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> Glasgow’s Bond Note; 1/16, story
peter.howden
post 15th Apr 2021, 06:42am
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 12/16

The Plowter

Straight down by the stairway, marching out of the close, feeling slightly uncomfortable with his unprofessional conduct, being in danger of making it personal with Andy Pandy, who was completely opposed to his ethics. James gave himself a mental shake, invigorated the need for rationality…knowing there was no going back.

Firstly, there was a shadowy external interference which wrangled James reckoning right from the start, a conjecture of a notorious name being responsible. The elusive “Black Tam!”, still to be located, which normally someone would know, if only the characters around the Mercat were not so blasted scared. Catching a taxi from underneath London Road’s railway bridge, he tipped the wink to the driver…head for the Royal Infirmary. James held a certain need to visit Frankie which far outweighed the extra expense it may occur. Whilst being whisked up over the ‘Bell o the Brae’, he took time and careful trouble as best he could dry, then separate the folded piece of paper rescued from the dead girl’s mouth. The message; bold and clear, was ‘Cutty Shark!’, the same as the first one.

Frankie lay so obviously uncomfortable, due to his obese oversized in a normal sized bed which could not be said about his appearance. The poor bugger, those bloody braggards really work him over, felt James, as he smiled approaching the battered man. Frankie made every attempt to raise himself from his confinement, but failed miserably, as he slumped painfully back to where he started. He struggled to smile, then…very softly, if not in a low harsh whisper, he conveyed regret for not protecting James ’s property.

“Just before I went up to your flat, old Jacob the tailor warned me about three heavies hangin around the area”. Frankie stopped as if out of breath, then slowly added, “I’m there in the flat, a knock on the door…next thing wallop, a hammer on my nut…sorry, I was out for the count”. Again, out of breath, he stopped, gasping for air as he murmured in a dithering voice, “did they do the place over?” James spent the next few minutes trying to tell his next-door neighbour just exactly where he was up to now and then asked Frankie if he knew any more.

“Plenty of bad stuff on the streets, sold all over place, the whisper is, it’s being stashed down by the Clyde Side somewhere, and another thing, the street girls are complaining business is bad, really bad with no deposits or withdrawals being made”. Whilst Frankie was grimly recalling all this info, James identified with the sheer pain the man was suffering, revealed in his facial expression while clinical tubes were in every decent orifice that could be found.

Frankie, with immense effort, made a final burst; “I bet it’s got something to do with that English bampot bastard Tam-Oh- something, a toe rag of the first order”. “By the way; I’ll be as sound as a pound tomorrow”, with these final words, he crumbled into a deep painkiller sleep. The medic was amazed how hard Frankie’s scull must be, to escape such terrorizing blows, as he did with little damage retrospective. He assured James no fatal injury, however needing a good month’s rest with no excitement was on order. Just before leaving the patient’s bedside the Doc concluded, “He will be far away for hours now…I gave him adequate amount to knock out a bull!”. This might not be enough…James thought silently.

Standing alone just outside the ward in the hospital corridor, James took out the scrap of paper once again. Something with the big man being tongue tied, connected in James ’s mind, and for no apparent reason he recalled his school days way back, his Burns readings… and how the Bard helped him in his hours of need whilst being detained in Barlinnie. Then, just like a bat out of hell it struck him, “Tam O Shanter” It was all in there…this most gallus verse.
-=-=-=-=
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peter.howden
post 25th Apr 2021, 12:50pm
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 13/16.
The Ruse


Still within a scattered mind, James kept repeating, “Tam-O-Shanter”; as he took off like a bat out of hell, while concluding the dire need for a library close at hand. Being the nearest the best was the splendid ‘Stirling Library’, the first free archive originally set up in Miller Street 1791, moved to Royal Exchange Square in 1954, second only to the city’s magic resource, the hub of knowledge Glasgow’s ‘Mitchell Library’.

James relished the challenge while reminiscing several lines from his school days reading the poetry of the famous Scottish Bard. Robert Burn’s creativeness connected all these lose fibre clues. It was now essential to search through maritime records of the past and present. Information gathered, casting caution to the wind, as he scurried to catch the ‘ships of the line’ at custom house, feeling extremely blessed, now possessing a sharp written hook… to fish out rank bajins.

Several hours later, immerging ruffled but well pleased, in the café under the Gallowgate Bridge, which was jummpin with hordes of bodies avoiding the rain, needed to clean the dirty streets of the named green place. His lose associates, Hammy and Dirty Dick were beside themselves listening to James explaining what he had dug out from data available housed in the solid walls of the Stirling Library, also further success in the custom House Records. Oddly, within the hustle and bustle of the café, James appeared not to notice Harry the snitch, squatting within ear shot… but even more surprisingly, failed to inhale the minging waff, which always accompanied this poky wee nyaff.
j
“Now have you both got it ,quite clear about our plan, and vital timing is of the essence, as Sherlock himself would say”, James spoke softly to his colleges so not to be overheard. Dirty Dick was pleased but offered caution, “Look James, you seem to take this as a game….these are ferocious mindless buggers who would think nothing about doing you a hammering, then feeding you to the fish”, said the rough Glaswegian. Hammy nodded in agreement, added, “James, I’m with you all the way, but these rochians are tooled-up heavies, right hefty nutters…even you are being a big guy, able to handle himself, cannie beat these sleekit low life heed-bangers!”.

