Shave and a haircut……….

A quick moan.

I know no-one wants researchers / cold-callers / salespeople knocking on their door, and therefore these people try to be as non-offensive as possible. After all, nobody is gonna buy from someone who has annoyed them.

But it irritates me no end to hear a jaunty, and loud, ‘shave and a haircut’ knock on my door. It is not jaunty, not super friendly, just ANNOYING.

Or am I the only one?

 

MPO

 

A New Book !

Hi everyone, how you all doin?

I have almost finished a manuscript for a novel.

It kinda has friendship, adventure and love.

But it also has crime, drugs, and a touch of narcissistic megalomania.

I hope that sounds interesting to some of you.

Anyway, while I’m waiting for an agent to pick it up, I thought it would be fun to post a chapter or two, – well, maybe half a chapter at a time. Just to see what happens.

If nobody’s interested, then no problem I’ll stop.

However, if people do show interest, then I’ll continue. At least for a while.

OK, here’s the preface and a touch of the first chapter.

If you do enjoy it, please, please be kind enough to advise me, make a comment etc., otherwise I ain’t gonna know if I should carry on.

Many, many thanks. Have a great day.

 

 

PREFACE

The man at the head of the table looked around at the others.

“Good to see you all here,” he said. “Now, are we set for launch on May 1st?”

There were affirmative words from those providing backup and security. But nothing from those at the sharp end of production. One brave soul spoke.

“Well, we’re still waiting for the last test results, and not all the safety issues have been rectified.”

Silence fell upon the group.

The man in charge stood. “You’re not listening. I didn’t ask about results or issues, are we set for an May 1st launch?”

“Do you want the truth, or simply what you’d like to hear?”

“Choose.” said the alpha man.

“Well, then, no, I don’t think we can launch on May 1st.”

The top man looked at someone in the background, nodded, then turned to look out of the window.

“Fix it.” he said.

+ + +

Late at night, the brave soul walked across the fourth floor of the car park, and headed for his car. Someone emerged from behind a pillar, completely silent.

“Oh, I didn’t see you.” said the man, as he got out his car keys.

He grunted as something hard whacked against his shin. The pain was excruciating. Automatically lifting his leg to rub it, he staggered back towards the rail. He leaned heavily against it, swaying unsteadily.

He felt himself being pushed hard, then harder still. The last thing he remembered was a pair of black leather gloves shoving his chest. He went over the rail, and began to fall. If you’ve dropped a water melon onto concrete from a height of 75 feet, you will know what happened when he hit the ground.

+ + + + +

 

CHAPTER 1

Sue and Steve were listening to some music when the phone rang. Steve went

to answer it.

“Yallo.” he said.

“Mr Allen? Mr Stephen Allen?”

“Yep, that’s me.”

“Mr Allen, my name is Jonathan Brown.”

There was a pause.

“Uh huh.” Steve said, slightly puzzled.

“I’m a lawyer, Mr Allen, I’m representing James Farley. I believe you know

him.”

“James Farley….” Steve said out loud, so Sue could hear. She frowned with

curiosity. Steve put the phone on speaker.

“That’s right. I’m hoping you can help me. Perhaps you can come to my offices

this afternoon.”

“Look, Mr Brown, if you have spoken to James Farley, you will know that we

met about 10 years ago, and we didn’t get on at all well.”

“Yes, I understand that. But it isn’t Mr Farley who has mentioned you, it is Mrs

Farley.”

“But I only met her once, and that was when I told her husband that I

didn’t want to speak to him again.”

“And that is why she has asked me to talk to you, she respects you.”

“What?!”

“You have been the only one to see through her husband’s inability to deal

with the truth.”

“For goodness’ sake.” Steve said with some exasperation.

“So if you could come here, for her, not for him.”

Steve looked at Sue, who was smiling with eyebrows raised in a ‘why not?’.

“OK, look. I will talk to you, but here, not at your office. If I’m going to do this,

I might as well be comfortable.”

“Great, how about 2pm this afternoon?”

“How about 10am tomorrow?” Steve countered.

“Mmm, OK. Have you moved?”

“No. James has the address.”

“See you at 10.”

Steve replaced the phone slowly.

“What was that about?” he asked.

“No idea.” said Sue. “Still, might be interesting to see them again.”

“Maybe.” smiled Steve. “But they won’t see you.”

+ + +

Steve’s words and smile should be explained here.

Sue and Steve had been together for over 40 years when Sue succumbed to

cancer, after battling it for the last 14. Steve was devastated. They were

always together, constant companions. When they had first met, they hadn’t

just fallen in love, they had avalanched into it, and continued to tumble ever

deeper over the years.

It wasn’t as if Steve wanted to die, but he found it difficult to live without ‘his Sue’. That wasn’t his being proprietorial. Sue herself had often said: “I am his Sue, and he is my Steve, always have been, always will be.”

Anyway, shortly afterwards, after a near death experience, Steve found himself in a coma. After a long stay in hospital, his family had brought him home to be in his own bed, hoping that the atmosphere of their bedroom and togetherness would make a change.

One day, Steve awoke, to find Sue looking at him with a calm smile.

