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peter.howden
A aging wish for Christmas

I want to be with you, night and day a moment is too short, forever is imposable…. but just one extra minute, or hour, or day, or week, or year, or decade…whatever health and life will allow. I don’t want to waste a jiffy, on silly moods, or rows over the daftest things we say….

We are settled if not just old, and luck has delivered not too bad a love match, with perhaps one or two hiccups along the way,

I even now search for your hand, gaze on your smile, still look into your eyes, still see the charismatic lass who allowed me to be her partner in marriage for life, lover to stay

We have had our share of grief, but our devotion saw us through the darkness…to grow stronger when the light of life shone through each day
-=-=-=
peter.howden
Desperate
The Job(in two parts)


George had been given strict instruction by his rather rigorous wife, as she left their abode, heading for a few days in Dunoon, sometimes recognized by those reputed in the know, as Scotland’s answer to Marseille. The spouse complained having promise after pledge broken, totally due to his vulgar laziness… she had no wish to be disappointed again. “This time George” She said loudly, while storming out the door, “rent a bloody machine, and clean the blasted carpets!”,

George smiled, for if anyone thought Dunoon is equivalent to the ‘French Riviera’, must be more than slightly touched, however, he deemed her close circle to be so. Wishing to avoid tantrums and problems in the homecoming, he hired the required equipment, moved all obstacles, worked like a beaver, and was pleased as punch all rooms completed by the first evening. Early next morning, the more awkward stairs were the task. To help not being caught, or tripped by electric cable, or the shampoo tube, George wrapped the electric flex around his shoulder, to restrict entanglement, but alas…oncoming disaster was intimate.

In his haste, the heavy machine, unsteadily placed at the top of the stairs, George tried to reach a darken corner. Within a blind second, this manual effort, countered-acted by yanking, then toppling over the cleaning machine, which hurled towards the defenceless man. Alas, sticking out rigidly, one of the brass couplings struck George’s head as it hurtled past him, before a jerking halt, left the apparatus at a perilous angle, some five steps down.

Twisted in sheer pain, George buckled unconsciously… landing upside down… backwards… one step down.
-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
My Chronicles 13/12/2019;

Being Aunt Becky’s birthday, Kirsti/Chris, Rebecca/myself, visited her in the new spruce Dementia home, taking a chocolate cake and small knick-knacks, with the home providing a marvellous birthday cake. While delivering Becky’s birthday cards, it was obvious she had no clue who we were, although appearing trim, but much frailer, with her wee body prone to falling. Afterwards, while we were reaching the car, Rebecca was a tad upset, because she can see Aunt Becky’s light for life is darkening to somewhere else. Two days ago, while visiting the care-home, Becky sat in the café/dining room, unaware of me or who I was, in-and out asleep, however I managed to talk to her carer before I left

By train, travelled down to Ayr, in the lashing rain last Tuesday, seeing the moving patterns angles on the windows, which depended on how heavy the down pour and the speed of the train. Met China Jim Hendry in Witherspoons, not only for the beer, but chuckling old kids we were, then, reminiscing slightly seriously in full flow as to out past community activities. The discussion varied though centred around trips, to foreign parts like England’s Liverpool, Manchester, and Welsh Swansea, Cardiff, and wider afield, nevertheless, could not remember the organizations banners we were under. Struggling for some twenty odd minutes until recalling, Jim’s mob was S, C, V O. mine Oxfam. Our lights are none too bright?

I’m no Christian by any means, although being grateful for the ‘good will to all!’ on Christmas. Church bells take me back to a special comfort zone, also Christmas Carols, Hymns and the like…a beam from the past

Finally, a new super-duper light was replaced in the walk-in shower room of our home, by Calvay’s electrician, because it is a sealed item. Throughout the last few years, we had not realized the illumination was becoming dimmer and dimmer…. till it gave in. The first time we switch on the new apparatus…it was singularly brilliant lit superstar, akin to an operating theatre…A Merry Christmas for our ablutions
peter.howden

Desperate
The Job( part two)



Hopelessly entangled across the wooden handrail, the twisted cable clung unnaturally around George’s neck, as his precious mobile phone slipped from his overall pocket…landed three steps down. The immediate horror of his position was, any quavering movement may unwittingly have the heavy machine rolling further down the stairs, forcing the cable into more deadly tautness. There he lay, experiencing flash’s while drifting in and out of consciousness.

George’s reams of allusions, mentally leading him to a void, containing no predictable heaven or hell, only purity in one side, encompassing endless sleep…. Opposite… darkness forming in the impending distance. An inner understanding insisted, he could not blame the believers of any of the sacred books, which held a array of everlasting Deity’s… against, such as… Lord of the flies, Mephistopheles, Shaytan...too many reputed academics contorted anything that may have been potentially authentic…

George sensed on one side was innocent peace, on the other, an enormously swarming abyss of warped minds in unforgivable repentance, aimlessly reliving in agony, every single indescribable thought or action, bestowed towards their fellow beings. Within this blacken mass, a gist of utter doom was circulating towards its opposite.

Suddenly, George awoke unharmed, standing at the bottom of the stairs, confused…released from cable entanglement, though his entire body was saturated in cold damp sweat. Lethargically realizing the carpet machine was erect, with its packed-up tools installed …and the floor carpeting was dry…so?... an immeasurable amount of time had passed. Then, a car drove into the driveway…a key in the door, which slowly opened… he turned around as his wife entered…

Was George’s life…or own unpredictable mortality…route in-depth he experienced…who knows?
peter.howden

The wee Blue Baby Bath
A tale retold from the past, of a family having complete blameless togetherness, which today, would be frowned on


In 1975/76 and 77,during the winter session brought snow aplenty, Toni, Chris, Nikki and I, plus the family mutt ‘Titch’, took to the slopes at the local football pitch, opposite the Chapel. These were unrepeatable special times, nonetheless memories drop by on instant notice, certainly not forgotten by all, though maybe cause slight blushes from them now. For these occasions, the old blue baby bath was turned into a sledge, bodies hurling all the way down Glassel Road, which certainly sent the juices running, dicey and icy. Our faithful pooch, losing control often, sliding her ass in a most undignified manner, and barking like a banshee.

We were out all hours or until the clothing was totally drenched, or the children were absolutely saturated to the skin, but desperate to tell their mum what daring adventures took place, how many times they cruised down in the old pliable bath. along with the sight of Titch, trying to catch snowballs flung from whoever was racing down in the bath at the time.

The tingling feeling as soon as you entered the warmth of the home, is still with me to this very day, Delightful squeals from stark-naked children, racing up and down the hall, displaying red rosy cheeks, while dragging loose towels ready for use. Sometimes I took a bath with them; one at a time… which they thought was an extra treat, playing submarines, or boat battles using anything at hand, usually a couple of yellow ducks, for I was every inch a bigger wean than them. Those original ducks are still with us, but the family have grown. It was off the cuff…guiltless precious bonding moments. Sadly, today… this innocent fun would be seriously scowled on.

Time was running out for the blue baby bath as the children grew older, and a real danger of being tossed out, even hurting them, when another use took form while watching a garden programme, about expensive ponds. Just like ‘Blue Peter’; I set about creating a homemade pool. Perhaps the neighbours thought it was ‘Crackerjack’, however, though I say it myself, it was not bad at all. Within a short period of time, we discovered frogs settling inside the safety of the corner rockery in the bath, complete with the pleasure of water changed at regular intervals, by a cunning system of old plastic tubes using the overflow pipes from the roof.

Glancing at our garden for the last time before moving to another house, the little faithful servant was now covered by green moss, as the wonders of nature, cosily finding its niche.
As I strayed for one last peep, I am not ashamed to admit to a tear in my eye.
peter.howden
The Parables

The good Samaritan?


The old man dropped to his knees like a sack of tatties, in disbelief at the sight of his faithful mutt, lying motionless at the side of the road. The dog had been excited by events around him, as he and his elderly master was coming from the post office, and trod off the pavement, just at the moment a fast-moving motor machine was passing. The driver had no chance to stop, swerving in a vain attempt, but tragically failed.

The elderly man remained crouched down, staring apparently at nothing, a comforting hand reached out holding his shoulder. He turned around to see a face which was not unknown to him, yet…. he could not place who it was. The driver, almost crying, hurried up towards the old man, who was in a desperate effort, trying to make sense of what actually happened. Finally, the police became involved as witnesses tried to present their versions all at once.

The experienced policeman suggested someone should take the grieving old man away from the horrible scene, to a café very near, perhaps buy him a good strong sweet tea to steady his nerves. The comforting hand beckoned to comply, leading the tearful man to the café sanction. Once inside, he sat the old man down and ordered two strong teas. While awaiting the waitress to return, he told the old man his elbows of his jacket were mawkit from the blood and tears involved. Encouraging the elder man to disrobe the garment, so he could make amends and rid the thread bearing sleeves of the manky dirt.

Words of silky comfort passed from his lips as he assisted the senior man on with his jacket. After some consoling words and meaningless chatter, the Samaritan made good of his departure. The old man rather confused stood up, returned to the accident, to find all the necessary duties had been completed, and his trust old mutt had been taken away. All that was left was a couple of spots of blood and a caring constable asking if aid was needed to return to his abode.

Entering the home he had shared with the beloved pooch; several tears fell from his now red eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money he had taken out of the post office before the accident. There was only £20 there instead of the £100 he had withdrawn. He knew almost instantly…. that bloody Good Samaritan had dipped him. This meant he had not taken all the cash, only some in an effort for his victim to believe ether he was mixed up or somehow had used the money.


The problem he faced was he knew who it was but could not say anything for he had no proof….Sadly the old man closed his eyes and pretended he was in the woods walking with his faithful hound.
peter.howden
Unknown Author
Memories


“ Wir ye never a wean?”

Mammy daddy mammy daddy
Is what we used tae shout
Whenever you were feart
Or if someone gied ye a clout

Or if you fell and hurt yersel
Or nipped yer finger in a snib
This is what we all cried out
Well at least ah know ah did

Memories of games we played
That were o full of fun
Kick the can or statues and even
Chap the door and run

Hide and seek or allevio
Hudgin lifts on the back o’ a van
Grabbing a haud o’ the lassies
While pretending tae be a blind man

Lassies were always skipping
Or stoatin a ba’ aff a wa’
And singing daft rhyming songs
Having a millionaire for a maw

The boys would be oot playin Sodjers
Cowboys and Indians tae
But if anyone had a good fitba’
They’d be playing wi that a’ day

If the neighbours said ye wir noisy
Or ever tried tae complain
Mammy wid shout oot the windae
“Hey you, wir you never a wean?
peter.howden
Death wish

Everybody local knew him as a ‘Jack the lad’, with more than a few rough edges, who physically deliberately hurt people, But the law recognized him as a harden lifelong villain, committing serious threats and stokes, including allegedly several unproven murders to his name, a criminal record as long as the arm of the law. He wished to be a clean respected upstanding member of the community, though perplexed as how to shake off his past. Disappearing would do nothing as the law and other avengers would seek him out. This lumbered him.

