Winter is so cold,
And I can feel that I am growing old.
Where are you, my fire?
Why aren’t you here?
Summer isn’t that hot,
When I think of you a lot.
Tell me, are you just hiding?
At least tell me, do you wear my ring?
I can hear the people say,
It is raining hard everyday
Maybe it is true,
But not more than when I cry, thinking of you.
Autumn has left the town with leaves everywhere;
I know you have disappeared, but in my heart, you are always there
I have now understood that our love is no more than a lie,
But why can’t I forget you, oh tell me why!
Everything has changed in spring,
Every tree, every plant, every sapling
But it is only me, not blossomed, although grown
Still seeking for a guy unknown.
The Pre-Op and other misfortunes..
This story did not, in my opinion get as many votes as I would have thought, however it won the challenge but the challenge setter did not award the win to anyone!
My Worditch News story also won a challenge and the same thing happened there also. So, go read that story also if you like this one.
The Pre-Op and other misfortunes..
I’d better start by explaining that I haven’t been in the best of health lately and made the mistake of mentioning this to my doctor a few months ago which, in hindsight may not have been the best course of action. Since then, I have been tested for everything a human being can suffer from since time immemorial and that includes the great plague. Alarm bells rang for me when the doctor, after spotting what she described as a “ring of roses” on my palm proceeded to check my pockets for “posies”! The long and short of it is, and indeed the last in a long line of ailments means a consultant wants to poke around down my throat with a camera to find out why I can’t sing anymore. Some oik, whom I believe to be a neighbour, apparently sent a pleading letter containing £50 asking him not to perform the op! Before I agreed to the investigative operation, I sought assurance from the consultant that I would at least be able to play the piano after the op. He assured me I would which pleased me no end because I’ve been trying to master the flippin thing since childhood and had about given up having only managing a few bars of chopsticks.
To cut a long story into two volumes and a best seller, I received a letter four months after his consultation with an appointment for three months hence, which was much longer than the “month at most” he quoted it would be at the time!
The day of the pre-op arrived, and I prepared everything I needed for work so that as soon as I returned home, I could pick up my briefcase and drive to work as quickly as the speed limit allowed, thus minimizing the lunches I would have to work to make up the time I had lost due to this appointment. My working contract excluded payment for sickness!
I left the house in plenty of time, but I’m sure I am not the only person in the world who put’s oneself under pressure to get to an appointment because waiting around the corner could be the biggest tailback of traffic which will inevitably make you late! It was all of about 100 yards before I started driving like a lunatic, the side window wound down in preparation for any finger gestures, wrist flexing and general swearing that may be required to be aimed at anyone that was going to hold up my journey. Having previously been a calm and relaxed type of bloke, especially when driving, I have had to change with the times or risk getting bullied on the roads!
The journey was fairly uneventful so to ensure I remained in peak practice, let a group of middle-aged ramblers have the full complement of hand gestures as I passed them standing by a bus stop. My luck must have been in because even I did not spot the pool of water in the road which unfortunately as I drove through it, soaked the group entirely. Viewing the scene in my rear-view mirror, I could see them returning the very same gestures I had previously shared with them only a few seconds earlier! The group were clearly only concentrating on the gestures and not on what was going on around them because they were soaked a second time by the car that was following behind me! Kismet came to mind as I drove on.
I reached the hospital car park bolstered by the knowledge that my no claims bonus has remained intact and joined the merry go round of cars searching for a space to park. I saw patients peering through the windows looking down at the farce playing out below them. It must have resembled a scene from Custer’s Last Stand as the cars followed each other boot to bonnet in a circle around the car park. I must have toured all four car parks at least three times without finding a crevice big enough to squeeze my bonnet into and claim it as a valid space.
