Down At The Fossils Club

I go there once a week on Thursday afternoon’s with what I call my spending money. That is the money which is not taken up with just surviving, although that makes me far from unique I know. Down at the club you will meet every kind of couple, happy and sad, angry or merely contemptuous, loving, gentle or blissfully unaware of their partner’s misery. In fact you’ll meet the human race, metropolitan style, excepting almost every story begins with “I used to” because very little happens now apart from organised games of bingo or cards which, let’s face it, just says you’re past it more than anything else can do.

Me, I sit at the bar mostly, sipping on a husbanded beer, swapping remarks with people I recognise, friendships are harder to grow after a certain age, and lusting in my hopeless way after Penelope of course, who is not interested in me, and has not been these three years. Not that I’m capable of expressing my interest in her on any physical level. Not to worry, being passed by in life, by people off to the shops, or restaurants, theatre’s or their weddings is what I’m all about. Invisible really, but always good mannered I assure you, that is one standard I insist on. You’ll never hear me shouting or expressing a crude appetite.

Anyway, enough of me, or you’ll be calling me “self-centred,” which is so true it hurts. At the Fossils Club, as I’ve said, the normal start of any sentence is “I used to” or “We used to” for those couples both of whom are still alive and can admit to enjoying each other’s company. And after that phrase come the careers and hobbies, “Be an accountant,” “Run a betting shop,” “Walk the Pyrenees,” or “Sail single-handed across the Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park.”

Those of us not lost in daydreams or envy nod our heads in admiration. (Admiration of others is one of my talents by the way, along with envy if I’m to be honest: something I hate ) and if the conversation lulls, one of those who know me better than most might ask me “What about you Michael” and I will always say, I’ve applied to become a barrister, or I’m training to be a structural engineer, or any other profession I can think of, the entrance to which is unlikely given you are nearing your seventieth year.

But I don’t mind, because I’ve earned just enough to sit by the window in my lodgings out of the rain and live in daydreams. Daydreams are good you know, because in them Penelope always smiles at me and says “You know I like you” and someone from a major publishers knocks on the door and says “We demand to publish your manuscript” and holidays are enjoyed without the bother of leaving your recliner. In my imagination I’m just loved for who I am. In my imagination I will never be short of breath and the possible is just the start of my new life.

Posted in character, community, creative writing, Fiction, humour, old age, Peter Wells, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

My Day As A Fly

I remember some old chap at the bar saying, as an acquaintance recounted a tale of drama and chaos, “I’d have liked to be a fly on the wall for that one” and we’d all snorted into our glasses because, let’s face it, nothing takes our minds away from our own troubles faster than hearing about someone else’s.

The reason that memory is important is that I woke up the following morning, with my head on the pillow, and everything else of me for that matter, because somehow overnight I had become a fly. You’d think I’d panic and start buzzing round the room in hysterical circles in between bashing into the window pane and various lightshades but no, that did not happen. There was an ant passing by on the wall behind my head and he turned to me and said, “It’s only for the day. Tomorrow you will wake up as your normal self and I will return to being the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but hopefully with a new perspective on life”

I’m used to strangeness, being something of a loner, so I wasn’t as alarmed as your average Mr” I must catch the train by eight” might be. I flew off, avoiding the spiders web skilfully constructed right outside my window and whizzed along a street or two just “shooting the breeze” in the literal sense of the phrase. Finally I alighted at the window of some women painting scenery with a luminous brilliance I thought, and there was a sense of intense concentration and gentleness about her which was transfixing. She was entirely lost within herself and her subject, and nothing could be heard inside the room, but the sound of her brush being washed as she refreshed her colours.

Regardless of the freedom I was granted, I found myself, quite literally, settled on her wall, and it was clear she was one of those beings who treasures life in all its forms and gentleness was her subtle protection.

Wilderness comes in many forms and I, living in metropolitan obscurity, have walked the untrodden path in between the conventional and obscure. I make a living doing odd jobs and am not moved by a sense of monetary wealth or social standing so much as by experiences and insights. In this lady, lost in conversation with her canvas, I saw something similar in another being. I did not know her name or her circumstance but I prayed, as far as a fly can pray, that on the morrow I would remember her, and find some way of bumping into her life.

