December 2015 – the end – Untitled by John Pilling


by John Pilling

We were sitting at our usual table in the back of Benny’s coffee shop when Charlie looked around then leaning forward pulled a copy of our local free newspaper out of his breast pocket and passed it to me.

“Have a look at that mate “he said quietly.

“What am I looking at?” I said.

“Inside the front page…down at the bottom.” Inside the paper there were two articles, one a puff for our local garage and the other showing a happy looking family mother, father and two children standing by a pile of suitcases on some sort of dock with a huge ship behind them. The caption read “local family takes world cruise.” Continue reading

October 2015 – new beginning – Bread on the Water by John Pilling

Bread on the Water

By John Pilling

Cast your bread upon the waters

For you will find it after many days”

Ecclesiastes 11.

Conscious of a gentle nudge and a murmured “voting soon old boy,” Lord Shaw of Bryntiron opened his eyes and straightened up in his seat in the House of Lords. Smiling his thanks at the octogenarian hereditary peer sitting next to him he said.

“I was far away then…far away and long ago, when it all began.”

“Oh yes, I know that place” his neighbour said “I go there quite often myself, much nicer than nowadays.” Continue reading

September 2015 – close shave – Razor’s Edge by John Pilling

Razor’s Edge

by John Pilling

Inspector Hayes of the Police public liaison branch replaced the telephone receiver with and blew out his cheeks with a sigh of relief, leaning back in his chair he stretched and yawned mightily.

“Thank the Lord for a good boss” he said “he’s going to take the press conference this morning, in the meantime you and I can get off home…with his thanks. Ye Gods what a night, spare me from another like that.” Sergeant Jim Ames seated across the desk across the desk grimaced.

“It’s not over yet Sir, not by a long chalk, when the morning papers come out the press will have a field day.” Continue reading

July 2015 – broken bones – Viking by John Pilling


By John Pilling

“A male bonding exercise?”

“A three day bonding exercise” he said gloomily. “It’s the latest bright idea from the new general manager, he reckons it will help to foster a team spirit in the chambers…get us all singing from the same hymn sheet as he puts it.”

“But why you? I thought that sort of thing was usually reserved for the lawyers and management…you’re a clerk in the invoice room.”

“He said he’d booked something special that needed a specific number of people so he asked me if I would make up the numbers… I didn’t like to say no.”

Sadie looked at her mild, inoffensive husband with her usual mixture of affection and exasperation. Not liking to say no she thought was probably the reason he was still a clerk , but he’s a good kind loving man, I wouldn’t change him. Continue reading

June 2015 – funeral pyre – Mr Oldham’s Solution by John Pilling

Mr Oldham’s Solution

by John Pilling

Mr Thomas Oldham listened politely to the young social worker explaining to him that things really couldn’t continue as they were. She fully realised, of course, that parting from his wife after some sixty years together might be a little hard at first but he must accept that she knew, from long experience in these matters, that it was the best thing for both of them.

In answer to his question, no she wasn’t married. She thought long term relationships tended to stifle personal development. Social services would find Mrs Oldham a place and be in touch.

* * * *

Mr Thomas Oldham listened politely as his doctor explained to him that things really couldn’t continue as they were. The deterioration was progressing quicker than expected. He would need to think about how he would manage. Continue reading

May 2015 – hedge bottom – It Was Me by John Pilling

It Was Me

by John Pilling

“May I have a word sir?”

“Of course Ted, come in.” With some relief Chief Inspector Brian Ames pushed aside the pile of overtime dockets he had been studying and looked up at his deputy, Inspector Ted Harvey.

“How can I help?”

“It’s this murder case in Hanover Street sir.”

“Ah yes, bit of a feather in your cap that one Ted… a quick clear up like that, looks very good on the crime figures.”

“I suppose so sir… but frankly I’m not too happy about it, I think we could have a problem.”

“Really? In what way? I understood you’d obtained a confession and the killer has been charged and is in custody.” Continue reading

April 2015 – lucky number – Biter Bit by John Pilling

Biter Bit

by John Pilling

The news ran round the complex like wildfire prompting expressions of disbelief and disgust.

“That’s the tenth one.”

“What the hell are they playing at?”

“In my day… ”

“Turning us into a bloody laughing stock.”

“Only ever cash.”

“Hmmm… clever that.”

“What if…?”

“Maybe we could…”

Later that day, seemingly at random, serious people began to drift towards the community room. Continue reading