Wanted for high crimes and misdemeanors

Note from the Author: the below is loosely based on speculation and fact, in no way does this reflect 

It’s impossible to describe the reaction of a nation once he was removed from his position.

There was outcry. What is the point in a democracy if you could remove the person you voted in? Mourning swept over every community, country and continent. No one could imagine that even someone as narcissistic as him would take it so far as to declare war against every nation.

It started in March of 2016, campaigns were ruthless, long and taxing on both the candidates and the people of the United States of America. He won the election on November 8th and the inauguration of the 45th President took place on January 21st. His words shook many to their cores, the media whipped into fury and demanded some form of retribution for his actions, but it never came. Rumours of illicit deals with corrupt nations, tampered polls, fixed voting results and assault on woman were brought to light, but still he appeared to be infallible. That was both his making and his undoing.

Within the first week of his presidency a campaign for his impeachment had already reached more than 200,000 signatures and supporters. Congress already announced confirmation of the American Sovereignty Restoration Act – the act that led to United States withdrawal from the U.N. Changes had been made that prohibited abortion, all signatures belonging to men. There was a bill of rights made to amend the Freedom of Information Act, allowing the president more control over the media. It quickly became apparent after his appointment, that the erratic behaviour utilised in his campaigning would not cease; even now that he had gained full power over one of the leading countries of the free world. This also rapidly displayed telltale signs of repeating the events of the Watergate scandal in 1973, leading to the call for Nixon’s impeachment before he gracefully resigned from office.

Months passed, with more and more outrage and protest from his own supporters. Promises made in his tireless campaigning to ‘Make America Great Again’ soon fizzled down to more changes to the rights and a step back in time. The once fearlessly patriotic voters challenged his authority when funding was no longer available for education, for medical care and for aid when natural disasters punished the east coast during hurricane seasons. Work to erect the wall dividing the states from Mexico began, their president preparing for civil war. Forces up and down the states banded together to question and remove immigrants, at times they were threatened with internment if they didn’t comply. Rehabilitation was inflicted openly upon anyone that identified as LGBTQ. In some of the southern states cases of partitioning the streets rose, resulting in a rise of hate crimes. Britain, facing their own changes and restoration of independence from the E.U led to negotiations with the States for trade, damaging their already fractured reputation and relations with the angry inhabitants further. Yet still his tyrannical campaign to ‘Make America great again’ reigned on.

The United Nations agreed they needed to intervene if an order for impeachment couldn’t be met. Russia, who once supported the new President, agreed with the efforts of the U.N and other nations that he needed to be removed. However once that information became public and the media exaggerated the information provided (as it often does), the White House became a very real target for war.

With the people of his nation scared to leave their houses, terrified of their own government saying the wrong thing, he publicly declared at a press conference that “any nation that stood against him was not a nation strong enough to lead their people, he will restore their greater good by all means necessary”. Panic spread like wild fire through the entire world. He had foolishly declared war whilst under investigation for high crimes and misdemeanour’s. However the Vice President calmly stepped up to the podium, ushering the President away and called for silence.

“The congress and I have spoken; under the 25th Amendment of Article 4, ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’ and shall be removed from his position with immediate effect. As Vice President it is my duty to step up in these drastic times to restore peace, hope and fulfil the ideals of our Nation. The previous declaration of war has been retracted. I request the understanding and forgiveness of our other world leaders and hope we can restore our fractured relations”

The room before him remained still, not even a breath could be heard. Calmly he dipped his head in a nervous nod before exiting the podium.

A year later, having been stripped of all power, fortune and respect, his remarks still made headlines. Speculation in the media rose; would he change now that he was no longer drunk with power? Unfortunately I cannot report that this happened. He didn’t apologise for the burden on the nation he caused like Clinton had done after he was acquitted in 1999, he hadn’t even the sense to step down like Nixon when everything began to unravel and impeachment was a reality in 1974. Instead he remained true to his narrow minded and damaging opinions, boasting to anyone that would listen about his affairs and dirty secrets about his now ex-wife. Following his removal, all investigations from the FBI confirmed that he had fixed the voting system rather than his opponent like he accused, he also withheld his full financial status owing millions in unpaid taxes. The Courts found him guilty of various incidents of sexual assault, racism and money laundering. He was an extremely disliked man when he went to jail, requiring for his safety to be relocated to solitary confinement. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I report that they never found him mentally unstable, but it is easy to believe that his lawyers could have paid off the medic that tested him.

It is true when they say a “drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts” in this case.


A Quiet Drink

Jessa’s outraged shriek cut through the crowded common room, followed quickly by the raucous laughter of the merchant’s guard who had grabbed her. She spun quickly, her hand outstretched to slap the guard across the cheek, but he caught her wrist and pulled her onto his lap instead. His two drinking companions called at him to leave off, but he only laughed harder.
“Not a chance boys, I like them feisty!”

