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24/06/2019
19/06/2019
18/06/2019

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G J Reilly

 

Drabbles

G J Reilly Merits

12 most prolific8 most esteemed

Divine

I felt like the only one who believed. When the comet passed, astronomers said it was one in a million, but I knew.

She was strong; a voice in the crowd that everyone heard. She was bold, kind and outspoken. She preached love and was intolerant of bigotry and violence.

And when She claimed that She was the son of God returned, as promised, She was hounded, derided and persecuted.

And when they finally killed Her, I knew. I knew that God had returned because He gave us our free will, and with it we denounced His most precious gift.


The deal - Jack Dancey, Part 9

Never made it with another gunfighter before. Hell, I never had cause before.She's just like me, 'cept she shoots for the 'other side'. 'I'm sick, Jack,' she tells me after. 'It's a dirty game, an' you an' me are the ones stuck playin'.'Turns out Gabriel gave her the same speech Scratch gave me.She paws the hole she gave me yesterday, though it's healed almost all up. 'Let's make a deal. Just you an' me, right here.'I listen to what she tells me an' mull it over some. 'Sounds good ...' is about all I have to say.


The lamb - Jack Dancey, Part 8

Clancy pours me a drink and I slug it back with a wince.

A slim hand slaps an iron on the bar to my left. There's a golden lamb on the handle. The voice it belongs to orders whiskey and says: 'You holstered your weapon.'

I look up. 'If I'd know I was shootin' at a woman, I wouldn't have drawn at all.'

The Kid snorts. 'Pussy! You're lucky I only had one bullet. We're goin' again tomorrow. Don't be late!'

Just then, Scratch comes by with Gabriel an' I know there's gonna be all hell to pay by sundown.


The Coppertown Kid - Jack Dancey, Part 7

It's five to noon before the Kid takes the street. Just my luck, the clouds part and the glare from the sun casts a shadow on his face.

'It's judgement day, Dancey!' Gabriel cackles from his porch, makin' the snakes in my gut rattle harder.

Kid's stance is like mine. I don't bleed like the livin', so I know somethin's off.

There's a tense pause as the hammer in the tower ratchets back. Then the world goes slow and bullets fly.

Something warm trickles down from my shoulder. The Kid rocks back, too. This ain't how it's supposed to go.


Smart shooter - Jack Dancy, Part 6

'Kid's a real smart shooter, an' no mistake!'

That's Clancy. Four eyes and fingers to match. He was prospector until the mine collapsed. Now he tends bar. He also sets up my matches, since it seems I can't leave town, no matter how hard I try.

'The Coppertown Kid'. It's just a name on a bullet, but the rattlesnakes in my gut are tellin' me different. All I know is, the Kid's got twenty-six kills and don't seem to draw. I've had tougher days, but not many.

'Peace o' cake,' I say, throwing back another shot, fingers quakin' some.


The undertaker - Jack Dancey, Part 5

The undertaker, Gabriel eyeballs me suspiciously. He was old when I was alive, but he sees things the others don't.

'You're a marked man, Dancey!' Those are the only words he's ever said to me. Rumour has it he remembers every box he's ever fit. Perhaps even mine.

The others say his mind's on the turn. I go by Daniels now, but he sees right through me. Every man I put to rest gets an iron cross on the lid of his casket.

My bandolier has his name on a bullet. Scratch must have a thing for the old guy.


Breconridge - Jack Dancey, Part 4

Place hasn't changed much in ten years. That's how long I've been gone, Scratch says.

That job? Gunfighter.

'No catch?'

Scratch laughs hard. 'No catch, Jack. Just do your job an' we'll get by just fine.'

The stage door slams shut, leavin' Scratch curlin' down the brim of his Stetson through the rear window as it speeds away.

There's a gun belt in my room, an' a bandolier o' bullets. Each brass casing has a name etched into it.

Got a brand new Colt, too, with a ring o' brass sixes on the handle. It's gonna be a bad day.


Scratch - Jack Dancey, Part 3

'You Dancin' Jack?' the stranger asks.I tip my hat. It's been a long time since anyone called me that.'I gotta job for you.'His smile is crooked an' sets my teeth on edge. There's somethin' strange about the ridge of his brow that holds the brim of his Stetson a little too high.'What kind o' job?' I ask, starin' back at my warm glass o' whiskey.'I'll explain on the stage. C'mon, up an' at 'em. Name's Scratch by the way.'Scratch. The name rings a bell, I don't know why. Man's boots are just too clean!


