NEW FANGLED BIRTHDAYS

This is a second piece of Flash Fiction I wrote yesterday for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Birthdays.

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Image ~ Courtesy of pixabay.com

NEW FANGLED BIRTHDAYS

by John Yeo

  I will be reaching a milestone age this year and I have been racking my brains about how to celebrate this occasion. I have a loving generous family and some wonderful friends. The main greeting lately has been, “Hi! What would you like for your birthday?”

Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what I would like. We are not poor or extremely wealthy. I can’t think of anything I desperately need. I have enough already with the privilege and the good fortune to have such a nice family and some good dependable friends.

Always one to think out of the box and do the unexpected or the unusual. I have come up with a plan to make this a birthday to share with at least 50 other people.

I want to do exactly the opposite to the norm on this extra special birthday.

I propose to take £100.00 into the local branch of any bank in town and ask them for 50, £2.00 coins.

Then I will walk through the streets of Norwich our nearest city.

For many months I have been shocked to see how many destitute people are begging or sleeping rough on our city streets.

I will then place a £2 coin in their hat or another receptacle they use as part of their attempt to stave off hunger.

I will then smile and say, “It’s my birthday today, have a lovely day!”

I know the usual reasons for not encouraging begging. “Oh, they will only spend it on drink or drugs. You are wasting your time and your money doing something stupid like that!”

My reply to that will be. “What about the people who beg because they are desperately in need? It’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want to.”

 Any £2.00 coins left in my possession at the end of the day will be placed in charity boxes that are usually left in the church, or in many other areas where the needs of the hungry homeless are recognized.

I know at the end of this special day I will have a warm feeling of having done my best to share my birthday widely.

Perhaps I will have started a new fashion where the idea would be to give and not receive gifts on a birthday.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

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A SURFEIT OF ORANGE

This is a piece of Flash Fiction I wrote yesterday for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Orange.
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Image © John and Margaret

 

A SURFEIT OF ORANGE

by John Yeo

 

 The day started with a fantasy flow of colours liquidizing the rising sun’s reflections on the clouds. Reds combining with yellows creating a dominating orange that filled the sky to herald the start of a brand new day.

 

   “I’ll have to get the pupils interested in the distant past by bringing the past back to the present. We need to get the feel of antiquity by enacting the period physically.”

Mr. Smithers, the History master was addressing his dog Pooch. An exercise he frequently carried out since he had lost Matilda, his late wife of 30 years, to the dreadful scourge of Cancer.

 

“Fire in the sky needs the purification of fire on the Earth.”  Intoned the mystical tribal shaman, as he rubbed two pieces of tinder together to create a flame. The members of the community watched spellbound as the fire took hold.

 

 A spark found its way to some bone dry ferns in the outskirts of a small town in Spain. Wild fire instantly took hold and spread fast. Orange flames dominated the fire devastating the growing foliage on the edges of a forest with many species of wildlife, scared and vulnerable. Fleeing the flames, predators, and prey running together, oblivious of everything but survival.

Birds feeding on the orange berries of a Rowan tree flew up with a cloud of fluttering wings above the heat and fumes emitted by the orange flames that incinerated everything in their path.

The orange uniforms of firefighters were highly visible as they lined up, desperately trying to control the blaze and stem the greedy red, yellow and orange flames.

The firefighters gradually brought the blaze under control then still alert, yet relaxed, they took a break under a green tree that showed flashes of a ripe,  remarkable orange fruit. Sweet to taste with luscious fleshy, juice-filled quarters. Orange segments were distributed to the firefighters for much needed liquid refreshment, and to build up reserves of energy.

Meanwhile, an orange emergency helicopter landed on a field surrounding an impressive church, to rescue a heart attack victim.

The rescue personnel rushed to give CPR to the victim, who happened to be the mayor of the local town.

 A service of thanksgiving was performed in the church as the townspeople and the rescue personnel gave thanks to God for the survival of everyone in that tiny community, in the face of wildfire.

 

 Mr. Smithers the history teacher was visualizing the Shaman dressed in a traditional fiery orange loincloth.