Feeling nauseous, I broke out the convoy and headed back to the far car park ahead of the crowd where I managed to utilize one wrist flexing gesture and a two fingered gesture all within twenty yards at a particularly over cautious nun who had forgotten to apply the hand brake to her godmobile which was rolling out of the space she had obviously found with god’s help! I skimmed past her vehicle offering my emergency range of gestures and as I passed. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, the cheeky wotsit was making the sign of the cross back at me! I’m not a religious man by any means but now I’m not so sure as right in front of me was a car park space, albeit illegal, but a space none the less. It wasn’t actually a marked out legitimate space, in fact, to be honest it was once a flower bed circled with curbstones and was now full of weeds, devoured of any former blooms, possibly by forgetful or frugal visitors to the inhabitants of the hospital. I positioned two wheels inside the flower bed, being careful not to damage the underside of the car. I rummaged in the boot and found the correct sign for the occasion and positioned the sign on the dashboard so it could clearly be seen stating “Doctor on Call”! I was going to pay for a car park ticket as I’d noticed a sign on the way round the first tour of the car parks stating that staff should also buy a car park ticket! The “Doctor on Call” sign was to assure the clamping company that in my vehicles particular case was possibly left there in an emergency.
I walked to the pay station with a pocket full of change. I thought two hours would be sufficient for the pre-op, so started feeding in one-pound coins which were immediately rejected. You know what it’s like with these machines; previous users of the machine desperate to retrieve rejected coins without success had used various instruments to try to retrieve the said coins from the reject flap and in doing so had broken the flap off. My coins fell to the floor. I tried another coin and again they were rejected onto the floor. Luckily, I had fifteen 20 pence coins and seven ten pence coins in my pocket which just bought me two hours parking with no reduction for parking in a flower bed. I passed the nun as she was pushing her car back into its space and gave her a cheery good morning, she did not reply. Her strained expression portrayed her necessity to preserve her strength! I popped the ticket on the dash next to the “Doctor on Call” sign, locked the car and walked towards the Hospital entrance.
You know when you have a little mental bet with yourself and you win, the feeling you get that you had got one over on yourself, but it didn’t really matter because you’d won the bet anyway? Well, it must have either been divine intervention or it really was my lucky day because as I reached the nun’s car, I saw her leaning at a forty-five degree angle backwards, legs straight and heels digging hard into the tarmac and gripping the open driver’s door handle in a veined attempt to stop the car from rolling down the incline of the car park. Manners prevented me from continuing, so I stopped and allowed her to skid past, the heels on her court shoes now fifty per cent worn at a forty-five-degree angle! There was a chorus of “J-e-s-u-s Ch-r-i-s-t....” in C# minor if my ears were attuned correctly which seemed to diminish in volume the further the car dragged her down the car park! Dancing on ice immediately came to mind and I found myself humming the theme tune as I walked to the entrance. The smell of frying bacon hit me as I neared the entrance door.
Now I don’t know about you, and I won’t labour the point but, why do hospitals serve the unhealthiest food options when you are ill in hospital, and why are there so many people with drips attached to their bodies encircled by nurses without drips attached huddled around the entrance smoking cigarettes? I must have inhaled at least 20 cigarettes as I squeezed my way past and in through the door. Funnily enough I found I had acquired a drip myself from someone I must have brushed past at the entrance. Luckily it was unattached to a vein so wheeled it to a security guard who surveyed the incoming herd of potential customers and those future customers who headed into the cafe!
I passed a large poster informing anyone who bothered to read it to “Look after your heart, eat healthily” mounted right next to the cafés open entrance which served bacon sausage and eggs, the smell of which filled the whole hospital with its rather mouth-watering aroma.
I reported to the reception desk where a little old lady behind the desk growled “YES”! She resembled someone who had just swallowed a wasp without chewing it. I passed my paperwork to her and she growled “up the stairs, turn left and its area four”! I climbed the forty-two steps to the top, turned left and between wheezes, scanned the walls for a sign indicating area four. I managed to spot it right at the end of the mezzanine. As I approached, I thought there was a “Climate Rebellion” demonstration in progress as the walls were covered with placards telling victims requiring their services what to and what not to do. I started at the top left reading each instruction before moving on to the next. None of it was relevant to me until I got to the last placard. “If you are here for a blood test, take a number and sit down. Now I could have been pedantic here and blocked the entrance to the blood test department as the instructions did not mention to sit on a seat in the waiting area. I heard a voice behind me saying loudly enough that everyone heard, “I bet they are all dinking bleeding tea in there, having a good old laugh at us lot waiting out here”. Not wishing to get on the wrong side of this lady, and stirring the pot figuratively speaking, I replied that I could actually see them eating cream cakes as well. Ten minutes I’ve been bleeding waiting, I want to get home to me kids and all they can do is sit drinking tea. And eating cakes I added!
