THE MORNING AFTER…….

31 st March 2018 A Reedsy Prompt

“He woke up and all seemed normal. Little did he know that before he’d even had a chance to get out of bed, he would become the subject of a prank.”

~~~

First of April

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

by John Yeo

   March had stormed through to a windswept close with frost and snow combined. They say a whole generation of unwanted bugs and vermin die as a result of a harsh frost. The parents are unable to forage for food and the young die off. This is Nature’s way of culling the overpopulation and striking a balance. Extreme but effective, clearly a supreme example of survival of the fittest in action. Scooter Danes was a smallholder and a budding pig farmer, he sighed as he did the rounds of his smallholding, feeding and checking on the animals. Scooter was a hard worker, a broad-shouldered man of medium height, whose most distinguishing feature was his head, which had a curious shape with a protruding forehead that was absolutely devoid of hair. Scooter worked tirelessly to make ends meet. He was well known in the community for his sense of humour and his laid back style of leaving the unimportant things to chance.
Scooter sighed again and thought, ‘At least I can feed the dead rats and other vermin to the flocks of local scavenging crows. The vermin are so hungry at the moment they make no attempt to conceal their whereabouts.’ Scooter loosed off a couple of blasts from his trusty shotgun and picked off a few of the blighters who were busily engaged in making a meal of his overwinter greens.
  Violet, his young wife appeared at the cottage door and called to him, ‘Come inside Scoot, your meal is on the table, it’ll get cold if you don’t come in soon.’
       ‘Coming Vi! I’m starving hungry, this weather really does give me an appetite.’
Violet straightened her pink striped apron and put her hands on her extremely generous hips. She was a comely woman in every sense of the word, a typical farmer’s wife who never stopped working from dawn to dusk. Flicking a few strands of her loose greying blonde hair from her eyes, she grinned as she said. ‘ Charles from Willow tree farm telephoned to ask if you would be going for your usual pint in the Crown tonight.’

      ‘Of course, I will my darling, ‘ replied Scooter smiling broadly, ‘I never miss my usual pint of draught ale with the lads.’

    ‘That’s what I told him, now eat the farmhouse stew, it will warm you up before you go out.’

  Later that evening, Scooter joined his pals Chas, Mick, Pete and Phil in the local. They had all grown up together in the area and they were firm friends.
Chas was his nearest neighbour, who lived on the next small holding to his, a friendly man who always had a good word to say about everyone else. Unlike Scooter, who had his own way with words when he put a slant on reality to the detriment of anyone who displeased him.
  Mick and Phil were firm friends who worked for the same building firm together and shared a lot of common interests. Pete was the joker in the pack, a short man with a huge personality. A local builder, he had built a thriving business from scratch and often kept Mick and Phil in work.
    Scooter was warmly welcomed by everyone, especially Pete who was secretively grinning as he chatted with everyone.
  Scooter immediately took his position in front of a brightly illuminated one-armed-bandit and began feeding £1.00 coins in. Ever since he had hit the jackpot some months ago he was hooked, chasing money he had been piling into these machines ever since.
Pete and Mick sidled up alongside him and Pete grinning broadly handed him an envelope.
     ‘We’ve had a bit of luck Scooter, our syndicate has won a nice sum on the Lottery. This is a copy of the letter confirming the win. The cheque hasn’t been cleared yet but I intend to post cheques for the winners through everyone’s letterboxes first thing in the morning.’

    ‘The drinks are on me!’ Exclaimed Scooter excitedly, but he was a little disappointed when the rest of his pals declined. Except for Pete who accepted a double scotch and Scooter joined him in a toast.

   The evening passed swiftly and Scooter wended his way back to his cottage and was soon fast asleep.

   The next day he was up with the lark. To his delight, there was an envelope lying on the doormat. Without opening it he rushed into the lounge and hugged Violet. ‘Our lucks changed Vi! This envelope contains the answer to all our worries’.