Spire swallowed her mouthful of wine and lowered her cup with a sigh.
“Braggarts,” she muttered, shaking her head slightly. Her eyes met those of Thandor, the short, stocky owner of The Stonefolk’s Rest, and he grimaced. He spoke in a low voice as he refilled her cup.
“Bain’t much I can do, Spire. Merchant’s Guild protects them, see?”
Spire shrugged, and glanced across the room at the guards. Jessa had managed to free herself and gather up the tankards she had dropped. She moved swiftly across to the bar, slamming the tankards down next to Spire.
“Calm, Jess,” Thandor murmured, and Jessa glared at him.
“You try being pawed by those stinking bastards, see how calm you feel!”
The sound of three chairs scraping back echoed into a suddenly silent room. Spire felt Jessa tensing beside her, and saw Thandor’s expression change to one of dismay as six booted feet stomped to the bar.

The guard who had pinched Jessa leaned against the bar, grinning maliciously. He was swaying slightly, and rested a large, greasy looking hand on the bar to steady himself. His two companions stood behind him.
“Did you have something to say to me, darlin’?”
“Now, gentlemen,” Thandor began. “P’raps we can just-”
The guard stabbed a finger towards the innkeeper, and shook his head. Thandor grimaced; Spire could see the muscles in his arms tensing as he began clenching and unclenching his fists.
“It was nothing,” Jessa said quietly, fear and anger warring in her eyes.
“You called us stinking bastards. Isn’t that what you heard, boys?”
The other two guards nodded, grinning.
“Now then,” said Greasy-Hands, “I think you owe us each something for that insult, don’t you?”

Spire paused in raising her cup to her lips. Her voice was quiet, but it cut through the room like a knife.
“She owes you nothing. Go back to your drinks.”
A moment of stunned silence, then the three guards laughed. Greasy-Hands staggered over to stand behind Spire, his companions flanking him. Spire felt the guard’s eyes looking her over, sizing up her dark clothes, the cloak that hid much.
“You got something to say to us, white mop?”
Thandor winced at the insult. Spire slowly put her cup on the bar, then slowly stood and turned to face the three guards. She did nothing but look at them, her hands by her sides, a lock of her white hair fallen across her strange Eye, but all three stepped back before her. She spoke again, as quietly as before.
“I said, go back to your drinks.”

The moment stretched out in the still room, not a sound but the quiet hiss of the rain outside. Suddenly Greasy-Hands snatched his flintlock out of its holster. The movement dislodged a folded letter from his belt. It fell to the floor, but Spire kept her eyes on the guard. He gripped the pistol but did not aim it. Spire raised an eyebrow, and the ghost of a smile crossed her lips. Then one of the others grabbed the guard’s wrist and spoke urgently.
“Don’t be a fool, Hadrigan! She’s not important. Let’s just go.”
Hadrigan jerked his wrist out of the other’s grasp, and holstered his flintlock. He bent to pick up the letter, tucking it into his belt once more and smoothing the front of his uniform. Still swaying slightly, he sneered.
“You’re right, Morden. She’s not important. Just another piece of scum, like the rest of the Artists Quarter.”

There was a great scraping noise as every chair in the room was pushed back. All eyes were on the three guards. No one moved, but the hatred aimed at the three was palpable.
“Get out,” Thandor growled.
The three guards began to back toward the door, even as Hadrigan tried to laugh it off.
“Ha! We’ve had enough of the piss water you serve anyway!”
The others tugged at him, but he lunged out of their grasp. He snatched the letter from his belt and brandished it at Spire.
“Just you wait, white mop! We’ll be cleaning up around here, you’ll see!”
The other two men grabbed him and dragged him back, but he kept shouting, spittle flying from his mouth.
“We’ll smash that stupid newspaper and then we’ll come for the rest of you!”
Morden clamped a hand over Hadrigan’s mouth and he and the other guard finally dragged him out the door. As it slammed shut, the tension faded and people returned to their seats, murmuring curses at the Merchant’s Guild and its guards.

Spire turned back to the bar, picked up her cup and took a draught of wine.
“We’ll start with that stupid newspaper…”
There was only one newspaper that was printed in the Artist’s Quarter. Spire sighed and put down the cup, placing a silver coin next to it. She nodded to Thandor and rose. As she turned, Jessa’s arms folded about her. Spire tensed, but did nothing.
“Thanks,” Jessa whispered, and stepped back. Awkwardly Spire nodded, and moved past her toward the door.

Spire moved quickly through the rain filled streets, her white hair hidden by the dark hood. Through the rain she heard the three guards arguing in slurred voices; she was close. Trust Tera to make her life complicated again. Her friend’s paper, A Defiant Voice, was the only paper that was printed in the Artist’s Quarter, and it seemed the Merchant’s Guild wanted to shut it down.
Ahead of her the guard’s footsteps halted, and Spire paused to listen. Suddenly there came the sound of a man being copiously sick.
“You’re a bloody drunken fool, Hadrigan!” That was Morden’s voice, full of disgust. “Spouting off about orders, waving them about!”
“Oh stow it, Morden.” Hadrigan now, his voice raw from vomiting.
The guard’s boots clattered on the stones of the street as they moved on, still arguing. Spire glanced about, flexing her arms; there was no one in sight. In moments she was on the rooftops, following the guards from above.

Hadrigan was clearly in a worse state than the others, despite losing much of the beer he’d drunk. He stumbled through the streets, weaving from side to side, and soon enough his companions drew ahead of him and became lost in the rain. He continued on alone, unaware of the ghostly figure watching him.