I took a seat away from the lady and scanned the area, looking at each of the poor souls before me. A flock of nurses appeared and called number one, number two, number three! I was number four. Oh well I thought not long. As I waited, I heard a scream come from one of the side rooms, I recognised the voice to be that of the woman who had been moaning earlier. In her inimitable tone she shouted, “what the bleeding hell are you doing, sharp scratch, my arse”. I chuckled and a young nurse called number four. I walked over to her outstretched hand and quickly informed her that I’d had an extensive blood test three weeks earlier in the vain hope that I could forgo the process. She took the hospital letter from me and said I’ll just print off the details from our system and disappeared into an office. Just as she returned, another nurse shouted Mr. Race. I said I’m afraid I’m already spoken for. The first young nurse asked, “Are you here for a blood test?” Gaud knows I replied, I was told to come to area four and assumed my pre op included Dracula’s cave for a blood test. The second nurse said no Mr. Race, come with me I have to take your blood pressure. I gave the first nurse a cheery shrug of my shoulders and followed the second nurse to a discreet corner of the corridor. She sat me down in a chair and put what looked like a clothes peg on my finger and wrapped the inflatable band around my right arm. She pressed a few buttons on the machine. Now I’m sorry, but in these situations, I always try and bring a little sense of humour into proceedings if only to take my mind off whatever the medical team were going to do to me and can never resist testing the sense of humour of the person carrying out the test. So, when the arm band inflated, I gave out a loud Pssssssssssss. Thinking the arm band had punctured, the nurse aborted the test and changed the band. I didn’t have the heart to own up! With the new band firmly in place and blood pressure taken, I noticed that she was looking a bit puzzled at the machine and said I had better test the other arm. Why I asked, is this arm dead? No, she said, it’s a bit high. I looked at both arms and politely informed her they looked the same height to me. No, your blood pressure’s a bit high, so I’ll take another reading on the other arm. I was tempted to ask if this one failed, would I have to lower my trousers and go for the best of three but thought it might be a bit forward of me and besides they don’t take blood pressure from the leg, do they? It wouldn’t be anything to do with the stress of finding a car park space and the forty-two steps that needed to be mounted to get up to this floor would it? Ohh I never thought of that she said. She took the other reading which was just as high as the first one. I might need to take another she said. Blimey I thought, have I got clean pants on? She confirmed the third reading was not necessary and I breathed a sigh of relief. She informed me that I was off to see Susan next and that Helen will want to see me after that.
I took a seat back in the waiting room which was exclusively reserved for Dracula’s Cave. I checked the time on my phone; I had one hour, and twenty minutes left on the car park ticket. Mr. Race, I heard from behind me. Yes, I said. Follow me replied the nurse, so obediently I followed her down the corridor to another treatment room. Now I was always told that a man can be recognised as a man by an Adams apple protrusion in the throat. Susan, I noticed had an Adam’s apple! A little confused by the figure in front of me, I discreetly scanned Susan from head to toe. The vision confirmed that Susan was a man when viewed from a frontal prospective complete with whiskers and the tell-tale Adams apple! But Susan is a female name I argued with myself. My thoughts were disturbed by Susan saying I’m going to take your height and weight, stand on here and face the bar. I resisted asking for a gin & tonic. Right what does it say said Susan looking at the digital weight screen? Get off you fat git more than likely I said. No Susan replied you aren’t too bad. Gaud I’ve pulled I thought! 1.75 meters she read off the height scale. Ok, pop your trousers off. My shocked expression led Susan to reveal she was only joking, and that Helen was waiting for me.
There was a discussion going on between Susan and Helen as I took a seat in the corridor outside Helen’s office. How are you feeling Susan asked Helen? Just having a few hot flushes answered Susan. That’s the menopause for you replied Helen. Helen’s as nuts as Susan is; it’s a bloke for gauds sake I screamed inside my head.
