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The Aimless

Once, on long journey, I met a traveler standing at a fork in the road. He looked back and forth between the paths as if trying to make a decision.

“Where do you want to go?” I asked him, thinking that I could maybe help.

“I have no destination in mind,” he said, “and both paths look nice.  The first heads down hill and I guess leads to coast where I could walk along the beach and listen to the gulls. The other heads up into mountains, it will be more of a climb, but the views and the fresh crisp air will be worth it. ”

“Then why not just pick one of them? I asked. “It sounds like you’d enjoy both routes, but standing here means you’re not experiencing either of them.”

“Because picking one path means giving up on the dreams of the other.”

I left him standing there at fork, glad I had destination in mind.

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Teacher Without Portfolio

“Mrs Richards is having a problem with class 5C, the principal wants you to have a look into it,” says Miss Bordon, from the doorway of my office.

“5C’s problem is probably Mrs Richards,” I say, standing up from behind my desk and picking up the notepad I’ve been doodling on for the past two hours. “If the woman would learn to teach, instead of yelling, then the kids might learn something.” I wish it was a joke, but Mrs Richards knows nothing about children.

“Mike,” says Miss Bordon.

“Yes?” I answer.

“Be nice,” she says, disappearing from view. I know she loves me. One day she’ll admit it.

“I’m always nice!” I shout after her. That’s not true, but I’ve got to keep up appearances.

I make my way towards the fifth grade wondering what kind of demoralized, broken children I’m going to find there. I’m not likely to find much else in a Mrs Richards class. The woman seems to think the only way to keep students in line is to run her class like it’s a concentration camp. I’m surprised she hasn’t put barbed wire up on the windows to stop the kids escaping.

I’m just getting to the classroom and wondering if I can make it back to the office in time for lunch, when I realise that I may owe Mrs Richards an apology. There are no students in the classroom at the moment, they must have P.E or something, but I can feel it from the doorway. There’s something very wrong here, something way beyond Mrs Richards’ terrible teaching. As I look into the classroom I can see wave like shadows swirling beneath the desks.

Now this is probably the point where you say, “Eh what?” But ask any real teacher and they’ll tell you a class has its own atmosphere. Yes it’s made up of individual students who are all people and what not, but there’s more to it than that. The class, that is all the students together, has its own life as well. It’s like a dish being made of different ingredients and coming up with its own flavour. The difference between me and most teachers is that I can see it, most others can only feel it. That’s why I do the job I do. That’s why I’m the teacher without portfolio.

I enter the room, walking slowly so as not to get caught up in the dark emotions of the place. There’s anger in the dark and confusion. The whole room is infected with it. How long has this been going on, why didn’t they tell me sooner? I could have stopped it before it spread, or at least found out who it was coming from. Now it’d be like trying to spot the one kid peeing in the swimming pool. I know who’s to blame for delay at least: Mrs Richards. God, I’m going to have to talk to her to find out what’s going on.

#

It’s nearing home time when Mrs Richards comes to my office and I’m surprised to see the principal with her. They look like a bad double act. Her with her fat floppy jowls and him with coffin thin face.

“She asked me to come along,” says the principal, noting my questioning look.

“Yes, I did,” she says, planting herself in the one chair in front of my desk. “I shan’t be treated like a criminal for doing my job.”

“It’s your job to teach the kids, not drain life out of them,” I say – first point to me.

“Mike,” warns the principal.

“You?” says Mrs Richards. “You’re talking to me about not doing my job? What is that you actually do here anyway Mr McKinnon?’ She refuses to call me Mike for some reason. “’Teacher without portfolio,’ you’re little more than a glorified sub.”

“I’m closer to a counsellor actually,” I say, with a smug grin that’s sure to get on her nerves.  “And we have tried to explain what it is I do here before, but you weren’t able to understand because you are a grown-up.”

“I’m not sure if you’ve looked in the mirror lately,” she says, “But you’re going on thirty Mr McKinnon.” If she could spit my name she would.

“That’s true, I am. Although I still have half a year until my thirtieth. But, unlike you, I never grew up,” I say.

