Thursday, 27 September 2012


Running With Zombies


When I was very young, my teachers said that I needed to develop a wide range of interests. That these would make me happy and nourish my existence. 
    And I have done my best to heed this advice, only gradually becoming aware of how right my teachers were!
Boredom is a killer, just as sure as loneliness is too. In many countries millions of people are spending every waking moment striving to make some sort of a living, just trying to survive. They don't have the time to get bored and, despite having so little leisure time, they seem more developed as human beings---more empathic, more appreciative of the little things in life, More of a community united in its struggle to afford itself the basic necessities of life.
We in the West, by and large, are very lucky. Prosperity and abundance brings with it the time for aesthetic pursuits and sport, wherein can be found so much pleasure and food for the soul.
Except for those who have not taken the trouble to develop a wide range of interests.
They indulge in company/workplace politics, backbiting, serial relationships, crime, you name it; they are prey to depression, feelings of negative self worth, and yes, the more intelligent of them dream up scams and cons---not forgetting excuses for waging war, for verily there is much truth in the saying that an idle mind is the devil's workshop.
This is so sad, because this world of ours has so much to be interested in, and to take pleasure from, without having to hurt other human beings. So now I understand why my schoolteachers exhorted me to develop a wide range of interests, and I am so thankful to them. Because I never, ever get bored. There just isn't the time to get bored. I think we must revel in every moment of respite from when natural calamities enter our lives, for our lives are so short----and can be made even shorter at any time through illness, accident, or the loss of a loved one. In every spare moment that we have we must enjoy ourselves and appreciate just how lucky we are to be alive, in one piece, with our faculties intact. Why, oh why, do we ever need to get bored?
It was thoughts like these that prompted me to write my thriller for young adults, an e-book called Running With Zombies. I have reproduced an extract from it below. It has nothing to do with zombies, the word in the context of this story being only a metaphor for the sub-conscious self---our real self---that propels us through our lives even though we are rarely aware that it is taking care of us. No one can fool our 'zombies'. Our conscious self can convince itself of anything that it suits us to believe, but our zombies know the truth, deep down in our hearts where our real self and conscience lies.
So, if you have the time, do please read the extract below, and if you are fortunate enough to have few real problems at the moment, make the most of these moments to appreciate just how lucky you are. But whatever you do, please, please, do not get bored!
  
