Tag Archives: 333 Words

Trifecta 112 – The House on the Corner


The housing market in was in a funk: next to nobody was moving. Houses would only sell when the vendor got ‘realistic’. The house on the corner of Evansdale and Darnley couldn’t be given away. No, really – not even for free.

Ever since I could remember the ‘For Sale’ sign was there, stuck in the bare scrub that used to be the front lawn. Winter or summer it would be up, creaking to and fro in the breeze. People came and looked – sure, but the sign stayed. Nobody even cared for the old place – the windows are all busted, the fly screen hangs limply, the darned slates blow off every fall.

There’s stories of people getting close. An art dealer from upstate was closer than most to exchanging. Had sold up his old business and wanted to open a boutique in town. Five miles out on Route 34 his Ferrari ended up sandwiched between the front axles of a 100ft transporter. His wife and baby kid were riding just behind – they never even saw the place: police drove them straight back upstate.

Then there was Big Joe Denmark – he owns, owned, everything round here. Everything expect the house on the corner of Evansdale and Darnley. He didn’t even need it. Why would the man who has everything want that old place? He should have let it go. Think they got as far as busting down the front fence to get his diggers on site. Was a shock to everyone who saw it when he collapsed plumb dead in the street. Black, syrupy blood pouring right out of his eyes, so they say. Didn’t see it myself.

Fools. They should have asked me. I could have told them the house doesn’t want to be sold. It’s happy where it is; what it is. Just leave it alone, it aint doing anyone any harm.

…Don’t believe me? Think I’m full of it?

Go on then , try and buy it. Go on I dare you – I double dare you!


These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘funk‘,form my entry into the Trifecta 112 writing challenge.


Trifecta 111 – Press Intrusions

The_New_York_Times_newsroom_1942”M’ is for making news people – If there isn’t any, make it up. There’s always news!’

That was Jake’s favourite saying. He’d laugh when he said it; we’d all laugh too. Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief didn’t demand toadying, but he still expected it. Heck, none of were innocents – we didn’t do this job for nothing, we could have done something else. We chose to be here; we chose to treat people like shit. At times I hated myself for it. However, one of the Boss’s early forays into conscience reassurance still managed to win me over, most days:

‘They’re celebrities. We pay them – we own them. If they step out of line we have a right to know!’

After a while it just became the way we all thought. Yes, we had our own families, our own secrets – but we were just ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs. Nobody cared whether we’re up to no good with the sister-in-law, the brother-in-law or anybody else for that matter. Those were our concerns, not the nations.

The office was quiet that particular morning in early May – just after the holiday weekend. I noticed the Boss wasn’t at his desk when I slipped out of my coat and into my chair. Soon I received a flustered tap on the shoulder from Frank O’Callaghan – the Deputy Editor. Even this early in the morning his tie was already at half mast, as dark sweat stains puddled under his arm pits.

‘It’s the Boss,’ he began – chewing his lips, while sucking his teeth. ‘New ‘M’ word for the day – manipulate, got it?’ he continued.

‘What’s up Frank? Where’s Jake?’ I replied.

Behind Frank’s flushed forehead, the local TV news channel was paused on a grainy, slightly pixelated image subtitled ‘Gazette Editor, Jake McGivney and friends‘. I didn’t recognise the women, or man, he was with. Almost didn’t recognise the Boss without his clothes.

‘On it’, I nodded, just about managing to suppress a smile.


These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘manipulate, form my entry into the Trifecta 111 writing challenge.

Trifecta 110 – The Cost of Discovery


‘Ahead and to the left’ came the whispered, nicotine inflected instruction. Turning, I could now see it: in between the rocks shone a small fissure of light – a glimmer of flaming yellow and orange.

‘Got it. I’m moving in,’ I replied, guiding the eye carefully into position.

As I moved in tighter the light grew stronger; it’s lure warm and inviting – the coldness of our own distant sun’s embrace briefly forgotten.

‘Closer,’ insisted the voice.

Soon the thin flash of light filled the screen. It was no longer a narrow gap in between rocks: it was a window. From within, the source of the flame was clear as a roaring fire licked through an open grate – a black kettle steaming furiously, yet seemingly unwatched, from inside.

‘Can you see this control? ‘ I stuttered.

‘We see it. Get in as close as you can,’ demanded the previously calm, monotone drawl.

As the extended eye roved the room, silence gradually fell over my headset. The scene was one straight from the pages of Dickens: the wrinkled, red Chesterfield armchair by the fireside; the quaint collection of porcelain figures arrayed on the mantelpiece. On the wall pictures, maps and portraits of people and places – too faded to see details, despite the eye being on maximum zoom.

