Building up Resistance

I was one of those kids that put batteries in their mouths. I used to like the big 9V bad boys. The ones that give you just a hint of a tingle, going right to the root of your tongue. That’s how it started.

It was the choking hazard rather than the electricity that concerned my parents. Didn’t bother me, though. Every time they would extricate a saliva-covered Duracell from around my gums, I would wait until they left the room before slipping it back in again. Buzzzzzzzzzz. Eventually, once they could safely disregard my swallowing the battery, they let me be. It was just a phase, and better a little sulfuric acid than LSD, right? Continue reading “Building up Resistance”

Bloody Furnishings


She is rocking back and forth in the bus shelter. It is four in the morning.

‘…the shapes,’ she mutters, hair falling over her face. ‘The shapes they were twisted into…’

‘Madam,’ says the paramedic as he puts down his medical bag and rifles for a notepad. ‘My name is Gary. We’ve received a call from a member of the public. Can you tell me your name?’ Continue reading “Bloody Furnishings”

Beyond Cleopatra

It’s really not so unreasonable, darling.

Every icon is defined by their attention to detail, by the emphasis they put on minutiae. By their idiosyncrasies.

Cleopatra used to bathe in asses’ milk. Phoney? Maybe so, but it demonstrated a willingness to go beyond what was thought reasonable. It demonstrated an inclination towards virtuosity.

Like Cleopatra, my face is my fortune, and whilst she could innovate using donkeys, these days going within a kilometre of a dairy product in New York City is enough to get one court-martialled for crimes against ethical wellness.

No. Nowadays we are forced to go further. Which is why I’m sitting in the first class lounge at JFK Airport waiting to fly to Frankfurt for no particular reason. Usually I have photoshoots to attend, ad campaigns to launch, skincare products to front, but when I’m not working I like to fly east.

Why east, I hear you ask as you thumb through the latest magazine with my face on it, as you devour every last scrap of gossip on a celebrity website. Because, my little pimple-faced, crows-feet-creased sycophants, the earth spins counterclockwise. A couple of long haul flights every week, and I’ve put miles on my odometer without tyres having touched tarmac. For every week you are getting burnt to a crisp by UV rays, I spend only six days. Whilst I am not turning back the clock on ageing as such, I am jamming a collagen needle in the cogs, all the while racing towards a rising sun.

What age, they’ll ask.

How is it done, they’ll wonder.

Well that’s how – with a T-Rex-sized carbon footprint and enough face cream to re-enbalm old Cleo herself. I’ve done more orbits of the earth than a GPS satellite. It’s called dedication, darling.

And they say you don’t require brains to be a model.

***As ever, all comment welcome!***

Surveillance State

‘About bloody time,’ muttered Brian, getting up from his chair and stretching, his fists pressing into the small of his back. ‘My shift ended fifteen minutes ago.’

‘All right, all right. Not like you’ve got a hot date, is it?’ Cassie put her coffee on the table and glanced up at the screens. ‘Anything for the handover?’

‘No movement for a while. Temperature normal. Camera four is partially obscured by a book he’s put up there, but not so much as to compromise line of sight. Still no indication that he’s onto us.’ Continue reading “Surveillance State”

Fly and I

You’re bloody irritating, d’you know that?

Today is my lie-in – the only morning of the week that I can call my own. I didn’t even get a good kip; I had to sleep with the window open you see? The sound of traffic and drunken reveling was the price I paid in exchange for tempting a breath of warm, moist warm air into my bedroom.

And now my lazy morning is being disrupted thanks to you. Yeah, you – clever enough to find the crack in the slider window yet seemingly too senseless to find your way back out again. So here we are – you buzzing and thunking against the window pane, not one of your six legs able to gain purchase, and me hunkering beneath the covers, trying to ignore your increasingly frantic attempts.

What are the chances that, of all of the windows in all of the houses in all of the streets in Dundee, you’d choose mine?

And then I think, what are the chances of us being in the same room?

