Archive | March, 2012


17 Mar


Picking up his jacket, the man reached out to her. “Thanks gorgeous, that was amazing.”

Anna smiled the smile she saved for her clients, kissed him on the cheek and gently coaxed him out of the apartment. What was it with these blokes? They were paying for sex, not love. Didn’t they know her time was valuable? Jesus! If she lingered and whispered sweet-nothings to every swinging dick that came through her door she’d never make any money. Did they really think she thought they were special, that they were the only ones? On a good day she’d see six of them, all of them the same -married, single, with jobs, careers, professions, titles and university accreditation. All of them looking for non-committal, illicit sex, but always yearning for something more – a heartfelt conversation, an emotional connection, the feeling they were wanted for more than just screwing shelves to mortgaged homes, weeding gardens, forty hours a week plus over time. Lawyers, bricklayers, school teachers and mechanics, even the occasional woman. Apparently there were females out there, who despite having the physical accoutrement to score in an convent, preferred the seclusion and security that went along with the services she provided. It made no difference. To Anna money was money; her moment of rehearsed ecstasy was brief but lucrative. As her clients lay gasping on her bed from their exertions, pinning her under their matted chests and heaving bellies, it wasn’t exactly l’amour she was contemplating.

The luxury apartment she’d acquired overlooked the river Ouse; an old bonded-warehouse that’d been turned into yuppie condos back in the eighties. It’d cost a packet and the brand new German automobile parked in the subterranean garage, purchased to accessorize her new found affluence, hadn’t just materialized out of thin air. When people talked about working-girls they didn’t know the half of it! Between escorting and scamming she’d done pretty well for herself. Not bad for a girl who’d left school with three o-levels and a set of double-dees.

As a lass she’d enjoyed plenty of male attention, never having to put her hand in her pocket. Realization quickly dawned upon Anna that her path, thanks to her looks, was paved in gold. Single pot culinary masterpieces in dingy shared accommodation had been exchanged for the fine dining and silk sheets. Sure she’d dated in her teens, but the gooey-eyed, sentimental love songs sung by her boyish lovers where nothing when compared to the overtures of the mature wealthy men prepared to treat her like a princess and pay for the privilege Escorting hadn’t been her first choice. She’d tried to fulfill parental expectation and do the college-thing however, the lure of easy cash in the clubs and bars around the city soon made her reconsider her profession of choice. Weekends stuck in bedsits with mountains of homework were not for her and the quotidian indecent proposals she received offered her the escape from the working class purgatory she so desired.

Anna kept up the pretense of college for a couple of years before committing to apprentice in the oldest profession. She’d told her parents she’d found a job as an air stewardess, allowing her to account for her time away and the money she was earning. She hadn’t found it hard, the life style she led more than made up for the sweaty half-hours she had to endure. Beautiful clothes, perfect make up, fun friends and wild destinations became the norm. It was from this pedestal of feminine invincibility that she’d ventured into black mail; an easy enough transition. Having stepped over one line it was simple enough to leap over another.

Her first mark had been a man who’d approached her in Betty’s Tea-Rooms on the High Street. Not an unusual occurrence- the sexuality she oozed attracted men like lemmings to cliffs. Nice enough fella and judging by the shoes and clothes he was wearing a man of substance. It was the little things she noticed, the expensive watch, the silk tie, the oversized wedding ring. They’d talked, he’d asked her out for drinks and she’d said yes.

Child’s play she’d thought to herself; they made themselves targets. For some reason men who cheat love to talk about their home, their kids, their jobs, and their wives. It was a wonder they cheated in the first place given the conversations that were always so up beat – how lucky, fortunate ,happy, (pick the adjective) they were, and yet here they were trying to get into her knickers as though she kept the crown jewels down there! They’d arranged a rendezvous, set up a time and place to do the deed. It had been easy enough. She’d left him asleep on the bed, rifled his pockets, taken his watch and pocketed the wedding band he’d judiciously laid on the night stand. With his credit card in hand and his driver’s license there was no fear of repercussion. He’d be stupid to call the police, especially with the photograph of his doting family nestled in her handbag.


Frank had been one of the first people she’d really got to know when she arrived in the city, always seemed to be working the doors of the hottest night spots in town. Nice guy, big as a brick-shithouse but always smartly dressed – handsome in a rugged, aggressive kind of way. He’d ushered her past red-ropes, jumped her through crowds and set her on the arms of several different wealthy men. Not being slow on the uptake he’d managed to coerce her into a little business proposition. Didn’t want to muscle in on the escort side of things, wasn’t looking to pimp her out, but there was something they could do together that could make them both a lot of money. Shed accepted an invite for coffee and it was then he’d discussed his plans.

Wiping the cappuccino foam from his top lip Frank leant across the table.“Married fellas, out-of-towners and race-go-ers with money, are always asking me for girls. Not just any girls but something a bit special like you. Offering big money as well. Fellas like that have a reputation to keep and nine times out of ten a family as well. The last thing they need is publicity of the wrong sort.”

The plan was to entice punters into hotels, get them naked and then photograph them in compromising positions. No sex required just a couple of snaps of the punter in his Jockies, Anna in her bra-and-panties and the job was a good-‘un – the money theirs. They’d never know what hit them and they’d pay up every time.  A couple of thousand quid was cheap compared to a divorce and their faces splashed all over the local papers. It almost sounded too good to be true!

The first one she met at the Ebor hotel, told her she was the most beautiful women he’d ever seen. Of course she played the virgin, fluttered her baby-blues and blushed in all the right places. Anna embelished the occasion with the panache of Garbot; with long lingering looks, furtive glances and brushed fingertips. The small felt box he’d slid across the dinner table with the necklace had been his first inducement. He’d later dropped her off, at what he though was her apartment, had his advances rebuked, and his cheek kissed.

Gorgeous in the console light of the parked car she’d taken his hand, “Never on a first date darling. I want you to respect me. I want this to be special.” Worked every time, the idiot would go home and fuck his wife like they were newlyweds in anticipation of their next meeting. The second meeting was always at a hotel, something posh and very public; somewhere there would be no fear of retaliation.

