with blue lights underneath
so am I
See ya

Mike texts me as I reach the door, he thinks the swan was a duck.

September 8 No flashing lights for rescuers

on Thursday 8 September 2011
Sunlight strobes through the trees as we make our way through the forest. Good english trees, oaks and beeches, strong and ever present. I used to count the trees each time we made this journey, never got the same figure twice, didn't matter, trees are planted and fall all the time.
The cold air forcing salty tears as I stare out into the distance, wishing to be going anywhere else. Wishing seems to bring me no luck these days.
Mum's in the passenger seat, talking to my dad, I tune out their voices. It'll be another hour till we get to Leo's and then I'll be placed in the snooker room they've built in the attic, I've brought a book, never been invited to play and my grandparents would offer if they wished me to. Wonder how long it'll be this time. The air cools as the sun sets. Dad's turned the radio on.
I would give everything I own, give up my life, my heart, my own.

September 7 Primate civil partnership warning

on Wednesday 7 September 2011
Father Mullikan is refusing to climb down from the spire although he's stopped throwing lead tiles at the villagers until I return. He has heard that a 'Primate' has been warning about gay marriages and I have been asked to provide proof that this 'Primate' is not a ' jumped up catholic  Orangutan '. I'm not keen on Father Mullikan nor the rest of the village so I'm booking a ticket to the Isle of Arran.

September 6 Men in court over 'Lennon bombs'

on Tuesday 6 September 2011

Michael Blake surveys the pantomime playing out before him and lets out a big, throaty laugh.
All those years of training, the sacrifices made along the way, the years of drudgery it had drudged into once the shine had gone. He'd felt a fraud for at least the last year, sitting in judgement on people, respected, well paid, moral whilst inside just bored out of his head. Just for the money, that was what took him from his bed in the morning before returning him later. Just for the money.

But today, these men and their weird science, man, he felt alive and vital once more, assured of his place in the big chair. The jury were now dressed in white, a grand piano had appeared in the centre of the court, squashing the stenographer. The barrister to his left now clothed in a military jacket, the buttons polished and the epellettes swaying.

" One more ", the short one shouted as he aimed a handful of powder at a duty sergeant who'd thought he'd seen it all ( he hadn't). Michael feels everything fitting together, he laughs and laughs at the circus unfolding.

" Case dismissed " he calls

September 5 Police 'ready for terror powers'

on Monday 5 September 2011

They line up like schoolboys, the banter and bravado growing quieter with each shuffled step forward. These are our saviours I am told. They look like they'd rather be anywhere else right now.

As criminality spread into mainstream society the call to supercharge the police gathered momentum. You can't beat cancer by frog spit, the deputy prime minister memorably said, times change and we must use every weapon we have, to safeguard our future.

That was six months ago. Back then we doctored a select few, volunteers, the cream. Their response was rapid and violent. Those dosed up grew stronger and more fearsome. The temporary and localised rigor mortis, an unforeseen side affect gave rise to the phrase ' terrorface ' to describe our new guardians. Now, as I look down the line and draw up the next vial into the syringe, now its the norm and by the end of the year we are told every police officer will have been dosed. The next recruit enters silently. I wonder what will happen if they decide we were wrong ?

September 4 Saline nurse 'made a scapegoat'

on Sunday 4 September 2011
I wake to the sound of gunfire, I'm in an underground tube train, three figures are running past me, guns strafing left and right, the female casts a liquid hand into the air and then there are two of them, the guards turn their attention towards the doppelganger and off they disappear down a dark tunnel. I wave my hands in the air and then sit back down and fall asleep.
I wake to the sound of gunfire and duck as all kinds of fleshy parts stream over us all, I'm pushing a trolley which I immediately let go, I can see I'm illuminated by head torches then it's too late.
I wake to the sound of gunfire and immediately drop the crate I'm carrying. I can't see anyone yet apart from the scientists who run past me, I count them all, the visitors can't be very good shots. An explosion knocks me sideways where I land on a pig faced dog, he squeals and runs off into a cloud of dust.
Their words appear in the sky, there must three of them, one is called DokTor BadaSS, another goes under the moniker Saline Nurse, the third I guess doesn't plan to hang about, he's called A. The talk is drivel, I look away and decide to make a run for the lift. The floor starts shaking and I feel a hot finger on my chest, glancing down I see a red dot, too late...
I wake to the sound of gunfire and dive to my left, words appear overhead but they are drivel, I walk into the gunfire and hope I don't wake up.
I wake and watch a fat blue guy in a helmet walk into some fire, it's funny, todays a good day.