One morning a penny dropped… he would fake his own demise, go through the full works, candle sticks…the lot. . Contacting the top man in the funeral business, who owed him, or would do what he asked through personal fear. He also knew a felonious counterfeiter, so along with the forged demise certificate, bogus birth documentation. Next, organizing a new face, via plastic surgery, to create a bogus identity of an honest pillar of the community. The only foreseeable worry would be at the actual funeral, where both burial and cremation take place. All details were scrutinized, and a plan worked out for the day of the actual ceremony.

The coffin he was in, would be placed last in the day’s proceedings. After a swift service, the curtains close, switching identical coffins would put the empty through the fire chamber, while his coffin would be hidden in the free from backdraught area. Once everyone has gone, he would have to play whisht dead, for a couple of hours while they moved his box to safe ground…. ’Bob’s your uncle’ he thought.

His compulsory funeral director, organized everything down to the last detail, make sure no slip ups, so not be cremated by mistake. The difference between the coffins was simple, his had a large brown label marked ‘Sarcophagus’, the dummy run had a big blank yellow tag. The day arrived where all the evidence would dispel in smoke and all the arrangements made. After the sermon was completed, the curtains closed…the coffins were swapped over by a worker, who unfortunately was colour blind. As luck would have it, this time… it made not a blind bit of difference…. as the fireman followed his instruction to the letter and left the correct casket at the rear door.

Unknown to the villain, his partner funeral director, was a devout orthodox Jew, who had given permission, to aid a rush job, owing to a Jewish funeral ‘kavod ha-met’, segregated from the Muslims/Christians grounds. With hasty poor information…seeing this coffin, displaying traditional Yiddish colours for a funeral (Levaya) the dark brown label signed ‘Sarcophagus’, the precious cargo was swiftly delivered to the graveside allotted, then buried in Hebrew tradition…vertically

That afternoon “He”, unwittingly…possibly unwillingly, had realized his two ambitions…..a new identity….and an upright member of a community …..
-=-=-=-
peter.howden
Have a guid year ahead
peter.howden
Not Yesterday

Now I’m in my later years, the top-drawer keeping knickknacks and hints of my precious past, is unable to close, without exertion. The other day, like many unachieved times before, the keen decision to weed out unnecessary items took place, by emptying everything on the bed, for clear viewing. A glimpse of these near forgotten items, miraculously bring almost live memories, spinning around a wondrous awareness of bygone loves, aromas, and kind words, held hidden, yet bound so close, weathering the storms of rapidly passing time. Such was an almost unrecognizable photo of a Gorbals wally close, inviting nostalgia to open my mind’s light.

We stayed above the Clydesdale bank (the actual bank is rather vague, but a bank it was) around the very early 50s in; 8 Gorbals Street, overlooking the River Clyde, with a flashing neon advert for Dewat’s whisky. My brother John studied within Glasgow University, for a PhD in Physics, plus among other things, the Russian language. Sharing a bedroom, he was a soft-spoken kind fellow, and though I must be biased, being somewhat around nine years old, I believe most people found him this way. He was 11 years older, I was not unwanted, but a very late edition to the family.

Mother was a bit more than strict, not uncommon for that era, close to work, study, pray and one does their duty. At the time, I had no idea the hardships she had endured, for all was visible respectability and a reasonable comfortable life, apart from ‘Brasso’ and shoes night, when it was my obligation to rub masses of ornaments but certainly, no magic lamp. Here And Now, such reminiscences, dust down imaginary cobwebs. Mother was fiercely opposed to alcohol, only publicly sipped a very small sherry on Hogmanay to see the bells in. however, each night of the year, retiring to her bedroom, a very generous glass of Johnny Walker black label, and a piece of preferably Dundee Cake, was at hand… all for medicinal reasons I was told by her much later on.

Then, I had not a tear for the suffering she endured, or an incline of her private behaviour till years later. She was very severe on John, did not tolerate any stray from her house rules which now I can appreciate, but then, it was a buck to buck. Nor all that often, he did come in sailing close to the wind, urgently trying to imitate a sober person. On those occasions, being much closer to me in our shared double bed, his breath, though strange, was comforting to me.

Sadly, I do not have a photo of an elaborate Crystal set, which he built from spare parts, with appearance of an army mobile phone unit, delivering the exciting Radio Luxembourg, with its wild music of the time, but for me… Dan Dare; Pilot of the future. We listened, with headphones, in secret, as mother thought it was illegal or something.

My Sister Margaret, who live in Vancouver Canada, sent me one specific Crystal set, which was a small rocket, with a screw antenna, and a small clip to be attached to the water pipe of the radiators. Unlike today, no batteries needed. That year for Christmas she also sent, a fabulous very light blue fleeced lined jerkin, not seen in dull grey Britain. I wore that jerkin with chuffed pride, when allowed, as my mother thought it was only suitable for certain events. My recollection says… I had the precious jacket, until I was fourteen/fifteen, where it was lost or misplaced.

Funny where a snap can take you…is it not?

peter.howden
My Chronicles 06/01/2020;

Nothing could revive any festive mood within, until, while filling the bird feed as dawn approached, becoming a spectacular Christmas morning, the realization struck, just how fortunate we both are, reaching this point in time, learning to adapt, to suit changing circumstances, having a very close family, my twa de la Chine, real guid friends, plus acquaintances…and the ability to enjoy them , though one thought hung on the edge… Will we see any better with 20/20 vision?

Aunt Becky is very fragile, precariously prone to falling now, unaware where she is, lost in an endless day, though through habits of a lifetime, walks everywhere as if having a purpose to arrive. She has a habit of midnight wakening, darting off for somewhere, is causing more than a concern. Becky, like all the residents, are intimately supervised by caring staff, and unable to leave ‘Rose’ dormitory perimeter. Aunt Becky is seemingly content, memorised by mysteries within her head… So, we cross our fingers, for Becky… for this coming year.

Michael, brother-in-law from Saint Heliers, Jersey, was our first foot…but forgot the coal, customs at the airport, I guess?... He is always a surprise, even when he tells you he is coming, but he has an uncrushable desire to please, that’s just the way he has always been…Michael…Bon voyage de retour.

Benghazi Mice main man Dominic (wee Dom), has been fighting Dementia, plus Parkinson’s disease, now facing undetectable seizures, cruel thrusting spasms ride rough shot over his body. He was taken to hospital some weeks before Christmas, expected to not recover, however he did, but in a sad state. His wife Janet is herself knackered but insists looking after him, with some questionable help from the council, who have brought in agents whose training and procedures is doubtful, if not deplorable. Dom’s main memory is serving generous Lauren and Hardy, in Central Station hotel 1954…#in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia#.... Keep dreaming old friend.

Hogmanay and Ne’erday, was quietly no reflexion on past years way back, when door to door, any door was openly welcome, as long as the knocker had a bottle, black bun and a piece of coal. The bells of Ne’erday are gone, leaving an unwanted reality. My lifetime knack, or ability to debate, discuss, argue black is white, with the family around the old kitchen table on a Saturday, is slowly dwindling, along with my powers of instant switching deduction. Talking around corners; ‘She who must be obeyed’ insist I do…now alas reaching, if not …right out the window…well nearly.

Yet occasionally…a glimpse in the mirror, once in a while reflex’s… scrub up not too bad…for an old wobbling bugger …
peter.howden
Art for Art sake

The furtive Aillig Ranulf works, aren’t instantly known throughout the professional cultured world, nonetheless… reputed to be, in some quarters, thee absolutely greatest sculptor of today and countless yesteryears, using precious knowledge and talent with mallet and various chisels, to create from a basic Maquette… a fantasy living body of stunning success. Certain critics, who say they are in the know, state, searching for his almost sacred works, is equal to finding the holy grail. Also, highly praising his muscular pieces way, above such celebrated works from Rodin’s “Thinker” or Michelangelo’s super “David” or alluring genius beyond the “Venus de Milo”. Yet he manages to surpass the unpretentious modern realism of Bruno Catalano’s “Les Voyageurs”, displaying in the Rue’s, Avenues and parks of Marseille’s, or the massive “Kelpies’ recently unveiled in Falkirk canal.

Highest lauds indeed, with many more having been heaped on one completely enigmatic artist, with the meaning of the existence within his fingertips. Aillig inspired gifts, seemingly brought dry stone to life, as if realism is transferred into his masonry masterpieces. Scarcity of such wished sculptures… fashioned an artistic phenomenal craze. All who say having been fortunate to witness his veiled conceptions, protest being the privileged few, seeing so genuine living statues, moulded to perfection, by fascinating magical hands, they could almost mistakenly hold a desire to touch them, communicate with a unknown essence, yet… almost all his works are hidden away in his studio…where he holds a terrible secret.

It is rumoured, one artist critic, of the Richard Dorment cast, paid a surprised visit to the startlingly youngish artist at his closely guarded studio … away from prying eyes, deep in the heart of the clandestine Scottish countryside. At first glance on approach, it looked a dour primitive building, dark and gloomy, however, once within its walls…. they projected poignant vibrations of excruciatingly torturous undertakings having just taken place. There was no sign of an expected workplace, or the usual strewn apparatus, or crayons and paper for research sketches…just a huge fire in a massive stone hearth’s, releasing fiery aromatic objects, which masked the burning smell of inescapable…human skin.

Through immense timber doors, Aillig Ranulf made his entrance. He held a daunting illusion of “Will-o'-the-wisp”; making the visitor nervously dubious of his surroundings… however, the worldly censor instantly fell under some sort of bizarre compelling spell. The sculptor held an intangible power, glowing from within his merge body, as he limped closer to his unsuspecting prey. Unable to move in any form, the critic heard every uttered syllable, by the so described genius, as he prepared his fiendish plan. ‘I am not a sculpture in the true meaning of the word’, the artist confessed, then continued,’ but I believe I’m ahead of my time…. isn’t science absolute?’, was his chilling claim.

The inspired lunatic led his willing quarry to a large coffin shaped machine, punched in a code on the controls, generating a laser which penetrated electromagnetic radiation, hardening every atom, molecules and all living tissues became invisibly frozen. The whole experiment, lasting just a millionth of a second…. hideously then the victim ceased to exist as a person, but now a living as… timeless corpse. Another piece of equipment automatically penetrated with a liquefied substance. Owing to the straightforward fact, human skin is transparent, the illusion was simply a solid statue…. with emotions… whatever the controller desired…. instantaneously.

