Finally published

So, after delays caused by the house move, I have finally found time to finish editing my novella ‘Bobby Olsen’ set in late 1950s America. I can’t guarantee there aren’t errors here and there, I just reached the point where I wanted it published and finished, but the tale’s out there.

This is the ‘conventional’ form of the story, with the made-up hyphenated words removed. I will produce the original version later in the year as I know some of my Writers’ Group liked the language.

Now to consider publishing it as a paperback.

Bobby Olsen by Jamie Neve – find it on Amazon as an ebook now.

 

Just another Bond mission…

(written a couple of years ago, cheap and cheerful, nothing special)

“So, Mr Bond, you have 90 seconds to save yourself. It’s been nice knowing you…I think not!”

The evil Dr Feelingstrange laughed and hopped aboard the helicopter. As it rose into the air he looked down at the prostrate James Bond who lay shackled to a flagpole. Several floors below him a massive bomb ticked to itself. On top of the black cylinder stood a two minute timer with the sand dribbling a quarter of the way through already.

James twisted onto his back, reached down with his manacled hands and managed to use one thumb to press against the heel of his shiny black patent leather shoes. A flap swung open and a minute saw flicked out and began buzzing at high speed. The sparks flew as the chains were cut away. James pulled his wrists apart and stood up. Removing his shoe, he used the drill to slice through the steel loops around his ankles. Free at last he raced to the door that lead from the roof terrace to the stairs.

As James pounded down the first steps he could hear the helicopter disappearing into the distance. On the third level he found the exit door locked. James unclipped his wristwatch, pulled out the winder button, set the second hand for ‘3’, looped the watch over the door handle and retreated a few steps. The door exploded inwards and James launched himself into the smoke filled room.

Ahead were two armed guards, either suicidely inclined or just ignorant of the ticking bomb behind them. Their guns raised, James dived behind a table to his right. Bullets thudded into the metal top. James reached into his jacket inside pocket and withdrew a pen. Twisting the middle ninety degrees he pointed it over the top of the table at one of his attackers and pressed the clip. A tiny dart flew out and struck the man between his eyes. By the time he hit the floor the second guard was stumbling back as a second dart pierced his left eye.

James rushed towards the bomb. His mind had calculated that he had twenty seconds of sand left. Long enough.

Dr Feelingstrange saw the massive plume of smoke rising from the explosion.

“Shucks, that’s bad luck, Mr Bond. These cheap Chinese imported timers just can’t be relied on…”

Train of thought

(a long time away – moving house, unpacking boxes, cleaning kitchens and bathroom, changing addresses, registering doctors and dentists. Maybe nearly settled now…)

Train of Thought

The first carriage; heart-stopping, alcohol-hazed, dry lips mouth-mouthing words of double-dutched ineptitude, he opened the gambit with her. Her. The blonde lobbed hair, wild-hanging calculated cut, wrapping a face denuded of make-up, diffidently demanding adoration.

The second carriage; the dinner diary-dated in heavy pencil, circled and gouged in disbelief, with time counted down in seconds over hours. Clothes mirror-stared in multi-coloured disarrangements, mismatched for a perfect match. The awkward answerings across a table plastic flower posed and house-wined, wished-for lives exchanged in nervous narrations, deciphering the content for half-truths disguised within, eyes mind-reading the true intentions concealed. Goodbye smiles slipped between glad glances at a door marked Exit and Freedom, a tentative talk of texts and calls okayed with half-convicted conviction.

The third carriage; inhibitions uninhibited, clothes unclothed, all bared except the soul secret-suspicious, bodies tango-tangled around duvets shredded in unpaced passion with minds conjuring the unshared images of lovers wished for and out of reach. A hand-held touch, relief equal mixed in indecision with window-stared thoughts glass-rebounded, until palms sweat-swipe apart and fumble-find clothes to disguise the cold unpassioned skins before glances can photo-pick flaws smooth-shopped by earlier desperate desires.

The third carriage; families familiarised, glimpses of her in future years, fuller, wrinkle-creased, heavy-thighed. The parents’ ordered house of ordered years, generations frame-ranked, and invisible future frames floating for filling by you and her. The father’s strong-handed handshake challenging control, the old order’s last stand to protect their eternal child; the cool light weak touch of the mother resisting a touch tendering ownership of the family’s human shares.

