Thursday, 15 December 2011

Iraq: the US is gone but not forgotten

So the US is finally out of Iraq – well sort of, I guess they still have some mechanism for meddling. And apparently it's been such a success. You only have to utter the 'S' word in this context to realise the horrific joke. Then there's the 1 trillion dollars the US spent. You could have done seriously good work in Iraq with that kind of money. But no spend it on destruction.

What I really want to comment on is most of the press coverage. Last night on the BBC Newsnight program we saw a typical example.

Want to cover US troops leaving Iraq? Well, it's obvious, you travel to a US army base somewhere in the United States where Obama is speaking. Of course.

Has anyone looked at a map; seen where American is; where Iraq is?

Want political comment on the US withdrawal? Well, it's obvious, interview Washington insiders and pundits.

But what you should never do, never ever do, and something that would never cross the narrow pathetic mind of a Newsnight 'journalist' in get the opinion of an Iraqi. What! Allow someone who has to live with the consequences, and is from the region, to have an opinion. Never; it's not allowed. Not a single person from the region was interviewed; not one single person of any political persuasion. It was all white skins, American accents, and safe Washington advisers or military, well, lets be honest, criminals, murderers. Anyone with the wrong skin colour or accent is simply not allowed have an opinion or, worst of all, be seen as some kind of expert.

This is tantamount to racism on the part of Newsnight.

Monday, 12 December 2011

I Want To Go

My little flash fiction story Control-Alt-Delete has appeared today on 365tomorrows. This site publishes a daily piece of flash fiction in the science and speculative fiction genre. It's something of a mix with miscellaneous types of science and speculative fiction. Also the quality varies from many intriguing pieces all the way to the occasional why-the-hell-did-they-bother.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

I Hate Christmas – Homeless

He slumps hunched up in the doorway, dirty red coat drawn in tightly; a vain attempt to keep out the cold.

He mutters: “Bloody supermarkets did me in. Bloody supermarkets.”

Hours pass and no sleep; forever tired, exhausted, but no sleep. The city streets empty but the street lights glare on.

He mutters: “Bloody supermarkets. No one wants craft no more. Bloody supermarkets.”

A police car passes, stops, drives back. The policeman in the passenger seat gets out.

“Can't stop here.”

The man struggles blearily up.


“Santa, Santa Claus.”

“Fucking cheek. Now fuck off.” he raises his fist but does not strike. Just threatens. Just threatens!

Santa scurries off as best he can. The policeman gets back in the car watching.

“Just some gobshite,” he says to the driver.

Fifteen minutes later and Santa is back in the doorway. There's nowhere else.

A nearby club chucks the stragglers out. They cascade drunkenly down the street kicking trash cans, cars, each other. A taxi passes and they try to flag it down, it speeds up, drives passed, they scream obscenities as it turns the corner. They spot Santa, trapped vulnerably, in the doorway…

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I Hate Christmas – Sledge Ride

Mrs Claus peeked out of her cottage door and onto the icy flat wastes. She looked out as the wind and sleet cut into Santa as he struggled to load up his sledge. She watched as he trudged between workshop and sledge with box after box. Standing there in her deep red overcoat she watched with the door slightly ajar. Then, as the wind became more bitter, Santa fetched the reindeer from the barn and started to hitch them up. Just as he finished she open the door more fully, poked her head out and called out:

“A little something before you go?”

Santa looked up, nodded, smiled; it wasn't often Mrs Claus was generous; it was better to show willing than risk retribution later. He entered the kitchen and closed the door behind him. A lovely respite from the wind.

“Stick your feet up,” said Mrs Claus, hot toddy in hand.

“Ta.” Santa sat by the piping hot stove, took the glass and had a little sip. The warm felt good inside. “Not too much now, plenty to drink when I'm on me round.”

“You sure you won't let me this year?”


“You're getting on, you said it was hard, you know, after last year.”

”Man's work my dear.”