     'What's up, Matt?' Mr Carter, his PE teacher had asked as the rest of his class kicked energetically at an over-inflated football.
     'It's pointless running around trying to get a ball in a net. It's boring, that's what,' Matt muttered.
     'Um….It's good for you, you know, the exercise. The teamwork. No?'
     'No.' Matt kicked at the grass. 'There must be something else.'
     Mr Carter thought this over.
     'What, like going on a moonlit hunt with some primitive tribe, armed only with a spear? Jumping off cliff-tops into roaring streams to catch fish underwater with your bare hands? Shinning up a tree to escape a mad wild boar only to come face-to-face with a panther?'
     Before he could stop himself Matt burst out, 'yeah. That would be so cool. If only!'
     Then he shot Mr Carter a hostile look, sure that he was taking the mick. But Mr Carter's face was serious as he gazed off at some invisible horizon.
     'Funny thing is, I  too get bored sometimes,' he murmured.
     Matt's eyebrows shot up. Blimey, the man was a hero! Only a week ago he had chased after a car which had knocked one of the boys down. Mr Carter had outraced it on foot and, lunging in, had wrestled it to a stop. Fit and tanned, with his quick charm and movie star smile, Mr Carter was already popular. But after his heroic endeavour he had become a living legend. And a man of mystery. Not much was known about him other than he had lived most of his life in South Africa.
     'You're having me on, sir!'
     'Nope,' Mr Carter insisted. 'It's true. At the end of term, whenever I can afford it, I take off to somewhere wild. Places where no laws exist. Where I survive on my wits, my strength, and the ability to talk myself out of tricky situations. Often I'm only a heartbeat away from death. I can't help it. I need it like a drug.'
     'Wow!'  breathed Matt.
     'So I know how you feel,' Mr Carter went on. 'No worry, one day when you're old enough, yes?'
     Matt shook his head.
     'I doubt it. I wouldn't know where to start.'
     'Well, who knows….'
     With this Mr Carter winked and sauntered off.
     Later Matt told his girlfriend, Annie, about this conversation.
     'You what? He said that to you?' she had demanded. 'But how can he get bored? He's got everything.'
     'Yeah, yeah. I know," Matt replied. 'Anyway, what really got me was the way, just for a moment, I felt as if we really understood each other in a kind of deep way. I've never had that happen with anyone else before.'
     Annie had looked away and started twirling her key ring around her fingers moodily.
     A week later Mr Carter had stopped Matt in the corridor and taken him aside.
     'Look, Matt. Here's the deal,' he had whispered. 'I've found three other lads like you who are bored. How about a safari trip to Kenya in the summer hols – – – well, at least that's what we would tell people. But I know where there's much more exciting stuff to be had out there. Expensive, though. You interested?'
     Matt's jaw dropped open. Was he serious? The man could lose his job, maybe even get prosecuted. In that instant Matt's respect for Mr Carter soared to a near religious devotion.
     'I've got some money saved. My parents will help,' he had whispered back.
     'Right, not a word to anyone.'
     That evening Matt returned home as if walking on air. Thoughts about the trip had left him giddy with excitement.
     'Kenya? Isn't that rather dangerous, dear?' had been his mum's reaction.
     'It's a long way away, isn't it?' his dad had chimed in as he looked up from his laptop.
     'Well, we're flying there actually, not walking,' Matt had patiently pointed out.
     'You could catch something dreadful. And malaria – – – you can keep getting the fever for the rest of your life,' his mum had added as if he hadn't spoken.
     'I don't care. I want to get out. I can't stay in this this piss-boring village forever.'
     Matt began feeling a warning rush of blood to his head.
     'And this Mr Carter of yours – – – do we know him? Maybe your mum and I should have a word,' his dad had suggested.
     'There you go again,' Matt had exploded. 'You just hate seeing me happy. Straightaway you want to spoil it all. Do you want me to look a bloody fool? Sometimes I wish I wasn't born. Go on, admit it. Nothing I do or say ever makes you happy.'
     His parents glanced at each other and some coded message passed between them.
     'You're our only child now, Matt,' his mother had said in a trembling voice as his dad returned to his laptop. 'We want you to be safe, that's all. We worry about you.'
     'That's your problem, not mine.' With this Matt had slammed out of the room.
     But his parents needn't have worried. The trip never happened.
     Because a week later Mr Carter was dead.
     He got run over by a bus as he cycled to school. He had been cycling so fast that  all the bus driver had ever seen was a blur in his nearside mirror.
     'He's dead. I hope you're happy now!' Matt had shouted at his startled parents before running upstairs and burying his face in his pillow.
(Reproduced from Running With Zombies by John M W Smith, Amazon/Smashwords) 
Thank you for staying with me this far. I look forward to being with you next Friday, 5th October );

and


                                         WSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 3 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 4 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)
                                    
                                    Longer Wacky Stories With Twist Endings (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                  Look Out...Mum's Gone Crackers (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                   

                                       Hunting The Beast (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)
                                               

                                       May Never The Dead Return (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                     

                                       Running With Zombies (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                                               

                                 Wacky Stories For Grown Up Kids (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)

                                               

                                       An Unlawful Act In Libya (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                    

                                            A Layman's Guide To The Meaning Of Life And Death (click)   

Welcome to my website (click)

Free Short Story (click)

  

Saturday, 22 September 2012

In Your Dreams, Man!


Welcome to my website (click)
and
WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE (CLICK) 

