He Was a Nervous Child


Andrew had been a nervous child. He had grown into a tense and nervous young man with persecutory delusions. His therapist had diagnosed Paranoia and they had controlled it with medication, anti psychotics. Andrew had forgotten to take his meds for almost two weeks now. It wasn’t his fault. He had been distracted by Mr. Parsons, the postman. Mr. Parsons had been almost two hours late with the post that first day. It had been Andrew’s birthday and he had hoped to receive a card with a gift from Olivia, who lived in Hampstead.

He and Olivia were in a relationship. They had met on-line. They had never seen each other because they lived so far apart and neither of them drove but she had promised to send him a photo of herself for his birthday. When that bastard, Parsons had finally gotten to the house there was no card from Olivia. It must be delayed in the post, he thought, tomorrow – it’ll be here tomorrow, he told himself.

Andrew fretted and forgot to take his meds.

There was no card from Hampstead the next day, or the day after. Parsons was coming later and later each day and Andrew continued to neglect his medication. At some point Andrew decided Mr. Parsons had taken the photo of Olivia for himself. Parsons wanted to steal his girlfriend. After two weeks Andrew had waited long enough. He still had no photo of his beloved and she had stopped coming to the chat room. He missed her and blamed the postman; when Mr. Parsons bent down to push the mail through the slot in Andrew’s door that day. Andrew had been waiting. He yanked open the door, suddenly. One heavy blow with a claw hammer to the back of Parson’s head was all it took. Andrew dragged the lifeless postman into the foyer and closed the front door so the neighbors need not be concerned. He went through Parson’s mail bag but there was still no card from Olivia. No doubt the bastard had the photo tacked up on the wall at his house. Andrew decided to go to the postman’s house to retrieve the card and photo. He didn’t know where the man lived, however, so he grabbed a drill with a long wide bit and made his way to the post office, he was going to find out.

When he arrived, he entered through the back door and saw them there, taped to the dirty plastered wall. Four photos of different women in swimsuits. The photos looked old, the ink faded, the hairstyles just a little dated. He wondered which of them was Olivia. Something snapped inside his head, the photos of Olivia and the other women faded from sight and everything turned red.

There was a line of bicycles against the wall. There was a man, whom Andrew did not recognize, minding a large mail sorting machine. He knew that the machine could sort thousands of letters an hour. Why do they spend millions of Pounds for these machines and then give the post to an old man with a bicycle for delivery? It seemed inefficient to him and it fueled his anger. He hated old man Parsons. He hated the post office. He hated the machine. He hated the man tending the machine. That man never heard or saw Andrew. He had his headphones on and was listening to George Michaels singing some old song. There were only three other employees in the building. The letter carriers were undoubtedly out on their bikes. Those other three, spread through the building as they were, had been easy prey. He returned to the back of the building and carefully removed the photos of the women from the wall. He knew one of them was Olivia. He folded them carefully and placed them in his jacket pocket, then he went back out the front door of the Post office and turned north on High street, heading for home.

Andrew had been arrested on his way from the post office. He had fooled them. They always spoke about how it was the postal staff that went postal but Andrew had gone postal on the postal workers themselves and, he had used a hammer and a drill. A drill was a much more effective weapon than he had imagined. He hadn’t really thought he would survive this ordeal, and was surprised when he had walked out of the building alive. He was less surprised to see Old Bill waiting at the corner of High Street and Paddock.

“I’m gonna hafta take ya in Andy.” The cop said.

Andrew recognized him. It was Trevor Holmes. Trevor had been friends with Andrew’s father.

“Don’t call me Andy,” Andrew pointed the gore encrusted drill at the officer. “M’ names Andrew. If I were meant to be called Andy I wunna be named Andrew would I?”

“Ya might ha’ a point there Andrew, whyn’t ya put down the drill. Don’t make this hard on yerself.”


TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #8

  1. I first saw her on the midway
  2. Everybody’s story is more interesting than mine
  3. You’re everything that I am

“Why you wanna talk to me for, girl. My life wasn’t very interesting. Everbody’s story is more interesting than mine.”

“Weren’t you in the Army, sir?”

“Oh Lord; long time ago, that was. But, yes, I was part of the 369th Infantry; that came out of the 15th. Got to spend some time in France, I did. We was called the Harlem Hellfighters at least that’s what the Germans called us. We fought shoulder to shoulder with the Frenchmen. We earned their respect and they earned ours. As an outfit, my 369th earned a few medals; and we were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine. That was a wonderful and horrible time.”