“Still, I'm fed up all stuck here, waiting.”

“I know me dear. We's all got our jobs to do.”

Mrs Claus went to the stove behind Santa. He relaxed and took another sip. This hot toddy was a good one.

Santa looked down, something was tightening around his belly, a rope, another rope, he was pulled back tightly into the chair. His arms tightened, handcuffs snapped against his wrists and pinned his arms to the chairs arms. That delicious hot toddy fell to the floor. His legs, pulled, pushed and bound to the chair. He was about to call out when gaffer tape was plastered across his mouth. He uttered a muffled scream. It was all over in seconds then Mrs Claus was standing in front of him, hands on hips, smiling.

“It's my turn, don't you think,” she said, starting to button up her coat.

Mrs Claus put some more coal on the stove and prodded it with a poker.

“You'll keep nice and warm now,” she said.

Moments later and the front door slammed behind her and Mrs Claus was gone. Santa uselessly struggled in the chair, swearing fit as no child should hear, not that they would have heard anything more then muffled venom.

A blow for good old fashioned, do it yourself, women's liberation. After all Santa is old and far too fat to deliver the toys.

“Ye-heeeeeeeeeeee,” Mrs Claus sang out as the sledge took off, climbed, and disappeared over the horizon.

Friday, 2 December 2011

I Hate Christmas – Flight Control

The tiniest little blip flickered on the Heathrow air traffic control radar. A vigilant controller just spotted it; after the haranguing from security they'd had only that morning on home grown terrorism.

Fighters were dispatched; and the unconventional aircraft was forcibly landed on the tarmac; quickly being surrounded by police vehicles and marksmen.

The reindeer were bundled off to the cat meat factory and Santa headed towards immigration; the sledge impounded.

Two years later and Santa is still in detention, identity unverified, and awaiting deportation – to where? who knows? – they cannot find a country that will have him.

I Hate Christmas – Christmas Business

It was a cold dark night and the road behind the cathedral was almost empty. There were a few parked cars, lightly covered with snow, and the occasional woman standing at corners plying their trade. A thin grey man slipped out of the shadows, crossed the slushy road hugging his dark overcoat around him, he hesitantly walked towards the nearest woman. Momentarily his pasty grey face was highlighted under the street lights.

On arriving at the corner he looked up and seemed to have second thoughts. She was fat, boy was she fat. Unwashed, the stench cut though the cold air. The harsh red dress she just about wore was dirty and tattered; the result of months of continuous grime.

“Business,” she said. “Come on big boy you know you want to. Only £10, for you special offer.”

Meekly she look him by the hand the they slipped up a back alley where the snow was undisturbed.

In the darkness of the back alley, and otherwise engaged, they did not see the men running towards them, batons in hand.

“Whore, scum,” they shouted. The woman, on her knees at the time, was smacked over the head, the baton swung down at the perfect angle for a vicious blow. “Take that you bitch.”

Then the rest piled in boots, batons striking the woman in a frenzy. The grey man stood, aghast, back pressed tightly against the wall, trousers down, shrivelled manhood exposed.

One of the men shouted: “Stop now, mustn't kill the whore, much as she deserves it.”

A few more blows and the rest stepped back. “Chief Constable's new policy on whores,” another of the men shouted at the battered woman, “zero tolerance, get up you bitch.”

The woman dragged herself up clutching the wall, semen still dribbling down her chin, blood gushing down her face, bruises everywhere. It was only then that it sunk in these were the police.

A constable shone his torch in the grey man's face. “Blimey you. Sorry sir, archbishop sir. The church really does take vice seriously this time of year. Better run along now. Sorry for interrupting, sir. Off you go, double quick.”

The grey man slunk off as fast as his thin legs would allow. The constable turned to the woman.

“Name?” he demanded.

“Mrs Claus.”

“In the circumstances we'll say no more. Why do you do this?”

“Someone's got to pay for all those bloody toys.”