Suddenly Hadrigan veered into an alley, and Spire tensed. She moved cautiously to the edge of the roof and peered over, and sighed. The drunkard was relieving himself, one hand braced on the wall for support. Spire shook her head, and stood on the edge of the roof. She took a deep breath, and let herself fall forward off the roof. Her body rolled in the air, and with catlike grace she landed on her feet in the alley, directly behind Hadrigan who was struggling to button his trousers once again.

Before he could react to the noise of her landing, Spire bunched up the fist of her right arm and punched it into his back, aiming for the kidneys. His back arched and he started to cry out, but Spire spun herself, lifting her foot in a vicious kick that snapped his head to the side. Hadrigan dropped like a stone without another sound. Spire rolled the guard onto his back and touched her fingers to his neck; she hadn’t wanted to kill the man, despite her disgust. She was somewhat relieved to feel the pulse, and quickly retrieved the letter from his belt and the coinpurse from his coat pocket for good measure.

In minutes she was back on the rooftops, moving swiftly. Once she was a good distance from the site of her theft, she clambered down to street level again. The rain was easing off, so she tossed back her hood and paused in the light of a streetlamp. She casually took out the letter and opened it. As she scanned the contents, Spire felt every muscle in her body tensing. It hadn’t been just a drunken boast; the Merchant’s Guild wanted Tera’s paper shut down. And that was only the beginning.

Spire folder the letter and tucked it into a pocket as she began to walk. As soon as she was out of the lamplight she tugged her hood up and started to run.
“Tera,” she muttered, “What have you gotten into now?”
Ducking into an alley, Spire scaled the wall to the rooftops. In her element once again she raced across the city towards her friend’s home, praying she would not be too late…

© Matt Beames

Mark My Words

Jacob sat on the priceless antique bench outside of the Oval Office and tried to keep his mind off the hundreds of important arses that had polished the wood over the centuries but it was impossible to sit there and not feel the weight of history looming down on you. Captain’s of industry, Prime Ministers and Kings had all sat here awaiting the pleasure of the leader of the free world and now here he was, Private Jacob Wolff and he had no idea why. Jacob sat there eyes locked on his well-polished boots, running the last few days over and over in his mind trying to figure out why he was here but there was nothing remarkable it was just normal.

“Private Wolff?” Jacob looked up to see a wiry man clutching a clipboard to his chest, looking down on him through round steel framed spectacles. “The President will see you now.”

Jacob took a breath, brushed some imaginary lint from his trousers then stood and followed the man to meet the President.


“Good morning Private.”

“Good morning Mr President,” replied Jacob snapping out a smart salute.

“At ease Private,” said the President returning his salute before taking his seat behind his ornate desk. Jacob recognised it from school, it was the one and only Resolute desk; made from the timbers of HMS Resolute a British arctic exploration ship. It had been a gift from Queen Victoria to the US as a sign of friendship in the late 1800’s and it was truly stunning. Jacob was secretly quite the anglophile, his father was from Germany but his mother had been born and raised in London before emigrating to the US and he’d always been a bit of a mothers boy.

“I’ve been hearing some concerning things about a certain candidate and I’m looking for a good man to get down there and tell me if these troubling rumours are true.”

“Rumours Mr President?”

“You must have heard Private,” replied the President with a dismissive wave. “I shan’t name names but a certain candidate has been rallying some troubling elements and some of my advisors are worried that he might actually get in power. This would be bad for all of us. We cannot legitimise his particular brand of.” The President grimaced like the words left a bad taste in his mouth. “alternative politics. I asked Henry out there to find me someone who could fit in down there find out what the common folks are thinking and well here you are.You came with some excellent recommendations I hope you don’t let us down.”

“I won’t Mr President Sir, if there’s any truth to these rumours I’ll find them.”


Jacob, staggered into the bar on unsteady legs; he rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand then spotting a gap he tottered over and tossed an handful of coins on the rough wooden bar. “Barkeep, beer,” he growled. The rotund barman pulled a glass out from under the bar wiped it on his greasy apron and filled in with the flat straw coloured liquid that passed for beer in this neck of the woods before scooping up half of the coins.

Jacob tilted his head back and slammed the thin, warm liquid in one long drag. “Hit me.” The barman ground his teeth, turning back and snatching his glass off the bar. “Make this one last I’ve got other customers to look after,” he said slamming the now full glass on the bar sending a wave of the rancid beer spilling onto the bar.

“You can’t tell me what to do,” replied Jacob leaning in with a snarl. “You’re not one of us and come election day the likes of you will be first against the wall, am I right?”

“Aye,” said the drunk to Jacobs right. “Now fuck off before we start the party early.” The barman seemed to shrink in on himself and he skittered to the other end of the bar without taking any money for Jacob’s drink.

“We told him eh?” laughed the drunk clapping Jacob on the shoulder. “Mark my words,” slurred the man leaning in close to Jacob and dousing in him a miasma of stale ale and tobacco. “This guy is going to be the best thing that ever ‘appened to this country.”

James leaned back and surreptitiously covered his mouth with a hand to try and block the drunkards stench. “Aye, but the polls.”

“Fuck the polls boy, fuck them. I’m telling you I’ve asked around and I don’t know a single person round here who isn’t going to vote for ‘im.”


“Not a one. He’s a tough one he is. Tough on them’s that deserve it, coming over here taking all our money. He’s putting us first as it should be, he’s looking out for the little guy. I’m tellin’ you just ask anyone ‘n they’ll tell you the same he’s the future; he’s going to make us great again.”