“Oh here we go again with this nonsense,” she says. “I’m not sure how you got the school to pay you to…”

“It’s not just this school Mrs Richards,” I say. “There’s someone like me in every school in the country. And there are plenty of people to choose from.” She looks over at the principal who simply nods. “The best teachers,” I continue, “are the ones that never really grew up. They’re the ones you’re jealous of. The ones the kids are not scared of.” This is technically not true. The fact is there are different degrees of growing up. I’m on one side of the scale and Mrs Richards is on the other. The best teachers usually fall in the middle somewhere: the ones that can feel the room but not see. Teachers like Mrs Richards are tyrannical. Teachers like me just end up playing games all the time.

“I don’t have to be here for this,” she says getting up from her chair.

“Mrs Richards,” I say and she stops. “There is a problem one of your classes and I might be able to help.” She sits back down. I guess she’s not all bad. “Let’s pretend for now that we are on the same team,” I say and she nods. “Now whether you believe in what I can do or not, that doesn’t matter. I do want to fix this problem with your class, but to do that I have to ask you some questions.”

“Okay, I don’t think it will help, but go ahead.”

“So what’s been happening with them?” I ask. Although I think I already know, I’ve felt it.

“They were a nice class, my best class. I hardly had to shout at them ever.” I want to tell her that she should never have to shout at them at all, but stop myself. “Then over the past few weeks they’ve just gone crazy. At first they were just chatting a bit too much. Then they started arguing with each other all the time and they started arguing with me as well. Then yesterday I had to call in the principal to pull three of the students of one boy. They just went for him like a pack of dogs, but they’d all been fine students until a few weeks before.”

“That’s when I decided to call you in,” says the principal. He’s a good man. He’s a full grown-up, I’ve never met a principal that wasn’t, but he’s wise enough to know that there are things that he can’t understand. Some teachers without portfolio are given an office and are never called to see a single class.

“Tell me about the three boys that attacked the other kid,” I say. If they’re the most taken by darkness then maybe one of them is the most affected.”

“Like I said, they were all good boys at the start of the year. Then the grades started slipping.” she said.

“Can you remember whose grades fell first?” I ask.

“Martin Young,” she said. “But he was off sick for a couple of weeks. So I had assumed it was something to do with that.”

It’s not much but it’s something to start with. If not, maybe one of the other two boys, or maybe the kid that was attacked. I need to go back to the classroom. I need to see the kids.

“I have to enter the Childhood,” I say.

#

Remember how I told you I could see the atmosphere of the class? We’ll that’s just a trick really. It’s a sort of side show to my real talent. You see I can go into the Childhood when I want to. Kids don’t see the world in the way we do. If you are ever in doubt have a look at children playing – your own are best, parents can get a bit twitchy if you start hanging about the playgrounds. When children play, they can see things adults can’t. It’s not just imagination. It’s real. They exist in a slightly different dimension from the one we are in. Once you grow up you start to forget that. But as a kid you wouldn’t doubt it for a second. That other dimension, that’s the place I can go. It’s not easy and it’s not always safe, but I can do it.

I reach into my bag a take out a scruffy old toy. His name is Packman. I used to take him with me everywhere as kid, this little egg shaped monster, with dangling arms has been patched up so many times that I doubt there is much of the original left. Still, holding him close, the whole world comes alive: Dragons fly through the clouds; Ninja sprint across the rooftops; toys and pictures comes to life. I notice the pen in my hand. I can’t remember where it came from, but I guess a student must have left it behind in a class. On the top is a little robot that starts to twist and bend, challenging anyone who dares to a fight. I wonder what would happen if he fought a team of ninjas – stop!

This is one of the dangers of the Childhood. It’s easy to lose the little amount of grown-up I have already. I need to focus on the task. I need to go to the classroom.

Class 5C has become a scary place, especially now the students are back. There are no friendly toys to play with. They’ve all ran away. There are plenty of strange scuttling things lurking in the darkness though. I can’t see them, but I can hear them. The worst thing though is the students.  All but a few are radiating the fog that I seen before. See that’s the problem with the darkness. Once it gets into a class it spreads. It infects. It takes happy kids and turns them in to dark little monsters. If you’re not careful it can infect the whole school. But where did it come from?

I walk up and down the rows pointing at the uninfected. The principal takes them out of the classroom. They’ll study somewhere else for now. It’s safer that way. But where is the source? Some of them are too far gone to tell. They even seem to growl at me as I walk past. Others though are only on the way to turning. Girls, I realise. Most of the uninfected and semi-infected are girls. That means we are probably looking for a boy. I find the kid that was attacked sitting off to one side. He’s not fully gone, so it’s not him. But where is the student Mrs Richards told me about? Where is Martin Young?