Let’s take it right back. I can remember learning about the reproductive system in Biology. I was one of three-million sperm trying to get to that egg. I faced down some serious numbers. I’ve subsequently avoided meningitis, rickets, polio, bird flu, and any number of scrapes, bumps, and road traffic near misses to take my place under the duvet here.

All of this pales in comparison to what you’ve experienced, of course. Literally born into crap, you had to worm your way around decomposing matter as a maggot. Once you were flying, the fun had just begun. You were fair game for spiders, frogs, birds and wasps, not to mention the cavalcade of pesticides, flytraps and swatters arrayed against you. And the half-opened window, of course.

Which kind of brings me to my point. If my parents, upon seeing me writhing in the maternity ward, were to place a bet on my meeting you they would face infinitesimally large odds. They’d get laughed out of the bookies. I’m not usually one for fate or destiny, but you must admit the maths are pretty compelling. It feels like a benevolent force has nudged you through my window, eager to prompt a meeting that will change the course of both our lives.

Should I usher you outside again? It doesn’t feel a memorable enough finale to such a journey. An owner/pet scenario then? The girl and her fly? That doesn’t seem likely. Perhaps you have entered my room as a muse; maybe you should prompt me into some profound reverie, some sudden…




***As always I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments on this!***


I’m delighted to feature at McStorytellers once more courtesy of Brendan Gisby. ‘Boarding’ is described as ‘a large dawd of dry Scots humour’. Just remember to keep your car doors locked…


If you like short stories, Scots, Scotland, or any combination of these, Mctorytellers is definitely worth a follow. Brendan has a long history of supporting authors with a link to Scotland and really knows his stuff.


As always, I’d be delighted to hear your feedback and thoughts!



Helen smiled as the evening pedestrian traffic negotiated its way past her on Great Western Road, Glasgow. The kids on the bus had not been the first, and nor would they be the last, that laughed at her weight. Admittedly she did not do herself any favours; the supersize soda clenched in her pudgy fist and the entire double seat that she was spread over meant that it was a rare night that she did not elicit at least a few sniggers.

It had not been the titters that irritated her; more the inference that she didn’t know who they were aimed at. Being morbidly obese did not make her an idiot, and neither did it make her deaf. Tonight it had been two tattooed teenage lads hiding their laughter behind hoods and scarves; the cuffs of their tracksuit tops dirty and the miasma of their cheap aftershave overwhelming. As usual her friend Douglas, a fellow nurse at Gartnavel General Hospital had been unable to resist the provocation.

Continue reading “Fat”


It’s kind of beautiful, really. Like dew strung on a spider’s web or sugar frosting on a birthday cake. Silver tributaries reach out in front of me, each spreading and dividing into the tiniest trickles, glinting as the morning sun catches them obliquely. And then there’s the chiming. Dozens of bells tinkle, off-key but in perfect unison. Beautiful.

At least, it’s beautiful until the rest of my senses catch up. There is glass in my mouth – a gritty nugget sitting right in the middle of my tongue. Ptuh. The cloying smell of milk reaches my nostrils. God knows how many bottles are broken in the back of the float; empty ones trundle past the cab as though determined to continue their journey. Most perverse of all though is the shopping trolley wheel poking through my windscreen, spinning and wobbling drunkenly. The rest of the trolley lies atop the buckled glass like a junkie on a burst couch.

I duck under the window and look up. There they are, the little bastards. One, two, three of them, peering down from the disused railway bridge, their elfin faces caught halfway between horror and delight. How on earth did they manage to get the trolley up there in the first place? Never mind, because I’m stepping out of the van and into the delta of full fat, semi-skimmed, and skimmed milk coursing around the wheels of the float.

This is what they want, of course – a chase. This is what they had in mind when they pushed it off the bridge – another adrenaline rush, another story to tell each other whilst drinking Mad Dog in the park. The sensible thing would be to walk away; to drive on with what’s left of my morning round and my dignity. They aren’t the only ones needing satisfaction now, though. There’s a blood debt to be paid. A milk debt. The faces disappear from the bridge as I start to run towards them.

***As always folks, delighted to hear your thoughts/comments on my writing. Hope you enjoyed!***