For the briefest of moments two tiny flickers of light emerged from the darkest, farthest corner. Then again. The eyes betraying a fear – a fear that their life was about to change forever. As I remained, almost frozen, a hand slowly emerged – long, pale fingers gripping the arm of the empty fireside chair. As slowly as they had appeared, the fingers once more retreated, fearfully into the anonymity of the dark. My heart suddenly sank, guilt replacing the explorer’s inquisitiveness of moments before.

Soon radio communications once more crackled through the gravityless atmosphere of the red planet. It was me who was first to speak – to state what they already undoubtedly knew.

‘Houston, we have a problem.’


These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘quaint‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 110 writing challenge.

This piece was placed second by the esteemed editors of the Trifecta Writing Challenge. As ever I am flattered that those judging saw something in my work. Much appreciated!

Trifecta 109 – A Fisherman’s Tale


As the sun slowly edged its way over the horizon, the working day began for those aboard the boats that bobbed gently within the protective embrace of Achnashean harbour. Up high, noisy seagulls circled, greedily anticipating the ripe remains of yesterday’s catch. From within the limpid, gulf stream warmed waters a seal’s head appeared – silver whiskers glistening in the early morning light, bold grey eyes investigating before returning beneath the lapping waves.

On board the Jeannie May young deckhand Alan McBride prepared the creel nets. As he hurried to finish, he noticed a van drawing up to the harbour master’s office. He knew the van, as well as the driver who now strode purposefully towards the boat. Alan had always supposed, and assumed, his father had wanted more than a fisherman’s life for his only son. However, Alan was happy. He had a job he loved, and more importantly a person in his life whom he loved even more.

‘Alan, have you got a minute, son?’ shouted his father, squinting down from the quayside.

‘What is dad? We’re about to sail,’ he replied.

‘Aye, fine – just wanted to make sure you were coming to your mother’s birthday meal up at the Hotel tomorrow night.’

Alan hadn’t been a great one for family events in recent times. His mother though was always an exception to the excuses.

‘I’ll be there. I might bring a friend if that’s all right. There’s something I need to speak to you and mother about. Something you need to know.’

‘Absolutely, whatever, son. As long as you’re there and as long as you’re happy. That’s all that matters  – that’s all that any of us have ever cared about. We’ll see you later. You and your friend.’

A quick smile up to the weathered, handsome face in the wheel house signalled reassurance, as well as love. Steaming from the harbour, the lone seal resurfaced, watching them on their way, while above the still screeching gulls now trailed in their foaming wake.

These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘whatever‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 109 writing challenge

Trifecta 108 – Three Men (One Wise)

doorFrom outside, the sandstone tenement stands as bold and regal as the day it welcomed its first hopeful occupants. Inside, the faded splendour now barely houses even whispered echoes of those first, innocent days. Dark, musty corridors vibrate to the shrill tones of screaming children, while droning televisions go unwatched.  Behind anonymous doors lovers argue and hungry dogs bark. Emergency sirens rise and fall like the threat of approaching thunder before once more fading into the distance.

On the third floor two suited gentlemen challenge a misguided stare.  The warned eyes sensibly sliding back into the safer confines of their room. From the suffocating murkyness one last door begins to form. Blocking the way sits a crumpled old man, seemingly daydreaming as he follows the night stars through an open window. As the men pass under a lone bare bulb he slowly turns to size up the spotlighted visitors.

“Aw right, father? Is he in?” the taller of the two suited men asks, as the fleetingly awkward silence is broken.

The old man locks his gaze on the tall man’s colleague. The silent man appears to squirm under the scrutiny of those wise, if somewhat tired and bloodshot, eyes.

“He is, but he doesn’t want to see you. Not today. Do yourselves a favour lads and go home. Kiss the wife; tell your children a story. Enjoy your Christmas. This can surely wait.”

The one who spoke turned towards his colleague and chuckled.

“Come on old man, move it. We haven’t got all night,” he said.

The two suits squeezed past, the now unguarded door gliding partially open at the merest touch. Scented, smoky air  billowed gently into the corridor as they walked through.

“Hello? Hello!? What the hell is going on in here.”

The door clicked shut; the key turning firmly in the lock.

The old man opens a beer and swallows hard before grimacing; a single tear flows down his weathered cheek. His bones creak and grind as he stands and shuffles away from his post.


These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘father‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 108 writing challenge.The picture used to frame the story is courtesy of Kenneth Todd.

