The Worst-Case Scenario.

Today’s the fucking worst. And I was so cautiously optimistic half an hour ago, too. You see, I hadn’t seen my ex since the start of quarantine, when she was still my girlfriend. We spent her birthday together. I gave her presents, we had a takeaway, watched a bit of Netflix and stuff. It was nice. 6 weeks later though, she broke it off. Not looking for anything serious, or at least not with me.

It felt like something might happen a couple of weeks ago: We started talking again, being 2 lonely people with nothing to do and nobody to see. But nothing ever did. So a few days ago I texted her, saying that I was coming round to drop off some things that she’d left at mine and to pick up my own stuff from her. Nothing much, just toiletries and a couple of items of clothing, that kind of thing. She said cool, come on Sunday.

This was it. The all or nothing move. I mean, she lives alone, so she’s as starved for human contact as I am, right? Maybe I bring round her belongings and we have a nice cuddle. Maybe a kiss on the cheek or an invite to have a drink. Maybe even stay the night? That’s pushing it, probably, even if Boris has given the green light. Most likely she takes her belongings, shuts the door and I can walk away to lick my wounds, secure in the knowledge that it’s definitely over.

So that’s what I did today, Sunday the 14th of June 2020. I got 2 buses to her house in the pissing rain, rucksack full of toiletries, heart full of hope and brain full of pessimism. Precisely half an hour ago, I opened the gate, I strode up to the front door and I knocked. No answer. I knocked again, but again there was no answer. Just as I raised my hand to knock a third and final time, the lock clicked and the door swung open. Standing where I had expected my ex to be stood was a man. Answering her door. To her house. Where, and I can’t stress this enough, she lives alone. He was a 7 foot tall brick shit house with a handsome but smirking face. And he was topless. Now I’m an excellent judge of character, so trust me when I say with no agenda, bias or bitterness that he was clearly a cunt. “What?” He asked, as if he didn’t need the reply.

Before I could answer, my ex rushed to the door, stumbling over the coffee table in the process. She shooed him away, but I’d already seen all I needed to see. Her face was bright red and she also was not fully dressed. “I’m sorry.” She said. “I didn’t want you to find out li…” I stopped listening. Numb, I spun on my heels, strode back to the gate and shut it behind me.

So yeah, today was the fucking worst. The worst-case scenario. And it fucking hurts. This feeling fucking sucks. Just now I was stood waiting for the bus (Sunday service. Why did I agree to come on a Sunday?), I’m reliving the whole ordeal for the 1000th time in my head and suddenly it all hits me at once, like a shooting pain tearing through the pit of my stomach. I’ve been shot. I’m not being cute or metaphorical, someone literally… Literally just shot me at the bus stop… With a gun… They were driving a grey… Car… I tried to get the reg, but it’s… It’s difficult to concentrate to be honest. I’m losing a pretty frightening amount of blood. Everything’s getting a bit… Hazy.

The Scientists were wrong… About the meteor… It’s not passing harmlessly by at all, it’s on a… Direct collision course with… Earth. What makes… The fact that everyone on the planet has… Seconds to live… Worse… Is that this morning they… They scientifically proved that Heaven and Hell are real… And that basically everyone goes to Hell… Seriously, walk across a road before the green man shows up and you’re… Eternal… Toast…

I got a lot of… Bad news… This morning. It also came to light that… All dogs are robots created by the government to spy on us… That Alison Brie is a really horrible person in real life… That Everton FC is nothing but a sick psychological experiment that my Dad signed me up for at birth… It’s all real…

I only hope that if the multiverse theory is true… If there is another version of me out there somewhere in the infinite… Cosmos… And he’s waiting for a bus back to Leeds City Centre today, Sunday the 14th of June 2020… And he’s feeling shit, because things haven’t panned out like he’s trying not to hope they will… I hope he hears me now: “Chin up, mate. You’ll bounce back. It could have been worse. This is the worst-case scenario.”