The visiting art critic of some standing…was never seen again…. Alive?
peter.howden
Hypocrisy

If you enter our town in any direction, an instant numbness catches your breath while you take steps further into the circle which represents the heart of this community. Without even trying, it becomes obvious, something terribly wrong about the house on the right, situated in the middle of a quiet row just at the far end, unable to be hidden, due to the bright yellow door, and the eye-splitting red painted windows, It had been the horrendous scene of absolute madness man-made hell, beyond endurance of any decent society.

Somewhere in the murky past, yet not all that long ago, were two young people, who only fell deeply in love, setting up home together, craving deeply to live entwined, behind their personally decorated buttery door, but… the supposed pious neighbourhood were horrified at any such behaviour …just could not let it be. The young blameless couple’s cardinal sin was not only to openly dare treasure the forbidden passion; ‘The love we dare not speak its name’; but also born to be of mixed race and religion.

Almost instantly, without warning, groups of protesting cliques stood at the doorway of the home, jeeringly chanting religious verses and cursing the frightened couple. In such a short space of time, the factions formed an ugly hypocritical mob, set on destroying any trace of this abomination. The police department of the town managed half-heartedly hold the hordes back. The law enforcement superintendents, along with the shifty council, specified it was a holy affair. Fearing this situation was now uncontrollable, called for the pillars of each separate spiritual factions, to deal with this bedlam

They nervously came with feeble attempts trying to appease the now hostile throng, with no success… then each in turn quoted chosen verses from their Bible; Koran; Torah; Tripitaka and ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ to no avail for all theoretical ears and minds set on this outrage claimed the couple were against mans and divinity laws. The mob grew and grew hysterical.

What happened during that appalling night, no words can explain, for once daylight broke, the utter shame instinctively befell the authors these atrocious actions. No supposed half decent human being alive would dare tell of their involvement but would remain a personal infamy nightmare amongst those who devilishly took part. The horror is an immovable ignominy on the city’s history.

Will it happen again….is it in this dimension, or another in a million galaxy's, the plain answer is…no!
I personally have no reason, or justification to ask…. as I’m an atheist, without faith in a deity…. I threw the first stone.
carmella
Interesting read catching up with your writings Peter.

On the last chapter, I am not an atheist, but I am a republican, and recent events have further assured me I am right. Time will tell!

Every once in a while I enjoy reading, or catching up with your chapters.

Totally enjoyable!
peter.howden
Carmella..thank so very much...I'm pure chuffed...
carmella
Peter, I know good writing when I see it. I am a non-fiction Writer, apart from other things taking up my time these days. I have taken a break from writing currently.

Assured of my perusals of your written words even although I don’t always leave a comment.

Reading this is a pleasure, thank you.
peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

‘I disapprove what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’, is supposedly a quote from the late; ‘Voltaire’, whom despised martyrdom, still, this may be a burden his memory will have to endure. It is now claimed, these words were not uttered by him, but a liberty taken, by one of his many biographers, Evelyn Beatrice Hall. So proves history is more than unjustly nothing but a tableau of crimes, misfortunes, and untrue misquotes. The following lines are as near the truth as Benn can recall

Gay Bob was the nickname of an employee working in one purpose built building, housing swimming pools, hot baths, Turkish suite and the famous ‘Steamies’ in the 1980s. Almost all these mighty establishments were built in the working class manufacturing communities, in the towns and cities of Scotland. He was a helpful fella, though his lack of personal hygiene was second only to his far stretched stories. Gay Bob always had tackled whatever was being talked about…. or one better. Not only achieved, but with the highest distinguish beyond approach.

The mystery why he did so was simply to be accepted by others, yet, prone to exaggerate his physical daredevil feats was legendary, among the rest of the team, for any of his inputs became totally unbelievable, because of his excessive overweight for a pond attendant. Over 23 odd stone, some may say rather cruelly, how he could be used as emergency plunger for emptying of the public pool, by just dropping him from the upstairs changing area balcony.

An attendant dubbed Captain Kirk; (going where no man had gone before) was talking about doing a parachute jump for charity, and the usual wise cracks were being spun around, plus perchance, some admiration was oozing from his comrades. It may be conceivably be the reason which turned Gay Bob’s mind, to introduce his supposed experience on the subject. His primer was Hand gliding, which excited the very pours, creating the wonderful feeling of freedom gained by this much misunderstood sport. Being the porky size, did not alter his creative outline of the trills of silent flight. It had escaped his attention perhaps his size may bar him from such a physical and elite endeavour. He truly believed we all believed every word he uttered, however, he certainly knew all too well about sweating and pours, due to his proportion and aroma.

He continued to relate this fantastic tale by adding he spotted his father’s car, in private parking, lodged at the edge of these activities. Catching Gay Bob’s eye was not the colour, or indeed the model, but he had managed to read the licence plate, while soaring over the hills and fields. Another illustrious feature of this family car was installed, an aeroplane’s Rolls Royce engine under its tattered bonnet. He further claimed they never used the full throttle, or released the engine’s true potential, in fear they could not control the outcome.

Scarcely giving time for fresh air gulp, he soared into his adventure, leaping into the unknown, for charity. It was not from a plane but from a balloon. They needed breathing apparatus long before they jumped, due to the fantastic height this silent glider achieved. The length or timing for the decent, Gay Bob could not relate but he knew it was close to a world record. Precisely where or when this marvellous feat took place, was also unclear, but you can certainly rest on my word….so Gay Bob quoted.

Was he just a fibber, or could he not control himself, taking great joy in telling his tale. ‘Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities, have the power to make you commit injustices’; is a genuine quote from famous French philosopher; ‘Voltaire’, so just maybe this tale, is an injustice on Gay Bob.

Shangri la can be possible……if you believe
peter.howden
Jim stepped down from the train(two parts; No 1)

Jim stepped down from the train, into just another inhospitable township, possessing a haunting silence, blocking any sensible conclusions was the wind, like a ice knife-edge, slashing in and out, cutting into his flesh, chilling his every bone, which no earthly fire could thaw or be rid of. Hordes of frozen people, seemingly oblivious to ear-piercing whistles, shrieking at every other moment… and one particular above all others, penetrate his psyche,

Before disembarking the coach, Jim checked he had everything, before leaving the compartment. For one thing this journey taught him, survival depended on this being done methodically, for any equipment could save your life in these foreign parts. He naively expected a warm welcome from them, or some of the town’s main inhabitants, exhibiting just a hint of relief and appreciation, for they knew he was coming. But then again, he had been unforeseeable delayed, at least twice to Jim’s calculations.

The platform was packed with bodies, unable to move, as the inhaled free artic air all, dressed the same, but obviously by their decorum, held different status, professions within their society, but alas gone all in the echoes of the past. The crowd had been herded into, and out of trains, forced to travel through the intensity of the day, though, if the whispers were right, this was first class, compared to third, or last class from a couple of weeks back. The poor captive travellers, paid way over the odds for their tickets, only allowed one suitcase…with no choice of their destination.

Jim started to walk briskly, almost marching out of the main transport building, heading to what was obvious the main street of this tumbled down deprived roadside. He had seen more than a dozen hamlets, villages and small towns, over the last two weeks and each were exactly the same…damp drafty daurk accommodation, added with the miss- trust of the locals. What made matters worse, was the absolute bloody tedium, attached to these places, or indeed anywhere Jim had been lately.

Keeping his eyes open, checking for potholes which cause more injury than the job at hand, no matter whose fault they are there. The chances of medics, or indeed the almighty luxury comfort of a black-market ambulance, was beyond the likes of his means or rank. Scurrying from one to another, each street, if you could call them so, was exactly the same as the next, though just for some wandering moments, Jim was lost like a wee boy
peter.howden
Jim stepped down from the train( 2)

Jim stood motionless, puzzled, more bloody annoyed, for his sloppiness was totally unprofessional, then, instantly recouping, where, and what his prime objective was on this mission. His army and mercenary discipline, void of emotion, took command of mental chaos, ready to move as a die-hard assassin…and strike. Within the packed maukit surroundings, distant thunderous shockwaves savagely infested the air, as deadly indiscriminate 120 army siege mortars, fired repetitively, exploding bedlam forcing everyone else, in a futile attempt for safety, crouched down behind any kind of primitive protection, or just down on the ground….in fetal position.

A quick glance allowed Jim to advance to complete his ordered target. An abundance of confusion, coupled with hollering from the mob, but apparently, they had been aware of the whole situation for months, if not for years, though the conflict had not touched them personally, in all that time. Unlike Jim, who had lost everyone he had known from the very beginning, when being such a novice at brutality, mourned each one of his kind who fell. He became untouchable in feelings or reason. Now just a robotic creature with a given purpose

Again, without mercy or concern, a barrage of explosions fell in such a small crowded area. ‘ The sphere of war is always the same fate!’, seeped through Jim’s mind; “bored out their skulls for donkeys, with brief moments of madness, leaving trembling survivors scared out of wits, peeing themselves uncontrollably, with hope to survive as luck blows their minds away’. War has nought to do with right or wrong, just plain bloody endurance. Jim couldn’t remember when he lost his last comrade, or indeed his name. What was he thinking “Lost,” as if he put someone down, somewhere, misplacing where? was he going mad at last, and who would observe, in this theatre of lunacy?

The ruckus around interrupted his private thoughts, hearing hysterical screams from people who had obviously been hit. Cowards and the brave have the same reaction, then nervous reticence follows.
Marching through the rubble, Jim almost stumbles over, what appears to be remains of some kind of wretched animal across his path. Leaning down to toss the limp body out of touch, a stunned realization was jagged loose tissues of human skin, amongst the carnage.

This stunned Jim into the fatal mistake of looking down. Out of all the gory carnage, here was a child, according to the size, and tatty fragments of rags… what age, boy or girl, would be a guess, Jim did not want to make. These cold lifeless dirty limbs struck a blow into him, so unexpected, left no time to prepare a shield against it. The hint of blond hair, half sediments of a eye hanging out its socket, reached him… plunging deep into his empty hardened psyche. At that moment he questioned himself; ‘how long could he go on existing like this?’…and what of death?

He did not care, for it would be a release praying for an excruciating nightmare out of this abyss, save him from this endless dread.

Jim, unintentionally turned around, walked back to the unknown, from where he came
--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
carmella
You are a natural storyteller Peter.👍
peter.howden
Nomadic (1 of 3)

It was a long night train, with a multitude of selected carriages, slowly grinding to a standstill, and lucky for him, as the clatter of the steel wheels woke him from an uneasy doze. Stretching and moaning for being aroused, a familiar cough as the railing pulled back, revealing George (the porter) standing with a pot of coffee, and a huge grin which stretched from ear to ear across his whole face.

