A WINTER’S NIGHT IN THE CITY

A REEDSY PROMPT

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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 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.

 

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MUSED MOURNING

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Mused Mourning

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MUSED MOURNING

by John Yeo

The black-edged cards were delivered to many friends and family in distant parts, announcing the sad news, with the date and time of the funeral.
The deceased man’s wife had tears in her eyes, as she checked the wording.
The children of the couple, rallied round her, sympathetically consoling her, while holding back their personal tears.
There was no positive response over the next few days, just guarded replies expressing deepest sympathy.

The day of the funeral arrived and the dead man’s wishes were followed as the service in the little village church took place in his desired format.

We were gathered around the grave. Thirty people, composed of the close family and friends of the deceased, stood back as the priest mouthed the last rites. Some were openly crying as the poetic words were expressed over the remains of someone who was once a respected member this small community.

My mind drifted over the life of this unusual person.
His childhood spent in an unsettling wartime environment. Followed by a spell in a reasonably happy home, with brothers and then newly acquired stepsisters.
Then came Boarding school and the trials of learning in a regimented environment.

Youth, with the challenging teenage years, and the swinging sixties, with blue jeans and rock and roll. Girls and dances: Everlasting love, followed by several broken hearted partings.

Love and marriage, fulfilled with happy children and the many ups and downs of
a successful career, followed by a happy retirement.

My mind continued to rove over the peaks and troughs of this familiar man’s life.

How could he have found the dream, and lived with peace and contentment having experienced so many peaks and troughs?

My inner self, placed myself forward in time. Would my life’s end reflect the life I have led, or would my demise be just another death, mourned by the few, and forgotten by the many?

Perhaps if I follow my path through life and take life as it arrives?
My mind continued to drift, musing over the obvious realization that a life lived has already passed. The past is fixed and unchanging.

I will certainly live life while I have a life to live.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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MUSICAL CHAIR

A prompt response for  Inspiration Monday ~ MUSICAL CHAIR

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MUSICAL CHAIR


by John Yeo 



The natural sounds are music to my ear
Resounding round my comfortable chair,
My life will begin and end as I sit here.

The magic of the sound swirls far and near,
Harmony soaking through melodic air;
The natural sounds are music to my ear.

Smooth melodies drifting sweetly clear,
Sounds around my chair answer a prayer;
My life will begin and end as I sit here.

Life becomes love becomes music clear;
A dreamy soulful symphony where
The natural sounds are music to my ear.

Trance becomes a pre-hypnotic tear,
Memories sing of a future I will share
My life will begin and end as I sit here.

The music with my chair wings steer
Mind to crystal clarity without care.
The natural sounds are music to my ear
My life will begin and end as I sit here. 



Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

JANUARY BLUES

This article  was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of January Blues

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret ~All rights reserved

JANUARY BLUES

Sowing the Seeds of Recovery

by John Yeo

    Uplifting Christmas carols and music. Sparkling, colourful lights have now been replaced with  the shock of the after-effects, and the  cold gray  winter weather of January.

   A moment of taking stock, counting the cost of the revels that have gone before.

  This time of the year can be a lonely time after the celebrations are over and the family have all left and gone their separate ways

  We plan to visit several people, neighbours, and friends who we know will appreciate a chat and a few moments of company. A cheery word in the right ear can bring magic to a sufferer of January blues.

  For some, January is a time of reflection on the past year, with high hopes for the future We feel the lowness of mood, that follows the high Christmas cheer, of the celebrations with friends and neighbours.

    January is a month of gloomy darkness.

  Cold, dreary weather,  when the blue of the skies is obscured by gray cloud, midwinter frosts, and freezing temperatures.

  There is a recognized uneasy mood affected disorder around, known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD for short. Light therapy is a way this disorder is treated by exposure to artificial light.  

  Perhaps another way to combat SAD is to bask in the benefit of the light that the enlightenment of the epiphany has revealed, by the special relaxed calmness that can be obtained through prayer and having faith that the future is a mystery that has yet to be solved.

  Another way to chase the blues away is by planning a holiday, this is one of the most popular ways to combat the January blues. Just seeing piles of brochures with photographs of beautiful blue skies,  and impressive surf with waves pounding into some golden sands is certain to lift the most downtrodden spirits.

    Sadly the alluring TV adverts and seductive  brochures, that drop through many of our letterboxes, can actually contribute to a deep feeling of depression, especially when some of us will never have the financial means or health to take advantage of them.