I spot the empty desk. It’s as thick with the darkness as any of the chairs with an infected student. I think we’ve found our carrier.

#

I drive to the Young house, which is not easy when you have all manner of creatures from another dimension jumping around the place. I almost hit a unicorn near the police station. To be honest, I’m not sure what would have happened if I did hit it. I’d probably pass right through, but I’m not really certain and I’d hate to have unicorn’s death on my conscience.

I knock on the door and wait. I’m starting to wonder if I have taken a wrong turn. Either it’s the wrong address or it’s not the kid I’m looking for. The place doesn’t have that feel of darkness to it. In fact there is almost something alluring about it and I would bet that if a group of kids live on this street, then this is the house they would choose to hang out in.

The door opens and I’m greeted by a keen smile.

“Hello there how can I help you?” asks the man. He’s in his forties and has a bald head with some shaven hair along the temples.

“Mr Young?” I ask. This can’t be the right place. It feels a bit strange, but not bad. It’s certainly not connected to the darkness at the school

“That’s right.”

“I’m a teacher from the school. Is Martin home? We just wanted to check up on him,” I say, trying to peek into the house without being too obvious. There something about the place that I just can’t put my finger on. It almost has a double atmosphere, but I can’t separate it.

“Well you can come in, but he’s not home at the moment,” says Mr Young, standing back to let me though. “He went to pick up some medicine. He was feeling a bit better and we thought the walk would do him good.” More like you gave him a day off cause you wanted to do something together. I don’t hold it against him. At least he takes and interest in his child. That’s more than most.

“I see, what’s wrong with him?” I ask, going along with the pretence.

“Oh just a cold, but he was sick a while back and I don’t want to take the risk.”

I’ve just sat down on the couch, when something dark scuttles out from a door under the stairs. Mr Young turns to look at it. Did he just turn to see what I was looking at? No, he looked first.

Neurons in my head fire up and I realise, he’s in the Childhood as well. We sit at each end of the room looking at each other like a pair of gun slingers waiting on the moment to draw. I use the seconds to try and work out what’s going on. Then a memory of something long and forgotten comes back. This place it’s just like my uncle’s home. It’s just like the place where he… It’s a trap, it’s a lure for children where he can abuse them. He’s somehow twisted the Childhood to make this place. He’s hidden the darkness, but it’s here and strong like an underground river.

I get up and make my way to the door. I don’t say a word for the fear of letting loose and killing the guy.

“Going somewhere?” he asks, standing up calmly. The shadows seem to rise behind him.

“I’m getting out of here you sick bastard,” I say and I’m almost running.

“You seem to forget where you are,” he says, and I’m afraid, because I know exactly what he means. I’m in the Childhood and the trap will work on me just as it would for any child. Why was I not more careful?

The charm of the place breaks down as the darkness seeps through attracted to my fear. It rises up behind Mr Young and then falls on me like a wave. Then I’m lost.

#

I wake up in the dark and I know exactly where I am. I’ve been here before. My uncle brought me here when I was a child. Even now, that day still haunts me. My parents had left me with him for the weekend and it had been fun. We’d played games all day and he let me eat what I wanted. I can see him here now.

“Mike,” he asks me. “Have you ever kissed anyone?”

“Of course,” I say, “I kiss mum and dad every day.”

“No I mean a real kiss, with tongues,” he says. “You’ll have to learn how to do that for when you meet girls.”

“I’m not interested in girls,” I say.

“You will be soon. Come into the bedroom and I’ll teach you.”

I’m sure you can work out how things went from there.

But you see, I’ve been here before and I learned how to escape. It was simple when I had some help. I just had to find the child in me. That’s why I never grew up like everyone else, because once I found him I never let him go.

“Martin,” I shout, “Martin Young.” A boy appears in front of me. He’s unremarkable. He could be any kid in grade five, just like I was.

“Martin,” I say kneeling down in front of him. “I know you’re scared, but we’ve got to get out of here.”

“I can’t,” he whispers. “Dad told me not to.”

“He’s not your Dad,” I say. “Dad’s don’t do the kind of thing he did to you.” He looks away, “Now look I’m going to help you, but this place we’re in. It comes from you being angry and afraid.”

