(One Minute Reads)
© Copyright Pat Ritter – 2016
Published by Pat Ritter.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Each week in 2016 I attended the Pomona Writers Group. The facilitator asked us to write a story about a topic he chose. These stories less than 500 words are OMR (One Minute Read). I hope you enjoy reading each one.
I want to express my gratitude to Melissa Smith. Thank you for doing a great job of the cover. If you want Melissa to create your next cover, I highly recommend you do.
If you have enjoyed reading this book, or if you haven’t enjoyed it, still let me know. I would love to receive your feedback. You can contact me on my e-mail: I’d love to receive your feedback.
Pat Ritter – Author/Self Publisher
A Case Of Curiosity
The proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’. What did this proverb mean? A search on my friendly google elicited this information: this tone of phrase first recorded by English playwright Ben Jonson’s ‘Every man in his humour’ in 1598. This proverb has been around for centenaries.
Ever since my childhood, I always wanted to be a detective. This dream became a reality later in my early twenties. Daily ‘A Case Of Curiosity’ led to investigating many crimes. Thinking back to those investigations through fifteen years working as a detective, many cases of curiosity filled my mind to solve the investigation.
One such investigation comes to my mind. At the time, I was stationed at Dalby Criminal Investigation Branch. One evening about to partake of my evening meal, the telephone rang. A male person found dead on the side of a roadway outside his farmhouse.
On my way to this scene, thoughts flowed through my mind how someone be killed on a country road in the middle of nowhere. Curiosity filled my mind which caused the death of this farmer. Arriving at the scene the dead man lay in the middle of the roadway, spread-eagled as if nailed to the cross. His right leg twisted beneath him. A gaping wound to forehead. A metal torch fixed in his right hand.
In police circles this scene reminisced a ‘hit and run’. How? That was my role to investigate. How and why this farmer died on the road in front of his home. Forensic evidence is crucial in all investigations. After photographs measurements taken of the scene the body moved to the mortuary for a post-mortem examination. I took possession of his clothing and other evidence which needed to be forensically examined.
Lucky my forensic scientist friend waited at his laboratory to forensically examine the evidence bought to him. Through his examination, he discovered light green paint on the clothing of the deceased. Probably the colour of the vehicle which struck and killed him.
A search of the surrounding farms found the offending truck. Driver interviewed. His story supported by evidence of my forensic scientist elicited the driver spoke to the farmer earlier at the crossroads to his property. When they’d finished their conversation, the driver asked the farmer is he needed a life of about two hundred metres to his home which the farmer told the driver he’d walk.
Unbeknown to the driver when driving off the farmer jumped onto the hitching ball of the truck. Because the driver had no knowledge the farmer jumped onto his tow hitch, the truck gathered speed. The farmer attempted to gain the attention of the driver but couldn’t.
When the truck was level with the farmer’s house, he the farmer jumped from the tow hitch. When his right foot struck the road surface, the force threw the farmer up against the rear portion of the truck causing the farmer’s face to smash into the metal touch he carried in his right hand. The farmer dropped dead to the ground.
All forensic evidence showed the truck driver told the truth. This became a case of curiosity why the farmer decided to step onto the tow hitch of the truck.
Word count: 539
A Little Pouch
Money has always been a concern since as far back as I can remember. My first thoughts of money began the moment my grandmother placed her change into a handkerchief and tied to her bra strap inside her clothing. Her final act to pat where she tied the bundle of money.
In those times money was tight. Wages were slim. Budgeting the key to wealth and prosperity. My grandmother gave me a little pouch to keep my money. This pouch made from a cloth she designed sewing a zipper into the top. This neatly fitted into my shorts pocket. Every opportunity I had to place money into this little pouch, I did.
Christmas time being the best time because relatives understood about my little pouch and helped me with money. Once the little pouch filled I transferred the contents into a large sunshine milk tin. Every Christmas I emptied the money from the sunshine milk tin to deposit into the bank. A strict lesson I learned early on in life to consistently save coins to place in the little pouch my grandmother made, then transfer the money from the sunshine milk tin into the bank.
By twelve years old I saved sufficient money to purchase a brand-new bicycle. A Melbourne Star twenty-eight inch gents. Colour red and white. This bicycle became my pride and joy. Every Christmas my grandmother asked about the little pouch she made. I always produced the little pouch from my pocket. She unfastened her handkerchief from her bra, extracted coins and handed them to me. I placed them into the little pouch.
Eventually the little pouch worn so much coins wouldn’t hold instead slipping through holes worn through in the many years of use. Wallets became the fashion about the same time my teenage years appeared. Money continued to be tight until 1966 when decimal currency changed the way we spent and saved money.
I remember 14th February 1966, the day pounds, shillings and pence changed to dollars and cents. At the time, I earned seven pounds ten shillings per week. Suddenly my wage became fifteen dollars per week. Double the money I earned before which wasn’t true because everything changed from that day.
