Stroke, Fondle and Poke.

Alfrid had sight of him: location Gallery 2. Using the zoom function on the security camera monitor, he watched awhile, as the man lightly stroked a high value piece with his fingertips.
Excuse me sir!” Alfrid yodelled, skidding to a stop on the polished gallery floor. “You can’t touch this.”
Surrounded by non-figurative paintings on the walls were five sculptures, located near the centre of the room. Each, human-sized in scale, formed from richly veined marble and oil-finished ash timber, broadly cylindrical and smooth. Bored into the sides, round-shaped holes added interest, some through the marble, other holes appearing in the wood. Naturally, the sculptures called out to be touched and the man doing the touching, stood dressed in full military fatigues.
“I sanitized my hands thoroughly.” He said, pulling away sharply from the sculpture he’d been caught fondling. “At the entrance, when I came in.” He held his hands up in front of his chest, palms showing, his long fingers stretching outwards.
“Well.” Alfrid hesitated. Abstract words collided with each other inside his mind, while he tried to formulate a coherent sentence.
“I thought the problem with touching, had to do with dirt and grease from people’s hands, transferring onto the sculpture.” The army man looked at the gallery custodian, appealing for a judgement. “Coupled with the passage of time, it’s these minute abrasives and oils which cause the damage.”
“Look, it’s just, if I say ‘yes’ to you,” Alfrid’s voice vibrated with a conciliatory tone, “you know what I mean?”
“Others will think it’s alright to touch the exhibits too?”
“That’s right, sir.”
Although,” the military man countered, “there’s no one else in here, just you and I. No one else will see me touching.” Both men threw glances around the room, unnecessarily.
Alfrid placed his hands on his hips; he felt close to conceding the point. Staring out through the shopfront earlier, had demonstrated the street outside as empty. No cars, no people, no stray dogs, no vapour trails intersecting across the blue sky. Following the second-wave onslaught of the virus pandemic, this had become the new normal.
The telephone at the reception in Gallery 1 rang. “One moment, please.” Alfrid said, raising a relaxed index finger up in the air, as he backed out of the space.

Continue reading “Stroke, Fondle and Poke.”

Cry Baby Counsellor

“Yes, well when I read your advert on the local web directory,” Eva seated herself on the park bench, “under the eye-catching title ‘Cry Baby Counsellor’, I immediately thought to myself, ‘Yes, that’s for me!’ Next, I followed the link and filled out the appointment form.”
“Did you find the process straight-forward?” Counsellor Diana Thebes asked, “And, you read all the information about how I operate, no problems as far as you are concerned?”
“No, none at all my dear, and I read them all again in your email reply.” Eva looked around the immediate vicinity, “I think it’s all rather novel, outside in the park, the fresh air, next to the river having a counselling session, with the old mill factories situated opposite. It’s rather scenic, I’d say.” She undid the top two buttons of her coat and placed her handbag next to herself on the seat. It had turned into a warm and hazy, late-summer’s day. “What will you do in winter? It won’t be much fun in the rain and snow, will it?”

Continue reading “Cry Baby Counsellor”

Pourquoi, Pork-You?

Much to Mandy’s relief, the 4.47 PM sleeper train from Aberdeen to London, left exactly on time. The air inside the compartment felt cool, a man in unusual dress, had already made himself feel at home. With the emergency pandemic regulations in force, two people per sleeping compartment had become the new norm.

“‘Allo, may I ‘elp you with your suitcase?”

Continue reading “Pourquoi, Pork-You?”

Imaginary Friend

So, here I am, at the top of a raised gangway secured to a vintage paddle steamer, a bouquet of pink carnations in my hand and about to make the boldest statement of my life. The backstory as to how I come to be here, I will explain, briefly.

Despite growing up to realise Aditya is viewed by society as an ‘imaginary friend’, he has been in my life since before any other meaningful event I am able to recall. Today, he is no less real. He is the brother I never had and better known to me alone, as Adi.