It had been a long journey… monotonous to boot, with few bright spots, except the detours from tedium via George relating to the long history of ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’, “fight…or be slaves” battle with the Pullman company. While he was the custodian of coaches of this particular train, he explained in a deep voice, revealing a few interesting facts. One being, his name was not George, but it was a condition enforced on his shaky employment, all passengers would recognize him, and all his fellow brothers by this single, “Non de plume”.

The voyager rose sharply from his make shift sleeping quarters, washed and brushed up, then checking his Italian mohair suit was presentable, showing off his handmade Melbourne shirt, followed by Milan leather shoes(shined to perfection by George) , and finally, taking his cashmere coat from the swinging hanger.

It was raining as he stepped down from the coach, onto the wet unwelcoming platform, making the traveller wonder why he had truly come to this dismal station, which was exactly as he remembered it…cold and hostile. He struggled to remember poor George’s real name, but it was lost in his own discomfort with the downpour, making it awkward to see what was ahead. The blue skies had vanished long ago, now it was dark, with foreboding black holes with intervals of nothingness. The angel of death, he knew so well, could per-chance be lurking behind some innocent facade, being rewarded for surprising this beaten traveller.

He had no wish to be here, or anywhere near this grim reminder of the past, but then again, drawn by not so subtle threats and intimidations, which made it aptly clear, as to his would be future if he disobeyed. He was trapped…and now there was no turning back. Unlike George, he had no union, or backing for his unspoken services to companies……or individual shady clientele. He thought to himself, ‘Money was good but sometimes money is not the problem’, gripping his light attaché case. He wanted out… but out, was not an option.
peter.howden
Carmella; Thank you once again, for taking the time and bother, reading and reacting to my scribbles. The correspondence is certainly a delight for me, for you fairly enhance my wellbeing…you are a lady indeed



peter.howden
Only two episodes now

Nomadic (2)


His psychological grisly journey through dismal personal confinement was measures in years, forever bound by his own Gordian knot. No swift Macedon blade to swiftly cut clean the unanswerable question, could he somehow be released from this endless riddle, to live an honest existence? His was a small intimate family business, taking contracts from unidentified immoral individuals, no matter the human cost. Was there a higher deity, deeming his dark activities depraved, condemning him to eternal unrest. Was this the total conclusion of his life’s worth, yet, regardless what he truly wished…. there was no chance in hell of coming true.

Early drab morning whilst walking along the chilled empty streets of his hometown, he bitterly recalled school days being regimentally constructed, by one domineer person above all else, his father. He had now broken free from his persistent bulling, which made him do things, terrible things. In his mind, this was the one last mission into the bleakness of life. As usual, he reached the bus locker station, with a key, not see the shadowy furtive body lucking in the avenues and passageways nearby. He followed his coded orders inside, examining rail ticket left in cubbyhole, then headed for something to eat at the old café. Time waiting for the return sleeper, back from whence he came, just caused pain.

The dirty Pullman carriage was hiding the distinctive Chambersburg dark green of all the companies’ coaches. He met George… George was his target. Like many other large companies of this notorious time, they employed spies to keep tabs on their employees; in extreme cases, company agents arranged disappearance of union organizers. How this was done…no questions asked. He warned George of his company’s wish to end the ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,’, by pushing George over the railing of the Caboose. George huge smile had gone as he locked the unfortunate porter in the freight carriage, then prudently head back to his allocated seat on the train.

Just about to pull the curtain back, he heard a tense explosion then instantaneously felt a red-hot pain stinging his skin just below his heart. Blood spurted onto the grubby curtain as he uncontrollably spun through them. His body fell on the seat, staring upwards close to unconsciousness. The agony now almost unbearable, as a shadow appeared through his blood hazed eyes. For some reason he sneezed, which cleared his sight slightly, when a head took shape right above him. What ever happened was beyond explanation, made his sight come to life for a brief second, to recognized his assassin.

Tears rolled gradually down, from his misty eyes, as he took real effort to spurt out his last spoken coherent words…”Hallo Father”…his limp body ceased to exist
carmella
QUOTE (peter.howden @ 24th Jan 2020, 06:59am) *
Carmella; Thank you once again, for taking the time and bother, reading and reacting to my scribbles. The correspondence is certainly a delight for me, for you fairly enhance my wellbeing…you are a lady indeed

thumbup.gif
I enjoy it. I am something of a bibliophile! Will comment later.
peter.howden
Cheers ...

Throughout Prohibition years, many members of Congress, the wealthy, secretly amassed massive private supplies of world-wide alcohol, in their mansions and homes, leaving the working class, over 13 years, to suffer the wrath of the law for buying hooch …nothing much changes

January 1931 Chicago, mob rule through fear and intimidation, making the population watch their backs all the times. Even so, it was a gay jazz time, with the spread of ‘Speakeasy’s, with “21” Club,the talk of the town. Down-market moonshine dens, named ‘Blind pig’ or ‘Blind tiger’, because bootleg illicit liquor was far from medicinal Mountain dew as the Rocky mountains, could risk punters vision, or blindness. The south side organized gang; ‘Egan’s Rats’ preformed the North Clark Street ‘Saint Valentine massacre’; The Chicago ‘Taxi wars’ ended in an unknown blood count.

Tracy was a working girl, in one of the many joints, not by choice but necessity putting food on the table. She was not taking any chances, getting the North line train, that stopped at Fullerton, three stations before Belmont Lake Michigan. The fact the train was packed sardines, felt safer than walking or taking a cab. On the platform, a stone faced man, cautiously squinting both sides, before boarding the overcrowded carriage. He wore a expensive huge overcoat, almost touching his feet, squashed against the back of her.

As the train shuttered forward, both bodies closed the already restricted gap between coats. Another sudden jerk forward, was when she felt a solid rounded item burrowing into her feminine back. She timidly turned her head around, for a brief second or so, to notice him trying to act unaware. Up close, the face was handsome in an Italian way, but serious and all too familiar. Tracy had served him once, definaltly notorious Tony Accardo…"Big Tuna", ‘Circus Cafe Gang’, reputed hit man for thee ‘Al-Capone’. Her mind went haywire in sheer panic, believing the mob’s top hit man, was rubbing her out. A cold nauseating sweat trickled, as the train clattered over cross points closer to her destination. How will she divert him from her home? in a futile effort to save her family, she let her station to go by..

She wanted the courage to face her assassin, but pluck refused to rise, just terrified, frozen to the spot. The short but infinite journey came to an end when the doors flew open at the terminus, Belmont station. For several moments she made no movement, but, because of outer commuters, she was forced to turn, to meet her fate. The stern stranger’s mannerisms change, smiling profusely, then with a slightly high pitched voice said, “my humble apologies for causing you obvious distress, but I believe, with the movement of the train, I may have been more intimate than manners should allow. I hope I caused you no lasting anguish”.

This was said in the most humblest of ways, by the suave dressed gangster, almost embarrassed, with a red face reflection, he continue. “I forgot my late lunch was in my coat’s top middle pocket/… and mum packed two big bananas ..For afters?”
-=-=-=
carmella
Haha those bananas, aye heard that one before! LoL another lovely episode!😯
peter.howden
Second wind

A lot has been written, spoken and a variety of deliberations called global warming, and how we humans are to blame for “The end of the world as we know it Jim”. Some say Poppycock, others seriously worried, and as usual…some just don’t know. Among the greenhouse gases, the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, predicted by a fella named Svante Arrhenius, a hundred years ago. Carbon dioxide is usually deemed the naughty boy of potent glasshouse gases, whereas atmospheric methane, is almost 30 times more powerful as a heat-trapping gas.

Methane has been particularly aired, as a matter of fact, caused by cows, who shoulder the blame, though some scientists maintain this is absolutely crap, little to do with severity of any situation, other than causing mental hallucination on a mass gauge. These boffins argue, this is the reason authorities are attempting to hide the truth behind the fallacy of the udder. It is factual how livestock, particularly cows, chewing the cud, gives off heat and decay in massive quantities of Methane, equal to two cars per cow, per year. Yet, several geniuses seriously state, that below our feet, lies the true problem…. Termites. the following do not include Ants, Bees or Wasps…..

Insect experts at the Natural History Museum, are studying termites, famous for building enormous mounds and eating houses. What they do not reveal, there are 2,500 species of termites, never mind the wiry cockroaches, the beasties alone, have existed for 320 million years already. This collectively brings the numbers into trillion billions or almost absolute infinity,+1.

Atomically speaking; the scientists secretly are taunt and fretting with the physics of this massive problem. When termites, find or try to attract a sexual mate, in layman terms…they Fart, producing a small dosage of lethal methane. The specialists have worked out mathematically… if the entire population of termites, seek mates collectively, at the exact precise moment let off uncontrollable methane …there would be enough energy to alter the world’s spin.

However, with the realization of adding Cockroaches, carriers of some critical diseases…it is feared, if they all achieved their sexual appetite spontaneously, the nightmarish is, the Earth would shift orbit, aiming for the sun…causing unimaginable toxic atmosphere. There is one small spat of good news, the cockroaches will survive.

The boffins say it is not a question of if it will happen… but when? “A guid Ne’erday’ s …Tae ane an' aw” …as long as It may last?
peter.howden
A nice little earner……..

A perfect plan, if each step was executed to the letter, giving me 6 3/4 hours, to carefully open the safe holding approximal £3.6 million. In anyone’s language this would be a great tickle, concluding with glorious success. I planned it precisely, right down to the last breath and movement, so it could not fail

The police, bank head office, and local managers, had done everything to disguise and confuse their actual intentions. Thinking they were smart, no high-tech surveillance, no bang up to date gadgets to attract we naughty thieves. They just deposit the used banknotes in the last place intruders would assume. Such a serious amount of lovely loot, in an old-fashioned back street bank, with an old fashioned, but world-renowned Chubb safe. However I was crafty….and swift.

Success depends on a wee bit of whispered information, and willing to pay big bucks for it, means no need to blow the safe…plus, I had not lost my knack. How many tumblers (wheels) are acquainted with certain types of safes is crucial for triumph, along with specialized knowledge of the drop- pawl, also called a mechanism fence, to keep out Peterman such as I. The bank place of business was completely situated on ground floor, leaving nothing to chance, including alternative times police patrol checked the doors, shone torches through both the angled windows into the interior. As taught by the great Yiddish ganef, soaked my fingers in olive oil, then drying them with precision, before putting on the all-important Kidd gloves,

Now entering the financial premises with ease, to set up shop, taking each step as important as the last, ready finally facing my opponent. To create an allusion of emptiness, I made two 3D, for each window inside, inch by inch life-size realistic copies of the empty internals, giving any wandering eye, peering through the said windows, a delusion of normal, as I worked behind the screen, totally un-noticed and un-hindered. Changing for the throw away supple plastic gloves used by surgeons, I was ready finally facing my opponent

Intently listening through the stethoscope, gently easing the dial clockwise until the dial is opposite the sound of two flash clicks which locates the ‘fence’, connected to a lever mechanism responsible for keeping the safe shut. To meet my requirements as a professional, the rest of the details will remain unsaid secrets… only kent by a privileged few. My work had begun.

