Forsythe Saga - The French Connection

One of the many businesses that Adrian had fingers in was a 40% stake in a Vineyard in the Languedoc region of France. Maxine was still getting to grips with the affairs of the hotel in Devon when he said that it was time for them to visit it.

She looked up the location on the map and it was clear that it wasn’t the easiest of places to get to. A quick internet search revealed that one airline flew direct from London to Carcassonne a few times a week.

“Shall I book us some flights? They go from Stanstead,” asked Maxine.

Adrian laughed.

“Already booked for next Tuesday,” he replied grinning.

Murray Hall - Caused a stir back in the day

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BBC Scotland Story

Murray Hall was born in Glasgow and lived a lot of his life in NYC where he was a politician, a bail bondsman and many other things.
The only problem was that Murray was female and lived for 60 years as a man until his death from cancer in 1901.

What a great story.


Forsythe Saga - Done Deal

Maxine continued her task of trying to understand the business and how Adrian worked. A lot of it seemed like magic to her but slowly his approach to doing business became clear.

All the time, the bid to buy the Hotel in Devon was on the table. Adrian’s lawyers tried to get a decision about the bid but for a while, they were fobbed off by the phalanx of Amercian Lawyers and Accountants that seemed to be pouring over every aspect of the UK Company’s operations. Adrian was perplexed as this should have been done as part of the ‘due diligence’ before the deal was signed. He wondered more than once if there was something in the books that was very dodgy.

Six weeks after the bid had been put on the table, the reason for the delays became obvious. Two of the former UK company directors were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and employing illegal immigrants. Jon Lord was also implicated in the wrongdoing.

Forsythe Saga - Yet another new job

Maxine is on the phone to her boss Sally on the Bank Holiday Monday evening. The events described in this part run in a parallel timeframe to those described in ‘Doing Business’.

“I want to do things right Sally. To me, that includes working out my notice. I don’t want to suddenly up and disappear. What if at some time in the future, I need to use your research team? I don’t want to burn my bridges and all that.”

There was silence down the phone.


“No, I’m not some monster that you created. I’m trying to be reasonable and behave like an adult.”

Forsythe Saga - Doing Business

[Sunday Lunchtime at Exeter St David’s Railway Station]

Adrian’s driver, Cliff was waiting for him as he got off the train from Bristol.

“How did last night go Boss?” asked Cliff as he got into the car outside the station.

“I think she will go for it. As Sally said, she has a great brain and she looked pretty good last night. As I’d hoped, she has gone away to think about things.”

Then he changed the subject.

Adrian had worked late into the night following Maxine’s tip about things starting to move. He’d made a couple of long phone calls to contacts of his in the USA before going to bed.

“Any news from Georgia? They should be online about now even if it is a Sunday?”

Forsythe Saga - You did what? - Part 2 of 2

My job in Chichester was with an existing four-person research team. This was very much an ‘on the quiet’ part of Sally’s group of companies. My task was to add a wider perspective of views to reports that the others were compiling for her. She’d told me that once I’d gotten my feet under the table so to speak, I’d be given my own projects to work on. This made me feel both proud and slightly scared at the same time. Sally had put a lot of faith in me so it was now up to me to not let her down.

On the way down to Sussex, Sally briefed me about the other members of the team. They had all been poached from large financial institutions in London or from Academia. They were enticed by London sized salaries and being able to live in the Sussex countryside.

Forsythe Saga - You did what? - Part 1 of 2

Forsythe Saga - You did what? – Part 1
[Authors Note] This part (and the next one) was written in the First Person. Later parts of this tale are written in the Third Person.

The process of going to an interview for a new job is stressful at the best of times but when… when you are doing it for the first time and as a total and absolute fraud is really daunting.

When I saw all the others waiting to be interviewed for the job I almost turned tail and ran for the hills. They were all wearing business suits. All of the three other women in the room were perfectly made up and … well, nigh on perfect. Their flawless complexions could have from a fashion magazine such as Vogue. The six men were all identikit clones in suits with hair just the right length, all freshly shaven and nothing out of place that would really distinguish them from the person sitting right next to them. Even their ties were almost the same shade of non-committal blue. Ugh!

Forsythe Saga - Prologue

Forsythe Saga – Prologue

The story begins in late 2008, at the time of the Banking crisis. Leman Brothers had gone belly up and the financial world was in meltdown.
It is the AGM of a family owned company, Forsythe Brothers. It was being held at the family home that could have come straight from the time of Cadfael. The ancient stone building is even on the outskirts of Shrewsbury close to the River Severn.