The inn at the edge of nowhere - Jack Dancey, Part 2

I look out across the empty wasteland from the wind-worn window, as the paint flecks get lost among the devils of sand.

To the east, the sun rises over the golden pastures of a gated paradise. To the west, tortured souls wander for all eternity.

My room is booked indefinitely. Bad food, bad beer, bad service, bad music. The grandfather clock is stuck at two minutes to noon, ticking and tocking seamless eternity. And here I sit, at the bar, in the inn at the edge of nowhere, waiting for a coach to take me. One way, or the other.


The Gunfighter - Jack Dancey, Part 1

My name is Dancey and, for a while at least, I was the best damn gunfighter in Breconridge.

Yesterday, when the clock struck noon, I drew. My brand new Smith and Wesson shone like the sword of Damocles for a moment, then the world went black.

How was I to know last night's girl was his sister? She must have waxed the chamber while I was asleep.

Well, here I am, standin' at a swing-door - cheap pianola plonking in the dusty bar, with no idea how I got here. Worst part is, the bastard shot clean through my last cigar!


Pennies for the Crossing

"Penny for the Guy!" - They give to children burning effigies.

We arrived the same day, on the same boat. The stench of our bodies filled the rusty hold. Our first view of the city port held so much promise. She was vibrant then.

Later, as doors were closed in our faces, we huddled together for warmth, sharing the crusts you threw away, not giving up the hopes we had brought with us - everything else sold or burned on winter nights.

Now she will leave before me, on Charon's boat. If only someone kind would give me tuppence for her eyes.


Esprit de Corps

'You rank, 'orrible bunch. Look at you! Not a set o' guts between the lotta you!' The Sergeant bellowed. 'Old Boney could come riding over that hill at any moment and catch you lolling. And then where would you be, eh?'

He limped along the parade line. 'Wassa matter? Lost your nerve? No 'esprit de corpse' as the Frenchies would say?'

He continued to rant.

'D'you wanna tell 'im, or shall I?' said Bert.

'Wassat?' said Tom, the Waterloo breeze blowing his form into something less discernible.

'War's been over for two hundred years,' said Bert. 'And so 'ave we!'


The Final Entry

There was quiet.

Grim dawn bore it like a mantle across the world, like no silence before it.

I stood in the mouth of the shelter and drew a breath that stank of rubber, the ashes of the world floating on a sickening breeze.

All alone except for the dancing flames in the city beyond and my own steady heartbeat.

What had I done to deserve this? Why had I alone been spared?

I fingered the key on the chain around my neck, stepping from the rubble of the Whitehouse, knowing of all my sins, this was the most unforgivable.


Jane R. R. M.

It was the night before Christmas,

And all through the house,

Jane R. R. was stirring and clicking her mouse *wink*.

The coffee was dripping into a glass pot, while the author was typing some things she ought not.

There were tales of bad fortune, of monsters and stuff, as she dreamed of the characters' lives she could snuff.

She wrestled with red shirts and nasties galore, and ideas of how to keep readers in awe.

With the plot in her head and her grammar just right, she thought: 'I know, I'll do 'em all ... What a bloody good night!'


Footprints

Trodden into dirt once, the wild mountain flowers of the Koppelberg reappear each year. They advance upon the meadow like children in the Sunday finery of years gone by. In the gentle breeze of spring, they sway and dance in fairy rings and daisy chains and one can almost hear their joy and laughter.

Except in one place.

At the foot of a rocky outcrop, the merriment ceases and bare soil stares solemnly at the sky. Square within its barren bounds, a solitary footprint hints at what happened there, reminding us that while the flowers return, the children never will.


The Day I Knew (That Monsters Were Real)

I looked under the bed, but he wasn’t there. I tried the closet, but he wasn’t there either. Sock drawer? No. Behind the bedroom door, or the curtains? No, no, no. He was gone!

I was old. I was old and he had gone. His claws and fangs and matted fur – the reason I hid under the duvet at night. Gone to rattle some other radiator, or squeak some other floorboard, no doubt.

I miss him sometimes. I miss him because the monsters are real now. I am old and the monsters are real. And there is no going back.


Hell-oween

"Half the night trying to terrify people, and I come away with a bag of sweeties!"

"Chuck us the pralines, love. You know you're allergic."

He handed her the bag. "One woman even said I looked hot. I tell you, Edith, it's not like the old days." He slumped onto the sofa. "I don't think I'll bother next year. I had kids asking for a selfie with me!"

"What on earth for?" Edith chuckled.

"Best devil costume they'd ever seen, apparently."

"Oh, Lucifer," said Edith, "you really ought to find a better time of year to go out collecting souls!"


One In, One Out

It starts with a scream and a slap, life. It's a messy affair, but it's the same for everyone.

And there are rules.

There's one born every minute, so I'm told. But nobody mentions the outs in the same breath as the ins. We forget about the outs - put them in a sub genre all of their own.

Life - it's like a macabre nightclub, and its 'strict dress code'. There's a doorman somewhere keeping score. I can imagine him clicking his counter with joyful abandon.

For every one in, there's always one out ... And there are never, ever any trainers.


An Innocent Mistake

Being a conscientious parent takes time, effort and a LOT of patience. Imagine my confusion when I found my nine year old wandering around the house, chanting:

‘Heart. Lungs. Liver. Spleen. Colon. Heart. Lungs. Liver. Spleen. Colon ...’

Eventually I plucked up the courage to ask. God, I wish I hadn’t.

‘Sophie, what are you up to?’

‘It’s the school fundraiser, dad. Mrs Jenkins needs people to take part.’

‘That’s great. But, er ... why are you stomping around the house chanting body parts?’

‘Oh,’ she said, in that innocent way. ‘Nobody wanted to do the organ recital, so I volunteered!’


Social Suicide

I wrote a piece today. I wrote a piece about getting overlooked.

I wrote a piece about being overlooked - marginalised, generalised, stereotyped.

I wrote a piece about being victimised for daring to have an opinion, for standing up to oppression, for speaking out.

I wrote a piece so powerful that it would rock the foundations of society, a piece that stirs up the emotions, that beats at the chest like a drum.

I wrote a piece today. But you won't ever read it. It's 'unseemly' for me to voice those views. And speaking out would be social suicide, wouldn't it?


Jamie and Jerusalem

Jamie brushed her hair in the mirror and touched up her lippie, her heart beating hard in her chest. She had quite an exciting night in store.

Folding her mother's jam recipe carefully, before slipping it into her handbag, she pulled the front door closed, setting off into the night.

The Women's Institute was a big deal in the village. Everyone she knew had joined. Frankly, she was amazed to have been invited, and by the chairwoman herself, no less. The papers would be full of news in the morning. Just think, Jamie - the first transgender woman in the W.I.


Caretaker

When I found her, her spine was cracked. All but broken, she was a real mess; dirty and dishevelled. Wet from the rain, I dried her carefully, patting her down and laying her near the fire but not so close as to burn her. I wondered what she could tell me. I wondered what her story was, but I didn’t pry until she was ready.

It took a good few days before she was fit enough; but I enjoyed Rebecca’s company immensely, before placing her on the shelf next to my Dickens compendium, whose appendix had been so inexpertly removed.


Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest. That's how the song goes. I'd have thought that, if you peeled them all away, the last man would have his hands on the treasure, and that's where the trouble started.Fifteen men on a dead man's chest. I could laugh at it if it weren't so tragic. Standing here looking at the mess of bodies struggling to get up. They'll find out it was me at the bottom in a moment, with my hand on the ball. What a way to end my rugby career: bottom of the bloody pile, and dead!


Why Rascals Shouldn’t Gloat.

Round and round the ragged rock the rugged rascal wrapped the rope. Repeating words which sprang to mind, he launched his victim from behind. But deft, before his neck was wrung, the rascal’s victim promptly swung. Hand over hand he began to climb. He’d saved his bacon, just in time.

Standing now on rugged ledge, he spied a blade with sharpened edge. Then, creeping round the ragged boulder, he raised the sword to match his shoulder. Whipping round in disbelief, the rascal rushed the weapon thief. But in his haste, or so it’s said, the rugged rascal lost his head.


A Chance Meeting

Their eyes didn’t meet across a crowded room. It was quite the opposite. The space between them couldn’t have been any less crowded. It was definitely not like it is in the movies.

I wonder if they were aware of each other before they met? There must have been a mutual attraction, or else they would never have come together. It was one of those singular events that really … rocked the world, when you think about it.

Forget Shakespeare or Keats. How can anything be as romantic as the chance meeting of two sub-atomic particles across an empty void?


In Season (or over the fence)

'It's no good. It's too big!'

'Push harder then, go on.'

'I can't push any harder, I've got no leverage.'

'What about lubrication? We could try some Vaseline.'

'The box definitely says not to use Vaseline; it damages the rubber. It's got to be water based.'

'Well, would it help if I stretch the opening a bit?'

'Might do.'

'Alright. One ... Two ... Three, push!'

'Nnnngh ... No! I'm worried if I push any harder, I'm going to hurt you.'

'Um ... Are you sure you've got it in the right hole?'

'There's only one hole for the regulator on a barbecue, love!'


Saturday

"How was your week?"

"Alright," He said, pouring Himself a drink. "Busy, but I've managed to get it done."

"That's nice. Let me get supper on, and you can tell me all about it."

"There's not much to tell," He said. "It's all gone according to plan."

She looked up from the stove. "What about Adam? How's he doing now?"

He swallowed His drink and crunched on the ice. "Much better now that he's got company."

"That's nice, Dear. Got any plans for next week?"

"Yes. I'm going to take tomorrow off, but I've got this great idea for a book!"


See me.

I see the sun. It feels warm on my face and makes my skin tingle.

I see the grass. It's soft on my feet and the scent of it tickles my nose.

I see the birds in the trees. Their song is music to my ears and the swish-brushing of the leaves comforts me.

I see the woman I love. Her perfume excites me. Her breath in my ear makes me shiver.

I see my baby boy. His nose wrinkles and his lips curl when I hold him.

I see you. Staring at the blind man; hoping he won't notice.


Hyde and Seek

"Twenty One, Twenty Two ..."

I like games. I like being "It". Today it's hide and seek with Jack and Jill. Those aren't their proper names, but it's what I call them, because they're always together.

"Twenty Three, Twenty Four ..."

I can hear them trying to hide upstairs. I'm good at hide and seek. Jack's in the front bedroom. Jill's in the wardrobe, but they think I don't know.

We're playing at Jill's house. I like Jill's house. I was here the other day.

"Twenty Six, Seven, Eight. Ninety Nine. One Hundred!"

I've got my favourite knife.

"Coming, ready or not!"


Best bib and tucker.

A gentleman always opens a door for a lady.

I remember when we were courting. I had the Anglia then. Best bib and tucker. I looked the business.

When we got to the restaurant, I opened the door. I held the chair for her to sit. When we went to the pictures, I held the door.

I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow.

But for now, here I am. Best bib and tucker. I let myself out of the passenger side, walk slowly to the back of the hearse, and insist on opening the door for her, one last time.


The Glastonbury Evasion

Sitting here, hunched and shivering, legs numb, sweating. I don't know how long I've been here, but if anyone notices, it'll be the end of me.

The stench is filling my nostrils now, the noise coming from beyond the wall is deafening, but still I dare not move from here. If anyone sees me ... it's over.

The numb in my legs turns to hurt, but I daren't stretch them. Someone passes by and I hold my breath, hoping they don't notice.

Sensing my last chance, I shuffle into the cubicle next door, relieved at the sight of fresh toilet paper.


Sahara

"How did the Nile come to be?

When the world was still flat, Sahara walked the walls of her father's palace, mourning the loss of her fiancée, Prince Nile. Her great love had died in a battle that lasted an age.

Inconsolable with grief, she cried a billion tears, that covered the valley where he was buried, until it overflowed.

Refusing to eat or drink, she eventually joined him at the oasis.

To this day her desiccated body still rests at the palace, her arm outstretched, clutching his hand in hers.

Each year, their love blossoms anew, renewing their vows."


Table for three.

I haven't seen my best mate in forever. Now he's got summat to say.

"How d'you do it?" I ask.

"Do what?"

"Surround yourself with beautiful women."

"Dunno," my best friend replies. "It's not like I try."

A waiter comes by and drops a tray of drinks at the table. For some reason, he pulls up the empty chair, and sits.

My best mate wiggles his eyebrows at me, and says, "This is Craig." And I finally get what he wants to talk to me about. Not that it bothers me any; he's been my best mate since junior school.


Morning

Usually I love mornings. It's the way the light streams in through the curtains and plays on the wooden furniture. Normally I'd open the window and take a lungful of air, but today it tastes stale and it's dark outside. I can hear workmen. Their graphic conversation reminds me of the dream I've just had. I used to dream about nice things, but since the accident it's been nothing but flashbacks. One of them tells the other a joke and I laugh at it.

Deciding it's time for breakfast, I raise my head, and bump it on the coffin lid.


Erotic Friction

She stands there and lets me stare at her for hours. Her legs are shapely and she curves in all the right places. She is perfect for me.

She lets me dress her. Sometimes I choose soft linens, sometimes I choose satins, but always the best.

We've had our wrinkles, but when it's hot, it's "hot". Usually it's just a quick morning fumble. I like it best though, when she lets me caress her for hours, murmuring gently as I press my weight against her, building to a crescendo of heat and sweat.

God, I love my ironing board.