In the room he’d open the wine, while she’d make the excuse to slip into something more comfortable. The sound of a shower running softly and the soft silky inducement for him to take his clothes off would always get the punter down to his y-fronts and socks. Anna would walk in smelling delicious wearing a little something from Victoria’s Secret – classically beautiful but expensively slutty, and then join him on the bed. His arms would barely be around her before the intruder burst from the closet. Frank dressed all in black, with a balaclava on his head and waving a baseball bat was enough to scare the shit out of anybody

“Get off the fucking bed,” screamed Frank. “Now! Off the bed you fucking nonce!”  Standing at the foot of the bed with the club in his hand he was a hard man to refuse. “You too, you fucking slut. Both of you stand over there.” Screamed Frank, pointing his weapon towards the cowering couple. The camera would flash and the john would look for all the world like a naughty school boy caught peeking at dirty pictures rather than the captain of industry or doting husband that he supposedly was.

Despite protestations the camera flashed again. “Shut up and listen you twat! In a few days you’ll receive a call with an amount and a drop-off. Don’t fuck me around or these photos will go around the world. Don’t try and screw me ‘cos I’ve already given instructions to release these should something happen to me. Understand, comprende, capiche?”

The john nodded.

“It’s simple see. You pay the money, shut the fuck up, and these go away.” Frank brandished the camera stared down the client, who would invariably cower behind Anna, and then leave. Left with the client to clean up the pieces Anna would quickly get dressed, promise she’d never see ,or mention him to anybody, and urge him to pay the money.

The money was invariably delivered. The photos and negatives would end up with the John and Anna and Frank would share the rewards. Not a bad line of business, and something they were able to pull off fairly regularly.

Anna looked at the clock on the wall – it was a quarter to ten. She had to get a wiggle on as she was supposed to interview with their latest target, a man called John who was the owner-operator of the Slug and Cabbage, one of the most popular venues in York. According to Frank the man was minted and needed to be relieved of some of his ill-gotten wealth. An easy target; married with a couple of kids he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. Anna would interview for the position of barmaid, something she’d done in the past, and within a couple of weeks worm her way into John’s good graces –although according to Frank it probably wouldn’t take that long. Then using their perfected modus operandi they’d take him down. Frank reckoned he was good for a thousand or five, not the sort of money you could earn on your back or for selling muscle for money on a nightclub door.

She needed to jump in the shower and wash the client of her. She could stillfeel his breath on her neck and his sticky cum was still in her hair. God he was disgusting! It wasn’t as though she was doing it for the money. The man who liked to be tied up, spanked and occasionally pissed on was none other than Inspector Pinkney of the East Yorkshire Constabulary .

She’d first met Pinkney a couple of years ago when he’d busted her on a prostitution scam. She’d been expecting some well-heeled client but instead when she’d answered the door Pinkney had been there. He knew everything and had threatened to take her down the station and bust her. A couple of years in Leeds wasn’t exactly what she’d had planned. Given the crackdown on vice that was going on in the city, especially the clean up around the railway station and Lendel Bridge, there was little chance of leniency. Anna was afraid she’d end up in jail cell with a couple of dykes that would fuck her to within an inch of her life and so the invitation to suck Pinkney’s dick and to make the matter go away seemed preferable.. Of course she’d got on her knees but the inspector hadn’t disappeared and she’d been forced to endure his increasing list of perversions on a regular basis. Pinkney, good to his promise, kept her out of Jail, and on a couple of occasions had managed to get her out of scrapes. Although a literal pain in the arse, he was a good card to have up her sleeve.  If the shit really hit the fan she could always rely on the inspector.

 Anna walked towards the bathroom, picked up her clothes as she went and tossed them on the destroyed bed. Handcuffs and a strap on dildo still lay were she’d left them. She’d tidy up later, she had to get in the shower and get out of there.


Smelling clean and expensive she looked herself up and down in the mirror. The black skirt over sheer stockings and high heels would take his breath away; her bosom threatened to explode through the laced shirt she wore, a hint of pink bra peeked from beneath pristine white. Anna was a vision. John the man she was going to interview with didn’t know it yet, but was already dead meat. He’d be putty in her hands, and in in a couple of weeks she’d be counting his cash. Grabbing her bag and keys she walked toward the door.

The telephone started to ring. Anna was late, she had to get going, she had to be there at twelve and the Slug and Cabbage was on the other side of town. She closed the door to her apartment. The answering machine would pick up, shed get it later, probably just a booking.

The answering machine kicked in. The honey chocolate tones of the gorgeous Helen, Anna’s working name filled the void. “Hi sorry you missed me. Not here right now but if you leave a name and number I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can.”


“Hey Anna, Anna, it’s me Dmitry – pick up the bloody phone!” The sound of a man with an eastern European accent echoed through the room

“Anna it’s Dmitry. I’ll be in town tonight, maybe we can get together baby. Dmitry’s going to make you rich baby. Call me back, I missed you so bad.”

The machine clicked off. The red light on the answering machine pulsed.

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11 Mar


“Life has a funny way of messing with you and putting you in your place. Doesn’t matter what college you did or didn’t go to, the length of your resume or even the veracity of your pedigree; once fate gets her gnashers into you there’s no point in struggling. There’s a plan, you see, however, it’s one that we just aren’t aware of. It ain’t God, it’s not the aliens and it’s certainly not the fairies at the bottom of the garden, and as much as I want to believe in Leprechauns, it ain’t them either…

  Funny little Irish blokes with their pots of gold, rainbows, big buckles and large hats.

 I just can’t force myself to do it! Given society’s p.c. climate, the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow may just be a homosexual reference for something else? Have to be careful these days, can’t just believe in any old rubbish!