Slowly getting up from the bed, he went over to his beloved Sue, took her face in his hands, and kissed her tenderly, over and over again. Their faces were soon wet from his tears.

“What’s going on, Susie?” he managed to say.

Lovingly wiping the tears from his face, Sue began to explain.

Steve’s time in this world was not up yet. He had things to do, people to see and help. But it was recognised that he was a broken man, crushed by his separation from Sue.

As a result, Sue was being allowed to return, to be with her loved one. There would be many issues to come out of this arrangement, the first and most obvious being that only Steve could see, touch or hear Sue. After all, she was only back here for him.

Steve did question whether this was fair on others who loved Sue. She explained that they, through necessity, had accepted her departure. He, however, had not. Surrounding himself and their home with countless pictures of her, and talking to her as if she were still here. As far as he was concerned, she was ever present, living out their maxim of ‘Together Forever.’

Smiling, Steve asked whether Sue could make things move, or walk through walls. Her reply was this was not a joke, something amazing was happening here, and they both had to see it accordingly. Not stern or poker faced, but accepting the incredible blessing that had been given to them, and acting within the wonderful gravity of it all.

Suitably chastened, Steve apologised, and said that he just felt light-headed by it all. He was excited by her return, but he understood the reasons behind it, and, yes, he felt incredibly blessed. Sue smiled, pleased with him.

+ + +

Sue and Steve had spent three days rejoicing in each others company, but now they were going to go outside the house, discovering what they could about the circumstances in which they now found themselves. The safest way seemed to be a trip to the coast, far away from where they were known.

Mid-morning, they left the house, as quietly as they could. Steve looked up and down the street, hoping that no-one would be around. Slowly they walked to the car.

“Good morning, Steve. How are you?”

Steve whirled round, it was his elderly neighbour, Pamela.

“Oh, hi, I’m OK, I guess, and how are you?”

“I’m well. Are they Sue’s shoes?”

Steve looked at Sue. Both were shocked, and rather shaken.

“Er, pardon?”

“I said, aren’t they Sue’s? They’re obviously not yours.” Pamela was pointing down at Sue’s shoes.

“What’s going on?” whispered Sue.

“I don’t know. Quick, kick your shoes off.”

“What?”

“Kick them off, quickly.”

Keeping his back to Pamela, Steve picked up the shoes.

“I thought I’d take them to a charity shop, they’re brand new.”

“But they were moving by themselves.” said Pamela confused.

“I don’t think so, Pamela.” He waved them in the air. “Look, no strings.”

“But I could’ve…………..”

“Moving shoes?” Steve continued, but feeling rather guilty. “Can you see anything else of Sue’s? Cardigan, trousers……..?”

“No, it was just her shoes. But now I think about it, maybe it was the wind.”

“Yeah, maybe. But I tell you what, I’m glad that I bumped into you, I think I’ll go back in, and get a bag to carry them. Bye, Pamela.”

“Yes, bye Steve.”

Sue and Steve made their way back into the house. Once indoors, they both sighed, and gave out a nervous chuckle.

“Oops,” said Steve. “Fortunately, it was Pamela, but what happened there?”

“I don’t know. Why my shoes, and nothing else?”

“Let’s think for a sec.”

Steve at Sue from head to toe. Then nodded, “Socks.”

“What?”

“The socks. Every other part of your clothing is in touch with your skin, cardigan, top, underwear, trousers…….” said Steve.

“But the shoes were on the outside of my socks……..yeah. Well done, darling.”

“Yeah, we will have to learn as we go along. This is new…….but exciting.”

+ + +

“So, Stewart, did the police speak to you about the suicide?”

“Er, yes…..yes.”

“And what did you say?”

“That he had been under pressure to develop a new product.”

“Did you tell them what it was?” asked Robert White, harshly.

“Of course not, Robert.” answered Stewart, placatingly.

“OK, good. So, you told them that he was a scientist entrusted with a new product, and he may not have been able to cope with the resultant pressure?”

“Yes, Robert.”

“Good, good, well done, Stewart. It’s important that this be just a blip in the development of the various substances. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Robert, very clear.”

“Look, Stewart, you’re my cousin, and I know you’re with me in this. But, remember, I am the only one who has direct lineage back to the beginning. My side of the family stayed true, there is no outside blood in my part. Do you understand how important that is, Stewart? It is up to me to do this. There is no taint in me. Understand?”

“Yes, Robert, I understand. But I hope that you understand that when it comes to Research and Development, it is my department. Of course, it comes under your ultimate control, but I have to be seen to run it, or it may lose scientific credibility, and then any financial and influential backing could be lost.”

“Are you threatening me?” Robert’s voice showed anger and violence in an instant.

“No, of course not, Robert.” Stewart raised his hands in appeasement.

“This is my company, my money, my quest, my dynasty.”

“I know, Robert, I know.”

Stewart looked across at his cousin. If it were possible to have the identical opportunity to develop and produce the same new products under similar conditions elsewhere, he would seriously consider leaving. However, here he had virtual freedom to do whatever he wished, under certain confinements, and he did have the safety of familial connections. If only he could count on his more senior cousin to remain rational, or, at least, stable.