 “Yes Pooch, Today, I’ll have to teach them to respect the dangers of fire.”

 

 The day ended with a fantasy flow of fiery colours from the setting sun’s reflections on the clouds. Reds combining with yellows creating a dominating orange that filled the sky at the end of another day, leading to the last day of the future.

 

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Image ©️John and Margaret

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

THROUGH THE PRISM

Prompt…Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

 

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Through the Prism

by John Yeo

   “Quickly Sister Mary: What’s it like? I fancy the ultraviolet light from the sunshine will make me feel so good. Draw the curtains, I can almost taste the wind on my lips. Does the rain really wash away people’s troubles? Sister Clementine was reading to me the other day and the book said water can be holy and miracles have been known to have happened if you bathe in cool clear crystal water.”

  Sally had been bedridden for the past two years of her young life following a strange reaction to an accident. A paraplegic in the days of early Anglo Saxon Britain didn’t have an easy life, even the only child of an important tribal chieftain. The Monastery was charged with her care and she had been brought up in the total care of the Nuns and had never been allowed to leave her room.

   Sister Mary sighed as she quickly drew the curtains.

  “Yes of course Sally. You sound cheery today. Are you feeling better?”

  “I can feel colours and sense beautiful sounds that seem to filter through a window made from diamond glass. The power of this prism reflects the sunshine into a healing rainbow. Please Sister Mary, can I be carried outside to lie in the healing rays of the sun?”

  “I don’t know darling; we will have to ask the Mother Superior and the Healer. If it was my decision I would have to agree and we could make the arrangements immediately.”

  “Please ask them for me! I had a dream of a beautiful storm. A storm that filled the sky with fire and awful crashes of thunder. Cleansing water and eternal fire that burns away pain and drenches the soul in healing power.”

  Sally shouted these words which seemed to bounce off the cruel, cold, hard stone walls.

Sister Mary was shaken at this and cried, “Sally, calm down, I will fetch the Mother Superior and ask her permission for you.”

Then she quickly left the room.

  Almost immediately a bright blue light lit up the room, an ethereal light that touched every corner of the innumerable atoms that made up Sally and her surroundings.

  Sally smiled as she rose from the bed of animal furs and skins and walked away from the monastery. Never looking back and never to be seen again. Search parties were sent out by her Father, desperate to find his Warrior Princess.

 

Copyright ©️Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

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BLISSSFUL BLASPHEMY

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Blissful blasphemy

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

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Blissful Blasphemy

by John Yeo

   Horace stumbled as he entered the local bar and nodded to the landlord.

        “You OK mate?” enquired the landlord anxiously. “You seem to be a bit unsteady on your feet! Careful there Sir. What can I get you?”

Horace spat on the wooden floor and glared at the man behind the bar.

        “I’m OK, I tripped over your bloody carpet. I’ve half a mind to sue your establishment.” was the aggressive retort.

  Horace opened his grubby raincoat to reveal a mud-splattered pair of trousers tied up with string around the waist. He pulled a paper bag from his pocket and removed a bundle of notes, peeling off a tenner, he placed it on the bar and said, “Get me a beer.”

  It was then the landlord was overcome with the odours emanating from Horace’s clothes. Stale beer mingled with many other questionable smells that put him in mind of a refugee from a pig farm.
Two or three other customers in the bar instinctively moved to one side as this horrible odour arose and wafted around the bar.

      “Phew!” exclaimed Alphonse the local car dealer, to his glamorous wife Estelle.
“Drink up my love, let’s get out of here before we catch something nasty. I really don’t know what this place is coming to.”

The landlord then interrupted and addressed Horace, quite bluntly.

      “Get out of here you stinking freak! I refuse to serve you. You are already pissed out of your head.”

At this, Horace let rip with a tirade of curses and threats, beginning and ending with the questionable birthright of obnoxious barstewards.

Alphonse said to his wife Estelle. “Come on darling. Let’s go, we don’t have to put up with this tirade of blasphemous language.”

