DEATH ROW REJECTS
A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES
MARK J EDWARDS
First Published in 2013 by MJ3.
Copyright © The authors as named on the book cover and in contents.
Copyright © Artwork/ designs contained on the covers and within.
First Edition 2013.
This Revised Edition 2014.
This is the INDIE AISLE edition for digital distribution.
The authors have asserted their moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the authors of these works.
All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the
copyright holder, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in
which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.
The Toy Hospital
“I remember as a child, the sense of wonderment that the toy hospital had instilled in me. How did a broken toy get mended? How could that mended toy be newer than it had been when I’d destroyed
“The mystery was as profound and magical to me as all of those tales of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy had frightened me as a child, that much was certain. It was all of that
sneaking around in a boy’s bedroom when he’s asleep; and swapping teeth for cash, cold hard cash
to spend on more sweets to get more bad teeth? The cycle seemed endless, as did the nightmares.
The questions that no one could seem to answer were: Where did the teeth go? What did the fairy
use them for, and why? ”
“Toys, as a child were the world away from television, a playground for the soul, an escape from
rules, doctrine and routine. Any boy plays roughly with his toys; we have this unquenchable lust for destruction you see. Cars would collide and crash, towers of blocks would rain to the carpet as trucks smashed through them. The towers would grow ever taller, until cars or trucks, sometimes even
dinosaurs, would crash into them; sending pieces clattering around the carpet in chaos. Not to say that I was a particularly destructive child, just a normal boy really”.
“Of course, toys frequently became damaged and as upsetting as this was at first; it quickly became embroiled in mystery, because the toys always came back from hospital better than new.”
“The process of getting a toy admitted to toy hospital was simple; I’d pull the wheel off a car and go crying to dad. He would examine it closely for a while and try to pop the wheel back onto its axle.
Failing that he would pop it into his pocket. After a night’s sleep it would be on the kitchen table next to the cereal packet; good as new. When I say new, it would have a fresh coat of paint and the dents taken out too. Good as new, a miracle! The magic of the process never ceased to amaze me
and as the years went by, the mystery deepened”.
“I would avidly watch the ‘Masked Magician’ on telly, hoping vainly that he would show me the
secret. He could do it with a watch, but only by only pretending to break it in the first place. Of one thing he had convinced me, dad was pulling a fast one. Dad must either be the toy doctor or a
blinking liar! I set about to prove my theory with a gusto and a fervour that I had not felt since losing my faith in Santa Claus. I mean I’d been good all that year, even dad had said so, and I still hadn’t gotten my bike. Now what kind of Santa would do that to a boy? Not one I wanted to place faith in.”
“Mum had explained that when you get an idea about something you needed to test it out to make
sure that you’re right about it. Method: From what I understood of it, meant first proving that
destroyed toys were not simply replaced with new ones. I had to mark the broken pieces, in a way
that only I knew. If those markings were not there after the surgery, than dad would be a liar!”
“The plan came together easily with the magic pen. The pen you see, wrote with ink that you needed a special light to see. The police use it to track stolen things and having one to mark your valuables made the bills cheaper somehow; some grown up thing. The point is that dad had shown me the
magic on the VCR, and sure enough you could see our postcode under the magic light. Stealing the
pen was something that I was not particularly proud of, yet it had been surprisingly easy”.
“Colouring my car with that magic pen was really messy. I took the car outside when no one was
looking and parked it under dad’s car wheels. He would drive over it on his way to work, destroying it utterly. I ‘forgot’ about my car all evening; and sure enough it was crushed and shattered beyond repair that following morning. I had seen the whole thing from my bedroom window. I took the car
to mum all bleary eyed, and she had said that it would need ‘intensive care’. I had asked her how that worked and she explained that some things took more mending than others; like that time
granddad had fallen off the ladder”.
“He’d gone to intensive care (in the people hospital) and now got around in a wheelchair. If not for intensive care, he would have died. Our cat went to intensive care once too, that was when Mr
Snape ran over Fluffy in his car. Fluffy went to the vet (animal hospital); Fluffy went to intensive care and fell asleep. Fluffy never woke up again. Sometimes intensive care does not work for cats or
people, but it always works for toys. Not for everybody mind you, anybody else would take this
twisted wreckage of a car; and throw it in a bin. My house has a toy hospital though, and the
surgeons are awesome. They can fix anything, even this crushed car”.