Present at the meeting were the four siblings, David, Stephanie, Dorothy and Adrian, that owned the company and the company secretary, a cousin of the family. It is a family owned company after all...

As usual, the main topic for discussion was about the lack of profitability of the business. Adrian as Chairman was addressing the meeting.

“As you all know, Dad put me in control of the company and yet you all seem to think that I’m unconcerned about the profits that the business is generating.”

Strange Kind of Woman - Part 2 of 2

Being my own boss has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the former, is that if I’m on top of work, I could head off into the country for a long weekend whenever I felt like it. As I already lived in the county I’ve had more than a few questions along the line of ‘why I’d want to go into the country as I was already there’. It takes all sorts to make this world we live in.

That was true but… I was less than thirty miles from central London. Then the roads around my part of Surrey get pretty clogged up at weekends with cyclists. That isn’t bad but the ‘townies’ who come down from London at weekends in their monster Chelsea Tractors seem to think that the roads should be reserved for them and them only. This is not my idea of tranquillity. Ergo, I need somewhere that is deep in the country to relax and be myself.

Strange Kind of Woman - Part 1 of 2

My small workshop was quiet for once. I’d recently finished and delivered a large order and was cleaning up when I noticed someone standing in the doorway.

I looked up and saw silhouetted against the later afternoon sun, a very shapely young woman. As I looked at her, she flicked her long hair. For half a second, I wondered if I was going to have a heart attack.

I didn’t so I walked towards this vision of beauty.

Why would she? - Part 4 of 4

This part has some bits that some readers may find disturbing.

[one year after Penny died]

Connie and Bill decided to take some flowers to Penny’s grave on the anniversary of her death. It was a sad time for both of them.

They’d been up at the crack of dawn and out in one of the fields that Harry had turned into a Wildflower Meadow. As they picked the flowers they both heard a Skylark singing above them. Then a Cuckoo called from the small copse at the end of the field. Finally, a Corn Bunting chased them away from its nest. They smiled at each other. It seemed that all was right with the world just for a short time.

With the flowers sorted into two nice bunches, they travelled to Penny’s grave to pay their respects.

"The Store"

There is a small shop called "The Store" which also has the local laundry attached. This place is located in Bettyhill which is in the far north of Scotland. For those interested, it is at 58.53°N 4.22°W
That's 58 North. Beyond this going north is the Arctic.

This place serves great food. The Mushroom and Tarragon soup was great and very warming on a day that was dominated by very strong N.E. Winds.
Anyway, this sign caught my eye as I ate the soup.

Why would she? - Part 3 of 4

Once they were both back at Harry’s and Bill had unloaded the Market Stall bits and pieces, he went in search of Harry.

He found him fast asleep in a chair by the range in the Kitchen. His snores told him that he was ok but he recalled his ashen face from earlier and realised that he was sicker than he was prepared to admit to Bill. Bill guessed that he didn’t have long to go but was willing to wait for Harry to tell him just how bad things were.

For the next few hours, Bill busied himself around the house.

Traffic Problems

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There may be a delay in posting the next part of "Why Would She". I'm writing this using my phone connection as the B&B where I'm staying at the moment has really bad internet and I'm only 5 miles from Inverness.
Off to Ullapool today and another B&B. It might be Wednesday evening before I get a decent line speed.

Why would she? - Part 2 of 4

Bill’s mind was not really on work the following week. One of his colleagues John Arbuthnot noticed it.
“Ok Bill. Who is she and do we know her or more importantly, have I known her?”


“You are clearly going through the motions this week. You messed up a trade yesterday. It was lucky that I spotted it otherwise your position would have been down by a mere trifle of three million quid. So, once again, who is she and do we, your partners in crime know her?”

“Sorry to disappoint you John, it is not a she. It is a thing and I have to decide by the end of the week.”

Why would she? - Part 1 of 4

[4:30pm in a City of London Dealing room]

“Coming for a drink Bill?” asked one of the Dealers to another.
“It is Friday and we’ve had a very good week plus it is Henley finals weekend. A bunch of us have wangled passes into the Leander tent. Lots of lovely fillies on show. There’s one with your name on it if you want it.” He added.

“A filly or a pass?” asked a half interested Bill who was gazing out of the office window at the river Thames and Tower Bridge.

“Both if you have a mind…”

“Sorry Tony, I would love to but I’ve been summoned,” replied Bill with a sigh.

“Summoned? I guess it’s not to court as it is Friday. Parents?”

“Nah. My parents are probably somewhere in the Pacific on their boat. The summoner is my Godfather.”