“I’m not angry,” he yells, “I’m not afraid.”

“It’s okay,” I say, “It’ll take time but we’ll get you help. You’ll be safe with me.”

“You’re not a grown-up,” he says. “How can I be safe with you?” And he’s right. I’m not a grown-up. Inside I’m still a child and what he needs now is something else. But can I be what he needs? Can I be like the grown-up that once saved me?

“Don’t leave me,” says the voice of my inner child from somewhere in the darkness. You can’t leave me here. You know what will happen if you do?”

“He can’t get you any more. He died a long time ago,” I tell my younger self, but he can’t seem to understand.

“I don’t want to go away. I don’t want to be lost like before.”

“It won’t be like that,” I say. “Look at him? Look at this boy, here and now. That was us once. Remember? Remember how it felt?”

“I remember…but…”

“You’re afraid. I know, but there’s nothing for us to fear any more. It’s our turn to grow-up and to look after people, just like someone once looked after us.”

There is silence. Grow up to save one kid? I think I can do that. I think someone did that for me once.

And with that I say good bye to the child inside me. He understands that he’s had his time. You can’t be a child forever.

“Are you ready to go?” I ask Martin.

He looks at me in the way no child ever has before and nods, pulling himself against my leg and with that we are back in the house. It’s still dark, but for me at least there is no more scuttling. We’re in a small room. A closet. I find the door and kick it open easily enough. It was the closet under the stairs. I take Martin’s hand and lead him out. He’s too big to carry.

“What are you doing with my son?” yells Mr Young, charging in from the living room. “He’s my son and you can’t take him anywhere.” I kick him in the nuts – that’s the adult way to do things right? I’m still getting the hang of it.

“I’m taking him somewhere safe,” I say and resisting the urge to do any more damage. I lead him out of the house and drive towards the nearest police station.

#

I couldn’t stay on as Teacher without portfolio. You need to be able to see the Childhood to do it and I can’t. Even now it’s starting to feel less real. I wonder how long it’ll be until I forget it all together. For even one child it was worth it though.  Martin’s now in foster care and I’m told he’s doing well. I still check in from time to time. The principal says I can stay on as a normal teacher. Funny thing is I’m looking forward to it. My first job as a grown-up. It might actually be quite interesting.

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Story a week 2 – Sex Toys

Her hand moved, skimming across the surface of his skin and circling his nipples. She stroked the hair on his chest in a clawing movement before spreading her fingers wide and moving down to his naval. His body reacted and he was surprised to find that he could manage another erection. He did think he had ever managed a third time before.

Greg looked at her. Her pretty, petite body was perfect. Her dark hair hung down onto her lightly tanned skin. Even the freckles on her body seemed to accentuate her features.

He knew it was a fantasy. What man paid and didn’t know? But for a time at least, he wanted to believe that she was really his. He wanted to imagine that a girl like this would really be possible for a man like him.

“You’re thinking too much,” said Tiffany looking straight into his eyes and for a moment all his doubts were forgotten. She really was his. It only lasted a moment, but he started to wonder. Could there be more to this than a cash transaction? Was she just that good or could there really be something between them?

His thoughts had interrupted his body’s intentions. There would be no third time tonight. Instead he pulled her close, so that she was lying with her head on his chest with his arm around her. This was what he really needed more than anything else. This was what was missing from his life. The sex was just physical, he needed contact. Contact with someone real.

#

The next day at the office he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Her perfume seemed to linger on his finger tips and he could almost taste her lips as he breathed.  As he thought of them entwined together he began to get aroused. He stayed sitting in his chair and pretended to be doing something with his tablet and hoped that no one would notice. But rather than feeling embarrassed, as he knew he should be, he instead felt an excitement that he hadn’t in years.

There had been that on and off thing with the office girl that had come to nothing. Then his morning obsession with the girl on the hyper-rail that he always tried to sit near. But something about Tiffany was more than that. There was real contact. A physical and emotional connection.

The sight of his ageing face reflected on his tablet screen brought doubts.

“Don’t make a fool of yourself,” he said to himself. “You’re just asking for disappointment.” But even then the possibility lingered and he found himself checking up on his bank account to see if he could afford another trip the same evening. He couldn’t, at least not without sacrificing some of his savings. He would just have to adjust his spending to make up for it.

#

She looked surprised to see him, but not displeased. She welcomed him into her bed and they made love. It wasn’t sex it was making love, he was sure of that now.