IN YOUR DREAMS, MAN!
In my waking world I am a slave to rules, routine, and tiresome responsibilities. The people are stuck up and boring, so anxious to make the right impression. My surroundings are wishy-washy shades of grey. No, give me my dream world any time.
In my dream world I’m on a well-lit movie set, vibrant with colour. Anything is possible, everything is just waiting to happen. The freedom is breathtaking. The people can be unpleasant, downright weird, or just plain defective--but never boring. And I ask myself, now who in their sane mind would rather live in their waking world?
When I was 13 my dad took me bear-hunting in the Himalayas. We climbed to 14,000 feet and trudged through old snow in the middle of summer. My dad had a .375 Magnum Winchester rifle that went off like a cannon, but we never shot any bears. I’m glad about that.
In the night we slept in an empty shepherd’s hut. At that height the sky is crystal clear, the stars a dense carpet of pulsing pin-prick lights. Everywhere it’s almost as bright as a football stadium. Forget the moon. You hardly notice it.
While my dad snored in his sleeping bag I lay reading about how Sherlock Holmes set about attacking The Speckled Band with nothing but a thin, wooden cane. But so magical was the night that after a while I put my book aside and simply gazed up at the dazzling, swirling, canopy of stars. It’s unbelievable how many satellites were wandering past. I began imagining that one of them was a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado, just about the most beautiful car in the world, cruising sedately along a diamond-strewn highway.
But in the end even this sublime moment couldn’t keep me away from my dream world.
Besides, I was really tired. So my eyelids drooped shut and I dreamed, as always, of faraway places and fantastic goings-on; fierce creatures in dense jungles, tank brigades swooping across rolling battle-plains (you’d be amazed at how fast a modern tank can go!). Of riding a 1200cc Yamaha bike with my babe sitting behind. When I accelerated powerfully she clutched me tight and gasped and squealed in my ear. Then I was deep sea fishing with blisters blooming on my hands as I wrestled, Ernest Hemingway style, with a giant marlin at the end of a heavy-gauge fishing line. Hang gliding over war-torn mountains where bearded outlaws fired up at me, their spent bullets only reaching far enough to clink harmlessly off the aluminium struts of my glider…I couldn’t believe it when morning came and our guides spoilt it all by shaking us awake with steaming mugs of tea. I’d been having such fun! My dad smiled sleepily and pointed at the horizon. Ice cream mountain-tops were turning to pink sugar confections under a honey-gold sun. It was my turn to gasp (I try not to squeal too often!), because I had never seen anything so mind-blowingly lovely.
 On the way back down we breakfasted off cherry trees and later we caught trout from a mountain stream. They tasted fantastic after we’d tossed them in flour and fried them in butter.
 Yes, this was the only time in my life when my waking world managed to be every bit as good as my dream world. I’ll never forget it…if only there were more moments like that then I wouldn’t get tired of my waking world so often.
Sometimes in my dreams I can fly. Yes, fly, simply by climbing an invisible staircase and just sort of, well, taking off from the top. Once, half awake, I got up from bed and stubbed my toe when I tried to climb. It really hurt!
I find anything is preferable to the disappointing reality of my waking world – –  but I can only sleep so much. So what about when I’m not sleepy any more? Well, I have this marvellous companion called a lapdog. Lapdog? Sorry, laptop, which has far more interesting worlds nestling within its cute little 14 inch face than all the spreading vistas of human struggle outside my front door. Hey, listen, it might not be for everyone, my kind of life. Or even good for everyone. I think I can handle it, though; my books, my sheets of lined, A4 paper for writing stories...stories that just keep tumbling around inside my brain. A warm kettle and a nearby bed are everything else I need. And to anyone who says to me, hey, get a life, man! I say, thank you very much, I already have one. And you, man?

Don't miss my next new post on Friday 28 September, called 'Gaby The Go-getter'!

Welcome to my website (click)
and
WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE (CLICK) 


                                         WSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 3 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 4 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)
                                    
                                    Longer Wacky Stories With Twist Endings (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                  Look Out...Mum's Gone Crackers (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                   

                                       Hunting The Beast (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)
                                               

                                       May Never The Dead Return (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                     

                                       Running With Zombies (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                                               

                                 Wacky Stories For Grown Up Kids (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)

                                               

                                       An Unlawful Act In Libya (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                    

                                            A Layman's Guide To The Meaning Of Life And Death (click) 


Welcome to my website (click)

Free Short Story (click)

  


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Love Works Best On A Desert Island


WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE (CLICK)                FREE SHORT STORY
                                                                                  (CLICK)

