A few months ago the Dundee Rep ran a short story competition, you can find the details here. Any-who long story short about entering a short story competition, I sadly did’t win. Since I didn’t win I figured I might as well post it on here. Enjoy.




Those who deserve our thoughts are never those who have them. I have a loving wife and four grown children, but those I love are never those I give my thoughts. My mind wonders now, more than it use to and more than I’d like. A hazy summer day filled with blinding light is how I remember her. Illusions tinged with yellow and a gentle breeze from an open window form the world in which I live. As my wife takes my hand I watch her leave with the older boys, the boys her own age, older than I was then and younger than I am now. Moments before we were closer, encompassing each other, now only a hand cups mine, biding. She wants to leave and be with me at the end but the other boys are waiting, cheering at the other side of the curtain as a shard of light breaks through the dust. Blinding. I focus on it as it moves back and forth from darkness, trying to find something tangible in the motion to hold. It was their idea and she leads me to my room. Draping hair sweeps against my face as swelling eyes begin to weaken. “It’s almost time” and all three of us know it. A switch is flipped and it’s done, a last slow breath escapes. I am calm for the first time and the last time in my life. Her grip on my hand tightens as she rolls off to embrace. A new step has been taken, a different world awaits. She lays and sits beside me, breathing heavy as tears start to fall. I want to hold her then, the way she holds me now. She starts to slip away and her grip never fails. “You can let go now if you want?” they tell me. I want to hold on, but I don’t know how. A yellow summer dress falls around her shoulders. I want to force her to stay, but I don’t know how. She’s too delicate. I don’t know how to act yet. I follow her sheepishly past the hall and to the door as she leaves. I notice the flowers by me on the bed. I don’t remember who brought them, no doubt a comfort in another wise sterile room. I hold one out for her to take. She smiles and walks away, the other boys are waiting. Her hand breaks free and the light is blinding. She’s walking away with the other boys; they’re older than I was then and younger than I am now. I can barely look and the light is blinding. She’s walking away with the other boys and my wife kisses me for the last time. I can barely see and the light is blinding. I can barely see and the light is blinding.




It’s Not Weird That I Can Write about Not Writing Right?

I often have this overwhelming urge to write something but have nothing I want to write about. This is not one of those times. For as it stands I have an overwhelming urge to write about something and do in fact have something I want to write about. Turns out for some reason I still can’t; and I am instead writing a post (this post) about not being able to write about what it is I want to write about.


A little background and context might help fill in why this is, or (and this seems more likely) at the very least bulk up the word count on this post. I’ve decided what I’m going to write my first book on and oh boy is it going to be overly complicated and convoluted much like the above paragraph. The opening premise is basically that:


Arthur Monroe, 88, bad back and grumpy, falls asleep while fishing on a lake. He wakes to the sound of screaming and discovers he’s alone and lost at sea during a storm. Meanwhile as the storm rages outside her bedroom window 8-year-old Molly wakes in the middle of the night screaming and scared of what’s lurking in the shadows. Something has been stealing children in the dark of night.

Little do they know that before the storm breaks Molly will scream twice more and herald the death of a one time god.

photo.PNGIt’s going to be a kid’s story about coming to terms with death. Cheery I know. It, for the most part is also going to be influenced by Irish mythology. This is something for the past several weeks I have been doing a lot of research on. So far I’ve came to two conclusions. The first is that it is crazy how well it’s going to fit with the story I have planned. The second, my ability to pronounce names and places in Irish is truly shocking. For example did you know that as far as I can tell Tuathmumhain should be pronounced Too-moon? All I can say is thank Dia for The Dictionary of Irish Mythology. The research while fascinating has been at times quite laborious. A lot of the stories I’ve been reading are translated from texts like The Yellow Book Lecan (pronounced Bob for all I know) and The Book of Ballymote (probably just pronounced the way you’d think)which were written in ogham, which is based on old Irish. Sadly this means the prose isn’t always the most gripping or dare I say coherent. I’m going to stick with it though, for what I do reference in my book, characters and otherwise, I want to reference correctly… as long as it’s convenient to the plot of my story. ‘Cause if they don’t fit I have absolutely no qualms about changing them.