September 3 Storm stalls off Louisiana coast

on Saturday 3 September 2011

The clouds had been gathering for days but I had other things on my mind.

"You gotta see this place, come on "

I jumped, so eager to show her my discovery.

" You dumbo " Alice laughed at my stumbling and waited until the bus came to a halt. The Hotel needed no introduction but I found myself throwing my arm to the sky as if I were unveiling it for the first time.

" When did this open ? " She asked, but I could see her smile. She got it, she understood why I was excited.

" Not sure," I grinned, " do you want to go in Mrs Ramone ? " I'd read that Paul McCartney used the name Ramone when he booked into hotels to keep his identify secret and it had turned into a private joke between the two of us.We linked arms and walked up to the entrance.

The building I'd got so excited about looked like a miniature bavarian castle, from the road you could see groups of robed monks walking and tilling the land, picking fruit and fixing old fashioned tools. It seemed alien, as if someone had looked at Louisiana, took a cigarette and burnt a hole in it, revelaing another place underneath. I scanned the edges for scorch marks.

" And you're sure they have rooms available? "

" Well I don't know dummy, that's why we're here ".

I'd been with Alice for three months almost, a long time in those days, we'd met through my cousin, hitched down to Baton Rouge a couple of weeks before but this would be the first time we'd stayed in a Hotel. Alice squeezed my hand as we entered the foyer and asked  for a room, the man behind the desk was almost as young as we were with soft features and a smudged little mouth that looked like it'd been drawn on with a kohl pencil.

" Will you be requiring a double bed or two singles "

I concentrated on stopping myself blushing and asked for a double, adding we'd prefer one on a higher floor if possible.

" The highest you've got " smiled Alice.

Our man smiled and we filled in the registration details and then he handed over a key.

" the highest we've got ".

The room was on the fifteenth flooor and overlooked a small orchard and behind that we could see the Gulf of  Mexico. We sat and watched the monks as they took their evening air drinking a bottle of wine Alice had brought with her. I drew the curtain a little after ten and we went to bed.

We stayed for ten days in the end, watching the monks and drinking wine. The last couple of days were spent discussing our plans, what we'd do next, I spoke of buying a car and one day visiting Europe, Alice spoke of walking in the orchard and never leaving the Hotel. We talked about it for a few days and then spent our last night together watching the storm bloom and then blow itself out, way over in the distance. The air cleared as the sky brightened. She wore a light blue dress that day, I can see her sat there at the window, looking out to sea, smiling and saying that everything would be just fine now.

September 2 'Illegal workers' at restaurant

on Friday 2 September 2011
I was a fool for ever trusting a man in a shiny suit with matching socks, I wish I'd stayed well away.
I certainly wish I'd been out fishing when God came around and gave out curiosity. 
That way I wouldn't be here, making such a discovery.
I didn't know I would find you when I shoveled the dirt away, it would have been better if the spade had cut you in two like a root. Where are the rest of you hiding?
This is where you hide when people come in is it? like potatoes ? 
This is no magic restaurant, the meals aren't made by pixies. It's you lot isn't it?
I bet he isn't buying me a dolphin right now.
This has been the worst day ever.

I overhear this rant as I begin to tuck into my asparagus soup, whoever the woman is talking to doesn't reply. It crosses my mind that she may be practicing lines for a play. But if not, I hope they sort out their problems as this is the best asparagus soup I've ever tasted.

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