For 6 hours 33 minutes…. I tried every trick to hear the lever drop to open the stubborn safe…to no avail. Every attempt failed, while perspiration reached danger signals. A safecracker becomes useless, if the slightest sweat interferes with his digits, however like a ball against a stone wall I kept returning with stalwart delusions. My safety margin had run out, I took the remainder precious time, recovering all my gear, and anything that could link me as thee purloiner…leaving empty handed, but more important…not knowing where I went wrong.

Next day it was in all the news rags, about the attempted theft and why the robbers were stumped. By sheer terrible coincidence, accidently the chief clerk, had left the safe closed, but totally unlocked that night…all I had to do was turn the bloody handle.
peter.howden
Circles
There is a fine line between reality and illusion


We have to face it lads, there is defiantly some kind of invisible energy, a concealed forcefield, denying moving forward at any time, also, it’s all around us, regardless of which direction we come from, preventing us reaching our given ultimate goal. Every so Often it appears to be dominant all around, enclosing the neighbourhood. With a common sense of scientific conviction, this just can’t be… surely not, if my memory is correct. We should be able to venture anywhere we want, or wish, yet, at this moment, attempting to move ahead, is made impossible by something…somewhat supernatural… not of this world, and totally transparent. If only we could break the cycle? or is it all a purloined dream.

Yes, we have adequate supply of food to last a long while. Yes, a constant supply of fresh water. Yes; there is life as we know with restricted freedom, … but, nevertheless is it a false existence’

It’s not alarming me, as I’m easy going, swimming with the flow, but cause’s all and sundry complex limits, nevertheless, one should not loss faith either, because there is a constant bright light, a beam signals, almost to the second, every twenty four hours, giving us a continual bearing to measure the direction we need to travel. Other luminosities happen high above, if my recollection provides a reason, but no set pattern, or consistency, to be reliable, nonetheless, the proven morning light never fails…if only we could reach the illuminations…I believe we would be safe.

But there is something out there…. What it is I’m not sure, for its just out of reach. Weird silhouette shadows of certain significance emerge, then disappear without logic. If only we had the intelligence, the ‘know-how’, the vital oomph, I’m sure we would recognize why we are here…. The answer to the ultimate question of life itself…. if there is a divinity?

We are confined, and there was no doubt about that, yet, somewhere deep in our D.N.A; a stubbornness arose through generation after generation and raw evolution , a harden craving to seek the unknown, being totally away from our usual docile lifestyle, forcing us to fight against this imperceptible unwanted control…..

It sadly will be their plight, persisting to find a clink against such invisible armoury, lasting all their lives …as goldfish in a living room bowl!
peter.howden
My Chronicles 06/02/2020;

Over the past five weeks, I no longer phone each time I plan to come to Aunt Becky’s Dementia home, since it’s so unfair on Becky’s wellbeing, as it’s indeed apparent, Becky has no idea who I am, and she sleeps at unusual times during the day. During each visit, I’m brought up to date by caring staff, concerning her general health, mobility, feet and eating ability, somewhat diminishes the concern of her reduced weight and frailty.

Becky has fallen four times in the home, in as many weeks, each aftermath seen by the institute’s own doctor, then a hurl to the hospital. Walking everywhere in her lifetime, was a necessity of funds, and a pleasure which she happily indulged along with Uncle David. My persistent memory of Aunt Becky is, helping everyone in the family, but particularly, for some time, exceptionally in the early hours of every Sunday, came to our home, took the lead role in assisting with housework…whether we wanted it, or not

Now within the interior of our home, and outside, imps constantly act childish, by being naughty sometimes not so merry games of ‘hide and seek’, with me. These illusive scamps, half-inched five months ago, my favourite cap, planted somewhere exclusively unknown even after my turning the whole house inside/out. Other items disappear only seconds after being put down, only reappearing several days later…blatantly in their usual place. These scallywags of sprites have wholly bamboozled me…or could it be, my memory is not only suspect…but nigh lost itself?

One thing I haven’t forgotten is my friends, although some I don’t see so often as I may wish, particularly close friends, and China’s, though having with China’s… close Email communiqué, is pure magic. Regularly travelling down to Ayr, to have a few refreshments, with one such China, Jim Hendry, has become an enjoyable quest. We are ‘Chalk & Cheese’ but we laugh a lot, with memories flooding back, slightly failing to remember small details of these memories, such as, when, where and how they happened…who cares, if the whole Whetherspoons, turns around to wonder who these two old impish fools are
peter.howden
Bulletin

The minutes were dragging, as she gazed at the clock taking its time to reach five minutes before the doors close, when she could make a beeline for the timekeeping meter, punch out her card and head straight home. Her knickers where almost in a twist, because the impending extra special date tonight. Nothing will be allowed to stand in her way, crucially to be ready, willing, and able for any reasonable suggestion aired. Her ‘Beau’ is entering her home tonight. He was without doubt, ‘pure dead brilliant’, and had been in her home before, quite a few times she recalled, though not in an intimate fashion… but never in the field of love had she been better prepared for everything he could ask…or wish for.

She knew precisely what his favourite things were, the brands he preferred, for she had known him for quite a considerable time, not cosily, but very close. She also had taken the precaution, just to be right on the button, looked it up in some books and magazines to ensure continuity, for he is quite famous…. probably a house-hold name… but to her, he was just her delicious ‘Dandy’. She had gone to the posh shop, down the Byres road apiece from the Botanic Gardens, purchased fancy German sausage and biscuits, wine and all the trimmings to add to a dinner party for two.

Checking her phone to see if she needed any extra knickknacks to compliment her home-made cheesecake, which she learned to make whilst a young flirty girl. Scrolling down her data, checking her list for light non-alcoholic liquid refreshments, to make the evenings events run smooth and sparkle. Being not aware, or involved with whisky, and indeed rather ignorant of the pleasures of the grape, relying totally on the counter staff to guide her. She considered her mother advice, making sure she ate well, to offshoot the liquor, endeavouring keeping her principles, and coy demeanour mysterious. As far as she was now concerned, she’s ready to skite tonight…if only he would, for he always spoke and acted a complete gentleman of the old order.

At last, relaxing then out the scented bath, dressing in her most seductive clothing, complete with brand new underwear, she was prepared for anything. Her alarm rang loudly in the kitchen’s pantry, and now was the time. Sitting comfortably on the sofa she took a deep breath and turned up the television.

Her elusive ‘Beau’, sparkling on the extra large screen, she bought for these occasions, sent her into a trance, becoming limp and listlessly among the cushions, not noticing she was alone, as her ‘Richard’ read the news, as he did at 6 of the evening clock….ever evening;
peter.howden
When young, I was too lazy to seek perfection, now being older, I still don’t seek it, with the theory when perfection is achieved, no matter in what arena, you are never satisfied again
peter.howden
WINCHIN(1of 2 Parts).

‘Winchin’, is a Glaswegian slang word, meaning many things to all types of people, but mainly means kissing, snogging, or to some older quarters, ‘Stepping out’. With very young declaring, “He, or she is winchin me”, declares ownership of one or two persons making a statement, to keep your eyes off my property! Casual ‘Winchin’, can be described as canoodling, necking, smooching, pecking, though true romantics would rather say caressing, making it all lip service to emotions, with depths deeper than the channels of Mars, the planet, not the Deity, as he is the overseer of war, yet… there is a quote, ‘All is fair in love or war’, superficially attributing to the mythical divinity

Human nature on this subject, raises first interest in adolescence, or slightly later on for late developers. There is a theory it’s wasted on the young, but then, we can be of any age to act coy, even childish, simply when there is someone of the opposite sex, for an unknown reason, just a whiff away, so essential to individual feelings and untamed growing lust. When young, it was a different story, for that’s all it is, having keep up with peers. My own skills in this area or affairs are limited, except a facet of reputed innocent looks, I did not discover girls for the right reasons until later in life, being thirteen and at B.B. camp.

Around 6 years old, I do recall being taken to Newcastle, by my much older sister and brother in law, for an extremely hot and sunny holiday. A couple of days later, confined to bed, enduring naughty sunburn, with the souls of my feet having hot tar blisters from the road next to a seaside. One weekend, taken to this posh house, where some lively refreshments where being offered. The occasion bored me, so passing time I attempted to peek up an older girl’s dress …I couldn’t figure out ‘why?’

As a 10-year-old, living in Westcliffe St, Shawlands, next close was a girl named Beth, with an air around her, who I bashfully fancied. In all innocence, not knowing why, but fate can be cruel in the shape of a boy Gordon. He could outrun me; make a better bow and arrow, played football as it should be played, was taller and without a doubt, more handsome. The bugger was also a hell of a nice guy… how can you win against that? Love takes no prisoners just casualties. I know how it is to love and lose, however at the time, I had no clue what to do with my hormones…. or in fact… I even had them!

The following year, John, my much older kindly brother, taught me all the right words, the activities in that area, for I asked awkward questions, making me knowledgeable in theory, but a total dunderheed in practice. My first real love was Alice, while B.B camping in Dunbar, whose last name is lost in the passageways of time.

Older lads had instructed, if you met a girl, never gave you right address or second name, in case of any accident while winchin, hindering any come back. I had pecked girls before, but, kicking over the traces, that first kiss, with Alice, was something else, lingers yet as a main point in my life. Alice emerges from the past, via visits now and again to the East coast Dunbar’s White sands. Sometimes I wonder, what she is doing now, and did she know… what this thing called love was?
peter.howden
‘WINCHIN’ (2of 2 Parts)

At the edge of the Shawlands’ boundary, a dominating area is cost free for young couples of all ages, was Hill Sixty in Queens Park. The supreme high spot, with a wide view, looking at many districts of Glasgow; in an aerial perspective, without wings. From the grassy mound, the fabulous famous Scottish roar could be heard, when a stramash occurred on the sacred field, but especially when Scotland was tanking England at Hamden

The three slanting fields of |Hill Sixty, near always was knee deep with splendid grass, except the well-worn paths, making it an excellent place to be ‘Winchin’, with still a grade of privacy. On sunny days, inviting young ladies was common practice making arrangements to meet, one girl in the park, and maneuverer the way to the hill basin. With sly intent, making my way to the best spot, with young lass in toll, only to discover that somebody had cut the grass, almost into the ground, all the way around the fields, so great expectations were lost that afternoon, concluding in a bitter tryst disappointment,

Other times, waiting for a cinema date, standing outside the flicks, chest out showing puckered pride, notifying any unfortunate passer-by, that I was waiting on my bird! Slightly politically incorrect language for today’s sensitive ears, but I suspect, many a lad today, waiting for their first real date, with self-esteem bursting from their chests, utter something close. The words they may use now may be different, however, I would imagine the sentiment will still be in running order.

