THE HIRED HAND

WEDNESDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

Today’s prompt: Write a piece of prose or poetry that uses the words hotel and porcelain skin.

THE HIRED HAND

by John Yeo

   Billy was a drifter, a wanderer, a man for hire. He was of average height and weight, however, he could always be identified by the six-inch long scar on his face running from one ear to the other ear. A hidden identifier was the shape of his head. His skull appeared to be uniquely shaped into a point and he had a long pointed chin. It was rarely, if ever, anyone saw Billy without his battered, mis-shaped, stetson hat on his head. He always had a grubby neckerchief pulled up over the scar and his elongated chin. 

 Jumping awkwardly off the goods train he had boarded when it slowed for some signals two miles outside the small town of Marlon, he took to the road, limping slightly.

 Marlon is a one street town with a general store and a rundown, little-used hotel, opposite the railway goods depot that doubled as the town passenger station.

 Billy entered the bar.

   ‘What’ll you have?’ asked the burly bartender, rubbing his huge wet hands on a grubby apron. He seemed to be deliberately aggressive as he eyed Billy suspiciously.

   Billy smiled and pulled his scarf down slightly. ‘Gimme a beer please! I’m looking for work. Do you know anyone who’s hiring?’

  At this precise moment a tall lady walked in, dressed from head to toe in funereal black. Her blonde hair was scarcely visible under the folds of a jet black hood. Billy couldn’t help admiring her facial skin which was perfectly made up with white makeup, giving the illusion of the pure porcelain skin of an oriental geisha girl.

    ‘Good day Mrs.Harper. Can I get you anything?’  asked the bartender respectfully.

  ‘No thanks Carter, I need to ask a favour. If you hear of anyone looking for work send them to the ranch. We are hiring for our harvest.’

‘Certainly Ma’am, I’ll do just that.’ replied the barman.

With that the lady left the bar.

Billy turned to him and frowned and screamed at the barman

‘Why didn’t you introduce me Carter?’

‘You wouldn’t thank me when you realised you would become a modern slave and sleep in the pigsty. Besides, you work for me now. How does fifty bucks an hour sound with a room thrown in.’

Billy soon became a regular member of the community  and was soon a partner in the business.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

EMPTY REFLECTIONS

MONDAY 16th OCTOBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION 

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..

Prompt ~ EMPTY REFLECTIONS 

EMPTY REFLECTIONS 

by John Yeo

  Jason Spriggs was a third year psychology student at Welchester University. He was 20 years old, 5’ tall, with a shaved head and deep set brown eyes. He was a hard worker and was no stranger to burning the midnight oil. Most of his friends considered him to be good fun and he was a bit of a party animal. He had a habit of burning the candle at both ends.

  It was the weekend and although he had had little sleep Jason woke early in the morning: Suddenly. He vaguely remembered being part of a horrible scenario in his dream. It was difficult to remember exactly what he’d been dreaming about. There was just this terrible feeling of latent fear connected to his actual sense of self. Try as hard as he might, he hardly remembered a single thing that had contributed to this feeling of abject fear. He stumbled out of bed and rushed into the bathroom to answer an urgent call of nature. While he was washing his hands he glanced into the bathroom cabinet mirror. To his horror there was nothing there, just the wall behind him opposite the mirror. He shouted Help! at the top of his voice and Mary and Peter his fellow college housemates came running.

   ‘What’s up Jase?’ enquired Mary in a panic. ‘Why are you screaming?’

   ‘Calm down Jason or you will be arrested for breaching the peace and exceeding the allowable noise levels,’ quipped Peter, ‘They’re extremely hot on noise pollution in this area.’

   Mary tutted and pushed Peter to one side. ‘Don’t be cruel Pete. What’s the problem Jason?’

   Jason rubbed his eyes and looked at them. ‘Am I here? I must be visible to you, but I have lost my reflection. I just looked in the mirror and there’s nothing there. No reflection at all. I had a terrible frightening dream and I just got an empty reflection when I looked in the mirror.’ 