Continuing in a stern vocal manner, James chilled eyes turned inwardly as his thoughts automatically darted back, “I’m bloody sure those two beauties are responsible for Uncle David’s disappearance!”. He stopped for a moment, almost choking with pent up emotion…“I think these bastards killed him, sheer unadulterated evil”. Stopping to prevent excess repulsion, He pleaded, “Remember, I have a better chance of some kind of confession…I can open doors that you can’t”

“Dick, bring the listening apparatus around to the old man’s shop, I’ll strap in later”, instructed James with air of being accustomed to giving orders. “Now Hammy, make your way up to Frankie; explain to the nut, he must stay where he is….All I need is for that big clout coming down and spoiling everything”.
Without another syllable being spoken, the two comrades in arms sped off into the oncoming rain. After giving a quick glance around. Just a few moments later, James stepped outside then headed over to High Street, pausing deliberately at the Tollbooth, just to check for any unwelcome footsteps following him. Scurried across over the old underground railway station he headed straight for the old curiosity shop; It was the nickname for the gent’s tailors which gave the appearance of a Charles Dickens era.

Opening the heavy door to hear a grumpy voice, “Ah your back then you Blaggard, and what can I do for you…will I measure your snake hips?” James tells the cantankerous old man everything so far.
After carefully taking in the whole lot, he grimly answered, “I need to help; your uncle was kind to me when so much anti- Semitism was shown when I first moved here…Now James, I used to play rugby for my Ayrshire School, so I know how to tackle;”. “Sorry old man ,but I need your shop only, you can keep an eye out for any trouble from this end, O.K.”

Duman agreed, for he knew James well, he slyly added, “Look here… tell me to mind my own business but I have always wondered why you never married…your allowed to as far as I believe?” This touched James even with all the hullabaloos going on. He took time to answer, “No use searching for the illusive companion if you have trouble keeping yourself company?”

Just then, He heard unwanted sounds outside, then a bang at the door. James swung around to face the entrance……
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peter.howden
post 30th Apr 2021, 06:14am
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 14/16.
The Spiel


Dick concealed the delicate equipment needed, around his person, sneaking into the auld shop before James arriving. With time being of the essence, they both sped down the cracked basement stairs, away from prying eyes above. Drookit with the rain, Hammie deliberately took a wide berth, scrambled up the once, ‘Bell O’ the Brae’, to the Royal infirmary, ready to swipe Frankie’s cloths, lumbering him to stay in the hospital ward. Three rings on James mobile, then stopped was the code given that he had completed his mission. James sighed with genuine relief, “Thank God… Frankie is always a bull in a china shop!” “Saw him in a near psychotic craze just the once, not a pretty sight, for the guy was so incensed within an inch of his mental demise… close to a devil’s prayer that day!” James woefully recalled.

Dick reminded him to be cautious, as he was about to leave. James humorously retorted, “How can you rate yourself as being a gigolo; if you can’t dance, and Barraland just around the corner?”. The Gallowgate entrepreneur, of sorts, took not a spit second to reply, “Why do you think I wear patent dance shoes?” then disappeared

Caught by surprise with last minute shakes, creeping into James mind, asking if this was really his bag. It is easy to be brave in front of people, or a crowd, but alone, in a wee dingy shop, doubts started to surface. The old tailor came through from the back, seemingly sensing James private dilemma. Without being asked, he quoted; “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility, has the most far-reaching consequences of submission to your own insanity”. What does this mean” asked James? “I don’t really know” answered the tailor, “but my father said it more than once so it must be profound”. James did not know why, but he felt better…so, with not another word, he left into the street. He knew what had to be done.

Striding deliberately towards the Tron, James felt this could be from the film, ‘High Noon’, apart from the fact he was no Gary Cooper, and this was not a theatre movie, but a desperate bid of revenge. Was he right to think this savage way, and if so, was it for the correct reason of law? Two girls were certainly dead by those villains’ hands, plus attempting to frame James…then there was Uncle David. He stopped besides the main door of M&S, to light a mentholated cigarette and inhaled as much as the filter would allow. Yes, I bloody know they were involved judged James, perhaps this is against the law, or God’s code of practice… but I must go through with it.

Once finished with his daily stimulant healthy fag, James marched powerfully towards Boots Corner, around down Jamaica Street’, passing the stingy cinema entrance with enticing posters. It was the motion picture hall usually filled with bald raincoat men; eyes glued to X rated exotic risqué films. All the time his heart was leaping all over the place. Could, and more important, would his simple hair brain plan work. Uncle David always insisted on keeping everything simple. James was angry at himself, for he should be used to this, having dealt with some low life in his chosen profession. What really troubled him, as he was just about to turn the curve into Midland Street, calling his plan, ‘dead’ simple

The lone figure of James reached his destination, constantly perspiring, making a clammy canal down his back, along with a drooth mouth , his mind blurred. One final deep breath at the lion’s den, he pounded the heavy door. It rebounded a certain unnerving echo, yet… no response from within.
With pure built-up emotion, James kicked the door and to his surprise the heavy entrance swung open. Stepping gingerly into the darkness beyond, other than a faint light glimmering in the room far off, where he had been before with the slummy Charlie. He straightened his soggy back, walked steadily towards the brightness where the gangster boss sitting.