Then, a voice from the corner of the bar that seemed to come from behind a cloud of smoke piped up.

      “When cursing or profanity is uttered colloquially, it is a sin that can be forgiven as a common sin against decency. Punishment should be meted out in response to the level of harm done.”

The landlord then turned and addressed the stranger in the corner.

      “Father if I put a boot up this filthy mouthed drunks rear as I eject him from the premises, will this be punishment enough for his insolence?”

   “Allow me to speak to the gentleman, I’d like to get to the bottom of this.” Responded the Priest.

     “Go ahead.” said the landlord, “As long as you get rid of him for me.”

      “Excuse me, Sir, I feel you have many problems to be resolved. I noticed your obvious wealth when you left that money on the bar. I would like to offer you a drink of tea at the rectory and a chat.”

With a snarl and another tirade of the vilest blasphemy that had ever come close to assaulting the ears of the Priest. Horace staggered out the door, followed by the landlord who landed the sharpest boot up the oblivious tramps rear end.

A few days later a letter arrived from a firm of city lawyers, containing a summons for the landlord to answer charges of common assault on one Squire Horace Batchelor.

The Priest wasn’t surprised at this turn of events as he was heard to mutter to himself. “Blasphemy can sometimes lead to a state of blissful serenity brought on by the proceeds of ill-gotten gains .”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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ANGEL INVESTOR

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~ ANGEL INVESTOR 

http://bekindrewrite.com

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

ANGEL INVESTOR

by John Yeo

   Billy tightened his coat against the biting cold wind. Winter winds were blasting the trees on the avenue, leaving a trail of leaves and small branches all over the pavement. Billy pulled his knapsack over his shoulder, he wouldn’t be sorry to get to shelter today.
    Billy was officially homeless now, a person of no fixed abode.
Whenever he was asked his address by the innumerable officials and interested parties he would sullenly reply, “NFA.”

    Billy lived in the basement of a large crumbling mansion just outside of town. The locals avoided the place, considering it to be haunted. Rumour had it the mansion’s owner lived abroad. An eccentric millionaire who had bought the place with his wife, who died shortly after. The owner had disappeared and left the place to rot.
Billy seemed undisturbed by the rumours and stayed put, sheltering from the elements in the basement.

      The Postman, Tom Banks was the first to be curious about the empty house, he delivered innumerable letters there and they were mysteriously collected. Once he had bumped into Billy after he had delivered the mail.
“Hi! I guess you have a forwarding address for the owner?”

   “No sorry!” replied Billy. “A chauffeur comes to collect the lot every now and then.”

“Oh! they allow you to stay here rent free then!”

“Yes!” Was Billy’s monosyllabic response.

 An old newspaper blowing down the road caught Billy’s eye. ‘Hey something to read, he thought.’

  The headlines screamed about an unknown startup company that had just patented a new product that would provide endless cheap energy to feed the starving millions in the vulnerable parts of the world.
Billy smiled inwardly as he continued to read the story. Apparently an unknown investor working through a third party had financed the whole deal. Profits from the investors stake were paid into a Swiss bank account. Curiously no one knew who this third person was.
Several new and thriving ethical businesses had received finance from this mysterious investor and the curious business world was desperate to get any information. Apparently rewards were on offer for information.

 Down at the local pub around the corner from the mansion, Jim, the local policeman was chatting to Tom, the postman.

   “A tramp you say, collecting the mail you deliver! Doesn’t sound quite right to me, I might just keep an eye on the place for a while. Let me know if you bump into him again.” said Jim.

   “Sure thing, Jim.”

   Several days later a large 4×4 car with blacked out windows roared up to the old haunted mansion and to the amazement of the hidden watchers. An unkempt old man climbed aboard and the car roared off.

   If the locals were interested before they were openly curious now and a large party gathered at the gates to the mansion with the intention of questioning anyone who came and went.

    Of course no one was ever seen coming or going again and the mystery is still unsolved.

   Six months later the crumbling old mansion was put on the market by a local estate agent and quickly sold for a price well under its market value.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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THE AFTERMATH

The Aftermath 

by John Yeo

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The four walls of a large empty house, can be dreadful to a lady of quality. Since the Admiral had passed on to the high seas of the unknown, his good lady was left high and dry, as it were. Elspeth was terribly upset and it was several months of wearing the required mourning black, and privately drowning her feelings in waves of tears, before she was able to begin to socialise again. Her two children and their families had been wonderful, rallying around and visiting her sporadically, but over the months the visits became more and more infrequent. Then the terrible, shockingly unbearable, loneliness, began to set in. Every knock at the door of the large four bedroomed, detached house, set well back from the road, sent a jolt of expectation resounding through her very being.

 Elspeth missed Admiral Theo, her dearly beloved husband, tremendously; she missed the sociable rounds of meetings with the officer’s wives and the pomp and ceremony of the Naval get-togethers.

  Elspeth wasn’t strictly a religious person. Devout in her own unique way, she would attend church when the need arose. This always seemed to coincide to the times when her feelings of abject loneliness began to take hold and she needed to reach out for human contact.
 The fact was, Elspeth was on the verge of an unmentionable solution to her myriad problems of lonely heart wrenching solitude. 

 One Sunday, a new face appeared in the pews of the fairly isolated village church and a lady dressed in dramatic black arrived alone. Elspeth immediately approached and introduced herself, sensing a kindred spirit.
  “Hi! I’m Elspeth: You’re new here. A warm welcome to you, come and join me on my pew. We must have a chat after the service. They serve a wonderful cup of tea here.” 
     “Oh! Of course. Thank you so much, I would like that it will be so nice to have someone to talk to. I’m Gill, I have downsized our house and I have moved into a cottage along Honeysuckle Lane.”
     “Welcome Gill.” whispered Elspeth, At that moment the Priest led the choir down the aisle to commence the service.
 Elspeth’s mind was racing during the service, she sensed a friendship forming that could blossom into something that could change her life, rescuing her from the intolerable loneliness she had endured recently.
  The two ladies met and conversed intimately after the service. Finding they had a great deal in common, Gill said.

       “Why don’t you come and have some lunch? You will be welcome to join me before I leave.”
 Elspeth instantly agreed, however her face fell when her new found friends words sank in and she realised the implications.
      “You are leaving!” She interjected quickly. “”Already, it seems you have just arrived. Where are you going?”
       “Oh! I’m going on a long sea cruise to the Caribbean, I don’t believe in letting my sorrows overwhelm me. I intend to take the bull by the horns and live life to the full! We only buried my poor darling, Henry a month ago and it has been such a rush moving house and now getting ready for this cruise. Henry and I talked about going on a cruise a year ago and I know he will be with me in spirit all the way.”
  This stunned Elspeth to the core. ’A cruise! I hadn’t thought of anything like that.’ she mused…. 

Then she thought, ‘Dare I? What would people think of me if I suddenly announced I was off on a cruise? What about the children and my adorable grandchildren? Rags, my faithful four-legged friend is bound to miss me.’ 
Then she was about to speak, when Gill suddenly said.

     “Why don’t you join me? I am sure the cruise line could find room for you. They have some spare cabins and we don’t leave for a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to make some fast arrangements.”
       “Wow! Let me think things through Gill, I’m tempted to say yes straight away. Anything to get away from this lonely life, however I must speak to the children, although I don’t see much of them these days.”
    “Sure thing.” replied Gill. “Look,” she continued. “I’ll phone the cruise line and see if they will fit you in, I’m sure they will. You speak to your family, and if you are ready. Let’s go and have some fun.”
   Finally these two new friends, who had hit it off so well from the start accompanied one another on that first sea cruise together. Thus began the many highs and lows and scrapes and narrow escapes of our two sailing friends who traversed the world on the high seas together. 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

THE RELENTLESS SEA

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The Relentless Sea

by John Yeo

  Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim.
Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather.
Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.

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  “I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.

   Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.

  Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.

The first of the dead floated in.

  Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look Billy.”

  Then another group of bodies were washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.

The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors.
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty nine lives.
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved