I saw a man in a long white robe and a garland of green. He bent his knee and offered me food, then sent me away with kind blessings. 

I heard a song to stir the heart and sang along with joy. A chorus of angels joined in.

I smelled pong from a stinky cat who’d invaded the yard. My two garden warriors chased him away.

I tasted custard and ginger cake, all warm and yummy.

I touched the hair of my lovely boy and held him safe in my arms. He smiled and laughed and all his worries melted away.

I thought I was lucky and counted my blessings, more fortunate than so many.  








He said on the phone to meet him in the bookshop. Had I known it was one of those trendy coffeehouse places, I might have suggested a quieter location. He’s always late. Always. My curiosity prevents me from getting up and leaving.

A young girl fetches my tea. It’s in one of those ridiculously large mugs with what looks like half a pint of milk in it. I narrow my eyes at her and grumble “I said black.” She visibly wilts and I look back to my book as she scurries away.

I’ve read this book countless times, but it’s the reason I’m here in this wretchedly pleasant place. This work must be completed. I study the tome translating each phrase as diligently as the first time I picked it up. 

A young man brings another cup of tea, this time with no milk. I give him a vague nod as he places it on the table and cheerily apologises.  He wanders off, muttering some sort of insult as I turn my focus to the task at hand.

I’m just grumbling to myself over the quality of the tea as the shop door swings open. In he breezes, bright smile and blonde hair streaming in the sunlight. “Hey!” He calls.

Fishy Mission

Heavy foot steps thumped down the hallway. The vibrations thrummed through the floorboards making Cheddar feel as if he was jumping with every thud. It hadn’t been like this in training. There had always been some sort of cover, something to hide behind. This hallway though, was barren. There were paintings on the wall but nothing useful to blend in with. 

Blend in, don’t be seen. Don’t get caught. The instructions were clear. He couldn’t get caught on his first mission. It’d be back to the alley for him. Oxford, his mentor had told him that he’d been chosen specifically for this job. He couldn’t understand why.

The sound of the foot steps got louder, they’d turn the corner any minute. Cheddar looked around again as if a plant pot or bookcase was going to magically appear. His ears flattened and he looked down at his feet. 

Feet! His feet were the same colour as the floor. Blend in! He studied the floor boards and fixed their shape in his mind. With a quick flip all his fur flattened and he lay flat on his back, trying his best to look like a floor board.

The over sized human rounded the corner and promptly sneezed with a thunderous ATCHOO! He stopped and sniffed, then sneezed three times more. ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO!  

Phlegm spattered the hallway, stringy tendrils flew down all around.. Cheddar held his breath and clamped his mouth and eyes shut as some of the gloop stuck to his fur.

“Caaaats!” The man scowled. “Where’s the cats?” He turned on his heel and stomped back the way he came.  In a flash, Cheddar was on his feet. He started his run towards the door at the far end. Timing was everything and he’d already wasted far too much. His feet slipped on the polished floor, as he tried to compensate his back legs seemed to overtake his front and he skidded towards the door in an orange ball of fluff. 

From the other side of the door there was a terrible ruckus. Sounds of pans and tins clattering and china breaking echoed through the house. There were  high pitched squeals that sounded like either angry cat and and a scared woman, or possibly an angry woman and a scared cat. 

The door flew open. A screeching banshee of a woman had Oxford by the scruff of his neck and black fluff was flying everywhere. The orange fur ball flew at her with teeth and claws and a loud “Mraaaow!” The woman wailed and batted him away, dropping Oxford in favour of a frying pan. “WHERE’S THE CATS?”  The man bellowed as he stomped in to the room.

The two cats tumbled in to the corner their eyes fixed on the large rainbow trout on the counter. “Ready ol’ chap?” Oxford tilted his head to the fish and the open window beyond. He sprung up, not giving Cheddar the chance to answer. Cheddar scrambled after him, the pair yowling and hissing to ward off the humans.  This is the plan? Cheddar thought. This is it? He grabbed the tail of the fish while Oxford took the head and they tumbled out of the window. 

The woman tore the back door open and flung the frying pan after the cats. “It’ll be the rat poison next time!” She screeched. 

Cuthbert Town

To the eye that knew no better, Cuthbert Town was a thoroughly decent and thriving town. The good people went about their business in the comfort of knowing the marshall and his deputies kept the town safe from vagabonds and miscreants. The main street was kept clean from droppings and waste and the store fronts were scrubbed and nicely presented. Not far from the main town was a beautiful white church with a school house attached. The pastor was a true evangelical God fearing zealot. The pastor’s wife ran the school in a good Christian fashion. 

The railroad sliced the town in two. On this side was a small station with a fine waiting room, on the other side and a little further along was the freight station. 

Trade and industry blossomed on the other side of the line, often ripening in to the unsavoury sorts of business that thoroughly decent citizens didn’t discuss.

The summer sun gently warmed the morning as Jonah road in to town. Everything was as it should be, the ladies gossiping outside the general store, the post master fetching in his supplies and young Miss McGill, the pastor’s daughter, in her white flowing skirts.  He cast a frown towards a poncho’d stranger lounging on bench, then frowned deeper as he saw little Jimmy Moloney idling at the side of the street.

Jimmy grinned and jumped up. He drew his fingers like guns and shot at Jonah. “Reach for the sky!” He yelled. Jonah put his hand over his heart and cried out “Argh, y’got me sheriff!”

A gasp echoed through the street, followed by disapproving mutterings. The stranger peaked up from under his wide brimmed hat then grumbled and settled down again. Jonah dismounted and strode over to ruffle the boy’s hair. “No school today Jimmy?” He asked. The boy shrugged “Causin shenanigans again.” He grinned. “I aint allowed in til I stop m’cussin.”  Jonah grinned and look up along the boardwalk, “Top o’the mornin’ to ya, Miss McGill!” He called. She swirled around and blushed appropriately at being called after by a wandering man. The gossipers on the other side of the street muttered and shook their heads.

The stranger quietly watched from under his sombrero.