This piece was placed third by my fellow writers within the Trifecta Challenge community. As ever I am flattered that those judging saw something in my work. Much appreciated!

Trifecta 107 – Urban Clearance


Our flat was on the corner of Methodist Lane. It was a typical red brick corner upon which pressing issues of the day would be discussed and argued over cans of the cheapest beer money could buy. Nearby stores sold cigarettes and booze to kids barely big enough to reach the counter. It was rough. The rest of town said it was dangerous. However, it was my home; it was where I felt safe.

Across from Methodist Lane was the park. After school it was where we all gathered. Fumblers in the bushes, pushers over by the toilets, the rest of us in the playground. The swings forever hung loosely on rusting chains; the seesaw hadn’t seed or sawed for years as it lay snapped in two. The roundabout creaked and wobbled slowly as we lay back staring at the stars – planning a way out.

One freezing cold night my view of the skies was obscured. In their way a set of shining, bluey green eyes. Eyes which instantly began to melt my previously uncontested heart. I’d seen her before in the park. She was hard to miss.

“Gotta light?” she pouted, one bejewelled hand resting on her narrow hips – the other cradling a cigarette between red tipped fingers. She looked like a rock star, and she was talking to me!

I began to stutter something unmemorable, underwhelming, uncool. The words were there but they wouldn’t come. Before I could answer she laughed: a callous, hurting laugh. One of the older boys suddenly appeared: slicked hair, a golden earring glinting, offering his silver plated lighter. As she cupped her hands round the flickering flame he leered in a way she seemed to like. They both giggled. I resumed spinning slowly on the roundabout as their voices faded.

Today I’m back. Behind the fluttering tape I watch on. Unsure whether I’m sad, happy or relieved. As the bright orange bulldozer fires up her engine it is the end for Methodist Lane. The memories though will stay forever.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘melt‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 107 writing challenge.

Trifecta 106 – The Spirit Never Dies


Barely had the adrenalin infusion of my dawn coffee filtered to the tips of my fingers before we were on our way. Worried neighbours had not seen the elderly occupant of the top floor apartment since Friday.

“She’s in the bedroom, but hurry” pleaded a youthful officer in the doorway.

Lying propped up, seemingly drowning in two enormous pink pillows, was the ghostly outline of a tiny,  pitifully frail, old woman. Within moments we had her hooked up to a drip, electrolytes pulsing through her veins. The young policeman at the door had followed us in; his hands now pumping away at an Oxygen bag  The merest hint of condensation formed on the inside of the mouthpiece: she was still with us – fighting.

Tension gradually gave way to relief as colour returned to once pale, lifeless, wrinkled cheeks. As the young, ruddy faced policeman continued to gently push air into aged, weary lungs the panic seemed over. For a brief second I allowed myself to relax. It was only then that I noticed: the bedroom was crammed with old pictures, the railing next to the window alive with a glittering array of dresses. A feather boa wrapped itself seductively around the back of a pale blue Lloyd Loom chair.

On her bedside table sat a framed cutting from the local paper. In it was a young, beautiful woman wearing a flowing silk dress, just like one of those on the rail. With shafts of sunlight beginning to pierce the slatted blinds, the old woman suddenly sparkled into life. As she continued to suck at the oxygen she gripped my hand – a wicked glint in her eye. She had seen me looking at her bedside picture; it was then that I knew who this was. It all came together: the pictures, the clothes, the mischievous look.

I almost blushed; she almost cracked a smile.

If my Dad could see me now – he’d have a fit. His son holding hands with the ‘Tush of Tulane’.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘tush‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 106 writing challenge.

Trifecta 105 – Matters of State

King Pondering

It was raining when they came. Four brutes on horseback spraying mud and scattering roadside beggars into sewer filled gutters. Children scurried into dark, smoky huts; frantic dogs howled while villagers screamed as thunderous hooves crashed by. These men were from the King, and they had arrived at their destination.

With steam rising in a fog from his grey steed, the leader of the band dismounted. It was a place he’d been before.

‘Get out here wench before we burn the whole rotting village!’ he demanded, preparing his scarred sword in readiness.

Slowly the door creaked open. Warily, a young girl inched her way out of the shadows. In her arms she clutched a gurgling infant. Alluring, unnervingly beautiful, but barely older than a child herself, she stood trembling.

‘Don’t hurt her, please sirs I begs,’ she grovelled.

