Friday, 27 September 2013



                                                                Apologies to the Rolling Stones                                                 John Ross©

                Samuel Smyth always thought of himself as being very attractive to the opposite sex and the events of the past three weeks had bolstered this view.

                 One month ago a disastrous affair with his secretary had seen her depart the firm in tears. Then just a week later the very first girl he interviewed for the position started to flirt with him as soon as she entered the room. Her name was Ruby and befitting her name she had flaming red hair. She was not beautiful in the classical sense but had a great figure, which she was showing to its best advantage. She also had a wicked grin and a way about her that instantly aroused his interest.  She was the only person interviewed that day as he gave her the job and sent the other applicants home unseen.

                Within a week of her starting they were meeting for coffee at a private little cafe after work. After ten days they would both find themselves ‘by accident’ in the filing room for a quick kiss and cuddle.  Then just a few days ago when she arrived at work Ruby asked if he could drive her home that evening as her car had broken down. All day Samuel was like a little child who on Christmas morning just can’t wait to open his presents. All day Ruby teased him whenever she came into his office; showing just a little more than usual of her long legs when she sat down and purposely leaning over his desk to show off her ample cleavage.

                However, all of Samuel’s dreams of an evening of passion alone with the ravishing Ruby came crashing down when they pulled up in front of her flat. The upstairs light was on and Ruby announced that they definitely would not be able to go inside as that meant that her flatmate was home. His disappointment soon changed when to console him Ruby gave him the most passionate, mind blowing kiss that he had ever experienced. The car windows steamed up, and Samuel’s mind was just beginning to think that he might not miss out after all when Ruby leaned back hard on the car horn. The resulting loud undulating sound seemed to go on forever. Lights came on up and down the street and one elderly lady actually peeked out her front door. The moment was shattered. Samuel drove home cursing and constantly thumping the steering wheel to release his frustration.

                The next Tuesday, during their now regular session in the filing room, between kisses, Ruby asked if his wife was still away on her business trip to Brisbane. Samuel, instantly realising what prompted the question, said that she was and would not be back for another week. Ruby, with one of her cheeky grins asked if it was a king size bed in their bedroom. After another long kiss Ruby pulled back and said, ‘I know it’s your birthday tomorrow and tonight I want to give you a special birthday present.’

                It was soon all arranged. After work Samuel picked Ruby up a few streets away from the office. Ruby said they should do this so no one from the office could start any mischievous gossip. She also insisted that he let it be known around the office that he was driving up to Brisbane to spend the rest of the week with his wife. They drove via the back streets to Samuel’s house and before arriving Ruby got into the back seat and hid under Samuel’s coat. This was Ruby’s idea so that no neighbours would see her. Samuel drove straight into the garage and Ruby stayed hidden until the garage door closed.

                Samuel could hardly wait and had his tie and shirt and Ruby’s blouse off before they even entered the house.

                Samuel fumbled the door into the house open and stumbled into the darkened room.

                Suddenly there was a loud shout of, ‘SURPRISE’, and all the lights came on.

                Samuel staggered backwards with shock. He instantly thought, ‘Shit!  Margaret has organised a surprise birthday party for me.’

                His eyes became adjusted to the glare. There was no birthday cake, no candles, no party hats, no champagne, no friends and the floor was covered in a large plastic sheet. There was just his wife Margaret and in her hand was a huge colt 45 with a long cylindrical silencer attached aimed directly at his chest.

                He was stunned, frozen to the spot and speechless.

                Ruby walked over to stand beside his wife and took a small pink revolver from her purse and pointed it at him.

                Margaret said, ‘Great timing. We are actually ahead of schedule. Plenty of time for me to keep my rendezvous with that lying, cheating husband of yours and for you to get home and prepare things.’

                ‘Now, Samuel where do you think it is appropriate for me to aim first?’      






Wednesday, 25 September 2013




I always called him “The Horse”. He belonged to me as my father had given him to me on my tenth birthday. His actual name was “Tony” but to me that was a silly name for a fully-grown horse.

From the day that he was delivered to our farm, as much as I thought of him as mine, Tony had other ideas. He would never take grain out of my hand, was very difficult to catch in the mornings, and would always graze in the far corner of the house paddock. So Tony became known simply as “The Horse”.

Every time that I went out with the halter to catch him he would wait until I was very close and then gallop off to the far corner of the paddock. Here he would stare at me and snicker as if to say. “I am the boss here. You won’t catch me unless I let you.”

 He would play this game sometimes for nearly half an hour. The strange thing about him was that as soon as I had saddled him, and climbed aboard, he became a most obedient and docile animal.

One morning nearly a year ago my father wanted me to ride over to one of our neighbours to check on his homestead. He and his wife were away at the coast on a few weeks holiday and we had promised to keep an eye on the place while he was away. So straight after breakfast I walked out into the house paddock to catch The Horse.

He was grazing alongside the small dam in the centre of the paddock but as soon as he saw me he was off to the far corner. I had no alternative but to trudge after him as I had done many times before. Forty minutes later I had him saddled and we were on our way.

There was a rough four-wheel drive track that leads from our homestead to our neighbours but it was a beautiful day and I decided to take the scenic route. It was considerably further than the track but it followed the river as it carved its way through a low range of rocky hills and, most importantly, I could make a short detour to check out my favourite fishing spot.

There was no real track, just a series of cattle paths that climbed over the hills. At times the path was in a valley right beside the river but was mostly high up on the steep slopes and cliffs above the river. My fishing spot was on a sort of peninsular that jutted out into the river where it rushed around a sharp bend and over some rapids.

There was no path to the spot and it was quite steep and slippery with loose stones. I should have left The Horse tethered to a tree on the main path but I was in a hurry as I was probably already in trouble with my father for taking the long way to the neighbours.

We were nearly at the flat rock that I used as a platform to fish from when with a loud flapping, and its usual whistling sound; a crested pigeon flew out from a bush almost at the horse’s front hooves. The Horse immediately reared up and then shied violently to one side. I had no chance and was catapulted over the back of the horse, and over the steep slope down to the river. I hit the ground hard and my head must have slammed into a rock, as the next thing I remember is the freezing cold of the water as it closed over me.

I tried to stand up but could not feel the bottom. The current was sweeping me along. I tried to swim but my right arm would not work properly. Then I realised that as I tried to kick there was a horrible grating sensation in my right leg.

For a moment blind panic gripped me. I was about to scream when the current pushed me up onto a half submerged boulder close to the bank.

It took me many minutes to get my breathing and my mind under control. I looked up to see if I could see The Horse but he was nowhere in sight. I could see that my right arm was broken between the elbow and the wrist. Slowly turning around, as I was afraid of being swept off the rock I looked down at my right leg. My trousers had been ripped open and I could see a piece of bone protruding from the skin just above my ankle. It was then the pain hit me and I passed out.

When I came to I had no idea how long I had been unconscious. It was then that the real desperation of my situation hit me.

My parents would not come looking for me for many hours and then they would start looking along the four-wheel drive track. There was no way I could move from the boulder without being swept away by the river. I was already shivering violently from the cold of the water and if I was still there when night fell it would get very cold.

The pain was really bad and I was only just barely conscious when I thought I heard my father calling my name. I opened my eyes and saw him scrambling down the slope. Behind him was my mother talking into a satellite phone as she carefully descended.

I was in hospital for two weeks and had two operations on my leg but now a year later I am fully recovered.

Apparently very soon after I had fallen off and rolled down into the river The Horse had galloped back to the house and had kicked up such a fuss at the gate into the house paddock that he had attracted my father’s attention. Realising what must have happened my father had alerted my mother and had then, not wanting to waste any time, ridden The Horse out to look for me. The Horse had refused to go along the track and after struggling with him for some time my father had let him have his head.

He had led my father directly to me.

Well! Now Tony is no longer The Horse but is now “My Horse”.

The damn thing is still hard to catch in the mornings though. 


                                                           THE END






Friday, 20 September 2013



We had just spent three earth years on this stinking Grade 3 planet when I received a message from Control. There were three more scientific types on their way from Earth. 
 As if I wasn’t already up to my neck in scientists. There were already nearly five hundred of them here in the settlement. It was my job to keep them safe. I should say “try to keep them safe” as they were always inventing new ways of getting themselves into trouble. To top it off I only had a single platoon of marines to do this and most of them were on their first off earth rotation. Thank the heavens we had not had to use any force against the native inhabitants.
The natives had been nicknamed “The Quiet” as they appeared to be dumb. In three years no one had ever heard them utter a sound. They were bi-pedal and in body shape much like us except for their head. It was overly large and their eyes were also much bigger than ours. They wore only the minimum of clothing and no shoes. Their feet were wide and flat and they made no noise at all as they moved around. They lived in small villages and each stone house contained a large family group. The scientific types had not discovered any use of sophisticated mechanical devices. In fact they appeared to gather everything they needed from the dense forests that covered most of this planet.
When we had arrived we had to blast out a clearing for our landing and my marines were the first to exit to secure a perimeter. We were ready for any eventuality, or so we thought. The natives greeted us with total indifference and it took us many weeks to realise, that to them, we just did not seem to exist. Every attempt at communication failed and as strict protocols did not allow us to interfere with their lives, unless invited by them to do so; we just went about our mission to see if the planet offered any useful resources. The scientists did what scientists do and my men quickly became bored with the daily routine of escorting them and forever pulling them out of swamps, rescuing them from cliffs and the myriad of other ways they seemed to get into trouble.
The climate here had not changed since we had landed. Every day dawned clear and hot. By the middle of the day it was cloudy, humid and hot and by late afternoon it rained. It did not just rain but came down in bucket loads.
It was becoming difficult to keep my men motivated and as the months dragged on into years they became more and more vocal about “The Quiet” and their dumb ways. I had had to discipline some of them when they had tried to provoke a reaction from the natives. Nothing that they did got any response and this annoyed them even more.
Well, the three scientists arrived by shuttle accompanied by nearly a tonne of equipment. They took two days to set it all up in one of the empty accommodation modules. They had just finished when we received an order from Control that we should all gather in the main hall for a meeting.
When we had all finally arrived and settled down the Chief Scientist took the podium. She announced that for the past two years they had been studying the natives with remote devices from the orbiting Control centre. “The Quiet as you call them are not so quiet after all.” She said as she switched on one of the machines. The room was filled with high pitched noises that seemed to ebb and flow.
“We have changed the frequency so that you can hear it, but what you are listening to is one of the natives “talking” to another. We have managed to decipher their “language” and can now understand what they are saying to each other. We do not as yet understand how they generate the sounds except that it comes from somewhere within their brain.”
There was stunned silence in the room until one of my men said, “What are they saying?” Another muttered, “Just cause they speak don’t mean they’re not dumb.”
The scientist explained that “The Quiet” knew that we were arriving well before we had even reached orbit and that they also realised that their planet did not have anything that we would find useful. They had decided to just ignore us and we would eventually go away.
She concluded by saying, “The Quiet are not as quiet as you thought and also more importantly they are not as backward. They have a rich and vibrant culture that we are just beginning to understand. So as the old saying goes, ‘’do not judge a book by its cover’.”