There was a madness in the mans eyes but the scary thing was Jacob thought that maybe he was right.


“It’s just some drunk in a bar there’s no way he will ever get in,” said the General with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“It’s just every drunk in every bar I went to,” replied James.

“Yes well all the people I’ve talked to, none of whom have been inebriated I might add, have said quite the opposite.”

“You know what they say, a drunk mans words are a sober mans thoughts,” replied James.

“There’s not enough drunk people in the world that would vote for him,” said the General. “The polls have him well down and I think they are more accurate than the rambling of a few drunks in few dive bars.”

“I’m telling you I don’t care what the polls say this guys is going to win and we’re going to be up shit creek without a paddle. You need to tell the President, we need a plan to stop this , like right now.”

“I’m telling you he will never get in and I’m not going to waste the President’s precious time planning for something that will never happen in a million years. I’m telling you there is no chance in hell of him getting in, I’d stake my life on it.”


30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler was elected as Chancellor of Germany with a wave of optimism on a platform of German reunification, opposing international capitalism and the unjust Treaty of Versailles. He exploited the Great Depression by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been the most affected such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.

On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland starting the bloodiest war in human history that took the lives of over 60 million people or 3% of the world population.

The Accident

“Mr Beaton”


“Lance…Your wife is in a stable but critical condition.  As her next of kin I have to discuss our options going forward with you.”

Lance looked over at his wife.  Tubes wriggled and writhed in and around her body and the bruises had bloomed into bright patches like that dress she would wear with large flowers all over it.  The largest started at her shoulder and spread across her chest and ribs; the seatbelt that saved her from being flung from the car and yet had done so much damage.  The next largest encompassed her swollen right eye, nose and a large portion of her cheek from where the momentum slid her off the air bag, hurtling into the gear stick.

“Her body has been through a lot,” began the doctor.

“Broken nose, fractured cheekbone, snapped clavicle, three broken ribs, seven bruised, arm broken in three places, hairline fracture on her pelvis and shattered ankle.”

Dr Tanner stared at Lance a moment.  Shock affects people in different ways, he thought, don’t judge.  You can’t know what you would do in that situation.  He made a mental note to ask pastoral to check in on him shortly to be safe.

“That’s right.  We’ve been able to repair the immediate damage to her brachial artery and we’ve re-inflated the lung that collapsed as a result of the broken ribs.  My concern is she is unable to manage off the ventilator thus far which leads me to think there is something else going on that we did not spot first time around.”

“I see…”

Mr Beaton, Lance, was a hard one to read.  He seemed to be drinking in the information like he was in a lecture with a professor that liked to give pop-quizzes; mentally note-taking, absorbing fact after fact, all the while clutching the hand of his wife in the bed next to him.

“My next concern, however, is that we nearly lost her during the last surgery and I’m not sure how well she would fair with another round of anaesthesia.  Her body needs time to rest and recover.”

“Right…” replied Lance, weighing up this new information.

“But if there is still a bleed we need to catch it sooner rather than later.”

“And what do you recommend?” asked Lance.

“I’m afraid you need to make the decision, Lance.”

“I understand that but what are the odds?  What are the facts?”

A slightly skewed twist on a common reaction; wanting someone else to make the decision for them, though people usually asked “what would you do” rather than “what are the facts”.  The Doctor breathed deeply, carefully constructing his reply.

“You have all the facts, Lance.  The ventilator is keeping her stable for now but that could change at any moment if there is another underlying cause as we suspect.  We managed to bring her back in her last surgery and we will do everything in our power to do that should we lose her again but there is no way to be sure.”


Both men turned to the doorway to find the source of the tentative voice.  His children.  But they didn’t rush to him as Dr Tanner expected.  They just stood there, staring at their father, the air thick with apprehension until…

“Are you sure you should be making this decision?” The son posed this question in such a way that it conveyed his feelings perfectly.

“I’m her husband, your father, it’s my decision to make,” Lance replied, somewhat matter-of-factly.

“That’s not what he asked,” the daughter interjected.

Dr Tanner watched the dynamic in the room played out as if from a far.  He felt like an intruder in a very personal situation but this was not the kind of atmosphere he had come to expect from such a difficult decision.  The children spoke to their father quite tentatively, as if talking him down from a ledge.  “What is going on here?” he asked.

“Dad has frontal lobe damage,” explained the daughter.

“He was in an accident,” clarified the son.

“He has no empathy, no emotions.”

“I see,” replied Dr Tanner, clarity behind Lance’s behaviour this far coming sharply into focus.

“That may be the case,” stated Lance, “but I am her husband, my accident is entirely irrelevant.”

“Irrelevant!?” cried the daughter, “Dad, it’s everything!  This isn’t some stranger!  You can’t just go off the facts, it’s Mum!”

“I’m well aware, I’m not a monster.”

“Then let us decide.”

“It’s not up to you.”

“But it should be!”

“I quite disagree, if anything I am best placed to make this decision.  I can weigh the up options and come to a logical decision.  You would likely let your emotions cloud your judgement.”

“We can’t lose her too!”

“You haven’t lost me,” murmured Lance, “I’m right here.”