In nearby doorways staring eyes retreated further into the safer depths of darkness. The captain moved in to pluck the wriggling child from his mother’s arms. A fearsome backhanded slap sent the young woman sprawling into the mud, blood oozing from her fatted lip. A mouthful of his spit followed into her already swelling eye.

‘Pick her up!’ the captain screamed in the direction of his second.

As the rain continued to beat down the skies greyed suddenly; thunder claps moved ever closer. Hurrying the woman and child onto horseback, the party left the village as they’d found it: cowering in fear and respect.

At the castle the King watched from his quarters as the Royal Guard finally returned. Behind them the gates were firmly bolted – his seat secured for the night. Feet away an open fire flickered and roared as a stooping  manservant shuffled in with his supper.

‘Has my Queen retired for the night?’ he asked.

‘She has, Sire.’

‘Good. Bring the woman and child to me,’ he said, nodding towards the drenched arrivals in the courtyard.

He knew one would have to die; he’d known it since the child was born.


These 333 words, based on the archaic third definition of the word ‘pluck‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 105 writing challenge.

Trifecta 104 – A Life For A Life


I never asked to spend my life with him. It’s just what we do. The Prince must have his companion. He couldn’t be expected to cope on his own, not even for a minute.

Someone must be there. Willing. Forever.

That’s where I came in.

When the fourth Prince Danzal was presented to an expectant country I was already on my way to the palace. It was something our family has always done. My father spent his life with a King, my only sister never left the side of her Princess. I think it’s our dedication to the role – our uniqueness.  We do have our own lives, families, memories but we don’t bother our employer with them. We are here for their cares, not to burden their important lives with ours. Precisely the way it should be.

I can’t complain – not that I would think of doing so. The Prince led a glamorous life. I may have been in the background, out of sight, but I was there, just a nod or a wave of the Princes’ finger away. However, I didn’t always have to be told when I was needed. As I said we were especially good at this job. I knew when the Prince needed me, sometimes before he did. My whole family were the same.

I could see before anyone else that the Prince was dying. I sensed that cloud over his heart well before the damn fool of a court physician. I knew, could see, that there was no point in fighting it. It was time to make peace and accept the end with grace.

Both of us.

We never leave our charge, even after their life is over. As the Prince coughed his last bloody cough I was immediately sent to keep him company. I expected nothing less. My wife and son were heartbroken but understood. It’s just part of the job.

I’m still looking for him. He’s around here somewhere. I can sense it; sense him. I’m sure he needs me.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘companion‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 104 writing challenge. The picture is courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media

Trifecta 103 – Bloodline

dystopiaMy mother was important. We knew that even as children – although we didn’t understand why. Each morning a silver car would come to collect her from our house in the hills overlooking the smog strangled city. Outside, the street would be deserted. Two other cars – black – parked a respectful, but appropriate distance away. Nobody else was allowed on the street when mother was leaving for work.

My sister and I would be waiting for her to leave. Always the same sterile, crisp, blue trouser suit, the flat shoes, the black briefcase bearing the party emblem. A kiss for the children. A cold nod towards our father.

“Remember who you are children. Remember who we are,” she would tell us.

Who were we?

All I knew was that the four of us lived in sprawling mansion filled with servants and snivelling nameless officials. While most of the city was overrun with poverty and resentment, ours was a life of obscene luxury. However, we didn’t complain. You don’t when you’re a child.

As we grew older we began to understand more about who we were; who our mother was.


Mother and I slowly grew apart. This was dangerous, but I survived. Her conceited grand plan and their utopian ideals eventually failed miserably. People starved. With what strength they had left they fought back.

They won.

As the city burned, party flags lay smouldering in the gutters; their headquarters were ransacked – people swarmed like ants over corridors and offices once only visited in handcuffed terror.

As we entered the last room on the third floor my second handed me the loaded pistol. The woman in the chair had her back to us. Even so she appeared unnerved and impassive, despite the chaos all around. Her perfect society in ruins; her family scattered.

“Is that you son?”

“Yes mother.”

“Do you remember who we were?”

“Yes I do mother.”

As the bullet echoed around the room a new leader was crowned.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘remember’ , form my entry into the Trifecta 103 writing challenge. The picture is courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media

Trifecta 102 – Fight The Good Fight


“…Righto mum, we’re just off now, let’s hope for some good news. He needs it, we both do. Ok, you too, yep, love you, I’ll catch you later…bye, bye…”.

She doesn’t think I can hear her through there, but I can. The walls in this shoebox of an apartment are paper thin. I may be coming many things these days, but deaf isn’t one of them – not yet anyway. Perhaps that will be today’s news. Christ, I would laugh, if I could. Would I really? Maybe not. No, I wouldn’t.

