Willard tossed the big knife back and forth, making it twirl as it flew and increasing the distance between his hands.

“I’ve read your evaluation.” he announced, “Terrified of knives. So guess what I got myself? Not so sarcastic now, are you? Not so superior.”

The others watched the exchange in silence. They knew the facts, they had to understand Willard needed stopping. But he’d been bullying them so long they were too scared.

Which left Mike, watching the blade twirl. He followed its movements, mesmerised and in a cold sweat. Then he looked up at Willard’s face and took in the sick sadistic smirk. That settled it. Willard was right. At least, Willard was partly right.

A slap of Mike’s hand changed the knife’s trajectory. Willard had hardly registered the loss of his weapon before Mike’s knuckles crushed his windpipe.

Mike stepped back, away from Willard’s grasping hands as the big man collapsed, purple faced. “I read my evaluation as well, ‘Terrified of knives, may react unpredictably.’ Always finish the sentence.” There was a nasty cut on his left hand, possibly bone deep, but this wasn’t a moment to show weakness. “If any of you fuckers knows first aid you might be able to save him. The rest of you are with me. We’ve got a war to stop.”

Deadly games

The force feedback suits weren’t strictly illegal, but it was impossible to get an import licence for them. Some still made it into the country of course, and many more were kludged together from internet plans.

Every couple of months one of these DIY suits would seriously hurt or even kill a user. They would put the safety switch in the hands of an idiot or a sadist, or they wouldn’t wire one in at all.

Most of them then went and played GTA.


The baby had been left on his doorstep in a basket from Tesco, wrapped in a blanket and wearing warm clothes. A folded sheet of paper stuck down the side of the baby had ‘Test yourself’ written on it. Unfolded, it had a dna sequence printed on it.

“It matches.” the doctor announced after running tests on the baby and him.

“There’s no way that baby could be mine. I haven’t had sex in two years. And I still talk to her. She’d have told me.”

“That’s not what I mean.” the doctor sighed, “The baby’s dna is a perfect match for the sheet found in the basket.”

“Well of course it is.”

“And so is yours.”


“The baby is you. You’ve been cloned.”

Some shall pass

He obviously thought it was the funniest thing since. As someone approached he'd step in their path. Then he'd move so he stayed in front of them as they tried to dodge and his victim would end up trapped against the wall.

I tried to think of a humorous way around him, but I couldn't. So, when it was my turn, I just tasered him and stepped over the twitching body.

I’m not the geek I used to be 3

I've forgotten almost everything I dvds knew about the command line and couldn't work out what was wrong with Windows this morning. In the end I created a second version of xp which I boot instead of the shafted one. On the plus side I didn't delete all the stuff I've done since the last backup.

Time was I might have known what had gone wrong and not had to resort to the dodgy and slapdash solution I employed. I'm not handing in my geek card, there are still many ways in which I'm qualified, but I have forgotten some of the basic skills.

My bike doesn’t want me to be a hero

All the way home from, and some of the way to, work yesterday I was convinced one of my tyres was about to in flat. There's a strange little shimmy it does as the sidewalls flex because the pressure's dropped. However, both tyres remained resolutely pumped up for the whole of both journeys.


As I cycle down Palatine Road i have to cross over to get to my flat. On that side of the road, a short distance before my house, is a bus stop. Just after I passed it, as I was checking traffic and preparing to cross there was a shout and movement by it.

I slowed a bit more, and it became obvious what was going on. A guy was running down the street, pursued by a woman shouting "Thief!". I thought about it for a moment, then started checking the traffic to see how soon I could get across and start chasing the bag snatcher along the pavement.

Which was when my front tyre decided to puncture, with a distinct pop and dramatic hiss. I wasn't going to get very far with a useless front wheel and I'd not catch him on foot, so I could only watch as the sad little drama headed toward Lapwing Lane.

Next time.

Anomaly Cop

I'm the anomaly cop. I clean up after time travellers.
It all started when my time machine exploded. I spent ten seconds, and ten thousand years, trapped in the has between then and now as they tried to get me back. It didn't quite work, and now there's a bit of my brain smeared across the continuum.
What it means is that I have a perfect snapshot of what the last ten millennia were like the day I jumped. If anyone else goes back in time and causes changes I start getting double vision- their future and my present. It gives me terrible headaches.
So I track them down, travel back to just before they jump, and kill them. It makes the migraine go away.

Jack’s basement

The house reflected the dual personality that had eventually killed him. Ground level and above was interior design magazine perfect, all minimalist and neatly arranged. Push one item out of alignment with the table edge and no doubt his ghost would come and move it back.
The cellar was the other side of his head- less sick, far less restrained and nowhere near as strong. The junk was piled all the way to the top step, later additions had been tossed through the door without. Every time happy Jack had found something to enjoy anal Jack had managed to banish it.
"I hope there's nothing organic in there." Sarah said as she laid a hand on Julian's shoulder. "To think your brother starved to death because he bought all this stuff then couldn't afford food."

Out of the rabbit hole

Today- maybe yesterday, possibly tomorrow, depending upon when I send this message- is Rabbit Hole day. To celebrate Lewis Carrol’s birthday writers across the universe have been invited to step away from their comfort zone, to go somewhere else for a day.

I’ve been down the rabbit hole for a week and a half now, sleeping through the day and spending the night shuttling students home from the 24 hour library. I’m only in this twilight zone- where dinner is breakfast, elevenses is dinner and lunch is a 3am trip to Asda to dodge the shelf stackers then have a conversation with the automated checkout- until Friday morning. I guess I could adjust to it if I had to, but I’m glad I don’t.

There are other inhabitants of wonderland, the security staff at John Rylands and my regulars- the lovely redhead who’s been a 10.30 fixture; the guy whose street I can now find (third time lucky); the two girls who live just before the bridge under the railway; the lovely Irish girls whose accents make me feel warm even as they’re getting lost and taking me round and round the block. Out of context I probably wouldn’t recognise them and they mostly know me as “the bus man”, but I’m going to miss them next week.

I don’t think the normal night bus, which operates a less time shifted timetable taking people home from the students’; union, is as busy as the library one. Which is annoying for me because I’d hoped to get some writing done when I had no passengers. The quietest time is after 4, when I get a little bit done between siestas and my concentration is more suited to reading short snippets than writing them.

I think I shall stay awake as long as possible on Friday then try to get up at a sensible time on Saturday. But I do have a party to go to that night and I don’t want to fall asleep in a corner. In which case I might be better off doing what I did last weekend- sleeping through Friday and using a late night and alcohol to reboot my body clock and climb out of the rabbit hole.

Anyone out on Friday?

Update Edited for formatting and a link.

Uptight? Or out of sight? 2

We've been discussing the labelling around sexuality, given a silly furore over toilets in Manchester University union and the alphabet soup that GBLT is becoming. One suggestion is splitting people into "uptight" and "alright".
Uptights can't accept any sexuality but their own, alrights understand that other people like other things even if those things are odd or even disgusting. So long as noone's getting hurt who didn't consent and you're not frightening the horses (and you're not dr Doolittle, that horse didn't consent) it really is noone else's business.