Portfolio

A Selection of Creative Work

The Astronaut Dies

An extract from my short science fiction piece, where an astronaut watches Earth be invaded by aliens from a glass space shuttle orbiting the planet.

Sat down on the glass floor of the spaceship, legs crossed like a child in school, the Astronaut couldn’t help but imagine why these U.F.O.s were going to his beloved planet. His Nihilist tendencies got the better of him. Maybe the aliens were travelling around Space, finding intelligent life to eviscerate for no reason other than sheer boredom. He imagined them as horrible green beings, with pencil-thin necks, massive heads and eyes like angry grapefruits, running around with no trousers and ray guns in their gross little hands. Anyone that got shot would stand still for a second, and then all of their bones would tumble out of their mouth into a neat pile in front of them. Then they would die from lack of bones. In The Astronaut’s mind, this happened to every person on Earth. These aliens loved every minute. They even started to kill all the animals. Giraffe bones spilled out of giraffe mouths, leaving deflated giraffe shaped balloons in zoos everywhere. Soon, there was no life left on Earth, apart from the aliens, who promptly packed their ray guns back into their silver space ships and jetted off, back into the Universe, looking for another planet to wipe clean. The Astronaut was so busy imagining the destruction of Earth that he didn’t even notice the third U.F.O. slink by.

Lunch Date

A flash fiction piece submitted as part of Flash 31, based around prompts from the names of paint colours. This prompt was “Lunch Date”.

Here is a detailed list of things that a pigeon will not eat. The research for this list comes from personal experience gained due to having an hour lunch break from my job at Phones-4-U but no one to share it with and a wide selection of food in the Sainsbury’s along the road. If the pigeon picks up the food and puts it back down after one bite, it still counts as not eating it. These instances are marked with a *. Other exceptions will be included in the notes section and marked accordingly.

Cold chicken tikka. Lettuce*. Blue cheese. Red pepper. Green pepper. Yellow pepper*. Fish fingers*^. Quorn deli style ham slices. Raw egg. Custard. Dark chocolate. Frosties. Polish sausage. Cat food (rabbit). Heinz baked beans. Sainsbury’s brand baked beans*. Jelly^. Mint ice cream. Beef Stroganoff baby food. Ham slices*. Cherry Muller corner yoghurt*. Brussels Pâté. Tomatoes^. Hummus. Strawberry jam. Onions*. Rice^. A birthday cake*. Cous cous. Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle (cooked). Sausages. Sweetcorn*.

^Fish Fingers: The pigeon attempted to eat this, but it was frozen.
^Jelly: Pigeons are scared of jelly, no matter what flavour it is.
^Tomatoes: When confronted with a tomato, a pigeon will appear eager, but quickly become dissatisfied when close up to the tomato.
^Rice: Included only because the pigeon ate one grain of rice and promptly died.

Conclusion: Pigeons are pickier than a wife would be.

Tombstone

A scene from a feature film script about retired wrestlers coming back for one last tournament.

4. INT. ALBERTVILLE HIGH – GYMNASIUM HALL. DAY. CONTINUOUS.

A hall full of students, aged about 13 to 17. Sat on fold-out chairs. At the front of the room, adults in suits sit in fold out chairs, facing the children a microphone in front of them.

An adult walks away from the microphone and sits down next to the other adults. A quiet applause from the audience. A thin man wearing an ill-fitting suit walks up to the microphone. This is PRINCIPLE WALLACE.

PRINCIPLE WALLACE
Yes, thank you very much Mr. Layman for talking to us today about the exciting world of cereal box manufacturing.

PRINCIPLE WALLACE claps and smiles.

PRINCIPLE WALLACE
Okay, our next career day speaker used to be a professional wrestler and is now the chairman of the National American Wrestling Association. Please give a big Albertville round of applause for The Real Deal Rex Steal!

PRINCIPLE WALLACE claps and walks back to his seat.

A huge man stands up from one of the folding chairs. He wears a black suit that can barely contain his muscles. This is BRUTUS. He carries a big stereo. BRUTUS walks up to the microphone and taps it.

He puts a cassette tape into the stereo and presses play. He holds the stereo above his head. It plays ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ by Billy Joel.

A door at the back of the hall bursts open. A short, balding, pudgy man wearing a purple tracksuit jogs into the hall. ‘THE REAL DEAL REX STEAL’ is written in sequins on the back of his jacket.

REX STEAL runs through the audience towards the front of the hall. In each hand is a lit firework, spraying the audience. A few of them scream as they are hit with burning embers.

REX takes the microphone from the stand.

REX STEAL
Hey kids! I’m the Real Deal Rex Steal, three time world wrestling champion and the current chairman of the N.A.W.A.!

The Billy Joel song ends on the stereo ends. Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ starts to play. BRUTUS tries to turn the stereo off, but can’t.

REX turns around and scowls at BRUTUS.

REX STEAL
Brutus, what the hell?

BRUTUS looks panicked. He snaps the stereo in two. BRUTUS looks up a REX and holds up the pieces of stereo.

REX turns back to the audience and smiles.

REX STEAL
In my 20 year career as a professional wrestler, I’ve done all sorts of awesome crap. I’ve thrown people through tables. I started the biggest Mexican wave that Oklahoma has ever seen. One time, I punched a rhino in the head through the bars at the zoo. Now, some of you might think…

REX talks in a high voice.

REX STEAL
Gosh, The Real Deal Rex Steal, you’re built like some sort of terrifying mechanical gorilla. How can a stupid pipsqueak like me get into the magical world of wrestling?

He starts talking normally again.

REX STEAL
Well, that’s why I’m here today! If you got any questions you’ve always wanted to ask me, I’ll answer them! As long as they’re not about the lawsuit being pressed against me by the Cincinnati Zoo. I’m not legally allowed to disclose any information about it. But honestly, those guys are just being babies about the whole situation. So, any of you future wrestlers got a question?

A NERDY STUDENT with glasses near the front of the audience puts his hand up.

REX STEAL
Yes, obvious target for bullies, you got a question?

NERDY STUDENT
Umm… Your pretty small for a wrestler, right?

REX laughs.

REX STEAL
No, I’m pretty big. It’s probably just your crappy eyesight, poindexter. Next question.

A FEMALE STUDENT, with red hair tied up at the back and wearing a white shirt, raises her hand.

REX STEAL
You there, Wilma from the Flintstones, your question?

FEMALE STUDENT
Aren’t you like a hundred years old? How do you wrestle and not break a hip or something?

REX glares at FEMALE STUDENT.

REX STEAL
Well at least I don’t look like an ugly cartoon character from the sixties. Are there any real questions?

From the back, a BIG STUDENT yells out.

BIG STUDENT
Wrestling is dumb and fake!

REX looks enraged. He scowls and shouts into the microphone.

REX STEAL
What? Who the fuck said that?

The audience gasps.

PRINCIPLE WALLACE stands up and walks towards REX.

PRINCIPLE WALLACE
Okay, Mr. Steal, I think-

BRUTUS places a hand on PRINCIPLE WALLACE’S chest. BRUTUS stares down at PRINCIPLE WALLACE and shakes his head.

REX STEAL
I’m serious! Who said that?

At the back of the audience, a fat arm is raised.

REX STEAL
You! Get out here and say that!

BIG STUDENT stands up. He walks up to the front of the hall. He stands face to face with REX. REX has to look up.

BIG STUDENT
Wrestling is dumb and fake.

REX smiles. As he talks into the microphone, he walks over to an empty fold-out chair and picks it up.

REX STEAL
I’ve been told that a few times in my career. I figured out the best to deal with it was to show people how dumb and fake wrestling is.

REX holds the fold out chair with both hands and whacks BIG STUDENT in the head with it. BIG STUDENT falls to the ground, crying and bleeding.

BRUTUS pulls more fireworks out of his pockets. He lights them and waves them around.

REX holds his arms above his head triumphantly.

REX STEAL
That’s how The Real Deal Rex Steal does it! Yeah! Woo!

Droid

A short story that looks at the idea of purpose in life.

The droid drilled because that was his purpose. For years, he used the same drill to make holes in the hard ground, looking for something. Then he found it. In doing this, he fulfilled his purpose.

The droid sat down next to the drill. He had nothing else to do. The drill didn’t seem to mind because the drill was good at hiding its emotions. After five years of sitting together, the drill was stolen by a droid whose purpose was to steal drills. He ran off into the distance. The drill didn’t say goodbye. The droid stayed sat down.

Later that day, he offered to help a droid who was transporting eggs while being very polite. This droid held lots of eggs and cheerfully accepted the offer. The droid who could only drill could not hold eggs. He tried, but he attempted to drill them into the ground and broke them all. The other droid stayed in high spirits and went to get more eggs. The droid walked away.

Three months later, he found a cliff. He tried to walk off it, but he didn’t know how. He saw a team of suicide droids leaping off the cliff, doing flips on the way down. They had a purpose. The droid sat down at the edge of the cliff.