I can see him out there again today. He’s another one who thinks he can take advantage of my apparently irreversible decline. Scurrying across the frost tinted lawn without a fear or a care. The little grey interloper shows the same cunning and craft I once did: when I was able to walk, talk. Be normal.

“Ready honey? I’ll be there in a moment,” she shouts through from the bedroom.

Yesterday I may have been able to muster enough movement for an answer. Not today. Today looks like it’s the first day of the next phase. I knew it was coming. You want to hear what I’m thinking you’ll need to get in here with me. Haven’t the heart to tell her, even if I wanted to.

Out there he sprints back and forth. Gathering, hiding, protecting. He is looking after his own. When I was playing football for the biggest team in the land I did the same. I had everything. Often wonder if I hadn’t been who I was would she have chosen me, stuck with me now? I’d be lost without her.

He’s now on the window ledge. Staring in.

“You ok,” he’s saying.

“Me? Not really,” I stare back.

“Come on honey, let’s get your coat on. We can’t keep the Doctors waiting.”

As we leave the apartment I look back: the squirrel is gone. I hope he’s there tomorrow. In him I’m free for a few moments at least.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘craft , form my entry into the Trifecta 102 writing challenge.


This piece is dedicated to Fernando Ricksen, the former Rangers and Netherlands footballer, who recently disclosed, on live television, that he is suffering from ALS. The outlook for this condition is absolutely frightening. These 333 words are meaningless but as he was in my mind I felt I had to write something. Good luck Fernando. All of us here in Scotland are thinking of you.

Trifecta 101 – Home Run


The Pennington Vipers stunk, and I mean real bad. However, no matter how bad, the Vipers were still the biggest show in the county. In truth there weren’t that much to compete with but, believe me, folks loved ‘em. Jennings ballpark was the place in town to laugh, to cry, to boo, to get drunk – usually all four. Every Friday night was a party when the Vipers took the field – win or lose, and there were twenty hard years of losing before that night.

Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. With two out the Viper’s had one last chance to win the game: to get their first winning season since Hitler waved the white flag. The stands were rockin’ as ‘Wobbly’ Joe Lugarno stepped up to the plate. Joe had been tipped for greatness in his younger days; however, an over active eye for the ladies, as well as a thirst for one too many cold beers, had seen him ending his career back in the minors. With the pitcher eyeing his pray, Joe still had time for a thumbs-up to his fevered fans in the stands, as well as a lubricious wink towards a blushing young female in the front row.

In it came – a fast ball – and darned if Joe didn’t connect flush. As the ball steepled into the reddening night sky all heads turned. Over the infield and into the outfield it sailed. My eyes were trapped, watching, looking, praying – and there she was. In the background muffled cheers came and went. That was the first time I saw my Vera. Those bright red curls never did fade. Until our final years together they still glistened,  red as ever.

As another Series hits the retirement home TV, my mind again goes back to that night at Jennings. Oh and in case you’re wonderin’ the damned ball hit the fence and ‘Wobbly’ was run out at third. The Vipers lost, but heck, it was still a night to remember at the ballpark.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘Boo‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 101 writing challenge.

I was inspired to do a Baseball story because it really is World Series time in the USA. I’m not a real follower of America’s summer sport but, as a big New England Patriot’s fan, I’ve developed a soft spot over the years for all things Boston. Therefore I’ll hope you’ll allow me the indulgence of ending this trailer with two words – Go Sox!

Trifecta 100 – Duty Calls

victorian-school_2127557cSt. Hannard’s junior school was tucked away out of sight; indeed, some would have said that was a blessing. But there it was, hemmed in between the sprawling docks and overflowing tenements of east London. Poverty was endemic; the sewers ran thick with human waste while the local rats gorged themselves until the size of cats.  It was a slum, no other word for it, but to one young woman it was a calling.

Elizabeth Lampkin was her name and it was in the autumn of 1884 that she first walked into a crowded classroom at St Hannards. Her tightly bunched blond hair, an ever present smile – she ‘glowed’ is what they said. Others sneered she reeked of naivety – this wasn’t a place for the likes of her.

Many colleagues chided her. Just keeping these children off the streets and out of trouble was seen as a good day’s work for them. Elizabeth’s crime in their eyes was to allow her charges to dream. A phantom of hope the Governors called her – she insisted she was simply doing the only thing she wanted to do: teach.