 The way I see it there is more to this world than meets the naked eye. Blind as we are at the best of times, without our rose-colored spectacles, the world occasionally offers us a glimpse, a peek behind the curtain – a glitch in the matrix as Neo called it. People see all manner of strange things from spectral entities and dead relatives to whole roman legions marching through the center of town. I mean if you’re going to make something up at least have the courtesy of making it believable. One roman yes, but thirty, dirty, battle-weary Italians? It’s a bit of a stretch, especially the bit about the Italians being battle weary! We’ve all heard the joke bout the Italian tank with thirty six gears; one for forward and thirty five for reverse? But I digress, the Italians aren’t a bad lot – I mean there’s Pizza and other stuff that we can thank them for. Right?

Thing is see, I think we live in different dimensions, different levels of consciousness that we just can’t access. Sure we have the mediums and the Russell Grants of the world who can tell us exactly what’s in our future – but can they really? At the end of the day we see seven colors in a spectrum of infinite color and our hearing range falls within the Mutton-Geoff. No wonder we have such a problem understanding what’s going on around us, we can barely see and hear each other. You’ve probably noticed in most job listings they ask for good communication skills? Given that mankind is tapping a white stick and popping new batteries into its hearing device it’s a wonder the human race made it out of the starter-gate at all!

Fate got a hold of me at an early age. Wasn’t much good at school, but the one thing I could do was color between the lines and cut out correctly – an eye for detail is what the infant-school teachers said. As I progressed through my comprehensive education I discovered that I was also a bit handy with a pencil and a paint brush, to the point that my work was hung all over the school and was winning competitions in the local district. An acclaimed artist, a boy with a future – which was  all very well and gave me a goal but what I really wanted to do was discover buried treasure.

 I grew up with Treasure Island and Burt Lancaster leaping from ship to ship in old Pirate flicks, black-and-white swashbucklers featured at Saturday morning matinees. We’d draw treasure maps and mark all the pertinent points in black felt-tip pen.

…Twenty steps north to the shed, turn east and walk thirty steps to the bird table, another fifteen steeps to the barbeque island and  then, “ YO HO HO ! There you have it me hearties – dig you blaggards dig…”

With plastic-spade enthusiasm we’d blunt our implements on the iron-hard ground as we attempted to unearth treasure, or reach Australia – whichever came first. Happy days when a pair of underpants pulled down over your head was an eye patch and a bamboo stick a cutlass that would run any passing poor- unfortunate through. Sailing for the horizon o’er the Spanish Maine until your mum called you in because it was getting dark and your fish fingers were going cold.

I used to spend hours curled up in front of the portable television in the spare room watching grainy images of Jacque Cousteau as he discovered the never before seen world under the waves. The occasional ship wreck and acres of fish – the stuff of Boy’s Own stories books and Christmas annuals, but with a French accent.

 Sun beating of the Calypso’s deck, the drip of Mediterranean water as you emerged from the deep, instead of cold rain beating off a Yorkshire window. I even had a red wooly hat, which to the initiated signified something special; however, the ignorant just thought I was a Liverpool supporter. I’ve been called many things but Liverpool? York city was my team – at least they were on Saturday afternoons when we were waiting for the pubs to reopen.

Well, life passed me by and I never did get to wear the scuba gear, ambitions of frogmen and sunken galleons were put into cardboard boxes and stored in the attic with the other relics of childhood. Exams were taken and failed and the only school that would have me was the city arts college. Always a place for a loser at the arts college, in fact I have the feeling the bigger the loser the bigger the welcome. Diversity is what they called it then although looking back it was a little weird.

 Tomatoes or ‘TOW-MAY-TOES’,  it’s all one!

So I spent my three years scribbling and drawing, growing beards and shaving beards, dating lads, because that was the new-romantic thing to do, then going back to lasses because they were less stubbly.

Which brings me to the present  and finds me here in my own tattoo studio. Not a bad life and it’s a nice little outlet for my creativity. All manner of people walk through the door and there’s never a dull moment. That’s a lie actually because, if I have to ink another star on another backside, I may just have to end it all right there and then.

There’s the door bell!  Got to go, that’s my three o’clock – a lady that wants a bull’s-eye on her lower back. Asked her why, and she told me her husband was a dart player! Don’t get it myself. Bit strange if you ask me, but business is business!”


10 Mar

The latest installment for RAPE 101.

The tea was weak and the sandwich stale, so much for her Majesty’s fabled hospitality. Frank sat on a plastic chair sweating under the glare of bare neon bulbs in the interview room of the East Yorkshire Constabulary on Coney Street. Wanted posters and public information bulletins pinned to a cork board were the only other decoration in what had possibly once been a cloak room – rows of coat hooks still lined the wall. 


            His day had been planned – a quick visit to Izzy to collect the gear, on to the pub to pick up wages he was owed, and then to the bookies. The Saint Ledger was running at Doncaster that weekend and he’d had a tip for a horse in the second. Emerald Warrior was a thoroughbred out of one of the local stables and a sure thing according to one of his regulars, an Irish Jockey, little fella, who’d sworn that she went like a bloody rocket. He’d planned to put a monkey on the nose to win and take his winnings off to some sun-splashed Spanish beach to enjoy some of the local brew and possibly a senorita or two. With autumn setting in it was starting to get cold and despite the thick jacket and leather gloves he wore on the door, the damp was starting to play havoc with his knee. An old war wound he’d acquired playing rugby back in the day that had been caused by an over-enthusiastic center half. He sat in silence, sipped his tea and rubbed his knee. 

            The car had come out of nowhere – no sirens, no nothing, just a squeal of breaks and a slamming of doors. Two uniforms, a couple of sour faced buggers, had climbed out and invited him in no uncertain terms to come with them. Dirty-deeds-done-recently ran quickly through his mind as he tried to place what they were nabbing him for. He’d been out the car stealing business for some time and although he’d been a bit heavy handed on the door with some of the punters, there was nothing that could be called unjustified; excessive maybe but not without cause. 

“Frank Johnson?” they’d asked.

He’d said nothing.

“Get in the car son. We want a word down the station.”