I know. You are sceptical. You didn’t have an imaginary friend when growing up, nor have you ever known anyone who did. I’m sorry for you, I really am. Believe me when I tell you, you have missed out. Right from the beginning, Adi has been my sage, providing support, advice and guidance. He’s given comfort when needed, warmed me, warned me, saved and occasionally scolded me. But he has never, ever, abandoned me. Unconditionally, he has always been here, right by my side.

Continue reading “Imaginary Friend”

In the First Sixty Seconds

An ambassador. It sounds rather pretentious, doesn’t it? I’m not a real ambassador. An influencer? No, I’m probably considered a bit too old for that. What am I? I am an actor of stage, film, television drama and several incredibly lucrative voice-over spots for well established brands and household names. Seriously folks, a voice-over job is impossible to turn down. For a morning’s work, at worst possibly a couple of extra hours the next day, it is easy money. This is especially evident, when comparing the income versus effort ratio, against any other medium I am involved with. Of course, I need the other roles, to be considered for voice-over work in the first place. You can’t have one without the other!

Continue reading “In the First Sixty Seconds”

Tina’s Party

I met Adam at Tina’s party. He’d showed no interest in approaching me, so I went straight up to him and said, “Did someone tell you it was a fancy dress party?” He looked me up and down in a dismissive manner and rather loftily sniffed his nose at me! “It’s a nice outfit,” I told him, “French royal court, early eighteenth century?” The feathers, silk stockings, blue velvet and lace appeared absolutely immaculate and expensive.
“It is my own interpretation,” he replied, “but you’re right on the money. I’m impressed.” He stepped forward and then back again with swagger, before taking a slow, theatrical bow. This vision, together with the white foundation, rouged cheeks and lipstick, caused an idea to pop into my head.

Continue reading “Tina’s Party”

Con

Mike enjoyed working in the garden, out in the clean, fresh air. On a warm, overcast summer day like today, under cool shade provided by the cherry tree, he found the light reflection from his laptop computer screen, tolerable. True, working outside meant he had to put up with noise pollution from the neighbours. However, classical music streamed through decent loudspeakers served as an antidote, creating an aural backdrop acceptable to work to.

Continue reading “Con”

From Station To Station

Two innocent souls, from a chance meeting, quickly form an intense friendship. Several days later, following a sweaty bonding of bodies driven by mutual carnal desire, they had come to regard each other as lovebirds.
We join them, yet another day later, at Obsomba station, located on the Northern Criss-Cross Line. In the golden hour before the setting of the sun, we find ourselves needing to ask, has someone had a change of heart?

Continue reading “From Station To Station”

By Lunch Time I Was Exhausted …

You might not imagine so, but creating an ice sculpture is very tiring work. Today, by lunch time I was exhausted. My name is Guðrún, I am an artist and during the winter months of the upper Northern Hemisphere, I busk my skills in towns and cities, creating ice sculptures in return for donations of appreciation from tourists and shoppers.

Continue reading “By Lunch Time I Was Exhausted …”

I Can’t Say Goodbye

“What’s up Ramesh?” Akira gently drew her boyfriend close. Automatically, Ramesh laid his head against her shoulder and across to her right-side, upper chest. He felt disconsolate, giving wonder and consideration as to whether he could feel reconciled with himself, now or forever in the future.
“I can’t say goodbye, it’s like we’ll never be together again.”
Akira sighed. Despite her grace, kindness and love for her boyfriend, this recurrent happening had begun to wear her down. “Ramesh, how old are you?”
“Me? I am 18, you know I am 18. Why do you ask?”
“Because Ramesh, this – this behaviour is unusual, for a young man of your age.”
“You think I’m needy, don’t you?” Ramesh snuggled his head into the yellow, furry fabric of Akira’s top.
“Clingy I would say, Ramesh.”

Continue reading “I Can’t Say Goodbye”