“Now one thing I’d noticed was that other parents would get really cross when a toy got broken.
Their children would be told to ‘play nicely’; and ‘don’t be so rough’ with their toys. Not mine
though, my parents are cool. I think my dad is the toy doctor and mum’s his naughty nurse. I don’t know what mum does to be naughty; but dad likes to smack her bottom for it. Mum seems to like
that too; he doesn’t like smacking me though because that’s different. Parents are just weird I
“Mum’s routine, oh yes; it (the toy silly) goes into a shoe box that mum locks in daddy’s wardrobe, she puts the key in her bra; so that only her and daddy know where it is. Then they leave the room and the surgeons come and operate, yes just like those ones on ‘Casualty’. The next day she would bring the toy down as good as new. Well we’ll see about that now won’t we, I rub my eyes with my
itchy jumper so my eyes water and mummy gives me ice cream, which of course she does. I heard
mum say to dad, (when they thought I couldn’t hear) that she can’t wear a bra today because her
nipples are milky! Yuck no more Corn Flakes for me”.
“Grownups are strange sometimes, but they get really weird when they think you can’t hear them. I secretly thought that daddy broke mommy’s bra looking for the key, but decided not to ask. Why
didn’t she use a pocket like everyone else?”
“Anyway she got the ice cream and rubbed her tummy with a smile. That’s funny; I thought she
doesn’t like ice cream because it makes her teeth hurt. She doesn’t like anything that makes her
teeth hurt; because she’s scared of the tooth doctor. She bends to open the freezer door and that’s when I see the key on the stair carpet. It twinkles at me as she gets us both some ice cream; and we eat it together. She’s talking at me about brothers and sisters; I don’t know what she is saying
because that key is twinkling at me from the stairs. It’s hard not to look at it as I eat the ice cream, it keeps twinkling to me”.
“Mum keeps talking about my brother or sister, which was mad because I haven’t got one. It’s just me and mum and dad; just the way I like it. The weird thing is that she hasn’t noticed the key; and my hands are getting all sweaty despite the cold ice cream. My head is throbbing and sweat stings my eyes. The key isn’t just twinkling now, its singing and only I can hear it. I tell mum that I want to go to bed because my head hurts. She thinks it’s from eating ice cream too fast, I agree although I’ve barely touched mine. She has a tear in her eye as she starts to eat mine”.
“I remember it well now (after ‘all that nastiness’). Yet back then, the only thought in my mind was of that singing key. It was the key that would unlock the gateway to those secrets that only my
house held, it is the key that changed my world forever; and theirs too”.
“It was warm when I picked it up and it glowed in my hand. I clenched my fist around it to drown its light and although it bit into my palm, the entire landing was suddenly aglow in its magnificence. So much so, that I did not need to put the light on to go upstairs. Stealing a look behind me I noticed that mum was crying, she had her back to me but I could still tell somehow. Right then I didn’t care; because I was already outside their bedroom. The one place I dare not enter without permission; yet there I was, my hand on the handle”.
“I was like Frodo at that moment, with a key and not a ring, the key to some Narnia like place that only grownups knew about; only some grownups anyway, my grownups. I was outside of their room,
a place of dark secrets that no child should ever know of. Of course I didn’t know that; so I turned that lock, with that key. It was humming in my hand as I turned the tumbler and as I pressed the
door with my foot, the lock clicked open”.
“I felt as if some evil creature might jump out and suddenly tear me apart; some weirdly silent
sentinel guard. I glanced toward the bedroom door, dimly noticing that I had left it ajar. There was a creak from the bottom stair, mum was coming! I had to be quick! My heart thundered in my chest, I can remember feeling hot and dizzy. I could hear my own racing heartbeat roaring in my chest. My
face felt itself stretching as my eyes bulged wider and waves of panic washed over me. It was now or never. I yanked the door open and gazed inside”.
“Another creak on the stairs, it sounded like dad at Christmas when the clock said two and they
thought I was asleep. Still it gave me little time. I quickly noticed the strange clothes; all leather and cold metal, handcuffs?”