Oh fuck, hostile aliens! They’ve landed their craft right next to me on the road. They’ve come out blasting at me with photon pistols. I’m bleeding out, so I’m not sure if I can… Ok sweet, I disarmed one of them and I’m using him as a hu… An alien shield to fight off the rest. Pew, pew! ARGH, FUCK! They shot my left arm clean off. Seriously though, I’m sure you’re having a much, much worse Sunday, alternate Dave. Pew, pew, pew! Fuck, this is really, really painful. Nothing on heartache though, eh? Here comes the alien leader. BEGONE FROM THIS PLANET, PUTRID ALIEN SCUM! WE ARE A PEACEFUL PEOP… Pew, p-ARGH, he shot me right in the existing bullet hole in my stomach that I mentioned earlier, only this is a much, much more intense pain. Fuck me, what a nightmare. I wouldn’t trade places with you for all the tea in China though, alternate Dave. Wowee, that’s a rough day you’re probably having. Women, eh? Can’t live with ’em, can’t live wi… Ah shit, the meteor’s com…

Crimean Tom

A song about a hero cat from 1855

A Sevastopol cellar we searched through the dust,

While our stomachs and mouths grumbled on,

But in lieu of supplies, William Gair found the eyes of a cat,

So he brought him along.

Well the city was bare, near a year we’d been there,

And the flesh seemed picked clean off it’s bones,

And except for the cat, we were lean,

But his fat meant that he had a secret to show.

And we sang “Three cheers for Tom!

God knows where he’s from,

But we’re marching for our chaperon.

And the whole Black Sea Fleet

Couldn’t take him from me,

Cause Crimean Tom’s one of our own.”

So one night we followed as Tom lead the way,

Past a mountain of rubble and ash,

Once we found a way through, there were fatty mice too,

And Tom chased them right up to a cache.

And we sang “Three cheers for Tom!

God knows where he’s from,

But we’d all perish out here alone.

So if the Tsar wants him gone,

He can take us all on,

Cause Crimean Tom’s one of our own.”

Tom found more supplies,

As he and we followed the mice,

Through the docks of Sevastopol,

Tom had kept us alive.

When the guns were laid down and the cannons brought home,

Well we couldn’t just leave Tom behind,

We brought him back here, but before the New Year,

Tom had drifted to sleep one last time.

So we sing “Three cheers for Tom,

God knows where he came from,

But we thank him for bringing us home.

So we’ll all raise a glass,

To a hell of a cat,

Crimean Tom’s one of our own.

Yes we’ll all raise a glass,

To a hell of a cat,

Crimean Tom’s one of our own.”


The Driving Instructor

Remember your mirrors and indicate.

The driving instructor clambered out of the driver-side door and into the pouring rain. It’d been a miserable day weather-wise, but this was taking the biscuit. It was almost vindictively bad. The rain lashed down with such ferocity that it bounced back up off the cobbled stones of the narrow street, allowing it to attack the instructor from any angle it chose. He started to jog around the front of the car, stopping briefly to look up and wave to his approaching student, before the two of them rushed for his vehicle’s refuge, endeavouring to endure the elements for as little time as possible. The pair of them entered the car and slammed the doors behind them.

“Horrible day for it, eh, lad?” Sighed the driving instructor jovially, over the metronomic vrrrp vrrrp of the struggling windscreen wipers and the dull thudding of rain hitting the car’s roof and windows. The student nodded, lowered the hood of his jacket and ran a hand through his short, soaking wet hair. The instructor reached into the glovebox, pulled out a cloth with one hand, removed his spectacles with the other and proceeded to wipe them clean. “Right then,” He continued, replacing his glasses and conjuring a notepad and pen from his inner jacket pocket. “And you are…” His eyes scanned down his list of dates, times and names.

“Dickhead.” Said the student. “Silly Dickhead.”

