Cherrypicked stories

Gold cherry
Story of the week

An Outing: Part One

Re-treading some old ground here! A few years ago, I wrote a novel which I've now returned to and am trying to rework into something quite different. 'An Outing' was originally a short story which I worked in to the beginning of that novel - but it always felt rather tacked-on and out of place. In the new draft, I'm using it more as a foundation for what follows (I hope!) The narrator is a man who has recently been late-diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition (Asperger's). This has enabled him to make sense of his life at last; to understand some of the problems he's encountered along the way. It's a liberation for him as he can now be 'himself', and not have to adapt to fit in as he previously had (with damaging psychological consequences). The difficulty now facing him is trying to get others - especially family and colleagues - to accept him as he is: to listen and to understand. But as he appears to be like everyone else in most other ways, this is never easy. I hope the novel, if it eventually becomes such, will also offer insights into the condition which might enable people to understand it much better. Writing it, too, is an exercise for me in self-understanding. I was diagnosed in 2015, aged 56. (my photo)
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It’s Alright, I Don’t Expect You To

It’s alright, I don’t expect you to take the rocks life throws, and throw them back, and keep on throwing till your biceps bulge and all the rocks are gone. Instead, you’ll slack and whine, “Back down! There’s nothing we can do!” You just retreat and never dare attack...
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The Explorer

I set the table. It has to be just right. The table itself, old and oak, inlaid with shells, whorled with carvings, round and raised and varnished...
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Carry on

Summarise this
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Angel 19 (bad dreams)

‘Jesus, that’s minging.’ Angel sat up in bed, her face had been pressed against the wall. Disoriented, not sure where she was, until she felt Pizza...
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Alpha (Prologue)

PROLOGUE A device made of metal, plastic, and glass flies over the roof of the Ngogo Rainforest. It is small enough to fit inside a trouser pocket...
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A MOVEABLE FEAST (from Ribbentrop's Chair)

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a...
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The Bottom of the Box (4 of 9)

Bottomfeeding on the streets of Youngstown, Ohio, Jacob Gnarley chronicles his attempts at escaping the tar pits of heroin addiction.
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The Bottom of the Box (3 of 9)

Bottomfeeding on the streets of Youngstown, Ohio, Jacob Gnarley chronicles his attempts at escaping the tar pits of heroin addiction.
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Snowdrops

Pure pearls emerge from winter’s earth, out of decay and wilting drabness, dearth of colour, life, growth …
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Angel 18 (portrait)

Pizza Face parked the car in a layby off the street, and at the end of the building. He clutched Angels hand and frog-marched her down the hill and...
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Bedtime Rituals

The bedtime ritual, that’s what she called it, just a bit of organisation, a bit of tidying up before bed. In truth it was a monster, silent,...
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plenty more dead fish in the sea

here we are our best smiles over-exercised our appealing angles over-photographed the isolation reflected in our eyes
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Even the IRA couldn't get us a telephone.

We were the last family in our street to get a telephone. Dad just wouldn’t have one. He’d say. “People can call you whenever THEY like. I could be...
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Fou Sans Frontières

With many apologies to Peter Gabriel Esquire. Image source is Wiki Commons
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For a Woman to Notice me

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3yWo5hOdk For a woman to notice me I have to wear the right collar, flash some Yankee dollar, roast an armadillo in some esoteric pasta, memorise the plot of every movie ever shot with well-informed opinions on each director and actor...
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RV

While flowers and fruit and leaves fall, birds rise calling dawn from horizon's broken shell; song from bare branches brightens silent cold; and soon...
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Angel 17 (Wotsits)

‘Where you going?’ Angel asked when Pizza Face started the car the following night. ‘Going?’ he took his foot off the clutch. ‘I never really thought...
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Shift

A short story about the day in the life of a couple. (creative commons image)
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Solemnity in Paradise

The lines in my palms glistened a violent crimson, and I realized with hopelessness what had occured. A blissful feeling in the air surpassed my dread, and my eyes shot up to her glowing face in the dark. " You made me do it again. "

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