As the years pass, I do believe being romantic, particularly with the anniversary of our wedding. I proposed to Rebecca, while eating in the China Palace, Jamaica St, although I didn’t have a clue I would. On the Sabbath, all the pubs closed, and It was cheaper to feast and drink in a restaurant, than a hotel. After a double brandy I just said, “I think it’s about time we got married? With Rebecca’s reply equally blunt, “Well when?”. “What about next week?”, my answer, and that was that. To make up for such a lousy performance, on our anniversary, we return to that very eatery, that very table, without fail or high water every year of our 50 years of union…. And I kick the heck out of that bloody waiter.

P.S.

I know I am happily married; for ‘She who must be obeyed’ tells me so!
peter.howden
Confined

Dean observes his new property…there are no bars on the window, no turnkey at the door to the kitchen, no hard rules to follow but there might just as well be. The occupant of the small maisonette, is one Ex-convict, or cyclical criminal, who once upon a time, began stealing, or rob for gain, just because his only talent was as a thief, which has led to him being banged up in a single ‘Peter’(confined in a prison cell) on countless occasions for his trouble.

The prison authorities not only deemed him as institutionalized, but his methodical actions and reaction, is Inherited from jail system. Inside the many jails, there is little preference except a loathing for ‘Peterhead’, where all the queers, (perverts and child molesters) are made top job trustees. In Dean’s opinion, held by many of the main stream long termed convicts, those detainees are a blight… and such offenders strike loathing in the hardest lifers, sadistic murderers and Co, but especially detested by old lags …

The authorities, in their fashioned wisdom, wedged most of them together, in the crumbling nick, supposedly their own safety, nevertheless Dean knew, as all inmates recognized this wayward logic… it was to prevent or bank against prison riots. Screws were roughly the same in most penitentiaries, though some did have a sneaky evil twist.

Dean favoured a solitary cell, but then, would double up comfortably with some old crony, experienced cons on doing porridge, plus knowing the rules playing ‘Bela’, a card game also known as ‘Clobyosh’ by old timers. Tobacco and fags used to be the currency all prisoners used, but now it’s imported phones and Sim Cards and naughty drugs. Dean was satisfied with the extra snout and food they got on Christmas and Ne’erday. Drugs just performed tricks with your mind. Time itself, plays funny stunts to the memory, while caged more so when little is left to remember.

There was no possibility of Dean learning a new crime while inside, he was too far gone down the entrenched line of behaviour, desiring his own company, reading a book with no ending, as some dumb or vindictive sod, had ripped out the last pages. Where he was in peril, was some young nutter, soap slashing (razorblade in soap block), trying to stamp his authority, without receiving violence against himself. There is a class system within any ‘big Hoose’, a heavy-duty pecking order, not knowing one’s place can prove dangerous…a society within a locked society.

Being released on licence, by the “get back to civilization” team…Dean passed with flying colours, without really striving. Asked where he would like to be housed, he plucked for a simple name, for it was the easiest to spell. Social workers and others were busy bending over backwards to succeed, forgetting what was really best for the man inside, but they had boxes to tick, trying circumstances creating quotas to perform and process, … their hands were tied.

His abode had all the mod cons (Pun) T/V within an all-purpose, newly painted room, and a tiny kitchenette. Dean had no past, apart from jail. No innocent memories to fall back on, no friends. At night he can’t sleep because of his insecurities, while during the day, acted in an enigma form, stuttering to and fro from wall to wall in his cramped strangely named living room. There was no old lag to smirk with, or no ‘Thee’ man of the block to avoid eye contact. No debt to pay for trafficked snout, or genuflecting as the turnkey passed Dean’s synthetic home, making him feel safe.

Dean now felt inner cold, depraved and isolated from the world; He tramps the same path in the so-called living room, as if in a cell. He can’t sleep properly, for the lack of clatter noises, here just silence. No whiff of different flint tins, or the urine odour floating from landing to landing, no locked door could keep him in safe hands. He seldom retreats out, except for shopping needs, after cashing his Giro.

But time march on in his head…In prison, he had a sense of worth within a regimen …with Freedom…. he is a caged animal?.
peter.howden
A Simple Gift

Similarly to empty of words crossword, or jigsaw puzzle not yet attempted, along with other icons, the actual box proudly sits covertly on a shelf, in the old man’s working den, laying not exactly hidden, but certainly not in plain view for any Tom, Dick or Harry to see. It is shown daylight on special occasions, as well as when a need for an essential tidy-up, or room to be made for some other private symbol. The box is now not in pristine condition, as when first given, but the contents are in prime, and in original tact. Under these circumstances this package is often open, just to peek in with great designs to complete but stops short with memories flooding of the purchaser.

He is no miser, yet, before this present from a child, he secretly horded foibles, complete with missing complex emotions. A better state of mind is not compulsory but allows a wave of gentle reflections on life’s given magic, can easily be bestow, without having profusion of life itself. This simple gift revealed how he had been careless with family lives and passions, and obvious precious talents. This birthday memento is some thirty-eight years old, and now it certainly pleases him, while frightens him at the same time, as he is scared of the conclusion… if completed.

He presumes, fate deems if this poser was finalized, then the chance of seeing his child again, would not only fade, but disappear where all failed hopes go. Now and again, he carefully opens the bright cardboard box lid, takes out all the components within, cautious not to break the plastic covering, sealing it from age, or dust. Gently returns the items into the box, then with care…replaces the box back to rest.

This simple gift from his child, springs thoughts from a Robert Burns quote; ‘A man’s a man for ‘a’ that; ‘is there for honest poverty’ ; and for an unknown reason, his favourite ; ‘O Thou! Whatever title suits thee- Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie.

One last glance to the precious Air fix kit of a Porsche 935 turbo sports supreme car. The memory of the giving, followed what his eldest daughter said smiling; “Can’t afford the real thing right now Dad…but one day, Yes one day?”
-=-=-=-=-
peter.howden

Memories from an old Chronicle.
Dear Diary; 03/06/2011


Coming down for breakfast this morning, welcomed by pleasant smile of expectation, complete with enchanted echoing from behind my beloved’s eyes. This was broadcasting the arrival of the early daybreak banquet, added was the aroma of some perfume, disguising the usual kitchen whiff of pets, or the last evening’s meal.

This is when I made my first mistake, by enquiring if there was anything special going on. Shocked is not the word, but angered hurt may be closer, while she struggled to control obvious mixed emotions. My treasure closed her eyes tightly, then reopened them anew, speaking with a tense cold quietness, ‘Surely you have not forgotten? was her crucial question, although she could easily see, I was still in my own wee wonderland…me, the mad hare.

‘Remember’, she prodded, ‘When you betrothed your troth’

Struggling to come to grips with this newly born dilemma, yet, the dates did not tie up in this still half-a-sleep mind. I was about to use a teasing quote, “It’s was not the anniversary of losing my virginity?” but lucky for me, I decided to stay quiet, at the last moment. My lover looked so hurt, as if I did not care a fig, but low and behold I produced an Anniversary card, which in all truth, I forgot to post. I calculated it would win brownie points, by stating the post could not be trusted, this was too precious not to be deliver by hand.

I was taken aback by ‘She who must be obeyed’, exhibiting a magical twinkle in her eyes. We kissed; we cuddled, then in turn opened our cards, with smiles beaming up the dull kitchen. Just as I was about to replace the card, for next year’s outing, my true love utters in whispers, “don’t forget where you put it”

In her heart felt card… I wrote sincere lines, in hope it would forever keep us entwined;

Keep our love alive,

By surprises, we strive,

For decisions it takes,

Sugar-Puffs or Corn Flakes.
peter.howden
JIM, 8 Ball ?

Jim stepped down from the train, instinctively understood he must be at the vital destination, at a specific time, yet…Jim doesn’t know why? Perhaps a sort of clandestine mission or more likely, a personal vocation. For all assignments have every movement carefully planned, nothing left to chance, for a purpose, or principle know only by his government agency.

This operation assignment had been riddled with unexpected delays, all sorts of hold ups for any Pullman, with interruptions due to overhauls on the line, while ‘Gandy Dancers’ repaired tracks, ‘Rail dogs’ switching clamps, just outside his destination shanty town. But now Jim was sure he would succeed finally.
He was well aware being a fish out of water so many times, however when things kicked in, it would be inevitable his pre training and guides from ever present clergy, would automatically follow its wake. Every stage had been minutely inspected and every error being accounted for, counter acted upon. Nothing was laid to chance. Nothing.

Being under no allusion, he would not come out alive. Was God out there, and what was the real purpose of it all? Would Jim gain a glance of heaven, or could it be Elysian field, though Jim preferred “Valhalla”, as he believed, with some justification in doing so, he had a touch of Norse’ blood, far down his hereditary roots. Tricky with this type of thinking just before the mission, could cause room for error, and Jim could not afford to make a wrong judgment. He had to display courage dignity right through to the end. So now was his point in time, his ultimate sacrifice for his country, his family, was for the good of all mankind.

Jim had practiced every step as a daily habit, so not to faultier on the day the button would send him, alone, soaring way past any conception reason could give, as ordinary minds would fail to fathom. Once that button was activated, no power on earth could cancel, or react the laws of nature taking over. Jim’s tiptop health was totally central to the task, and checks would take place almost up to the critical moment. It was seen as unrealistic, or even cruel to continue if he was not ‘A’ one, as the undertaking could well be put in danger.

His mind alert though his vision was blurred, as he stepped forward, atomisation had taken over, for he sensed being helped into his cockpit, strapped to his chair, his helmet placed carefully on, so not to break the delicate working wired into its frame. Jim even had a special hair cut so nothing would interfere with the final countdown. For a split-second, Jim’s mind wandered again for he did not eat his favourite evening meal, just in case he threw up but the mere exertion he was about to face. That would be embarrassing…such was his destiny.



Then suddenly, a blinding flash followed a massive surge of power, and an odious smell…. It was announced that Prisoner number 238956 was executed, this morning, in the Electric chair.
peter.howden
The nervous dunderheed …

Sam is an aging adolescent, thrilled and worried at the same time. The pure magic of instant information at one’s fingertips, contacting almost anywhere in the entire world, within billion trillion, zillion cells… isolated in a single cell. This is Sam’s personal fret, yet constantly fascinated by the amazing strides forward by the cyber space producers, who claim they indeed have simplified the process, so much so, even a child of three could pick up the knack of the internet, in a matter of moments. Sam desperately in need of that specific three-year-old, to assist him with the workings of his computer.