“But you’re not the same, are you?  You’re not the Dad that taught me to swim or helped Jamie tie his shoes.  The one that tucked us in at night, that made-up stories until we fell asleep.  You might look like him but you’re not him.”

A thick silence fell over the room and Dr Tanner surveyed the family; the children defiantly clinging to each other for support and Lance still clutching his wife’s hand.  Tanner wondered if they noticed that.  This seemingly emotionless person still holding on to his wife.  There’s still so much we don’t know about the brain maybe there’s a chance some part of him was still in there…

“She’ll have the surgery.” Lance’s voice fell on the room like a death knoll.

“Dad, please!”

“She’ll need the surgery eventually, it’s the logical thing to do,” Lance stated.

“Logic isn’t everything,” the daughter retorted with an edge of bitterness, “you heard what he said, she might not survive surgery.”

“I’m her husband, it’s my decision.”

“Doctor, is there nothing we can do?” pleaded Jamie.

“Your father has power of attorney in this situation, it’s his decision,” Tanner replied.

The emotions in the room had reached breaking point.  The daughter crumpled to the chair sobbing, Jamie hugged himself a moment before the anger reached his eyes and he threw himself at Lance.

“You bastard!  If she dies I’ll kill you myself!”

Lance blocked his attempts before catching his wrists to stop the pummelling onslaught.  He held his son, waiting for him to grow still before speaking calmly, quietly, reasonably.  “Jamie, she needs the surgery, if not now then later.  We can wait but the Doctor said she could slip again at any moment, better that happens in an operating theatre surrounded by specialists and everything they need than in a room they have to run to first.”

Jamie softened and the daughter looked up from her clump on the chair.  The air lightened a fraction as the three looked from one to the other before looking across at the Doctor almost as one.  United, if only for a moment.

Doppelgänger Me.

Most people would be concerned to find their inebriated doppelgänger dancing erratically to Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl in their Nan’s living room. And Bradley was.

That afternoon a sudden blast of Andre’s finest shook Bradley awake, followed by some even louder “shooosh”s coming from downstairs. It very obviously wasn’t Nan. She was more of Radio 4 or Megadeth kinda gal. Besides, she was out. Bradley lumbered pyjama laden down the stairs into the hallway. He grabbed her trusty cane from the umbrella bucket, fully prepared to beat the crap out of the intruder with the ferocity dear old nan would be proud of. Muffling a pained “argh ye fu-“, he learned quickly to tip toe around the smashed ornaments that sprawled across the floor as he crept toward the living room. The unwelcome visitor continued to bellow off-key through the door. Bradley lifted his grip, as Nan had taught him, on the walking stick. “Always leave room on the bottom end of the stick, Bradley,” Nan would stress, “you’ll get a better impact. Hob nob?” Memories of Nan’s unorthodox and not-particularly-legit training stirred bubbles of biscuit-hunger in Bradley’s belly. If the pyjama’d warrior took down this burglar, surely the deed would warrant a nosey from the sacred biscuit tin. He placed his other hand gently on the door. From within, a something smashed. Bradley pushed, leaping with furious enthusiasm into the room.

“FUCK me!” shouted the worse-for-wear edition of Bradley as he fell backward on the edge of the sofa and lazily ricocheted to the floor. Another Bradley. In the flesh? This required at least a minute of gormless staring and guppy-mouthing to compute Dirty giggles erupted from behind the newly stained coffee table.  As cheated as Pyjama Bradley felt by the heroic act ripped from him, this “two of me, no mirror” scenario was almost just as overwhelming. Dropping the cane, Pyjama Bradley resolved to creep towards the shoddy semblance of himself. Other Bradley was drenched in deeply choking cocktail of sweat, Sambuca and Lynx Africa™. The warmth of this aroma hung like his own personal o-zone layer, increasing in pressure the closer you got to the planet’s surface. Suffice to say, Pyjama Bradley didn’t fancy getting too close to it. Him. He hadn’t wanted the shower gel/ deodorant when it was gifted to him at Christmas for the 6th consecutive time, let alone in its newfound pissed-up concoction that floated around his “other”. Instead Bradley (the vertical of the two) silently advanced upon the now Flava-blaring CD player and turned the beast off.

“Oi! What’re you doin’?” The top of a scowling head emerged over the coffee table.
“Turning this rubbish off”
“S’not rubbish! That spent a wh-week at no.1 in 1996-”
“I know”
“-jus’ after the Spicesh Girls…” continued drunk Bradley with surprising clarity. His head flopped back to the floor.

Sober Bradley waited in the horribly thick silence.
The rosey head popped up again. “Wha- ah fuck, it’s you again…” he sulked. “…what happened to Peter Andre?”
“I turned it off-“
“I know you fuckin’ did, Geesuss…”
“Bra-bradley,” burbled the sober one in a desperate scrambling for the right question to ask first, “how did…what the…”
“Oh, fuck off.” The glowing red head slumped down once more.
By this point, OG (Original Generation) Bradley had had enough of his own steaming shit:
“Oi, you fat lard. Get over your yourself and your underwhelming dick and just fucking listen!”
The drunk Bradley’s head shot up immediately:
“Wha d’you say about-“
“We both know it’s true,” retorted OG Bradley, feeling like a smug Cumberbatch Sherlock in ASDA nightwear. “Now that I have your attention, can we talk about…this?”

