A Modern Christmas Story

Santa Claus gathered his dozen or so elves together late one Friday afternoon and said, “No need to come to work on Monday, fellas. I won’t need you anymore.” The shocked elves turned to each other in disbelief. “Why not?” asked Shinny Upatree. “Because over the weekend I shall be installing a shipment of robots. They will do your jobs faster and be so much cheaper, too. Unlike you lot, they’ll also … Read more

Looking Forward to Christmas

As a turkey, I have mixed feelings about Christmas. On the one hand, I’ll get to be a significant part of the festivities, but on the other I’ll be leaving my brothers and sisters behind and all the friends I’ve grown up with. Today is the day the farmer told us we would be picked out and carried away to our new homes. Not all of us, though; just the fattest and … Read more

Black as Night

It’s two o’clock in the morning and she’s alone. Jason has left it too late to say he can’t make it. Kids are sick, apparently. Dragging anyone else in now is out of the question. Most nights see only a few customers drop by, but it’s been an hour since the last customer left, and it will be some hours before Sharon and Judy turn up to relieve her. She moves around … Read more

The Dancer

I’m on the dance floor for the first time in a long time. It’s Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice, my grandson’s favourite. We often dance to it together. The beat is intense and I’m on top of it, using all the moves I’ve choreographed in the privacy of my living room. At last I’m able to display my prowess. Now I’m moving like someone on steroids with St Vitus Dance. I spy … Read more

The Rescuer

Seagulls wheeling and crying overhead, waves breaking against the shore, his body embraced by the warmth of the sun, Erik yielded to the creeping languor and stretched out on his beach towel, hands folded over his stomach, cap shielding his eyes. Lynda lay face down alongside him, bikini top unhooked, reading a paperback she’d borrowed from the library. As he was drifting off, he caught snatches of an argument in a foreign … Read more

The Stud

At the age of sixty-three, Etienne Duval fell deeply in love for the first time. Liliane was thirty years younger — a fact that flattered him no end — widowed, childless, adrift on a sea of melancholy until they met. Each evening, after closing his boucherie, he visited her at her tiny flat above Boulangerie-Patisserie Gregoire where she worked. He brought her pork cutlets, lamb shanks, or sweetbreads for her supper. She … Read more

Tarantula Gigante

For three months I have searched the Amazon jungle in vain for the elusive theraphosa apophysis gigantus or Tarantula Gigante, the largest, most venomous spider in the world. This dinner plate-sized arachnid is an extremely shy creature – hence my difficulty in finding one – but when provoked it can attack with surprising speed. It has been known to kill a boa constrictor, such is the striking power of its fangs. I … Read more