This is not me - Part 4

Phoebe moped around home for the rest of the week. She was unsure about calling Samantha because she didn’t know what to say to her over the phone and she didn’t want to stop her doing her job. In the end, late on Friday afternoon, she called Samantha.

“Hi Samantha, this is Phoebe.”

“Ha-ha, yes, I have been thinking about you. A lot actually.”

“I hope I’m not interrupting your work?”

“Oh good,” said Phoebe breathing a sigh of relief that she hoped didn’t make it down the phone.

“Would you be open to coming to Dinner tomorrow night?”

Phoebe burst out laughing.

This is not me! - Part 3

[Phoebe was on the phone to Samantha Mason]

“Sorry for not calling you before this. Things have been a bit hectic since we met.”

“How? Well, I’m now unemployed for starters.”

“A bit of a long story but that isn’t why I called.”

Phoebe took a deep breath before she replied.

“To be honest Samantha, I could not get you out of my mind.”

This is not me - Part 2

[The three friends are meeting up once again in London]

The girls laughed themselves silly when Phoebe said that she was not going to go on any more blind dates but that she’d signed up to a speed dating evening.

“But Pheebs…?” exclaimed Lana.

“But what?”

“But… you are just putting yourself… out there.”

“Isn’t that the aim of the game? To go out with some men in the hope that I find someone for a long-term relationship?”

“She’s right Lana,” said the third member of the trio, Sky.

This is not me - Part 1

[The Three long-time friends were in a Central London Bar for their monthly get-together]

They were discussing their different jobs and how things were progressing.

“What about you then Pheebs?” asked her long-term friend Sky Woods.

“Now that I have passed my Bar Exam and… well I don’t know what to do next.”

The Repair Man

This is another real oldie from circa 2010/2011

It was a normal Saturday and I was doing my weekly grocery shopping on virtual autopilot. You know what I mean. You buy the same items from the same shelves at the supermarket every week unless they had moved everything just for the sake of moving it and to annoy their customers.

I’d gotten everything on my mental list and was now at the checkout waiting to be served. I refused to use those automated or self-service checkout unless there was really no other option.

“Good Morning Ms Samuels. How are you today?”

The lover from next door

[This is yet another story from my archives. Circ 2011]

“Do you Katya Collins take Lauren Allen as your lawful wedded wife?”

“I do.”

“Do you Lauren Allen take Katya Collins as your lawful wedded wife?”

“I do.”

“Katya, will you please recite your vows?”

The Temp

“Hold on a moment Tommy and Ellen, Mummy needs to take this call.”

I was almost outside the school where my five-year old was a pupil. As was normal, I was taking my son Tommy and my friends daughter Ellen to school.

I answered the phone.

“Hello Sam. What can I do for you this fine morning?”

“Hillman Chemicals? Yes, I know it. What is the job?”

“Editing lab reports? Yeah, I can do that. Do they have my CV?”

A step too far?

{This is one from the archives. This one originally dates from 2009 and was finished in 2018 after several previous attempts that got nowhere}

It was the height of the morning rush hour and the crowds of commuters were on their way to work.

Pierre Clement was one of the commuters who in their tens of thousands made their way from Waterloo to their place of work five mornings a week, week in, week out, year in, year out. Most of the time, he was just another face in the throng of people using the station.

Pierre had been living in London for more than ten years and ran a Wine Importers that was based on the western edge of the ‘Square Mile’. He waited patiently for the No 243 bus to take him to his stop on Theobalds Rd. He was not in a good mood that morning as another passenger on the 07:45 from Guildford had spilt their coffee when the train stopped at Effingham Junction with an unexpected jolt. Quite a lot of it ended up on the previously immaculately pressed trousers of his business suit. Several other passengers did a good bit of ‘effing’ of their own.

