Monday, 30 November 2015

Vintage Fairs - A Steve Rant

For audio click here
“Did you use to go to jumble sales when you were a kid?” Steve said as Johnny put the glasses down on the table. Johnny looked at his friend; sometimes he wondered how on earth Steve’s brain worked. 
“Of course I did,” Johnny said, “the cubs, the guides, the local schools all had jumble sales around Christmas, sometimes my mum would take us on a jumble sale crawl, two or three in a day, why?”
“I went to one today,” Steve took a long sip of his beer. Only it wasn’t called a jumble sale, guess what it was called.”
“I dunno, a flea market,” Johnny guessed, Steve shook his head, “A car boot sale,” Steve shook again. “I give up,” Johnny said. 
“A vintage fair,” Steve said. “A vintage bloody fair!” Steve looked offended by the words. “A room full of second-hand tat, and they call it a vintage bloody fair.”
“What kind of stuff were they selling?” Johnny asked. 
“Grubby clothes and jewellery that they would sell for a quid in a charity shop but because it is a vintage fair they charge 35 quid. I couldn’t bloody believe it and to make matters worse, people were bloody buying it too.” Steve took a sip of beer.
“Why did you go?” Johnny asked. 
“I dunno, I thought it might be interesting, I was expecting new stuff with a vintage look, you know? I wasn’t expecting a glorified church hall jumble sale. But it was just an array of junk. Oh, and they were selling vintage cake too, vintage cake, it just looked like cake to me. ” 
Johnny laughed.
“There’s a serious point though,” Steve said, “if you go to a charity shop or jumble sale then the money goes to good causes, but if you spend 35 quid at a vintage fair then the money goes into the pocket of some ambulance chaser.”
“Ambulance chaser? Aren’t they American lawyers looking to make rich?” Johnny asked.
“Well, where do these vintage dealers get their clothes from? From doing house clearances after people die, that’s where. And it’s funny how they seem to be able to mirror the latest fashions, they must have warehouses full of the stuff, just waiting for when the sixties come back or the seventies etc.”
“It’s just people trying to make a living Steve,” Johnny said. 
“There’s got to be a better way to make money than selling a dead man’s clothes, and guess what, they charged two quid to get in as well. Scandal.” 
Johnny smiled. “I need a slash,” he said and headed towards the toilets leaving Steve indignantly shaking his head behind him.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Spider

For audio click here 

This story needs a little explanation, I saw this story in the Guardian yesterday and tried to imagine alternative scenarios. 

I’d just plunged the knife into her milky flesh and she’d just breathed her last breath when the doorbell rang. I’ve lived in this flat for three weeks without murdering anyone and no one has ever rung the doorbell, I murder one person and ding-dong.  I quickly ran my hands under the tap, dried them, and closing the kitchen door behind me, tried to open the front door as nonchalantly as possible.  I didn’t know who I was expecting but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting the police, but two coppers stood there in their shining uniforms like cub scouts on bob-a-job week.  How did they get here so quickly? She’d only been dead about a minute. 
“Where’s your wife?” the officer who barely looked old enough to shave asked. I looked at him, not quite sure what he meant. 
“I don’t have one,” I said. I was trying to look cool, but I was out of breath and rather flushed. 
“Where’s your girlfriend then?” 
“I don’t have one, of those either” I wasn’t lying. 
“C’mon mate, the neighbours called us, they heard screams, death threats, what was going on?”
Now I had to think quickly,  “It was a spider,” I said, “a really big one. I bloody hate spiders, I was trying to kill the little fucker,” I realised who I was speaking to, “excuse the French.”
“What about the woman screaming?” the officer asked.
“Yeah sorry, that was me,” I confessed. “I really, really hate spiders and I do get a little high pitched when I’m stressed.”
“Mind if we check?” the other copper said. 
What could I say? I couldn’t stop them coming in, but the sheila lay dead in my kitchen. 
The two officers poked their head into my living room, looked at the mess, and then to my relief decided they’d seen enough. They didn’t even ask to see the body.
“Sorry to bother you, sir,” they said, and then made their way out of the house. 
I hadn’t lied, I didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend, the woman on my kitchen floor was rented by the hour from the Spider Escort Agency and the scream the neighbours had heard probably had come out of my mouth when I found the bitch trying to steal my laptop. I watched the two officers get into their car and drive off, then I went back into the kitchen and wondered what to do with the body, I couldn’t just wrap this spider in a tissue and flush it down the john, could I? 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Last Trip