“Ah yes, there you are.” Declared the instructor triumphantly, scribbling something down next to one of the names. “Right then, Silly. Do you go by Silly? Or is it Sil?”

“Silly’s fine.” Mumbled Silly.

“First lesson is it, Silly?”

“No, I have driven before. Just need refreshing before my test, really.”

“Ah perfect. On you go then.” The car was already running, so Silly placed his hands at ten to two on the wheel, pressed his foot down on the clutch, put the car in first and found the biting point. He removed the handbrake with a dull clunk and began to inch slowly down the street towards the main road. “Remember to check your mirrors, Silly.” Said the instructor.

“Oh right, sorry.” Replied Silly. He obeyed.

“You’ll soon get back into the swing of it, son.” Chuckled the instructor reassuringly. Water flooded the windscreen as the wipers vrrrp vrrrped in vein, while more rain bounced off the roof and windows, adding to the growing cacophony as the car growled further and further down the bumpy, cobbled street. “Right then.” Repeated the instructor. “We’ll be going left when we get to the road, so whenever the coast’s clear, remember your mirrors again… And… Indicate.” Again, Silly obeyed, but in his haste he flicked the right indicator on instead of the left.

“Sorry!” He spluttered.

“It’s alright, son. Take your time. Bit rusty, eh?”

“Yeah.” Replied Silly, turning on the left indicator. As the car trundled on to meet the main road, Silly checked his mirrors, looked up and down the road, squinting through the downpour to check that the coast was indeed clear and then turned to the left.

“Second gear now.” Said the instructor kindly as the indicator clicked itself off. Silly pressed down on the clutch, moved up to second gear and started to accelerate. Vrrrp vrrrp. “That’s the ticket.” Said the instructor. “Now when we come up to these traffic lights here, we’ll be going right, please.”

“OK.” Silly moved into the right lane as he approached the lights, which remained green. He checked his mirrors and began to turn…

“Indicate!” Said the instructor sternly.

“Sorry! Sorry!” Said Silly, flicking the indicator on just in time for it to click itself back off as he completed the turn.

“It’s alright son, it’ll soon come flooding back.” Chuckled the instructor. “Now if you just want to check your mirrors and indicate, please.”

Silly looked for a turning, but there was none. There was only straight road ahead. “Do you want me to pull over?” He asked.

“Check your mirrors and indicate.” Reiterated the instructor. Vrrrp vrrrp went the windscreen wipers as rain continued to pound upon the vehicle’s roof.

“But I’m not turning! There’s nowhere to-”

“Indicate!” Growled the instructor. “Indicate!”

“But…” Silly turned to protest to the instructor just in time to see the man’s glasses fall onto the passenger side floor. The instructor’s eyes retreated backwards into his shrivelling, greying skull. Vrrrp vrrrp. The roof of the car groaned and strained under the pressure of the rain. The instructor looked at Silly with a manic smile, his tongue lolling out at an odd angle from his mouth. He then bit it clean off, sending it wriggling down the side of the passenger seat. “JESUS CHRIST!” Screamed Silly.

“INDICATE!” Gurgled the tongueless instructor. A droplet landed hard on Silly’s head, prompting him to look up. Thick drops of rain were shooting through the roof of the car like bullets and water came pouring in through the holes, flooding the car quickly. Vrrrp vrrrp. “INDICATE, SILLY DICKHEAD! INDICATE!” Vrrrp vrrrp. Silly looked ahead and had to swerve out of the path of an oncoming bus, then he allowed himself a glance back over to the passenger seat. The abomination had begun climbing and squelching over the sodden central divide towards him. His mouth was twisted into a mad, bloody grin and he held a skeletal arm outstretched towards Silly. “INDICATE!” Came the instructor’s guttural scream. “INDICATE!”

He sat bolt upright in bed, sweat soaking through his pyjamas. Immediately he ran a hand through his hair, but it was quite dry, if a bit sweaty. He stared into the darkness for a moment, breathing heavily and adjusting back to reality. From his right, he could hear the thudding of heavy rain against the bedroom window.