The fourth carriage; aisle-ambled, stained glass streaming, he waits for her, heart tight-folded. ‘I do’s echo-sound, murmured by ghosts of long dust-ground lovers; ‘I don’t’s whisper up cracked stone slabs from heart-broken ethereal voices. Glasses later raised like spirits, clink saluting speeches rewritten till fiction becomes almost truth and drunken cheers drown behind hand-hid gossiped slights.

The fifth carriage; he caught a floating wisp-waft of aftershave unknown, a fleeting flicker lying air-cushioned on her blouse collar and neck skin. The eyes leaving contact scarce seconds early but half-noted in a black-doored corner conscience, the lost distance stare mid conversation self-corrected too late and logged alongside late homecomings flushed and febrile, and the semi-smile lip-lingering with kisses shallow and slight.

The sixth carriage; he waits dark enshrouded, hoodied-hidden, watching and watchful, hands deep pocketed next to sharp-edged retribution. She passes alone, thoughts deep-woven of another, heart beat-beating in recaught teenage angst, sees not him, shadow stood, nor when he enters full light lit at home as she follows a routine daydream dreamt.

The seventh carriage; as he slides a knife blade, sleek and vengeful, skin splitting open like a guilt-weighted soul, and she slides spit-splutter down the door, her eyes unsurprised in understanding.

The eighth carriage; as he turns the blade, wet washed with her blood, and slices himself; their bloods mingling as the train of thought stops in sympathy.

 

 

The perfect murder

(written in 2015, the first story I took to my writing group)

The cowboy wiped his brow and edged away from behind the tree. Rifle raised, Hank had Joe in his sights. The perfect murder.

It had been so simple. Just buy a few drinks in the saloon, pretend to drunkenly let slip the supposed rendezvous with Ed. A time and place to split the loot and head out of town before anyone suspected who had really been behind the stagecoach robbery.

And now he looked at Joe down his rifle barrel. Joe. He’d given the guy a chance to join them, divide the money up three ways. But Joe, he always wanted to do things his way. Thought he knew better than Hank and Ed. Claimed he had killed that old man over in Lettsville and taken his horses. Strange how no-one had ever found the body. Maybe the old guy had just pegged out in one of his fields and the crows had pecked him to pieces. Joe talked a good story. But Hank had never seen him fire a gun once. Heck, he’d never seen him even throw a punch. And he couldn’t hold his liquor neither.

One thing Joe was good at though. Poker. He’d taken most of Hank’s money over the last year. That’s why Hank had agreed to help Ed with the robbery. And that’s why Hank now had Joe in his sights. It was time to take revenge on that low-life.

Hank adjusted his rifle. It was real quiet out here. Trees and shrubs gave him cover. The hillocks would stop the noise of the one shot needed – Hank was a good shot even if he said so himself – and the nearby loudly gurgling stream would add to the perfect set-up. Hank watched Joe stop, take off his ten gallon hat and scratch his head and stroke back his lank blond hair. He was hot. Hank was hot. But inside Hank was as cool as one of the icicles which hung each winter from his mother’s front porch.

Joe looked around, glanced up at the blazing sun, put his hat back on and walked further down the dusty path. No doubt he was thinking about the best place to hide and wait for Ed. Carry out his own little perfect murder. But Hank was more than one step ahead of him. The rifle he held was Ed’s. It’d

been too easy to sneak into Ed’s rundown ranch house this morning. Hank knew Ed slept till the noon sun was hanging in the sky. Once he’d finished off Joe, Hank would drop the gun just in front of the trees. Even that hopeless sheriff Lorne Bailey would be able to find it. And everyone knew Ed’s rifle. That distinctive scrolling on the metal. Done specially by that shifty blacksmith over in Ridgewell. Hank chuckled to himself as he thought of Ed being woken by Lorne and his posse tomorrow morning. He’d be in jail by nine, tried and condemned within days and jiggling from the end of a noose within the month.