Hot and Steamy - Part 5 of 5

Dan dropped me off at home. His parting words were.
“Take some time to get your life sorted out and then get the hell out of town. Adam Strong might be in Ryker’s but I’m sure that he’ll be trying to discredit you. His frat buddies are not to be messed with. I should know. My brother is one of them but he’s a good guy. He saw the light and is now a Priest down in Southern Jersey, but he still has his ear to the ‘frat network’.”

He stopped me from replying.
“I know that you didn’t supply the critical bit of evidence that persuaded the DA to file charges but he clearly hates your guts. He has plenty of people that will step up to the plate in his absence. With you out of the picture he and his ilk will have to find someone else to target.”

Poppy and Me - Part 2 of 2

Given the sheer number of Police and Fire Service Vehicles in the street outside my home, there really was nothing for it but to pack a bag and leave my home. I could see that there was even a TV Crew interviewing a couple of residents. The Christmas period is always a bit of a slow news time and anything with a human interest would naturally be news even if it was just some padding to fill the time slot.

Poppy and Me - Part 1 of 2

I knew the moment the steering on my car went funny that I was done for. It was Christmas Eve and in a moment of extreme foolishness, I’d gone out for a drive.

I know what you are thinking. “Silly fool” and worse. It was Christmas and I wanted to be myself for a few hours at least.

By myself, I mean Joanne rather than my given name of John.

The WTF of Christmas Presents


I have a dear friend that I have known since 1969 but sometimes, he drives me mad.

I produce a calendar every year. This year, all the photographs are of Castles. I give them to friends as Christmas presents and sell a few to cover my costs. An excess is donated to a Charity. This year, it is the RNLI (Lifeboats). I gave them a £70 donation last week.

Hot and Steamy - Part 4 of 5

After Maureen and Luke had left, I sat at my desk and went through everything that I might well be asked about if I was deposed by the SEC.

Early the next morning a text confirming that I was to be deposed arrived from my Lawyer.

“SEC Deposition at 11. Meet at my Office 9.”

I replied.


I put down my phone and thought… ‘That’s my day gone up in smoke’.

Hot and Steamy - Part 3 of 5

Due to me taking the wrong subway train and then stopping off for something to eat, I arrived home much later than I’d anticipated. As I suspected, there was a Black Ford Sedan that screamed to the world ‘Feds Inside’ parked just up the street. I sighed and instead of going into my home, I went to the car and knocked on the window.

After some hesitation, the window was wound down. It was the same agent that had followed me into the Lingerie Store. His partner was gripping the steering wheel tightly.

“Hello Again!”

He didn’t reply.

Hot and Steamy - Part 2 of 5

The next morning and thanks to a delay on the subway, I arrived in the office only 5 minutes after the Wall St Market had opened.
As I walked across the floor and people started to stand up and applaud me. I stopped by the desk of one of the other traders and said,

“What is this for?”

“Don’t you know?”

“Know what? If I knew I’d hardly be asking you, now would I?”

“Your book is already up sixteen and a half.”

I was flabbergasted. It meant that my trading book was already up sixteen point five million. It must have been the trades I executed on Tokyo the previous day.

Hot and Steamy - Part 1 of 5

Sometimes life takes an unexpected twist. In my business, I am paid an awful lot of money to forecast the unexpected, take the ‘un’ out of uncertainty and at the same time make a shed load of money as a result. Even so there are times when even my crystal ball gazing misses something. The prospect of that is what makes me get out of bed each day and come into work.

The "County Sheriff" Stories

Thanks for all the nice comments on my recent postings in this series.
As I have hinted, there is more of this series to come. I havetwo more stories under development. I wrote more than 3000 words for one of them yesterday. The other story is far more problematical. It may well see the end of the series but it is not easy to write because of the crimes involved. I had an idea pop into my head around 02:00 this morning which may make writing to a conclusion a lot easier. Only time will tell on that one but it is shaping up to be another two part story.

County Sheriff - Walt's Return (Part 2 of 2)

Over dinner that evening, I said to Ma,
“I think it is entirely possible that Walt has gone over to the dark side. Kelly and I observed him doing something that was obviously illegal but we don’t know what yet.”

Ma didn’t flinch. She carried on eating as normal. When she’d finished her plate of food, she put down her fork and said,

“Stands to reason if you ask me. How else could he afford that Car? It looks expensive and a bright yellow one at that? That’s what Vegas does to people. I went there once. It rained so Jimmy and me got back into our car and headed for the coast. Other people get sucked in to places like that and like a whirlpool you can’t get out.”

County Sheriff - Walt's Return (Part 1 of 2)

Teaching Kelly to ride a horse was not proving easy. Sure, she could sit on the horse but controlling it was another problem entirely. She lacked whatever it was that allowed people to ride horses as we have done for millennia. Still, she tried her best and was able to laugh at her feeble attempts at riding.

Ginger, the gelding that I’d bought her for her birthday sensed this and took off wherever he thought fit as soon as he knew it was her on his back. To give her credit, she did try to control the beast but she could never get the hang of it even if she was on my horse Jake, who was very docile indeed.

County Sheriff - Teamwork

One of my least favourite duties as Sheriff, was notifying people that one of their loved ones had died. It is was local then they’d often already know of a death and my arrival would be the confirmation. Occasionally, the death may have happened on the other side of the world and it was down to local law enforcement to do the deed.

Normally I’d go on this task accompanied by a female deputy but on this particular day, Sue-Ellen and Kelly were away helping the State Police on an operation in a neighbouring county so it was left to me to head out to the Wilson Farm to give them the bad news. The other bit of a downer for me was that their home was on the far edge of the county and the last ten miles of the journey is along a dirt road that hasn’t seen a grader for fifty years. Such is the lot of a County Sheriff.

County Sheriff - Highs and Lows

“Right people, listen up,” I said as I addressed my small team of Deputies.

“I don’t have to tell your that it is Halloween Tomorrow. As usual we need to have a visible presence on all roads into town. Record the license plate of every vehicle that comes into town from 3pm until 8pm. Ma will be manning the phones and will call any incidents in over the radio.”

“Why the change in plan Boss?” asked Tom.

“The State Police have seen some suspicious SUV’s in a few places at various locations up and down the Interstate. Typically loitering outside schools. With almost every child in the county out and about tonight… well it is an ideal time to kidnap or worse.”

The Bootlegger - Part 5 of 5

[October 1931]

The three occupants of the home near Troy in upstate New York listened avidly to the daily reports of the trial for Tax Evasion of their one-time client, Al Capone. They knew more than most about the goings on of the Chicago Mob of the 1920’s. As transporters of illegal beer, they knew all the where and when and how much stuff was moved around. They knew to keep their mouths shut in the event of them being apprehended by one of the many arms of US Law Enforcement. They did have some information that might be used to broker a deal but otherwise, they would keep silent. They hoped that as a fairly minor cog in the big wheel of Prohibition Busting operations that went on in 1920's Chicago they'd slip through the net that the Feds were casting around.

The Bootlegger - Part 4 of 5

Stella went inside the Police Station leaving Ethel to switch to the drivers’ seat.

She returned a few minutes later grasping a small piece of paper and got back into the car.

“They were very helpful about a possible place to stay but it is unlikely that there will be a train north tomorrow. Apparently, the line washed out earlier today after a landslide.”

Ethel gripped the steering wheel a lot tighter. Stella noticed this.

“I know that it looks bad but at least we have some wheels unlike those stuck at the Railroad Depot…”

The Bootlegger - Part 3 of 5

The girls took it in turn to doze until late afternoon. They’d found an old logging track that was suitable for the car and not axle deep in mud. It allowed them to hide out of sight but it also allowed then to keep an eye on the minor road off of which they were parked. Hardly a vehicle passed while the girls were resting. That suited them and their purpose perfectly.

As the sun went behind one of the hills, Ethel roused Stella.

“It is time doll.”

Stella laughed.