No point fighting it. The rozzers clearly knew who they were after. 


The door opened. A man in his mid-fifties, dressed in a crumpled civilian suit, walked into the room. Scraping back a chair he sat down opposite Frank and threw a folder down – one of the photographs it contained slid from within and scudded across the table. Frank’s blood went cold. The look on his face betrayed him instantly. The momentary lapse told the copper everything he needed to know. 

“Bollocks,” thought Frank. He was done for. 

“That’s right Frank,” sneered Pinkney,“we’ve got you dead to rights mate. Looks like you’ll be doing a bit of porridge in Leeds.” Leeds was an old dilapidated Victorian prison that looked as though it had been used as the back drop for a medieval vampire epic. One man to a cell was a Victorian value, but Frank had heard the stories, how they crammed four fellas into a cell, twenty two hours a day, with nothing but a bucket and a roll of toilet paper. Bloody barbaric is what it was, especially in this day and age. 

“Who are you then?” Frank asked. 

“I’m Inspector Pinkney. I’m the one who’s going to put you away and throw away the bloody key lad, that’s who. You can call me Inspector.” 

Frank mumbled something under his breath and glanced at his watch. It was three o’clock, he should have been up to his neck in the Racing Post studying form and picking ponies, instead here he was being interviewed by the bloody pigs – a situation that was worsening by the minute. 

“Recognize those mugs in the photographs do you?” Pinkney flipped open the folder and arranged the pictures in front of Frank. By the time he’d finished the table was covered and every one showed Frank in a compromising situation. Frank said nothing – what did they know any way? They didn’t know nowt!

“Who’s that fella with you there?” He said pointing to the picture of a skinny man with a beard. Pinkney knew who it was, he wasn’t stupid, the backroom boys had already done the leg-work. For the last couple of months they’d watched the drugs and their dealers go back and forth. Pills mainly however, they’d recently switched it up and were now pushing coke. Thing was they didn’t know where the local pushers were getting it from, and that’s what the Inspector needed Frank for. 

Frank was sweating bullets. “That’s you, isn’t it lad?” The picture showed Frank carrying boxes into a lock-up. There was another man in the picture; thankfully the hooded sweat shirt hid his face from the camera. “Now we know its drugs Frank and you know how we frown on that type of caper? Do yourself a favor and let us in on the secret. Who’s that with you, and where are they bloody coming from?” 

The Inspector was enjoying himself, loved this part of the job – it was always good when you had the crooks on the wrong foot. A collar was a sure thing however, it wasn’t Frank he wanted, it was the person behind him, and the persons behind them. If they could wrap this mess up before soon, it would go well for his retirement and who knows, may even set him up for a gong. The missus would like that. A train down to London, tea at Buckhouse and a handshake from Lizzy. Pinkney could see himself now splashed across the Daily Mail dressed in top hat and tails with an O.B.E. in one hand and an adoring wife on his arm. He came back to reality, leaving behind his acceptance speech, and once again focused on the business at hand and the miscreant in front of him. Frank was a big bugger, someone he wouldn’t like to meet on a dark night, but in the grand scheme of things he was only a small fry. 

“Tell me what you know Frank and I’ll try to make this go away,” said Pinkney in the most fatherly voice he could muster. “Tell me who’s in charge of peddling this shit and I’ll see that you get off Scot free.” Promises the inspector couldn’t make, but right now in the sea of shit that Frank was drowning in, Pinkney was his only hope. Pinkney sat back in his chair and rubbed his face. He could still smell the dirty bitch on his fingers from this morning’s rendezvous. The extra-curricular that put the spring in his step and the sparkle in his eye. Nothing her-indoors needed to know about, something on the down low, his little secret. 

Frank shifted uncomfortably in his seat. This wasn’t happening to him. They’d been so careful with the distribution; the Poles were sticklers for secrecy! It’d been going on for a year and a half without a whiff of bother. 

Had somebody mouthed off? What the fuck had gone wrong? 

The photographs spoke volumes, there was no denying what was on the table. It’d been smooth sailing – the money had come rolling it. The pills were easy to lay off on the weekend crowd, and the demand for something a little more exotic had been a doddle to come by, all they’d to do was ask. The Eastern Europeans he was dealing with could lay their hands on just about anything, and with the guarantee of steady money were more than happy to cater to York’s party needs. The city had always been a chocolate town; the two major manufacturers of sweet confection, them and the railroads, had made the city what it was. The nose-candy supplied by the Poles had been the icing on the cake. Folk came from miles around to party on the weekend and enjoy the illicit product that was being sold in nearly every pub and club in the city, and it was all thanks to Frank. He’d been careful not to be excessive with his newfound wealth – kept his living costs moderate, no reason to point a searchlight at himself that screamed come and get me. 

Getting caught was one thing but grassing on the comrades was another – hard faced ex-military types with a severe lack of empathy. He’d seen what they’d done to one delinquent dealer who hadn’t taken them seriously. When the bloody, barely breathing, body had been thrown into the river, he was more than convinced he didn’t need to fuck around with this lot. In and out was the key. Make your money and disappear. The Poles were driving delivery vans over from Calais stacked full with tablets and blow. They wouldn’t think twice about putting a couple of bullets into him, the same way they had the other poor bastard who even now was feeding the fish at the bottom of the Ouse. 

“Frank you can tell me, or I’ll put you back out there and say you did. We can work this out one of two ways, either you are fucked or I can make sure that this goes away.” He tapped his fingers on the table. “Protective custody, new identity, different town, all within my power Frank. All you have to do is cough.” 

Frank was shitting himself, he could feel the flatulence pressing against his sphincter. Why the hell had he done it? What a fucking mess. Either he was screwed or he was royally screwed. His mind scrambled for a way out. He thought back to every episode of The Bill he could remember. How could he spin this thing and walk away? “I want to see a solicitor.” 