Each payday I deposited into my bank account a sum of money for savings. Instead of using my little pouch and wallet this money grew in my bank account until I purchased my first motor vehicle. I’ll never forget the night I purchased my first motor vehicle. The salesman told me if I had thirty-five dollars the car was mine.
Immediately I withdrew the money from my bank account leaving only ten cents in the account. Although I had wheels I never planned like I did with my bicycle. The costs blew out to a point I couldn’t afford to save any of my wages and needed to work an extra job to pay for repairs to the vehicle.
Not learning my lesson for the next fifty years I now returned to the principal my grandmother taught me about saving for a rainy day. Instead of having a little pouch I deposit money weekly into a Money Challenge Account starting off with a deposit of one dollar in the first week adding a dollar each week for fifty-two weeks. This works for me. By Christmas this year I will have deposited fourteen hundred dollars into this account.
Thank goodness for my grandmother who introduced me to a little pouch when I was a child.
Word count: 589
A Wasted Journey
The year 2000 my first opportunity to attend the running of the Melbourne Cup in Melbourne. My wife also excited about this road trip taking us along the eastern seaboard of Australia to Melbourne returning through the western downs of New South Wales to our home at Redcliffe. Three-week journey.
‘Can we invite Shirley and Alex along with us?’ My wife asked. Shirley being her sister and Alex, Shirley’s husband.
‘I suppose so.’ I hated the idea. This was OUR holiday not her relatives. I treasured my time away with my wife.
Once they agreed we decided to travel in our vehicle, halve costs and share accommodation. A pet hate of mine is smoking. Both Shirley and Alex smoked. We didn’t allow smoking in the vehicle so every couple of hours needed to stop for a ‘smoke break’. Once they devoured two or three roll-you-own cigarettes the vapour from the smoke hung inside the vehicle.
First day we arrived to stay in a cabin outside Coffs Harbour for the night. Sharing a cabin almost bumping into each other caused my blood to boil. I couldn’t say anything. Patience being a virtue. At least they both smoked outside the cabin.
We arrived at Alex’s sister’s home to stay overnight at Penrith on the outskirts of Sydney. Along this journey, Alex and I purchased $5.00 scratch-it tickets in hope to win a prize. If either of our tickets won we’d share the prize. Along our trip, we hardly won any prize to help pay for the trip.
Our next stop Canberra. Little happened until we arrived in Melbourne a couple of days later. Our accommodation opposite Flemington Racecourse where the running of 2000 Melbourne Cup being run. On the day before the race we arrived so thought we’d take a tram ride through Melbourne. Up to this stage I think Alex and I may have purchased between us about ten $5.00 scratch-it tickets with no winners.
First Tuesday of November arrived. People started arriving at the racecourse at three o’clock in the morning with daylight savings in Victoria. By nine o’clock we thought of walking across the road to join the crowd of one hundred and twenty thousand other patrons who wanted to enjoy seeing the Melbourne Cup as we did.
I must say when I walked through the cascade of blossom roses lining the entrance my senses were overcome by roses in full bloom. A magnificent sight. I later discovered the crowd for this event became a record for attending a Melbourne Cup. People everywhere. Shoulder to shoulder. We decided to return to our hotel room. Alex won after betting on the winner. I lost.
Returning home, we decided to travel inland to Dubbo and visit the Zoo. By this time Alex wanted to go home. I drove from Dubbo directly to Redcliffe stopping only for smoke break and meals. Thirteen hours of constant driving. By the end, I was so pleased to be sleeping in my own bed.
For me this was a wasted journey. My wife didn’t enjoy herself. By the end of the journey I don’t think either Shirley or Alex enjoyed themselves. One consolation, when Alex and Shirley arrived home they scratched a five-dollar scratch-it ticket, to win $5,000.00. They claim to have purchased the ticket after we arrived home so we weren’t eligible for half-the-prize.
We never again went on another journey with them.
Word count: 574.
An Uphill Climb
My life as an author is probably the toughest task I’ve ever taken on. Each author needs self-confidence plus a strong belief in their own ability to write a great story. Their exterior must be a tortoise shell protection from bombardments of criticism.
In 1994 I wrote my first book collaborating with a lecturer from college. This book came about from information I learned from this lecturer during a course I attended. At the end of the course he asked me to ‘write a book’ with him about my project ‘teenagers running away from home’. At the time three thousand word assignments were the only writing I’d ever completed.
‘Should only take six weeks’, he told me. Three years later we finished the book. Along this journey; an uphill climb. One of the most amazing events happened. We agreed I write the ‘case study’ whilst he write the ‘theory’. Two minds worked as one. Weekly I handed him a case study and in return he handed his theory. If I wrote a case study on ‘motivation’ he wrote the theory on ‘motivation’. Neither had any knowledge of what one another wrote until the papers passed between us. Synergy worked.