A massive hand, followed by a bulging arm, stopped him dead in his tracks. “I think you should allow Tam to search you, just in case you are wired or something stupid ?” croaked Charlie.
From out of a dark hole in the brickwork, scurried a very agitated bowfin Harry, seemingly genuflecting with every boggin movement. The wee naebdy, constantly half looking at the crook behind the mahogany desk… and his own warped feet. His legs were so tight together, as if bursting for the toilet. .
“We know all about your little surprises, thanks to this fine upstanding citizen”, said a voice… trying to be sardonic. “I think you have made your last mistake”
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peter.howden
post 3rd May 2021, 07:44am
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 15/16.

Nearly The Eyn…


The thug Tam, forcibly stripped James of electronic wires and receiver, as Harry edged his trembling feartie frame towards the shaft door. “Just a wee moment, my coordie friend” spoke the podgy racketeer behind the eccentric furnishings. Short words but cut deep into Harry’s already insecure presence. “Mr Stuart, I was just covering his back in case he bolted,” insisted the bletherie man, now oozing moisture, while slowly retracing his sly steps, with Tam’s eagle eyes watching.
“Thanks Thomas!” mumbled the fat controller, swivelling around in his leather-bound executive’s chair. “Now James ; what is your problem, apart from the Glasgow’s ‘finest’, scouring the streets for you…you are who you are, what have we been up too??”.

James shook his head deliberately looking straight into the gangster’s cracked face, caused from one too many sun beds. “Well, I reckon you’ve got me cold, thanks to that hack pishin himself in the corner, so what?” “At a wild guess, your associate goat here is Thomas Wentworth, registered captain of the city of Adelaide which sailed from Marseilles to the tail of the bank at Greenock”. James stopped to sniff, added, “Did you know Marseilles is a twin city of Glasgow?” while walking around towards the ornate desk, plunged straight into the significant part, “No! … you three are just manky cockroaches, sucking any decency from everything you touch”

Carry on James , you know your digging your own grave”, Charlie’s intimidating words spoke. “Wait a minute, Mr Stuart?”, came a quacking voice, “I’ll have none of this kind of shenanigans, hell, I’m out of here”, cringed Harry, ready to run like a rabbit at a dug meeting. “Harry you fragile eedjit, you’ve no chance shootin the craw, your lumbered just like me”, bellowed James to the threepence away from the shilling cretin. ” What did you expect, a skite around the lughole and a tanner for your trouble?”. James added sarcastically; “Shit evolves Harry; shit evolves”. Tam the bam motioned to move towards the shaking wreck, Harry froze as stiff as a board.
Brashly James turned to his quarry; “I recalled Robbie Burn’s, ‘Tam O Shanter’s two special verses, it calls on, ‘Cutty Sark’, he quoted. “It was all an elaborated code, for you thought you were cock of the north ,as you planted the message for others to be warned… no messing with you”.

“I was stuck looking for a boat, but the Cutty Sark referred to the scanty shift worn by one Nannie Dee, a nark, graced a dance of witches in the verse”. “ but, her sister ship, ‘The Carrick’ lying down at the Clyde, originally named ‘City of Adelaide’, transporting convicts to Australia but some of the more unscrupulous captains, brought back aborigines to Africa, since Britain was supposed to have denounced the slave trade”. You just carried on this revolting market.

With smugness of Blofeld, bond movie arch enemy, the gangster boss lent forward towards a drawer hidden from view, urging James to elaborate, while twitching Harry started to smell, and smell bad. Tam the Bam was giving signals wanting to waste both hostages, but Charlie obviously was in charge, preventing the hooligan by just a slight nod.

“ I checked with custom House in the Broomielaw, saw a copy of the Bond Note issued to his boat”, James pointing to the maniac hooligan, “ showing paperwork for the ship-Adelaide calling at the port of Rijeka in Croatia, then Benghazi”. “Word around say’s you are double dealing in drugs and prostitution, so it all adds up”. Before James could utter another word, Tam turned and walloped him with a back hander, which almost felled him on the spot . The villain shouted “How much more crap must we listen to…just let’s do the business” …. “Shut it you fool”, roared Charlie as he looked uncomfortable for the first time.

James seized his chance, “you can’t even control a couple of women …some thug you turn out to be!” “Well, we took care of your interfering relative”, this came as a boast from the screwed-up lips of the so-called Thomas. Charlie did not allow him to finish, roaring, “Christ… can you not shut that big gob of yours”, growled the lowlife boss. James attention was caught by the fleeting figure of spiffy Harry’s bolt for freedom, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by a flying cosh knocking him physically senseless

“Well!” stated Charlie coldly but still in obvious rage, “I may as well tell the rest.” “The girl found in your abode, would not play ball, I just had to pump her with dope, planting her body in your flat, after your booze was spiked by Danielle, but that bloody stupid bitch was going to peach on us all…I’ll miss her, but she had to be ripped for being a grass; nice body don’t you think ?” “You’re so predictable James… I did chuckle, but as for your nosy Uncle, let us play Russian roulette…then you ask him., personally ? ” was the poisoned ending to the conversation.