Hank spat out tobacco. He’d wait until Joe came back this way. Up ahead the trees broke into open country again. No place for an ambush. Joe would stroll back, choose a tree or boulder and wait for Ed’s supposed meeting with his gang members. ‘Gang members’? Hank chuckled again. Ed’s only gang member was Hank. But he didn’t want his name linked in any way with this. Joe knew Ed couldn’t have stopped the stagecoach without help. That little mention of a gang had convinced him that Ed really was the man behind the robbery.

Joe had stopped. He was retracing his steps slowly. Hank smiled at the prospect of Joe choosing the very tree he was now standing behind. A sweet shot between the eyes would do fine. If not he’d take out Joe just behind the ear. Hank grimaced. How he hated Joe. Always eyeing up the girls in Ridgewell’s new saloon, pretending he had a big ranch and all. Swaggering around the bar, hands all over the young ladies. He never even bought drinks for the boys. Just a leecher. Like all the Piggots. Yeah, them Piggots deserved this too. Stealing land from the hardworking Clements, rustling cattle from old Miss Bertrum. Hank would be doing the whole town a favour with this little old perfect murder.

Nearly time to pull the trigger. Hank flexed his finger, took his hand off the rifle, made sure his palm was dry and flexible. Just pull the trigger nice and slow. No jerks. No jolts. A simple pull and the money was all his and his poker foe was gone for ever. Hey, maybe he’d even take over Ed’s little outfit. Not much land and only a few cattle but it would be a start. Hank didn’t want to flash his money around town too much. He didn’t need that loopy old sheriff breathing down his neck. Play it cool. Spend a bit here, spend a bit there. Buy a few drinks for those pretty ladies in the saloon.

In front of him Joe adjusted his belt, fiddled with his holster. Hank smiled again. Joe and that belt. He noticed how every time Joe went into the saloon he’d loosened that belt by a notch or two, let the holster hang real low, trying to make out he was some gunslinger. Who’d he think he was? Billy the Kid? Joe draw a gun fast? Hank doubted he could even draw with a pencil. He nearly laughed out loud at his joke and just managed to quietly snort instead. Keep calm, he told himself. Don’t spoil everything now. Hank closed one eye. Lined up the shot as Joe stood making up his final choice of hideaway. Now, just aim and pull this little trigger slowly and…

‘Tea’s ready, Hank.’

Sighing, Hank, otherwise known as Bobby Witherspoon, aged seven and three-quarters, of 77 Barry Road, South London, reluctantly scooped up his plastic toy cowboys, flung them into his tin toy box and headed off to face his destiny with a plate of beans on toast.

 

 

Girl on a bridge

(written a little while ago with a female narrator, something I try occasionally)

Summer time beats up lives, and consequences spread far beyond autumnal fall. The heat, the laziness, the empty time, all too tempting, days galloping into others, no boundaries of occupation or study, no barriers to emotions, no decorum. But maybe just dulce et decorum est mori.

He found me whiling away life in a coffee shop of no repute, serving capricious cappuccinos and  lecherous lattes to smooth-leering son-of-bitches, lazing louchely in chairs, cigarettes suggestive, gold chains goading, eyes tracing legs and rears like hunters at a waterhole.  Tapping tabletop with platinum card he beckoned, no words, a glance at cold gritted remains deep engrained in a cup. I smiled, wondering what dust he inhaled at night on that card.

His eyes crawled after me, felt their way up stockinged legs, across bloused top and I shudder where else. The tip beneath the saucer suggested caffeine was not the only stimulant he sought. Tucking it discreetly, knowing he watched afar, grin growing at the little girl gratified, I ran a hand through locks of auburn light and walked unturning.

Expresso became lunch, light and oiled, refusing service unless me. Dodging withering words mouthed by fly-by-night waitresses, I attended attentively, drawn by eyes and attitude, and money and freedom. A wrist caught signified stakes updated, long fingers encircling skin and bone, a clasp of ownership.

Eyes met; mine questioned, his laughed.

A finger unwound, grazed hairs, electrifying erotica. Eyes remained; mine unsure, his demanding. Hand slid up, curling under elbow, drawing down, no resistance encountered.

Eyes burned; mine curious, his victorious.