Mr. Race called a voice from inside the office; I entered and sat down next to Helen. She turned and jumped out of her seat. She said Christ, I wasn’t expecting you to be sat there, it usually takes my pre-op people a few minutes just to stand up, never mind be sat next to me. Would you like me to go out and come back in with a limp I asked? No said Helen. Anyway, I said, Susan has put somewhat of a spring in my step, I couldn’t get away quick enough! Thinking I’d overstepped the formality, apologised. Not at all said Helen and revealed that since Susan had gone into menopause, she had grown facial hair, but we just ignore it the poor love. Anyway Mr. Race, you have been keeping us pretty busy haven’t you with all your ailments. I started to reveal everything that had happened to me recently and after about an hour describing the different diagnoses, I checked the time on my phone. I said you are going to have to hurry Helen; I only have forty-five minutes left on my car park ticket. We started on the questionnaire. I won’t bore readers with the details; suffice to say I had to nudge her twice to wake her up so we could carry on with question number two!
We eventually got to the end and she said you have to have an ECG, right, out of this door to the end of the corridor, turn right, through the doors, turn right and you will see a brown desk, give the woman this card and thrust a printed card into my hand and she will see to you. When you’ve had it done bring it back to me.
So off I went and it’s at times like these you wish you had a reel of cotton handy so you could tie one end to Helen’s door knob and the other to my trouser belt in order to be able to trace the route back afterwards! I eventually reached my destination and arrived at the brown desk. The room was heaving with people suffering from all the ailments I had previously been diagnosed with and had received the “all clear” for. I informed the receptionist sat at the desk that I only had thirty minutes left on the car park ticket. Don’t worry she said, they unclamp you very quickly these days! We won’t keep you long, take a seat pointing behind me to where there wasn’t a seat to be had. A nurse came to the desk and said to the receptionist “not more walk ins”! She was looking at what looked like the card I had earlier passed to the receptionist. Mr. Race she shouted. I was in quicker than a rat up a trouser leg before the mob behind me realised I had, in their eyes, jumped the queue.
I was led to a small room with a single bed in it.” Off with your shirt and lie on the bed”! Without a mention of bedside manner, I was on the bed, shirtless. Visions of Mr. Clampervan entered my head and thoughts of him going through the process of clamping my car despite my “Doctor on Call sign” quite visible through the windscreen. Meanwhile, the nurse was yanking out clumps of chest hair to enable the adhesive connections to be attached. I asked if she worked part time in the local waxing emporium as she had quite a knack for removing just the right amount of body hair with one tug. No, she smiled as she slowly ripped the final clump of hairs from my chest. I used to work in the Black Country Pork Scratching Factory removing the hairs from the pig skins before they were fried. The jobs not much different than here then I said! She told me to relax as she could not get a clear reading. What, with the free car park tour, the forty-two steps, meeting Susan and now having a free chest and leg wax all while some clamper clamps my car, I’m about as relaxed as I’m going to be. That’s it she said, whatever you did, it worked. She ripped off the adhesive strips as gently as a slitter in an abattoir and I was free to go back to Helen.
I managed to disguise myself enough to pass the mob in the waiting room although I did receive rather a sour look from one lady sat by the exit door and by some stroke of luck found myself outside Helen’s office. Come in she said, sit down. I passed her the ECG and she stared at it. After a period of contemplation, she said it was nothing that she did not expect. I asked if it was her ECG, would she be pleased. Not really, she replied but it is what we expected. Ok she said if the operation goes ahead it will be on the date we have indicated. You have to be here at seven am. Nothing to eat or drink and if I click this button on the computer, we will see what time the op is planned for. Right, 16.45 you should be out by 20.00hrs if all goes well!
Mindful that it may take at least fifteen minutes to reach my car, time was against me. Is that it, can I go now? Yes, said Helen. I was already at the door. Barring any requests for drug tests I must have beaten all the current hospital speed records and I got back to the car with ten minutes to spare despite having to negotiate the ever increasing crowd of smokers at the entry/exit door and the extra weight of a plaster cast that somehow had found its way under my right arm. I noticed the nun had managed to push her car back into her space and apply the handbrake. She was catching her breath, bent over the bonnet as I passed. I put the plaster cast in the boot along with the “Doctor on Call” sign, set the Sat Nav, gently eased the two wheels out of the flower bed and I was free to go home!