2nd Gen Bradley scowled, a nerve not so much touched but tasered. Nevertheless, he purchased himself on the coffee table, grabbed some of the pot pourri from the bowl, and hurled himself (much more successfully this time) onto the sofa. Before the OG could stop him, 2nd G shovelled the handful into his mouth. Shortly, the contents were eruptively spewed back onto the table. “Fuck’s sake, Nan,” he spluttered into a cough, “why put it in a bowl on the table if you CAN’T BLOODY EAT IT!”
“Actually that one’s not bad…”  He leaned forward, carefully selecting the stick-looking one, and sat back crunching on it happily.  “Right. What did you want?”
What Brad the First couldn’t comprehend was why this situation, the “this could be but probably isn’t your twin you’d never heard of” scenario that was playing out here didn’t seem to phase his miserable-looking counterpart. Well, disregarding the fact that the man was pissed as a Parisian post.

“This morning-“ Bradley looked at the clock, “-afternoon, I get awoken by what seems to be a really bloody drunk version of myself doing karaoke in the living room which is, BY THE WAY, an absolute freaking mess-“
“Freakin’?” mocked Lord Sozzled on the sofa.  After a while: “Why don’t you schwear?”
Bradley wasn’t expecting that oddly psychiatric probing. “Because…Nan doesn’t like it.”
“Nan’s not here?”
“No, she’s out.”
“Then WHY I’m not allowed to lisssten to Natural I DON’T know…” replied Steamy B in a very pointed tone, avoiding eye contact.

Again, Bradley did not enjoy being put into the position of speechless parent to a sassy man-child. His “other”, very much satisfied by this one-up-man-ship, rose from the chair. Suddenly, the smile melted away from his face. Bradley watched as the atmosphere in the room suddenly flipped from tense to panic stations in a very long second. The feeling was all too familiar. Slow motion. Echoes of 6th Form benders on the Heath flooded to Bradley in waves of White Lightning.  The doppelgänger was about to vom.

Thus began, in 7 swift movements, the less conscious of the two’s evacuation from the living room. Grab the man. Semi-hoist him up. Avoid pressure on the stomach. Guide him across the carpet littered with pizza boxes. Tread in an open pizza box. Squirm out into the hallway.  Steam through the shattered ornaments. Swing open the door. Drop the Brad. Lift the loo lid. Leave him to it and let the chunder commence.

Having given up entirely on the novelty of second Bradley’s existence, Bradley plodded vacantly into the kitchen. The muffled sound of pizza dough chunks mercilessly bombed the toilet in hefty spurts. Running the tap in the kitchen, Bradley realised that it had in fact taken 11 steps to evacuate the living room. Disappointing. Nan could do it in 5. He stared blankly out the window.

Half a Mighty Meaty™ lighter, the intoxicated mess leaned back on the door and waited to be “definitely done”. Heavy breathing. Slow. Steady. A little congested, but a few snot rockets sorted that out quickly. Through the door, the novelty doorbell sang Chim-Chimney. It went unanswered. Twenty seconds later the arrival patiently rang again: this time, with a tinny rendition of Fleur De Lis. A third tune, the mono Jurassic Park theme, politely indicated that the visitor was not going away. Bradley irritably pulled himself up from the floor. Nan had left her bloody keys again. Entering the hallway, the Slipknot keychain hanging on the hook by the door confirmed the theory. He grabbed it off the wall.  “Honestly, Nanna” Bradley carefully chose his words as he unlocked the door and swung it open, “we moved them by the door so you wouldn’t forget-“

“Bradley!” a soft and kind voice exclaimed in a hushed tone, “You look-“. The girl hesitated. “I just wanted to pop by and see…how you were doing…”



Private Investigation

New York, November 1952

Smoke poured from the sewer grates and a police siren wailed in the distance as Keith Reynolds, the city’s most renowned private investigator, walked towards the bar a block from his apartment. He stopped beside some ripped posters from the recent Presidential election declaring “I like Ike” and pulled a cigarette from his trench-coat. He held it between his lips and found a box of matches in the opposite pocket. He struck a match into flame on the wall beside him and raised it to meet the cigarette, his hands shaking. He lit the cigarette and dropped the match to the ground where it sizzled out on the wet sidewalk. His hand continued to shake, and he muttered a simple “shit” under his breath. Whether the shaking was a holdover from his time in the Marines or a result of the events of the past few days he wasn’t sure.

He continued to walk, with the sounds of sirens merging with a trumpet playing jazz music in the bar as he approached. As he entered the bar nobody looked up – there was barely anybody present, patrons outnumbered by the band and the bar staff. He sat at his usual spot – at the bar, furthest seat from the door. He left his fedora and jacket on, unusually for him, his eyes kept in shadow by the brim.

Without being asked, the bartender poured out some bourbon for him. The bartender had a face that had weathered storms and seen too many horrors to remember. His name was Sam, and his voice was as gravelly and worn as his face.

“Long day?” he began, out of habit more than from observation.

“Long week.” Keith replied, automatically.

“Wanna talk?”

Keith let the offer hang in the air as he took his first sip of the drink. Sam knew what Keith did and could read his look and mood without effort. Keith allowed him that. Here with Sam was the one place he could let off steam, his friend always steering clear of judgement.