Perhaps the claims are genuine…but what about all the delinquent over 70s groupies, born during or just after the war, who from nursery school onward, were bombarded with chanting basic Arithmetic timetables, in almost religious style repetition. Added to the school’s curriculum, pupils chaunting British history hotspots dates, boring into innocent minds, until 1066 and 1815, was the only eras of any importance. No real narratives, and certainly not on Scotland’s past

Auld Sam, as a fully paid up grumpy computer imbecile, the cyberspace is a tangible scary entity, for although only a small percentage of usage of worldwide Surface web exists for everyone, the massive ‘Dark Web’ encoded security system, make’s it nigh impossible to trace. ’No one actually owns the Internet’, no specific individual, or corporation controls the Internet in its totality… or responsible for it, leaving a perplexity danger of creating a refuge for dishonesty

Sam, with just a lone flick, can be in contact with the whole world…nevertheless the dark side of the web, bent on naughtiness, can furtively be in touch with him… through the complex Onion router of Tor nodes. These particular Tor’s are not the rugged beauty of ‘Logan Stone’, from ‘Neolithic period’, but sneaky befrienders of deceit.

One thing really bamboozles Sam, if all the unused, or abused zeros, cryptogram emails, unknown dealings of the deep web are deleted into cyberspace, may eventually stifle the whole system, legal or otherwise minus warning, imposing the entire network to instant standstill, then crashing down on the unexpected world, creating mayhem beyond anything known before…then the need for Cornish Tor’s would become essential…for sanity to survive the beginning of the outer net…or is it all an allusion ?
peter.howden
Wur ye Dancin

She had been busy, as a busy little bee with her ears constantly attentive to listen for the bell, for when it rang, she would need everything spick and span, ready for her young brother’s supper. The poor lad worked so hard, even today which is Saturday, however she smiled, for once he has finished is toil in the ‘Army & Navy’ store, when the bell rang , she was keen to please him, as she had prepared something really special…and he would grin while she placed it on the kitchen table.

Tonight, was the night when he rushed home, hastily toss off his working togs, shaved and wash, immaculately brush and comb his hair styled with brylcreem. Stop to look in the mirror, dolled up to the nineties, with his Cashmere coat, bespoke suit and Sunday shoes. She would insist he sit down and taste her cooking, before heading for the lively Barraland. She did not mind, the wee laddie deserved a night out, but she must listen out for the bell.

Money was tight and things were really hard to come by, with food and the essentials on rationing, even after all this time after the war, and no matter what those politicians said they had achieved. She had been thrifty, and careful managing to put away some provisions in her special wee cubbyhole. The table set, and the kettle was simmering for her brother to take to the bathroom. Yes, they were fortunate having a bathroom, for most of the houses were single ends.

She thought the bell rang, but it must have been her imagination, now she was in a panic, unable to find the wee poke of sugar she had hidden away. This would spoil everything, because her brother could not take the strained tea without sugar…even a sprinkle would do, but where did she put it? She just could not remember where it was, searching high and low….

Without any warning, the bell rang, it clanged loudly for some considerable time, making her go into a tizzy, running around like a headless chicken beyond any understanding.

Her brother appeared, he was an old man of some 90 odd years, struggling to walk with his stick. He had come for his weekly visit to his sister, who now resided in an open hospital, because there were no places in any physiological Dementia ward. The nurses were puzzled… why she kept hiding food, biscuits… even sugar under pillows, bed cloth’s and in her locker.

Not recognizing her brother, for she was locked in the past, mental safe, today was Saturday ….her brother was working in the Army & navy stores….where he has been working form since as far as she can recall…she's waiting to hear the bell….
peter.howden
Backdated

Looking over some old reminisces reserved via ‘My Chronicles plus ‘Dear Diary’, has at last changed my stubborn mind how things altered when people move when unknown circumstances change, with the only certainty, nothing last forever, no matter how hard you wish it wasn’t so. Over the past 30 years it appears, according to my journals, my life is parallel with many visits to the famous…or infamous Glesga Green city’s ‘Fair Fortnight’ traveling showman’s spectacular.

In the 12th century The Fair’ was sanctioned by ‘William the Lion’ during the second half of July, to hold revelries in Glasgow…so Fair Friday was my date for visiting the magic extravaganza, before heading for a holiday destination…sometimes ‘Doon the Watter’….the Clyde Riviera

My up and downs, twists and change of directions, great joys and melancholy emotions through this time can be associated with the atmosphere created by this old-style visit. For a start, candy floss. Then the main events ‘the turning walzers, the smooth Carousel, the scary Wheel, the amazing Dundee Swing, the dunts and dents from the electric sparking dodgers, the dingy creepy Ghost train, the bumbazed hall of mirrors, and the one-way ticket Helter Skelter. But most of all the muddy underfoot, for you could bet a dollar…it would be pissing down, yet each year after spring had come and gone, my bum was pins and needles as Fair Friday pageant grow closer

At Times, it’s hard to appreciate reading the joys and amazing memories, which pictures and print brings, when circumstances inadvertently change… or are so tragic, I felt guilty squinting into the past…or worried somehow the spirits would hear you laughing in amusement. Certain peoples brought back my personal existence, as Aunt Becky’s fragile reality, being cared for in a dementia ‘Old folks’ home by caring professionals. We Dom, the original member of the wacky ‘Benghazi Mice’, back in 1987, is now in a stupor, seriously ill

I have been jammy to encounter a fantastic variety of people, from here or abroad, who became associate’s, companions’, friends, close friends, and of course China’s… With a silent ‘Thank You’, to one and all… for making my life such a privilege…for me…I hope I returned the compliment.
peter.howden
The Threat (1)_

Opening hazy eyes to seemingly another ordinary day, switching off the telly I fell asleep to last night. As usual, while heading for a shower, tripping over my feet because one rogue slipper no longer fits, mainly due to being squashed under the heavy settee. I just sort of adapted my slouch to suit the ignored hazard. The slippers had been a gift, from somebody so long ago.
Performed my ablutions, in a humdrum fashion, flung on the old dressing gown and into the kitchenette. All normal stuff, typical, nearly forgot the salt for the oats, before shoving the bowl into the microwave

A thought sprung into my blurry mind, for the benefit of all mankind, the ultimate advancement in decades of Science, the microwave, because you could heat the oats in the bowl, no longer needing to wash sticky gooey pots of cold almost non-removable porridge. The letter box rattle loudly, so gently shuffling to the front door before the microwave tings my breakfast ready. One single brown envelope landed on the rug,

Assuming it was from the government tax mob, carelessly ripped it open while returning to the pantry. However, there was just one plain white folded piece of paper inside. Opening as it folded, glancing a lone black message ‘Annihilation is close at hand’. Initial shock, yet oddly not surprising, looking inside the now torn empty envelope, then returning my stare unfortunately clearly… dark bold underlined message now stated…. ‘Your Annihilation is close at hand’
peter.howden
The Threat (2)

Is this a bloody sick joke, a stupid witticism from one of my crazy friends, like Bruce? However, at that moment, I was in a stupor, crumpling both note and envelope, tossing them in the bin. After a usual breakfast, automatically following my normal routine back upstairs, starting bathroom constitutions by switching on the shower. Standing in the steamy sprinkle, niggling thoughts returned to this anonymous letter. If I looked at the postal stamp, perhaps I could work out who sent it. A crank, more like a loony heidbanger.

Rapping a towel around for decency, a bequest from shady Marseille, returned to the scullery, retrieved the plain russet envelope to witness no signs of postal code, or anything. Again, scrutinizing the bizarre note, hoping for a clearer focus. It’s daunting message once more startled me into a trance of fantasy, drifting into darker passages of my psyche. For some volatile reason, the Roman God Jupiter tumbled into straying thoughts. Instinctively I knew it was March, but what was today’s date?

Completely under a psychotic mentality, violent images and reflections lurked in a shadowy desert milieu, where out of the blue came the chilling Sibyl’s repetitive warning to Caesar… 'Beware the Ides of March'. This triggered a focus on school’s recital of Shakespeare. In ancient times, ‘Ides’ was the 15th. and the first full moon of the year, but catastrophically more important, the slaying date of Caesar, who uttered... “Et tu Brute”?

Today’s date came in a amazing flash, spreading utter relief...today was 8th, safe and sound…but then, from the depths of absurdity a bloody worrying notion hit me instantaneously …it’s only 7 days to the 15th…. bringing another unavoidable nagging fret.
peter.howden
The Threat (3)

My imagination set off a can of panicky worms, as somewhere from the mist of retrospective School times, an extra piece of information, circled around my confused recollections regarding ‘Ides’ of March. According to my shaky memory, 15th Ides in the Roman Almanac, occurred so in May, July and October, but more concern being, ides fell on 13th of every other month remaining. What does this mean, if I survive after 15th unscathed, do I have to hide, in terror on the 13th and 15th ever month, and what if its centred around full moons, has the date shifted with the introduction of 1752 Gregorian calendar’s missing 11 days

With this sneaky probe, subsequently nearly set root to my way of thinking, until I realized it was a poppycock way to use facts…and the basic fact was…no mention about the ‘Ides’ in the crazy note. Stiffening my remaining resolve to carry on with the day’s routine before this bloody letter, I chose to leave this bizarre message in the sideboard all-purpose drawer. Made a cup of tea, rather sweeter than typical, however, along with painkillers, would easy my raw tension. All scrubbed up, decently attired, ready to face the world outside, with a umph that everything now being tickety boo, locked the front door, then turned to march forward.

It was only then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied this dubious oddball character obviously staring in my direction, who was definitely a foreigner to this district, for I never saw him before. He just stood there gawking through dark beady eyes. following my every movement, Now I was feeling apprehensive’, but not losing control, I casually turned around, acting as if I had forgotten something, re-entering my home closing the door, locked it and checking it was tightly shut.

Tiptoeing into the living room, slowly moving sideways towards the heavy curtains, trying hard not to move the newly bought blinds, so I could peek out. The dark toe-rag was awkwardly standing over the road apiece, in a deliberate menacing manner. Dressed in ruffian type cloths, he was lurking slyly as if contemplating a bog of evil intentions. Again, I peeked out to see if this unknown lout was heavy handed, or with an accomplice, but I could not see anyone else.

It was becoming obvious, this chilly bugger, was attempting to startle my usual composure. Was this the F---in bastard who sent the message? If so… what the hell am I to do?
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
The Threat (4)

There was no way out, other than the front door, but now I knew it was imperative I should go out, threat or no threat. Breathing deliberate deep breaths, hoping to stop my pulse going erratic, yet, my blood still felt as if it was gushing from my very veins, causing numbness in not a nice way. My mind uncontrollably forming strange thoughts of misapprehensions, straying unaided, free from restriction or any barrier. So raw, reality wobbles from a straight line, as pressure from unknown sources crimple sanity. With every effort mustered to be composed, I opened the front door, closed it behind me, stepped around to face my adversary, that villainous vagabond over by the road.

