Sometimes when I start these posts I’ll have a look at the number, birthdays, events in history, that sort of thing, to see if it inspires.
I started reading about the year 411 AD and, to be honest, it was very fucking boring. I then found something about the Missing 411 but couldn’t make head nor tail of it as there were more than a thousand, so fuck knows why it was called that. I finally found this doozy – Seemingly if you keep seeing the number 411, it means that you are being taken care of by a divine being from higher realms. Now what that means, I haven’t got a Scooby.
I remember a person who worked with me and was ‘spiritual’ in a very dubious way. They came to me one day and stated, ‘Look, I’m being looked after by an angel’. They had found a white feather where they were sitting. Maybe this could have been an angel??? Who am I to pooh-pooh (I hate that phrase and I haven’t a clue why I used it!) them for believing in this divine protection. Well, I have my reasons. The doors and windows were open and there was a young seagull stuck in the alleyway where our work was. He walked around, screeching and picking at his feathers. I pointed out the seagull…Without mentioning that he may have been the cause (Not sure why I thought he was a he??) and do you know what the daft bastard said…’The young seagull will be fine because my angel is here.’
…I reckon I could have got away with murder that day as a mercy killing!
I began to think on what I believe in – Angels not so much. However…
…Before I relate this event, I do want you to know something. We are a story site and a lot that I write is exaggerated and twisted but not what I am about to tell you. I will even swear on my first love – A litre of Bacardi (Gwen knows and has accepted this for years!) that this is true.
Gwen’s mum died in 1987 a month after Gwen had turned 18. As a lot of folks do, she was looking for answers and went to a few mediums, soothsayers, spiritualists, whatever you want to call them. She did this for a few years. We got married in 1990 and she was still doing this. In 1991 we had the worst year ever. (HAH! Which has now been bombed out by 2022) Our heating blew up. Our window fell out. Our 100 yard boundary wall fell down. And I wrote off the car. Every fucking thing cost us more money than we had.
Anyhow, at this time she went to a spiritualist and a few bits and pieces were said, some right, some wrong and some indifferent.
But when I saw in her eyes that there was something, (Oh – I was in the bar in the hotel where the guy had set up, waiting for her) I asked her.
Seemingly the fellow had said that he didn’t understand why he was looking out from a house and seeing nothing but fields. (Our wall had been pulled down and that was what we were looking at.) Gwen is an old hand at this and she gives nothing away. She even sits on her hands so no-one can see her rings or what type of rings so she just let him speak. He then stated from that house he could see her husband driving and that he was a very safe driver. (Which I am due to my friends three year old kid being killed on a road by a reckless wank!) He then stated that I was in a bad crash…I hadn’t really considered it bad but my tyre blew out, I think the car spun and I ended up in a cow’s field which had an eight foot drop from road to field. The car stayed up ended. But the thing that did make me shiver a wee bit was the roof and the sills either side of the wind-screen. There were barbed wire indents about half an inch deep all around. I honestly don’t know why the car didn’t topple or the barbed wire cut through.
Anyhow my point is, the guy stated that I was being looked after that night because I deserved it. He said that there had been a kill on that road before and that was the guy who was looking out for me.
I must admit, it did put, not so much a shiver through me but a weird feeling. When Gwen told me all this, I got us a drink and raised my glass.
The one thing I know though – I wasn’t saved by a fucking seagull!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, onto this week’s stories.
We have four new writers and one fellow who is now up to story number four.
We welcome all our new writers and another wee nod to Jim Bates, whose tenacity and courtesy we have admired from day one. We are delighted to see him on the site.
As always our initial comments follow.
First up on Monday was Phoebe Mullen whose first story for us was called ‘Beach Walk.’
‘This thing is hell weird!’
‘Active and strange.’
‘Brilliant tension and the weird was good.’
Our next new writer was Spencer Levy with the very descriptively titled, ‘Arm Milk‘.
‘I like that he can be caught out if not careful.’
‘Overall great tone and pace.’
‘Perfect timing regarding the ending.’
Well, that is the angelic posting 411 completed.
Please keep the comments coming. And if you did before and haven’t for a while and fancy coming back, we’ll be delighted to see you!
Just to finish, well before the obscure / shit / brilliant / all of those, music section:
I don’t watch much TV and over the holidays, I watch even less. But ‘Two Doors Down’ is brilliant and I sought it out. But that wasn’t what I want to share (Although seek it out. Maybe a wee tad too much Scottish ideals but it is stunning!)
I’d like to share a line that I heard throughout the festivities. There is also a wee lesson here as per the genius that is Billy Connolly – Never steal a line, always mention who said it and you will still get a laugh. He quoted the late great Chic Murray so many times (That man is as literal as you get) and always told you when he was doing so.
I give you this belter from Brendon O’ Carroll and his amazing creation ‘Mrs Brown’s Boy’s’
Hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and whether or not you did or didn’t, I really do hope that you remember none of it!!
This is Limbo week, the week between Christmas and New Year. It is fucking dire working these days.