The next morning I awoke and once more I was human in shape and thought, but all I had in mind was that women and how to say hello to someone I thought so special, whose image was granted me by wondrous chance. Even knowing she existed softened the harsh outlines of my life. Perhaps that was the limits of her offering.

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Love, Peter Wells, Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Who Do You Walk With

Some of us are loved until where we end and others begin becomes impossible to define. I am not that man.

I walk, smiling at certain faces on the street, known to the point of small talk, but that love which makes the smallest detail of a life significant is not mine to enjoy. My life is defined by my ability to pay the rent, or not fall ill, behaving at all times, in a way which does not cause alarm: those are my boundaries and my limitations.

The clock stopped while I was doing other things and now I find myself living a repetitious daze, repeating patterns, chewing thoughts I should have digested years ago. Gnawing at life with polite barbarity, dressed for the weather but never company. Talking to myself in urgent undertones. One of the mad ones, an anecdote in other people’s lives. A man who gambled regardless of the costs until he found himself living beyond all normal definition.

I am that harmless eccentric who opens doors for strangers; who finds his solace in the written word where men as lost as me, wrote their dreams and knitted stories out of their imagination because in stories they always found some company.


Posted in ageing, character, community, Fiction, Love, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

A Discrete Frailty in Boadicea’s Behaviour

The wife, who I call Boadicea behind her back, because to say that to her face would be a recognised form of suicide, is not someone to mess with. Alright, that’s nonsense because I’ve already said it, but then she doesn’t read Blogs, “Useless warbling” as she calls them and who am I to argue. We get along on the “Anything you say dear” basis and I’m happy enough as long as I don’t look too deeply at the issue, but depths are not my thing. “Keep it light” is my mantra and I cling to that profundity.

Anyway, I’m rambling, because that is my thing, and a characteristic “Her indoors” finds more than irritating so, without further ado, let’s get straight to the point avoiding unnecessary dithering.   We met at university when I was one of the “Crowd;” adequate looking; well brought up to the point of mundanity, and with a natural unassuming manner which a Pigeon could walk over without unsettling itself. My only shine-out quality was in the brain department which, for some reason, could process information quickly which is why I am now a senior statistician at the Department of Transport.

“No more rambling please” I hear you cry, so with the briefest nod of apology I will continue my story. Boadicea, otherwise known as Caroline, was at the same University, at the same time, and must have spotted something useful in me, otherwise she never would have come up to me and said, “You’re going to take me to dinner” and behind the demanding and harsh tone there was an undercurrent of shyness which I found attractive and so I said “Yes.” By the way, socially speaking, never try to save anyone; you’ll drown in the attempt, but just at that moment there was that vulnerability in her and it drew me in. She doesn’t do weakness, so it sort of sticks in the memory.

In terms of the physicals I’m on the diffident side of nervous. I prefer my pretty girls to be on the other side of the television screen and at a safe distance but close up I find them unsettling. Don’t worry, of course because Caroline was not entirely “Model” material but, as with all girls around the twenty-two age mark, she could be attractive for the evening if she put her mind to it, and she had put her mind to it on my account. An effort which I would spend the rest of my life paying for: I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh.

Anyway, we’ve had the meal and it’s time to leave but she’s not really going and her feet are shuffling a bit, but not in a way which moves the rest of the body either forward or backward and even Mr Plod, namely me, picks up from the mixture of nervousness and exasperation in her eye that any gentleman worth his salt would do the decent thing, lean forward and kiss her.

That’s what I did in the end, and she relaxed a bit and kissed me back in a slightly animal way that was almost victorious. Well, if you knew Caroline, you’d know that we moved swiftly to a clinching session of horizontal gymnastics before she launched into her wedding planning speech as we lay in bed together.

I mean, it can’t be all bad because we’ve been married for twenty-seven years and she seems happy enough in the “You’re useless, whatever did I see in you” kind of way, but somehow I don’t mind you know. Sometimes, that vulnerability in her manner returns and her hand might move over to mine on the sofa while we watch the television, and you sort of know she’s seeking for reassurance. That’s so lovable don’t you find? I think so anyway.

