Which one merits your vote?

3 (37.5%)
What You Wish For
4 (50%)
Canfora Interview
1 (12.5%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Voting closed: November 20, 2012, 07:05:23 PM

Author Topic: Voting Short Story Challenge #4  (Read 1187 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Voting Short Story Challenge #4
« on: November 10, 2012, 07:05:23 PM »
Okay -- so folk have been busy, apparently, and despite the extension there are only 3 entries. therefore, you have only 1 vote to decide which you prefer.

One story in each reply box, do take time to read them all and then cast your vote for the one you enjoyed most. Closing in 10 days -- 21st Nov 2012.

"Bells? What bells?"

Now Mr Jones, I think we need to go over this one more time.”

“I’ve told you, my name is not Jones.”

“All the identification we’ve found on you says that you are John Smith Jones.”

“I’ve told you, I don’t care what you’ve found, that is not my name! Just call me Nick. Look, someone must have planted that wallet on me OK?”

“And the watch? The inscription on the back says to J.S. Jones on his release 10.10.2011. Release from where I wonder?”

“Nice watch but I’ve never seen it before today, can I keep it? The only thing I’ve ever needed releasing from are those nasty Goblins. However, there was that time with the widow in Blackpool who liked handcuffs and leather things…”

“Whatever. You do agree that you were found walking down the high street of Guisborough dressed as Father Christmas? That when you were cautioned replied ‘ho ho ho’?”

“Are you going to arrest me for wearing my working clothes? I’d like to see you arrest father O’Malley for wearing his robes.”

“Is that a yes or a no?”

“It’s a yes of course! Don’t you know what day it is? I don’t suppose you have any children do you?”

“Witnesses said you were seen in their back gardens and heard to be shouting for one ‘Rudolph’?”

“That ‘one’ Rudolph happens to be my lead reindeer. Reddest nose you’ve ever seen. Between you and me I think he’s a secret drinker. You never answered my question, do you have any children? ”

“My family or lack of it is not at issue here. The incident in question occurred in the early hours of the 25th of August, did it not?”

“Look, Doctor Icicle says that I’ve got a condition where I sometimes get confused over dates and times. I mean, anyone can make a mistake, right?”

“And, just so we can verify this claim, where can we find this Doctor Icicle?”

“God man, do you remember nothing from your childhood? Have you been walking around every winter with your eyes closed? The North Pole of course!”

“Yes, of Course, how could I forget? How could I have been so blind? Can we return to planet earth now?”

“If I were you I’d think about professional help. I mean, where do you think we are if not on earth, Mars? I mean, its worrying coming from a man in your position? ”

“Considering your next statement I think maybe the ‘shoe should be on the other foot’? You also told the arresting officer that the almost empty bottle that was found on you, labelled Whisky, is in fact, to quote from your earlier statement, ‘Santa’s magic flying elixir’?”

“The fairies make it for me, it makes me invisible to mortal eyes and gives me the power of flight, and this must have been one hell of a bad batch. You guys haven’t found an antidote to it have you?”

“Yeah, Right. I suppose that the 2 grams of Marihuana is really ‘Rudolph’s magical speed hay’? Maybe you grow it in a magical grotto somewhere?”

“Of course it’s not for human consumption, it should have been marked ‘for reindeers only’ but I guess it must have got rubbed off. Anyway, how the hell else do you think I manage to get round so many houses in one night?”

“Hmm…, about that. You also said that the ‘presents’ in your sack were only to be given to good children? However, the contents of your sack bear a striking resemblance to a list of stolen goods taken from a house in Loftus. A house that I may add is owned by the local magistrate and he is definitely not amused and considering its August is not full of the Christmas spirit. How are you going to explain that to him when you’re standing before him tomorrow morning?”

“Ah, that’ll be those nasty gnomes up to their tricks again, trying to get me into trouble. I bet it was them that planted the wallet and watch on me. Why aren’t you out there arresting them? I bet it’s them that stole me sled and have kidnapped poor Rudolph.”

“If you can give me their address, or even some names, I’ll certainly go round and question them.”

“Ahh… they’re sneaky like that, always on the move. Devious they are, just like you lot. Forever changing their names too, one day Dick the next Bobby.”

“Ah well, if we can’t catch them that’ll be your alibi up in smoke.”

“What do you mean alibi? What do I need an alibi for? I’ve never done anything wrong in my life! Honesty is my middle name!”

“According to your list of previous offences, or should I say the list of previous offences for John Smith Jones, you’ve managed to get into trouble a total of fourteen times previously. On three separate occasions you have spent time in prison for aggravated burglary. Hmm… and the honesty card comes in where?”