“Just like old times eh?”

“Not quite but remember the last time we were around here? You were the ‘Doll’ all right.”

“We have both changed a lot since then. The world has changed even more I’m afraid.”

“From what we are reading in the news, the boys back in Chicago don’t seem to think so…”

The Bootlegger - Part 2 of 5

[Autumn/Fall 1929]

The Girls didn’t get to hear about the happenings on Wall Street for a well over a week after the first big fall in stock prices. It was only when they went into Albany to do some Grocery shopping did they see the newspaper headlines. Both of them stopped dead and swore.

“That’s going to hit a lot of people very hard,” said Ethel.

“Including us. We had a good amount of dough in the bank just to look respectable. Those headlines were all about the run on the banks and banks going bust including ours.”

The Bootlegger - Part 1 of 5

[October 1927 – Chicago]
Vincent ‘Bugsy’ Stallone came into his office in a bad mood.
“Those bastards from Justice are getting to be a real pain in the arse. We just lost another shipment of beer between the Port and the Warehouse. It is that agent Ford again. He gets everywhere, the bastard. He must have informants on almost every street corner.”

The blonde-haired woman sitting next to his big polished oak desk looked up from filing her nails.

“What are we going to do? We have customers who rely on us. That’s the fourth this month.”

“Doll, don’t I just know it. Now that Big John and the rest are out of action it is down to the likes of us to keep this city drinking.

“Won’t this just blow over?” asked the woman.

Trixie and Liam - Part 2 of 2

The couple didn’t get much done that afternoon other than clearing a bit of the seed beds as it came onto rain after about half an hour. After a while if got a lot heavier so they retreated into the house where Liam got the log fire going.

The previous owner had left a woodshed full of logs so making the place nice and warm was not that difficult if you knew how. Liam didn’t but, after a lot of swearing and frustration, the fire was burning brightly.

Liam went off the following morning in search of some stout fence posts, chicken netting and a host of other things that would allow them to build a fence that might deter the boars in future. It was soon painfully obvious that his car was not the right vehicle for life in that part of the world. Carrying rolls on Chicken wire in a saloon car was not going to work in the long run.

Trixie and Liam - Part 1 of 2

[another oldie from 2010 dragged out of cold storage]

[Notting Hill, West London]

The owner of the flat buzzed his caller in through the front door to the house. Thirty or so seconds later there was a discrete knock on his flat.

Liam answered the door. He’d been expecting the person who now stood in front of him.
“Hello Trixie. I didn’t think you were coming tonight.”

“Hi Liam. I had a few things to take care of. Still I’m here now.”
Liam smiled.
“You know I’m always pleased to see you. Trixie.”

May you never

[This is an oldie from late September 2010.]

“Stay where you are love. I’ll call for an ambulance,” said the tall man.

“Fuck off and leave me alone,” replied the woman who was obviously injured.

“Nonsense. I can see that you need medical attention. That blow to the head needs some stitches.”

“What are you a fucking doctor or something? Get the hell out of here and leave me alone.”

He laughed.
“No, you don’t understand. I’m a special constable. Just on my way home from a shift.”

Custom Supplies

[Eighteen Months ago]

Sometimes in life, you have to take risks. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. So far, my track record in life was pretty bad.

Two years before, I’d told my wife of my desire to live as and eventually become a woman. Once the dust had settled, I found myself homeless, jobless and almost penniless.

Forsythe Saga - The Real Life Test

[One month after Maxine had received that letter upon their return from France]

“Hello, I’m Maxine Saunders. I have an appointment with Dr Hillier at 2:30,” said Maxine.
She was the offices of a doctor just off of Harley St. Adrian had insisted that she do her transition properly but privately. Today was her first visit to the Psychologist who would supposedly help her transition.

“Dr Hillier is a little behind schedule today. Please take a seat. She should be ready to see you in ten minutes. Please take a seat,” said the receptionist.

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

Blog About: 


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.


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