Posted in creative writing, Fiction, marriage, Peter Wells, Romance, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Bunter Macintosh explores a new career Aided by Sylvia Satnav

“Bunter gets the job done” I’ve always said that to myself so, apart from being very pleased to acquire a position as relief taxi driver with the Matterly Taxi services, I thought of it as a good chance to see a bit of London. My sense of direction is not among my noted abilities, but who cares about that when Sylvia Satnav is there to guide you.

The motor, a Vauxhall Expresso two litre with overhead cams and enough room in the boot to accommodate an elephant and was more than up to the job. By good fortune, through pressure of work or whatever, they didn’t ask to see the actual motor but just the name, model and age, which suited me because, honesty begs me tell you, the old girl does not look her best in daylight, and Victoria, my other half, normally sits in the front passenger seat and may have imparted a certain “ parfum de chien” to the car’s interior, but then a wise man never comments on a ladies perfume other than to praise it.

All thoughts and anxieties were laid to rest, and with Victoria safely at home watching Wimbledon, I drove towards the airport to collect my first fare. They were a Mr and Mrs Crouch, and I had a small board with their names on it so they would know I was their ride. They were an American couple apparently, and I was to take them to some place in Ruislip which is over there if you know what I mean, and drop them off at their hotel.

Everything went smoothly if you ignore the raised eyebrow s at the state of the car. Luggage revelling in the generous trunk I believe they call it, I got them seated in the back of the car, got the post code off them and entered it into Sylvia Satnav’s keyboard. I watched as the screen flickered briefly and then it went blank, in that permanent way which says, “Thank you for a nice life but I am now retiring.”

In a crisis, stay utterly calm; that’s my advice; that is the Mackintosh way, so I drove out of the airport as if I knew where I was going in a roughly southerly direction or it may have been westerly. I’m not a geography guru so all this north, south stuff is a bit over my head but I was sure the fates would throw up some sign saying “Ruislip” and guide me and my fares safely toward their destination.

After about twenty minutes, an American accent located somewhere in the rear of the car asked me if I was sure this was the way to Ruislip so to settle him I said “All roads lead to Rome, and Ruislip as well, I’ll be bound” which met with no response. About ten minutes later, he asked again, “Where are we” and the voice was clearly a bit edgier. “Time will tell old boy, time will tell” I told him, and I examined all road signs with vigorous concentration looking for the magic word “Ruislip.”

It did not appear, “Hammersmith Bridge” Yes…. “Earls Court” certainly, “Hyde Park Corner” without a doubt, and a central landmark which I am sure my clients would enjoy the chance to observe at no extra cost, and an excellent place to get your bearings I understand.

“Stop the car, let us out now” said the American voice, and it seems Hyde Park Corner had failed to entrance our visitors, despite its famous arch and a decent dose of London’s green parkland. “Let us out,” the voice lacked friendliness but was clear and direct. I stopped the car and they were outside it before I could move to open their door. My American chum seemed to be on the phone to my company and was saying, “Who is this idiot you’ve sent to collect us from the airport. We are at Hyde Park Corner”

There was a pause and the American said, “Your boss wants to talk to you” He placed the phone to my ear just in time for me to hear my boss say “Your fired” and then the line went dead. My clients, is that the term, removed the luggage from the boot and were hailing a black cab at the side of the road. I walked up to them and said, as one must do in the circumstances, “No charge of course. No charge at all”

“Get lost” said my American chum. “That may not be difficult” I replied.

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Bunter Macingtosh Rediscovers Love

Someone asked me recently if I still believed in marriage and I said, “Of course old boy.” I mean you can’t have drifted through five of the things without some belief in the institution and I’m still friendly with all the exes and some of my children, apart from Marjorie, but then even the finest of salads can be spoiled by an excess of vinegar don’t you find?

Not that any of that would have mattered but I teamed up with some quite fetching thing in her prime and you know how one drink leads to another, and then I shared some old films with her and suggested we go on holiday and eat a few cream teas and I find myself filling with emotion and saying, “Fancy a shuffle up the isle my darling” and she sort of shook her head which might mean either yes or no. As I always say, “Time will tell: time will reveal everything,” and let’s face it that can be a “Wincer” once in a while, but that’s another story.

