I saw it on SeaBay

This piece was written in response to this photo on the Unicorn Challenge.

The selling agent, dressed in garish clothing and with a considerable belly hanging over his tightly cinched belt, took a jaundiced look at me before saying ‘I’ve given up my golf game for this so you better not be just another mooring rope kicker.’

‘No, no, not at all’ I protested. ‘I’m a genuine collector and I’ve been enthralled since I saw it on SeaBay.’

The agent began his pitch. ‘This craft is a meticulous reproduction of Black Bart’s Royal Fortune.’

I interrupted him with ‘Which one?’

‘What do you mean, which one? This is unique.’

‘Sorry, I’m not suggesting it’s not a unique copy. It’s just that Black Bart had several ships, all named Royal Fortune. So which one is this a copy of?’

The agent, reassured that I was indeed a genuine collector, said ‘I’ll look into that for you, sir. But as I said, it is a unique copy of … what it was copied from. I apologise for my scepticism earlier. It’s just that we get so many smart alecs wasting our time. You know the sort of thing. “How many miles to the galleon?” “Is it aaaaarghed to handle?”

I indicated my sympathy and said ‘That’s OK. I only have one other question. Do the masts fold down?’

‘I’m sorry, sir, I ….’

‘It’s just that if the masts don’t fold down, I won’t be able to get it into the bottle.’

The agent’s face went from red to puce and I took off.

Your call is important to you

The wonderful Jeff Sommerfield and Jason Splichal continue to provide that rarest of things for US journals, genuine opportunities for writers across the globe. They even send postcards to their writers that come from 43 countries so far and they reach 125,000 readers.

They’ve included this piece in their Issue 24 for Spring 2023. https://www.skyislandjournal.com/issues#/issue-24-spring-2023/

Be sure to check out some of the other fine fare available.

Study under glass

This piece was written for The Unicorn Challenge 250 word max. weekly photo prompt from the Gray/Ayr empire.

It had taken seven years for him to complete his glass-domed memoir with the sunset diorama in the background. From his wheelchair, every evening and most days would be spent working with tiny tools and a high-powered magnifying glass, to re-create the boat haven near where he was born and lived as a boy.

The marina and every boat were true to that time. The final touch was the fading sun nestled above the palms and the stick forest of masts, symbolising both his early hopes for the future and the meandering journeys in his life as he waited for its end.

His father took him fishing there when he was a boy. Catches were rare but, along with the wisdom imparted by his father as they surveyed the scene before them, they were worth the wait. One evening he said to his father, ‘Dad, what are those boats made from?’ His father sat silently for a while, as he often did, and then said ‘Bullshit, mostly.’

Sensing his son’s puzzlement, he went on. ‘Most of the people who own these boats made their money from selling dreams and illusions and things no-one really needs. And people bought them. And that’s where the money came from to build the boats.’

So the boy grew up not wanting to own a boat if that was the price but he always wanted to remember where and how that happened and encase it for posterity.

Gaga trip

This piece was modified from an earlier story of mine for this week’s Unicorn photo prompt 250-word challenge.

Beryl: So how did your camping holiday go?

Gladys: Never again. This morning, when we were folding up the tent on their camper trailer Bert says “You know how we were sleeping in the space inside the tent last night?” So I says “Well, you were doing most of the sleeping while I was listening to your snoring but, yes, I do recall we were in bed in the tent last night.”

Beryl: Yairs, my Harold’s the same.

Gladys: So then he says “So when we folded up the tent just now, where did the space go that was inside the tent?”

Beryl: Ya what? Is he going gaga or something?

Gladys: So I says “Bert, it didn’t go anywhere; it’s still there but now it’s not an enclosed space, it’s free space.” But he wasn’t satisfied with that and says “But how do you know we didn’t just fold up our space when we folded the tent and it will come back again when we unfold it next time?”

Beryl: I’d have been ready to call the men in the white coats.

Gladys: Tell me about it. But I just said ”I think we should just head home and from now on you can sleep in the garage, in the space in the tent, so you can be sure it doesn’t disappear.”

Beryl: You’re a scream. Anyway, gotta go. Washing to do. Same time tomorrow? I’ll give you a whistle.

Har, har, har

This piece is my response to the photo challenge that is the latest in Jenne and CE’s excellent adventure, and where no unicorns are harmed during production.

Don’t judge. You’d be depressed too if you had to sit here and listen to the same old shite every day from idiots dragged here by their better half and determined to make them pay by mocking all they don’t see.

Singing Gloria Gaynor off key, ‘First, I was afraid, I was petrified’.

‘Wonder if he’s got a wooden heart. Har, har, har.’

‘Make a great fireplace feature. Har, har, har.’

‘Wooden it be luvverly. Har, har, har.’

If only the Gods of Art would grant me special powers of metamorphosis, to be re-born as an avenging angel, travelling the world and meting out justice to the pea-brained philistines who have spread like a plague across the cosmos, aided and abetted by the WWW (World Wide Wankers).

Let me be able to paraphrase the words of Ezekiel and Samuel (updated for modern inclusiveness), ‘The path of the righteous man and woman is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men and women. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, for you have attempted to poison and destroy my brothers and sisters.’

And let me be able to leave them in my place in the gallery, listening to ‘I think this must have been the inspiration for Norwegian Wood, if you get my drift.’

Let them serve their time doing har, har, hard labour.

Leo delivers to his patron

This piece was written for Jenne Gray and C E Ayr’s weekly Unicorn challenge to write up to 250 words based on a photo prompt.

So where is this masterpiece you promised me, Leonardo?

You’re looking at it.

I can’t see anything except a ladder leaning against a wall.

That’s it. That’s your masterpiece, as ordered. ‘Ladder’ by da Vinci.

But it’s just a ladder. Did you make it?

No, I found it here. It’s called found art or objet trouvé as the French would have it. I’m an artist. I found it. Ipso facto, it’s found art. Did you bring the 50 florins?

You have to be joking. You expect me to pay you 50 quid for a ladder?

But it’s not ladder now, is it? It’s a da Vinci. Look, it’s against the rules for a found object but I’ll sign it somewhere discrete, so only the cognoscenti know. That’ll add even more value. I reckon that piece will double in price by next week. Canny investment that.

Not happening, Leo. You can keep your 5 quid deposit I paid and I’ll take the ladder. The gardener can always use at my villa.

Wait, you can’t move it, mate. It’s an installation. If you take it away it won’t be found art anymore.

Well, people can still come around to my place and see it. I’ll even tell the gardener to leave it leaning against a wall when he’s finished. Then if some muppet wants to fork out 50 quid for it I’ll split it with you. Can’t say fairer than that.