 Peter grinned and reminded him of his consumption of alcohol the night before. ‘Maybe you’re still suffering the effects of the wine and booze you put away yesterday. Have another drink and take another look in the mirror. The hair of the dog technique; never fails to reset the mind. As psychology students we are all aware of the tricks of perception.’

  Mary nodded and rushed off to empty the dregs of several wine bottles that were lying around the house. ‘Here Jase, drink this and look in the mirror again.’ They both knew this was another piece of psychological treatment using the power of suggestion.

 Jason quickly swallowed the contents of the proffered glass and looked in the mirror again.

 At first the glass was cloudy but he was soon relieved to see his reflection slowly appear where there had recently been an empty reflection.

  Peter grinned and said. ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?’

  They all collapsed together, curled up into fits of laughter.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

PRISONERS OF GEOGRAPHY

SUNDAY 15th NOVEMBER 2020

BOOK REVIEW

PRISONERS OF GEOGRAPHY


by Tim Marshall

  This is a book that is extremely well written with the use of some incredibly well researched information. The way the facts are brought together and presented with such wonderful clarity is certain to inform and educate.  

  The book takes an in-depth study of the huge reliance the past and the present world leaders have been forced to place on their geographical locations.

From Russia, through China, the USA, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan, Europe, Japan and Korea, to the Arctic.

  The reasons for many political decisions on World peace and prosperity are explained here. The information forecast, sometimes drifts from the reality of recent events but the forecast for the future prosperity and development of the individual nations is fascinating.

I would thoroughly recommend this book as a great learning experience.

© Written by John Yeo

LEGAL LEFTOVERS

SATURDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/author/sammicoxwriter/

LEGAL LEFTOVERS

by John Yeo

The relationship was a triangle

When the tycoon finally died.

Lawyers, his wife, and his secretary

Were involved in an ongoing wrangle

Eventually the money was spent

There was nothing left to untangle.

(33 WORDS)

THURSDAY 12th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ POETRY.

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..

PROMPT ~ PHOTO ALLERGIC.

IMAGE INSECURITY 

by John Yeo 

Whenever he heard a camera make an ominous click

He shook with anxiety his breathing out of control

 He almost fainted, he was becoming photo allergic. 

~

Every photograph he saw made him physically sick 

His eyes filled with tears, he was hard to console

Whenever he heard a camera make an ominous click.

~

He knew fate had played a cruel despicable trick

A photograph had captured his heart and soul,

He almost fainted, he was becoming photo allergic. 

~

Everyone he met looked a confirmed sceptic 

The frightening feelings built and began to unroll

Whenever he heard a camera make an ominous click.

~

He pleaded with everyone, ‘Please don’t take a pic!

The slightest suggestion took a terrible toll

He almost fainted, he was becoming photo allergic. 

~

His state of mind cut through his feelings to the quick

There was no escape he would scream and cajole

Whenever he heard a camera make an ominous click

He fainted – He was clearly photo allergic.

©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

SHOCK LIFESTYLE CHANGE

TUESDAY 10th OCTOBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

FIRST LINE PROMPT ~ Bacon sandwiches always reminded her….

SHOCK LIFESTYLE CHANGE


by John Yeo

  Bacon sandwiches always reminded her of the time she spent visiting a smallholding in the depths of rural Wales. Philip Jones was a hard worker on his land and managed to come close to self sufficiency in food. 

   My college roommate Patsy, his only daughter, would always extend an invitation to spend time with her family on this beautiful smallholding. Patsy was a tall girl, with long red hair and freckles all over her face and arms. We have always been inseparable friends.

     Patsy stopped me in the quad one beautiful spring day.           ‘Are you coming to stay with us again this year again Belle? you know you are always welcome. Dad always appreciates your help and we can enjoy ourselves in the village again. They still hold the Saturday dance in the village hall.’ 

Patsy had a habit of shortening my name from Annabelle

   “Yes please! I can hardly wait.’

  During the History lecture that afternoon my mind drifted over the coming visit. I was looking forward to playing with the farm animals again, feeding the chickens, walking the dogs and mucking out the pig sty. I had grown quite fond of the friendly  single family pig, I always had time for Priscilla, I swear she was extremely intelligent and I would converse with her while I was in the sty.