The Inspector smiled. “There you go Frank, now you’re thinking. Got one in mind or would you like me to recommend one?” The inspector smiled like a shark, revealing his tobacco-stained teeth. Frank had taken the bait and admitted his guilt before they’d even started. A couple of photographs weren’t going to get him an arrest however a full blown confession with a protective custody advisory would do nicely. Given the photographs no solicitor in their right mind would suggest otherwise. 

Then the inspector played his trump card and reached inside his jacket and produced another photograph, this time of a woman in her late sixties. “Recognize her, do you Frank?” 

Frank felt his tongue turn to sandpaper as he tried to swallow. The dryness in his mouth crept through his entire body. 

“Course you bloody do, seeing as how it’s your old Mum. We’ve had our eye on her too,” sneered Pinkney. 

“You leave her bloody out of this, she ain’t done nothing you rotten bastard!” 

“Temper, temper Frank. I was just making a little conversation, ain’t nothing written in stone just yet. Seems to me though she’s involved whether she knows it or not. Got a couple of my boys ready to go round her house later and have a word, a friendly visit if you will.” 

Frank despaired. Not his mum of all people. 

“That lock-up you’ve been storing your gear in belongs to her, makes her an accessory after the fact. How do you think your old mum will do in Leeds? Lot of women in there would probably take advantage of a sweet lady like her, if you know what I mean Frank?” 

Frank thought hard. The Poles would kill him but he couldn’t see his mum go down for something she hadn’t done. The copper was right, Leeds women’s prison was no place for a frail middle aged woman, besides she’d never done a wrong thing in her life. She’d no idea they were using his dad’s old lock-up for storage. There was nothing for it – he had to come clean. 

The drugs had been easy enough to distribute and with a ready clientele they’d soon made money hand over fist. Everybody was involved, from the bartenders to the security staff, there wasn’t a single one of them that wasn’t making a packet on the side. At first they’d kept it to the Slug and Cabbage but word, as it always did, had travelled and they’d started to supply the other pubs and clubs as well. It’d got to the point where they’d had to take even more merchandise off the Polacks, who for an astronomical price were more than happy to supply. Frank through his contacts at the garage and the network of connections on the doors had been able to get rid of the lot. The amount he was dealing in was mindboggling, overnight and without really trying he’d become a regular Yorkshire drug lord. There was so much coke being snorted in York that the whole bloody city should have turned white, a veritable narcotic Christmas every weekend of the year. He’d been careful, at least he thought he had – those bloody pictures, how had they got a hold of those? What about his mum? There was no way he could let her take a jump for what he’d done, shed never survive in Leeds. 

Pinkney stood up, stuffed the photos back into the folder and made to walk away. “Alright then Frank, if that’s the way you want to play it?” The inspector was the consummate actor; he’d played the role a thousand times before. 

Pinkney was old school bastard, you could smell it on him – Frank could try to slip him a bribe but he didn’t look the type. There wasn’t much for it, either way he was screwed. If the Poles found out they’d execute him and the others without a second’s thought. If he grassed then a shallow grave on the moors or a cold shower in the Ouse was the most he could expect. “What kind of deal?” asked Frank through clenched teeth. 

Pinkney stopped at the door, he had the man by the balls. Loved it when they squealed – nothing better than a perp spilling his guts and giving up his mates. It was the little things that made the job worthwhile, perks like the girl he’d enjoyed that morning. He smiled in delicious remembrance, sniffed his fingers once more, and turned back to the room. 

“Good boy Frank, seems to me like you’re brighter than what I gave you credit for.” The inspector sat down pulled out a note pad and pen, “Alright then lad start at the beginning. Tell me what you know.”

Check out the rest of RAPE 101 at


7 Mar


 It isn’t rolling hills of carpeted green, nor is it the crystal clarity of babbling brooks and picture-postcarded waterfalls. The Kodak moment is gone – fizzed and flashed in extinguished chemical illumination, the retina-burnt image of time-worn memory. The depths of culture and history you’ll find in other towns and cities can’t be found around these parts no matter how deep you dig, and the ballet and opera are mere optimistic figments of performance imagination.

            No page goes wasted in the travelogues that ignore us, and the Lonely Planet isn’t a lonelier place for not making our acquaintance. The sun doesn’t break whimsically above thick-limbed trees; and when the rain falls, it doesn’t shimmer, nor does it refresh cool green grass. It pisses down – puddling and morassing village-squared greenery allowing for duck dominance until it once again shrivels and evaporates in what passes for Indian summer sunshine. There are no red-carpeted galas to flaunt faux fashion; the impecuniosity of wealth and dearth of celebrity make for scant headlines and lack of journalistic interest.

            The paparazzi don’t have us on their itinerary!

            World travellers and jungle adventurers ignore our whistle-stop station, their mind’s eye fixed on far horizons and yet to be discovered whatevers. The only local event worthy of historical retrospect is no longer taught to eager children but remains book-bound in the newly improved, government-regulated schools. No contrails stripe our skies, and we’re not on the departure board down at Heathrow. You won’t hear our average daily temperature gleefully town-cried by pregnant weathergirls on the evening news. Our travel center is a deserted bus stop with a one-way timetable to Anywhere but Here – the last traveler already having exited stage left. Love has left and is lost, never to return. When romancing the stone, our dry-walled boundaries neither acquiesce nor do they requite.

            The low of our farm-yarded husbandry isn’t the call of the wild, and vaunted stabled nativity occur the other side of imagination. No wandering stars, no wise men, no invading armies – popular uprising lies snoring in an unmade bed. Only the shrill whistle of wind rushing down highways and byways serves to recollect, before disappearing to God only knows where via abandoned public footpaths. No cries for change, liberty, or justice – the echo of disinterest falling on deaf ears.

            Society has left us behind, the cutting edge of everything having blunted itself on dull tiled roof tops reflecting grey skies. If artistic endeavor had ever been licensed, then it would have been the mono-chromists and not the impressionists that soiled their singularly splattered canvas. Not so much a patchwork of fields and forests, more a patch on an otherwise perfect pair of jeans. The unshone shoe standing out among paraded polished footwear, foiled by its own dull inadequacy rather than eclipsed by the brilliance of others.