I am a great believer in self-discipline but also in not trying to hog all the good qualities and keep them to myself so I let others enjoy the admiration which comes with self-restraint and I now play open house to any passing calorie, hence the name “Bunter.” I go for walks between the bedroom and the living room and make my own tea and snacks so I think I can hold my head up in company in a way which takes the attention from my chins: no photographs please.

Virginia, my new love, is actually a dog, which might explain why I can’t understand her answer, and when I told the vicar, in strictest confidence, that I wanted to marry my pet as a symbol of my undying devotion, no sex involved, he started shaking his head as well, which just shows how catching some of these endearing habits are. The way he looked at me makes you think that those gents in white coats might be popping in for a talk about life and an afternoon snifter sometime soon.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted but for now it’s a good bye from me and a woof or two from her. Goodbye.

Posted in character, Fiction, humour, Love, Peter Wells, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Grexit Stopolopolus Gets In A Fix

Don’t know how it happened but Grexit, a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy who liked nothing more than sitting around in the evening drinking wine with his family and friends received a letter from a Heirich Ackermann that his loan had been approved and the sum of 10 million euros would be deposited in his account by close of business on the following day.

“Nice” thought Grexit, not one to read the small print on boring documents so he just went with the flow and ordered a Ferrari for each member of his family including his thirteen year old son because, let’s face it, even if you can’t drive, having a nice set of wheels puts a bit of stride in your step.

A quick million or two and he had secured a new home complete with a swimming pool in every room and enough garages to park the sixteen cars and then it was off on the holiday of a lunchtime, involving the chartering of two jets and invitations to everyone in his village to come on the Nordic “Cooling Holiday” where those who suffered from a life of pitiless sunshine and cut-price cocktails could journey to the Baltic region of northern Europe and get stuck into a sauna or two, massages and all the sausage and pickled onion you could eat. Not everyone’s idea of a dream holiday, but good old Grexit had booked an entire hotel for a fortnight and most of the village had never been on a plane never mind a private jet so what’s to lose.

“Oh yes,” thought Grexit, “This is the lifolos” and he raised his glass to the mysterious organisation with a head office in Brussels whose kind unguarded generosity had allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle which his 18,000 euros a year salary would never have enabled him to experience.

On his return from the Baltic, he sat around for two days before dragging the entire village off to the Virgin Islands for more snorkelling and a wide range of cocktails. Some of the villagers expressed unease but he said, “Do not worryos. I will pay the whole villages salaries from now on” and who were they to argue. Soon, new swimsuits at the ready, they were on another pair of lavishly supplied private jets for a second holiday of fun and beautiful views.

Back home again, Stopolopolus looked at his post and noticed there was a letter marked “Urgent” from the nice Brussels people saying an error had been made and he must repay the money in monthy instalments of eighty thousand euros. Grexit looked up at his parrot, who had missed them all during their international travels, and said, “These Brussels people need to relax a bit. We are all the Europeans yes no, and you cannot allow arguments in the same family”

The next morning he rang Heinrich and told him funds were low, owing to a rush of expenses and the villages soaring catering budgets, but that he could certainly manage to repay 10 euros a month. Poor old Heinrich started to feel unwell because he realised that, to compound the error, he had lent the money to some crazy man from south Europe where a skill in maths, he understood, was used for nothing more than checking the number of prawns on a plate. What he fully understood was he could not write off the money as his shareholders would never forgive him, and that owing to a fire and a few car crashes, many of the purchased assets were in serious disrepair so he came to arrangement with Grexit that he would lend him a further 2 million euros so he could make the necessary repayments on the original loan.

The crisis had been avoided at both ends it seemed, and on the receipt of the funds Grexit sent of the first 80,000 euro payment as stipulated in the new agreement and then took only his family, because sensible budgeting was his new hobby, to Florida to celebrate getting out of a bit of a scrapelos and reaffirming the strength of the European family. They did not buy new swimsuits.

Posted in character, euro, Fiction, Geece, Peter Wells, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments