Alfred and his Internet fantasies

He’d gotten himself into real trouble chatting on the Internet, doubling up on his lies and trying to convince the girls that he was more of a man than he actually was. Alfred was a toothless seventy-five year old with a golden voice. He sounded thirty years younger than he actually was. Pretending he was…


THE ASYLUM SEEKER

I was sitting with my friend Yusuf in the Bab al―Salam refugee camp, just a hundred yards south of the Turkish border.  Twenty thousand refugees, mostly women and children, live in the camp.  Yusuf and I ere Syrian refugees escaping the war in Aleppo and trying to get to Europe.  Twenty yards away barefoot kids…


Geekiness and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I have to admit that I am a bit of a geek where technology is concerned.  From my Samsung Q90 QLED ultra high-performance television, my iPad Pro 11, Nest thermostat, Google Home Hub, through to my Samsung Galaxy S-10 plus telephone, I’ve got them all.  My friends jibe me about my geekiness but I don’t…


The Telephone Call

The telephone rings five times before I pick up.  A monotone voice on the line says: “This a BT information call.  Your Internet has been compromised and will be shut down.  Press number one to connect to the team or press the hash key for more information.” I know it’s a scam call, a voice…


A GIRL CALLED VALERIE

I am 16 years old.  It is the height of summer and I’m sitting with Valerie in an open park shelter with a tiled roof watching my friends play football.  Valerie is not in a relationship and neither am I.  In fact she has only recently split up with her long-time boyfriend, Colin Jones.  Colin…


THE PROFUNDITY OF MY BEING

I was walking home from school, making my way down Sherrington Road , Charlton, towards the ditch: a dirt road that branched off from Sherrington Road and passed alongside a series of allotments before exiting at Tallis Grove, which was a stone’s throw from where I lived.  The houses along Sherrington Road had small front…


THE GARDEN ORNAMENT

So I walk passed this house every morning on my way to primary school and every afternoon on my way back home.  The house stands out because the garden is very attractive.  I’m always by myself.  I’ve always been by myself.  I don’t have any friends, not real friends.  I’m alone with my thoughts and…


STOKE MANDEVILLE AND GERALD BUTLER

My right testicle was heavily swollen.  It was a hydrocoele that needed repairing.  My urologist, Mr Reynard, was draining it every three months or so in the spinal outpatients department of Stoke Mandeville Hospital.  The process was uncomfortable.  He had to insert a needle into the testicle and draw off the excess fluid, which occasionally…


“JESUS CHRIST! FORGET THE CODEINE AND GIVE ME SOME VALIUM!”

The old man tipped his head back and necked a couple of codeine tablets, sixty milligrams in all. He couldn’t kick the habit. Now and again, he thought. Just a couple now and again. Can’t do me any harm.


THE INFAMOUS MR DAVID EVANS

So who was the real Mr Evans? He presented himself as a charming, well dressed, well spoken individual, always available to help and advise. Beneath this façade of respectability there lurked a depraved monster driven by compulsions he could not control.