©Julian Race 16/07/2020
Monsters under my bed
under my bed protect me
that loves me
I lay curled
hand over the edge
waiting for them to hold it
so I may go back to sleep
Their claws against my skin
and teeth against my throat
send shivers down my spine at night
and make me feel alive
So I lay still and silent,
eyes open in the dark,
waiting for my monsters
to chase away sweet thoughts
I may only sleep at night
when monsters from beneath my bed
have sworn an oath to keep me safe
from everything that loves me
The sheets are off, my skin is cold,
my daytime fears surround me
telling me to close my eyes
and think of being lonely
Eyes cracked, mouth open
breathing in their breath,
I sing along to songs they sing
and slowly drift to sleep
Night after night
drunk on fear and cold
I’m hanging on to all my fears
and dying at their mercy
Yet still I let
the monsters under my bed
protect me from
everything that loves me
People are afraid of dark
When the faint light it allows
Is the new hope
To a new path.
A whisper of fear
But the voice of courage;
A space for the broken
But home to dawn anew;
People say no to silent future
And prefer to drag deafening past
When all it brings is
Taruma over time.
Art of patience
Language of wisdom;
Scream of a vintage soul
Oath of a divine heart;
People step back
To believe destiny life chooses
And start to complain
They never had a proper end to meet.
World around is serene
With many helping hands;
Life is a heavenly karaoke
With your loved lyrics;
Bell of Eternity
A chime was rung
and you drew out this
it was crushed red velvet,
and it was heart-shaped and
it gave the world space...
Would the earth goddess deny and negate
or would she trace
Her bluish finger on your nameplate
In her dark ecstatic fashion?
Pull out tiny black drawers
giving clues to the
aventuras del corazón
dark reds, deep greens
oranges and purples
Earth goddess guide her
Where to go from here
Labyrinth Lady lift her...
Where does she now fit?
The clouds cushioned
against the scarred
far side of the face
brown and spring...
between the steppes that span the toothless horizon’s grin
swept with circular whisps
like a peace pipe emits...
In the westward wind
you planted kidney
little lungs of vitamins
for the children to breath
as flowers and seeds of spirited good will...
words that take root in their very being with just a tear,
amidst the dust of someday’s
Armadura de amor
she hummed the tune that the
pins on the revolving cylinder
should pick and sing...
plucking the teeth of the steel comb that grazed the skin
she knew the melody
even as it lay still...
the pen ran with sanguine ink and there was no deficit
...across the continent.
The Old Ones remembered it well where their youth had
denounced their ancient ways, but still the magic laid
inherently frozen for any wise acre who dared
take the mantle, and beg the light to shine back down...
...There will always be a break in time for those who make
a revelation which will heal the world...
Sometimes it seems internal,
but the healing will unfurl,
and though it seems quite painful
like the thorn that pierced the paw,
one must extract this menace,
and allow old ice to thaw.
A chime was rung
and you drew out this
it was crushed red velvet,
and it was heart-shaped and
it gave the world space...
Would the earth goddess deny and negate or would she trace
Her bluish finger on your nameplate
In her dark ecstatic fashion?
I have literally never experienced such an excruciating headache ever before in my life as I have in this current moment.
As of now I am sitting in front of my laptop screen staring at the brightness with bloodshot eyes, cradling my head with both hands while my fingers pull at my hair at the mishap that has occurred.
How on earth did I get this drunk? I only remember getting to the club, dancing with one guy and then nothing. Nada. Just the exhilarating memory of his tanned arms wrapped around my torso playing in my head like a broken record. Who even was the guy? Did I get his name? Or a phone number maybe? I rummaged around in my purse only to find a note that said in graceful, slanted handwriting: “We will meet again, mi amor.” I crumpled it up and threw it on the ground. Thanks for the help, genius.
My apartment looked appalling to say the least. A heap of clothes lay on the floor my dressing table a mess from the night before and shoes of all shapes and sizes scattered around the place. But that was the least of my concerns. What was most concerning was the numerous pictures on my Instagram account circling the Internet like wildfire.
36 likes and an onslaught of hypocritical comments.
The very first thing I did was delete them. Then I went through the camera roll. Oh god.
There were pictures of my mouth overflowing with what looked like a bottle of vodka in my hand, my cleavage shining and proudly out and about on display but still covering the important bits. The next was a series of blurred pictures filled with cheeky smiles and boisterous laughter, the faces spreading wide across the screen.