Words whispered, swarming inside my ear, twisting and seducing, curling up at home. Releasing, he knew the answer, before me, as I moved violated yet beguiled.

Returning relentlessly, his table my world, each visit vicarious, each order a slice off my life. Hands clasped, fingers resting on hips, arms encasing shoulders, my personal space became his, my time bought, my freedom confined.

An evening stroll, warm breeze humming with hubris, he promised his world; travel tantalising on heated horizons, clothes wardrobed along streets of couturiers, villas visualised reflected in Mediterranean blue. I fought sense and sensibility; and lost, lost in a world unknown, a world portrayed in magazine gloss, a heart smothering worries, a summer long odyssey of love’s many ports beckoning.

Crossing the bridge, from my world to his, my Rubicon step one late simmering evening, I met his stare, breathed in the embrace, intoxicated with worship. The path walked on, deeper to his sphere, no villa unveiled, no yacht’s yawl bobbing, no jewels jousting in fingers. Darker the wood, my heart shrank back, lifting the layered rose-tint. I felt his hands true at last, the touch severe, the skin coarse, the rapid throb of veins beneath.

Querying the quest, his eyes turned, honed for violence, pretence pretentious, grip swung sharp. I fell, as deception fell away too, a victim awaiting.

Now I sit upon the bridge, the prodigal returned, unsure if innocence can be re-won, bloodied stone resting in deep depths beneath, cast off like my foolishness, resting wet and cold, as he does, under a tree, life-blood feeding the earth.

 

 

Hung words

 

My sword thrusted, point piercing mid-way the word ‘TRUST’ which hung taunting across the path. The ‘u’ mewed, tears seeping onto dry ground parched by years of the antonym. Each drop reformed, reared and roared a date, a time, a lover. Sounds pierced the outer coating of my shield, stuck darted on layered wood and leather, each forcing a back step in the slow stride of my denial.

Slashed right and left, letters tumbled without meaning across the musty air, voices escaping from nicked sides and surfaces, each whispering accusations and Siren symphonies of desire and deceit. Names cascaded across years, places, times, excuses, all timetabled in linear formation, each stabbing through armour to draw my guilt in coughed confessions.

The path steepened, with fogbanked slopes treacherously entreating mis-steps. Five letters swung back and forth, hide and seeking through the gloom, ‘BLAME’ pendulumed with teasing tautness, red flames of embarrassment letter licking. Shield raised to block the blaze of an accusing sun I pressed on, a single manned phalanx. Heat seared through, burning black my faults. But remember, she did not talk, she did not give time, she did not make the efforts demanded of a shared life. I pierced the ‘B’, shredding the double curves, leaving ‘lame’ a mocking commentary on my own excuses.

A soft glancing blow, a caressing killer rested on my shoulders heavyweighted with weary worries self-inflicted, ‘TOUCH’ featherlight alighted, wrapped around a body shivering to loosen itself from feared intimacy after the bed-bounced closeness of another forbidden love. I parried open-bladed, countered these tease touching accusations: for she had stepped back too, withdrew skin from contact, lips miss-kissing half hearted offered cheeks, back turned on a bed once consummated with the passion of the innocent. Who stands now in the glasshouse with stone in hand? My stab caused ‘TOUCH’ to convulse. No one-sided defeat here.

Forward stepped I deflected and bounced harsh truths into the gutters of regret, found my way blocked by ‘SELFISHNESS’, long strewn as a Cheshire cat with grinning teeth foul fetid dripping tales of familial dates ignored, commitments uncommitted to, evenings long consumed in matey orgies of alcohol and unbrave bravado. Late long working hours stretched to incredulity as slipping masks for backslapping heartiness and raucous chauvinism, chasing skirt-clad victims across glass-lined tables.

Hacked letters fell, ‘fish’ causing a rueful smile under cheekguards which chaffed with swivelled wariness. ‘S’s snaked my legs, hot forked tongues nipping infected bites into veins long since dead to empathy and sympathy. I stamped, hobnailing the vicious barbs into powdered pleas.