The Six 'B's'

Bryony Vincent was in the thick of it as usual. She was a true ‘BBBBBB’ which meant that there was never any shortage of men wanting to be with her. By ‘BBBBBB’ I mean, Beautiful, Buxom, Brainy, Bonkers, Blonde (a natural) and at times Brainless. As any truly genuine 6B person can testify, they could be all 6 at the same time.

The worst trait was the last, ‘Brainless’. Despite an I.Q. of 175 and several degrees including a PhD after her name, she would always fall for the oldest, most stupid chat-up lines in the business. All a man needed to do was flutter his eyelashes (why to the most drop dead gorgeous men always have lashes to die for?) in her direction and she was hooked.

Off the Books - Part 10 - Finale

It was just after one in the afternoon when we arrived at the house in Wiltshire. We’d taken a pretty roundabout route just in case we were being followed but a diversion through some very narrow lanes in South Oxfordshire and West Berkshire had made it next to impossible for any vehicle to follow us without us seeing them.

Jemma got out at the top of the drive to do a quick reconnoitre of the property and the surrounding land. She checked her Glock and then smiled at me as she disappeared into the undergrowth.

Off the Books - Part 9

“Exactly where have you heard that name before?” I said as I wiped the sleep from my eyes.

“Savernake Forest,” exclaimed Jemma.

The trouble with my partner was that when she was overly tired or woken up in the middle of the night, sometimes she spoke total gibberish. I’d learned to handle it but many people we had to work with couldn’t handle her without losing their patience pretty quickly.

My brain was slowly starting to work and as I tried to remember the last time I’d or rather we’d been to Savernake Forest. This is an area of ancient woodland to the South East of the town of Marlborough in Wiltshire. Then it came to me.

“Oh, you must mean Farthings home?”

“Yes, that’s it. He left his home very much in a hurry, didn’t he?” reasoned Jemma.

“Yeah, we stopped him as he left in his Porsche. If I recall you lit him up with your target light and his face turned to ash. But what else did you remember?”

Off the Books - Part 8

As I lay fast asleep in my delightfully comfortable bed, a series of co-ordinated events sent the whole of the Police, Security Services and all parts of the Military into overdrive.

It all started with a successful attack on the head of MI5. His car was ambushed and he was assassinated in broad daylight very close to Tower Bridge. As his schedule was a carefully guarded secret, everyone went on Red Plus Alert. Red Plus means imminent threat of attack.

In other words, the UK went into total lockdown.

Off the Books - Part 7

The dust had just about settled by the time I came to my senses. I realised that I was lying on top of Jemma. I felt her groan and move so I knew she was alive.

As my head cleared, I realised that Bathroom door had been blown off its hinges and was lying on top of us. The fact that it was solid had probably saved our lives.

For some strange reason, I remembered cursing the building inspector for insisting on it being a ‘fire door’ because the Central Heating Boiler was in the Bathroom. I moved a bit and didn’t get very far at all. The extra weight of the door would make getting out from under it a lot harder. You win some and lose some.

I chuckled to myself. It is strange what passes through your mind at times like this…

Off the Books - Part 6

Just over seven minutes later we were parked in a quiet part of Reading Services near the Motel.

“Ok, out withi it... What’s so important that couldn’t wait until we got back to the office?” asked Jemma slightly impatiently.

“I’ll show you. Give me a moment.”

I flicked through the photos of the documents we had found in Farthing’s safe until I found one in particular.

“Here read this,” I said giving her the phone.

The document was in Spanish.

Jemma struggled for a few minutes before giving me the phone back.

“I’m confused. Your Spanish is better than mine.”

“What it says is that when Mr Farthing went to Portugal a month ago where he met with Daniel Esteban. It goes on to say that he came to a deal with Esteban to get us killed in return for the two million Euros.”

Off the Books - Part 5

Less than an hour after leaving the base camp, we said goodbye to the RSM outside Abergavenny Railway Station. He gave both of us a big hug and said,
“Watch your backs ladies. You never know who is really a bad guy in disguise.”

Jemma had a hard time keeping a straight face but we both gave Jock a kiss on his cheeks and then made a hasty exit.

I looked back at him in the rear-view mirror and saw Jock give us a wave. It made me go all gooey inside for a few seconds.

Off the Books


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Off the Books

By Samantha Michelle Davies

[At a second floor flat in Chelsea around 21:00 on a Monday evening.]


“I’m sorry, there is no Roy Meier on this number. I’ve only just moved here so he might be a previous occupant.”