Within one year we completed the first draft. In those times, every word typed on a typewriter. By the end of the first draft we decided to print a number of copies and hand them to our peers for their comment and feedback. This began my career in an uphill climb to the top of the mountain in writing.
Out of twenty copies I handed to my peers, only one responded. After speaking with the others each showed no interest in the subject nor in what’d been written. We struggled on with the second draft. By the end of the second year we completed the second draft. Our intentions were to hand them to the people we gave our first draft, however instead by mistake, I handed a copy to a parent.
This response became the turning point to our up-hill climb. Not only did this parent praise our work she wanted to keep the second draft to help her overcome difficulties with her teenage children. We battled on with the third and final draft completed to our satisfaction. What to do with the manuscript?
A publisher approached us to publish our book. We couldn’t believe this news. After signing the contracts eventually in 1988 our book became a reality and soon sold 8000 copies. When I look back on the days when the lecturer asked me to write a book with him never in my wildest dreams did I realise we’d sell a best seller for our first book. A dream come true.
My self-confidence with writing suddenly rose through the roof on my uphill climb toward the top of the mountain. Life changed dramatically. I continued to write whilst my lecturer co-author refrained. I climbed alone.
Writing takes patience, self-confidence, self-drive, and most of all an uphill climb which I’m still doing to reach the apex of the mountain.
Word count: 516.
Blinded By The Dark
This is a true story. The year 1972. I’m stationed at Stanthorpe Police Station in my second year as a constable. On a Saturday night, a male driver drove his 1956 Holden Sedan along the main street of Stanthorpe striking a pedestrian killing him. The deceased, a relative to a close friend wanted me to find out ‘what went wrong’.
With these investigations, the local detective investigated the accident subsequently arresting the driver on ‘manslaughter’, a criminal offence. My friends were devastated. For me, this incident was embarrassing because not only the deceased, a relative of my friend, but the driver also a friend. I wished the world would’ve stopped and turned the clock backward to prevent the accident. This wasn’t to be.
I never realised until this moment how difficult the role of a police officer in the community became. My mind needed to be split into two. One showing compassion for my friend whose relative was killed and the other for a friend who drove the vehicle. I needed to be impartial in order to survive.
In a small town, the size of Stanthorpe gossip exploded through the channels of Chinese whispers. By the time word grew to all centres of the town, my friend driving the vehicle had purposely struck my friend’s relative. My police experience at the time I couldn’t decide who to believe.
A fellow police officer and I brewed beer which wasn’t very tasty. In fact, the result was horrible stuff. I almost threw out the bottles we didn’t test. On a Saturday afternoon, I answered a knock on the front door at my home to find my driver friend standing with a solicitor I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. They wanted to speak with me. I invited them inside not wanting to share any information, only to chat about old times.
Only refreshments I had at the time was the brew my friend and I had tried to make into beer. After sharing this news, I opened a bottle and shared this dreadful liquor amongst my guests. Once one bottle emptied, I opened another and by the end of the afternoon we’d consumed all of the beer which improved after each one. Nothing mentioned about the upcoming court case. Accurately we all enjoyed a good afternoon catching up as friends do.
Along came the impending court case. My role to guard the prisoner which happened to be my friend who drove the vehicle which knocked down the deceased killing him. My solicitor friend never mentioned any conversation about his visit to my home or the beer he drank. Instead he behaved in a professional manner.
In his defence, he pointed out an incredible story of driving at night. He asked the jury if they had driven at night along the main street of Stanthorpe. They nodded their heads. His next question, ‘when you drove along the main street in Stanthorpe at a similar time my client drove, were you blinded by the dark?’ His question flowed through my mind.
When I thought about his question I nodded my head because this similar experience happened to me a number of times. I remembered driving at night under overhead street lighting when suddenly blinded by dark. My eyes readjusted to the light and focused shortly after.
The jury returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ because of this defence. My friend was exonerated.
After the trial my solicitor friend together with the judge invited me to go with them to Tenterfield Golf Club for a drink and lunch. At the lunch, I congratulated my solicitor friend on his defence argument. He replied, ‘must have been your home brewed beer.’ We remained friends for many years when he was appointed a Judge.
Word count: 634
How do we gauge others when we’re in courageous company? This is the way I gauge others. My latest book ‘His Life Worth Living’ is a story of a man born in Wales before World War 1. At the end of the war his life changed from a child of six years old to a responsible human being.
On this faithful day, his world turned upside down after he returned to his home to find a bomb flattened everything around where he once lived. Without a home to live his life began in a Boy’s Home for the next ten years. On his sixteenth birthday, his decision to leave his homeland and migrate to Australia.
Arriving in Australia with four shillings to his name he found employment on a banana plantation at Gympie. For twelve months slaving daily suddenly his boss sacked him making him homeless and unemployed. Luck played a huge part when a neighbour took him in as one of their own making him a family member.