  Violet opened the envelope to find two words boldly emblazoned across a dummy cheque. APRIL FOOL.
Scooter then realized the horrible truth, it was April 1st and he had been the victim of a cruel prank.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

 

 

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INFERIORITY COMPLEX

 

 

J.K.ALLEN Friday prompt
@hijinkswriter

Happy Fiction Friday! Here’s your prompt:
You finally build up the courage to talk to that cute someone you see every day on the bus. Their face turns dark as they respond, “You shouldn’t be able to see me.”
Happy writing!

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INFERIORITY COMPLEX

by John Yeo

 It’s raining hard this morning with a strong wind that keeps trying hard to blow my umbrella inside out. It’s a good job I don’t have far to go to the bus stop. I turn the collar up on my raincoat, this helps a bit to keep my neck warm and dry. Glancing at the time on my iPhone I see I am right on time the usual crowd of commuters is gathered at the bus stop. Most of them crammed into the bus shelter. I smile and nod at some of the more familiar faces.
   A smartly dressed young man pushes back into the shelter to allow me room to squeeze inside, much to the chagrin of old sourpuss who has to suffer the indignity of actual bodily contact with a couple of other commuters. She rewards the young man with a look of pure hatred, even though I have been traveling on this route for a year, old sourpuss would never deign to acknowledge my existence. The young man, who wears a thin gold earring, then acts in a totally unexpected way and pokes his tongue out at the tall grey-haired elderly lady.
    A look of shock covers the face of old sourpuss as she angrily turns her face away.
I have an added incentive to make sure I get the usual bus. I have been admiring a certain pretty young woman for several months now. She usually gets aboard the bus at the next stop after I board the bus and she always gets off at the stop before mine outside the private hospital.
    I have never seen such an attractive person in my life before, she is so adorably beautiful I get shy and unsure of myself whenever I see her. I have noticed she never speaks to anyone and no one else seems to know her. I wonder how I can ever pluck up enough courage to break the ice and to introduce myself to her.
    I choose a seat near the entrance to the bus where I knew I was sure to catch her eye as she entered the bus. I had a vague plan in my mind that may give me the opportunity to break the ice and have a chat with her. The rain was still pouring down when the bus reached the next stop, where the cute young lady usually gets on board. The bus came to a stop and three passengers boarded together. A young couple got on first and there was a few minutes delay as the young man began fishing for some change from his pocket while his wife and the bus driver patiently waited.
    Finally with a grin followed by a laugh the couple took their seats on the bus.
Then came the moment I had been waiting for when my dream lady got on the bus. She shook the raindrops off her red umbrella and placed her ticket on the automatic digital charging icon. Her long blond hair was tied up in a ponytail hanging behind her. As she walked by my seat I got up with a paperback book in my hand, ‘Is this yours?’ I asked, ‘Only I found it on the seat you sat in after you had got off the bus yesterday.’

   I was taken aback as the young woman’s face darkened with a horrified surprise. ‘You shouldn’t be able to see me, I am an alien from a different world than you. I must exist in your imagination. No one ever takes any notice of me or pays any attention to me. That’s why I attend the hospital for treatment every day. Are you a patient there?’

   I shook my head and backed away in stunned surprise, I smiled at her as she got off the bus at the private Psychiatric hospital. I still think she is a dream on legs, a figment of my imagination or not.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN

J.K. Allen @hijinkswriter

Here’s today’s Fiction Friday prompt:
In the future, virtual reality has surged. One of the more controversial uses is in prisons. Whatever crime you committed you have to relive from your victim’s point of view. It’s your first day in prison and you’re terrified because of what you did.