“I wish I could take you away from here,” he whispered as they lay together afterwards.

“Take me where?”

“Anywhere you like,” he said. Then realised on his bank balance that wouldn’t be possible. But it was just a fantasy she was playing along with, or was it?

“Tiffany, can I ask you something?” asked Greg

“Of course you can,” she said, stroking his hair.

“Do you have feelings?”

“You mean, do I have feelings for you?” she asked. She hadn’t backed away, that was a good sign at least.

“Well sort of, but I just mean in general. Can you really feel anything or are you just programmed to react to certain inputs?” It was the first time he had seen her look upset and he felt a gnawing in his stomach. Had he blown it, was that it? “I’m sorry,” he said, “its just…”

“You want to know the truth?” asked Tiffany.

“Yes, if you want to tell me,” he answered.

“The truth is I don’t really know. I think I feel, is that enough? What about you can you feel?” she asked. Her question surprised him.

“Of course,”he said

“But how do you know?” she asked.

“Well I just….”

“I mean how do you know that you are not just a biological computer programmed to respond to certain inputs.”

He paused, uncertain how to answer. “You’re right,” he said, combing back her hair with his hand “I’ve never thought of it like that. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to… you know.”

“It’s okay. I’m used to people asking. I just thought that you would know.” She looked away.

“Know what?”

“How I felt about you. How I thought you felt about me.” Had she said what he thought she was saying? Did she mean that she loved him?

“Tiffany, I want to take you away from this place. I want you to come home with me.”

She looked back at him, but there was fear in her eyes now and she shook her head. “It doesn’t work like that. You know I’m not like you. They paid for me here. I’m their property. They wouldn’t allow it.”

“I’ll talk to them, maybe I could come to some arrangement with them,” he said. As he spoke he was already getting dressed. “It’ll be okay, I promise.”

Greg found another pretty young woman managing the reception area. He guessed that she was also an android, but didn’t want to offend one way or the other.

“Could I speak to the manager please,” he asked.

“Is there maybe something I could help you with Sir?” she asked giving him a suggestive look.

“I mean..” he started, “I want… I would like to know, it is possible to buy one of the girls.” The words sounded strange, but at least he had said it.

“Sir, you can have any girl you like, or maybe two? Each girl costs 70 Euros per evening, plus an additional fee if…..”

“No I mean I want to buy her. Fully buy her. So I can take her home with me.”

The girl looked confused. “I think you are right, let me get the manager for you.”

The manager, he was sure, was a “real” person. She was tall, even beautiful in her own way, but age had begun to creep into her life and it was clear she was fighting a losing battle.

“I’ve heard you wanted to buy one of our girls outright,” she said, looking down her nose at him.

“That’s right, Tiffany. I would like to buy Tiffany.” The woman paused for a moment, and seemed to be factoring every asset of Greg into some calculation.

“You do realise that she is a robot, don’t you?”

“I am aware of the fact, yes,” he said and she let out a long sigh.

“I know our models seem real, but they are nothing more that machines. Please don’t get caught up in the fantasy sir, it’s not good for anyone.”

“Look, I understand. But is she for sale.”

“Sir,” she said, raising her voice a little, “this is a brothel, people come for some entertainment. Would you go into a bar and ask to take the band home? Or go to a zoo and try and buy the penguins?”

“The way I see it, it’s quite different from that,” he said.

“Let me guess, she gave you some story about feeling emotions and how humans just act on biological responses, am I right?”

He didn’t need to answer. The dawn of uncertainty on his face said it all.

“Not to worry sir, it happens more than you think. Now I suggest you go enjoy yourself for a while and put these thoughts aside for now.” She didn’t wait for his response.

He walked home rather than taking the hyper-rail. It would take a long time, but he didn’t mind, he needed time to think.

He had been so certain about her. She had seemed too real. It was like she was an actress that had got out of character for him. He knew which was the stage figure and which was the one behind the make-up. Was that all part of the programming as well? It just seemed different. Maybe the manager herself didn’t know, maybe she was afraid to admit that they were more than just machines. After all it would make her little more than a slave trader if the opposite were true.

No, Tiffany was for real and he was going to get her back. But Tiffany, how could he get her out of there? Could he break in one morning and whisk her away to some far away place where the brothel couldn’t find her? The second part maybe, but not the first. He was no master thief. He couldn’t even pick a lock.

