The Jade Camel #15

Previously

Joey, flush with his wad of winnings, tucked into the Philharmonic’s lunch-time special, a steaming bowl of meaty scouse*, congratulating himself on his escape.

He’d only just started on his second glass of stout, when he remembered he was due to sign on; he gulped the smooth liquid down, just as the original antique clock hanging above the bar was beginning to strike two: he was already late.

Gary, the counter supervisor, hadn’t been amused, so much so that Joey had found himself staring back at him across a sticky Formica table in Interview Room One; Joey looked down at his bitten fingernails, ‘sorry, I must’ve left me card at home’ he muttered.

To Joey’s surprise, Gary slid his UB40 across the table, ‘listen Joey, I brought you in here for a warning, but it’s not about being late,’ Gary’s grip on the table edge tightened, ‘it’s about the jade camel, trust me, mate, you’re better off without it.’

Joey held up his hands, ‘if that’s all, I’ll be going.’

Gary, rapidly losing control, flew round the table and grabbed Joey by the lapels, ‘I mean it, mate, it’s like it’s cursed; bad people are coming after you for it.’

next episode


*I’ve an idea one of my characters will be sharing their recipe for this iconic Liverpool delicacy sometime soon

Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: ORIGIN, BEGIN, START
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: CONTROL

Many more #SixSentenceStories here – why not bring your own?

Three Things Challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

Different Worlds

The image shows shows a well-dressed young man of African descent sitting on stairs. His hands are gripping the railing and he is staring intently at the camera.

living here
in the same building
you don’t stop
we don’t talk

torment lurks within my soul
you just don’t see it

sitting here
alone on the stairs
you’re aware
of my gaze

sorrow lies behind these eyes
you just won’t see it

existing
in separate worlds
minds don’t meet
hearts don’t open

but then, behind the façade
I see your sadness

~~~~~~~~

Image credit: Caleb Williams @ Unsplash
The image shows shows a well-dressed young man of African descent sitting on stairs. His hands are gripping the railing and he is staring intently at the camera.

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #132 photo prompt

The Jade Camel #14

Previously

Aurora’s carmine lips formed a determined line, as she received Patterson’s latest up-date; she favoured him with an ice-blue stare: ’and when might I expect the camel’s return?’

The suave, silver-haired man spoke smoothly: ‘a plan is being put into place.’

On the south-side of the city, in the DHSS Office on High Park Street, Gary glared across a yellowing Formica table-top at his subordinate Reg, a short, squat individual whom he’d never taken to, waiting for his response.

‘It was just a favour, like, for a mate; Joey Moran’s got something of his and me mate wants it back,’ Reg shrugged, ‘said it was valuable – even showed me a picture of it – I dunno what’s so special about a little curled-up camel statue, it looked more like a turd to me.’

‘Your mate has Mr Moran’s UB40 but he doesn’t know his address, so you took it upon yourself to look it up in the office records?’ As Gary spoke, dread rose from the pit of his stomach – a curled up camel – his fingers gripped the edge of the table-top, purple veins standing out on the backs of his hands – surely not that same evil little statue?

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: YELLOW, PURPLE, BLUE
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: TERM

More #SixSentenceStories here!

Three Things Challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

Summoning the Sun

The image shows two young girls standing outdoors looking at a book which both of them are holding jointly.

our night-time terrors
evaporate with the dew
dispersed by the sun’s first pink rays

greet the day
with sweet voices raised
welcome in the dawn

each new day
let’s summon the sun
with a song
~~~~~~~~

Image credit: Ben White @ Unsplash
The image shows two young girls standing outdoors looking at a book which both of them are holding jointly.

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #131 photo prompt

Treasuring Poetry: Meet poet and author, Chris Hall and a review of Following the Green Rabbit

It was such a thrill to feature in Robbie Cheadle‘s wonderful ‘Treasuring Poetry’ slot this week, hosted by Kaye Lynne Booth on her blog. Thank you, Robbie and Kaye!

Writing to be Read

Today, I am delighted to host poet and author, Chris Hall. Like me, Chris is UK born and South Africa is her adopted country. We both love the bushveld and many of Chris’ poems and books reflect this love.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Call of the Maiden is a poem I wrote in response to a call for submissions to a poetry anthology by the wonderful poet and all-round creative, Tara Caribou. I was delighted when this, and another four of my poems, were accepted to be published alongside a whole host of amazing poets and artists in Creation and the Cosmos, edited and published in 2021 by Tara’s micro-publishing company, Raw Earth Ink.

Call of the Maiden

The breeze-caressed veld sways

sending dry waves to break on a distant shore

whirlwind dust-devils dance over bare earth

rising up to be scorched into stillness.

View original post 1,954 more words

What will become of us – a poem for Earth Day

.

I first posted this poem three years ago. Mother Earth had a brief respite under lockdown when the noise of engines fell silent and wild animals walked the streets and it seemed that nature just might have a chance. Now, even more, pollution spews and plastic continues to fill the oceans. The ice caps are melting even more rapidly and ‘freak’ weather events are becoming the norm. Today, Earth Day 2022, my poem resonates even more strongly.

Image credit: Mother Earth by gedomenas

The Jade Camel #13

Previously

As Joey stepped over the threshold, the music he’d heard from outside the building stopped abruptly; light filtered from the lofty windows, illuminating the dust-motes that danced in the large space before him, empty apart from a long wooden counter running along one wall with a dozen mis-matched chairs arranged at intervals along it.