“My fingers were already exploring the dusty darkness in their wondrous wardrobe; clawing and
grasping for that box of mystery. A bag, it rustled and a terrible smell escaped it, the contents were hard, rubbery and slimy to the touch. Fighting the urge to bring back up that uneaten ice cream; I stretched my fingers into the dark recesses of the wardrobe until they felt the hard corners of a cardboard box. I grabbed at it and pulled it toward me, scrabbling now in frantic haste. The footfalls were getting louder; now outside the door; I was caught for sure. I had to know what was going on in that box. Did it somehow contain something that could frighten me more than my mother’s
temper when she caught me with it?”
“Her footfalls just then; right outside of the door and a terrible panic rose within me, my head was screaming and an inky blackness swam into my vision. I blinked twice and examined the box. I could see light coming from within its cardboard folds. I was committed right then, regardless of whatever would happen next; I pulled of that lid”.
“What I saw in there changed my world forever. I blacked out as the bedroom door opened; the box
had tumbled to the floor. I remember the last two things that I saw, as the darkness enveloped me: Mum’s pink bunny slippers pointing at me, and the shrivelled little man in strange clothes that was running under the bed, trying desperately to hide behind a train-set box”.
“I awoke in the midst of darkness, a heavy weight holding me in a springy black prison. I could hear mum and dad shouting at each other, it was worse than ever before. Then I noticed the time, ten o’
clock. My time, my clock, my bed; I fumbled for the switch and clicked on the lamp. The shouting
suddenly stopped; and soon dad was in the doorway. I rubbed my eyes and looked at him, he simply
stared at me. I remember that look, and now that I’m older I’d say he looked angry and sad,
confused and relieved; all at the same time”.
“Back then he simply looked weird, everybody did after that. Mum came to the door next and dad‘s
eyes got cross. He gave mum that ‘go tidy your room’ look and she scurried away. He doesn’t shout at her like he does at me. He looked really tired as he stepped into my room, without asking, and clicked the light on”.
“He came and sat at the end of my bed and as I looked at him, he cried. I think it was his first time; he didn’t seem to be very good at it. His nose was running and I sat up and gave him my cleanest
tissue and he blew his nose on it. Wisely, I said nothing. I felt like I should give him a hug and pat his back; but it suddenly felt weird and well, I didn’t. Looking back I wished that I had. You see that was the last chance that I ever got to hug my dad. I’ll never get another one, because it was the day before the nastiness happened. No one had seen that one coming. When things get nasty they never
do, you know, see it coming”.
“The talk went on forever, before he first mentioned that box. He went on and on about the usual
stuff; you know: privacy, boundaries all that kinda stuff. I remember thinking it was all a bit silly really; I mean he’d never asked to come into my room either, but I knew better than to mention it.
These grownups make their own rules to guard their own guilty secrets, I know that know. It’s why different grownups have slightly different rules you see, because they all have different secrets; locked away from the prying eyes of the innocent, you know kids like I was”.
“Looking back I thought he would have mentioned the box a little earlier. At one stage I thought he wouldn’t mention it at all. Yes I was a little naïve back then, not like now. Now I know lots of things”.
“He went on and on for ages, it was like we’d suddenly become friends and we could share anything and everything. I almost believed him too, but that was when he mentioned the box and a huge wall climbed up in my mind. The memory of the box was locked behind it, on my side of the wall; the side where no one would ever get to it”.
“It’s dead silly looking back; I mean he obviously knew what was going on in the toy hospital; with its casualty department, the intensive care ward and the shrivelled little surgeons that operate in the magical dark. Somehow he thought, or rather hoped, that I had seen nothing. Maybe I had ‘blacked
out’ before discovering the truth behind those age old lies. So in the end it was quite easy to deny all knowledge of his guilty little secrets. He left me feeling ashamed and guilty. What I had seen was a lie, surely born of some ice cream headache”.
“After our talk he’d seemed relieved, he’d even smiled as he reached into his pocket and handed me
‘a brand new little something’ before he left”.
“He’d handed me a car. I gazed at it in horror as he left the room, surely this was a new one; yeah he’d just bought it for me, even though all the toy shops closed up at tea time. I was feeling hot again and panting for air as he closed my door. I glared at it in panic, my eyes stretching in my head; and yet I still needed to see it under the magic light. Was any of this real? Had I actually seen what I had seen? Again I was overridden by my own curiosity, that desire to shine a light on the truth hiding in the shadows of the lies. Curiosity, a strange word, and well we all know what curiosity did; don’t we? Well we do now!”