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Peter took a long drag on his joint and enjoyed the feeling of floating even further away. He was higher than he’d ever been and this time he felt he was never going to come down. He tried to take another drag, but the rolly had gone out. He leant forward and rested the stub in the ashtray; he’d relight it later. He closed his eyes and drifted around in his thoughts; he giggled at something and the grin sat gormlessly on his face. This had been the best day ever, the rain and wind had provided the excuse not to leave the flat and what better way to spend the day than to smoke yourself silly. He grabbed a slab of chocolate and stuffed it in his mouth, chewing with loud smacks. 
The light in his flat was hazy, a mixture of the smoke and the filter the drug had put on his eyes. He stared at the wall, it looked like it was slanting everything tilting to the right as if the house was slowing sliding down hill. He’d never noticed that the flat slanted before. Maybe it didn’t, maybe he just had his head tilted. Peter giggled, leant forward and relit his reefer, taking another hard drag. He savoured the taste before exhaling, smoke billowing from his nose like a steam train.  He stared at the wall again, lining up his head to try to level the slant. The leaning flat of Peter, he giggled. He was drifting off, gradually falling into a drug induce stupor. 
A loud crack woke him. He sat up and looked around like a startled meerkat, his Tom and Jerry heart was pounding away. He was hot, sweat dripping off his forehead. What was the noise? It was like nothing he’d ever heard before. Maybe he had dreamt it. He felt sick, dizzy; he really had been caning it today, he really should cut down. He grinned, he always said that, and then rolled up at the next opportunity.  He listened for another sound, there was a creak, a groan, just normal house sounds. But wait, was he was moving? Slowly slipping away?  No, it must be the dope. He rubbed his eyes, trying to sober himself up. He stood up to get a glass of water but felt dizzy so slumped back onto the sofa. He was moving, like a car on a hill without its handbrake on slowly rolling, picking up speed. He was cold, there was cold air on his sweat soaked body. He reached out for his tobacco; he’d roll himself a ciggie, just backy, no more dope tonight. The room was spinning; spinning or sliding? The movement was out of control now, he really had smoked too much. He was racing away, he couldn’t stop, but did he want it too? It was scary but exciting.  His whole flat was tilting, toppling, lurching away. 
Then there was another crack louder than before. A jolt threw Peter off his sofa and onto the floor where bricks and mortar rained down on him.
Peter lay motionless amongst the rubble, a gormless grin on his colourless face. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Baskin Robbins

For audio click here 
Every day when I walked past Baskin Robbins I smiled at the girl who was solemnly staring out of the window. Every day she stood alone in the deserted shop and returned the smile, sadness in her eyes, boredom writ large on her face. She was like a zoo animal, trapped in an unnatural habitat, dreaming of a freedom she vaguely remembered, incensed at the madness of captivity but resigned to her fate. Her nametag said Mia, but that’s all I knew about her; she was Mia, the basking robin from the High Street Zoo.
But today something was different; a stern looking policeman was standing solemnly in the doorway of the ice cream parlour, and Mia was nowhere to be seen. I smiled at the copper, but he didn’t smile back. 
“Where’s Mia?” I asked. 
“Did you know her?” he said. 
“Only to smile at.”
“Just wait here a moment would you sir?” he said and turned inside the shop. “Jeff,” he yelled. 
Jeff was DS Steen, a plainclothes officer in a brown suit and pale shirt; he obviously took the plain bit seriously. 
“What can you tell us about Mia?” he asked. 
I told him that I didn’t really know her, just liked to smile as I walked past the store. 
“What’s this about?” I asked. 
“They found a body in the freezer, Mia isn’t saying much, but we’re pretty sure she did it.”
“Did what?” I said. 
“Killed him, beat him to death with an ice cream scoop.” 
“Why?” I said. 
“That’s what we are trying to find out, she didn’t say anything to you?”
I shook my head.