“Good, after all, none of us are getting any younger. I want to be able to reap the benefits of this legacy for as long as possible. Therefore, I do not want this investigation, by the police or anyone else, to stand in the way of what we’re doing here. We must press on. I want some results sooner rather than later.”

“I know, Robert. But, please understand that it will take a while to re-arrange the section to accommodate his departure.”

“Yes, yes,” came the reply. “Make plans, Stewart, so that as soon as the police leave us alone, we get back on track. Gottit?”

“Of course. Leave it to me.”

“I hope I can, Stewart, I’m counting on you.”

Great, no pressure then, thought Stewart, sardonically.

+ + +

 

OK, that’s it for now. I hope some of you got into that, if only a touch.

There may more once I start getting responses and comments.

Thank you so much, bless ya.

M P O

Politician , Pinocchio ??

 

Long, long time ago, when I was in school, some of us were invited to meet the local Mayor and some of the politicians.

After we were interviewed for 10 minutes by one of his staff, I was chosen to go into the Mayor’s offices and speak to her and her deputy.

We chatted for a while, then the deputy said something about the time etc. So, the Mayor brought things to close by saying that there would always be room at the Town Hall for bright, young people. Had I thought about a career in politics?

When I replied in the negative, she asked why.

I said I know I’m only young, but from what I’d seen and read, politicians will say and do anything to get into power, and once in, will say and do anything to stay there.

I was soon hustled out the door.

Fifty years on, and I’m sad to say that my opinion has not changed. That either means that I am stuck in a rut, or the state of politics and politicians is exactly the same.

I believe I know which it is.

Peace and love,

MPO

 

 

No offence…….just saying…..

Hi, this is a moan.

There used to be an oft-used saying :

“I don’t mean to be funny, but………………….”

this would be followed by words that were indeed not funny, but hurtful.

Thank goodness, this phrase seems to have gone out of fashion, but it

appears to have morphed into two others,  the first is :

“No offence…….”  : this seems to be used before or after words that are again

hurtful or upsetting. People seem to use this phrase as a ‘Get out of jail free card’

as if merely by stating it makes everything excusable. Well, IT DOESN’T !

the second phrase is just as short, and bad :

“Just saying……..”  usually used after more hurtful, upsetting, thoughtless words,

again it’s used as a magic oil on troubled waters. And again, IT DOESN’T WORK !

It’s just another lazy way of trying to excuse appalling bad manners and rudeness.

 

So, if you use, or are thinking of using, these phrases to say rude or hurtful words,

then :   NO OFFENCE BUT DON’T………JUST SAYING…..

MPO

 

Blue Bloods – brilliant but…….

I absolutely love the TV series Blue Bloods.

From the beginning, it has had great stories, both procedurally and emotionally. The cast are great, especially the key characters, there is always a profound goodness that runs through the whole thing.

In fact, I could give it a 100% rating except for one small thing issue……….

It seems that every week, the whole family sit around a table for a family meal. Now, this is fabulous, as it gives out a vibe of togetherness and good old-fashioned values.

But…….unless I’m missing something, there never appears to be a police or security presence outside the house. So why isn’t there a criminal who can attack the house, or simply blow it up?

With all the data out there nowadays, surely it wouldn’t take a mastermind to find out where F.X. Reagan lives. Even if there were a number of them, it wouldn’t take long to wrinkle him out. Plus, surely someone could just follow him? He has to go home sometime.

But that’s it. My only beef. Apart from that, it is a class act, well written, acted and presented. Love it. May it continue for a long time.

If only someone could explain to me……….

 

 

Riviera (TV series) – a personal review

I have lost 7 hours of my life that I will never get back. I watched the Riviera TV series.

Sadly, I have never been to the south of France, but I have watched ‘To Catch A Thief’ many times. Unfortunately, Riviera comes nowhere near that classic.

With a background of Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and John Banville (Booker Prize winner), this should have been interesting, exciting, and a joy to watch.

Instead, it was artless, shallow,  and, in my opinion, cliche-ridden.

It had no personality, no humour and most importantly, no soul.

Cliche-ridden? Well, check this out. A billionaire is blown up, surely killed, but is he really dead? Three children: a weak loser; a hedonistic addict; and a messed-up self-harmer. A new young wife, a former ex-wife, (different as night from day), plus ‘baddies’ of various nationalities. Plus, of course, a puke scene and the ubiquitous use of 20 f-words per episode.

What could have been a great cast struggled with the plot and dialogue. Julia Stiles, wonderful in Bourne, brought that deadpan attitude to Riviera, but unfortunately, she was the lead. Adrian Lester, usually so reliably interesting, managed to convey a stilted, bland character throughout. It is reported that Iwan Rheon auditioned for the role of Jon Snow before getting Ramsay Bolton. I can’t help but wonder how many roles he didn’t get before landing his part in this one. (The percentage of people who didn’t see the ‘twist’ in the ending must be between 0% and 5% , presumably those who fell asleep). At least Anthony la Paglia had the good sense to take the money and run and leave early on.

I dare say many, many people will laud Riviera from the rafters, but personally I believe that it should be buried under the floorboards as soon as possible.