“The magic light was soon out from my pillowcase and plugged in to where my Power Ranger lamp
had been. I can’t remember if I screamed when I switched it on, because mum and dad were arguing
again. There was definitely a screaming in my head, that I do remember. I remember the surgeon
with the ugly smile clambering from my little glowing car as he spoke to me. You see it was my toy car all as good as new, washed in magic ink. The little surgeon was the magic driver you see; and he sometimes tells me things about people. Things those people don’t want you to know, dark things;
you know real dark”.
“I’m not going to tell you those secrets, I can’t I promised; but I will tell you that my scientific curiosity was tingling. Yes that, and the fact that I now had more questions about that toy hospital than ever before. With that curiosity in mind I set about with my ‘new experiments’.”
“The shouting got worse after all that; and sometimes they shouted late into the night. My tears and shouts for them to stop only made them worse. After a few days of this I became as tired and
grumpy as they seemed to be all the time. I kept falling asleep in school, and that made mum really cross. Dad was worse, in those days he’d just look at me. He’d just sit there and glare at me. At least I knew what was going on in mum’s head because all of the bad language told me. When someone
just stares at you, you can only guess; and that is kinda, well you know; scarier”.
“Dad put the hospital out for recycling, so it was quite easy to put it into my schoolbag and sneak it upstairs to hide under my bed. I’d also found it quite easy to ‘forget’ to feed Bubbles for a few days.
With mum and dad fighting so much I don’t think they’d noticed the departure of ‘that bloody fish’
until I told them. The worst part was holding the slimy thing and pretending to flush it down the toilet; while secretly putting it in my jumper. It was well yucky, smelly too. Anyway I put Bubbles in the box after tea. I didn’t sleep much that night I can tell you. So the next day Bubbles was deader and stinkier than ever. Mum made me take some medicine the next night, and I remember that it
left me all woozy, it also made me sleep”.
“Sleep was a part of the magic, I know that know; as Bubbles was okay again when I woke up. Well
more than okay actually; he was as good as new. So it was with a certain renewed vigour that I
poisoned Snowflake. Hey don’t look so shocked, cats get poisoned all the time and toy hospitals can mend fish, so the cat should have been alright; shouldn’t it?”
“Actually he was, washing up liquid works fine on goldfish; but I was going to need something
stronger for a cat. Snowflake had only gotten a little sicky, although he didn’t trust me after that.
Mum had always told me about bleach being nasty but I didn’t listen back then. I was only six so that kinda makes it all right yeah? Killing her was an accident I swear, honest it was; I didn’t know mums like cat biscuits. Well mine does. Well she did. Dad took her to the people hospital and they made her kind of better. She lost loads off her fat belly and one day even she smiled at me for the first time in ages”.
“I know that the surgeon helped her because he told me in my sleep. You see I’d put his car into her handbag because I knew that people doctors can’t cure bleach. Bleach is awesome it can kill
everything, dead. The surgeon was great, because even the doctors at people hospital said that a
part of her had died. It was a miracle that she’d survived. A miracle, ha if only they knew. See I’m not bonkers or anything, I was there I heard them say, honest!”
“Mum was great when she got home, she was better than new. She actually wanted me and dad and
everything was all cuddles and late bedtimes again. Although I once saw her rocking herself saying over and over”:
‘In the darkness I am longing,
Just one more time to hear,
The pitter patter of tiny feet,
Drawing softly near’.
“Yeah she kept saying it over and over; you know like when a record gets stuck. I don’t even know why I remember it. You know how strange grownups can get”.
“Aside from that, everything else was just great. Mum even bought me a new bike; it wasn’t my
birthday or anything. Dad though, well he was still broken. He had a new friend at work or
something, been having her all over the office for ages; in all of that overtime that he kept putting in on her. All that overtime that would never pay the bills, I know because I heard mum shouting at dad about it”.
“It still doesn’t make sense to me now, grownups; well they’re weird you know? They still argued
about all that stuff when they thought that I was asleep. It’s amazing what you can find out when they think you’re asleep; and your little grey surgeon tells you the rest”.
“So yeah, now that the nastiness was all over; I’d decided that I was going to fix dad in his sleep. I looked forward to seeing his happy look when I stuck that knife in his face. When he’s mended, do you think he’ll buy me an Xbox?”
We All Have Issues
The hard, cold concrete floor is wet in a way that makes my skin itch. The sore on my leg grows ever wider, regardless of how often I lick it clean. I scratch behind my ear and the pain is overwhelming.
My stomach growls like an angry pit bull; it’s raging with impatient insistence. Yet still no food again today. I lap up a lazy slug that had been skulking in a murky puddle. My throat aches to pull it down to my stomach; a stomach that seems to have forgotten what to do with it. Will it ever remember?
Dark clouds shout and spit at me as if I deserve no less, do I? I shiver and it is not only at the cold. A lightening flash and the sky glares at me. I suppress the yelp before it escapes my mouth. Shouting will only get me kicked again, or worse.
I gaze toward the fence that stands so near. Beyond that lies the fabled Fledgling Field. A field to a forsaken freedom, only a six foot distance that has become an eternity away. The heavy chain
around my neck will let me within a pawstep of that wonderfully wavy green grass. Grasses close
enough to sniff at, yet never to touch. The chain gets too tight by then; it crushes my neck until I can’t draw breath. Yet the agony is somehow worth the effort. I can barely crawl anymore; my
muscles are too withered to bear my weight.
Yet I know it’s there; beyond that gate lies the Fledgling Field enshrouded by an ethereal mist
leading to a promised land where pain itself dare not travel.
I hear the Beach of the Big Beyond as she calls to me; whispering my name on the wind, stirring
memories in those ancient sands of so many departed canines. She sings to me. With each new day,
that cherubic chanting calls a little louder. She sings to me, beckons me to frolic beyond the
Fledgling Field. The snowflakes tell me; I will go there soon.
Quivering and cowering now in the darkest of the dark; I feel the growing tension in my tail as the human ‘kicks off again’. He’s louder than usual, in a way that makes my head and my ears hurt. The fighting inside is worse than ever and fear creeps over my sodden fur. I quiver alone in the cold that always holds me; but will never take me from this existence, to that painless land of play and safety and food. The songs have told me of that place, a place where there are no collars and a bounty of the finest foods, endless frolicking and only occasional baths.
The door opens with a sudden crash; and my reverie is rudely ruptured. I try to slink into the
shadows, but the human has seen me. Dread fills every fibre of my being and I close my eyes against the tortuous torment that I am doomed to die in. I try not to think of the misery yet to come. The whimper of fear in my throat manages to escape and I cover my quivering face with my tattered
paws. I lay awaiting the inevitable barrage of hurt and hate that will hopefully take me from this wicked world that lies six feet and one kick away.
Oddly enough the kicks and punches don’t come and I slowly uncover one eye with my paw to peek
out. This human isn’t my usual tormentor; it has a look of something I have only ever heard of
before; heard as a rumour from other dogs that walk and play in that field. Suddenly I feel liberated as long arms encircle me and bleary eyes look down at me. He’s making human sounds that ring with the dulcet tones of compassion and a kindness that I have never known until this moment. In this
wonderful moment I think that the Big Beyond has found me, because the singing has suddenly
I’m not dead, for once I am alive! The Field of Freedom has given me new found strength; as I gather my paws to stand. My legs wobble and I can feel myself faltering, and then falling. Suddenly those long arms scoop me right up and hold me, embrace me in the kind of warmth that I have never felt
before. In this moment I know that I am alive; and that for once I feel great! Better than that, I have discovered a new hope and a new home that will be there long after I am. A home filled with the
love, warmth and kindness I’ve yearned for, for so very very long.
My apologies to the Beach, although I can no longer hear your song and your call has fallen from the breeze. I will see you again one day in a far off future. In those days I will play and roam in freedom with new found friends that I haven’t yet had chance to meet.
That’s why I’m not sure why I bit him. I mean the only time that any human had ever shown me
warmth and kindness, and I bit him. He screamed and dropped me. I could still taste his blood as I ran. I could never be sure where the energy came from, but I got away from there as fast as my legs could carry me. The feeling of the wind in my fur was an exhilaration I’d never felt before. My heart racing, I ran and ran. I had never felt so alive; because just for once I was alive. I wanted to live, and go on living; and so I ran.