“Ah, you mean on the three occasions I’ve been captured and held to ransom by the nasty Goblins of the north? Nasty little b*****s in their blue suits rattling the cell bars with those big sticks, always ordering you about. Honest! I was kidnapped and held to ransom.”

“Those ‘nasty Goblins’ were in fact prison warders Mr Jones.”

“No, they were definitely Goblins, you can tell by the smell you see. They smell like ten day old horse manure.”

“According to one previous psychiatric report you suffer ‘manic delusions’, which is a new one on me. However, you are also considered sane enough to understand what you are doing. So much so, that your behaviour is considered to be an act by no less than three other Psychiatrists.”

“Inspector, I believe you must always have been on my list of naughty boys.”

“Constable, please take this gentleman down to the cells and bring ‘Rudolph’ up for questioning but take those bloody bells off him first.”

“RUDOLPH, you’ve found my Rudolph?”
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 11:48:32 PM by 510bhan »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Voting Short tory Challenge #4
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 07:05:52 PM »
What You Wish For

Jerry glanced at his watch. Its face lay hidden under a film of condensation, barely visible.

Bollocks. By cheap, buy twice, Margaret always said. He rubbed the smooth patch of skin where his wedding ring had been.

“Fucking traffic, fucking weather,” he muttered wiping the window.

Through the glass he watched a woman struggling with her umbrella.

“Nice arse,” he smiled, nodding to himself.

Rain hammered down on to the cab and the wipers whined, struggling to cope with the deluge. Jerry craned his neck and looked past the driver. Ahead the road was fast with stationary vehicles.

Jerry clenched his jaw. He detested lateness and, like his father – a major in The Royal Fusiliers, approached everything with military precision. Plan, prepare and execute was his late father’s motto. If flat feet hadn’t gotten the better of him, he’d have followed his father into the MOD for sure.

During the application process for the army they asked Jerry to describe himself. He responded saying he was ‘level-headed, practical and methodical’. Margaret, when asked in court during their divorce proceedings, called Jerry the dullest, most deceitful prick she’d ever met. The words humiliated him, he didn’t blame her.

He knew she never completely recovered from losing of their unborn son, or forgave him for the affair he had. Jerry had yet signed the divorce papers and Margaret had taken to calling him a dozen times a day. As much as he hated her screaming down the phone at him, at least it was contact. Truth was he missed her. He still loved her.

“Mate,” he snapped, “I don’t suppose you know what’s causing the jam?”

Half turning, the man shrugged. “Dunno, maybe Clemency road is closed again?” The man’s European ascent failed to disguise his disinterest.

“Couldn’t you have found that out before you came this way?” Jerry’s face flushed.
Other than the chewing of gum, the driver remained silent.

Fuckin’ foreigners.

Jerry checked the time. “Alright, it’s five to eleven now. Do you think you could get me to the airport before twelve?” He showed it to the driver. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

The man’s eyes narrowed as he studied Jerry in the rear view mirror.

“Okay, but you the pay fine if the police catch us.”


The driver started the engine and mounted the pavement, narrowly avoiding the car in front before slipping down a side street.

Relieved, Jerry slumped back into the seat and stared out of the window. Ordinarily he disliked meeting clients but with everything that had happened over the last few weeks, he couldn’t wait to get out of London.

Parked cars blurred by in a continuous mass of colour as the cab sped down the narrow road. But before he grew too comfortable his mobile rang. With a sigh, he fished it from his pocket.
Mitchell Sallow’s name flashed on the screen.

A troubled expression spread over his face and he rejected the call. He first heard of Sallow two days after having a blazing row with Margaret about the divorce. No longer in a suitable mood, he cancelled his appointments and went home to a bottle of scotch. What started on his couch ended up with Jerry drinking his way through half the pubs in the East End, losing his shoes, jacket and all recollection of what he’d been up to.

Jerry though the first call was a wind-up and put the phone down. Undeterred, Sallow persisted insisting on discuss further a job they’d spoken about while drinking together.

The calls continued to stream in at all times. With each call Sallow grew more aggressive and threatening.

Concerned, Jerry contacted a friend in the Met police and asked for anything on Mitchell Sallow. Jerry expected the man to be nothing but your average nutcase. However, the file he got back frightened him.

It turned out Sallow was well known to the police countrywide and considered to be extremely cunning and dangerous. Wounding, assault and kidnapping charges peppered his police file.
As a juvenile he spent most of his childhood in-between foster homes and borstal. The report detailed Sallow being taken from his family home at the age of eight when social services received a call from Bellmarsh hospital regarding evidence of child cruelty. His father, a known petty thief, flatly denied any wrong-doing but, when interviewed, the boy testified he’d woken his father who flew into a rage. After beating the boy unconscious, he poured paraffin over the boy and set him on fire.