During the middle of The Depression this person left his home travelled by train to Rockhampton to seek work. His life savings ten shillings. Unable to find work whilst living in a warehouse with others who couldn’t find work he purchased a fixed wheel gents bicycle and cycled four days living on the beach and sleeping under a sheet of calico.
On returning to his adopted family he helped them daily with their diary milking cows; working long hours. After saving sufficient money he purchased a motor cycle to travel west in search of work. World War 11 erupted. Enlisting in the 2/10th Division his training started at Redbank in Brisbane.
At this time, he married and shortly afterward sent to Singapore leaving his bride in Australia. After twelve months serving at Singapore; Japan attacked Singapore. His unit surrendered making him a Prisoner-of-War at Changi Prison for the following three and a half years. During this period, he worked to build the Burma Railway line.
When World War 11 ended with Japan surrendering this person returned to Australia. His wife nursed him back to health. A new life began. Used to working hard for long hours he purchased a pineapple farm near Gympie and grew pineapples whilst raising a family of three girls and a boy.
After seven years learning to grow pineapples he sold his farm and moved to Brooloo to grow more pineapples on another pineapple farm. During this time, he’d been approached to become a Councillor with local government authority. For twenty-one years, he served his community in the best way providing service to all of his constituents.
Sadly, aged one hundred and two and a half years he passed away. I authored ‘His Life Worth Living’ to keep his name alive as a tribute to honour George Percy Burtenshaw. A lesson I learned whilst researching and writing his story to ‘obtain the full story of any person’ the author needs to plunge their hand inside the soul to extract good, bad and ugly of everything which happened in life.
After going through this process my mind filled with being in courageous company of a hero who suffered at the hands of his enemy such atrocities many humans couldn’t endure. May he rest in peace.
Word count: 552
I have a dream. These words before shouted by a famous American. Daily this dream fills my mind. Each step to fulfil this dream. Visualised in my mind the making of this dream. I’ll explain. My dream is to win lotto. I’ll need at least $2M to start this dream. Much money, you may say, but to realise my dream this amount will suffice. Let’s say my dream of winning lotto has been realised. I won $2M. Now for the next step in my dream.
From an early age, I’ve always been interesting in horse racing. Thoroughbreds to be exact. What lured my interest to ‘Sport of Kings’ began when I visited stables during my teenage years. Either horse manure, thrill of the thoroughbred in full flight fighting their way to the finish line, or the chance to win money by wagering. Maybe all of them mixed together to realise these feelings.
I have $2M in my bank and awaiting the next step of my dream. First to connect with ‘Coolmore Thoroughbred Stud’ in Hunter Valley, New South Wales to purchase a yearling sired by their stallion ‘So You Think’. This horse when racing won many races with prizemoney earnings over $9M. This yearling’s dam has to be black type mare. This means the yearlings mother would’ve won Group 1 races such as a Caulfield Cup. From research, the price of this yearling would be around $500,000.00.
To stage three of my dream. When Bart Cummings trained ‘So You Think’ to win the ‘Australian Cup’ over 2000 metres, the horse led from barrier to winning post. Bart is no longer with us. His grandson, James, has taken his place. James has only been a fulltime trainer in his own right for a couple of years and shows ‘he may be a chip off the old bloke’ to be as good or if not better than his grandfather.
Stage four of this dream to have James Cummings train this yearling. He agrees. Incidentally, this yearling needs to be a colt. When a yearling is fifteen months to eighteen months old they are broken in to race by a horse-breaker. These details I’d leave to the trainer.
Stage five is to name this yearling colt to race as a two-year old in all of the major races in Australia. His name would be ‘Double Dissolution’. How did I come up with this name you may ask? Our Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, will dissolve Parliament to have an election on 2nd July 2016 permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Mr Turnbull will request to the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of Parliament and call a full election.
Naturally this is all a dream which is in my mind. We can think, can’t we, and hope our dreams do come true. First, I need to win lotto. Then carry out my dream to purchase the correct horse and hope my dream does come true with ‘Double Dissolution’ to become a Champion as his father before him. With James Cummings training the horse what would go wrong?
This dream is ‘pie in the sky’ thinking and with today’s Parliament no different to realise my dream than they realise their dream of gaining Government for the next four years.
Word count: 559
Fire – Half Moon – Eye
Our writing exercise for this week is to make a story from the words in this heading. These words chosen by throwing three dice onto the table with each showing the shape of the words when they sat upright.
Twenty-one years old I worked on a sheep and cattle property in far western Queensland. One morning whilst driving an old Thames Trader truck from the main headquarters to a boundary hut, the truck stopped. Lifting the centre canopy covering the motor positioned in between the front driver’s seat and passenger’s seat to discover a pipe leading to the carburettor of the motor.