    Again this is a time to be considerate and cautious, with the sure knowledge that things can improve with the reaching out of a warm connecting smile.

  As a gardener and an avid grow-your-own enthusiast on my allotment. Easily the most satisfying, rewarding and entertaining way to spend those long January evenings, is with an enormous pile of seed catalogues and brochures; planning the growing year in advance. I can picture myself in the Spring, sowing tiny minuscule seeds, taking care of the seedlings to promote growth. I can close my eyes and picture an array of wonderful flowers in full bloom. I can picture fresh wholesome tasty vegetables that will bring a smile of satisfaction to my face with the sheer joy of accomplishment.

  The January blues will swiftly become a faint memory as I look into the gardening future.

 “Cheer up my friend Spring will certainly arrive. How are you today?”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

COMFORTABLY NUMB

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A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Comfortably Numb

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COMFORTABLY NUMB

by John Yeo

Henpecked Humphrey is worn down by the demands and blatant unpleasantness brought on by the vulnerability of his wife, Angelique; an invalid who is perhaps not as invalid as he believes. Demanding and cruelly calculating she knows he will never find the courage to leave her. Humphrey, her husband, is a meek, mild-mannered man who always looks on the positive side of any situation and is infrequently rewarded with small favours from this overbearing manipulating monster.

One sunny day Humphrey and Angelique are out walking

“Come along Humphrey! We are falling behind: My legs, even with my stick and my other walking aides will never stand the strain of these hills. You are an impossible man to get along with I will never forget the day after we got married when I had that terrible fall that did irreparable damage to my spine. Are you listening to me or am I talking to myself.”

“Yes Angelique!

“Humphrey! Push harder, we will never keep up if you are going to be lazy. Push the wheelchair harder. Look out there’s a car coming, it may career onto the pavement and kill us both. Look out man!”

“Yes Angelique!”

Just at that moment Bob and Phylis came by, they had just become friendly with Humphrey and Angelique.

“Hello folks!” said Phylis, “How are you both?”

Angelique immediately answered the question. “We’re fine thanks, Humphrey is being a bit difficult at the moment; aren’t you Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then smiled and said; “How are things with you Humphrey?”

“Oh! You’re fine aren’t you Humpy? We are out for a walk taking the air.”

“Yes Angelique!”

Phylis then interjected and said, “Angelique; why don’t us girls have a nice cup of tea in this cafe? I’m sure Humphrey won’t mind, and we can let the boys loose to have a pint in that pub across the road.”

“I’m not sure about that! I need Humphrey here to take care of me at all times, don’t I Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“I’ll look after you while we sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea and a chat Angelique!” said Phylis.

“I’m not sure about that, you like to be with me all the time don’t you Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then said, “It’s OK both, we would hate to come between two lovers who are devoted to each other as you two obviously are. How long have you two lovebirds been married?”

Angelique then immediately responded, “Thirty eight years, we met each other at university didn’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then said with a smile, “That must have been a red letter day in your life Humphrey! Certainly a day to remember.”

“Yes it was,” Angelique answered swiftly, “We are very happy and life is comfortable. Aren’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“Come on then! Humphrey push on or we will be late for our yoga and relaxation session. Goodbye you two; lovely talking to you; we always enjoy a chat. Don’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“Come on then! My legs are getting stiffer by the second. Get a move on Humphrey! Push harder or we will be late.”

“Yes, My Angel”

Bob was stunned at this, as they watched the couple making their way up the hill to the village hall. Humphrey was almost bent double pushing the wheelchair up the hill.

“Phylis that bloke is so worn down he has got past uncomfortable and is numb with shock. Comfortable and numb.”

“Yes Bob, you’re absolutely right. Comfortably numb! I couldn’t have put it better myself.”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

TOUR-de-FARCE

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A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Tour-de-Farce

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TOUR-de-FARCE

by John Yeo

    The caravans were parked in a circle on the village green, strategically encircling a large canvas structure, affectionately known to all as the big top. The circus had come to town!  Overnight the village green was transformed, closed in, with a huge area roped off.

  A siren shattered the calm of the village as a paramedic arrived, just in time to deliver a healthy bonny boy with a powerful pair of lungs.

 Billy arrived, born in a caravan; his arrival coincided just as the evening performance was about to begin. His Mum and Dad were professional Clowns

    Postnatal depression soon kicked in; Billy’s Mum was clearly affected by giving birth. Her husband was sympathetic, although he was suffering from a long-term depression himself.

