|A Chronicle of the World, 1840-93 |
A group of emigrants is abandoned a thousand miles from anywhere. The world falls apart in their absence. It was primarily the war of attrition between Paraguay and Manchuria which kept the exiles in their isolation - that, and cabbage .
Published in: Writing Wrongs (Canongate) Edinburgh 2002.
|Dr Calvin's Grand Illuminated Bestial Pleasure Dome |
At Rivière du Loup, Jespersen had seen half of the season's profits eaten up in a night of mayhem, when a group of French lumberjacks made off with all the scenery used as a backdrop for the crowning act of his show - "The Monstrous Miasma of the Mozambican Jungle." What they had done with the scenery was anyone's guess, but doubtless it now formed an interesting talking-point deep in the forests of the Shickshock Mountains. To compensate, a contract to entertain the New Yorkers in winter is offered - but there is a rival establishment to beat. A short-cut via the new Chignecto Marine Transport Railway, however, goes badly wrong.
Published in: Unfit for Eden (Postscripts 26/27) Hornsea 2012.
|The Providential Preservation of the Universal Bibliographical Repository |
An early attempt at the Internet? At the start of the First World War, Dr Otlet seeks to send his entire collection of Human Knowledge to a safe spot. His assistant Mademoiselle Poels embarks on a train-journey into France and, despite the unfortunate loss to the Front of her simple-minded porter, meets - she imagines - with great success.
Published in: Memoryville Blues (Postscripts 30/31) Hornsea 2013.
|One Hundred Thousand Demons and the Cherub of Desire |
An old mystery solved, perhaps! The three keepers of the lighthouse upon Flannan Isles board a strange vessel and meet with an interesting voyager.
Published in: Far Voyager (Postscripts 32/33) Hornsea 2014.
A Job At Last
Wee Eck texts Big Horace: "Bank job. Friday 9am. Bring shooter."
Police watching Wee Eck. Message intercepted.
Big Horace thinks: a job at last. Arrives at bank on time. Police waiting. Horace opens sports bag, police pounce, Horace thrown to floor, "Michty me!" Wee Eck saunters in, "Crivvens!", handbrake turn, nowhere to run, taser.
In bag, just Big Horace's prized digital camera. In Wee Eck's jacket, contract from head office - 'Photo-shoot - Theme: Local Bank Working for Community'.
"Justifiable suspicion," say Police. Bank statement: "Normal background checks failed, contract now cancelled." Big Horace back to the margins of society.
Sammy Gregg's Bad Day
Ken this? Ah felt crap. Ma heid hurt, ma erms wiz legs, couldnae budge. Sammy, sez ma, ye've turned into wan of they giant beetles, like yon DVD. Come oan, yer at yon Trial at ten, aff yer erse.
Sheriff Castle sez the accused must stand, like. Ah couldnae, ma legs werenae lang enough, my back wis a' stiff, ken? Samuel Gregg, ye're in contempt - six months in The Penal Colony, that'll learn ye. Och, but ah'm aff tae Florida wi' ma auntie next month. Aye well, sez he: America's no for youse. No real, ken what ah mean?