Showing posts from January, 2021

Special Hours

  Sue put on the nurses uniform and admired herself in the mirror. It belonged to Debbie, her house- sharer who was safely away on holiday and thankful to be so far away in these difficult Coronavirus times. And she was of similar size so it fitted Sue reasonably well not that anyone was likely to notice and so she could sneak into the supermarket on the NHS hours. Shopping was a nightmare at present and anything that could make it just that bit easier was most welcome. OK it was bending the rules but so was everyone else and on the scale of things she took the view that hers was only a minor infringement and most were doing far worse. She looked again in the mirror and went in the bathroom and rinsed away her makeup before adding some dark under her eye-lids. Then she carefully ruffled her hair and then she smiled. Yes Sue, she said to herself .You look suitably tired and weary; they will feel so sorry for you. She did a final check on her smartphone that she had the NHS hour correc


I employed Dmitri to translate my book into Russian. He knew a lot of colloquial English. I don't speak Russian but my friend Google does so I did the odd spot check on Dmitri.  I found out that he had translated a phrase about a painting being slashed with the Russian for urinated. We laughed about that and also about using the same word for a weed in my back garden. A minor reference to Winnie the Pooh came out as Winnie the defecation. However, when I found out what he had called my Aunt Fanny I decided to sack him.    Derek McMillan lives in Durrington with his wife, Angela, who is also his editor. He writes book, film and TV reviews as well as short stories for publications in the UK, USA and Canada, His latest book is the audiobook "Brevity" which is available on eBay.   He also edits #worthingflash

Denied again

  The tall, gold-brimmed gate towered over the bright sunless sky as the old man walked out from the front of the line with a red ‘Rejected’ stamped onto the card in his hand. It was his seventh time standing in front of a guardian---different every time---of the gate. Like a veteran poker player he hid his smile among his wrinkled face and walked towards the hole in the wall marked as ‘Exit’. The guardian letting the bodies through the gate one-by-one, kept the man in his line of vision. He walked slowly like a dog approaching his last days; his shriveled body resembled that of a distorted young tree; the suit hanging off his skeletal, dry body. His face would be the most forgettable face in the world if not for the wrinkles that showed his age. The bureaucracy of the afterlife knew of this man and the authorities were amused by his attempts to cheat death. It was an inside joke, amusement over-the-coffee for those that controlled heaven. The guardian, however, watched the

Chew on This

  Chew on This Our culinary choices often say something about us we cannot articulate. —Henry Hargreaves I. Iowa State Penitentiary, 1963 Victor Feguer, twenty-eight years old, admires his new suit, brown like his eyes only two shades lighter. The coat cuts at the shoulders. The pants tighten at the waist from eating too many potatoes. Morning. Noon. And night. The sleeves and legs ride high...a regular fit for an irregular frame.  Still, it’s keen-o , he thinks. He hollers for a mirror and is obliged.  Father D. should’ve seen these threads when he met me this morning.  Victor laughs, then hacks a cough out of Marlboro Country. A sourness—something between tobacco and yesterday’s Shit on a Shingle—churns in the pit of his stomach. He takes his hand, brushes the right sleeve of his new suit jacket: smooth material under rough palm.  Polyester. They might as well just wrap me in plastic.  “Act like a Christian, not like an ass,” he hears Father D. chide.  Hey, I try to be a do

In the night

He looked up to the sky all remnants of daylight were gone. If he kept perfectly still the pain was bearable. As he lay in the scrub at the bottom of the cliff , his right leg was grotesquely bent and blood oozed from the side of his head. Time was lost to him , he had no idea how much time had passed since he fell. Not a smart idea to bush walk alone so late in the day. No one knew where he was and his mobile phone lay smashed on a rock, just outside his reach. His dry parched throat screamed for a drink, then he remembered the drink bottle was in his bum pack. He took a deep breath, gritted his teeth as he twisted and turned, desperate to reach the bum pack he was now lying on. With an almighty grunt and ignoring the pain he managed to grasp hold of his bag. Dragging it onto his chest , he was able to unzip it and finally the reward his drink bottle was out. With fingers trembling he unscrewed the cap and raised the bottle to his dry lips. He resisted the urge to gulp it all down, in