I clicked on the last picture and zoomed in on each of the ruggedly handsome faces. I knew none of them but together we looked like a gang of very attractive best friends with the way we were hugging each other, pearly whites adorning our faces.
All of a sudden my phone shot up from its discharge induced sleep and wouldn’t stop blinking. I thought it would commit suicide by buzzing right off the table.
“Looks like someone had a rough night lmao”
“Wow, partying hard huh?”
“Whose the hottie on the left?”
Thank god it was just my friends poking fun at me. I was not ready to face the criticism just yet. I was in too much pain to be angry at this point.
I sighed and flopped on to my bed wishing the earth would just swallow me up. How. Embarrassing. Also I had my cousins on Instagram. Would they tell my family?
I let out a slew of curses and got to dialing them but then I remembered they must still be sleeping cause of the time difference. I’ll just leave them a message when I get this headache off my back I thought to myself and got back up to get a glass of water.
Could this day get any worse?
Rainy Day in New York
It’s a rainy day in New York
Quite the same as yesterday
it seems to me as though
everyday just feels the same
It might- be- the way, you look, in the rain
It might-be-the way, the rain falls down your cheek
Like a tear that drifted away from home
Feels quite the same way
As long as your here
I could care less what they say
that the weather might not change
and that might be nice
it might be nice
nothin changes here
The way you look in the rain doesn’t change by the day
Your as beautiful as yesterday and its,
I’ll pull you close to me
With the umbrella over our heads
I’ll let you know you haven’t changed
much like the rain
in New York
on any- given- day-
Yes I do have a faveorite post that I never thought got enough attention.
I always thought my post The Gloomy Fall was really clever, but didn’t get much attention. In fact, I’m pretty sure I went back to that post weeks after writing it, and did a mass tag, which I had just learned how to do. I was very new at this point.
I also thought my short story called Under the lights parts one and two was underratted, and to be honest, I don’t think my posts Blessings, or Broken Rewrite deserved as much credit as they were given.
This tale is based on a song by The Police called ‘Tea In The Sahara’ that I’ve always found sad, strange and especially cruel. Long before I began writing these stories I always suspected the young man in the song was a time traveler for who else could do such a terrible thing..?
A young time traveler, as of yet unused to and therefore unable to fully comprehend the complexity of unrestrained movement in the fourth dimension, once visited a planet.
It is a strange and isolating thing to exist outside of time and can lead to a certain hubris that far exceeds normal human capacity.
The planet had kind, gorgeous skies in shades of green and sparkling desert dunes of diamonds dust. Upon it, he met two sisters.
Similar in age and lonely and bored he was novel, new, exciting and fun. He would occasionally appear at times in their life when they needed him most or when it was nice.
He made some of their birthdays and when one of them had kids but he never looked older he just knew more clever tricks.
On one of his visits he appeared in a machine the likes of which the sisters never had seen.
It could fly in the air and this delighted them so, they developed a desire, knowing he’d say yes, came to him with their bizarre request.
What they wanted to do was go out to the dunes and have a picnic of sorts on the shining diamond sands by the light of their world’s two moons.
So one night they flew out together in his plane and picnicked and danced, had tea and played games.
Since his travels began he never had so much fun so he made a promise to them when their party was done that he would return once every year and they go back to the dunes to celebrate.
On the first anniversary of their night on the sand they went out to await his approach over the land with such anticipation and anxious glee they felt as young as they were when they had first been seen by their, wonderous, unusual friend.
After some time when he had not yet arrived they went further out to find him at the place they had dined that singular, amazing night.
They waited until the sun became high in the beautiful green of their world’s friendly sky. But as it grew dark and he had not yet appeared the sisters grew worried and began to fear. Where was the man and why hadn’t he come? He had promised he would but he’d never return and that was not good.
The traveler’s mind was not yet adept at keeping track of all the people he’d met. Traveling through time was like reading many books at once.
Returning to chapters and picking up where one left off was all well and good for the reader but for the others involved time still goes on and this is where the young time traveler had gone horribly wrong.
For he never again picked up this particular book and on the dunes of their world left the sisters to die. Crying, wondering and asking him why...