“What’s wrong?” Groaned his wife’s voice.

“Nothing.” He gasped. “Nothing. Just a bad dream, that’s all.” He heard a click and his wife’s bedside lamp turned on, filling the room with warm light. She propped herself up against the back of the bed and rested her head on his shoulder.

“Awh. Well it was only a dream.” She yawned. “It’s over now.”

“It was just so… Real.” He said, his breathing slowing. “I was in a car. I was having a driving lesson and the instructor… He kept shouting Indicate, indicate! And the rain… His tongue…”

His wife opened her eyes, sat up and regarded him thoughtfully. “Maybe it’s from… Weren’t you telling me about that bloke earlier… The handsome one… When you were driving home…”

Without warning, the window shattered as I came swinging handsomely into the room. They both cried out and shielded their faces with their arms from the shower of water and glass. “Yeah that’s right!” I yelled, as lightning streaked down in the distance behind me. “Remember me, you silly dickhead? The bloke you almost knocked down earlier while I was crossing the road?”

“I… I don’t…” His eyes widened as he struggled to get his words out. I took a step forwards, crunching shards of broken glass under my foot.

“Well I’m in your dreams now, mate. That’s right, I control every dream you have.” I took another step and bent down, so that we were almost nose to nose. “And if I… EVER…” I jabbed him the chest with my finger. “…SEE…” And again. “…YOU…” And with every word. “… TURN… WITHOUT… INDICATING… AGAIN…” I smiled. Still handsomely. “Well, you’ll be taking another driving lesson, won’t you. You silly dickhead.”

“I… I’m sorry…” He stammered. “… I didn’t… Didn’t mean…”

“I know you didn’t mean it.” I said sympathetically. “But that road’s a fucking ball ache quite frankly mate and…” I sighed. “And I’m just sick of it now.” I turned and stepped onto the window ledge.

“Who… Who are you?” Asked his wife.

I turned back from the ledge to address the room once more. “I am the Pedestrian Vigilante.” I replied. “And anyone…” I paused for effect. “… Anyone who doesn’t indicate before turning will henceforth be taking a driving lesson with my favourite instructor.”

“I will, Pedestrian Vigilante!” Cried the silly dickhead. “I promise to show more courtesy to other road users in future! I swear I will!” His wife smiled, a single joyful tear rolling down her cheek.

“And so will I! So will all of us, Pedestrian Vigilante!” She shouted. I smiled, then turned and flew handsomely away into the night as the couple stood and applauded. The roads will be just a little bit safer tomorrow, I thought to myself as I glided through the trees. Those two at least have been converted. They’ve seen the light, but my job is not yet done. There’ll be plenty more bad dreams tonight.

So here’s my plea to you, the reader and particularly those of you in or around the Leeds area: Don’t be a silly dickhead. Save yourself the hassle. Save yourself the hassle of a horrible dream. Have yourself an excellent, refreshing and rejuvenating night’s sleep.


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Three 2

The highly anticipated sequel to a poem-ish thing.


“I’ll be there in a while.” He said, as she stood up to go to bed. She bent to kiss his cheek, then started heading for the stairs.

He turned to watch her walk away and smiled in his contented way. His luck had turned dramatically the day she’d found him there.

“Don’t be too long, my One.”

“I won’t.” His voice cracked slightly as he spoke. The corner of his lip flickered in protest of the word.

He stood, walked through the kitchen door. Her footsteps reached the second floor. He’d pour a drink, suppress the thoughts she’d accidentally stirred.

He fast unscrewed the bottle’s cap, then poured a glass and threw it back, when from behind he thought he heard a tap on window glass.

Instinctively his movement ceased, imagining some hidden beast with matted fur and many jagged teeth come stalking past.

But then he laughed. “You silly sod.” He thought. “Sounds like your nerves are shot. The tapping was imagined, not some big, bloodthirsty thing!”