Charlie pulled out a gun, pointed it at James temple…James heard the clicking of the hammer….
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peter.howden
post 6th May 2021, 08:10am
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 16/16.

The Eyn…at last



One split moment away from death, out of the blue, like a bat out of hell, came a roaring saviour, crashing through the doorway as if all the heavens were to behold. Taken by complete surprise, Charlie lost concentration, lowered his weapon, James turned sharply to relieve the thug’s hand from the deadly weapon, but it stayed in the desperado’s clamped fist, yet, for some unknown reason, he was unable to fire the horrendous gun piece of death. In this precise moment, James turned around to see a bulging Frankie, on a white motorbike, almost nude, but just about decently covered by a hospital goony, complete with feeding tubes and bloody flex things dangling from his arm and chest. Frankie was the epiphany from the Bible quote… ‘I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him’

Not one more precious moment past before the wild Frankie leaped from his purloined machine, landing right on the fearsome Tam. With a viciousness of an injured wild animal, Frankie tanked ferociously into his adversary with no sparing fists. Bouncing Tam’s head off the hard wooden desk, the hoodlum was knocked near unconscious. In the commotion, some flying debris from the wrecked door, struck Charlie’s hand holding the gun. Being now defenceless the pratt began to run for a hidden exit, when another missile whisked past James…belted Charlie on the back of his bald head, rendering the vile piece of crap, completely spread across the floor. In the far corner Harry looked chuffed because the missile that hit him, had been Tam’s cosh…it was poetic justice thought James.

Before he had any chance to thank Frankie, James heard the sirens and suddenly the place was filled with police officers. Looking down at the germ called Charlie, “You bastard, no one deserved the treatment you dish out to these girls, especially Danielle… just for your information ,the name means, ‘God be my judge’, and I hope so”. Just as he finished spitting out these few words, James could not help but give in to the compulsion of whacking the scum bag. He really relished the crack his boot made.

Welcomed the arrival of the boys in blue even pleased to see Andy Pandy making his way through the throng. “Looks as if you and your man have knocked hell out of the evidence”, the smug little copper quipped. “Not in the least” James smugly replied, bringing out a small tape recorder hidden well in his person. “You see Harry, we knew you were listening all the time, you would shop your Granny for a couple of quid….so Dick fitted two…..clever was it not?”

James ’s voice changed as he added, “It is just a pity the bastard would not go all the way, let me know where Uncle David is?” Just then Frankie, now having been persuaded to release his hold on Tam the bam, rush over to give James a manly hug, nearly shattering his back. “Get oft you lump but thanks… Big Man,” however I think you are in trouble with the bike”. With a boyish grin on his face, Frankie admitted the bike belonged to one of Charlie’s henchmen, who had been sent to spy on him at the hospital. “He must have been waiting for me to be released, to bump me off, so, I surprised him, could not leave the bike unattended …could I?”.

Hammy and Dirty Dick were now on the scene, walking through the chaos to check on James, as the inspector’s team, rounded up everyone in the building. “Well, I reckon that’s the lot” Andy said in a pleasant tone as James handed him the recorder. “Thank heavens Hammy had the sense to inform the police station of your crazy plan”. the policeman spoke in admiration. “Thank goodness your big man is always on hand…hey James ” Hammy said, winking at James . James agreed.

A young novice policeman, holding his trusty notebook ready, had been given the task of noting down the names, and addresses of everyone under the bridge. He now stood in front of James asking for his details.
“My name constable”, James hesitated for a moment … “My name is James David McKenzie…Reverent, James David McKenzie, by the way my big man is……?

The End…Perhaps God Willing
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peter.howden
post 12th May 2021, 04:16am
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A new Story

Liquid Gold ;(1/18)
Fuel.



Two strangers slowly moving closer towards each other, individually surveying the whole public area with prying eyes for lackeys, who would sell their grannies if the price were right. A final security check completed, they nod discreetly, then a quiet, but stern voice asked, “Did you get past security without suspicion…Mr G?”. Mister ‘G’ did not answer, his stone face, and his silence made it clear…he trusted no one. The other man had no choice but to follow the strict protocol dictated by the covert association.

During the recent months, many of their best operatives had been ruthlessly picked up by local agencies. These law henchmen accepted bribes, to bring the prisoners into the clutches of the junta. What then happened, no one knew, but grimly predicted. Therefore, single letter’s introduction, so no one could name anyone, or give away titles when subjected to all forms of torture. A few secret signals in sign language instructed his title was ‘Mr C’, reduced the tension between the two couriers. Once the careful Mr “G” was satisfied everything safe had been completed as best they could, he replied shrewdly, “Yes, I trust so, without one single drop being discovered”.

They both moved into the Shadows offered to them by the honeycomb of the half-demolished building. Only the previous week, horrendous fighting, ended by mortars being used by the overzealous regime forces. “How did you get by the detectors without a bar code?”, curiously asked Mr “C”, to the now more relaxed other man. “ In these fraught times, as well as you know”, replied Mr “G” picking his words carefully, continued, “since 2069, nothing passes the protection corridor without one such markings, so I created some of my own”. “As far as these goons believe, their detectors picked up I was carrying some valuable sperm for a bull” whispered the dark caddied Mr “G”

“But is it the genuine article” crocked Mr “C”, his posture displaying some anxiety; “Will it convince the cynics?”. “This;” replied Mr “G” with a built-up authority in his voice, “Will blow their tiny little minds, even to the harden sceptics, how this reputed cherished leader, and his cronies, have been deceiving the populace for such an incredible long time”.