            Listed on the menu as the chef’s surprise, never the dish of the day; forever the wedding crasher, never the invited. The last fingered delicacy at a children’s party; the silver foiled wedding cake that molders and spoils in the back of the larder. Passed over for cellophane wrapped, supermarket store-bought brilliance, before being thrown into the existential pedal bin of life.

            The uninvited guest, the blood stain on freshly laundered underwear.

           If it had a smell it would be vaguely familiar but unremarkable. Car farted flatulence, yesterday’s takeaway; the stench of tide-drawn mud and the street-level choke of smokeless fuel and burned wood. Boiled cabbage and cremated offerings adding their aroma to the buffet of industrialized dormitory living. Never more the glory of mother’s cooking, but the half remembrance of plates past and meals left to spoil on mismatched crockery. The squeezed and emptied condiment bottle, the wind-borne crisp packet, the discarded Styrofoam container – a forgotten eye sore, once so necessary but now just so bloody useless.

            So if that’s the case, why is it that I yearn to return to this forgotten, much maligned agrarian dystopia?

            Why do I treasure the golden age of rural disfunctionality with such spectacular rose-colored clarity and candy-striped fondness? I would give anything to wander its streets and lanes – walk its fields, wait in the rain for the bus I know will never come. Why is it that I long to rekindle the memory of familiar tastes and enjoy the scent of wind-born excellence – fried fish, larded pasties, pub grub, and smoky chimneys? How I long to revisit pubs I’ve never entered, return to villages I’ve never known – yet can recall with boundless ex-patria enthusiasm the halcyon days imagined there.

            The cold no longer bothers me, and the rain doesn’t spit in my face. The lack of things to do at the weekend and the interminable boredom of teenage life dismissed – the forgotten trauma of memorialized youth. I know that I’ll be disappointed, that the familiar faces won’t be waiting for me on the platform of cognizance to alight from the memory train that’ll never materialize. Nobody will know my name, and the best I can probably expect is a half glance from a half remembered stranger.

            Standing on the corner of the village square next to the telephone booth, watching the locals eye me as they pass, wondering who I am perhaps, or more likely not caring at all. What’s another face in a sea of faces when you’re drowning in your own existence? They’ll never understand that it was the childhood laughter, the scraped knees and plastered wounds of youth that helped to cement what’s traditionally known as village life. The return to family values exemplified by boys playing football in the street, choosing between goodies and baddies when playing at war. Running around neighborhoods with sticks, screaming machinations of machine-gunned excess. Pushed from pillar to post by irate neighbors with perfect lawns, kicked off cricket greens and chased from tennis courts by card-carrying members.

            Damn our insolence for daring to entertain the thought that we too could one day be great – grace the courts at Wimbledon or mount the field at Wembley. Where do the football heroes of the future get their start if not on the village green or by dodging commuter traffic?

            Just one more time – just one more visit. I know what to expect and can already taste the disillusion.
            It matters not.

            Right now I just want to go home.



3 Mar

The six-thirty to London comes to a halt – pneumatics hiss, doors swing open. Men in grey flannel suits, camouflaged business attire, mount the morning steed and head to concrete jungles far from suburban greenery. With mortgages on their minds, the nameless, faceless, warriors of economic boom-and-bust climb into regular seats next to familiar-faced strangers. With a tip of the hat, a crinkle of the mouth, they wish silent good mornings to ‘old whatshisname’ whom they should have known, considering they’d sat next to the same perfect stranger for the past five years. Thermos flasks are opened and luke-warm coffee is enjoyed between mouthfuls of pressed-meat and fish paste sandwiches.

The doors close and the train moves forward.

Newspapers are spread and folded to desired locations – crossword puzzles, sports pages, the prime minister’s questions and lack of answers. Depthed in individual worlds of commuter bliss, the gentlemen of commerce prepare themselves for the thirty seven minutes to Paddington – barring of course derailment and leaves on the track!

The train has been cleaned but you can still smell the bleach from where the night porters washed away vomit and piss from the previous evening’s downtown revelers. Nothing like the inner city to bring out the beast – what happens in London stays in London, unless of course it’s left on the train on the way home. The empty kebab wrappers and fish and chip papers have long since ben removed by persons unknown with a basic grasp of the English language; men and women thankful for the opportunity to pursue a future in this other Eden.

 The leather-backed chairs bear mute witness to star crossed lovers, footballing rivals and pen-knife poets. The indelible verse goes unread by the daily commuters.

Graffiti on an otherwise perfectly good leather seat will incur the ire of the train manager who at some stage will have to invest taxpayer money to repair the damage

“Mick loves Charlotte,” but the grey-suited bowler-hatted gents will never share their joy. Their minds’ eye is focused on distant financial horizons; the love affair announced to the world and staring them literally in the face remains anathema. Mick may love Charlotte, but the world really doesn’t give a damn.

Bloody stupid anyway! What’s the point? What are they looking for – immortality on a train that’s twenty years past its replacement date? Eternal love scratched into substandard leather. The gents with the newspapers turn their pages in unison and concentrate on two-up two-down rather than what’s scrawled across the seat-back in front of them.



2.ACROSS: Position taken up some distance away.

2.DOWN: Nice day contaminated with such poisons.


It’d been a Friday night down at the Bull and Bush – the local disco where the kids could hang out, drink their underage pints, and fondle each other outside in the car park. That was where Mick had first seen Charlotte.

A vision in taffeta and blue eye shadow, a sixteen year old woman of the world pretending to be eighteen going on thirty five. Liked them a bit younger did Mick, and this one had taken his fancy. The way the strobe light caught her in mid dance made her appear as if she was carved in marble. A virgo intacta, a monument to the virtues of womanhood petrified on a beer-sticky dance floor. The sparkling mirror ball screwed to the ceiling accented the glitter in her hair; the blond highlights from the do-it-yourself hair dye kit flashed in the darkness. He’d done the usual, offered to buy her a drink in the hope that it would lubricate the knicker elastic of her Saint Michaels. Three rum-and-blacks later and a slow dance to a top forty favorite and they were soul mates.