In the wake of the argument a week ago, Margaret refused to take his calls. With the threats Sallow, he wanted to make sure she was safe. The phone rang again – Sallow. Angry, Jerry leaned forward, opened his brief case and dropped the phone inside.

Fuck it, he’d had enough, if Margaret really wants a divorce, then she can have one. As for Sallow, he’d have a word with some friends who’ll make sure he won’t be hearing from Sallow again.

For the remainder of the journey Jerry sat back, eyes closed.

The cab pulled up outside the airport at five to twelve. With the rain still pouring, Jerry paid the driver and rushed inside.

The departure attendant, a pretty girl with long red hair and a soft Irish accent gave Jerry an envelope along with his boarding pass.

“This was left by one of your associates you first thing,” she smiled.

With a shrug, Jerry thanked her, tucked the letter under his arm and made his way to passport control.

Once searched and x-rayed, he headed for the peace and quiet of the executive lounge. With his complimentary drink in hand, he found a seat and sat down. He savoured the rum as it warmed his belly before his attention turned to the letter. He tore open the envelope and from within a note dropped into his lap. Tossing the envelope onto the table in front of him, he began reading the note.

Jerry, you disappoint me. I thought we had an agreement? I thought we were friends. No, of course we weren’t. You’re just like everyone else. All you do is lie and let people down. You make me sick. You don’t deserve Margaret. I’m glad I met her yesterday—

The mention of her name caused Jerry’s stomach lurch. He had to call her, he had to warn her. Jesus Christ, he was after Margaret. Hands shaking, he reached for his case he knocked the envelope onto the floor. Several pictures spilt from inside.

Fear gripped him completely now, rooting him to the seat. Jerry struggling to make sense of the pictures, they were a mess of light and shadow and mangled colour.

On one of the pictures, he made out what appeared to be a naked body lying face down. Its pale white skin a mottled patchwork of bruises and cuts. Jesus, what was he looking at? Forcing himself to move he leant forward and with a shaking hand picked up the picture.

Confused he stared at the photo. On the shoulder of the body he recognised a tattoo. It was one just like Margaret had . . .

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Voting Short tory Challenge #4
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 07:06:27 PM »
Canfora Interview

No thorough history of the modern anti-war movement would be complete without examining the murder of four students and the wounding of nine others at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard. Alan Canfora was one of the wounded students, shot through the wrist. He speaks about his experiences in this interview, November 10, 2008:

Corlett: “Briefly, how about some background information?”

Canfora: “I’m proud to say I’m the son of a factory worker, my father worked at Goodyear, in Akron, Ohio. He was a union leader, a city councilman and also a Democratic Party activist. My sister, two brothers and I were raised in a very political household. We were taught the importance of supporting the Democratic Party and liberalism, as well as the union movement. It was an idyllic childhood; we weren’t rich, but we had everything we needed.
Vietnam appeared as an issue when I was getting out of high school in 1967. A lot of my friends from my childhood years were going off to Vietnam, while I was fortunate, on the other hand, to go to college. At that time I supported the war in Vietnam and in fact didn’t know a single person who was against the war.”

Corlett: “Wow. That’s remarkable.”

Canfora: “At that point in time, we still had some guys from my hometown coming home, killed in Vietnam. I think the first guy was killed in 1965. With the TET offensive in 1968, a lot more of my friends came home injured and with horrible stories of the reality of Vietnam. We really learned the truth about the war from the veterans. That’s really what caused me to turn against the war.”

Corlett: “That’s an interesting theme that keeps coming up. This war is very personal to me, but when I look at Cindy Sheehan facing the death of her son in Iraq, it’s all these people of conscience suddenly galvanized into some sort of action.”

Canfora: “Very true. In 1968, I started to turn against the war and joined the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), which was an anti-war group.

Corlett: “I attended a meeting of the SDS in 1973, at Bowling Green State University.

Canfora: “I’m proud of the fact I was in the SDS and at Kent State in particular. We had strong male and female leaders who were not afraid to fight for what they believed in. It was an active militant chapter. I was a not a leader and went to almost all the meetings and attended almost all the rallies and demonstrations, but I was kind of a shy person. That’s hard to believe now because you can’t shut me up.

Corlett: (Laughter)

Canfora: “Back then I was what I called a foot soldier in the anti-war army. I did enjoy going to the demonstrations and fighting against the war.”

Corlett: “I caught the tail end of the anti-war movement and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I hope I never have to experience it again.”