Unexpectedly, an unusual clatter from beyond the dimness , instantly both men crouched in defence mould…scrutinizing all directions their slim position would allow, they remained motionless until a rat scurried past Mr “C”. Without a word passing, slowly they turned to face each other, nodded to move closer to the main wall deeper in the darkness. Once ensuring safety, they exchange notes and Mr “C” took hold of the valuable cargo.

Before moving off in separate ways, Mr “G” looked at his counter partner with cold steel eyes, and instructed him; “Be extra careful, real cautious; many a good man has died so you can do your part”. Standing eyeball to eyeball, they locked gripped hands as old comrades, “I wish I knew your clan so I could salute you?” ruffed Mr “C”. Mr “G” replied, “but in our hearts, we will know”. With this final remark, he moved away towards the light. Mr “C”, almost running, sprang in the opposite direction, in the direction of some darker buildings further on.

Only a few hasty minutes passed before Mr “C” heard the familiar noise of gunfire coming from a sub machine gun. These bastards had silent laser guns but liked to make as much clatter as possible, warning everyone what will become anybody who disagrees with the law maker. Silence fell once more. Mr “C” moved even swifter to be as far away from the scene as possible. He checked his specific cargo was whole…there was a long road ahead.
-=-=-=-=-
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peter.howden
post 15th May 2021, 11:36am
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Liquid Gold; 2/18


Cautiously penetrating far down into the deepest section, somewhere within the putrid globe city, Mr ‘C’ had been forced to seek protection of this shabby obscurity. Inching towards the darkest corner of an abandoned building, no longer used for its intended purpose, paused to recuperate, desperately needed rest. He had been shifting from one dead end to another for so long, he had forgotten how to act human. This mission was vital if his countrymen were to be free from oppression….so crucial to live rather than slavery. This was for mankind’s future, and Scotland’s glory.

Those words had been enough encouragement to battle against authority at the beginning, but now, his honesty was lost, and this was just a run of the mill subsistence. One thing had been constant… fear. If caught, torture, then his life would not be worth a farthing, but then again, too torrid to think or dwell over. Almost all inhabitants of the four dwelling areas had no clue being drugged induced, had no reason to rebel or fight for anything else

Before he rested, checked his precious container holding the means of hope for his compatriots; hidden though they may be. No seal broken, no cracks, surprising, for the harsh terrain he had travelled. There was no denying, above all the severity and a crucial reason for such espionage, he became involved with this conflict by accident. Mr ‘C’ was now reaping an inner thrill from outwitting the suppressers of his ancient Celtic country. Perhaps …Tomorrow, no way out except demise. This was the vibration of his existence.

While recouping his stamina, he drifted back, learning fascist, had substituted clean drinking water, with a guddle of chemical liquids containing drops of Methanol into mixture…deemed, by the regime, purified water. This was akin to the shit put into Uncle Sam’s probation alcohol in 1920, killing thousands of punters while millions more were blinded and crippled. All four official dwelling areas were total barren regions with the occupants totally dependent of the powers that be. Mr “C” remembers a quote from early Gaelic history; “they make a desert and call it peace”…terms from old Alba but proving no truer than today. His eyes were always alert, surveying his cramp hastily made retreat.

Mr “C” had been on his own since way back, however, recalling how warm it was to be part of someone’s life. We need company no matter in what manner we pretend we do not. It is the difference between living and survival, and on the edge of existing far too long. The cold, which always has been an enemy, because he had halted, became all too aware it was creeping over him. His bones begged for warmth, of any kind, but he could not risk an open fire, even if he could find something to burn. A distant memory of a hot cup of brew, haunted Mr “C” thoughts, for he could not remember if he had tasted this nectar, or if his imagination had made it real.

A slinky light flashed far left of the corner, where he was but had not checked. A cold drop of sweat trickled down his back, and then dripped little by little… constantly. A noise followed that sounded deliberately made. Was it a trap? Could he evade it and still contact the purple group?
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peter.howden
post 19th May 2021, 06:07am
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Liquid Gold; 3/18

A constant loud drool from the air ventilators, though noisy was usual in any of the four-globe metropolis making pinpointing another sound almost impossible. The laws of nature, beyond for survival was Mr ‘C’s, main attribute, and canny with it. He witnessed so many people being executed, simply for believing they should breathe fresh clean air, while drinking sweet Adams Ale. Mr “C” had never taken one breath of fresh air, or had seen a leaf, or a blade of grass. No such luxuries existed for the decreed populous, but the elite flaunted their corruption, abusing authority far beyond any human endurance.

Another flicker of crazy light promptly scooted across the bleak brownish walls, making it nigh impossible to isolate its source. His mouth dried at an instant, concentrating in both sound and sight. Without warning, another glimmer of faint light hit the tarnished partition, followed by a brief movement somewhere in the dark. Now, Mr ‘C’, was clear where it was coming from, bracing his body ready for action. Out of the darkness, echoed a voice yet unclear, not because of the hollow acoustics but for being a low quavered uncertainty.

