Saturday, 5 December 2015

Space Hoppers And Guilty Feelings

Howden Drive was never the safest place to live, I think that's when I first started to barricade myself in. It wasn't safe on the outside and now all these years later I'm still trying to lock myself away from everybody. The furthest I'd wander was the back yard where I'd play wall tennis for hours on end. Looking back I was probably the wall tennis champion of the world, I don't think Ivan Lendl could have beaten me on my best days. 

I also liked to bury things. I remember once trying to bury my orange space hopper. To be honest I can't remember whether I succeeded. Maybe it's still there underneath the shed that went up years later. I often think about that space hopper and wall tennis and all those years of hiding away. And burying. I still think about burying. That's what I think about sometimes in the middle of the night or after a particularly bad dream. I think of her. And how I never got to bury her completely. She's always there and she won't go away no matter how many times I try to apologize.

192 Words


                                                                                (C) Ally Atherton 2015

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Smell of Dragon

Most people I know have ditched their cars and prefer to do their shopping whilst riding on the backs of their dragons. It's so common place these days it's almost as if the dragons have always been here. They've had to make all the doors bigger of course but most big stores have built in dragon flaps to make it easier for everybody.

I'm an old romantic though and dream of a world without dragon shit and dragon flaps and the smell of dragon farts follows me everywhere, it's almost impossible to imagine a world that doesn't smell of dragon fart. People try to compensate by smothering themselves in perfume and by wearing pegs in their noses but it doesn't work. None of it works. We live in a dragon fart world and we just have to suck it up and move on. I don't have a big one because dragons don't come cheap. I have a geriatric dragon. It's the dragon equivalent of a battered old Ford Escort. I'd actually be quicker walking. But walking is as old school as sitting in the back row of a Neneh Cherry concert. You wouldn't want to be seen dead walking on your legs. And It will soon be illegal.

Already there are signs up in front of the town hall mentioning plans to make Chorley Town Centre a No Leg Zone and Morrisons and ASDA now have dragon only check outs. So old romantics like me are being squeezed out. We have to shut up or put up or invest in a better quality dragon.

(C) Ally Atherton 2015

Thursday, 20 August 2015


My wife has always been good at embroidery and the talking pillows were her idea and I just went with it.

I don't know how many she's made but I've got to know them all intimately over the years.

When we first moved in together I used to rest my head on the I Love You pillow. The one with the pink owl sat on a tree. I gave her the I Love you too one so that we were a matching set. But gradually I've got to know most of them. It wasn't long before Sweet Dreams replaced I Love You, although to be fair to my wife pillowcases do have to be washed regularly. But I admit I was surprised how quickly Sorry I've Got A Headache and I Have To be Up Early In the Morning arrived on the scene.

Our dog has his own pillow now which is great for him. Although he doesn't really appreciate it as much as she'd like him to. Very often we wake up to find Billy on the couch and with his Little Devil pillow flung on the floor. He always has the same pillow. Even though he's had a few replacements after chewing some of them. He's not one for change.

It's a long time since we've been coordinated, me and the wife. And usually when I  sneak into the closet to find her I Love You pillow when she's not looking I'm normally end up being something else altogether. A mismatch. I'm very often Mr Grumpy or Never Satisfied. She has power over the pillows. She's the pillow master. I'm not allowed in the closet anymore. When we first married it was a game of  Who can get in the closet first and we would sometimes fight over the Sex Bomb pillow. I haven't seen that one for a few years and if I found it, Billy would probably get it before me.

We've had a few bad arguments over the years and she even has her own set of pillows for those occasions. Unfortunately I know them to well. You really don't want to know what they have written on them.

She always makes sure I have one of her pillows even if I'm sleeping on the couch or in the porch. If I go away on business I normally take Mr Grumpy with me. It's probably the most comfortable of the lot.

She's great at embroidery but not very good at plumping up pillows. I don't know what she puts in them. It could be leaves or teabags or nail clippings as far as I am concerned. They've never been very comfortable. Although Billy always seems to have the plumpest pillow going. He must be doing something right.

Lately she's started to make a new batch but she does it in secret. Either the old ones are looking worse than I thought or she's found new ways to describe me. There's a Fat Bastard in there somewhere, I just know it. Or maybe she's just looking ahead and she's working on the one that's going in my coffin. She's always looking too far ahead and maybe she thinks it's going to happen sooner rather than later.