“Do you have the medals, sir? May I see them?”

“I suppose so.  There’s a red shoebox at the top of that closet there. Could you fetch it for me, please?”

“This one?”

“That’s it. Bring in over here. You open it. Take a look.”

“That’s a Medal of Honor, sir. You won a Medal of Honor?”

“I must have if it’s in that shoebox.”

“Here’s a Distinguished Service Cross. You have both?”

“I ‘spect I must if they’re in there.”

“What’s this one sir? With the red and green stripes and the cross?”

“The French gave me that. They called it a Croix de guerre.”

“You’re a hero, sir.”

“Nope, I’m no hero and you better not be writing that I am. I’m an old fool who thought he could change America’s perceptions. I was a naive idealist then; and now I’m just an old man who used to have a lot of friends in France. Most of them are dead now on account of war or old age. Those are the guys you should be writing about, if you want to write about heroes.

“Write about those guys.”

Time’s up!
I had to do this one in shifts, I wrote and edited for about 15 minutes before I got pulled away. When I came back I wrote for another 15. 10 minutes were spent on editing.


Chaika et al.

June 1963

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, aka Chaika, orbits earth
Ich bin ein Berliner
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini arrested and imprisoned for eight months
Medgar Evers dead in his driveway in Jackson Mississippi
Vivian Malone, James A. Hood successfully enroll at the University of Alabama
Quang Duc, wearing orange, burns in a Saigon intersection

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #7

  1. now one of us has to tell Mary
  2. conflict diamonds
  3. the sky is so much bigger here

Hjalmar was tired. He turned the bottle upside down and finished off what passed for gin in this god-forsaken place. He was going to exchange the stones for cash and then go home. Back to Karlskrona and his wife, Mary. The 9mm weighed heavy in his right hand coat pocket. His colleagues, Anders, Goran, and Roland were here at separate tables. They were here as backup.

They all knew the stories of the man he was meeting. He was a man who was larger than life, an angry man, a man who could kill without compunction, a man who could kill at the drop of a hat.

There was a commotion at the door and a hush fell over the barroom. An oversized guy, dark and boding; carrying a small duffel and wearing a khaki uniform ducked to come through the door. Respectfully, he removed his hat and paused to allow his eyes to adjust to the gloom inside.

When he moved again he went straight to the bar and embraced the woman who had been leaning against the end. A hurried conversation ensued and she pointed out Hjalmar to the large man.  He nodded, made his way to Hjalmar’s table and sat. The man was so large that Hjalmar feared the chair might collapse.

“Do you have the stones?” the man asked.

Hjalmar nodded and using his left hand removed a leather pouch tied off at the top with a drawstring. Nervously, he set it on the table.

The big man reached for the bag and then paused. He looked to Hjalmar, as though requesting permission. Hjalmar nodded and the man lifted the bag, hefting it in his hand to gauge the weight. He untied the top and spilled a few of diamonds on the table. These were conflict diamonds, blood diamonds. The four Swedes in the room knew only too well how much blood had been spilt for these stones. The big man didn’t care about the history of the rocks. He smiled and kicked the duffel under the table within Hjalmar’s reach.

Hjalmar never got to the bag. The big man shot him through the chest. Hjalmar and his chair wound up unmoving, both on their backs on the barroom floor. Goran stood and made a beeline towards the door. He got no more than three steps before the big man’s pistol barked twice more and Goran collapsed.

Anders and Roland had the good sense to stay seated and not draw attention to themselves. The large man surveyed the room. Put the bag of diamonds in his pocket and picked up the duffel. No one else moved.


Time’s up!
About 30 minutes to write – another 15 to edit and make corrections.


Railroad Town


The tracks run through this desert town, but
the train moves right on through.
The old depot’s boarded up now.

As a child, on the weekends, my father would take me here – to this depot.
We would stand in the grand hall and watch the engine arrive from the North to
disgorge passengers, mail, and freight.

The train would rest at the platform for fifteen minutes.
Exactly fifteen minutes – no more, no less.
Just enough time to catch its breath.

Mr. Purcyllis would look at his gold watch.
“Booaaarrrdd,” he would yell before grabbing ahold of an after car.
He would swing himself up, as the locomotive gathered speed.

Father and I would move to the platform and watch the train
Slowly diminish as it moved out of sight. It would
fade in the shimmering heat that rose from the distant tracks.

When we could no longer hear the engines,
no longer hear the whistle; we’d pull our hats low over our eyes and
slowly make our way back home.

 A Wednesday morning response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.