God that job was so boring; the only highlight was when that strange fella smiled at me from the street. I didn’t fancy him or nothing, but it was nice to get a smile. I sometimes wished he’d come in and say hello, but he never did. 
Anyway, this other bloke came into the shop. Tall fella, only young, but dressed like a teacher or something, not like a cool teacher but like a teacher whose mum dresses him. First customer of the day he was; too fucking cold for ice cream in Cardiff in November. Anyway, he takes an age looking at all the flavours. 
“Can I help you?” I said. I was impatient, it was coming up to two, and that was the time the strange guy would normally walk past. I wanted to be in the window to collect the smile, not serving this loser. 
“Um yes, er, you know, um, I’d like, um, an ice cream I think,” he said. 
“What flavour?” I said. 
“Well, you know like, um maybe the you know, um, Banana Caramel, no um, oh I don’t know, um the Hokey Pokey.” 
I reached in and started scooping at the Hokey Pokey, but he wasn’t finished. 
“You know, actually I think I’ll have the Mississippi Mud, yes, no, that’s right, the Mississippi Mud.” 
I shook the ice cream off the scoop and washed it but before I could get to the Mud he was off again. 
Make up your fucking mind. 
“Actually I think I’d like, you know, now I think about it…”
I looked at the window, I didn’t want to miss smiler. 
“Oh what do I want?” the man said. He stood there silently looking at the flavours like he’d just walked in. 
I flipped. I swung the scoop at him, it connected with the temple. I swung again, smashing his cheek. He fell to the ground and smashed his head on the tiles. 
I didn’t panic, I didn’t have time to panic. I just dragged the stupid fucker into the freezer, shut the door and hurried to the window. I was just in time to smile back at the strange fella smiling shyly at me. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Street

For audio click here 
Cliff looked at the scrap of paper in his hand and then at the street sign. This was definitely the right place, but it didn’t look very promising, not very promising at all. A grimy, suburban street that the streetlights struggled to illuminate; it could have been anywhere from Lublin to Leeds.  A hedgehog scurried out from under a parked car and disappeared into the bushes. Cliff looked behind him to check the coast was clear and then continued, peering down drives to see house numbers. An owl hooted somewhere in the distance and then in a beat another returned the call. 
Cliff was exhausted. It’d been three days since he’d last slept in his own bed, two days since his last hot meal.  He longed for a hot shower and clean clothes, for meat and two veg with a nice cup of tea. But most of all he wanted crisp, clean sheets and a soft downy pillow to sink into. 
The road seemed eerie, too quiet, too dark. Despite his tiredness Cliff was on full alert, he might have been just a few steps from safety, but that didn’t mean he could let his guard down. K had told him not to knock the door if he thought there was anything suspicious.
The couple at number fifty-four would look after him; keep him safe until ‘the powers that be’ had figured out what to do with him. He checked his watch, 9.58; he’d been told to knock the door at 10 pm exactly. He quickened his pace; he was only at twenty, still another 16 houses to go. The wind rustled gently in the trees and the owls exchanged calls again. Cliff’s shoulders ached and his heart sped, he was nearly there; he could almost taste the tea. 
“Good evening,” a figure emerged as if from nowhere, a shiver ran down Cliff’s spine.
It’s just a dog walker, Cliff told himself, it’s just a dog walker, but there was no dog to be seen. 
“Good evening,” he replied, trying to look as cool as he could. The man looked him up and down carefully but walked past, Cliff let out his breath. He was at number 44 now, 5 more houses, 20 more steps. He checked over his shoulder, the non-dog walker hadn’t looked back.  He checked his watch, it was time. 
Up ahead another man had materialised, Cliff felt sweat drip off the backs of his knees. He instinctively looked around again to see the first man had turned and was retracing his steps. Cliff was the meat in the sandwich. 
He knew that this was it, it was over, he’d done his best, but now it was time to admit defeat. He walked on ignoring the safe house. He wondered if it would be better to be shot or arrested. 
“Good evening,” the man said walking straight past Cliff. Cliff didn’t respond. 
“Good evening,” he heard the man say to the non-dog walker.
“Nice Night,” came the reply. Cliff watched them and understood. He saw them look around furtively and then slip into the bushes together. 
Cliff almost laughed with relief and the absurdity of it all, and then with one last check he disappeared into the safety of number 54.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Poet

