I can’t remember exactly what inspired this – I think it may have been hearing a short story by Peter Dimery about his time in Pembrokeshire.

Whatever it was I can assure you and the members of my Writing group that it was absolutley NOT based on them!




Mr Straker looked around the room. Nearly a full house. Odd how the whiff of controversy brought them out, the halt, the lame and the sick. He probably shouldn’t be here himself, truth be told, but there were some things that even heart conditions couldn’t prevent one wanting to see. In the same way motorists slowed on the motorway, taking their eyes from the vehicle in front to gawp at a car crash on the opposite carriageway, folks were content to risk their own mutilation and destruction to watch the horror show unfold. The direction of travel didn’t even matter. Coming or going it was all the same.

He remembered being passed at high speed one quiet Sunday morning, north bound on the M5, by a spectacularly clad biker sporting a wasp’s head helmet, a picture in black, yellow and gold. There in the rear view mirror and gone in a second. Defying at once both the laws of physics and the Road Traffic Act. Quarter of an hour later police cars and plastic cones filtered vehicles off onto the hard shoulder. They all slowed to see the once proud machine, smeared across three hundred yards of tarmac in two lanes, and the rag doll of a wasp, still and lifeless at the end of the trail of debris. X marked the spot of the journey from hubris to nemesis in abridged form. The gods’ attention span has shortened as well as our own.

Mrs Williams was nodding and smiling, always a worrying sign. Parker and Davies shook hands with Straker. He had thought Parker dead these six months and the man’s general appearance did nothing to contradict that opinion. Undead lore notwithstanding however, Parker’s ambulatory abilities rather quashed that theory. Ashby drifted over to Straker, coffee in one hand, chocolate chip biscuit in the other. The packet said cookies but Ashby refused to accept that losing the American colonies did not mean we had to adopt their idiosyncratic mannerisms, spellings or nomenclature. Ashby didn’t use the word idiosyncratic, but Straker always mentally Bowdlerised Ashby’s speech to render it safe for recounting to his family. Straker was old fashioned enough to believe there were some words which should not be used in front of women and children.

‘I see you’ve dragged your carcass in then?’ Ashby offered, popping the remainder of his biscuit into his mouth and extending a becrumbed chocolate stained hand. Straker steeled himself and shook the meaty paw.

‘Thought I ought to you know. Given the circumstances.’ He disengaged his hand and, as discreetly as he could, wiped it on a tissue. Not discreetly enough apparently.

‘Lick it off man, that’s Waitrose chocolate that is. None of your emulsified chocolate coloured lard extract.’

Straker grimaced. ‘It’s the salt and sebum content I’m worried about John, bad for the heart.’

Ashby looked puzzled.

‘Your sweat.’ Straker explained.

‘Cheeky bugger. Honest toil that’s from.’

‘You sell insurance John, a concept antithetical to honesty.’

Ashby laughed. ‘Can’t fault you there. Do you want a coffee? Dianne’s stopped being a feminist for the night, she’ll make you one if you like.’ He nodded to the corner of the room where a slight bird like woman was organising drinks and everyone who wanted one, whether they wanted to be organised or not.

‘The doctor says I shouldn’t but, yes please.’

Ashby raised his voice over the murmuring of the hive, ‘Large one over here Dianne.’

‘So I’ve heard darling.’ said a blonde lady of uncertain years sidling through the crowd to be next to Straker. Ashby guffawed while the bird like woman glowered ‘You’ve got one John’ she piped over the background hum of conversation.

‘It’s for Julian, not me.’


There is much more (all of the first episode/chapter in fact) here in Westley Writers under the Writing Tab

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