25th March 2020 Nice Day for an Ice Cream

Heaven. Friday morning. 

Angel number 4501 is summoned to His Presence, or HP, as he likes to be called.

“I have an important job for you, 4501. There’s a music festival tomorrow in Everyman’s Park.” 

HP’s magnificent voice rolls out, setting clouds, cherubim and seraphim a-tremble. A few feathers shiver and fall off 4501’s wings.

“I was very upset at the amount of sin that went on at the last one – drugs, blasphemy and …” HP lowers his voice and the Heavens still. “… you know, s-e-x that went on.”

4501’s heart leapt in anticipation.

The celestial voice rumbled on. “It will be your mission to point out the error of their ways to these young people, put their feet on a new and better path.”

OK. So it’s Mission Impossible, but I’m going to a music festival.

“Of course, HP. An honour to be chosen. In what guise shall I descend?”

A rock star? A Hell’s Angel? Oh please, not a groupie.

“You will temporarily take over the body of an ice cream salesman called Kevin.”

HP taps his foot and watches through the one way mirror in the sky as 4501 plummets to earth, his heavenly raiment already changing to jeans and a Nirvana tee-shirt.


Hell. Friday afternoon.

His Satanic Highness kneels on the backs of two recently arrived politicians, his backside bare and pulsating with inner evil. A ring of hellfire encircles them, holding back a legion of imps and fiends with singed hair and blistered skin.

“Kiss my arse!” roars HSH. “A day back on earth for whoever braves the flames and kisses my royal arse.”

None are brave enough to risk self imolation until Black Bart steps forward. Seven feet tall, once a grave robber and now an upper level demon, he’s been a thorn in HSH’s side ever since he fell into an open grave and drowned in the seepage.

One almighty leap and he’s through the hellfire, skin smouldering and bubbling, smoke seeping from all his orifices.

Bending at the knee, he kisses the putrefying buttocks before him. 

Beelzebub, as he likes to be called when dealing with the Damned, rears up and points upwards, searing a hole through the charcoal-blackened vaults. 

“Go, Lulu, enjoy your day.”

Black Bart only has time to say, “Lulu? What the f–” before he vanishes in a swirl of silk and Chanel No 5. 


Everyman’s Park.

His Presence watches the materialisation of the ravishing young woman, her modesty barely covered in wisps of green silk.

“You’ve outdone yourself this week, Lucifer.” He prefers the old names to all this high-falutin’ Royal Highness stuff.

The Devil laughs. “Kevin the ice cream seller won’t stand a chance. Shall I make the first move?”

The two deities settle down to their Saturday afternoon game of Celestial Chess. 

Lulu basks under the hot sun and a thought pops into her mind.

I’d kill for an ice cream.

– ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø –

04th March 2020
A small piece of Flash Fiction (less than 100 words) written for a competition. The prompt was to incorporate a Bic lighter. (I won!)

I didn’t mean to hurt her.
It was easy to fall into the habit of shouting at her after a rough day at work, to criticise the meals she cooked, to take her confidence.
It was all useful material for my novel, about a woman who subjugated herself to a domineering man. She was such great inspiration.
Maybe I overdid it. I don’t know.
Today, they found a pile of ashes on a clifftop with a small blue lighter dropped beside them. She burned my novel before making the leap.

Damn. It’ll take weeks to rewrite. But what a great ending

– ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø –

02nd March 2020
Kris Kristofferson has been my favourite singer / poet / writer for most of my adult life. His songs are often whispering along in the background while I’m writing or working on my photographs. I know all the words – they’ve become background noise. Today, though, the words to When I Loved Her began to register in a way they never did before. Kris ends the song with the words, “And I’ll never understand … why I lost her”. So, I thought I ought to help him out.

Well, she didn’t look as pretty as some others I have known
You just called her ugly or, at best, plain
And she wasn’t good at conversation when we were alone
You mean she was boring or you just didn’t listen?
But she had a way of making me believe that I belonged
So she stroked your ego?
And it felt like coming home … when I found her
Were you missng your mother?

‘Cause she seemed to be so proud of me just walking holding hands
It was nice basking in her admiration
And she didn’t think that money was the measure of a man
Didn’t have to buy her presents or take her out
And we seemed to fit together when I held her in my arms
That’s nice, particularly as she was so undemanding
And it left me feeling warm … when I loved her

‘Cause she brightened up the day like the early morning sun
Always agreed with you, made breakfast?
And she made what I was doing seem worthwhile
Praised your work, bigged you up
It’s the closest thing to living that I guess I’ve ever known
Yup, you really had it made
And it made me want to smile … when I loved her

I know some of us were born to cast our fortune to the winds
Is this where you do something for her?
And I guess I’m bound to travel down a road that never ends
No, we’re still talking about you
But I know I’ll never look upon the likes of her again
Why on earth would she leave, oh wait ….
And I’ll never understand … why I lost her

Found and Lost, like something from the Lost Property Office; never once mentioned by name; only referred to as an appendage to Kris. She didn’t get lost, she ran for the hills.

– ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø – ø –

28th February 2020
A short anecdote about a very dear friend, sadly gone ahead.

Albert © Jacqui Jay Grafton

When I first began to forget the names of things (apparently the first thing to go is proper nouns) I swore I would never resort to ‘whatchamacallit’ and ‘thingymajig’; even if it meant a pause in the conversation, I would just wait until the word came. That worked for a while and then the next stage appeared – the word would come to mind but the tongue wouldn’t spit it out and the pauses got longer while mind and tongue had a little domestic to see who would win. Now, sometimes the name of a person doesn’t come at all and I have to admit defeat and move on, only for the elusive name to pop up when I’m talking about something entirely different.

I was talking about books while having lunch with Albert, and he was describing a biography just published in Spanish about an Irish hero / activist (history hasn’t made its mind up which he is yet) from the time of the Easter uprising in 1921. Both of us knew exactly who the biography was about and could regurgitate clues – he was hanged, his first name was Roger etc. – but we couldn’t tell each other what his name was. So we were in the strange position of having a complete conversation about someone without once mentioning his name. We eventually moved on to talk about other things and, in the middle of discussing the pros and cons of the present Government, I suddenly banged the table in triumph and shouted “Casement!”. The cutlery jumped in the air, the wine glasses rocked (oh yes, there was wine) and everyone in the restaurant turned to stare, while a waiter rushed over to see if everything was all right with Sir and Madam.

It was a bit like the Meg Ryan moment in When Harry met Sally.

Only non-sexual.

And geriatric.