Sunday, 15 September 2013




I slowly came awake; stretched, yawned and looked over to see that my servant had already placed my morning coffee on the table beside my bed. I sat up and, as usual, my eyes were drawn to the view outside the glass floor to ceiling windows of my bedroom. The sun was just rising and its early golden light accentuated the beauty of the tropical garden that stretched for nearly a kilometre down to the shimmering blue of the lake. During the night the garden staff had changed the flowering plants in the beds that surrounded the pagoda that overlooked the lake; they were brilliant red poppies this morning.
Many generations ago my ancestors had settled this planet that they had named “Paradise”. The name had been easy to choose as it was truly a paradise. The world wide climate was tropical with the added bonus that it never rained; just very heavy dew every night provided enough moisture. There were no dangerous animals or insects and the tropical vegetation provided ample food. There was no need for farming as the plants produced year round and were easy to harvest.
My ancestors had found that the planet was inhabited by a gentle race of people that not only warmly welcomed the new comers but worshiped them as gods. Over the generations since they had gladly fulfilled the roles of servants, gardeners, cooks, builders and workers in the factories that produced all the necessities of life. They had also proved to be very intelligent and innovative and were continually improving or inventing ways of making my people’s lives one of luxury and leisure. They asked for very little in return and were extremely happy and content with their lives.
My clothes were laid out in the dressing room; brand new as usual; this morning I was playing tennis with my fiancée and a selection of racquets was also displayed. Breakfast was served on the back deck overlooking the ocean and this morning I chose fruit juice, rejected the eggs Benedict, instead decided on a selection of fruits followed by wholemeal toast with marmalade and followed by Vienna coffee. My driver was waiting for me when I was ready to leave and swiftly conveyed me to the tennis club.
The rest of the day followed its usual pattern of leisure and entertainment and by six pm I was back in my house settling into the lounge room after a particularly delicious meal of steamed fish, vegetable pie and spicy tropical ice cream, (my favourite).  I could not decide what to do next so I wandered into the servant’s area of the house. Here a family of four; father mother and two adult children, were working side by side. They were laughing and chatting as they worked; obviously very happy. I listened as they talked and made decisions about their plans for tomorrow and how they fitted their work into their family life. Slowly a sense of longing for something lost came over me.
I stretched, yawned again and came fully awake. My wife beside me said, “It’s your turn to get the coffee today and hurry up as you know I am playing squash with the girls today. There is some left over lasagne in the fridge that you can have for lunch.” Outside the rain lashed the window and feeling the chill of the autumn morning I pulled on my thick dressing gown and hobbled on my arthritic knees towards the kitchen. As I passed the front entrance I glimpsed the sign my wife had put on the outside wall; “Our Little Piece Of Paradise.”



Thursday, 12 September 2013



He was still in the house. I could not see him. I could not hear him, but I just knew he was still there. It was like some sixth sense. Call it a feeling in my gut or call it what ever you like but it had saved me a number of times before.

I stood just behind my bedroom door, straining all my senses, trying to pick up the slightest noise or vibration. Was he just outside the door in the hallway, or had he retreated further into the house?

The pistol was cold and heavy in my right hand. I adjusted my grip and took up more pressure on the trigger.

I glanced back at the bed where I had been asleep just moments before. The evidence of his two shots was plainly visible as dark marks on the whiteness of my pillow. I had been very lucky. They had missed my head by mere millimetres as I had thrown myself sideways at the last moment. Being a light sleeper had saved me once before. He was good though, and so he should be, as I had trained him myself. I had not heard his approach until it was almost too late. In my younger days I would have been aware of his presence before he had even entered the room.

I stood as still as possible for what seemed like an eternity. No sound except for the creaking of the house as the sun rose further and warmed the tiles on the roof.

There was no choice; I had to go out through the door. I could not wait any longer. So taking a deep breath, and keeping as low as possible I jumped out into the hallway. There were only two ways that I could face first, either left or right. I chose right as that way the hallway led deeper into the house.

Nothing. The hallway was empty. I swung around as fast as I could but the other way was also empty. So far so good.

I again waited to see if I could hear anything. The crash of a garbage tin lid in the laneway beside the house made me jump and half turn towards it before I realised what it was.

Nothing! So I began to slowly make my way down the hall towards the kitchen. Trying to remember my training from all those years ago I moved my weapon from side to side and kept it extended, gripped in both hands, in front of me. I knew that ten years of retirement and soft living had slowed me down but I still felt the adrenalin pumping and the same old excitement coursing through me.

Pausing just outside the open entrance into the kitchen, I again tried to listen to see if I could detect any movement inside or even the sound of his breathing.

Hearing nothing I stepped inside. It was only a small kitchen with a breakfast bar that opened onto a family living area. There was no one there.

Then I heard it. Just a slight scratching sound that came from behind the breakfast bar. I strained my ears but the sound was gone. Had I really heard it, or were my nerves getting the better of me? Then it came again, slightly louder this time. He must be crouched down behind the bar. It was only about waist high and extended halfway across, dividing the two areas.