He slowly turned with glass in hand, pouring a second as he panned. Calming his fraying nerves demanded just another drink.

But as he pivoted around, he heard a louder tapping sound. His tumbler fell and hit the ground as he came into view.

Through the window, clear as day, the man he’d hoped had gone away. The man whose twisted game he’d played. “Oh hello, One.” Said Two.

“Fuck off, Steven.” One scathed back, swooping towards the broken glass and picking up the- “I fucking knew this would happen. I knew you’d come back. As soon as this tosser started making everything I say rhyme again, I thought ‘Oh well Steven must be just around the pissing corner then.’ Fuck off, I mean it. I’m not interested. I’ve moved on, mate. I’m married now and I’ve got a good job with responsibilities and shit. I don’t need you and your rhyming bollocks showing up and shitting all over everything.”

Two laughed and smirked, stepped closer still to One’s old kitchen windowsill. “You’ve not moved on at all” his chilling visage whispered back.

“Chilling visage? Fuck off! And by the way, I didn’t ‘swoop’. I forgot to say before but I definitely didn’t ‘swoop’ down to the broken glass. It’s just that this dickhead surprised me, I dropped the tumbler and now there’s broken glass and fucking whiskey all over the shop. I’m trying to clean this shit up. There was no sw- Nobody ‘swooped’, alright? In fact I don’t think I’ve ever ‘swooped’ in my life. And this is a new build, so the ‘old windowsill’ is 5 years old, max. Do your research at least, for fucks sake.” He paused. “Go on, fit all that into a verse.” He slammed, as he scratched his arse and sniffed his hand. The- “Oh, that’s mature! That’s bloody mature isn’t it! Fucking hell, you’re as bad as him. I’m serious, fuck off, the pair of you. I’m going to bed, I’ve got work in the morning.”

Two smiled. “You’d go and leave this mess for Mrs One on morning next-”

“Morning next isn’t a thing.”

“It is. Uh… For Mrs One on morning next to scrape and scratch her feet on as she rests them on the floor?”

“I’ll leave her a note or a text to wake up to and explain what’s happened and tell her to be careful in the kitchen. It’s such a simple solution. Don’t try to make a big ‘Ooooh would you dare’ thing of it for your poem. She’ll understand. She knows all about you, you dick.”

“Oh does she now?” The triumph gleamed upon Two’s face that shone and beamed. “You told her all about me? Seems you’ve moved on very well.”

“Yeah, I have. You fucking traumatised me, you wanker, but we worked through my issues together. Because that’s what people do. They don’t spend their lives playing shitty games with shitty cups and shitty little arse holes like you. So you read into it all you like mate, but if you’re not off my property in 30 seconds I’m ringing the police.”

Two’s hopeful face turned all to white as One turned off the kitchen light, then out the kitchen, out of sight, he left Two on his own.

With heavy sighs he turned and trudged- “And you as well. Fuck off with him.”


“Fuck off.”

I’ve got to end the-

“Fuck off. Here you go… BAM. That’s it. Poem over.”

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First poem in a while

The colour Me upon the brush stood out a royal blue.

The brush and palette touched and there I met the colour You.

The colour You was bright and red, but as we swirled and blended,

The colour Us was born instead and on the canvas rendered.

The purple we had come to be spun midnight storms and seas.

One stroke by one we’d paint the shadows cast by towering trees.

But when the canvases of only colour Us piled tall,

We made a choice to be the colours You and Me once more.

The colour Me, once back to blue, would paint a cloudless sky.

The colour You, when red anew, would make a roaring fire.

But history were red and blue; mere memories of colour.

Purple now was who we were, infected by each other.

The colour Me shaped stubbornly a vast and purple space,

While colour You in equal hue produced a chilling blaze.

In a way we’d known from the day we were mixed together:

That Me and You aren’t red or blue.

We’re purple now forever.



April started to run.