Anywho, back to the point of this post and why I can’t start writing my book. I think I’ve built it up in my head too much. So that it has gotten to the point where I’m quite daunted by it and the thought of making a blog entry becomes a convenient way of procrastinating. I know that I just need to sit down and write it, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. I think part of the problem is that I don’t have a deadline to have it finished by. I don’t feel any pressure to have it done by a certain time.


Anyway, guess I better get back to it, time to stare at a blank word document some more. Actually shit no it’s not, I need to start getting ready for work.


Ramble over,



The Bold Baristas

It’s all but dead now, that first wave of excitement. I remember it fondly, though that’s about all I can amass these days. I’ve long since stopped trying to dredge the feeling back to the surface of my memory. Stopped trying to keep it afloat. Which seems strangely fitting, considering that I’m standing on a sodden carpet with an inch of water at my feet and a plumber in my ear. It was two years ago when we first started to seriously discuss it. Sue and I were still together at the time and as always on a friday night we had Mike and Stuart around for dinner. A little tradition that started back when we were all still at University. The four of us were well into the third bottle of Pinot and just finished playing our favourite game of whose job sucked the most.

“We keep talking about it. Why don’t we actually just do it. Between the four of us it would work. I mean think about it. Sue, I know you hate the kitchen you work in right?”

“More than life itself.”

“Exactly, so we open a little coffee shop. Serve sandwiches, panini’s, bagels you name it, the menu’s yours. You get to cook the kind of food you like cooking. And Rory can it really be that much more different serving people coffee rather whatever the hell it is your shop sells?”

“Ok first things first, I work in a bar, we sell alcohol. Secondly, did you miss my five minute rant on why I hate customers, I should not be serving people things. Thirdly I do a lot more than just serve people things. I practically run the place.”

“That’s perfect, we won’t have you on the counter then. You can do the day-to-day running of the place, the accounts, the ordering. You know all the boring stuff. You might as well use that degree for something. Right?”

“I do enjoy boring stuff.”

“Stuart, you could be on the counter then. You’re a natural people person. I’ve see you on a night out, think of all the pretty girls you’ll get to flirt with.”

“Well that’s me convinced.”


Stuart had said it as joke, but in little over a month Mike had found a location and we had been approved for a small business loan. By the time next month rolled round The Bold Baristas was open for business. It was fun at the start, everything we thought it would be. We had a steady flow of customers going in and out. All of them commenting on how quirky and charming our place was. How they loved the mismatched sofa’s with no two pieces of furniture the same or the bookshelves filled with classics. We even had our photos taken for the front of the shop. That was Sue’s idea, we had them done in that faded slightly yellowed nineteen hundreds style. Each of us in our uniforms, right underneath the arched gold lettering of the sign, striking some pose we thought at the time made us look poised and dignified. Heads pointing up to the sky telling the universe look at us we are the bold baristas, we four friends working for no one but ourselves; or at least that was idea. That was then and this is now. One of the photos have been taken down and the shelves are all but devoid of any books, with what few that remain a tattered mess with pages missing. The mismatch sofas are splashed brown by clumsy drinkers. That small business loan has turned in to a dark cloud above our heads threatening to drown us all.


Maybe Sue was right to leave when she did. Maybe I should have been the one to go, to have asked to be bought out. At the time it just felt like another betrayal, another kick in the gut. Just her way of letting me know how far our relationship had fallen. Business had still been pretty steady at that point, but after she left something was different. It was as though we had lost part of that quirky charm our customers loved so much to talk about. It wasn’t long before the thought started to creep in that maybe the problem isn’t the new chef, maybe what made our place special was the idea on which we built it. The idea of friends coming together. Sue’s last words,

“Its over”, swim towards my mind along with the overweight plumber’s.

“It’ll only you cost two hundred quid to fix the tank.” Right then and there I did’t know whether to laugh, cry or grab him by his overalls and scream, abandon ship. She’s gonna sink. I settle for a silent sigh, held under my breath and instead wade over to counter to write a cheque. What’s another couple hundred in the thousands we already owe? Nothing but a spit of rain in the Sea. Truth be told though, we’re already sunk and the lifeboats drink at Starbucks. A burst tank is just another in a long line of problems that washed on board when Sue left. I hand the plumber the cheque and reach for the bucket behind the counter.