Removing the pipe and clearing the inside by blowing throw, remanences of fuel spilled onto the hot motor. Burst of fire engulfed the cabin. I tried to escape the flame but the driver’s side door jammed. Leaping across the motor and flames I opened the passenger side door to escape. The cabin burst into flame at the same time I rolled onto the ground to escape the fire. Only injury I received a few burnt singes to the hair on my legs. This day became the luckiest day in my life.
Later, after being rescued by the Boss who asked many questions about the destruction of the truck his words soothed me, ‘I’m pleased you escaped without too much harm. I can replace a truck. I can’t replace you.’ Shock must have delayed until we returned to the homestead because I didn’t want to eat only go to bed.
With a half-moon shining in the dark sky I decided to go for a walk. David, a fellow worker wanted to walk with me. Why I had no idea. After walking from the quarters to the shearing shed he asked about the incident. First, I became suspicious of his request so thought I better keep an eye on him to only tell him the truth.
After explaining my situation with the truck, he admitted whilst driving the same truck a couple of days before he experienced a similar occurrence. Instead of removing the pipe, he instead picked up a stick and tapped along the pipe to loosen any dirt. He failed to tell me about what happened.
‘Thanks David. You could’ve told me about the bloody truck breaking down and I could’ve had a look to repair the damage before I drove half way across the country. I almost died.’ I calmed almost immediately because I placed total blame onto myself for the cause of the accident.
‘I’m sorry.’ He said. ‘I should’ve told you. Actually, I thought the problem repaired itself.’
‘Everything’s okay now. I’m alive to tell the tale. I hated that old bloody truck anyway. Time for a new one. The Boss was okay with what I told him and I won’t be telling him about what you told me.’ David shook my hand.
Word count: 485
First Real Job
From age four years old, I always wanted to become a police officer. Especially a detective. On listening to my mother speak about Uncle Herb Lewis in the Queensland Mounted Police I wanted this dream to become a reality.
In September 1963, my ambition of joining the police as a cadet vanished. My father wouldn’t give his approval. No son of mine is going to be a copper. He’s got to swear to arrest his own mother and father. His final words.
Throughout my life, I honestly believe in fate and destiny. I can’t explain my reasons things happen when they do. This has happened so many times only goes to increase my belief in trusting fate and destiny to lead my life.
At school the following day a fellow student told me Olympic Tyre & Rubber Company at Geebung were employing apprentice fitter and turners at their company. This fateful day I rode my bicycle to Geebung to speak with Personnel Officer, Mr Robinson about becoming an apprentice fitter and turner.
On purpose, I left my report card behind and showed him a sliding bevel I made during manual arts classes. I must have sold him the idea because weeks later an envelope with my indenture papers arrived in the mail. Much delight to my father.
In January 1964, I commended a five-year apprenticeship to become a fitter and turner. Wages for an apprentice first year – seven pounds ten shillings per week. Olympic Tyre & Rubber Company manufactured tyres, tubes and other rubber products.
My role as a first-year apprentice to work in the foundry filing ingots to fit the mould in the production of motor vehicle tyres. Conventional tyres, before radial tyres. Daily ingots formed by pouring melted aluminium into a mould. Once cooled these ingots handed to me to bevel each edge. Twelve months I learned how to use a bastard file.
At the end of my first year I asked the Leading Hand when I would stop filing ingots and move onto maintenance. His reply, ‘have you learned how to file yet?’ My answer in the positive.
Second year my role changed to be placed off-siding for a tradesman. Challenges daily empowered my work to stretch skills to their limit. Trade personnel showed me methods of various skills, such as pipe joining, electric and gas welding, other skills in the work as a trades person.
After five years, I must thank my father for stopping me from joining the police at fifteen years old because I never would’ve gained the skills as a fitter and turner and maturity as an adult. I successfully completed my trade and awarded a completion of indentures at the end of my time.
Word count: 459
God Bless America
Donald Trump is President elect for America. God Bless America. Facebook has gone crazy, some applauding his victory, others condemning. With a close vote of only less than one percent between both candidates I’m pleased Donald Trump won.
America like Australia have lacked political grunt. Answer Donald Trump who will turn the country around to be the greatest force on earth. Leadership is needed for both countries to grow. Never in the history of America has an individual won the Presidency in the manner Donald Trump won.
People need leaders to govern their countries. For too long the minority groups have been dictating direction of growth in each country. China owns five percent of Australia. If other countries invade our country like China, we’ll eventually own less than what we need. Something needs to stop. Strong leadership needed.
What’s the answer? God bless America. Since the election share prices rose 3% taking our ASX to levels not seen this year. Confidence needs to grow within. Governments in our country take too long to make decisions. I bet Donald Trump will not stand for periods of undeciding. Standing in front of Congress shouting words, ‘you’re fired’.
America needs Donald Trump. God Bless America. Within six months I predict the economy in America will turn around from being flat to growth. Personally, I think Donald Trump will do a grand job of being President of America.
Look at what happened to Britain breaking away from Europe. They’ve survived with growth and stability. People working together. When I listen to the arguments in Parliament between parties throwing insults at either side, the Prime Minister should stand and shout, ‘you’re fired’.