For audio click here 
A very slight red warning for this one.
Marty was scared. This was really going to happen, he really was going to lose his virginity. He always knew he would one day, but he’d had no idea when, and he’d certainly not known when he’d woken up this morning, that today would be that day. But here was Hannah, naked, kissing him, and slowly removing his clothes, there was no backing out now.
He’d never seen a naked woman before, well not in the flesh, it was much better than anything he’d seen on YouPorn. Thank god he’d watched all that porn; without those hours of study he wouldn’t have a clue what to do. But thanks to the Internet he felt like an expert. After all, he’d mastered Minecraft using YouTube instructional videos, and he’d watched a lot more porn than he had Minecraft. No, it wasn’t his lack of experience that scared him.
How quickly she’d shed her clothes had made him a little uncomfortable, no sooner had she shut her bedroom door than her jeans had dropped to the floor and her shirt was hoist over her ample breasts. His face blushed as those breasts fell free and when she stepped out of her knickers and he saw the small triangle of black pubic hair, he felt just a little faint.
But it wasn’t Hannah’s over-eagerness that scared him either.
No, what bothered him was his poetry or more to the point, the effect having sex might have on it.
As Hannah pulled down Marty’s boxer shorts, Marty remembered his last review:
“Jones’s poems have a depth and mystery; a sense of yearning. His poetry gives meaning to the indefinable quality of Hiraeth.”
Marty knew exactly what the longing he capture in his verse was; it was his as yet unfulfilled desire to experience a moment like the one that would certainly take place in just a few minutes time. He felt Hannah’s mouth on his chest, his belly, nuzzling in his pubic hair and he felt sick. How would he ever be able to conjure the sense of hunger in his poetry if he had tasted the fruit from the Garden of Eden? There was no going back, once you’ve lost your virginity there is no way of finding it. You can’t look down the back of the sofa, in the pocket of the jeans you haven’t worn for weeks or stand there and think where you last saw it; once it was gone, it was gone forever.
No, he couldn’t do it. Here was Wales’s Young Poet of the Year 2014 and 2015 just about to willing lose his magic powers. It would be worse than when Aled Jones’s voice broke, at least Aled could blame nature, but Marty would only have himself to blame.  The Echo had asked if they had unearthed the new Dylan Thomas when he’d won that prize, could he throw all of that away just for a night of passion with the lovely Hannah? No, he just couldn’t risk it.
Just as Hannah opened her mouth he pushed her away, she looked startled, but he didn’t have time to explain. He threw his clothes on and ran out of the room, out of the house and into the blissful, fresh air. But he didn’t stop there; he ran down the pavement and across the road, he felt free, he felt a poem coming on. The driver saw him but too late. The brakes screeched on wet tarmac and the headline in the Echo read:

“Promising Poet killed in tragic accident.”

Friday, 20 November 2015

Send in the Clowns

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Circuses are like motor racing for me, for three reasons. The first is that I have absolutely no interest in them at all, slapstick comedy, glorified dancing and animal cruelty are quite low down on my list of interests where they are kept company by petrol, engines and institutionalised sexism. The second is that I only seem to watch them when I am with my sister. Whenever I am at her place there seems to be some endless, noisy race on the TV. Cars or Bikes going around and around aimless like flies around a light bulb and her little boy Cam is obsessed by circuses; so quite often it’s Uncle Jeff who’s the man to take him. And finally if I ever find myself watching either of these so called entertainments, all I am hoping is that something goes spectacularly wrong. 
That’s what I was thinking now as I watched the ringmaster crack his whip and lions prowl the ring. But I was suffering from cognitive dissonance; as a dedicated and responsible uncle, I would hate for my young charge to be exposed to something that would scar him for life, but as a bored 40-year-old man, I longed to see the lions gain revenge, rip the pompous ringmaster into little pieces. 
I’d really taken a dislike to the ringmaster; I knew it was an act, but his affected manner and patronising voice were really rubbing me up the wrong way. He should be reminded he was talking to kids, not imbeciles. 
I stared at the lion that was walking towards us, looking straight into his eyes. ‘Kill him,’ I mouthed, ‘kill him.’  The smug bastard cracked his whip again and smiled to the audience, enjoying the applause but taking his eyes of the beasts for a second. 
‘Kill him,’ I mouthed again, ‘this is your chance.’ But the lion ignored my pleas, instead it growled and prowled and did the tricks it had been programmed to do. Cam cheered and whooped excitedly next to me and the lions were lead away. 
‘And now Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, we have a treat for you,’ But before the ringmaster could tell us about the treat one of the clowns came bundling into the ring. 
‘You rat,’ the clown cried. Was he a little worse for wear or was he just clowning? 
Cam laughed and cheered but I was on edge, this clown was not playing for laughs. I covered Cam’s eyes quickly just before the clown threw a blade that thumped into the ringmaster’s chest. Kids were screaming, parents gasping. Clowns, acrobats and a human cannonball all ran to help the stricken ringmaster. I smiled, my wish had come true; he didn’t help, he needed a coffin. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Apocalypse Now!