 As they lay in post-coital bliss, after consummating their undying love, their names dripped in condensation hearts off the rear window of the second hand Ford Cortina – fogged up windows that bore testimony to their eternal affection.

He who dares wins and he who plays pays. Wedding bells and confetti righted the wrong and the three of them moved into her mother’s. Not much to write home about but there again Mick had never been a man of letters. His job stacking tins down at the local supermarket kept him busy enough. Shelves filled with beans and spaghetti necessary to satiate the needy that plied the store to lay waste to Mick’s nightly labors; a population desperate for Italian cuisine and cheap heat-in-the-microwave dinners.

Connoisseurs who at the touch of a button, and with thirty seconds of RF radiation, could recreate the essence of the Mediterranean.

Not much of a job, but about as much as Mick could handle. With the baby and the wife there wasn’t a lot else to spend his money on. Friday nights down at the Bull and Bush were a thing of the past, now it was Friday T.V.  Game shows with the ever present parents-in-law. A house with one bathroom and paper-thin walls meant that all carnal activity was common knowledge. The short, sharp, tap of the headboard hitting the wall and the grunts of his mother-in-law in the room next door were hardly conducive to a successful love life, especially when the disco princess lying next to him looked more like her mother every day!

A year of dirty nappys and a manager that he’d swing for, boiled his piss and cooked his bile. It wasn’t the fact that the shepherd’s pie had been overcooked or that once again the baby had vomited on one of his favorite t-shirts. It was a combination of things – It was everything.


“Much too much, much too young. You’re married with a kid when you should be having fun with me…”

The Specials.


Memories of an easier life and a pocketful of cash raced through his mind as he pounded his fist into the face of his truly beloved – her split lip and blood-soaked dress sealed the covenant that would ensure ever lasting purgatory. As the police officers dragged Mick from his home, their night sticks smashing his teeth and bruising his eyes, he remembered happier days when a trip to London had resulted in scratched posterity on the back of a rail carriage seat.


The train pulls to a stop and the cloud of grey and black suits stand to attention and head for the exit.

“Tickets gentleman, please,” calls the conductor searching for errant free loaders as they try to exit without paying. Looking around the empty carriage, the blue uniformed inspector checks for dropped wallets and forgotten brief cases. There was always something to help supplement the stipend British Rail kept him on. Picking up a newspaper he peruses an unfinished crossword, clicks his tongue, reaches for his pen, and fills in the missing letters.






His eye catches the etched leather and replacing his pen he takes in the love heart knifed into the seat.

 “Bloody vandals!” It wasn’t as though he didn’t have enough to worry about, without some stupid, bloody-kids tearing up the place.

N.B. Slashed seat affairs is a lyric from THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT by THE JAM


2 Mar

George rubbed his hands together and sucked on his dentures. Getting old was a bastard and something he really didn’t appreciate. The doc’ had told him that he needed to get away, find some blue sky and palm trees, but there was fat chance of that. With a wife to support on an ex-coalminer’s pension they weren’t exactly living large. Thirty five years he’d spent down the pit; man and boy giving his life for the black-stuff. What else could he have done? His dad had been a miner and his grandfather before him, so for his thirteenth birthday he received a pair of steel-toed boots and a permission slip to leave school early. A brown paper envelope with a couple of quid at the end of the week was far more important to the family than a leaving certificate, besides, higher education wasn’t for the likes of them, that was for posh folk. 

George coughed and tasted blood in his mouth, he was in his sixties but you would easily have given him seventy. The problem with working down the pit was that it took as much from you as you took out of it. The more coal the more aches and pains. With slipped disks, rheumatism, grating joints, stone lung and a lazy eye he’d paid the price and was more than thankful when they’d finally retired him. He’d just about bitten the pit manager’s hand off when he’d been presented with his gold watch and thanked for his years of service. Put out to grass like some old knackered horse, to enjoy the last years of his life stumbling around his vegetable patch and getting under his wife’s feet. Big gardener was George, took good care of his council allotment – nobody grew onions like him. The secret was pigeon shit but people didn’t need to know that! 

His long suffering wife would watch him through condensed pains as he pottered around the back yard, mindful of the strong virulent man he’d once been. The pit had crushed him like a bug and she couldn’t remember the last time they’d been physical. Loved him to death though, even if he was a cantankerous old fart. Liked his own way did George, but Mary made sure he didn’t always get it. 

For Christmas the kids had bought him a green-house, one of those modular all-year-round, bio-thermal units. Aluminum framed with special glass that would attract more uv’s and help the plants to flourish, at least that’s what the description read in the catalogue. They’d clubbed together and with a fortuitous win at the Friday night bingo had enough together to pay the thing off in twenty seven easy installments. 

Strange looking thing. It was like a crushed egg with a pyramid shaped top. Designed ergonomically to insure the maximum utilization of the space within. 

Christmas had come and gone and they’d hired a couple of strapping lads to help erect it in the back yard. They’d placed it out on the cobbles where the old wooden shed had stood. George had seen his wife eye the young lads sweating in the afternoon sun – he wasn’t jealous, just cognizant of a  reluctant acceptance that age and infirmity spared no one. Now it was full of tomatoes, peppers and various other greenery not indigenous to the Yorkshire countryside. 

George had loved the gift and from the very beginning had gone to work preparing his seed beds and perfecting his irrigation. The watery north eastern sun radiating through the polarized glass had felt good on his body as he toiled in the dirt and there was definitely a lessening of the ache in his joints. After working all day beneath the glass, and sitting in his comfy chair of an evening, sleep came easily. His wife had noticed a lifting of his mood and had even commented on the extra spring in his step; it was good to see a man who’d worked hard all his life enjoying his final years. 