Bugger the politics. Return our country back to growth same when Howard and Costello were the leaders. Australia’s growth $50B in the bank. Within a term of government from Labour Australia owes $50B. Where has, the money gone? Wasted. Australians should have spoken up wanting Costello back in the job of Treasurer. Shouldn’t matter what party he belongs. He’s the best person for the job. Since Costello left Australia’s debt large enough own grandchildren will not be able to pay.
I imagine America would be in a similar position. One of the first acts Trump is going to do is stop foreign aid. Look after your own back yard before helping other nations. I agree. Yes, in the world are issues of earthquakes, mother nature has done. Stop sending money. Pay off our debts first. If Trump can bring about this first change, I applaud him and wish him luck. God Bless America.
Word count: 436
1975 my life as a detective in Queensland Police Service began at Selby House in Petrie Terrace, Brisbane. I always wanted to become a detective. My wish came true. I remember well working on a Saturday afternoon shift from 3pm to 11pm when a young male came to the front counter of the Criminal Investigation Branch.
A fellow detective, Ken, I worked with at the time, we both on probation to become detectives. This young male bought to the counter a ring he told us his brother found outside a jewellery store at Kenmore. He wanted the ring checked out as a precaution.
Nothing exciting to uncover at the time thought Ken and myself only after we had the ring searched through the lost property office to find stolen from Kenmore Jewellery Store on the previous Saturday night. We retained the ring to show the brother on Monday morning when we arranged to interview him. Ken and I were likened to ‘blind leading the blind’ to solve this investigation.
Arriving at daylight at the brother’s home at Sandgate he admitted the ring was his property after finding the ring on the footpath in front of Kenmore Jewellery Store on the Saturday night. After leaving his home he came with us to the store for the owner to identify the ring. I remember well when Ken left the police vehicle to speak with the jeweller I remained in the vehicle with the suspect.
We didn’t speak. Silence is golden. At this stage, we possessed little evidence the suspect was involved in the break and entry of the store only finding the ring on the footpath outside the store. The time of the robbery about ten o’clock at night.
When Ken returned to the police vehicle he asked the suspect exactly where he found the ring to point out the spot. The suspect alighted from the vehicle, walked to stand under the overhead street light, ‘here’, pointed to the ground directly under the street lamp.
An important question I asked the suspect, ‘what were you doing here at ten o’clock at night, on a Saturday night when you live at Sandgate on the opposite side of the city?’ His head dropped, a clear sign he handled the truth a little carelessly. More he spoke, more he tangled himself into a twine of lies. Eventually he told the truth. His trade burglary. In the following hour, he pointed houses which he broke and entered. Goods he stole went directly to a good fence situated at George Street, City.
Eventually after much work the suspect arrested and charged on many counts of housebreaking plus leaving the stolen goods with a good fence. For two young detectives to investigate these offences after completed this huge investigation we each received our detective designations.
From listening to the original person who handed in the ring, to interrogating the suspect, locating the stolen property from a good fence gave Ken and I sufficient recognition to be awarded our detective designations. Having a good fence, we’d never had recovered the stolen property.
Word count: 518
Last week whilst shopping at Aldi supermarket I overheard two customers speaking about cat food. My ears pricked to listen to their conversation.
‘My cat will not eat the cat food I buy here at Aldi. She only eats food I purchase at Coles.’ One of these customers told her fellow customer.
How would a cat tell the difference between cat food from Aldi or from Coles? I pondered, giggling inside almost causing pain to my ribcage. What would her cat eat if she didn’t eat for a week? I wager her cat ate what was put in front of her whether the food came from Aldi or Coles after a week of not eating.
Hidden reverse psychology entered my mind. Change the label from the cat food purchased at Aldi to the label of the similar produce purchased at Coles. Serve to the cat to determine if the cat actually tell the difference between both products.
For an exercise this feline can speak. Understands every word her owner speaks. The conversation may go along these lines:
‘This is not my food from Coles.’ Ginger (name of cat for this exercise) meows.
‘How can you tell. You haven’t eaten any.’ Mrs Smith (owner of cat and customer at Aldi store).
‘I don’t have to eat this horrible food. Where is my Coles cat food?’ Ginger squealed in a high pitch. Ginger stamped her paws against the plush carpet, scratching the fibre, squealing at the top of her voice, ‘I want my Coles cat food.’
Mrs Smith thought for a second, do I allow this behaviour to go on? ‘You either eat what you’re given or go to bed without your supper.’ Mrs Smith never spoke to Ginger in her tone before.
‘Goodnight.’ Ginger meowed. Walked to her sleeping quarters, curled her body into a bundle, instantly fell asleep. Fancy sending me off to bed before eating my supper. Disgraceful. These thoughts rushed through her mind.