“Yeah… Yeah I’ll tell ya about this week.” he conceded, sipping his drink again and feeling its warmth fill his mouth.

The story had begun a week after election day, innocuously enough with Keith sat in his office, wrapping up some recent work. A woman had appeared unannounced, she said her name was Holly Quinn. She was the most fashionable woman who had ever walked into Keith’s office, a fact which immediately put him on edge and made him dislike her. She wore a pencil skirt and a cocktail hat, and her makeup was impeccable. She had big doe-eyes, a button nose and thin lips. She was younger than Keith by about ten years – he supposed her to be in her late twenties, but the makeup was probably adding a few years on to what he could see.

She began by telling him that she needed protection from her boyfriend, who she wanted to stop seeing, but had threatened her if she decided to try to run away. So far so routine, but after some evasive answers, finally she had revealed that her boyfriend had been newly elected to the state senate. This alone presented Keith with plenty to consider, but Holly continued to reveal the reason he had become threatening – her discovery that he was being paid, bribed in fact, by one of the so-called “five families”, to keep the police off their backs as they brought in shipments of drugs.

“People have accidents all the time” she had recounted, “and the mistress of a state senator would barely get a mention in the papers. So you see, I can’t go to the police. I don’t know who I can trust. I have nowhere else to turn.”

Keith took another long sip of whiskey to finish off his glass, then set it down on the bar and muttered “Another” to Sam, who was already in the process of pouring it.

“I should have sent her out the door right then.”

“Why didn’t you?” Sam asked.

“I can’t help myself with a hopeless case. Sending her away I’d be sending her right back to him, and who knows what for her then?”

Keith had offered his apartment as a sanctuary for her once she’d regained her composure in his office. He resolved that if he was able to track down a shipment coming in, document it and present the evidence to the District Attorney, that would be enough to get Holly into a witness protection programme.

That evening he had taken her back to the apartment, where she made them dinner and drinks. She’d been a waitress, that’s how she’d met now-state-senator Richard Brooks. He had flattered her, taken her to parties, been a perfect gentleman – all an act, but she was young and easily impressed. Keith had listened dutifully, but it might have been any number of women he’d known. They had stayed up later than he had expected, drinking and talking. There was something in her manner and in her voice that intrigued him – it was almost husky, with a hint of an Irish accent. More than the make-up, her voice was what captivated him. He offered her his bed for the night but she wouldn’t accept, opting for the couch instead. Until half way through the night she had wandered into his room and demanded to be held.

Sam behind the bar raised an eyebrow, the meaning not lost on Keith.

“When a beautiful woman wakes you up in the night and asks you to hold her, I’ve yet to meet a man who would turn her away, especially after a few drinks” Keith smiled back.

“You say ‘hold’ but I think you mean the other thing.” Sam grinned. Keith didn’t deny it.

“It’s not like there’s a law against it.”

The following night Keith had set out with a steeled resolve and on the tip of a friend found his way to the docks. Sure enough, a shipment was being unloaded, and a man in a suit and tie was overseeing proceedings, smoking a cigarette and talking to a large Italian-American. Keith had seen his picture in the papers enough to recognise the well-dressed man as Richard Brooks.

Keith took some photographs, keeping all the while to the shadows, then headed back to his apartment. When he arrived, his heart sank almost immediately. Before he even reached the door of the building, he had sensed something unusual. The street was too quiet. His fears were confirmed as he reached his front door – kicked in and hanging on only one of the hinges. He drew his pistol and snuck inside the apartment, to find the place smashed to pieces. He rushed into his bedroom to find Molly lying on the bed, covered in blood that was already drying to maroon red. She’d been shot in the chest twice near the heart – with more precision than could be ascribed to a lucky shot. This was a murder, made to look plausibly like a robbery.

Back in the bar, Sam’s expression barely changed. The colour had drained from Keith’s face, and he had finished another glass of whiskey. He’d lost track of how many that was for the evening. Sam poured another without being asked.

“The police came, they questioned me for a little while, but they knew how they were going to write it up before they arrived. Robbery gone bad. One of those things. No need to follow up…”

“Did you tell them where you’d been?”
“Only that I’d seen a friend – they didn’t ask to confirm him as an alibi for me.”

“So you still have the photographs.”

“I haven’t processed them yet.”

“They’re radioactive Keith – you know that.”

“Say I process them, and I hand them over to the DA, or the press. What then? They’ll know where they came from. And I don’t know how entrenched the corruption is, how far it goes. How do you stand up to these people, with all the power and the institutions in their pockets? What can one guy do against a state senator? And yet, aren’t I obliged to do something? If the rich and powerful aren’t challenged, what’s to stop them doing anything they want, the law be damned…”

The band had stopped playing and Sam and Keith became aware of the quietness of the bar. Sam leaned in and looked Keith in the eye.

“You can’t talk like this Keith, not here. You’re forgetting what our fathers taught us; a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”

Keith downed his drink and stood. “If I do nothing, her death doesn’t mean a thing – I owe it to her to see it through.”

He adjusted his hat, pulled his trench-coat tight, and walked out of the bar – a man with a purpose once more.

Hey 2017, you sexy little egg

Hello ladies, gentleman, boys, girls, in-betweens, extras, whatever descriptions you take! (We’re starting knowing how offended people got last year!)

