Posted tagged ‘Fate’

2.4 The jam finger bun

September 12, 2013

“Do you think policemen really like doughnuts?” Ralph asked while biting into another slice of his jam finger bun.

“To be honest, I think it’s a myth.” his friend Jeff answered. Jeff was approaching the end zone of his jam finger bun.

“I hate to sound defeatist like C3PO but I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Jeff.”

“What, the police and doughnuts?”

“No, it’s this bun. I’m halfway through it and I’ve not came across any jam yet. You’ve plenty of jam on yours.” Ralph took another bite. “Still nothing.” He ate the last piece. “what a con. Nothing.”

“Here, have a bit of mine.” offered the philanthropic Jeff. Ralph, never one to turn his nose up at a friend’s generosity, wolfed down the remaining jam-filled slice of Jeff’s jam finger bun, consequently causing an explosion of dough and jam.

“I’ve a good mind to go back to the take away and complain that my finger bun had no jam in it.”

“Trouble is, Ralph, you’ve ate the whole thing. It’s only your word against the bakeries. I don’t know if you’ve got a good case or not.”

“I’ve got statutory rights.”

Marching with indignant steps of the longest stride, the righteous pair found themselves back at the take away that had not injected jam into the finger bun. There was a queue, there’s always a queue, yet Ralph had mitigating circumstances to skip the hungry queue. Coming face to face with the seller Ralph launched into a rant.

“What racquet are you lot dealing in here? That jam finger bun you sold me had no jam in it. It was a plain finger bun and I demand another bun. One with jam in it.”

“Certainly, sir.” the sales girl was a model of restraint, used to dealing with the unruly elements of the public. “give me back the bun you bought and I’ll replace it.”

“I’ve ate it.”

“You’ve ate it.”

“umm.. Yeah”

From out of the queue sprang an angry voice. “Not content with being a queue jumping bun-hopper, you’re now trying to wheel another bun for yourself. At the end of the day that extra bun could have went to someone else. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Go home, loser”

Ralph, who was right, was not leaving before he was satisfied. “My bun had no jam in it. Somebody’s fault, not mine. For me to know there was no jam in it I had to eat it. You can’t look at a bun and say to yourself “there’s no jam in this bun”, you have to get to the inside of it. Tell them Jeff.”

Jeff had joined the back of the queue, hungry again after giving away the last piece of his bun to his friend, the last piece is always the best, he was going to buy another bun. “His bun did have no jam in it.”

“See. See.” Jeff’s corroboration should have ended the stand-off but he had reckoned without the angry voice in the queue.

“Well, how come you’ve got a jam stain on your collar?”

Everyone in the queue titled their heads askance as did the sales girl and they examined Ralph’s collar. Sure as pillar boxes are red there was an incriminating newly-formed jam stain on the white collar. The result of the uncontrolled bite of Jeff’s bun with the inevitable spillage, which unfortunately landed on his collar. Ralph scrambled for his excuse.

“No, no, Jeff gave me a bite of-”

“-Is there a problem here?” the long arm of the law had joined the queue in the form of two stormtrooper policemen. Whether or not they were going to have doughnuts was not revealed. Their cop intuition told them that Ralph was the cause of the commotion and one of them said to him. “Sir, I am going to ask you to accompany us outside.”

Ralph moved outside and the impatient queue breathed a sigh of relief.

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4. The Roller Coaster

September 25, 2012

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The fairground was buzzing with the joyful atmosphere of happy people. The carnival was having one of the busiest days of its season. Ralph was gobbling up the last of his candy floss as he waited for Jeff and Sly to come off The Big Wild One rollercoaster. Ralph had a low opinion of candy floss; he was sorry he’d bought the cotton candy. Jeff and Sly appeared through the crowd and surprised Ralph.

“Hey.” said Jeff.

“Hey.” said Ralph.

“You’ve got candy floss on your cheek, Ralph.” sneered Sly.

“Hey, Sly. Thanks for the heads up. Candy floss is an over rated sweey , if you ask me.” Ralph wiped his face with a tissue.

“That is one great ride, Ralph, you don’t know just how good that was.” Jeff was holding a souvenir photograph of him and Sly on the ride. “Look at this. What a thrill that was. You definitely missed out. Look at Sly’s face.” Ralph stared at the photograph. The grinning couple in the snapshot eyeballed him back.

“Yeah, she looks thrilled.”

“Too bad you’re too chicken to go on it, Ralph.” Sly sneered again.

“I’m not chicken. You can only get two people in each carriage. Three of us couldn’t fit in it.” explained Ralph. Sly shot back.

“They do allow a single person rides. You would have the carriage all to yourself.”

“You know, that’s not fair. There’s a huge queue and if they let everyone ride singly they’d be doubling the ride waiting time. Single riders are selfish. Shouldn’t be allowed.”

“But it is allowed, Ralph. You’re only using this as an excuse.” Sly would not be beaten.

