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I am a writer of novels, plays and film scripts. I live in Manchester England with my partner Andy and our teenage son Jack. Andy and I started my Newsletter Raw Meat and began publishing with Rawprintz in 1999 to showcase my work. Some of you may be confused by my continual references to Ziggy, that’s my wheelchair! Both Andy and I are writers. I’ve recently lost my sight – hence the continual reference to my being confused! Thanks for visiting.

My Comrades...


Writer's Island Sizzle

The prompt at Writer's Island this week is Sizzle.


As I walk across the main square in Tunis all I’m aware of is the thin leather sandals I’m wearing flapping against the souls of my feet with every step I take; the straps of the sandals have been broken for quite some time, but I haven’t had the money to get them mended. One of my sisters offered to mend them a few weeks ago but I refused her help in my usual way – a brief shake of the head and a low growl, “No thanks, forget it.” So the sandals remain to be an irritation to me… oh well, such is life.

I pause in the bright sunlight as I feel a tug at the white linen of my sleeve. I turn around to see my younger brother Saul, who’s been following me with the trailer. He knocks off a few of the carrots as he does so, I watch him pick them up quickly… I can feel the heat from the bubbling frustration inside me even now.

“Sorry Mohammed… Do you still want to sell these?” Saul says apologetically, brushing off the dirt from the carrots. “I don’t think it will matter – no one will notice anyway. Why don’t you stop here in the shade to sell them? You don’t want to be too obvious, not when there’s so many people around.”

I brush a fly away from my face as I move defiantly into the sunlight glancing at Saul dismissively.

“No, I’ll sell my things here… I want to attract attention, that’s the whole idea of selling. Here, give me the stuff… Thanks, see you later.”

Saul hands over the vegetables to me which I set down all around me, making them as obvious as I dare. I don’t know what it is about today but I feel so on edge, so irritable my general frustration bubbling just beneath the surface, threatening to break out and erupt like a volcano at any moment. Saul can’t sense this because he turns away and disappears thankfully amongst the crowds of people. I’m left alone which I’m glad about – I can’t share this anger with anyone but I can’t afford to move or even to breathe. I want to sell most of the vegetables before I’m stopped by a policeman. I suspected this, I knew this was coming.

“Haven’t you got anything to give us?” The policeman asks me, giving me a hefty shove backwards. “You’ve been selling stuff… you must have money?”

I stare at him furiously. “I’m not giving you anything – This is all a complete sham! Get lost. Get away from me.”

He gives me a sharp slap across my face, making the blood ring in my ears, I’m so angry. My anger is sizzling within me – fighting for release.

“Don’t you dare… You’d better keep away from me.” I struggle to my feet, beginning to back away. I continue to shout at him half blind by my own fury. “You won’t get away with treating me like shit – who the Hell do you think you are? I’m going to the Governor… So you’d better get ready for the sack!”

The policeman is still laughing, even as I scuttle away amongst the crowds in the main square. I take no notice, I know where I’m heading… the Governor’s office on the other side of the square. The Red Flag flies above it signifying the high point of my anger. I suddenly feel a droplet of saliva hit me on the cheek – the droplet lies against my skin in the warm air of the afternoon. That’s all that I’m aware of as I move forwards, not caring who I’m pushing aside. The high point that I won’t be able to reach before the eruption, the lava flowing down. I run up the front steps of the building, taking the stairs two or three at a time… my leather sandals are still flapping continually against the soles of my feet all of the time.

“I want to see the Governor of Tunis right away – I’ve got the most serious complaint!” I shout in a clear voice as soon as I approach the front desk. The man sitting there looks up at me with only a very slight interest, putting down his pen. He stares at me lazily and yawns.

“Can you tell me your name? If you want to make a complaint you can at least do it properly.”

“My name is Mohammed Ali, and I want to complain about the police insulting me just now in the main square. I want something done. This sort of thing has got to stop!”

The official gazes at me briefly before pulling a sheet of paper towards him and beginning to write. Every movement he makes is very slow, deliberately slow.

“The police insulting you… are you serious? How old are you Mohammed?”

I press my fist on the surface of his desk, trying to control my anger.

“I’m 26. So please don’t treat me like a child! I want to see the Governor.”

The official smiles and shakes his head very slowly.

“I’m afraid that’s impossible. Not for something as insignificant as this. The Governor is a busy man… he has a lot more important things to do with his time. I cannot allow you to bother him.” The red flag is flapping before my eyes, the blood bubbling to the surface.

“I demand to see the Governor right now! Or else I’ll…”

“Or else what? Go away and stop wasting my time!”

I turn away from the desk and walk across the entrance hall towards the wide open doors, every pace in slow motion, as if counting out the seconds, entering the sunlight again, I can feel it beating down upon my head I can feel the ends of my black hair sizzling by the heat and my anger. I descend the front steps very slowly as if moving through a bubbling liquid, like lava, or even blood. I’m moving towards the end of my anger… I feel around in my pocket until my fingers close around a lighter. Drawing it out very slowly, I stare at it for several moments as I reach the bottom. Moving into the spotlight of the white sun, I gaze around as the expectant faces turn towards me… waiting.


Writer's Island Superstition

The prompt at Writer’s Island this week is: Superstition


Friday the thirteenth of May, three-thirty pm. “Twenty-five, twenty-six please…” I place the eggs carefully on the top of everything else so they don’t get broken!

I clear the counter for the next customer, who begins taking her stuff from the trolley and stacking it on the check-out. I try not to yawn; the woman I’m watching blearily looks almost as bored as I feel myself. She’s pretty old – I see there are quite a few wrinkles beneath her eyes, and her hair is steel grey. Her hair seems to be almost made of metal – not hair at all, but a thin steel sheet encasing her head. Like a sort of protective helmet I suppose… I shake my head to clear the vision. I think I definitely had too much to drink last night… I’m still seeing things even after a few hours sleep. I jab my crimson finger nails on the counter, taking care not to squash the packet of moon cakes which the woman has put there, beside the Chinese leaves, eggs, noodles, beans and other such things. My eye runs over the items fleetingly; I’m not really interested, this is just a part-time job, ringing up the sales, filling in time, extra money to pay my rent.

“Excuse me dear… does your supermarket take cards?”

I stare at her blankly for a moment – that voice doesn’t seem to belong to match her appearance at all.

“Of course we do,” I snap back, pushing her items along the counter impatiently. “This is the biggest Chinese supermarket in Los Cristianos, you know… of course we take cards.”

“Oh… alright, I’m sorry.” The woman watches me nervously, wringing her hands together, as I press the buttons on the cash register viciously to ring up the sale. The woman shakes her head from side to side, it could be a nervous twitch, I’m not sure, she gives a silly little laugh and she looks at me with her tired eyes, the wrinkles running down her face to meet the lines around her mouth. “I’m sorry – you must forgive me, I’ve not had much sleep I’m afraid. There’s been… some trouble, or rather, there will be. Though I’m not superstitious, still…”

I stare at her, feeling my crimson lipstick crawling over the scornful curve of my lips.

“What do you mean? What’s happened?”

“Nothing, yet.” Once again, the woman gives a nervous laugh, opening her purse to get her card. The image suddenly stays with me… the shop girl and the customer paying, the grey hair on her head mixing suddenly with the crimson light of my lipstick… the executioner awaits. “But I’m sure… I feel unsafe. There’s a man being stalking me for the past few days… I don’t know what’s going on in his head… but I’m scared. So, you see – that’s why I can’t sleep.”

I stare at her, my crimson mouth hanging open. I don’t know what to say; I can see the old English tourist suddenly beside her open-air swimming pool with her husband, at the plastic table with perhaps a cocktail placed upon it. I see the image moving slightly behind my eyes… every second the stalker gets a little closer, the butcher’s knife in his hand gleaming.


Writer's Island Season

The prompt at Writer's Island this week is: Season

Here's my response:


I pause to try and catch my breath; I can feel the droplets of sweat rolling down my back like a river, between my shoulder blades. The woollen garments I wear cling to my skin with a horrid sort of tenacity, and I can almost hear the sound they make as they rub against my skin. I glance up into the bright sunshine, it burns into the lenses of my eyes and I have to look away for a moment. The glare of the white snow all around reflects the rays of the sun and takes my sight away from me… but still I can hear the grunts and wheezes of the men around me as they push the sledge up the edge of the glacier. I’m only one of the team working so hard to reach the South Pole; we’ve come so far through the snow and ice, pushing the sledges, feeding the horses and then shooting them, feeding them to the dogs and always moving on with an unaccountable determination inspired by Captain Scott himself, moving on tirelessly towards our goal. And still the sun burns down without ceasing, mixing day and night so that they become one, and the seasons are confused. Like several of the other men, I peel off my outer layers of clothing so that I’m wearing just my long woollen underclothes and boots of course. I feel ridiculous even though there’s no one really to mind, as all the other members of the team have done exactly the same. Including the captain himself, I believe. We must be nearing the top of the glacier now, I’m sure… perhaps there on the plateau we can rest… it’s difficult to tell the time when the sun is up all day and all night, but it must be nearly lunchtime for my stomach is rumbling. I kick the snow from the side of the sledge to help it up the sharp incline, though I don’t know if it will do anything at all for the snow is as much a part of this natural scenery as anything, and has more right to stick to the sledge than I have. “Let us stop here for a while,” called out the captain from the front of the sledge. “We have reached the plateau now, and we deserve a special Christmas dinner… we’ll go over there, beside that incline.” The captains voice became louder as he walked towards me. “ Unpack the food we brought, John… have we got turkey?” I exchange a grin with him, my face breaking easily into such an expression on such a day as this. The sun continues to burn down, reflecting off the snow without ceasing. There seems to be no respite, no end to this day. This Christmas day, in 1912… a Christmas day which I will always remember, which will always be burnt - etched into my memory, engrained so that the textures can be felt by fingers unseen. I began to open one of the pouches of food and examine the contents. “Yes, captain… we have turkey here, and even roast potatoes… though they are somewhat cold I’m afraid.” Captain Scott roared with laughter, clapping me heartily on the back. “No matter John - no matter! This will be a Christmas we will never forget!” I smiled also, if a little feebly. The sun continued to burn down day and night, mixing the seasons into one… the snow transgressing upon the sunshine. The two tried to mix, but the solution didn’t work… they simply stayed side by side, without touching.