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Apocalypse now!
The rain lashed the pavement like some crazed madam punishing her disobedient slave. Puddles, formed, puddles merged, puddles began to take over the world. Plastic bags, soggy leaves and small children whipped up by the wind and then thrown back and forth like a senseless fairground ride. Clouds loomed within touching distance, squeezing the space between heaven and earth. Umbrellas twisted and torn from hands, rendered useless in the face of the storm.

I’d looked forward to this.  Said that I’d missed it, wished away each hour of hiraeth dreaming of Welsh rain. Funny how the mind plays tricks; conjuring scenes of romantic walks on misty cliffs, wet Welsh drizzle from Dylan’s mind. Not the scary, apocalyptic storms when it feels like the house will fly and you’ll wake in Oz, desperate to click your heels and get back to Canton. But there’s no yellow brick road, no tin man, no wicked witch or wizard, just a squall of rain smashing into my window pane, then silence. The calm in the eye of the storm.

As this is a bit short I may publish a bonus later in the day. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Dangerous Smile

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One pint before going home seemed reasonable enough. It had been a long, tiring, unrewarding day, a pint seemed like a good reward for my unfulfilled efforts. It was wet and windy and not in a good way, I stepped off the bus into the deluge, it only a matter of metres before I got to the pub, but that was enough for me to present myself at the bar looking like I'd just been baptised. 
“Pint of Guinness please mate.”
“Still raining is it?”
I smiled, I knew he was being friendly, but I was not really in the mood for witty banter. 
I took my pint to the furthest corner of the bar and sat down, glad to be alone. 
I took out my iPad and half-heartedly checked Facebook, ignoring all the tricolours, looking for cats scared by cucumbers, that was all my head could deal with. 
“Thanks mate, I’ll have that” A young man walked past my table and took the full pint off it like a seagull swooping for a chip. 
“Oi,” I said. 
He turned around and smiled, but it wasn’t a nice smile, it was a dangerous smile. 
He walked towards me and put the pint back on the table. 
“Only joking mate,” he said, I could see from his eyes that he was completely pissed.
“Having a good day?” I asked, what do they say about keeping your enemies close?
“Just got out of prison mate,” he said. “Nine years.” 
I shifted a little uncomfortably. I’d wanted to be left alone; I certainly didn’t want to be bothered by a drunken ex-con. 
“Oh,” I said. I’m never sure at this stage if you are meant to ask what he was in for.  
“A bloke beat up my mum, so I beat him up. 14 years I got,” he volunteered the information.
Charming, I thought, “Fair enough,” I said. 9 years for GBH though, I kind of knew the tariff for GBH was about 5 years, so this must have been some beating to get 14. 
 “Cardiff Prison?” I asked
“Nah mate,” he slurred, “Parc, Young Offenders.” 
“I see,” his story was beginning to unravel, if, he’d been in a Young Offenders institute for 9 years, he must have been what, 12 when he did the crime. Did he really beat up a grown man when he was just 12?  Also, he should have got parole long before. I decided not to press the point. I didn’t want to push him into a corner that he could only fight his way out of.
“Anyway cheers mate,” he took a long swig of my beer while staring at me with that dangerous smile in his eyes, daring me to challenge him. I held the stare but smiled. I was not about to cement a bad day by challenging this kid to a fight I was pretty sure I would lose. What do they say about picking your battles?
“Cheers, you deserve it mate,” I said, putting my iPad in my bag, checking the time and heading home. 