It was nearing the end of Elizabeth’s first term at St. Hannards. Christmas was only a week away and heavy snow was beginning to fall. As drenched rats scurried for shelter between the snowflakes a crowd gathered across from the King William pub. The shouts and screams said trouble wasn’t far away – bad trouble.

The bastard had made such a mess that it took a while before they could be sure who it was. Normally he left the face alone – it was his so called trademark – not this time though. When she didn’t turn up for School that day no identification was needed. Everybody knew who it was.

Over 100 years later I sit here reflecting and applauding as the annual Lampkin Medal is presented once again to the teacher deemed to have most inspired others. While Elizabeth’s own life may have been cruelly short her legacy proudly lives on.


These 333 words, based on the frustratingly awkward third definition of the word ‘phantom‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 100 writing challenge. Two things to add. Firstly, this story is completely made up i.e. there is no Lampkin Award. Secondly, I found this prompt extremely frustrating and awkward so apologies if my words aren’t quite as snappy as normal! 

Trifecta 98 – The Morning After

Halloween-Cocktail-Zombie-PunchIt was a heavy night, but I was due. It’d been an absolute brute of a week and I needed to let off steam. I admit it, I needed a bloody good drink, sometimes you just do. Let’s face it, it wasn’t the first time I’d got rat arsed at one of Steve’s dos.

The morning after – it was then that the regrets began to kick in. My head felt worse than shit. The antiseptic tang of neat alcohol coated the surface of every tooth. What the hell was in that last pitcher of Zombie? Can’t believe I downed a pint of the syrupy gloop in one go!

Outside it appeared set to be a beautiful day. Inside was carnage: arms, legs, socks, pants  and bras everywhere; red wine, beer, pretzels and cold pizza trampled into poor Steve’s best Persian. It was ugly. Seemed a good time to make a quick exit.

On the way out I spotted a skinny kid frying bacon; think he may have been one of Steve’s, but I wasn’t sure.

‘Enough for two?’ I asked, in greedy expectation.

Pulling the front door closed I began chewing on my bacon sandwich. A can of coke and two paracetamols completed breakfast. Head felt worse than ever, and the first mouthfuls of bacon didn’t slide down as smoothly as hoped. Perhaps the fresh air would help. It did a bit, not enough.

After hurling my load I left the remnants of my sandwich to the neighbourhood cats. My stomach wasn’t in the mood for food. In truth my body wasn’t in the mood for being awake, but there was somewhere I needed to be.

Thankfully I was parked close by. Slumping into the driver’s seat I belched and broke wind simultaneously – it seemed funny at the time. Giggling hysterically I fumbled for the ignition. Eventually I stabbed the key in and turned the engine over.

That moment was the biggest regret of my morning after; it’s a regret which will haunt me for the rest of my miserable, worthless fucking life.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘zombie‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 98 writing challenge.


Trifecta 97 – A Matter of Priorities

gas station

Another stupid argument with the old lady had me reaching out for a smoke. I’d somehow resisted the craving – a fresh supply of gum would have to suffice. I hated the stuff, made my teeth ache, but the lungs were already on their final warning. The drive to the gas station was calming. On the horizon the snow tipped summit of Mt. Pechakeek reflected the late November sun; the winter air was icy fresh. I loved this time of year.

Filling up I’d resolved to make my peace with Vicky. I’d grovel if needed. We’d head up to the cabin at the weekend: a second honeymoon, or would it be the third? Jeesh, I’d lost count. It was a miracle she was still with me. Entering the shop the cashier stared straight at me. More like through me. She seemed to be sweating profusely which was weird considering it was a good 10 below.

The cold mouth of a gun snuggled up tight to the back of my neck.

‘On your knees,’ came a croaky, almost adolescent voice.

Slowly I crouched down. My knees creaked.

There was two of them – both with automatics; both kids. One was Jack Darby – his father was a good friend of mine.

‘This will be over quick as long as nobody does anything stupid,’ shouted the kid I didn’t recognise.

I don’t know why I then said it, but I did.

‘Jack, what are you doing son? This is crazy!’

As Jack glanced my way he bit his lower lip. He was sweating almost as much as the cashier.

‘Shut it, Mister. Don’t need no dumb-ass hero here. Just let them take the frickin’ money!’ said a man cowering in the corner, next to the Diet Coke machine.

The pleading, desperate look in  Jack’s eyes told me today would a bad day to be a hero. I lay back down, face first on the floor. Suddenly I was frightened. All I wanted was to get home to Vicky.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ass , form my entry into the Trifecta 97 writing challenge.