Only on three occasions over the past thirty-nine fucking years (Sore point – Really sore point!! And on the 14th November next year, I will warn everyone not to talk to me!!) have I ever had the whole of the holidays off. And the first one with my first job, I had an absolute ball!! On the 27th me and the guys that I worked with went for a game of squash, then snooker, then the rest of the day and night in the legendary pub called ‘Rabbies’. That pub is still there, but it has lost a lot of its panache! It’s now for the older, earlier drinkers. I think how sad it is every morning I’m there.
This year, I have to work in between and I will hate and resent every fucking minute of it! There was a sign-up stating what wacky events were coming up over the festivities and the heading was ‘Fun At Work’ – Well, that’s a fucking contradiction in terms!!
Work is work. If it wasn’t, it would be called ‘play’
Let’s just say that there will have been no Christmas Jumper on me! (Itchy bastarding things)
To be fair, I shouldn’t moan–I think in one of my previous jobs, I went five years working through The Bells. And again, I should be thankful as this is the first year that me and Gwen have been off for Christmas. (One day mind you. She has to work four thirteen hour shifts to get one day off. Here’s a bonus question – Guess who got five days off???
– The selfish bastard who did the rota!!!)
Now before I start typing even more pish, I have been asked to mention a new feature that we are playing around with. We have always had the Saturday Specials, which were maybe not necessarily stories but they were close. We have had on occasion the odd essay sent in and we have enjoyed them but because we didn’t accept them, they were refused. But we’ve decided to give them a try. We are actually going to underplay this a bit as for the love of whatever a god is, we don’t want inundated with ‘The Infuriated’ being furious about dog shit on their pavements or someone being pissed off with the state of their neighbours’ garden. (I want it on the record that I have told my neighbours that I will tidy mine if they are ever wanting to sell!!)
Ranting is fine as long as it is interesting / Funny or a wee tad sick.
Social Commentary is always something that we want to read but make sure that you are being Ironic / Funny (Again), Cutting, Seething but for fuck sake make it interesting.
‘I walk in our park and there are a lot of leaves lying.’
‘I was appalled to see a Tesco Trolley next to the pet shop when Tesco’s is half a mile away.’
‘My water pipes smell.’
‘I don’t think that having a Bookies in The High Street is a good idea.’
‘Would somebody please think of the children?’
‘Parking! Don’t get me started about Parking!’ (And then they fucking start!!!)
‘Trump is a cunt’ (We know!!!)
‘Covid.’ (Nope!! Still too early.)
As always, it is very difficult for us to give examples on what we are looking for, it’s the same as with the stories, we will just know it when we see it.
I don’t think we can really state that this will be a regular feature, it will really just depend on what and when we get anything in.
But what the hell, it’s another challenge for you.
I’ve had a look back and on the Saturday Special feature, we only ever had nine writers in eight years. (Conor Barnes, Tom (With four – Another record!!), Jess N. McLean, Emily Dinova, Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Johnny R Beaver, Alex Ryan, Me and Jahunda) Please tell me if I’ve forgotten anyone!
Unfortunately, not many have continued to submit but at least we still have examples of their work that can be accessed.
Maybe the same will happen with this feature, but who knows???
Normally I’d move onto the reviews of the week’s stories but I will leave that, as, to be honest, I have totally run out of plaudits for Tom Sheehan. Between him and Leila, they probably hold every record on the site.
All I will say is that I hope you all enjoyed Tom’s countdown to his second century of stories. It is a mind-boggling feat!
We wish the great man all the happiness for next year and it is an absolute privilege working with him!
To finish off I suppose that I better mention The New Year. I don’t know what I’ll be doing as Gwen is working night shift from tonight until Monday morning. I may just get blitzed on Absinthe and wait until I wake up on Monday morning–We can celebrate then.
The New Year is actually like drugs or alcohol. It’s alright in moderation, but too much of it becomes a huge magnifying glass that you sit under. It exaggerates your mood. That is all well and good if you are happy but a bit of a pisser if you’re down. And if you are heading back to work over the next few days, there is a very good chance that you will be that way inclined!!
So with that in mind, I give you my New Year Toast:
Always be happy the days you’re not there, cause the days you are, work ruins everything.
I suppose I should also suggest a resolution–Promise yourself to punch the enthusiastic at least once this year.
Cheers folks! All the very best to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!
And lastly, here is some upbeat classical music to bring in The Bells!!
I give you ‘Lieutenant Pigeon’s’ ‘Mouldy Old Dough.’
We have been having quite a cold snap lately which goes hand in hand with the rise to our heating bills. We may have a conspiracy theory here – Maybe the power companies can control the weather and they are in cahoots with the government who want to thin out the weak. So here is my tip to keep warm. Put on an extra jumper and squat in your local MP’s home. Take off the jumper, that was only to get you there, turn up their heating and cultivate love apples. (I had thought of another line here but I think I am in enough trouble with the Kismet Fairy…So squatting and tomato growing it is!!!)
Here we are at Week 400. I’m quite sure I’ll use that number a few times throughout this post.
I honestly can’t believe that we’ve reached this amount of weeks of publication!
It’s just a pity that the hundreds and the anniversary don’t tie in, I think it did on our second year but then dates and weeks and holidays buggered everything up. Our 8th year anniversary will be in a few week’s time, Week 403 on the 19th November.