“No I’m not. And another thing it’s only sad individuals that go on these things alone.” Jeff and Sly looked at one another not convinced by Ralph’s argument.
“Think about this, Jeff. Would you go to a movie by yourself? No, you wouldn’t. This is just the same.”

“No it’s not.” said Jeff.

“It is. Remember that time I wanted to go and see The Watchmen and you couldn’t make it.”

“I wanted to go. It was a busy time at the office. You know what my clients are like.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go yourself” you said. And I replied “What kind of loser would I be if I went alone?”

“You did go alone.”

“Yeah, but I felt like a loser.”

“Wait a minute. You told me the cinema was full of single males. Single male, empty seat, single male, empty seat, single male, empty seat. You said you didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.”

“That’s because I was sitting in a room full of losers.”

“You’re both losers, liking comic books at your ages.” said the unsympathetic Sly. “Watchmen. Watching men, whatever.” Jeff changed the subject.

“Me and Sly are going for something to eat. You wanna come, Ralph?”

“No, I’ve just eaten.”

“Suit yourself. Come on Jeff.” Sly flung a sly look at Ralph.

“Yeah you two go on. I’ll hang about here and browse the funny hats stalls. Or have a go on the hook-a-duck stand. Maybe I might find a comic book shop, if I’m lucky.” Ralph watched them disappear into the bustling human traffic.

Ralph wandered around the fairground with no particular place to go. Thirty minutes later he ended up back where he started- in the vicinity of The Big Wild One rollercoaster. By some chance the queue was small. Ralph figured maybe every one had had their fill of Europe’s Greatest ride (self-proclaimed). The queue was manageable and having the relevant tokens he joined the end of the line. This will shut the Sly one up.

The row of thrill seekers was going in quick and Ralph was soon strapped into a double-carriage by himself. Once a loser, always a loser he thought. In the blink of an eye the ride took off. Ralph was in a state of exhilaration but no way could you call it fear. He took coasters in his stride no matter what Sly might think.

Jeff had told him that the camera part of the ride was near the end and Ralph had still to make a decision on what face to pull for the celluloid. I’ll just play it straight and stare at the camera nonchalantly, he decided. The Big Wild One dropped into a terrifying dip that wrought screams from panic stricken passengers. Ralph never moved a muscle as the camera was about to make its flash storm. A big fat guy in front of him, also a lone rider, unstrapped himself and stood up. The fat guy roared as the camera clicked furiously.

The ride ambled to the finish line. Ralph had the awful feeling that something was not right. He sneered at the fat guy as he departed his carriage.

A kiosk was set up after the ride with photographs of recent photos of the ride for purchase. Ralph scanned the images for evidence of his Big Wild One experience. There were none. The big fat guy had monopolised the four shots of the two double carriages. Ralph was invisible in all the photographs. Jeff and Sly appeared on the scene.

“Nice one, Ralph. What are you doing in here. Trying to fool us into thinking that you were on the ride.” said Sly in a sneering tone.

“I was on the ride.” said Ralph.

“I don’t see you in any of the pics, partner.” exclaimed Jeff.

“I was on it. I looked at the camera with a normal face. Just like this,” he showed them his face, “A fat guy was in front of me. He stood up and covered my shot.”

“Yeah, Ralph we believe you.” said Sly. She didn’t mean this.

“Jeff, come on. You know I don’t lie.” By this time all the photograph’s from Ralph’s ride had been wiped and the screens showed new images.

“Nnnn,” Jeff made an noise that signalled that he was unsure, “There’s no photographic proof, Ralph.”

With little point in continuing the discussion Ralph went quiet and the three of them moved on with the screams from the patrons of the next coaster ringing in their ears.

Windsor’s Fall

September 24, 2012

Deep in the middle of autumn I arose from bed with a spring in my step. Throwing open the curtains I expected the seasonal thorny weather. My eyes saw the glory of a dry garden and overhead, a blue sky. With great haste I made my elaborate preparations for a comfortable stay in the back yard.

Shorts, t-shit and flip-flops were the garb of this calling. The plastic chair and table were emptied from the cluttered hall cupboard. A flask of ice-cold cola chilling from the fridge would help me from dehydration and the Kindle would hide the latest embarrassing book I am reading. Any enquiries from nosy neighbours could be met with the blatant lie, “just a little something by Prost.”

Before my adventure could start I was assailed by my wife.

“Where are you going?”

“The back.”

“It’s freezing out there. Are you crazy?”

“It’s not freezing, it’s nice. I’m going out there and you will regret not joining me.”

I set up my paradise in the garden. I idled in the idyll. It was as if a little piece of Jamaica had been transported into the sprawling urban metropolis that surrounded me. Swigging some of the brown, sugary nectar of the gods I delved back into my Dean Koontz blockbuster.