“Yes, I am sure that he does not live here.”

“No, I won’t give you my name. I don’t know who the hell you are. You could be a serial rapist for all I know.”


I put the phone down. I was shaking like a leaf. I had been named this Roy Meier but in a previous life. If the caller really had put 2 and 2 together then I was well and truly up shit creek big time.

Off the Books - Part 3

Ms Jennings came into my room with a smile on her face.

That made me very fearful given her reputation.

She worked for a Government ‘Special Services’ Department somewhere in Whitehall. A sense of foreboding came over me. Their normal function was to provide HR services to a number of departments but their real function was known to very few people. Everyone in her section had ‘Top Secret’ security clearance so if something a bit out of the ordinary was needed doing that wasn’t assigned to us, they did it.

The HR function meant that you generally only saw her or people from her Office when it was bad news and for us, that bad news invariably meant ‘we have no further use for your services’.

Off the Books - Part 2

The revelation from my Doctor that I no longer had any ‘dangly bits’ as he called them was not altogether a shock but the realisation that I would have to ‘pee’ sitting down for the rest of my life was the real downer.

“There is an alternative to life as a eunuch you know?” he offered.

“Gee, thanks doc,” I replied slightly sarcastically.

“We could make… a vagina.”

“What to do you mean make a vagina?”

“We didn’t cut the remains of your penis off. All we did was repair the damage and re-route your waterworks. Your Penis was pretty badly damaged from a function point of view but the fleshy bits are not that bad. There is plenty of bits that still have a decent blood flow that can be used to make a very passable vagina. From my POV as a surgeon, it would be that different from a run of the mill sex change operation.”

I sank back onto the bed and started to weep.
“I’d end up looking like some poor tranny then, but for real?”

Off the Books - Part 1

[At a second floor flat in Chelsea around 21:00 on a Monday evening.]


“I’m sorry, there is no Roy Meier on this number. I’ve only just moved here so he might be a previous occupant.”

“Yes, I am sure that he does not live here.”

“No, I won’t give you my name. I don’t know who the hell you are. You could be a serial rapist for all I know.”


I put the phone down. I was shaking like a leaf. I had been named this Roy Meier but in a previous life. If the caller really had put 2 and 2 together then I was well and truly up shit creek big time.


Another boring day at work was over. Marty Chapman was bored. He’d been bored for years. He worked in a warehouse as a palette truck driver. He’d been there for more than 10 years. The only thing he had to look forward to was seeing Ellie, his only daughter at home in the evening.

His whole life revolved around her. Since his wife and her mother had traded them in for a Spanish Waiter some 8 years earlier, they’d been in it together.

A 'Minor' Romance

An opportunity presents itself or striking while the iron is hot but sometimes it isn’t hot enough

The first time I saw her it was slightly embarrassing for me. There I was underneath ‘Bessie’ trying to fix a troublesome exhaust. ‘Bessie’ is my 1959 Morris Minor soft top. The place was at the Goodwood Revival meeting that is held at the Goodwood Motor Racing circuit every September.

The Voice

“Hi Dawn, Thanks for fitting me in at such short notice,” said the man was obviously dressed in drag as he came into ‘Dawns Hair and Beauty’ late on a Friday afternoon.

“No problem Roxy. Where are you playing tonight?”

“Nelson and Colne Working Men’s Club, replied ‘Roxy’ as she sat down at the chair.

“Them’s a hard bunch over there.”

“Aye, they are but the money is good. Give and take eh?”

“Where’s Gina?” asked Dawn referring to the other half of the double act.

Ships that pass in the Night

Subtitle : Travellers’ Tales

Dining alone when you are working away from home is not the most enjoyable of pastimes. Many restaurants turn their collective noses up at single diners or at best, they seat you in the most awkward table possible. These are usually right next to the entrance or exit from the kitchen or even worse right by the toilets.

The exceptions seem to be those eateries that are directly associated to the Hotel where you are staying. During the week, the majority of their customers, coach parties excepted are the single travellers.

The Guardian Angel

Tony Rendell was a dreamer. He’d been one for as long as he could remember. All the dreams he’d ever had since he was old enough to remember them, involved him becoming a famous woman. From an early age, he knew that he had been born wrong. His parents reinforced that view by embarrassing him by telling the family at almost every opportunity that his breech birth meant that he had to be wrapped in cotton wool all through his life. He didn’t but once his family had decided that this was how it was going to be, there was no way in hell that it would change.