   The circus was always on tour, village to village, town to town, a different background to get used to all the time.

 Dogs guarded the children while the family worked in the big top. Friends; all circus  performers, Acrobats, Jugglers Tightrope Walkers and Dancers all took responsibility to care for the children.

  The Ringmaster ruled the roost, travelling, always travelling; another week, another town as the circus toured the country.

  Education on the move, Billy attended a different school in every town the circus visited. Mum and Dad taught him all they  knew. How to be funny! How to apply makeup to please the customers.

  Uncle Coco committed suicide by overdosing on antidepressants

  Mum and Dad were more sorrowful than ever. They practiced a new water routine to keep the customers happy. The makeup  told a different story as the painted smiles hide the truth. The matinee audience roared with laughter on the day of Uncle Coco’s funeral.

  Billy found the funeral sad as the hearse delivered the coffin containing Uncle Coco’s remains that were quickly consigned to the flames. Uncle Coco’s ashes travelled through many small towns until the touring circus reached his home where his ashes were ceremoniously buried in the local cemetery.

  Another week another small town, the circus tour was never ending. The big top always full, to bursting.

 Billy began to grow up fast and sharp, he became a quick-witted, sensitive young man, following in his father’s footsteps.

 A very gifted clown who knew how to make people happy with his funny routine.

 Then one sad day in the life of Billy arrived with a tremendous shock, Rover his trusty Labrador dog who, went with him everywhere, died suddenly. Billy was devastated at this turn of events, crying uncontrollably. The time for the show arrived and Billy’s father was desperately trying to calm him. As he applied makeup to Billy’s face, the ringmaster arrived and insisted he take his place in the circus ring.

With these words his, Father sent him to the circus ring.

“Laugh Billy, Laugh! You are a clown to fool around and make people laugh. You will always work in the circus on a perpetual Tour-de-farce. No one will ever understand the tears of a clown.”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

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THE QUESTION

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A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday:  Uncertain Death

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THE QUESTION

by John Yeo

    Mr. Spokes looked at the class and said, “Good Morning class.”

     “Good Morning Sir!” Chorused the assembled group of thirteen-year-olds.

   “Today we will discuss a subject that is closely bound up with everything we say and do in life. We are going to talk about something that most people would think is unmentionable in polite circles. Can anyone make a guess at this subject?”

   Three of the students instantly raised their hands. Mr. Spokes coughed loudly and said.    “Put your hands down if you have come to the answer of sex or sexual relations.” The three hands instantly disappeared. Mr. Spokes looked disappointed; “Can’t anyone here think of anything else?”

   There was a deafening silence until Sammy looking thoughtful said, “Everything else is discussed on the television or on the Internet Sir!”

   “Good thinking Sammy, but not quite everything. What about death? Or to put it more obscurely. What about uncertain death?”

    “Uncertain death?” Said Tommy to Mary, sniggering. “What’s that? My Mum says the only certainty in life is the certainty of death.”

   Mary grinned; she liked Tommy, they had always sat next to each other in school, since the first day they had met each other, only to discover they lived a stone’s throw from each other on the same road.

  “I don’t know what death is. I never think much about death,” she whispered, blushing.

  “Mr. Spokes,”  Tommy said loudly , “What do you mean by uncertain? I’ve heard death certainly comes to all of us. When my Grandma died, Mum says we have all got to die some time. She said Grandma has gone to a better place.”

  Mr. Spokes grinned and said, “You have just uncovered the uncertainty of death Tommy. If your Grandma is dead how can she go to a better place?”

    Sammy then interjected,  “We buried our cat in the garden when it died last year. Tibbles went into a hole in the garden, that wasn’t a better place.”

  Mary who professed not to know anything about death, suddenly asked. “What about Jesus? In Sunday school they say he died and came back. My Auntie believes we never really die.”

  Mr. Spokes smiled and said, ”Some doctors in hospital say, people who have died, have come back to life again!”

  There was silence in the classroom for a few minutes before Mr. Spokes suddenly said.

  “Class we have just discovered the uncertainty of death. Easy really!

  I now want you all to go home and ask your parents and friends the question “How certain is death? Then write an essay on the results. Class dismissed.”

  Tommy grinned at Mary and said, “Maths lesson next, at least that’s a certainty.”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~All rights reserved.

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