A light breeze tickled my toes, though it wasn’t a laughing matter. For once I wished I had socks under my flip-flops to ward off the slight chill in my lower extremities. As if by a switch the sky turned a shade of grey. Then a whipping current of air tore at my face. Nonplussed, I guessed this was just a passing breaking of wind.

My guess was wrong when the goose bumps sprouted from my flesh as the cold intensified. I turned round to see my wife at the window. I managed to fake a smile with my teeth chattering. Standing up to bring some heat into my body by moving, the chair was blown across the ground and rattled off the garden wall where it continued to flap. I picked up my cola and headed for the back door of the house; you never leave a cola behind.

My homeward journey was difficult as the wind was changing direction constantly. The only good thing about this was I hoped there were a lot of people playing golf today. Leaning my upper torso 30° into the wind I could fight my way to shelter.

“See. Told you it was wild outside.” said my wife.

Now this I could not stomach. For the rest of the day I did not want the “told you so” thrown down my throat at every opportunity so I had to counteract her claim.

“What are you talking about? I forgot to put on my sun cream. After I put it on I’m going back outside.”

I might not be coming back.

1. The Pilot

January 19, 2012


Big Ralph was as ravenous as the pigeons that were devouring the scraps of discarded food that littered the doorway to the fast food joint. He crooked his head to the side in an almost look of love at the hungry birds. First things first, he thought, better pay the meter. The café was located on the main road. He rustled in his pockets for some change, fed the meter and received his ticket. He stuck the ticket to his windscreen.

Ordering his usual -three burgers, fries and a large coke- Ralph pondered on the fact that nothing in life is free. Won’t be long before someone taxes the air they breathe. After all, at one time there used to be a window tax. Daylight robbery, the masses called it. The more windows you had, the more you paid. Good job that one got thrown out with the bath water. This place was all windows. From floor to roof it was a glass palace of eating.

Chewing on the gristle on the first bite of the first burger while reading the complimentary newspaper of the outlet, a paper that had had its fill of grubby, greasy fingers, Ralph saw movement beside his car. He looked out the window and saw a traffic warden tucking a ticket under his window wipers. Stupefied, his chair scraped the floor backwards as he went out to confront the errant warden.

“I’ve got a legitimate ticket on my car,” roared Ralph.

“I’m sorry, sir. It’s not visible,” said the uniformed inspector.

Ralph was not in a pantomime mood to engage in a war of words so he checked his windscreen for himself. His ticket was not visible. On the outside anyway. A kit of pigeons had bombarded his windscreen with droppings, hiding his ticket.

“It’s their fault. Look,” Ralph opened his car door and pulled his ticket from the window. “There’s my ticket. Valid today.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” the warden’s tone was neutral. “The penalty has been issued and documentation registered on the computer.”

“Couldn’t you have used your sleeve to wipe the window before booking me? You guys really are the pits.” Ralph looked to the heavens to see a solitary pigeon sitting on a lamp post. It had its head slanted but there was no love lost between the doer and the receiver. Ralph went back into the fast food place to continue his meal. His table had been cleared. Burgers, fries and coke straight down the chute of the bin.

“Thought you’d cleared off,” said the waitress.

Tales of The Wire: 2. Bodie

June 10, 2010

The old shopping trolley with the dodgy wheel rumbled out from the alley. Its owner, Bubbles, was trying to sell white T-shirts to the drug dealers on a west side corner. “Little” Kevin was a bit disappointed that there weren’t any in his size. The man-child in charge of this area was Preston “Bodie” Broadus and he chased off the old vagrant.

“Beat it, man. And don’t stick no hats on ‘anyone’s head ‘cos we don’t want no bugs.”

Bodie was having a bad day. He was born to be a corner boy and for years he’d worked these corners. But times were tough. He’d never had a day off, never snitched on anyone or robbed from a package and all he could see around him was an ineffectual team of poor ass muthas. They were worse than pawns.

“Little” Kevin pulled another cheeseburger from his pocket and was covered in ketchup making Bodie screw his eyes up in disgust. Oh, wherefore art thou Wallace. His number one runner, Namond, the boy responsible for where the stash is kept, could be seen from ten blocks away as his Afro hair wagged in the wind. If I had a pair of scissors, thought Bodie, I wouldn’t just cut his hair. And then things got worse.

“Fire in the hole! I mean, fire in the wire! No, I mean, fire in the alley.”

One of Bodie’s lieutenants came rushing out from the alley into the street.

“It must have been that old junkie. He’s dropped a smoke in the bin and it’s on fire.”

Bodie knew this would bring the Fire Department to his turf and then the Baltimore Police. He could do without this heat. Shaking his head he walked into the alley followed by his less than trusty crew.

“Ah’yt.” said Bodie.
“As I do everything on this corner I best fight the fire.”

With a minimum degree of effort Bodie expelled a large litre of saliva from out of the side of his face; the famous Bodie spit. It put the fire out.