As a result, the kids at the various schools he attended, and there were many, made his life hell. He was different to everyone else in that he loved classical music especially Opera and often dreamed of playing Brunilda in the Ring Cycle. His problem was that he was tone deaf, could not sing to save his life and could not play an instrument.

Taking a break from posting

I've been posting a lot this year and also been really busy in real life so I've decided to take a break from posting until the end of January.

I have been busy writing an entry for the january competition using the 'flash fiction' style but after 12 parts, I realised it was
1) going nowhere
2) needed an awful lot of editing to lick it into shape
3) not very good at all. More like dog excrement really.

Hanging on the Telephone Line

Hanging on the Telephone Line (with thanks to ELO and Jeff Lynn for the inspiration)

“Hello. How are you?
Have you been alright, through all those lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely nights
That's what I'd say. I'd tell you everything
If you'd pick up that telephone yeah yeah yeah”
I looked at the phone for the umpteenth time.

Why didn’t it ring?

What was wrong?

Has something happened to him?

A 'Model' Romance

“Ms Wilson will see you now,” said the assistant.

I stood up and after a moment’s hesitation; I followed her into the very impressive office. The views out over East London were impressive.

They should be. We were on the twenty third floor of one of the large tower blocks that fringe the edge of the City of London.

Ms Wilson stood up from behind her desk and came to greet me.

“Thank you for coming Susan. Please take a seat.”

I was shown to a comfortable seat where after smoothing my skirt I sat down.

Confessions of a Train Passenger

[This story is based upon a conversation I overheard the on the train to work in 2011].

“Hi Wendy. I’ve not seen you on this train for a while?”

“Oh, hi Kylie. Yeah, I’ve been at the branch in Slough for the past few months. I could drive there in twenty minutes from home. Now I’m working in Reading for the next six months. The assistant manager is off on maternity leave. So here I am on the commuter express that stops at every station!”

“How are your kids?”

“Davy is a real handful. All he wants to do is play football.”

The Editors Dilemma - What Happened Next

This is a sequel to “The Editors Dilemma”

The tale resumes at the Hotel in Cynthia’s room after Cynthia has poured a cup of tea for Jennie.

Jenny sat down totally stunned by the person who was in front of her.

“I don’t know what to say.”

Cynthia smiled.

“I know that both my manuscript and how I look now is a bit of a shock but this is me now. Oh, and the final three chapters of it are on the table.”


Can't A Person Change?

Sometimes you encounter a person who just stands out from the crowd. When they do, you remember it for a very long time. The day I saw her was one of those.

The day began as normal as I like hundreds of thousands of others with a commute into London by train. On this day of all days, I alighted from my train which had arrived at Platform 2 at Waterloo Station. I can even remember the time. It was 08:29 on a Monday morning. So, what was so remarkable about her then?

I didn’t see her face but her hair shone just like those adverts you see on TV for shampoo. You know the ones that when you try that very product out, you find that your hair does not look anything like the Advert yet you still but the same product until you see another advert for a different product and so the cycle goes. But I digress…

1000 Words


“I have to do this darling. It is really who I am,” I said as I pleaded with my wife.

I was dressed in a way that she’d not seen before. I was wearing a dress, makeup and all the rest including my first pair of high heels!

“Don’t give me that rubbish. These past few years it has all been about you. I don’t get a look in.”

“Really? I don’t think so.”

“Now you are just grasping at straws. If you think that I’m going to sit here while you go out all dolled up like a dogs breakfast then you have to think again. After all the things I do and have done for you…”

End of the Line. All Change - Part 4 of 4

I was stunned by what Barbara had just said about becoming a sperm donor.

“Say something even if it is ‘No’?”

“I never even considered having another child.”

“Well, and thanks to the bracelets, we are going to have a new start in life, aren’t we?”

“This is a big… A big surprise.”

She laughed.

“And?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

End of the Line. All Change - Part 3 of 4

I sat for a while when I was back in the Depot at the end of my first week back from holiday. It had been working for the company for almost ten years and very soon, I’d be giving it up for good. Letting go was hard but it had to be done. It was time to move on to pastures new.

On my way out of the Depot, I checked my schedule for the next day. I smiled when I realised that I’d be returning to the Depot in the middle of the afternoon to change both the type of bus and the route. I’d have a chance to go into the supervisor’s office to hand in my notice. In a strange way, I’d miss the place and a good few of the regular passengers that I carried almost on a daily basis.

Jon was waiting for me when I got home. The expression on his face told me that he had something he wanted to tell me.

“Out with it!” I said as we sat down to eat.

“I was sort of wondering if I could go and see Christine for a couple of days?”


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