A knock on my door. I shuffled the papers on my desk and straightened my tie. 
“Come in,” I said. 
A rather dishevelled, hung over looking young man came into my room. A young man who I knew had broken his curfew last night. 
“Where’s Jeff?” he said. His dangerous smile had gone, replaced with a look of horror as he remembered where he had seen his new probation officer before. I felt like a bond villain.
“I’ve been expecting you,” I said, the dangerous smile was now my own. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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The sofa wasn’t really big enough for me, but if I curled myself up like a hedgehog and wrapped my duvet around me, it was actually quite cosy, or so I told myself. Why was I on the sofa? Well, my weekend guests were happily snoring in my bed, while I was tossing and turning, trying to make my body fit on the two-seater in the living room.
Sleeping in a different room than usual makes you aware of all the creaks and groans a house makes, and the strange shadows on the walls. I tried to put these out of my mind and sleep, but as usual that was easier said than done.
To be honest, the flat isn’t really big enough for three people; day one had been okay, day two a little tense but tonight we’d been walking a tightrope around each other for most of the evening, teetering, swaying, but never quite losing our balance. Isn’t it always the same? It’s great to have visitors, even better when they leave.
I closed my eyes and thought of Becky, now there was a visitor I’d never wanted to leave. I hugged her in absentia, hoping she’d feel the warmth of my embrace wherever she might be. I hoped she was at least thinking of me as she was lying in his bed. I was drifting now, sleep was coming. 
When I woke up, I had no idea if I’d been out for 3 minutes or three hours. For a moment I was confused, where was I? Then I stretched my legs out and remembered the sofa, I turned to lie on my back my feet dangling over the arm. I was aware of my own breathing, Had I been having a nightmare? But in fact, the breathing seemed disembodied, like it was not mine. I opened my eyes, in front of me was Davey, the male houseguest, breathing heavily. That’s what must have woken me up; he must have been on the way to the toilet. But no, he was stationary; just standing at the foot of the sofa, staring at me. 
“Davey, are you okay,” I whispered, but he didn’t reply; his breathing was heavy, animalistic panting.
“Davey,” I said again, again nothing. His breath louder still, I sat up and shuffled back on the sofa away from my intruder. Should you wake a sleepwalker? He seemed to be deep in a trance and he was obviously fascinated by me. 
“Davey,” I said a third time. There was silence. His breathing had stopped and I was holding my breath. We stared at each other through the darkness. Well, I stared at him, god knows what he was looking at, in fact, I couldn’t even see if his eyes were open or closed. We remained in that gunfighters’ stand-off as seconds ticked off the clock, Who would be first to blink, the quickest on the draw? Did I have an advantage because I was awake? Or would his trance give him superpowers? 
He seemed to be getting taller, looming over me, tilting towards me, like a human form of the tower in Pisa. Meanwhile, I was getting smaller, curling myself up at the end of the sofa furthest from my guest. Then he spoke.
“I love you,” he said before he turned and went back into the bedroom, leaving me thinking breakfast would be awkward in the morning. 

Monday, 16 November 2015


For audio click here

“The problem is, I can't sleep at night,” Sally said as she dragged herself up the stairs towards the office. To be fair she looked like she hadn't slept for a week. “But then when I pick up a book to read, I am out in seconds, in the café, on the sofa, on a bus; it doesn’t matter where I am, as soon as I open a book, I’m drifting off.”
“Have you tried reading a book in bed?” I asked.
“Of course I have,” Sally has a way of belittling anything you say, “but it doesn't work. That's the one time I don't fall asleep, but I'm too tired to take anything in.”
“Sounds horrible,” I said. I meant it but I was glad we’d reached the office and I could let Sally whinge to someone else. “Catch you later.” I wondered over towards the kettle wondering how a simple, how are you getting on with the latest Jo Nesbo book? had led to a detailed insight into Sally’s sleeping patterns.
The day passed pretty cheerlessly, a grey sky seemed to seep through the windows and hang over the open plan; artificial lighting buzzing through the day. Sally must have told everyone in the office now about her insomnia, almost anything was a cue.
“Did you watch River last night?”  Lucy said.
“Oh I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I’m not sleeping well you know?”
“Did you manage to finish the report?” Andy asked.
“Oh I am so tired, this bloody insomnia,”
“Do you know where the stapler is?” Don said.
“I might do if it weren’t for this damn sleeping disorder.”
It would have been a joy to behold if it weren’t so annoying.
“C’mon, we’ve got to go to the meeting room,” Andy said.
“Don’s retirement.”
“Bollocks,” I didn’t like Don and I hated these retirement events. The chief exec telling lies about a man he barely knew and didn’t give a toss about and then the retiree thanking us all like he’d actually enjoyed the last 5 years and hadn’t been counting off the days like a lovelorn prisoner. But they were compulsory, so the meeting room was packed. We squeezed in at the back. I nudged Andy; Sally, bless her heart, was standing by the window, eyes closed, swaying in the way overly tired people do. Despite being standing, she was losing her battle with sleep.
‘Is she gonna fall over?” I whispered.
“Nah she’s fine,” Andy replied.
“You sure?”
“Ssssh” the woman in front shot us a dirty look.

But she wasn’t fine, she did fall and sadly the window that should have broken the fall was open. We’ll never know when she woke up; was it as soon as she hit the fresh air? Or somewhere between the 7th floor and the ground? Or when her head hit the cold hard concrete, curing her insomnia for good?