And lastly LOVE dangled gloss shred and abused. It flickered images thought lost in memories stored behind cold-hearted locks. The true love of first meeting, recognition of soulmated possibilities, tingles of eternity surfacing when touch touched more than skin, eye contact finding depths impossible to measure. LOVE hung, shaming my defence, drinking dry a moat of liquid lies, crumbling paper-thin walls of self deception, undermining a castellated keep of rusted excuses.

And I fell, in a final act of reconciliation and recognition, upon my upturned sword.

 

Downtown

(something I wrote back in 2015 and which has been posted on one of my earlier blogs)

Downtown

Deepest dark downtown, alive when the sun dies. My home, my hunting ground, populated by myriads of unchosen people. Shops, like whores, offering their weary wares, backlit and foreshadowed, cheap, and dead smiling to fake out your cash. Towers, Morse-coding with lights, messages of profit and greed, solitary security circumambulate corridors like the down-and-outs down here. The sky, starless and black-fogged, trapping the hot air of a thousand expelled exasperated sighs.

Here the homeless, bootlaces scraping grimed sidewalks, bags dangling, heads nodding with unsleep, circle the streets like vengeful vultures, seeking out weaknesses in doorways, alleyways and arches. Balaclava-hatted, with lip protruding tobacco stubs, green-eyed eyes greeting co-habitants, they judge rivalry and comradeship. Lines line from charity vans, scolding soup sipped by burnt numbed lips, shuffling dancers vigilant not to spill their guilt-laden manna. Groups congregate, unholy but brotherly blessed, out of wind and rain, comparing cardboard, exchanging newspaper, swapping mythical histories.

Walking the erotic walk, girls balance heels and lives, both precarious, long cigarettes pretending poise, smoke clouds concealing fear and shiver. Cars glide, drift and dive, offering new life, or the death of this one. Officers stop and smile, knowing names, rap sheets and preferences, elbows hanging out wide hulled cruisers, only a uniform division from clients hovering in shadowed queues. Women walk on, spirits momentarily innocent, dreaming of stage careers and red carpet posed poses, knowing one room awaits, with dead-sprung bed and coughing pipes.

Young lives cavort uncourteously, voices vocal and decorum low, giggling away the best of years, memories etched in alcohol and amnesia. Arms linked, all one against an ageing world, courting lovers and disaster with abandon, congaing lamp posts and crises, timeless under sun and moon. Quoting literary giants while behaving as illiterate dwarves, gushing mouths pour out unique youthful lives, never to return as they disappear into the dawning day.

Lonely spouses tread the sputtering gutters, lost in past, befuddled in present, hands deep-pocketed, eyes sidewalk skedaddled. Free of wails and feeds, remembering single happiness and envying passing youth, aching with heartbroken heartaches for the one they missed, so long ago, so far away. Bar-driven plight, counter-end seated, nursing the one shot, target of the waitress’s demure gaze. Music old school echoes around empty glasses, as clock hands tick to dangerous times; they leave, shuffling the deck back home.

The stalker shadows, silent silhouette shifting, gaze preying on herds of the inebriated, watching stilted stilettos meander and stutter. Doorway camouflage concealing demented lusts, eyeing the slow or lonely, dogging tracks ever closer, a life nearer to final curtain. Bewaring quietly drifting bluecoats, avoiding big brother’s prying camera, breaths rising as distance falls, selecting perverted love’s desire. A crumpled coke can cries a warning, a head of tangled tired locks turns, widening pupils alerting senses and pace quickens with heartbeat, the safety of the pack swift recovered. Thwarted passion scuttles home, hungry and unsatiated.

Motherly smiles beckon and warm, church vans offer soup ministry, scooping flotsam and jetsam of misjudged lives. Congregations collect, hands cup-warmed, receiving the Word, a small price paid for subsistence. Preachers enthuse self-believed words, misunderstanding listeners’ plethora of plights, dreaming of cosy home comforts and a bed made in heaven. As the sheep wander wayward, nightly fields to find, self-congratulated do-gooders hug, unspokenly saying ‘But for the grace of luck…’

I turn and retreat, leaving the night city to settle, camera shot, notebook noted, espying the creep of dawn, removing from visibility the city’s viscera of nocturnal life.