Just then, a hazy form slowly emerged into the half-light. It was of a child. Mr “C” moved curiously forward, still alert for anything. The nearer he came to the outsider, he realized that it was not a child, but a ragged manky girl, seemingly bewildered, hovering with steps unsure…still moving forward. Something about her kept saying; take me; not in a sexual manner; but a helpless pleading flaunts.

A little mawkish spark lit inside Mr “C” from old feelings, cut his guard, ignore his chilled bones, coming close to the pathetic female. He held out his hand to assist, within seconds found himself whipped around, with his arm torturous up his back and a converted tin lid exposing the vulnerability of his throat. Not only had he been taken by surprise, but he was now humiliated as others miraculously appear from all sides.

He defied movement, it was particularly clear the female cat would complete her threat, without hesitation. The obvious leader of the hidden group now stood right in front of him, unexpectedly uttered the introduction of the secure code of the freedom fighters. Mr “C” found himself quoting the next line, then repeating the first as the organized protocol insisted. The male leader nodded…the girl’s hold relaxed, then her sharp homemade weapon lowered.

The leader cautiously informed Mr “C”, their central hideout had been raided, destroyed. All members of his group caught, were taken up in front of a wall and mowed down by machine guns. The racket bounced about the whole area long after the catastrophic action, as the usual warning to the weak, or strong, who would dare defy the authorities.

Worryingly abrupt, , the leader gruffly spat out “There is a traitor and I’m not sure it’s not you?”
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peter.howden
post 23rd May 2021, 07:10pm
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No sooner had those tricky words had a chance to bounce around the emptiness, Mr “C” was without warning, caught by two extra burly bodies, who had sneaked nearer to him than he allowed for. The spice trap, the Girl with wanting on her face, staring innocently at him being forcefully manhandled, moved out of sight of the main gathering, quickly followed by the leader.

Silence swarmed among the makeshift group , followed by some hitting sounds as if someone being given a going over. Sure, enough some minutes later, Mr “C” emerged with blood trickling down from his mouth, clothing torn and his knee pads, soiled as if he had been forcibly on his knees, assuming the leader’s manner for asking some thought provoking questions . For a moment not a murmur could be heard until the leader motioned for the unit to move on. At the same time, he called out for all to hear; “ O.K, I think he can be trusted!” Straight away the young female purposely moved closer to Mr ‘C’, smiled a smile that gave the impression of displaying sorrow…that he had to endure such rough justice.

Some ten minutes passed as they gingerly made their way to some secret place or hide out. A small clearing, where there was simply nothing ether blocking or lying on the floor, however clearly different from the rest of the area. Unexpectedly a door opened just off to the right where they were. They checked, then double checked all around before moving swiftly through the disguised entrance. The formally outside public places were now ether dirty grey alleyways, or manky buildings, in various states of disrepair. This entire falcate metropolis was so, as was the three other hemispherical cities… had been since living memory.

Inside this refuge, a vibrant air of unexpected vivid illumination, which Mr ‘C’, had only achingly dreamt of before. The Girl cautiously took his hand, led him in a mystery tour which he was a willing partaker. Through several passageways they arrived at a basement, he saw in a distant corner, one narrow door not built for his larger frame. He managed to squeeze through to be astonished. A reproduction display of an old-fashioned room, much in the making of the auld photographs of legendary Glasgow’s single end, displayed in antiquity books way back.

Within this spick and span accommodation was a small cooking frame at the one side, while lodged set into the wall was a miniature wash hand basin, with a tap in the centre. A table and two hard back chairs, plus a cosy bed laid in the corner, opposite a set of drawers for personal things. A pleasant fragrance of burning wood was lingering….yet, no sign of a fireplace

“ Obviously, no water to flow into the basin, however it comforts me somehow”, softly echoed the girl’s voice, motioned Mr “C” to sit at the table as she recovered some cloth from the drawers, a tiny bottle of bathing lotion to free up his face from the now congealed blood. Not another word was spoken, only purloined glances as their eyes met. Before he could thank her, she produced this steaming hot beverage from nowhere, along with two beakers to drink from. “Please”, she spoke as gently as before; “Please don’t ask what it is, for then you will not drink it, I can assure you it will do you good”.

Wordlessly, they consumed the hot grog which tasted revoltingly horrid, but Mr “C” had not eaten for donkeys, was quite close to starving…anyway, he trusted her. Observed the girl as he sipped his cruel beverage, there was no way of telling how old she was, or if in fact she was cute, but there was something quite extraordinary about her presence. Here it was a dream or an island inside a grim reality. Company, and a female, had been a luxury denied to Mr “C” for a long, long time and he had no wish to spoil it…however time would not allow this contentment to continue…Hell was but a heck of a heartbeat away.
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peter.howden
post 30th May 2021, 10:55am
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Staring at something out of place, a round cast iron burner in the far corner, a flue reaching straight up through the ceiling. It was large enough to see at an instance entering this petite abode…so why didn’t he. The type was used by Canadians, or early American settlers to burn anything just to keep the premises warm. Gradually moving towards this dated piece, as the girl explains “we haven’t actual water since I’ve been here, but we make do”. Her alluring voice made him listen keenly. “I wish we had fresh meat but alas no animals apart from us survived…other than rats and cockroaches, so we must accept what the authorities give us”. This was said in a manner of reality, yet it rang in his ears as weird poetry, she closed with; “One day…yes, one day!”

