The A to Z of Airports

A little something I wrote while killing time at Cape Town airport this afternoon. Big thanks to Rebecca Field for reminding me of a storytelling construct I’d forgotten about!

Airports.

Bloody Airports.

Can’t keep track of how many hours I’ve been here but let’s just say it’s been a few. Delays. Excuses so lame no doubt that they aren’t even bothering to communicate them.

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Regulatory Gremlin

Since Theodore took up residence in my scrotum, life has become somewhat more complex.

“Call me Teddy.”

“I’d rather stick to Theodore if it’s all the same to you.”

“Suit yourself. I’m just trying to make it easier for you.”

“Why on earth would I want things to be easier? Having a miniscule, talking…thing inside my nutsack seems like a perfectly reasonable and normal arrangement.”

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Bob. A Job.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to inform you of my resignation from the position of Acting Junior Vice-Assistant to the Deputy Director of Marketing with immediate effect. I seem to recall something in my original contract about a thirty day notice period but in the spirit of agile management and notwithstanding the fact that I wiped my arse with said document a couple of months back, it’s probably best for all concerned if I slip off quietly into the night.

Go on admit it. You’d love it if I genuinely slipped off into the night. You probably wouldn’t complain too much if I slipped off noisily, say, from a fourteenth-floor window but in the famous words of Mick and the boys…you CAN’T always GET what you WAAAANNNNT.

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In The Face Of Rejection

If you happened to stumble your way through the buffed and shining revolving door to stagger forward to the sanitised, public-facing cubicles of the cover-story building, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all was as it seems.

Except, as we all know, things are rarely so simple.

The smiling helpers ensconced in their shining, plexiglass cocoons are merely a front. A façade. Like a Cuban shopfront on a different continent in a different time.

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Car Crash Television

As befits a man of my advancing years, this will be a quickie.

My week is off to a flier, thanks mostly to the ever wondrous and wonderful people over at Literally Stories who have seen fit to publish another one of my new pieces.

For those of you who’ve read a lot of my stories and blog posts I’m sure you’ll agree that Car Crash Television is a real departure for me. I’ve tried really hard to step away from my usual comfort zone of using flowery prose to expand on weighty and topical themes and challenged myself to write a mostly dialogue-based piece focusing on a bloke moaning about what’s on the TV.

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School Day Blues

“Come on sweetie, we’ve got to get going.”

“Don’t want to. I just want to stay here.”

“I know you do my love but you’ve got to go, and unless you get moving we’re going to be late. You’ll have lots of fun, just you wait and see.”

“No I won’t. I don’t want to go.”

“Angel, I know it’s scary but everyone else will be feeling the same as you. You’ll make new friends so quickly. It really will be OK.”

“Don’t want to make friends. I’ve got my other friends. Why can’t I just play with them instead? All these new ones will just be weird and they won’t like me.”

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Any Crow In A Storm

If you’ve been reading my stories for a little while you’ll probably have guessed that I’m much more comfortable writing dialogue than I am creating characters. There are some exceptions however. Most notably my dear friend Stormcrow.

I read a brilliant story by LT Cater yesterday (that’s your cue to click on his name and go and read it) which got me reminiscing about Stormcrow. The tale (Grindor Comes Back – which you’ve just come back from reading) shares a key similarity with my own – namely that it takes a genre that we have a lot of love for and has a bit of fun with it. Any Crow In A Storm has appeared in a couple of formats on various sites but after delving into the world of Fantastia it felt appropriate to bring old Stormy back home.

And to start thinking up some new adventures for him (yes Diane – I promise to try to best…)

*

At the top of the eastern tower hunched against the wind, the man in black gazed out across the grey, winter waste of his homeland. His strong hands gripped the cold stone of the battlement as further assurance against the restless elements and neither his stance nor his stare wavered.

He was a man of many names. In the hushed, excited tones of children telling ghost stories he was The Darkman. To the men who had battled at his side throughout the surrounding lands he was Nightstrike. His dear, departed mother had referred to him as Wherizzeethistimethelittleshi…

Everyone else called him Stormcrow.

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A Relaxing Weekend Away

“We’re only going away for two nights.”

“I know. And we need to eat, and the kids need to eat, and they need to be entertained, and it might be cold in the evenings and…”

“OK. OK. I get it. I’m just saying we ‘re only going away for two nights.”

“And I’m just saying…never mind. Did you pack his little pup for bedtime?”

“Yes. And a spare toy. And her toys.”

“Helmets for their bikes?”

“Yes. And a soccer ball. And a frisbee. And a golf club and some balls. And a cricket set.”

“Did you organise the drinks?”

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The Generation Of Wonder

“Where are we going?” Tom asks.

“To the canteen.”

“We have a canteen?”

It sits on the southern half of the ninth floor. A dull filling sandwiched between eight floors of grey, baffled cubicles above and seven below. Aside from the obligatory chocolate bar dispenser and dubious coffee machine the canteen is devoid of any trace of a food provisioning service. A single kettle sits at the end of an extended breakfast bar surrounded by five types of tea and no spoons. In the opposite corner, a desperate looking microwave yearns for someone to drop in a coin and turn the dial. A tired looking toaster serves up seven settings of charcoal. Functional tables and chairs litter the remainder of the room. Mercifully the lack of cooking equipment means the bleak fittings are spared their obligatory layer of grease and yet they still feel dirty to the touch; like everything that survives in this place is coated in a congealing layer of unrealised dreams and wasted ambition.

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