LOVE WORKS BEST ON A DESERT ISLAND

Her name? That’s private. Let’s call her Kimberly. A party at a friend's house. Suddenly there she was, sitting right next to me. I couldn’t speak. Was she beautiful? I’m not sure. It’s a word that means different things to different people. What I was sure about was that her face would haunt me forever. I was in love instantly. Utterly, hopelessly. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. In her face lay all my answers. It was like a homecoming, providing refuge, nurture and rejuvenation.
Then she turned and looked at me. I was a skeleton, the flesh stripped from my bones by some scorching, nuclear wind.
She spoke. It was something fairly banal. My wits lay scattered, the blood hammering in my brain, powering my eyes to drink in her image. You only ever meet someone like that once in a lifetime. I was excited and afraid. It was as if I’d been down on my luck and had found a suitcase, not knowing if it contained either a million bucks or a bomb to blow my head off. And there lay the problem……...…
Anyway, I don’t know what reply I finally managed. Something garbled. But here’s the thing-----she heard my words differently. She knew exactly what I really wanted to say and, to my swooning joy, she let me glimpse an answer in the depths of her eyes.
 Friends jostled around us. The spell was broken. I hated everyone for being there. I wanted to push my way past and find her. But great fear was washing over me. It was as if I had caught a whiff of nitro-glycerin from the still-closed suitcase I was holding. So I put the wretched thing down and my thoughts went like this........
Now you might not agree, but it is so easy for even the most solid relationship to slip away. It’s  this world we have fashioned, there are too many distractions. Too much temptation, conflict, and disappointment. Sadly, the demands of modern society are too many. Yeah, yeah, I know. I haven’t forgotten; and people can change! Well, of course they can, but I honestly believe that true love can survive even that. No, the problem was that what had sparked between me and Kimberly was just too damn downright dangerous. Forget the suitcase, I'd left that behind---it now felt like someone was pressing an unknown, experimental, heavy gauge weapon into my hands which I had not been trained to use. A weapon to be used against the rest of the world, and maybe, if it came to that, on Kimberly. Forget afraid. Forget frightened. I was terrified.
Now, if we had both been the only ones on a remote desert island with endless days and nights of sea and sand, I’m sure it could have worked. No weapons needed there, end of story. The trouble was, I did not know of any handy desert island.
Kimberly had now completely disappeared in the crowd. I tried to find her, but couldn’t. I was crushed. How could she leave me like this? And then I saw her.
She was at the door, leaving the party. I had to stop her. I lurched forward, but her eyes stopped me like a gentle hand to my chest. The tiniest sideways shake of her head. I knew what she was saying; its best this way. Don’t follow. This is too big. It will annihilate us and maybe others too. So be sensible, even though love is never so. We can’t let it happen, not here in this world. And, since you don’t know of any handy desert island to whisk me away to, well……..
And she was gone. I did not follow. I knew she was right, that she was much wiser than me.
Some years later I learned she had married a B-movie actor. Someone maybe like David Carradine, Dennis Hopper or Bruce Campbell, but not nearly so talented as them. Then they split up and she went to live abroad. Her ex died shortly after. I understood that.
 Now the point is that I might have taken a chance and risked us losing our lives because men like me do not have much wisdom. Besides in matters of common sense and emotional savvy women are always many leagues ahead. Most of them are very sharp, very clever, and they know exactly what must be done and how to do it. This so intrigued me that years later I explored this theme in my writing. And often the first few lines I wrote would come out all shaky as my Kimberly's face swam briefly before me. I still miss you, Kimberly, but you saved our lives---and life is so very precious, even if mine is still empty without you. I’m just an ordinary man, only you were no ordinary woman.
Many of you reading this might say I was a coward. So be it. I’m still alive, aren’t I? And so is Kimberly. And life is so very----- yeah, yeah, there I go again! But you might be right, though, since I sometimes think, what with the life I have now, maybe it would have been worth losing it over Kimberly? Wouldn’t even a few moments in her arms have been worth my entire life? Did I do the right thing? Should I have gone after her? I still wonder..........
WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE (click)
Free Short Story (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 3 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 4 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)
                                    
                                    Longer Wacky Stories With Twist Endings (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                  Look Out...Mum's Gone Crackers (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                   

                                       Hunting The Beast (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)
                                               

                                       May Never The Dead Return (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                     

                                       Running With Zombies (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                                               

                                 Wacky Stories For Grown Up Kids (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)

                                               

                                       An Unlawful Act In Libya (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                    

                                            A Layman's Guide To The Meaning Of Life And Death (click) 

Welcome to my website (click)

Free Short Story (cilck)