Her delicate voice emanated in the air, beckoning him to heed intently, for an unknown promise experiencing optimism, and if not that, something close. He had not had a light heart for such a long time, although he was wary of this sentiment, her voice allowed him this limited comfort. The small glow of the antique hob, promised instant heat, sort of hypnotized Mr “C”, attracting him like a moth would be to any light to go closer. Now the Girl was preparing something to eat, over at the table, or as she said, “Get your teeth into”.

For some unknown reason he felt compelled to visually explore the source of tremendous heat coming from the stove. Slowly peeking down to the left…what he saw stunned him into disbelief. Truly hardened by events which were forced onto him, but this caught him off balance. Raising his head sharply without true control, surveyed the room again. The Girl was still busy preparing something, which stank quite awful, everything else in the chamber was in the same place as far as he could tell. He took courage and this time stepped to the side for a better advantage. With both eyes opened wide…he gawked upon an atrocious sight.

In the middle of the stove’s white heated fire …was a hand, three fingers moving, as if frantically scratching the way out of this abyss. Two of the fingers, were burnt to almost unrecognizable formation. With a raised foot he slammed the flap shut, however the flap just sprang open once again. He dared himself to spy in the same direction.

The fingers had reached the opening, but where fingernails and skin exposing once, there was a charred pointed blob gripping the edge of the rim. This time…a noxious smell reached his nostrils. One finger raised as if the beckon him closer but had the opposite effect. Mr “C” jumped back, as his brain raced to keep balance. There had to be a logical reason for all this…witnessing his lovely host still absorbed with domestic chores.

He had a woeful problem controlling his opinions, blocked by ruefully asking himself “What the hell was going on?”
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peter.howden
post 5th Jun 2021, 07:20pm
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With a combination of brutal training, and natural impulses, made Mr ‘C’, appreciate his abilities of common sense, to check his goal, and precious cargo before assessing his latest position. The passport through this synthetic hell was completely intact. This small flask was more important than his own life, for being a beacon to light up a future path through the concentric nightmare…for ‘Brythonic Alba’. For just one brief second, he thought the blazing hand was an allusion, forcibly arranged by sorcery as a decoy to seize the invaluable consignment. Without warning, the stove door burst wide open, threatening tempestuous flames flared…then as quickly…died, returned to a tarnished apparatus. All this unreal rumpus happening without the Girl even flinching, or bloody noticing anything. There was certainly something macabre about the whole affair.

While grappling with his uncomplicated emotions, wither he saw, or believed he witnessed, was real or some kind of black supernatural mirage, then observing another concealed occurrence. The candle in the middle of the dullish room, gave more luminosity than its composition intended, by flickering in precise intervals. Whatever this was, danger was lurking, critically risking his quest. Having been in numerous tight spots, seen many a gruesome sight, but this moment, he was shaken to the bone. Mr “C” realized the urgency to gain a grip of himself, even if the impossible was happening.

Recovering his steel emotions…by retracing his steps, then seeing the Girl still unaffected by all this, she muttered, “are you hungry?”. He had been ravenous before, but the weird vision had wiped is appetite clean away. “No, I’m not hungry, but I will not offend you by not eating”. Though unwittingly, once again a thought passed his mind; wherefore had the Girl not turned around with all the hubbub, it was impossible not to be aware of something, but she just carried on ….why?

Mr ‘C’ now faced another dilemma, he must have another keek at this hideous manifestation. With a pair of tongs laid aside for this very purpose, carefully reopening the rusty grid, causing an ear-piercing creaking clatter. The hand was there, clearly no doubt about it, with obscure fingers soon be ashes, as the flames engulfed blackened skin by each second. Some instinct told Mr “C” to close the stove gate, then move several feet away from the hob

At that precise moment, The Girl turned around serving some kind of dish. Mr ‘C’ played around with the reputed food which was anything but nourishing…the Girl just sat there taking no part in the meal. “We have had no meat for ten years or so, the Sonya ran out some 11 months ago, but the worse thing is no clean water”, she claimed. He remembered both of them getting soiled and manky during the tussle, as she grabbed him… with strength deceiving her slim petite frame…but now, she appeared as fresh as a button. He reached out for her hand, touches it, but she nudged it swiftly away. “No contact” she uttered for the first time…in a more than a harsh sharp response.

Her tiny hand was not cold… but zero ice frozen !
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peter.howden
post 9th Jun 2021, 11:35am
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Instinctively Mr ‘C’ was extra cautious, things just didn’t add up, even under such brutal times where alertness is automatic for survival. There was weirdness beyond psychic or his basic perception, but more crucial the need to rest physically forced him to lie down, but with his mind eye open. Two hours later they both prepared to depart from the small room together, neither spoke nor recognized each other. It was as if mutually realized by talking, they would either be discovered… or uncover something they could not accept.