Maybe he could offer money. Maybe that was the solution, offer so much that they couldn’t say no. He took out his tablet and searched for pricing. Even not counting the android licence that he didn’t have, it would still cost about more than double of what he had in the bank.

A flashing sign to one side caught his eye:

Quick loans in a flash

He had an idea. He could use the cash he had to take out a loan and that would maybe give him enough, to make an offer on Tiffany. Once she was free then they could run. They wouldn’t have to go far. Maybe another city, or cross the border into one of the other European states. Austria! He’d always wanted to go to there. And he was sure he could find a job. It didn’t have to pay great, it just had to pay enough.

The lenders made him think twice about his plan. Two brothers, both built like army commandos ran the place. They seemed to have no need for hired muscle. They had enough of their own to go round. Greg thought about them coming after him. If they were to catch him it wouldn’t be a pretty business, he didn’t doubt. Still he negotiated a deal, telling them that his brother had been caught sick abroad and needed some emergency cash for medical treatment and a fare to get him home. He played up his desperation, his nervousness helped.

After confirming his job and salary, the brothers agreed to the financing for a half his earnings from each pay check over the next year. He had to confirm the electronic billing that would automatically remove it from his salary. It would result in more than 300 % of what he was borrowing. Greg pretended to make a fuss and tried to make a show of negotiating a better deal. In the end he would accept whatever they offered. The brothers didn’t bother with any threats about non-payment. It was implied along the way.

With cash in hand he returned to the brothel. This time he would not be swayed. This time he wasn’t leaving without her.

When he entered the place the manager was already at the desk. There was no sign of the younger girl and Greg wondered if she had found a customer.

“So you’ve decided to have some fun then Sir?” she said with a condescending smile.

“No,” he said, trying to muster up a commanding voice. “I want to buy her.”

“Sir, I’ve told you, she’s just a robot. Besides we can’t sell anyone, we don’t have a license for that kind of thing. I doubt you have a licence to buy one either. Do you think women of this country are going to stand by and let anyone own one?  A brothel in the dark side of town is one thing. Having one move into the neighbourhood is quite another.”

He didn’t argue. He was already prepared. He took out half the cash he had borrowed and placed it on the table without saying a word. The manager stared at the money and Greg was glad they’d paid it in middle sized bills. It made it look more than it really was.

She hesitated. It was good sign.“There would be… administrative fees.”said the manager.

He placed another wad onto the pile. “It’s all I have,” he said. Keeping the other notes stashed in his pockets. It would be a long journey, there would be no direct route to Vienna for them and his bank account would be far too traceable.

“You sure you want to do this?” she asked. “There’s no refunds a week later.”

“I am absolutely sure,” said Greg.

The woman shook her head in way that said, if you want to be an idiot, it’s not my problem. “Go get her then”, she said.

Greg ran to the room where he knew he would find Tiffany. When she opened the door her eyes opened wide with delight.

“You came back!” she said. “I thought it would be months before I saw you again.”

He got down on one knee in front of her. “Tiffany,” he said, “I spoke to the manager and she’s agreed to let you come with me. It won’t be an easy road, we’ll have to travel far, but will you come with me? Will you be my wife?”

There was a hesitation and for a second he was sure she was going to say no.

“Of course I’ll come with you,” she said, bending down to kiss him. “I’ll go anywhere you want to take me.”

#

It was two days later when the delivery van arrived at the brothel. They carted two large boxes into the reception where the manager was waiting for them.

“Another two Tiffany models for you,” said one of the delivery men. “What happened to the other three you ordered last month?”

“Two of them ran off with the clients,” the manager said with a smile.

“Another two, that’s a total of what, eleven in six months?” he asked. “Maybe you should report it as a fault. It must cost you a fortune to keep replacing them.”

“Not at all boys,” she said. “It’s been quite lucrative actually. You’d be amazed at what you men would pay for love. Care for a free trail? On the house of course.” She waved the two of them into the bed rooms as she cut open one of the boxes to look at the perfect petite body.

“Don’t you feel bad, letting them run off with some sex toy and letting them think it’s love?” asked the driver, as he reached the door that led into the bedrooms.

“Whatever makes people happy boys,” she said, “whatever makes them happy.”