Early the following morning Ginger rose early to visit the outdoors for her morning constitution. Returning inside to where her breakfast always in her dish, empty. Ginger meowed loud, so loud, Mrs Smith ran quickly to find out what happened to her previous cat.
‘Didn’t take you long to come after I squealed.’ Ginger meowed. ‘Where’s my breakfast?’ She demanded.
‘Right here.’ Mrs Smith showed Ginger the Coles cat food container, pulled the lid, scooped the contents into Ginger’s dish. Without waiting Ginger gorged into the food. ‘How is Aldi cat food compared to Coles cat food Ginger. Can you tell the difference?’ Mrs Smith asked in an inviting voice.
Ginger licked her lips, ‘this is the real deal. Coles cat food straight from the tin.’ Ginger smirked.
‘I’ve got news for you Ginger. Hidden reverse psychology. I switched the labels on each container. You’ve eaten Aldi cat food. This’ll teach you to be disobedient.’
Word count: 485
How Many Times
‘How many times do I need to tell you. Children should be seen and not heard’. These words regularly shouted by my grandmother each time we visited. At the time, I thought she was a tough old lady who didn’t love her grandchildren. How wrong were my thoughts?
Now I’m in a similar position, children are certainly listened to in adult company. My poor grandmother would turn over in her grave to witness the way her great grandchildren act in this day and age. My stomach turns over in disgust when adults listen to their three-year-old children to solve their problems. How would three-year-old child have knowledge about adult issues? Absolutely nothing, yet parents allow their three-year-old child to tell them how to work out their issues rather than work them out themselves.
How many times have I witnessed this behaviour? More than I care to remember. My generation, baby boomers, born shortly after World War 11 grew up with discipline in all areas of life delivered by school teachers, parents, relatives, group leaders. This discipline forced upon our generation gave us strength to make decision in our lives.
How many times did I stop whatever I was doing to assess my position. An example: when sixteen years old, second year apprentice fitter and turner an opportunity came my way to make a business decision. After speaking, or more trying to sell the idea, to my father, noting happened. I regretted not believing in myself for the remainder of my life. This decision had a profound effect on my decision-making in my life.
Seven years ago, my desire to write the life story of a returned soldier who became imprisoned in World War 11 drove me to a point of no return until finished. At the time my decision to write this soldier’s story burned in my mind with such demand this took all of my strength plus will power to complete this huge task.
How many times did I hit the brick wall of resistance. My belief to complete the project instead of not believing in my own ability. Probably the toughest writing I’ve ever completed. Satisfied only when I held the masterpiece in my hands, gave myself a pat on the back for completing such a huge task against all odds.
How many times various messages echoed through my mind telling me, is this book worth the trouble? At the time, I believed how important this book is for our present generation and generations not yet born. This book is true history of an Australian who fought in World War 11 suffered at the hands of the enemy under conditions never evidenced by human beings. Building of the Burma Railway, fellow soldiers dying. World peace announced. This soldier returned home to reach the age of one hundred and two years and a half before his passing.
How many times have I kicked myself for not going ahead with my plan at sixteen years old with a business decision which would have changed my life forever. I can’t blame anyone except myself for not having sufficient self-belief to reach my goal. Now I’ve reached my goal on completing the book of this soldier for all to read, satisfied I never gave up.
Word count: 549.
I Didn’t Really Want The Job
High school finished. Start of a working career. I wanted to join Queensland Police Force to be a Police Cadet. My father had different ideas for his son instead wanting me to become a Lad Porter for Queensland Rail. I didn’t really want the job.
After not seeing eye to eye on my future I successfully found my own career to become an apprentice fitter and turner. Although it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, this satisfied my father and myself by not joining Queensland Rail to become a Lad Porter or Queensland Police to become a Police Cadet.
How life takes us into different directions when we least expect it to. This five-year apprenticeship gave me skills I would never have accomplished if I joined Queensland Police at fifteen years of age. In fact, to be honest, my father made the correct decision to stop me from joining Queensland Police at such an early age.
After joining Queensland Police at twenty-one years old I realised by personal experiencing life through my teenage years working with men, I matured far greater than if I joined the police at fifteen years old. I’d never admit this to my father however this became a right decision for him to make at the time.
Working with men in the metal trade industry at times wish I never needed to experience moments of torture, such as initiation. In no way, would initiation into the workforce be accepted today. Such were the times when two workmen held me down, one holding my legs whilst the other my arms. Powerless to do anything whilst another fellow workman opened the fly of my overalls and poured cleaning soap around my private parts.
At the time, each apprentice all accepted this ritual without dobbing in your mate. Imagine if this ritual happened in the workforce today. There’d be hell to play. Working amongst men gave me maturity far beyond my youth experiencing working with craftsmen in their trade. To witness Ole Bluey weld steel in the way he did almost took one’s breath away.