No doubt she's making some new one's for Billy. But it's always Little Devil. He's never anything else. Unlike me. I dread to think of what I'm going to be resting my head on for the next twenty years. It seems a long time since I was Stud Of The Year or that one night in Vegas when I was Irresistible.

I don't know what my coffin pillow is going to say. I don't really like to think of it. But I'm guessing it's going to be the comfiest of the lot.


                                                                                         Ally Atherton 2015

Thursday, 9 April 2015


' Hey what the hell did you do that for?'

'Shut the fuck up and concentrate on your own driving!' He said and swiftly gave me the bird.

I looked on the ChatMap and saw that all the cars were flashing. You see that was the problem with the system, everybody was too busy arguing and nobody was concentrating on the road ahead of them.

'Can't you put your foot on the peddle? I'm growing a fucking beard here arsehole.'

I looked through the mirror. It was an old timer. Somebody who was around in the old days before ChatMap and the holographic police.

I pressed on his avatar and told him to go to hell.

You can't turn them off that's the problem. They're a legal requirement so that the Hols can keep an eye on everyone. They know everything we are saying and soon they will know everything we are thinking as soon as the thought patches are rolled out.

'Fucking get a move on!'

He was really doing my nut in now but I didn't want to get drawn into a long drawn out argument in the middle of the highway. Besides I already had twelve notches on my card and one more would mean a two year ban. So I had to suck it up. I couldn't risk a vehicle disorder charge.

'Move it!'

I pressed the block button and continued to suck it up. But it would only last five minutes and blocks were expensive and I wasn't made of money.

I could see him gesticulating behind me. Obviously the old fucker suffered from block rage. Tough shit. Now he had to suck it up for a bit.

Incoming Message

It was the hols. What the hell did they want now? I didn't do nothing.

Pull over at the next HolDeck. Repeat. Pull over the the next HolDeck.

The bastard behind me was laughing his guts out. Why did they have to make incoming messages so public?

I pulled in and waited for the fuzz to materialize. Arseface zoomed past and flicked the bird and then sent me a picture of a Nun being fucked from behind. I just had time to delete it before a Hol told me to wind down the window. If he saw it he didn't say anything or maybe Nuns didn't do it for him.


'What's that in the back of your car?'

I had a horrible feeling he was going to say that. The Nun picture popped up again and this time we both saw it.

'I blocked him that's why he sent it.'

The Hol didn't reply, he just continued to look at the bodies that I'd spent all night carefully tucking in between the back seats and the floor. I tried to make a run for it but they had already put my car into lockdown. There was no escape.

'I can explain officer,' I said.

But no explanation could get me out of this. Before I could even think, my car was surrounded by Hols and all the other cars on the highway were being transported to their destinations and were disappearing one by one.

'I can explain.'

I couldn't. There are some things that are explainable and this wasn't one of them.

There were three dead bodies in the back of my car and I couldn't turn back time. I didn't have a big red button to press to make them all disappear. Only the Hols had the big red buttons.

'I'm sorry.' That's all I could say. 'I'm really sorry.'

I couldn't move my arms or my legs. They were transporting me. The game was up.

The officer leaned forward and whispered in my ear.

'Ok you know the rules. Nobody is allowed to have more than two dead bodies in the back of their vehicle. You should have stuck to two like everybody else.'

The game was up. Just before I arrived at the penal sphere I just caught a glimpse of the Nun again and this time she had a superimposed image of me on her back.

                                              (C) Ally Atherton 2015

685 Words written for the A to Z blogging challenge.

Friday, 27 February 2015


WHEN I WAS a kid I used to sit on the edge of my bed and imagine my room was separating from the rest of the house by a few inches every night. I was desperate and happy to try anything and I hoped that by the time I reached 18 it would be in a different neighbourhood and not just sat like a very awkward shed at the end of our garden.

It's still there. The house. The room. I'm not, I escaped eventually but by a more traditional method.

But if you look carefully there's a tiny crack in the wall where my bed used to be and a part of me thinks that maybe I would have got there eventually if had tried hard enough, so maybe it's my fault what he did.


                                                                                  @ Ally Atherton 2015

136 words for #FridayFlash