Silence as an unshakable ghost followed them sauntering through the rubble and remnants of this once proud city, now depressing greys and grimy browns, nothing worth its prior purpose. Along some decaying walls, flaky legible archaic Gaelic phrase, ‘Aigha Bas’, meant reputedly ‘Battle or die’, strewn around areas of the grim city not so green, telling of olden squabbles once upon a time. Obvious by its absence was vermin such as mice or even the detested rats. There was not one indication either of domestic animals like cats, dogs… Et cetera.

Catastrophic ruins were the same in all of the four occupied domed cities in Alba, once honoured in the distant past, now the current ruthless regime has forcibly taken over. Power was spread by fear and bribery in the name of martial law, but sat like fat pigs in the fable, ‘Animal farm’. Everyone suffering beyond endurance…but them. The heart of the populous had been squashed except for a couple of pockets holding resistance fighters, secretive orders run by the valiant desperate controllers, who had sent him on a secret contract mission. Mr ‘C’, saw them as country’s freedom…it’s only hope. Out of the grim, they passed groups of peoples wandering aimlessly around, as if hypnotized or in a permanent stupor. Ahead of them was the stout leader, who placed his shotgun in safety mode, greeting him, and the Girl. Mr ‘C’ asked him who they were.

The leader raised a weary head as if ready to cry, quietly struggling inside himself to answer. “I’m anxious they could be anybody, even friends of mine , hard to tell as there has been no water in almost”. He stopped sharply, before continuing more in a lecture tone, “The time is not known, however water plays a number of important roles in the body. It regulates temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, removes waste, protects organs and tissues. Since the brain is 70 percent water, blood is 82 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water, it is easy to see how even mild dehydration can cause problems.” Again, he paused, regretting what he had to convey next, he continued, “all the population of this place are way beyond that, even if fresh water was available….it is doubtless they can be helped?” Some of those desperate souls are just waiting for Jesus to come?’ he added softly.

“ With this methanol; which is in the city supplies… what does that do?”, queried Mr ‘C’. The main man sat down, sluggishly looked at him, shrugged his shoulders affirming, “short-term inhalation exposure to methanol causes headaches, elusion, and blindness, but Long-term hits shock creating kidney failure, followed by permanent damage to the central nervous system…to produce walking sightless dead!”

With such a cold and calculated statement, the leader unexpectedly changed the subject deliberately. “There is without doubt a F---ing weasel in our camp, but, in fact I’m certain it’s not you!”. “ I did a little soul searching, minor things that should have not gone wrong have been occurring, for quite a while now. Only recently we lost our main base, but this has been building up…so when you came along!” There was a sort of query in a contrite voice,
coupled with a dread tone… but that is where it ended.

Before Mr “C” could interrupt, explain what he had witness with the Girl, and the stove, a massive explosion blew the hearing out of his brain, followed by complete nothing
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peter.howden
post 11th Jun 2021, 10:22am
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Hastily attempting to stand back up with senses blurred, his eyes caught a clink of light, perceiving something sharp was above him, his inbreed instincts to protect himself. Utilizing all his feeble force, Mr ‘C’ grabbed a foreign arm, until he heard a yell of severe pain. By this time, his vision was nigh functional, he was grappling with a tatty medical orderly, apparently sedating him by the orders of a doctor, presuming Mr “C” would be suffering extreme pain. The male nurse swore profusely, now the one in extreme discomfort, having no wish returning to assist the reluctant patient.

Mr “C” checked his most precious cargo, then lowered his aching body back down on this makeshift table, relaxed as best a man of his calibre could. A strong voice came from over further than his eyesight could see. “If I approach, will you not hurt me?” Mr “C twisted his head around to see a reasonable built man, dressed as a surgeon should be dressed. Still unmasked and with a squint of a smile, moving forward. Before Mr “C” had a chance to reply… the Doctor added, “This is going to hurt you far more than it will me!”.

For the next nail-biting minutes, the physician stitched up wounds around the patient’s head as blood slowly trickle down towards his neck. “Sorry; there aren’t any pain killers, or sterilization of any kind”. A female came in with a bowl, steam rising from its rim, “It’s as purified as we can make it” added the Doc. “We use a substance secreted from bees but that was so long ago and of course before they came extinct”, while dipping a ragged cloth in and out of the substance. With a very dark tone added, “It almost proved we humans longed for Armageddon… when those little underrated creatures flew their last flight!”.

“The ruthless authorities assumed it would only be honey sacrificed, however it proved a deck of cards of isolation, for simply these busy little beasties fertilized almost all bloody crops”. The curative man stopped…looked almost bemused before he turned to Mr “C” and wailed, “The bastards did not listen!”. With more than deep compassion in his shaking voice, he added, “If only they had not contaminated the water…our only route to compatible survival, instead of creating this vile living hell!”.

As if Spartan trained, Mr “C’ harshly interrupted by asking who caused the explosion. Just then, the door opened, and the humanitarian leader entered, his arm supported with a brace bandage, two massive black eyes, proving he was certainly one of the targets. He spoke and not softly either…“I was starting to have my doubts about you again, but I received information and orders from above… to comply with anything you want…if I can get it?”

“The trouble is, trouble follows you…and we have at least one traitor in the camp”, the leader looked directly at him, and added ….“any ideas?”
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