Joey looked around, at the far side of the room was an imposing entrance door, topped with a fancy fanlight; Joey jogged over and drew aside the heavy steel bolts before twisting the night-latch; the door swung open easily. After pulling the door closed and hearing the latch click home, Joey sprinted up the three stone steps to street level. Suddenly the music started up again; Joey looked around, puzzled for a moment, before hurrying off up the narrow side street.

Emerging onto busy Bold Street, Joey ducked inside the nearest shop, its interior thick with cigarette smoke and lined with TV screens; the little camel statue in his pocket vibrated, pursuers forgotten, Joey approached the counter, ‘2.30 at Aintree, two quid on Oracle to win.’

Meanwhile, in the flat below Joey’s, Ceridwen turned over the Five of Swords: the tarot card predicting a cheap victory.

next chapter


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: ARRANGE, PREDICT, ORACLE
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: TREE

Join the #SixSentenceStory readathon here

Three things challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

Exercise in mindfulness

The image shows the word ‘Exhale’ illuminated as a sign, embedded in a carved structure.

breathe in (count to three)
breathe out (count to five)
close your eyes
repeat

imagine yourself
on an empty beach
tide coming in
tide going out

breathe in (count to three)
breathe out (count to five)

take yourself
to that place far away
empty your cares
on the sand

watch as the tide
washes over the beach
breathe in, and again
now exhale

~~~~~~~~

Image credit: Matt Barringer @ Unsplash
The image shows the word ‘Exhale’ illuminated as a sign, embedded in a carved structure.

Written in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See #130 photo prompt

When Characters and Creators Collide…

The cover new Six Sentence Story Magazine created by Tom of the Mansionic Perspective blog
Cover creation by Tom

‘Look at this!’ Connor brandishes the bright and colourful cover of the new Six Sentence Stories magazine. ‘You’re on the cover, Ms Hall. A first for you.’

Cynthia stretches out an elegantly manicured hand and takes the proffered copy from him. She looks at me over her new reading glasses. ‘Such a nice photo of you, too.’

‘I’m surprised it’s not in sepia, it’s that old,’ interjects Gary with a grin, immediately receiving an elbow in the ribs from Gina.

‘Don’t upset her Gary,’ Gina mutters. ‘Don’t you want to be in a story again?’ Gina flashes a smile at me.

Cynthia brushes her hand over the glossy cover. ‘Oh look, there’s a voucher for that little deli shop, Sam’s. It was very pleasant. Apart from that rather brassy woman coming on to you, Connor.’

‘You mean, Beryl?’ Connor’s eyes twinkle.

Gina prods Gary’s leg. ‘You see, they’ve both had an outing, and it wasn’t even in one of Ms Hall’s stories.’

‘What a charming man Tom is,’ Cynthia purrs. ‘So creative! We met him briefly at Ms Hall’s book launch.’ She runs a thoughtful finger over Tom’s picture on the magazine cover. ‘Nice eyes. I don’t suppose I should blame him for Beryl’s behaviour.’

‘I met another excellent chap there too,’ Connor takes a long pull from the glass of whisky which has mysteriously appeared in his hand. ‘Chris Nelson, short story author and a fellow poet. No wonder we hit it off.’ He looks around the room. ‘And you know what, he’s written a really good review of Our Book!’ Connor beams and raises his glass to me.

Chris Nelson’s review of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

You’ll Never Walk Alone is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook and on Kindle Unlimited
USA UK ~ CAN ~ AUS IND ~ the rest of the world

The Jade Camel #12

Previously

Patterson finished the careful adjustment to his starched shirt cuffs, lining them up half an inch beyond the end of his jacket sleeves, before running his gaze over the group of short and stocky individuals standing before him; a slight furrow grazed his forehead, ‘there are five of you now and still he eluded you?’

Louis shuffled forward as if to offer an apology, feigning a sad expression, ‘the lad might’ve got away, but we’ll find him,’ he looked up, holding something out to Patterson with a triumphant grin, ‘look, he dropped this!’

Patterson held the grubby piece of cardboard between his thumb and forefinger, a look of distaste on his face as he examined it, ‘his Unemployment Benefit Card, there’s no address, how is it supposed to help?

Jimmy stepped forward, ‘allow me to introduce the newest member of our team,’ he indicated a fresh-faced young man, ‘this is Ron’s baby brother, Sam,’ Ron nodded, pushing his sibling forward, Jimmy continued, ‘he doesn’t say much either, but he has special skills.’

Patterson inclined an eyebrow.

‘Sam also has a job at the DHSS*,’ Shacker added; ‘don’t worry, Mr Patterson, you can count on us to catch up with Joey.’

next episode


*Department of Health and Social Security, responsible at the time (among other things) for the administration of Unemployment Benefits. The card which Joey dropped is a UB40**, the card you had to take when you went to ‘sign on’ at the ‘dole office’. It has the claimant’s National Insurance number from which Sam will be able to trace Joey’s address.

**From where UK band, UB40, took their name. The title of their song ‘One in Ten’ refers to the number 9.6, being the percentage of the local workforce claiming unemployment benefit in the West Midlands in the summer of 1981 when the song was released – the figure was double that in Liverpool by 1985.

Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: UPHOLD, SAD, APOLOGY
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: BOARD

More #SixSentenceStories here

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