I was free at last and the Beach and it’s Great Beyond had never been so far from my mind. The wind whistled through my ears as I ran, and my tongue could taste the air of freedom and joy. I wanted every one of my senses to rejoice in my new found liberation; and yet I ran with fear in my fur and panic in my paws.
The human world suddenly seemed vast and alien. The black floor was smooth, with white painted
on them. Huge metal beasts roared and honked and screeched to a sudden halt as I raced along the
dark-ways. I passed houses full of strange smells and sounds. This was one big wide world, and I
explored it at high speed.
It all ended as suddenly as it had begun, a huge beast suddenly rammed me, as it honked and
screeched to a halt. I was crying in pain as my legs forgot how to work; and the blood- taste in my mouth became my own. The world went as black as the floor and the little white line turned red as I saw the humans coming, coming for me. The Beach was back in my head again and the voices were
beautiful, they sang my name and I smelt the grass that wasn’t there; until the blackness of the dark-ways consumed me.
Death Row Reject
I don’t know when I woke up, I just know that I did; and when I did, it was here. I had been snatched from hell and carried into a dream; only to be expelled from that. The irony is bigger than that, because now that I’m better I’m waiting for them to kill me. At first I was rejected from home, and now I’m waiting to be rejected from life.
At least three of my legs still work; they’ve taken the other one away. Now when I wee, I fall over and my fur gets wet. The kennel keeps me waiting to hear the song of the Great Bridge; the tune
that is humming amidst the howling of those begging to cross its boundary. You see nobody wants
to die, sure we all want to end up on The Beach of the Great Beyond; and yet there is never a time when you’d want to be actually sent there. You simply want to scratch and fall asleep; and just wake up there. You certainly don’t want to wake up here, waiting to be sent for.
It’s strange really, you know, how the humans lord their power over our destiny. As a pup I recall that I was beaten if I so much as lifted my leg without permission. Here they take us away, for being too old to foster or too expensive to cure. The power of life and death is down to care or cure and that dominion lies solely in human hands. The power to inflict pain was in the hands, and feet, of my previous owners. If man was once a dog’s best friend, I now see him as little more than the most
twisted of torturers. You see, waiting to die is the most protracted of pains; when all that you are guilty of is puncturing the hand that punched you. Yeah, he hit I bit; guilty as charged. Except that the last one hadn’t hit me.
Getting the death sentence for defending myself; makes me question the essence of justice for my
kind. Of course this is mankind’s justice, not mine. If the situation was somehow reversed, the
human wouldn’t have to die at my paw. If I’d bitten him I’d maybe expect to be bitten back, not to be handed a death sentence.
The oddest thing is that while I’m here I’m cared for much better than before. Ironic isn’t it; that to prepare for the Great Beyond, they want me all healthy and clean? So yes I’m well fed and exercised; and yes I do feel really fit. Fit to die.
The humans mill about doing the same routine; it’s the same day by day. They lord their power over us; little realising that it is their perceptions that are askew. The way I see things: The one who cleans up the mess is the inferior one. At least these humans don’t kick and scream when we foul, like my last owner had. The thought makes my bones itch and the fur on my back stand on end. My
previous owners had plied their cruelty in quite a different way to these.
The hours behind those bars faded into days, and those soon faded into weeks; then time simply
dragged on. You could almost feel the clock drain away a little more of you with every passing
second. It was a time of wicked introspection, punctuated by routine and frightened barks. That was until the cage doors opened; and the humans with the poles came.
Every morning they would walk us on a machine, round and around we would go, it somehow felt
like the winding up of the death chamber; the chamber that claimed more of us every day. It was
hell in there and sometimes it got so loud that you could not hear the calling; those were the worst of times. That sighing kept you, kind of well, together; you know?
That all changed one morning as I awoke to the sleep addled sight of the cage door. My heart
wanted to stop; and I’m sure it did, as the human with the poles placed his key in the lock. Time seemed to move slowly then; and the pole advanced on me along with a certain mortal dread. The
fear of death was on me as I knew that my time had come.