~~~~~

virtual perception-3110810_960_720virtual-reality-3039745_960_720ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN

by John Yeo

I had put up a strong defense and my lawyer had almost worked a miracle and got me off of the charges. I was shocked when I heard the Judge’s sentence. There was a catch to the decision, I would either have to serve 25 years or this could be reduced to 5 years if I agreed to undergo a new virtual reality procedure. This would entail reliving the crime through the eyes and feelings of the victim. I thought this would be quite easy as I have never had a care what that dirty jumped-up idiot thought at all. I agreed instantly.

  It was with a loud ominous clang the doors of the prison closed behind me. When I entered. I was handcuffed to a tall overweight prison officer who manhandled me into a reception area where after going through the usual formalities, I was soon on my way to a special wing of the prison where I would be completing my sentence.
It was here I met my room-mate Sydney.
    ‘Hi! I’m George,’ I said grinning as I introduced myself. This should be easy, a nice cushy billet in the hospital pretending to comply with all this VR nonsense.’
My new friends face changed visibly as a look of horror replaced the welcoming look he had previously displayed.

    ‘Hello George, I’m Sydney, I’ve been here for a whole year now. I’m not kidding you when I say I wish I had taken the alternative option. This is the scariest thing I have ever done. I killed a neighbour who got on my nerves. They make you experience every single tiny emotion your victim went through when you killed him. Every day the VR machine repeats the feelings repetitively until you will be praying to share the death in reality. What are you here for?’

  I stepped back shocked when I heard this. ‘I killed a man who was abusing my daughter. What do you mean about reliving the crime over and over from his point of view? I just gave the dirty pervert what he deserved. I took the shorter sentence as I thought it would be easy.’

   ‘That’s what I thought too George but reversing roles is frightening, every little fear and emotion your victim felt will be experienced by you. This is absolute torture.’  Sydney had visibly aged in seconds while he was describing his treatment and his mental state.

 George began to feel afraid of what was in store for him, he had made sure the pervert suffered before he had killed him. There was no way he wanted to go through any of that.

   ‘Sydney you’ve got to help me is there any way I can change my mind? Can I appeal to the authorities? I’m scared of what those men in white coats will do to me.’

   ‘Sorry George, there’s no way out of this, you will have to suffer the fate of the pervert you killed, over and over again. Believe me, I’ve tried many times in many ways. There’s no escape.’

George put his head in his hands and burst out crying.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

SKIP

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

RANDOM FLASH FICTION

SKIP

by John Yeo

  The stick was thrown as far as the strength of my human arm would allow. A small bundle of fur would race along the grassy parkland to retrieve it and a well gnawed stick would be returned to my feet, dripping with doggy saliva.
Allow me to introduce Skip, a small, unclassifiable mongrel dog who had somehow managed to attach himself to our family. It must be every young persons dream to have a faithful four-legged friend to take care of. Skip arrived in our house after the family next door decided to emigrate to Australia. Obviously we were chosen by Skip who had seen us coming and going and received many occasional strokes and pats when he was walked by his owners on a daily basis.
Skip was a small light brown velvet coated dog of many variations. The nearest classification one could get for Skip would be a German Shepherd mixed with a Labrador, mingled with a Golden Retriever. The resulting entity was a fearless little bundle of fur intensely loyal and brave.
One memorable day, Skip and I were walking each other in the parkland for our daily exercise. Skip had the habit of disappearing into the undergrowth after chasing birds and any other small creatures that moved.
  Suddenly I was confronted by an unaccompanied Pitbull Terrier who stood in my path growling menacingly. I froze as I had heard many stories of people who had been scarred for life after an attack by these vicious dogs. I wasn’t sure what to do next, I knew it would be fatal to run away so I just stood still, staring the Pitbull Terrier straight in the eyes. The ugly growls became louder and more threatening. I could actually see saliva dribbling from the teeth and jaws of this menacing creature.
  Suddenly there was another fearsome sound as a small bundle of fur leapt from the undergrowth barking loudly and with a frightening growl seized the larger Pitbull Terrier by the throat drawing blood. The two animals went for each other in a cloud of dust and swirling pieces of fur. Skip bravely stood his ground and I could see he was actually beginning to wear the larger dog down. Then after a few minutes that seemed to drag on into hours, the Pitbull Terrier was beginning to get the better of the brave little mongrel.

   With a shout a young man appeared, carrying a dogs lead. ‘Sampson’ here. The Pitbull let go of Skip’s foreleg and answered the call.
I rushed to pick up my poor brave companion and not stopping to talk to the owner of the Pitbull, I quickly made my way to the local Vet.
Sadly Skip lost a leg, but the Vet managed to stem the blood and save my faithful friends life.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

 I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Fools.

Bottom in the Dream

A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

by John Yeo
  

 

    It was a rather special afternoon at the village drama society, all the members were holding their breath in anticipation. Today was casting day for a performance at the local theatre, rumour had it that some celebrity guests would be attending the auditions. 
The play we would be performing was to be William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
 I had reluctantly joined the West Chester drama society at the behest of my dear wife Penelope, who is a regular performer. This was to be a first, I have never acted in my life before and I was feeling incredibly nervous about the prospect. I gingerly made myself known to the other members of the group as we entered, The Leering Donkey, a local pub.

     ‘Hello everyone, I’m Norman, nice to meet you all.’

There were several nods and smiles of welcome and approval from the assembled members of the drama group.

I was a bit unnerved when a tall young man came bustling up and said;  ‘Hi and welcome I’m Lawrence. Wow! You will be perfect for the role of Nick. Penelope darling! Well done; your husband will be perfect for the role I have in mind.’

 ‘Nick?’ I asked, ’I don’t remember a character by the name of Nick in Midsummer Night’s Dream. I read the play last night at home!’

Lawrence smiled and said, ’Don’t worry Norman, the character you have been selected for has an important role to play! I think you will be perfect for the role of Nick Bottom. A very sought after role indeed!’

’BOTTOM!” I exclaimed: “You mean the character with an Asses head. The fool?’

 ’Norman this is not just any old fool you will be playing here! Bottom is a very important fool. Out of all the panoply of Shakespeare’s fools Bottom is the finest. I think this role could be the start of a well-revered career: Bottom was one of the leading performers in the Mechanicals. I think you will be perfect for this part. Am I not right Penelope darling?’

 ‘Are you mad? I refuse to get involved with this! Anyway! Who do you think you are calling darling? That’s my wife you are addressing.’ I said, becoming quite annoyed by the sly inferences of this toffee-nosed twit.


   ’Just a theatrical term lovey. It’s a great pity; Won’t you change your mind? I think you would be perfect for the role; I’m sure you would look exactly right playing the character with an asses head.’

 ’Clear off!’ I said walking out of the pub.
 One month later Lawrence and my wife Penelope had set up home together. I swear if I ever wake up from this horrible dream, I will get my revenge.
 Wait until he finds out that Penelope is part Mexican and suffers from Montezuma’s revenge whenever there is a certain variety of food on the table.

 

  Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved


‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’

A REEDSY PROMPT

“I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me?”

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‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’

by John Yeo

……….This remark was addressed to a figure who was just visible lying prone amid the debris under the arches close to the riverbank.
 A tall man was struggling to keep his balance against the strong wind that had whipped up within the last few minutes. He pulled his smart tailored cloak around his shoulders and turned up the brim on his stovepipe hat. A hat and cloak that was rarely ever seen on the streets anywhere this century. A fashion that had long since disappeared into the realms of history.
     ‘That stupid coach driver obviously had no idea of where he was going,’ he thought.   ‘Here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.’
 Charles Dackens was a gentleman farmer, his business had gone well today and he was heading for the Eagle Star, his favourite coach house. Somehow a thick mist had descended from nowhere and the driver had taken a wrong turning. Sadly the lead horse had lost a shoe and the horse-drawn carriage could go no further. The coachman had given him some garbled directions and he was completely lost.

   The day had started roughly for Bengy, he had pains all down his shoulders and in his bones. Harshly, all his days seem to begin this way lately. It hadn’t improved in the hours he had spent on the streets all day. This latest sleeping spot was not up to his usual requirements, here under the arches there were at least ten rough sleepers on any one night. ‘Still, at least there is safety in numbers, unlike my last situation,’ Bengy mused. ‘Those devils were merciless in their drunken taunts, the painful kicks and blows are still ingrained in my memory. I am almost afraid to go to sleep now in case they come around here.’
Bengy jumped at the sound of this voice that seemed to emanate from somewhere in the swirling mists on the street.
‘Eh? What’s that? Who’s there? I have no money, nothing of any value. Please don’t hurt me.’

   Charles Dackens stepped forward and doffed his hat to the prone figure.
   ‘Please don’t be frightened. I said I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me? I find it such a struggle to keep my balance in this high wind, please can you direct me to the Eagle Star coach house. It can’t be far away, I think I took a wrong turning somewhere. I will make it worth your while, I promise you.’

  Bengy regarded this strangely dressed figure sleepily, he had had no sleep so far this wild windy night. The mist was now quite thick and he could barely see the man who was asking the question, but the voice sounded friendly enough. Bengy didn’t feel threatened.
   ‘Sorry Sir, I can’t help you. I don’t get far these days now I’m out of work. Since my dear wife passed away and I started gambling, I’ve lost everything. I could probably lead you to the nearest coach station where you would certainly get directions.’
The stranger said. ‘Thanks my friend, I would gladly make it worth your while. I better introduce myself, I’m Charles, what’s your name?
     ‘Bengy’s my name, I’m sorry if I seemed suspicious, I took a wrong turning sometime ago and I’ve been struggling to keep my balance ever since. I’m the one who desperately needs some help to find my way.’

 At that point, to Bengy’s utter surprise a coach drawn by two magnificent grey horses drew up.

    ‘Ah, there you are Sir! I’ve been searching everywhere for you. I managed to find a blacksmith and I got the horseshoe fixed.’

  Charles Dackens turned to Bengy and said, ‘Jump in Bengy! I’m sure we’ll soon find our way together.’

   Bengy didn’t hesitate, and the coach and horses disappeared into the swirling ever-thickening mist.

Copyright ©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Lambs.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

by John Yeo

   The lake is still at sunset after the wildfowl and the birdlife have gone to roost. Silence replaces the noisy squabbling of the gulls and ducks for food and personal space. Darkness is descending on the shrubs and trees around the banks of the lake as the sun disappears. Nocturnal wildlife will soon be appearing. Owls will be spreading their wings and will be heard hooting in the near trees as they venture out on their hunting forays after dark. Bats can be seen fluttering and searching for insects, using echolocation their powers of ultra-sensitive hearing for guidance. Foxes will soon be on the prowl searching for small mammals in competition with the local neighbourly domestic tomcats who have their own territories to patrol.

    It’s lambing time on the farm that borders the lake and Farmer Wrigglesworth and his wife Lilian have been hard at work all day, with their son James. Lambing is hard work and the family has to endure long hours working from dawn to dusk in the lambing sheds. It’s after dark when danger rears its ugly head in the shape of the nocturnal predators that are always on the prowl. There are just a few predators on sheep these days, foxes, badgers, and large predatory birds, mainly from the crow family. Farmer Wrigglesworth is unable to afford to hire a shepherd to look after the sheep at night and it’s too expensive to permanently keep his whole flock in the lambing sheds. There are electric fences around his two fields designed to go some way to keep the predators at bay. Sadly there are always casualties but on balance, the majority of the new lambs survive.

   Another threat to the smooth running of his business takes the form of human intervention in the form of animal rights organisations. There had been threats from a group in the vicinity recently and there had been an instance of the electrified fence getting tampered with last year. A man had been shocked and the local police had managed to trace him through the local doctors surgery. There was never any proof, even though he was a member of a certain organisation.

  Farmer Wrigglesworth had his own personal views on the meat industry. ‘We work our socks off raising sheep that feed millions of people. The sheep are specially bred to fulfill this function and would never survive in the natural world without our help.’

  Dawn broke with a cacophony of bird calls from around the lake. Farmer Wrigglesworth and Tom were up in the early hours in the lambing shed, Tom was expert at helping the ewes give birth. Over the years he had faced many experiences at lambing time and Farmer Wrigglesworth was extremely proud of his veterinary trained son’s expertise. Tom’s iodine stained hands had saved countless lambs and ewes from a painful death.

   Farmer Wrigglesworth left Tom in the lambing shed and took a walk to his fields with Shep, his trusty sheepdog.

  Shep raced ahead and discovered the grisly remains of two lambs, he was soon barking loudly to alert his master.

  The farmer shook his head sadly, ‘Shep I, must take steps to try harder to control these predators next year.’

  Later in the farmhouse, Lilian produced a large English breakfast for both men who had been up and about hard at work for hours. There had been another telephone threat from an unidentifiable caller purporting to be from an animal rights group.

    ‘Tom we are hated by the few and we feed the many. The jury is out and will always be out on the ethics and morality of how we earn our living.’  Sighed Farmer Wrigglesworth,

‘Meanwhile, let’s get going we have our flock to take care of.’

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Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved