SPORT

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of SPORT…

Hunter !

SPORT

by John Yeo

  Freedom to do as one likes is a hard-won state of mind.   Freedom to enjoy life with the diversification that is Sport.

  Support the team, follow the trials of athletics. Sportsmen and Sportswomen displaying incredible feats of sporting prowess.

  Many levels of entertainment come under the title of a sport.

 To see and experience the horror of a beautiful creature torn to pieces by a pack of snarling angry dogs.

  Such is the fate of some beautiful Stags.

    ‘All in the name of Sport, you know.’

 Then there are Pheasants, the male bird has a colourful plumage, that can only be described as magnificent. Sadly they are shot in their millions. ‘All in the name of Sport, you know. No harm done, they are bred to be shot.’

Wild Ducks are killed by the sporting hunters. These are killed for food and the pleasure of the exhilarating thrill of the hunt. ‘All in the name of Sport you know, culling is essential sometimes.’

The Fox can be a nuisance, randomly killing for the sake of it. Leaving dead carcasses all over the place.

Traditionally the Hunters wear a smart red outfit, mount splendid Horses and follow the Hounds, revelling in bloodshed as a Fox is torn to pieces. ‘All in the name of Sport, you know. No harm done, their death is all part of the fun. The hunt is an established tradition.’  

   Our hard-won freedom of choice can lead to some strange Sporting scenarios.

Pheasant

SHOOT TO KILL

by John Yeo

Grey November, cloudy skies.

Men in rustic clothing

Carrying guns, primed to kill.

Dogs to chase the falling bag,

Many birds will die today

As part of the annual thrill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Crows and Gulls gather

Flock to feed on the slaughter.

Dogs retrieve the balls of feathers,

Beaters create noise to scare the prey,

We will feast on fowl today.

As part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Take aim, pull the trigger, fire!

Missed! Nothing slaughtered, nothing falls.

Bang! Bang! The shotgun speaks again,

Blood spurts from gaping wounds,

Invisible blood on the killer’s hands.

‘I say! How many did you bag today?’

All in the name of sport you know.

~

We feed our friendly garden birds,

We have six feeders at home.

Robins, Blackbirds, Finches, and Tits,

Beautiful creatures, almost tame.

We only eat game birds in season

They are just part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Chicken on Sunday, roast to taste

Eggs for breakfast, boiled or fried?

Turkey for lunch in sandwiches,

During the season we’ll eat a brace

We are bird lovers after all

We take no part in the annual kill.

~

Copyright © Written by John Yeo. All rights reserved.

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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

 

 

 

SKIP

IMG_2725

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?”

Carriage

‘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.

A WINTER’S NIGHT IN THE CITY

A REEDSY PROMPT

IMG_3411

A WINTER’S NIGHT IN THE CITY

by John Yeo

  The time by the clock on the Cathedral spire chimed with three loud sonorous peals, assaulting the night and the eardrums of the lone figure wrapped in a dirty blanket, who was lying almost out of sight in a stone archway.

 In the near vicinity, a loud siren screamed with an urgency as an ambulance sped through the city streets, answering a distress call or transporting a sick or injured person to a hospital.

 A vicious wind, whipped around the tall tower blocks across the way causing a harsh updraft. The rain, correctly forecast by some of the passers-by; the few who took the time to talk had temporarily become slashing sleet. A chilling sleet that quickly turned to icy hard drops that stung the face of the figure lying prone on some sheets of cardboard. Clearly visible was a partially torn off address label that simply had the word Amazon left for all the world to see.

 Suddenly Spot, the dog lying close to this frozen figure gave a low growl and bared his teeth.
  ‘What is it, boy?” Exclaimed Freddy, the sad supine sleeper who was forced to spend his nights out in this unfriendly cold atmosphere. Freddy tried to wet his frozen lips with spittle to enable his words to become audible.
Freddie had suffered a marital breakdown several months before and he was now forced to live on the streets.
Spot gave another louder growl as a four-legged, doglike creature padded past them on the pavement.

  ‘Ah! I can see him.’ Said Freddie to himself, ‘An urban Fox on the prowl for food scraps, you’ll be unlucky here Foxy. We’re both starving, it will be a while until any hopes of food arrive.’

 Soon another sound broke the silence as Karla, a heavily made-up lady of the night stepped out of a taxi that suddenly drew up alongside the curb where Freddie was sleeping. Flicking her long peroxide blonde hair from her eyes, she frowned at Freddie and said,
  ‘Hey there! I brought you a cold hotdog and a cup of coffee. You’d better drink this fast before it turns to ice!’

 A strong smell of cheap perfume wafted into the alcove, mixing and fighting for supremacy over the damp musty smell of unwashed humanity.

  ‘Thanks!’ grunted Freddie, wiping ice crystals from his lips. ‘Are you by any chance an angel?’

Freddie broke the hotdog in half and gave half to the dog.

  ‘Are you kidding? All my flying high is in my dreams. I’ve had a rough night, one of the punters tried to beat me up. If I had a minder I would have been fine, but I don’t believe in encouraging pimps to steal from me.’

   ‘What happened?’ Asked Freddie.

 ‘I kicked him hard between the legs and ran for my life. Goodnight to you, I would invite you home but my husband and the kids are fast asleep up there.’
With that she entered one of the tower blocks across the way, clip-clopping on her outrageous red high heels.

Soon with a sudden silent glare of headlights, two police cars stopped and stationed themselves across the street, right outside Oscar’s, a large nightclub a dozen yards or so away.
  ‘Must be chucking out time Spot, the law has arrived in case of trouble.’
As the club emptied, two bouncers stationed themselves each side of the door, a large crowd of people surged out into the streets at once.

The worldly-wise policemen just sat inside their high visibility police cars watching. They knew it was far too cold for any of the club crowd to hang around causing trouble. A fleet of taxis soon started ferrying the clubbers away and before long silence descended on the city streets again.

Dawn broke and as Freddie was drifting into a fitful dozy state. Spot gave a loud bark as a man in a Salvation Army uniform, wearing the familiar peaked hat greeted him with a friendly grin on his ruddy chilled face.
  ‘Are you OK? I’ve got sandwiches and a hot drink here if you feel like eating.’

 Freddie grabbed the plastic carrier bag and immediately wolfed down a cheese and pickle sandwich. Mouthing his thanks, Freddie sipped the scalding coffee, that burnt his insides as he swallowed the steaming fluid slowly. He wrapped his hands around the outside of the polystyrene cup for warmth. Spot made some hungry doggy noises and Freddie fed him half a cheese and pickle sandwich,

  ‘Thanks be to God and the local supermarket’s largesse,’ said the kindly soldier of the Lord. ‘Are you in need of anything? I can take you to a shelter but I’m afraid dogs aren’t allowed.’

  ‘Then no thanks!’ Freddie replied, ‘I go nowhere without Spot, he’s my constant companion.’

  ‘I understand,’ replied the kindly man, ‘Here’s an address where you can get help in the morning, even with Spot staying with you for a short while.’

  ‘Thanks again,’ answered Freddie. “Goodbye!’

A road sweeping vehicle trundled by, with large brushes that swept up most of the detritus left in the road by the clubbers who seemed to consume vast quantities of fast food washed down with cans of drink and coffee.

Morning broke as the thick clouds in the sky lightened slightly. The persistent rain and sleet had stopped now. Freddie dragged himself to his feet and picked up his crutch. He rolled up his sleeping bag and his blanket and packed them into a large canvas bag.
He headed for the local hamburger restaurant where he could use the toilets and clean himself up a bit if the staff didn’t notice that he hadn’t purchased anything.
He tied up Spot outside and muttered, ‘Sorry boy, I won’t be long, I have an appointment at the hospital today. Got to get my leg sorted out.’

Spot whimpered and stood guard over the three bags that were all the possessions Freddie owned in the world.

Soon the roads were full of traffic, cars, and buses transporting workers heading for the city offices as another winter’s night in the city drew to a close.

Copyright ©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

JUSTIFICATION

A REEDSY PROMPT

Write a myth to explain a mysterious part of life (such as what happens after death).

Unicorns

Image Courtesy of pixabay.com

JUSTIFICATION

by John Yeo

 

  I heard it from my Father, who heard it from his Father. The origins of the tale go far back in the mists of time. Apparently, the saying goes that a horse with a horn situated in his nasal area, actually raised his head and spoke. Of course at that particular period in time, nobody understood what he had tried to say.

The Shaman, as the wisest person present, led the creature into a small field attached to his hut. A little later a loud whinny was heard by the assembled villagers. A sound that was enough to send shivers down the spines of the hardest-hearted person there.  

Soon the Shaman came into view and sternly said ‘It is finished.’  

Wiping the blood from a huge sacrificial knife, he said. ‘We must end the line of animals that presume to be equal to us by talking.’

The Chief of the village then came forward and addressed his subjects. ‘Kill any horse born with a horn. Especially the creatures that have the temerity to attempt to speak.’

There was a murmur of approval and cheers from the assembled villagers.

 Following this major event, almost every horse born with a horn was slaughtered.

  I say almost, as there were survivors. A group of three of these unusual animals were corralled and secreted in a valley surrounded by dense jungle.

 Danito, who lived with his woman and lifelong partner Marita were isolated from the rest of their neighbours and treated these lovely creatures as equals. Marita even learned to speak to them in a basic but quite fluent way.

 The Shaman was quite sure that the Chief’s instructions had been carried out and the unusual creatures were gone.

 Until the special day, Marita’s Father decided to pay her a visit to celebrate her birthday. Marita knew her Father was a mystical man, although she hadn’t seen him for many years, she welcomed this visit.

 Unbeknown to Danito and Marita the person who arrived was the Shaman, who happened to be Marita’s Father.

  Suffice to say, when the Shaman had greeted his daughter, there was a huge welcome and a feast was consumed. With wine served from the horns of a strange animal.

    ‘What meat is this?’ asked the Shaman.

  Marita replied, ‘This is the meat of our friendly animals who die and return to us supplying an endless supply of food. We have grown to know them and they have proved there is life after death, by returning in many different forms. Sometimes they come back with wings and fly away. Father, there will always be life after death in one form or another, once we leave this husk of a body behind.’

 The Shaman was overwhelmed with this and kept the secret of his daughter’s location.

 So the story of life after death began as the slaughter continued and the creatures came back in many forms. Sometimes absolutely unrecognizable.

  Thus was born the myth that is fine to eat the meat of animals as they always come back to life after death, in another form.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.