George was amazed at the crops that flourished beneath the glass, he’d never seen tomatoes like them; giant, red, brutes that burst with juice and flavor. Even the onions that he prided himself on where larger and tastier and he no longer had to use the pigeon manure although, it’d been a hard habit to break. 

During show season he’d taken first prize in nearly every category, something nobody in the town had ever done. The judges had admired his bounty and his fellow competitors, green with envy, had patted him on the back and congratulated him. What was his secret and would he share? George had just tapped his soil-stained finger against the side of his nose and smiled noncommittally. “Now then lads,” he’d said, “a gentleman never kisses and tells.” 

He was a little baffled himself as he wasn’t the only gardener in the area with a green house, some of the other old boys had them too, and yet their produce, although fantastic, didn’t come close to what he was producing. His veg seemed to grow twice as quick, twice as large, and twice as tasty. George put it down to his green-thumb; his colleagues put it down to devious practices and cried foul play behind his back. 


Sitting in front of the telly one evening, the fire blazing and with fish and chips in newspaper in his lap, he watched some random program on the B.B.C. There was horse jumping on the other channel. He wouldn’t watch I.T.V. (hated the adverts!) out of principal and so was stuck with whatever Aunty Beeb was showing. Some documentary about Egypt and the pyramids; alien technology and conspiracy theories! All very well he thought as he shoveled a couple of soggy chips into his mouth, the salt and vinegar biting into his lips. A man in khaki, wearing a Pith helmet was enthusiastically remonstrating about the power of the pyramids – how he believed that they were ancient energy sources, not just tombs as mainstream Egyptologists would have us believe. Obviously the fella was a nutter thought George but it would kill an hour before he went up to bed. The commentator went onto describe propagation theory, how plants placed within the ancient structures would flourish generating abundant harvests. It was also believed that the energy within the chambers had medicinal properties, and how the ancients had used the pyramids for their healing properties. 

“Codswallop!” spluttered George through battered Haddock and mushy peas. 

For a brief instant light swept through the front room as scudding clouds revealed a reluctant moon – the fleeting beams glanced off the green house at the bottom of the garden. 

George gulped. “Bloody hell,” he cursed under his breath. 


“George love,” called his wife, “I’m going up to bed. See you in a bit?”

“Right-o lass. I’ll just finish me scran and I’ll be up.”

His green-house was an effing pyramid! No wonder the vegetables were doing so well. It was ancient Egyptian technology that was causing his onions to expand at such an enviable rate. 

No bleeding wonder! George wasn’t a big believer in coincidence but the titles running up the television screen on the rear end of a retreating camel seemed to be screaming out to him. Maybe they were bloody right? Maybe there was something in it? He wondered if just maybe they were right about the other stuff as well. George finished his dinner and then sat through a program on political affairs almost falling asleep himself until he heard the soft snores of his wife emanating from the upstairs bedroom. 

It was worth a shot what did he have to lose? 


He grabbed a blanket from the airing cupboard, a thermos filled with cocoa from the kitchen and as quietly as possible stole from the house. Careful to make as little noise as possible he headed out into the yard. It was cold outside however, he felt warmth emanate from the green-house as he slid open the glass door. He’d obviously gone of his rocker. Folk would think he was bonkers but it was worth a try. He’d already noticed a change in his temperament and friends and family had commented on how well he was looking. Even the squeak in his dodgy-knee had somehow been lubricated and disappeared. He settled himself into an old deck chair, wrapped the blanket around himself and with the odor of warm soil and ripening tomatoes in his nostrils drifted into sleep. 


Mary came down the stairs and entered the living room. She’d woken up alone, which wasn’t unusual, as George would often fall asleep in front of the telly. She’d find him fully dressed and unconscious in the big comfy chair – the television playing to an inattentive audience. She walked towards where she expected to find her husband but the chair was empty. Now she was worried. George never went anywhere without telling her first and even then those occasions where few and far between. She walked into the kitchen, called out his name, but there was no reply. Where could he be? It wasn’t like him. She eyed the telephone hanging on the wall, thought about calling the police and then dismissed the idea as silly. Where could he be, he couldn’t have gone far? She peered through the kitchen window out to where George’s pride and joy stood. Surely not she thought, but it was worth a try. Given the recent success he’d enjoyed at the local horticultural show she wouldn’t put it passed the old fool. She shuffled her feet into her slippers, pulled her night gown around her, opened the back-door and went down the garden. Silly old bugger! What did he think he was playing at scaring her like that? She’d give him what for. 


“George? George, are you out here?” she called. Nothing except the clink of the electric milk float as it rattled past, but no sign of George. She walked towards the green-house and slid open the door. She was getting nervous now, a little bit afraid of what she might find. He may be half lame, blind in one eye and but he certainly wasn’t deaf. 

Mary screamed, slumped in a chair was her George. A look of serenity covered his face. 

“My God not George! Surely not her George? Not like this. Not now! 


Mary’s scream caused George to shoot up out of this chair. “Bloody hell woman, what the hell are you doing? You half scared me to bleeding death. Are you trying to collect on the life insurance or somat?” 

Mary stood in front of her husband. One hand covered her mouth, the other pointed towards him. 

“What is it lass?  What’s wrong?” 

Mary couldn’t believe her eyes. It was George alright, large as life but not the George she’d said goodnight too. The man in front of her was buff and virile; his toned physique bulged through an unbuttoned shirt. His hair was thick and dark and there was the twinkle in both his eyes that had caused her fall in love with him those thirty odd years ago. It was as though he’d lost years. Shocked by the man who stood in front of her she felt her knees buckle beneath her. 


George still not understanding what was going on caught her as she fell, gathered her up in his massive arms and carried her back to the house. Neglecting to take off his boots he pushed open the kitchen door, walked through to the living room and laid her on the couch. As he stood up he caught his reflection in the mirror above the fireplace, or rather the reflection of the man he’d once been. 

“Flippin Nora!” he gasped out loud. How was he going to explain this to the lads down at the working men’s club? This was going to be slightly more difficult than giant onions and pigeon poop!


Bill Shakespeare – 12th Night.