The terrible scream pierced the cool evening air. April started to run, hoping against hope that she could help. That was the second or possibly third time in relatively quick succession that she’d heard the man wailing for help and it sounded urgent. Her pulse raced as she did, the two of them fighting to be the first to reach the source of the horrible noise. Then she saw him.

“Are you alright?” April panted, “Do you need an ambulance?” The man was slumped up against the wall of a darkened office building and was clearly having difficulty breathing. He gasped rapidly for short, sharp mouthfuls of air while his right hand grasped at his heart. He shook his head violently. “Well what can I do?” She pleaded. “What symptoms are you having?”

The man weakly started to raise and lower his hand quickly above his heart. “Increased heart rate?” He nodded furiously. April almost thought that she saw a thin smile flash across his white lips. “Good! That’s good! What else?”

The man pointed to his mouth and started to exaggerate his rapid breathing even more. “Shortness of breath?” She guessed correctly. He nodded again and gave a thumbs up. “Anything else?”

The man’s demeanour abruptly changed as April finished her question. His breathing slowed dramatically and the grip on his chest loosened. “And a severe vitamin U deficiency.” He winked. “What music are you into? Well don’t go…” April broke into a jog. “My name’s Dave, what’s yours?” He called after her as she disappeared around the corner of the office building. She didn’t reply.

The terrible scream pierced the cool evening air. May started to run, hoping against hope that she could help.


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The Perks Of Being Human

Another poem.

The perks of being human seem plentiful on the face,

We’ve brains and thumbs and no-one eating us. It’s pretty great.

Intelligence breeds empathy, science and philosophy,

Dexterity’s brought tools, precision grip and origami.

Our lack of natural predators has allowed us all to thrive,

So if you add up all these virtues, it’s no wonder we’ve survived.

But is it though? Just think on that. Are humans really best?

Have we used all these advantages to rise above the rest?

Our smarts seem only to have made us sneaky and conniving,

And we’ll step right over others if we know it means surviving.

Our thumbs were first militarised millennia ago,

We use tools and guns to wipe out habitats and people both.

It’s sad to think in some parallel World we’ve done no damage.

The ice caps are all fine and rainforests haven’t been savaged.

And in that World the only difference you or I can reason,

Is that humans still are thick, four fingered apes that might get eaten.


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Walt Awakens

“You’ve been cryogenically frozen for almost 1500 years, Mr Disney.”

“What… What year is it?” Muttered Walt, his bleary eyes adjusting to the bright laboratory lights.

“3462.” Came the curt reply. A wide smile broke across Walt’s face. It’d worked. It’d actually worked. “You’ve been cryogenically frozen for almost 1500 years, Mr Disney.”

As his blurry visions were slowly brought into sharper focus, Walt stepped out weakly from the tube that he’d called home for almost a Millennium and a half. He looked around the lab, marvelling at all of the incredible, unthinkable equipment that surrounded him, like props from a work of science fiction. His head swum as he looked from impossible contraption to impossible contraption, jaw agape as they blinked and hummed and hovered and glowed in sequence. They’d done it. They’d actually brought him back.

Walt’s heart hammered in his chest. What had he missed? What remarkable feats and developments had been made? What strides had his species taken, while he had lain in a state of suspended animation? He beamed in turn at each of the scientists gathered around him. What would they teach him? What would they show him? What… Wh… Why did they look so angry?

Walt’s smile began to fade. Poor Walt. He wasn’t to know of course that in the late thirtieth century, after thousands of years of War, argument and debate, Judaism had finally been confirmed as the one true religion and had subsequently been adopted across the Earth and throughout the off-world colonies that littered the Galaxy. He wasn’t to know.

It was at this point that Walt started to really ponder the functions of all of these futuristic machines surrounding him. He also started to wonder why he had been awakened in the first place. More to the point, did he even want to know?

Probably not, he decided.

The gang of scientists really fucked him up. I mean they really fucked him up. Probably serves him right though, doesn’t it.


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