Had he heard me enter the room? Was he waiting for me to make a move or was he going to suddenly leap up and fire hoping to catch me off guard?

I could not remain where I was. I had to make a move. I really only had two options, retreat or attack. What to do?

Before I realised that I had made a decision I was in motion. Three quick steps and I was around the end of the breakfast bar. There was a blur of movement and I fired. It was the cat. I had shot my Persian cat.

Cursing myself for having given away my position I was about to turn around when I heard the door of the pantry behind me crash open.

I knew I would be too slow and that it was hopeless but began to turn anyway. I was not more than half way around when the shot hit me full in the back.

He laughed and said, “I got you good that time grandad.” Then he fired his water pistol at me again.



Saturday, 7 September 2013



                “Dark they were and golden eyed”, is the topic for this week at our creative writing group. Try as I might I could not get any inspiration and so turned to GOOGLE.
                “Dark They Were and Golden Eyed” was the title of a science fiction short story written by Ray Bradbury and was originally published in the magazine “Thrilling Wonder Stories” in August 1949. For some reason this information coupled with the words “Dark” and “Golden Eyed” jogged my memory about some news articles I had read about a real, or mythical, Blue Mountains Panther. Sometimes I worry about how my mind works, but usually just go with the flow. You surely remember the stories of people sighting these large black animals that resemble panthers. They have been sighted from Penrith to Bathurst.
                Anyway last night, still lacking inspiration, I took myself off to bed. As usual when something is bugging me I could not sleep. Thoughts of things with “Golden Eyes” and stories of wild animals ran like an annoying TV advertisement, round and round in my mind. Finally, exhausted, I rolled on my side and expelled all thoughts of such things and drifted off to sleep. “Drifted off to sleep.” What a strange expression.  Why don’t we “float off’ or even “undulate off”. See I told you that I worry about the strange sidetracks that my mind sometimes takes.
                Well, I must have been asleep for hours when I suddenly became aware of a presence. It did not frighten me. In fact it excited me, with a feeling of tremendous power and energy. I was aware that my body was still lying asleep in my bed but my mind was telling me that I was outside the house. It was so real that I could feel the cold on my skin and the rough grass beneath my feet. I was hungry, with a deep, sickening, empty feeling that told me that I needed to eat very soon.
                I felt young again. My body was tensed and I could feel my muscles flexing beneath my skin. Adrenalin was pulsing through me like small electric shocks. Danger was all around and the smell of my most feared enemy was strong in my nostrils. Normally I would not venture this close to where he slept but hunger had driven me out of the dense bush where I usually hunted.
                The full moon escaped from behind a cloud and I froze fearing that I might be seen. The light was so bright that I could see the steam of my breath on the cold night air. I waited, poised for instant flight, but no shout of alarm came or any dog started barking. Slowly, carefully, I inched my way forward. Just in front of me was the strange den of some of the enemy. Carefully I looked inside. With a jolt that made my whole body spasm and paralysed my mind I saw myself asleep in my bed.
                A noise outside the window disturbed me and for an instant my mind was in turmoil. Where was I? I sat up and looked outside. Bright moonlight, a dark shape and two burning golden eyes.
                I tried to scream, to warn my wife but my vocal chords were frozen. I could not move. Invisible forces were holding me down, constricting my arms and legs.
                A voice intruded. My wife’s. Wake up! Wake up! You’re yelling out in your sleep. It must be a nightmare. Wake up!
                It had been so real; but it was just a dream.
                As I was having my cereal this morning my wife who had been out picking some camellias for the house came inside and said, “Come out and look at this.” Still munching on my toast I followed her out to the front path.
                There were huge muddy paw prints everywhere.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Just a reminder that my two e-books are available to be purchased.
You will find the link on the right hand side of this page.
THE FIRST MAN is a scifi story about adventure, romance and mystery.
MY PATCH is a series of short stories about a policeman who lives in a small village in England during the first half of the 20th century.
I am sure you would enjoy them.
A starving poor (lol) writer thanks you.


Just a reminder to have a look at my two e-books that are available to be purchased.
You will find the links on the right hand side of this page.
A starving, poor (lol) writer thanks you.