If you didn’t know by now, the December voting is up and ready to rock so head on over with a little click here! December was all about Christmas and family and all that stuff that everybody loves, which leads me into January’s theme and example piece!

I find that after a long few weeks of dealing with Christmas and people and all the pains that come with social situation, I just want to sit back with a few drinks and forget the world exists. Which is why I feel this month’s piece comes across so well! The theme for January is “A drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts…”. As a bonus for this, I’m encouraging drinking! I attempted to write my example piece under the influence of alcohol but unfortunately couldn’t get myself drunk enough to go really crazy! This is also an option for our writers….

Now before I let you read the example piece I feel I need to clear up some things. I am not suggesting you get drunk all the time, please drink responsibly. I am not entirely sure why the example piece goes the way it does, but I feel it’s because I have been binge listening to Last Podcast on the Left. This also has nothing to do with my own father, we are very old British and, although think dark things, end up writing angry letters in our heads and never send them.

ANYWAY! To the example piece!

A Wake

A drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.

This was the mantra his father had drummed into him since the age of 10. It meant much more to his father than the loosening powers of a Green Fairy or a Scottish Cooper, this was the way of the world. You never know the true face of something until you have spent time with it. It felt somewhat comforting for Tom as he circled his father’s ivory white casket for the hundredth time that morning.

It was not made of ivory – his father was never one for grandeur – but was a simple coffin made from driftwood as requested in his will. They had sat dumbstruck when the family solicitor had announced that the old man had requested a Viking funeral and somewhat relieved when the solicitor informed them that British Waterways legislations meant this would not be possible. Tom, being of his father’s mind, had come up with the alternative of going to the local wharf to collect driftwood. Several hours and half a bottle of Glenmorangie later, Tom looked over the coffin he had made in his workshop with a muted sense of pride. His dad had loved the creations that Tom brought home to him after a weekend in the workshop, making the majority of the furniture that surrounded him in the old man’s house. As was the custom in Tom’s village, the body had been left for the first of three days in the living room of the deceased’s house; allowing the soul to settle into the new dimension accordingly before heading off to purgatory to be allowed into heaven or denounced into hell. It was not custom, however, for someone to stand vigil over the dead…

Tom had spent most of the day working through his dad’s old sporting memorabilia and trying to ignore that the man lay in the next room. He occasionally thought he heard stirring, though put it down to the old house creaking under the constant change of temperature. Box after box, piece by piece, the late senior’s life became as enclosed as his slowly decomposing corpse. The task was taking a lot longer than expected, as each item was picked up and held in a nostalgic daze before being placed reverently into the corresponding box.

“You know your mother was meant to give me that ornament a week before she died.” A voice called out from behind him, making Tom drop the Nigel Mansell ornament; it snapped in two as he dashed to try save it. He turned to see his dad leant against the door, wearing his funeral suit and smiling that half smirk half grimace he had always been admired for.

“You’re dead. You’re on your back in the other room and you’re somehow standing in front of me as if nothing had happened.”

Dad walked across the room and leant down to pick up the broken ornament, causing Tom to flinch. In his childhood, such a breakage would have cost him several lashings of the belt across his outstretched palm. This time, somewhat creepier, he gently placed his hand on his son’s shoulder for support and picked it up.

“I was more of a Coulthard fan than a Mansell fan, but she spent so much time tracking it down and trying to hide it before my birthday. She never got around to giving it to me, bless her heart. I found it the same way you are finding all these little things, before her funeral. What’s that stupid look on your face, boy?” His dad’s face became more stern with the last question.

“I can’t work out which is weirder, if I’m honest.” Tom blurted out, sheepishly.

“Out of what? You’re looking for logic once again in a place it doesn’t exist, lad.”

“You can’t be talking to me right now, you’re dead. It’s got to be a trick of the mind.”

“But I’m touching you…”

“You were always honest with mum. You would have told her if you had known.”

Tom stood and went over to the writing desk and poured a large dram, leaving his dad crouched holding the once great racer in several pieces.

“Tom, there’s something you’ll learn one day that I could never teach you. I’m not going to tell you I love you or that I am proud of your achievements; you know these things without me telling you that. When it comes to that one person who you choose to spend your life with, however, tacit and logic go out the window. Yes, I was always honest with your mother but you’re forgetting the motto…”

Tom turned on his dad, “A drunken man’s thoughts! I remember! What does that have to do with anything?” But as he turned he realised there was no one there to respond. The Mansell ornament lay in pieces on the floor and in the middle of it, a piece of paper. Slowly he stepped over to the piece of paper and picked it up, not knowing what to expect. He finished reading the note and looked up. He was still in his father’s house but it seemed a lot darker now, there was dirt and mould everywhere and a putrid smell hung in the air. He dropped the bottle in his other hand and stepped into the living room to find the rotting wooden frame still on the table.

“And just what is it that you’re meant to be teaching me, father? You tell me that and I’ll let you go!”


The door exploded as the police stormed the house, bodies lining the corridor and seated in various positions around the house; one of the officers doubled over vomiting at the sight and smell of the murder house. News reports suggest a middle aged male was apprehended and later convicted of multiple homicides. When asked for his motive, the guilty pleading suspect responded:

“I was just doing what my Dad would have wanted…”