While sitting at the edge of the cliff, a droid with a bucket of water came up to him and tipped it over his head. This droid’s purpose was to make other droids lives a misery by making them rust. When walking away, he slipped and fell off the cliff. He didn’t fall as well as the suicide droids did.

After a century of being mildly annoyed by his rust, the droid saw a large droid climb the cliff, holding the stolen drill. The large droid explained that he saw the thief take the drill and his purpose was to return stolen goods. He put the drill down next to the droid and wandered off. The droid was happy to have the drill back, but the drill didn’t care either way. They both sat at the edge of the cliff.

After nine weeks of content silence, a very poorly made droid came up and asked for help from the drill. The poorly made droid’s purpose was to bury cubes of metal and dig them back up to see if anything interesting happened to them. However, because this droid was so poorly made, it couldn’t dig up the cubes of metal it buried.

The drill wanted to help, but it needed someone to operate it. The droid asked if he could lend a hand. The drill begrudgingly accepted. As a team, they drilled the metal cube out of the ground.

This gave the droid a purpose. He enjoyed his new life as the assistant to the drill who was the assistant of the poorly made droid. They travelled everywhere together, digging up metal cubes until their circuits stopped working.

The Creative Mind

A short radio show parody of the phone-in programme format. Written as part of a group.

The Creative Mind (via Soundcloud)

Champagne

A second flash fiction submitted to Flash 31. The prompt for this story was ‘Champagne’.

‘To the happy couple. I wish I was as lucky as you.’

Derek raised his glass then proceeded to drain it, despite asking one of the impeccably dressed waitresses to refill it without any semblance of a smile on his face only thirty seconds before making his speech. He sat down and wondered where that waitress was now and if she was single. No one at the reception clapped.

The father of the bride, a grey-haired lorry driver, whom was quite an imposing figure due to being near enough to seven foot tall that it didn’t really matter if that measurement was an inch off either way, got up from his seat on the other side of the long table decorated with white ribbons and lumbered over to Derek. He bent down, almost touching Derek’s forehead with his own.

‘Wasn’t much of a best man’s speech. Give it another go,’ growled the father. He walked back over to his seat next to his daughter, flashing her a grin that he was well known for.

The waitress came back over and poured more champagne into Derek’s glass. He sighed and tapped it with a fork as he stood up.

‘I have been informed that some of you may have been expecting a more ostentatious speech from me and have been left feeling disappointed or wanting,’ he announced, slightly louder than he needed to. ‘I apologise. I was utilising an avant-garde approach to the situation, an unpretentious way to show Stuart, my oldest friend and his new wife, Karen, how much I care about them both and wish them the best in their new life together. I would like to offer an explanation of my previous speech in an attempt to demonstrate what I meant. When I said that I wish I was as lucky as Stuart and Karen, I meant that they are one of the happiest couple I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a car journey with. Late last year, we drove up to Liverpool to visit an old university friend of ours, whom I am sorry to say could not be here with us today. On that drive up, I was treated to countless examples of heart-wrenchingly sweet displays of affecting between the couple. Even though it was incredibly dangerous to do while driving, they held hands almost the whole journey. They sang along to three different Beach Boys CDs, harmonising beautifully with each other. A multitude of devastatingly intimate nicknames were shared between the two, including “honey cake”, “huggy bug” and, my personal favourite, “smoochie bum”. It was a pleasure to have such a loving pair of soul mates as friends, and what an honour to see it from the back seat of a Ford Fiesta while I was desperately sending texts to my recent ex-girlfriend to consider breaking up with the skiing instructor she had left me for and come back. When I said that I wish I was as lucky as Stuart and Karen, I really meant it. But obviously, such a short and laboured-over dialogue goes against the conventions of what I have been asked to do here. I suppose that I really am quite lucky, as I have been allowed to “give it another go”. So, without further ado, I present my amended best man’s speech,’ Derek cleared his throat. ‘Karen couldn’t spell the word “wedding” if she tried. I have seen Stuart take a shit in a carrier bag on three separate occasions. To the happy couple. I wish I was as lucky as you.’

Derek raised his glass once more and poured the champagne down his throat. He sat down. No one at the reception clapped.

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One response to “Portfolio

  1. I loved these. None of them ended the way I was expecting, yet none of the characters were particularly exceptional. Your style reminds me of Neil Gaiman, with Douglas Adam-esque humour. Thank you for sharing them!

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