From

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-PM-stories-Chris-McKenna-ebook/dp/B00I70I2DM

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Paradigms

Paradigms is on sale for $1.20. Pick up a copy to read over the holidays:paradigms2

UK : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paradigms-Chris-McKenna-ebook/dp/B004HW7IIE

USA: http://www.amazon.com/Paradigms-Chris-McKenna-ebook/dp/B004HW7IIE

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Free book – The PM

I’m releasing a collection of short stories:

The

Michael is having a bad day. His wife has given him grief, reporters have heckled him and his driver has offered him ‘special assistance’. It’s only his first day as the PM, but things are about to get a lot worse. He’s not in charge and he’s about to find out who is.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-PM-stories-Chris-McKenna-ebook/dp/B00I70I2DM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-PM-stories-Chris-McKenna-ebook/dp/B00I70I2DM

Like and share the facebook page before the end of February for FREE ebook version. (Or buy on Amazon for $2)

https://www.facebook.com/thePMstories

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The Year’s Love

I’ve done it again. I came on too strong an ended up chasing away someone that I cared about.

I don’t fall for people very often. Certainly not as often as I used to. I feel plenty of attraction of course, but that feeling of something bigger only comes once or twice a year and when it does I just lose control.

In person I’m not too bad, I think. In the presence of someone I care about I find myself calm and quite serene. It’s when you take them away and put a phone in my hand that things really start to go wrong. The worst part is that I know what I’m doing is wrong, I just can’t control myself. I can stop sending those texts or spilling out my soul.

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The problem is not, as some will say, that I come across as desperate. The problem is I am desperate. I have a few real relationships to my name and most of them are questionable as proper relationships. My experience of high school romance was worshipping poor Mary Louise Sweeny from a far, without the fairly tale ending that the movies told me I would have. These days, as soon as something real becomes an option, I just revert back to that same little boy.

The truth is I love being him. I love caring so much about someone else that I stop caring about myself. There’s something pure

about that part of me that I never want to be without, even although having it will always result in tragedy. To lose that boy in me means to become something cold and mathematical. It means becoming a player that runs with a rule book or a “system”. It’s becoming a person that manipulates girls in to wanting him – no not him. He manipulates them into wanting the façade that he presents. I’m not sure which is more tragic.

I recently finished John Green’s “The fault in our stars”, it was a super book, about two teenagers dying of cancer, but finding love together. It just makes me long for my own little piece of true love that seems to have eluded me in my life. Of course real life is going to be harder. My good friend Paul recently broke up with the guy he’s been going out with, since long before I’ve known him. It must be hard. But at least he can look back at the end of the day and say he’s had something, even if it did fall apart. I’m curious if he would agree or not.

It’s a strange thing to write and tell the world these things. Some how writing it and putting it out there is cathartic. Maybe I hope that someone out there feels the same and can gain a feeling of kinship from it.

For now I’m going to watch some films and try and move on.  “500 days of summer” has been watched, now onto “Eternal Sunshine”.

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Another Year

So I just turned 31 a few minutes ago…

It’s not been a bad year all things considered, but it hasn’t been my best. I felt that I tried to do a lot last year and in the end I’m now back where I started (both in terms of location and goals).  What can I say, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft agley,”. And it’s not that I’m in a bad place to be or that the journey to get back here was terrible (It was a lot of fun at times). I just sometimes don’t feel that I’m going anywhere and more importantly I’m not sure where I want to go.

So time to make a plan.

This year there are some things that I would really like to do:

1. Get a proper relationship: One great thing about Indonesia is that there are lots of fun girls around, but it’s harder when trying to find someone to date in a serious way. This year I want to find someone who is the impossible: intelligent and sexy at the same time.

2. Decide where to go next: I need some direction in my life. I have whole bunch of projects that I do: Writing, coding, educating, fitness. I need to decide where I want to be in ten years to that I can stop being a jack of all trades and start to master something.

3. Get that book out: I have have two books on my computer that I’ve not managed to put out yet. Part if it is waiting on covers, but that’s just an excuse. First things this year I’ll try and put them out there.

4. Find a job I love: Again I want the impossible. My job here is nice enough, but I need to start thinking more long term. I’ve thought of trying to start my own business or maybe finding a job in software again. Either way I need to get those CV’s out into the world and see what options I have.

It’s not the best plan in the world. But it’s a start. Any suggestions on how to achieve the above?

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