I barked and my hackles rose, but the pole soon had me in its infernal hoop; and then I was
crammed into a cage that was all cold and metal. There was something horrible and final about it. I fought, although I knew it was pointless. I’d seen the others fight the poles. I had even promised myself that when my moment came, I would go quietly and with my eyes open. But all I could think
of in that moment was to fight them every step of the way. So I snarled and yapped and barked and snapped at the bars in that tiny cage. The poles, I’m ashamed to say, made short work of me as I was ushered to the carrier cage. It was the cage that would carry me to the gas chamber.
The corridor dragged by as if on stolen time; and all too soon I could only watch the walls as they passed me by on the way to that room of doom. I covered my eyes with my paws and whimpered;
my voice melded into the frightful crying of my friends. That passage was long, too long, yet
somehow it could never have been long enough.
A door had opened onto a sudden burst of light and the rumble of humans talking. I was terribly
afraid and yet I somehow managed to move my quivering paw; and glare into the bright light that
burned right into my eyes; even through them.
Then all too soon it struck me; this was no chamber of the damned; it was a car- park. That bright light was the sun and yet not the one that shines on Beyond Bridge. It shone not on a dark-way, but a bright-way. A bright-way to a whole new world, a world filled with fun and freedom.
Even as the car boot had shut with me in it, my tail had been wagging. Wagging at the irony that
even death row had rejected me; and when that happens, a whole new life can begin.
I’ve decided not to bite these humans, or at least I’ll try not to. Sure, I have issues as sharp as my teeth and I’ll always take those with me; but then again who doesn’t?
THE END/ BEGINNING?
“There were quite a few surprised faces when the ‘Prof’s Party Peeps’ stumbled into St. Chad’s I can tell you! Oh you should have seen them Mabel! Anyway in they came, there were those that were
barely attired and those that were wearing, some kind of neon dress code of their own. They looked like rejects from a heathen convention or something. One of them blasphemed right there, well the bishop went quite purple and broke into one of those ‘coughing fits’; you know the ones!”
“So there we were, the suitably attired and those neon people and those poor freezing harlots in
their underwear at the funeral. Ooh seriously you couldn’t make it up, Mabel! Where was I? Right, well the hubbub finally subsided and Bishop Brennan finished this lovely little prayer. He paused then, and you know, I think he was almost frightened. He crossed himself and said that bit; you
know the one about the speeches”.
“The look on his face; when the son got up all bleary and noble, bishop praised the lord for that one he did. I read it on his lips, you know me hearing”.
“The lad gave a lovely memory of his dad and that first chemistry set! You’d have been proud Mabel, he had me in tears and yet he held himself with grace and pride; he did.”
“Well this silver harlot in a bikini and the biggest heels wobbles up, and the church, well it got a dark mood amongst the pious it did Mabel. I shall tell you what she said and you’ll wanna sit down for this one. I said sit down Mabel!”
“Well she pulls this speech from her nether regions, if that didn’t make the bishop blush you should hear what it said. I said you should have, oh never mind you deaf bat!”
“She says, ‘Old dude’, she says and I’ll never forget this, ‘Old dude, your parties was like the
awesomest ever and you was like a dad to me!’ Then she giggled Mabel, a really mucky giggle and
she says; ‘cept that time over the toilet!’ Oh dear!”
“Well, and she honestly didn’t know what she’d said was wrong; until the poor wife runs out of
church. Well Mabel; she were beside herself, poor thing! Well and that’s not the best, worst, of it Mabel! One of them neon, I think he was a cowboy, types said. Obviously the brains of the bunch
said, ‘What, he was married? That dirty old…’
“Well Bishop Brennan took the lot of them out, during one of his coughing fits; you know the ones!
And clear as day and you can ask Rosy yourself ‘cos she heard ‘em clear as day; even though doors were shut. Some young hussy says, ‘What you mean we’re at the wrong effing church?’ And they
start arguing and another one says, ‘How was I to know, it’s an effing church; they’re all called saint somebody or others aren’t they!”
The Jelly Diaries (part one)
The Googlings and Twitterations of Vert Green
Life began, as always, as a gelatinous blob on the end of a nozzle that ejected me into the mould that would forever shape my existence. That nozzle had already decided what colour I would enter
the world as; and in retrospect I would have chosen to be purple or even yellow, any other colour than green. I mean, trust fate to decide that I should be the least popular of all flavours; to be starch powder coated and castigated, kicking and screaming into a cruel and unforgiving world for crimes unknown. So there I was, dumped into the big yellow bag containing several of my kind; and other