   The last two weeks at college passed in a blur, and we were soon on a passenger train speeding through the beautiful green hills and valleys that famously go to make up Wales. We were met at the village railway station by Mr Jones who shook my hand. 

     ‘Hi Annabelle lovely to see you again.’

  He gave his daughter a huge hug and smiling broadly

       ‘Hello Freckles! climb aboard both of you.’ Patsy frowned at this old nickname.

  In contrast to Patsy, Mr Jones was a short, stocky, well muscled man, with an unruly mop of brown hair that he kept in place with a fashionable Barbour hat. He loaded our bags onto the vehicle and we were soon on our way.

   We arrived at the smallholding where we were greeted by Mrs Jones, with a large pot of tea, a huge plateful of bacon sandwiches and buttered scones. Mrs Jones was a beautiful lady, tall with long red hair; it was obvious which side of the family the freckled skin came from.

 The bacon sandwiches were delicious and I couldn’t help enquiring after my friend Priscilla the family pig.

 There was an embarrassed silence as Mr Jones pushed the plate of bacon sandwiches towards me and offered me another sandwich. 

  ‘Such is the reality of life on a self sufficient smallholding.’

It was from that precise moment I became a life-long vegetarian.

©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

UNEXPECTED CONVERSION

MONDAY 9th OCTOBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION
 
PROMPT ~ Describe ways in which your character does or doesn’t show piety.

UNEXPECTED CONVERSION


by John Yeo


  An introduction is called for here. Allow me to introduce the obnoxious Dr. Ferdinand Dickus. A cold-hearted, uncaring scientist without piety of any description whatsoever. The Doctor was a firm believer in the Darwinian Theory of evolution, survival of the fittest. As far as the religious belief in any form of afterlife was concerned, there was no such thing. Dickus was an unbeliever. According to the logical scientific evidence, we were born on this earth with nothing and we would ultimately leave thIs earth with nothing. According to him the object of life on Earth is getting as much out of life on earth and to lIve as comfortably as possible in the process. Therefore he had no charitable inclinations at all.
In total contrast, his Mother, Lady Esmeralda Dickus was a devout Christian who worshipped In the local church and was extremely well regarded by the local community for her charity donations

 One foggy winter morning, he stepped out of his private helicopter onto the helipad located on the roof of his laboratory.

    ‘Good morning Sir!’ said his secretary, who immediately fell into step with him as they headed towards the entrance to the building. 

    ‘Hello Dorinda! What’s new? Is anything pressing?’

    ‘Well Sir, there’s an urgent message for you to contact your Mother as quickly as possible.’

    ‘Thanks Dorinda!’


Minutes  later Doctor Dickus got through to his home phone number which strangely, was answered by the familiar voice of the family doctor.

      ‘Bad news I’m afraid Sir. Your Mother has had a serious stroke and a massive heart attack, she’s extremely close to death. I’m afraid there’s little conventional medicine can do now. Your Mother’s living on borrowed time. Your daughter is present I’ll put her on the line.’

     ‘Thank you!’


    ‘Daddy, I’m scared, please come home. They say the only hope is prayer. We are all desperately on our knees begging for a miracle. Please hurry!’

A few hours later the helicopter landed on the lawn at the family home. Doctor Dickus raced to his Mother’s bedside to discover she had made a miraculous recovery.
Later everyone, including the Doctor, proclaimed her recovery was unexplainable. Most said it was certainly the work of God in answer to the prayers of the family.
  Afterwards in the fullness of time, Doctor Ferdinand Dickus became a devout believer.

©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

MR PEACOCK’S POSSESSIONS

SUNDAY 8th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ BOOK REVIEW 

MR PEACOCK’S POSSESSIONS


by LYDIA SYSON

  Mr Peacock and his wife run a medium sized Inn located in a seaport in New Zealand. The growing family are just about getting by on the profits of the Inn and their six children are in danger of going hungry.
  Along comes a speculator who paints a wonderful picture of a fertile tropical island which he can lay claim to and settle on with the family. Life would be so easy, they would be self-sufficient and he would own the island. In return he would find a buyer for the Inn and Mr Peacock would be able to buy supplies and fund the passage for the family.
  Excitement grows and the family finally arrive, on Monday Island. The stark reality of the sheer rocky cliffs and lack of anything except basics adds to the feeling of dread. Mr Peacock finds he has been cheated when he has opened the bags and boxes of supplies he purchased from the ship’s Captain and finds rotten foodstuffs and flour.

  The family slowly settles in and begIns to overcome these initial setbacks Trading vessels were few and far between, due to the location of the island and the landing difficulties.
  The ship that had dropped them off returned with six South sea islanders to help with the work. At this time Albert, their oldest son disappears. This disappearance and the mystery of the missing  Albert runs right through the book.
The six islanders work hard, settle and begin to slowly integrate. Much suspense and suggestions of racism and slavery run throughout the background of the story.
There Is a vivid description of the birth of the Peacock families seventh child, 

 There is a wonderful amalgamation of Biblical religion and the Mythic mysterious Islanders beliefs. There Is a rich vein of suspense running through the final chapters which makes this book unputdownable 
The culmination of the story is the solution to the mystery of the missing Albert. This leads to a shocking revelation with the finale to a brilliant well written story.


Written by John Yeo

(365 WORDS)

JACKPOT

SATURDAY 7th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/weekend-writing-prompt-182-bequeath/

JACKPOT


by John Yeo


  The Grimm family were seated around a table in the offices of Paul Dregson, the family solicitor, to hear a reading of the will of Garston Grimm. 

 His two children and their mother were surprised to see the attractive blonde-headed secretary of Garston Grimm’s pickle factory. 

 The lawyer began.

‘I leave my entire debt-ridden estate to my secretary, Betsy Carpenter, except for the enclosed envelope the contents of which I bequeath to my wife and children.’

 The envelope contained a single winning jackpot lottery ticket.

(85 WORDS)

MEMORIES

FRIDAY 6th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

PROMPT~ What do you like the least about your father?

MEMORIES


by John Yeo


  This is a very tricky question for me as I don’t remember anything much about my father at all. This account will have to be made up of dribs and drabs of second hand information. I was born towards the end of the second world war when things were absolutely hair-raising. Enemy aircraft were in the throes of non-stop bombing raids on England. I was born in spite of this and I was living with my parents on a Canadian air force base in the depths of rural Surrey. From second hand accounts, I learned later I was wrapped in a shawl or blankets and deposited in a cupboard under the stairs during the aforementioned bombing raids. I can’t begin to imagine the effects of the continuous crash, bang, wallop, on the senses of a tiny baby lying in a cot in darkness under the stairs. 

 My younger brother arrived and the family were obviously surviving in spite of the rigours of living with the continuous uncertainty of war. 

 It will be obvious to anyone who has read this far that my Father doesn’t feature in this account at all. He was obviously a Canadian service-man based in the United Kingdom.

 From all other vague inferences and information that have reached me over the years I’ve discovered my Father returned to Canada at the end of the war leaving my Mother with two children and possibly another child on the way. The family were obviously no longer entitled to stay in military accommodation and in the upheaval following the war, accommodation was scarce. Rooms were finally obtained with a widow with three daughters, and things were overcrowded, with two women and five children in a three bedroom house. Adding to the problems of this overcrowding, was the fact that my Mother was pregnant and would be adding another baby to the household shortly.

  A solution to the overcrowding was arrived at through the intervention of the social services and it was arranged that my brother and I would be sent away to a residential home for children. I have always referred to this as a boarding school, as we were fed, educated and taken care of under the auspices of the charitable organization who ran the establishment.

. This was the beginning where the seeds of dislike for my Father were planted and this feeling simply grew from a vague feeling in later years.

   What I dislike immensely about my Father is his total disregard of the children he abandoned and his complete inability to find the time or the inclination to trace them, I have since discovered he married again and had at least one more child from this union. I can understand his needing to start a new chapter in his life on his return to Canada, but this will never justify his closing down all previous chapters and shutting the book.

©️ Written by John Yeo