Canfora: “Those were some strenuous efforts that we made. I got involved in 1968 and it culminated at Kent in 1970 when we had a spontaneous rebellion after Nixon invaded Cambodia, which culminated in the shooting incident. What really motivated us was the situation like your own. We were living in Kent in 1970 and one of our roommates was George Caldwell. His brother Bill was in Vietnam. I knew Bill since the seventh grade. At nineteen years old, he was run over by one of our tanks by accident.

At seven o’clock in the morning, soldiers came and knocked on the door. When you sent me your story, it was the same as the Caldwell family. April 14, 1970, just a few weeks after your brother was killed in Vietnam. It took eleven days for the body to come home. We went to his funeral on April 24, 1970. At the cemetery it was pouring down rain. There were many people there and we swore a vow that we were going to make Nixon pay.

We were going to send our own message to Nixon about stopping the war. We had no idea that six days after that funeral that Nixon had invaded Cambodia until national television made the announcement. We decided then that we were going to take some serious action. The funeral of Bill Caldwell helped spark the anti-war revolt at Kent State, which culminated in the shootings.

Corlett: “ What was it like to get shot?”

Canfora: “It was shocking, it was unexpected, underserved. Nobody did anything that day to deserve to be shot. We certainly did not expect they would shoot sixty-seven gunshots in thirteen seconds, but that’s what they did, based on a verbal command, an order to fire. They wounded four of us on the hillside but they fired into a parking lot where four were killed. Nine of us were wounded.
Getting shot was like a car accident; you have a moment of disbelief. There was the pain involved and I realized my life was in danger. I had to get out of there and I got a ride to the hospital.

Corlett: “How serious was your wound?”

Canfora: “The bullet went in the front of my wrist and came out the side, so I have an entrance wound and an exit wound.

Corlett: “Wow.”

Canfora: “It was a relatively minor wound compared to the others. Let me tell you of the thirteen victims I was one of the least wounded, although it was quite painful and bloody. It wasn’t as bad as, obviously, the four fatalities. One guy got shot in and out of his stomach, another guy in and out of his chest. My roommate, Tom Grace, the bullet went in and out of his ankle, through his foot. He is maimed for life.

Corlett: “Wow.”

Canfora: “Scott Mackenzie got shot in the neck, the bullet came out his face. I consider myself really lucky; I have no complaints although I do have lingering pain and discomfort in my wrist.

Corlett: “What was the feeling of the students on the campus at the time?”

Canfora: “Betrayal. Nixon had promised to end the war in Vietnam and here he is expanding it into Cambodia. We decided that we’d had enough of Nixon’s lies and decided to take some serious action. We had the most serious anti-war rebellion in the history of Kent State. Our actions in May of 1970 clearly surpassed anything the SDS did the year before, for example.

Corlett: “If you had it to do over, what would you do differently?”

Canfora: “That’s a question I get asked a lot. Unfortunately, we can’t unring that bell. We can’t bring those four students back. We would do anything to bring them back but that is impossible. This is a difficult question to ask a victim, it’s probably more appropriate to ask the guardsmen because they were the ones who decided to pull the triggers.

Corlett: “That’s an interesting perspective and an interesting answer. I was just asking myself “What am I gonna ask this guy?” and I started writing things down. I thought, “That sounds like a good question.” You know what I mean?

Canfora: “I’ve heard all the questions a million times. I like doing interviews because it’s important for me to tell this story about Vietnam and about Kent State. I feel a duty to speak out not only for the students who were silenced at Kent but also for the fifty-eight thousand that were killed in Vietnam and the millions of Asian victims. Those of us who are still around, if we don’t speak out, this could happen again. Sadly, it is happening again in Iraq.”

Corlett: “I think that there have been lessons learned. The Iraq casualties are a tenth of what they put us through. If there were fifty-eight thousand casualties in Iraq, it would be politically unpalatable; it couldn’t happen. It would be insane. It was insane times back then. It seems they have learned a lesson.”

Canfora: “I agree with basically what you’re saying; I see why you are saying it and I think that it’s true. On the other hand, I try to give it a more positive spin by saying the effects of our anti-war movement are still very powerful today. We don’t have a military draft. We are not in so many countries like we were in Vietnam with massive presence for so many years in a losing effort like Vietnam turned out to be. Even one or two deaths per day in Iraq is unacceptable; in Vietnam we would lose four hundred in a week. We lost four thousand in the first six months of 1969. You can say that the effect of our anti-war movement is still felt today and that’s something we can be proud of. At the same time, they sure have tried to bring back Vietnam, but they have failed.

Corlett: “Alan, thanks for your time.”

Canfora: “You’re very welcome.”