Straining my eyes taking a second glimpse of this trespasser, something familiar about his rundown physique. His cloths had seen better days, matching his pale morose features. A cloud hung over this twisted body and the hint of foul odour outwardly circulating, even at this far distance Suddenly, without warning a nerve hit a spot, as my sub conscious acted without me being aware. It’s him … isn’t it? But surely, he did not hold a grudge, after all this time? I mean, I had no idea of the consequences after our boyish prank at the school. Surely, he does not blame me alone.

A distant bell in the back of my brain, began to hurt as a new thought painfully emerged. Perhaps he has caught up with all the rest who performed with such vigour, the despicable adolescent act. I could be the last in his vendetta list of vengeance. Maybe he saw me wrongly as the instigator, for the fact of the matter, I just was carried by the physical wave of my peers. After the horrible action, I tried hard to contact him, apologies but by then, he had been erroneously expelled.

God: it’s been donkey’s since… with the cobwebs of time cluttering up almost all memory of it. Time and purpose have neatly kneaded away at whose true responsibility…and the school exonerated all of us for our restraint. The true story was buried for the good of the all, bar one. And here he is today. Then, the terror of fear struck, interwound around every emotion I ever possessed
peter.howden
The Treat, Conclusion (5)

Recollections lurched back to obscure school days, during the country’s massive military battles, schoolboys were sheltered from the horrors the conflicts brought, until the fateful day when hell came to visit. No one is sure what sparked off such unbelievable cruelty, and no phrases can express the reality among my peers and I. On that wicked day, it was whispered how the School’s newest intake, was a ‘BASTARD’ in the eyes of the church, and his dad was a slippery weasel Conscientious objector.

The now pathetic unfortunate boy was roughly paraded around the seminary, as an unwanted trophy, by a growing insurmountable throng of demented adolescents, chanting he was a blaspheming demon against true Christian values, a scoundrel, but the truth was…he merely was an outsider. It was fearfully astounding how speedily we were swept along, together with raving repetition of a dark omen, under the flimsy guise of a religious cause. The enthusiasm, the sheer indulgence in a phenomenal connection, breaking all barriers as to wrong-doing, and as one, the pent-up reactions of the mob took over my own motivation.

I wanted to tear his heart out, being swept away with the power of the rabble, as the tore off every inch of his garments, left feebly stand in judgement by his crazy captors. He was blackened from head to toe, to symbolize tarring. Added was a makeshift skeleton of the dead, rudely painted over the blackness of his skin. The tragic figure was then trust to the concrete ground, held down while a teaspoon was tapped, not hard… but every half second, until his calf became red and swollen beyond any recognition. Each tap heightened his agony

Released from the many restrains, the boy attempted to walk but collapsed like a lonely tree in the forest. He made several more attempts with dire spirit willing, but his body just crumpled. Reality came when I heard him sob, I now felt no words, or tongue could justify such behaviour. Placing his ripped coat over his grotesque naked body, I left the barbaric scene, bearing a sickly remorsefulness for my abominable uncontrollable actions. For weeks afterwards, I prayed, quietly in the furthest corner of a church, so God will skip his chastisement on me. The school governors, protecting the school’s reputation, the whole affairs account was ‘Buried’, and the only innocent one of that day… expelled forever.

Just before my father died, he wrote this declaration, word for word, left it in his will. His simple message for life, not to judge individuals by their convictions…or what they wear. I decided to walk slowly over to the shadowy strange, call out a friendly “Hi”. He hesitated to reply…due to a stammer which obviously embarrassed him…he asked the way to the railway station…then said, “Thank you”, which shamed me to the bone.

Unexpectedly, a sudden flare of light, awoke me to find I was naked as usual, in the exact place, time and day…as I had done before… Searching completely every nook and cranny, throughout the whole house, for the threating note but could not find it.
Was it all a dream... my imagination… the end?
peter.howden
A Dark Journey

Awakening to blackness, my mind total blank, in the realm of emptiness, apart from a curious awareness of slipping into my destiny of old age senility, ‘losing my marbles’. Attempts to even think logically, brought only desolation, except time and time again the comprehension of amnesia. As I lay there, nigh in a stunned stupor, the blinds rattled, the curtains waved slowly but suspiciously deliberate, as if someone, or something untoward was lurking behind the heavy drapes, bring a shade of tension, even dread…an imaginary Bugaboo.

Trying so hard to be rational, but it was not to be. Carefully moving out of the bed, to face whatever adversary lay behind the bloody curtains. Silently as possible, cautiously approached the window, quickly pulled back the fabrics, to be astonished nothing was there… except the flickering streetlight across the road. Now wide awake, though apprehensive returning to bed, hearing distant thunder escalating in volume, yet, the night had looked clear while at the window.

Back under the covers, thrashing in my cowed psyche was now open panic. Out of the blue came an imaginative wavelength, as if in another dimension, thunderbolts sped to and thro inside the bedroom, causing unsteady thumping heartbeats, triggering pains right across in my chest. Because I’d lost my marbles, it was obvious I hadn’t the will power, or the mental strength to stop this vivid nightmare.

Repetitive unexplainable clammers, gaffes and mishaps, right in front of my closed eyes, preventing realities of actual time. Facts tossed out of sequence, as loud heartbeats echoed my fervour of useless. There and then, I crumbled, at that moment… I believed in cleft hoofed auld Cluttie, and his wandering gyre of the netherworld. Pleaded in his dark name to give me peace, for just one single moment…I want purpose, sanctuary for my soul…but no response came.

Fleeing from the crippled ambience of torment, into the hopeful safety of the next room, I began to scrawl on the internet, in a vain hope to calm my state of mind. Seated more steadily, I looked up to the shelves about the computer… and there was salvation up in the top ledge, a heavy glass drinking vessel, containing my poke of cherish playground ‘Jorries’. At a stoke, the sight freed all my worried tensions, and anxiety…because I’ve found my marbles…but…wait one darn moment…where’s my miniature Rupert Bear… given to me by?
peter.howden
JIM Stepped Down

Jim stepped down from the train, what happened next defied all logic or physics, nevertheless, the plain truth is… it did happen. The train, the platform he was standing on, just vanished. Not only from sight but from existence. Jim’s courage spiralled uncontrollably downward to almost zero, as fear took a vice-like grip, yanking at his nerves. He forced himself to witness nothing, a void… except a weird sensation that common sense having just lost its foundations. Inwardly asking himself if this was a dream of nightmare proportions, to escape was truly impossible, apparently, he was just dangling in nothing, unless it was an allusion… or else a distorted reality…Or neither was true?

Without means to tell, out of nowhere came a moment where a self-named; ‘Keeper’!, requested to contact him, by language and vision through this ‘Keeper’s’ supreme mind. Jim was surely no scholar, but amazingly comprehended the technology of the information filtering through his mind. His fascination rid him of any apprehensiveness, switching off his alarm button. The lecture chronicle of moulded earth saga, from the beginnings from gas and dust forming the third planet from the sun, onward showing famine, wars and starvation.

Pathetic sights of untold misery by man’s hand, footprints stamping on want for man’s self-preservation greed, irrespective the era displayed. Each stage of supposed civilization was no better than the last… yet human cockiness of being the Supreme Beings, destined for higher things. Jim saw how human beings were just an single accident, in millions of accidents, taken place through infinity…If the ice had not reflected light, or the atmosphere had change minutely, then man would have not have existed, concluding the keeper had left it… but for what purpose eluded Jim .

He was left isolated, to consider all he had observed. Just beneath his concept, though it was perfectly plain it was there, a glimpse of an idea something of real importance was just about to come. Was this the answer why he was there, wherever there was… or was there everywhere? Without question, something controlled everything within the known universe, and universes far beyond, and the soups of creations unknown, about the makeup of all that mere man could never understand in a million years. Jim could see it all.

Time after time, the keeper picked up the pieces, started again… though Jim couldn’t reason the keeper’s motivation. The message was brutal, seriously heavy, from the voice giving warnings. Uncontrollable somatic regenerations will invade all bodies, and species throughout this world, until nothing living will survive. Genetic chemical mutagenesis will reproduce, at such an alarming rate, it will be impossible for it, or all other life to repair and reproduce anything, even bacteria. Death of the planet will be only a matter of limited time.

With another nerve of an unspecified chronometer, Jim found himself, alone on the silent stairway leading to the station, where the Pullman’s train was just about to leave. Jim instinctively spurted, making good, by boarding the moving locomotive.
peter.howden
My Chronicles 24/03//2020;

I presume we roughly are in the same boat as most peoples in the British Isles, self-isolated as best we can. Fortunately, having the internet, the telly, the humble radio, is an excellent bonus, and a broad band of Films/D.VDs, C.Ds we haven’t seen, or listen to for donkeys. Although one of my school nickname’s may warrant it, we are not in the same situation as fictional Robinson Crusoe… 28 years and a couple of months, castaway… his dire need was a boat. Funnily enough, never got round to reading the second edition, ‘The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’, I must have missed the boat?

Due to the latest state of affairs, I’m unable to visit Becky in the residential home, but allowed to phone in a regular basis. Becky’s health and ability to take nutrition, has declined, though does drink a little. Becky is sleeping for most of the time, and we have been instructed, the home staff, and doctor, is keeping an extra close watch on the situation. Over the past few months, when I did visit the home, Becky was sleeping, and if she was awake, and in the canteen…Becky had no clue who I was. I will keep the family posted

My smashing mate, Dom, ‘Benghazi Mice’ original member, is in the Victoria Hospital, with his health issues accelerating to grave concern, though recently, this condition he has visited twice before and recovered slightly. The sadness is for both Rebecca and I have enjoyed their company so much over the years. Rebecca, from an early age, holds recollections of Becky close to her emotions. For me, Dom is a loyal mate for over 35 years, and so many memories to choose from.

Before the balloon went up, I took my customary rail trip down to Ayr, meeting up in Witherspoons, with China, Jim Hendry…for the habitual, slight refreshment. Its always good to wander over old memories, slang each other. We are gritty old men, but boy do we laugh at the most ridiculous conclusions, chuckle unrestrained at the drop of a hat. I have no idea when we will meet again, but I will tell you this…when it happens, I’ll be there…though its his turn for the bell.

The magic Pines are back home from France, for good, mainly due to the uncertainty of Europe. Rebecca and I met Keith and Lizzie just a few months ago, but again, when and how we are lucky to see each other again, is in the hands of the gods….but hope eternal?
peter.howden
This news just in, is spreading all over the country…Cat Burglars bitterly complaining to the police, having been kidnapped as they went about their profession…not let out for a week….as alternative company for couples forced to be isolated housebound…the burglars are demanding recompense for being prevented from preforming their gifted trade(handed down through countless generations)
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