Growing up in this era obtaining work was never an issue. I remember after leaving my apprenticeship to obtain employment in the metal trade work became plentiful. My initial role after leaving my apprenticeship to construct morgue tables built of stainless steel. I didn’t really want the job but how to eat without a paying job became difficult.
All through our working lives we do come across work we don’t like doing. Soon after becoming a Police Officer I investigated the sudden death of an elderly male. I certainly didn’t want the job but I had to do it because it was my role in the community to investigate sudden deaths.
Word count: 467
I Should Have Listened To My Mother
My mother, most precious person in my life passed away at forty-five years old. Far too young. All through my life she tried in vain to help me grow through childhood into adulthood. Along this journey, we found a mother-son relationship to grow into a deep love for each other. Even after her death she visited to find out if I was doing okay.
Yes, I should have listened to my mother more when she advised me at different times in my life. I did listen once at aged fourteen. She always told me to shake another person’s hand, particularly a male adult, firmly. Her advice helped me more times than I care to remember.
Around this same period, when we walked along a footpath she told me to walk on the side closest to the roadway. I questioned her theory. She told me if a vehicle drove onto the footpath, would collide with me first instead of her. I never forgot this advice.
I’ll share an important event which describes the love we had for each other. A week before my twenty-third birthday I was stationed at Cunnamulla in the police. Late in the afternoon I received a telephone call to say my mother didn’t have long to live and rush to Brisbane before she passed on. I left immediately. The distance from Cunnamulla to Brisbane eight hundred kilometres which normally took ten hours.
At one-thirty the next morning on the outskirts of Toowoomba my mind filled with dread to tell me my mother passed on and not to hurry. I stopped and slept. After awakening before sunrise, I journeyed on to reach the hospital. When I entered the ward an empty bed. The same bed my mother occupied. I asked a nurse what time she passed and her reply, ‘one-thirty this morning’. I can’t explain the reason why this happened. My mother wouldn’t want me rushing to her bedside if danger of an accident.
After her funeral, I returned to Cunnamulla. The following Saturday morning I met my wife to be. Did my mother have anything to do about the two of us coming together at that particular time? In my imagination, I did think Mom looked down from above to lead me to meeting my future wife.
These events are difficult to explain. I believe in fate and destiny and a realisation ‘things are meant to happen for reasons unknown to us all.’ This message of good-bye from my mother at one-thirty in the morning became so real in my mind and to later discover being the same time of her death is extraordinary to believe.
Personally, I believe my mother has guided me throughout my life and now knowing she is my guardian angel I should have listened to my mother more often than I did.
Word count: 480
I Think I Might Have Done This Before
Do we have a mirror planet to earth? Is another Pat Ritter living on this mirror planet doing everything I do? At different times in my life I certainly imagine these events happening. Whether I dream being at a particular place at a certain time, seeing events before they happen. I think I might have done this before.
Throughout my life, on several times I’ve visited places and swear on my wife’s grave, I think I might have done this before. Sight of familiar places and people turn my mind into a vision of previously standing on this exact spot and never having visited before. Let me explain.
In 2005 I visited Tasmania for the first time in my life. Driving along the road from Hobart to Georgetown without driven this road before, my mind drifted to a time when I think I might have done this before. This time driving in a motor vehicle whilst the previous time sitting on a sulky driving a horse.
Looking across the landscape without prior knowledge I immediately identified the current countryside. My mind told me I might have done this before. Another time, not in Tasmania, a similar experience crossed my mind when an incident happened which had previously happened. A tricky situation to say the least throwing my self-confidence out-of-the-window.
Many occurrences happened in our life at times are difficult to explain. Like for instance my partner’s deceased husband visits me when I’m asleep. Don’t laugh. Out of all his relatives including his wife and children he decides to visit me, his wife’s partner. I must admit is a little bazaar when the first time he visited me however after five visits I’ve got used to his visits. In fact, we’ve become very good friends.
Honestly, I can’t explain why he chose me. After his first visit, I woke my partner to tell her. Whether she believed me was another thing. I explained the clothing he wore plus the words he spoke using her ‘nickname’ he’d given her during their marriage. A scar on his leg plus the notebook and pen in his pocket. She agreed all were correct for I wouldn’t have had any knowledge of these items.
On each occasion, which is now five visits, we speak about different things and he asked me to help him with various tasks around the farm. The latest is the re-development of land which he had no knowledge of. His comments to me during this visit, ‘I agree with what you’re doing by breaking up the land into smaller blocks.’ Once he told me, he disappeared into a shed which he always did on previous visits.
Can I explain these visits? No! I can’t. I can’t dream about his visits because I’ve never met him before only when he visited me after his death. Do these events concern me? Initially, they did but now he’s visited me on five separate occasions I’m used to his visits and accept them for what they are. I think I might have done this before at some other time in my life.
Word count: 527
I Wish I Hadn’t
Mistakes in our lives are at times pure mistakes made from not knowing the outcomes or simple honest mistakes made by our self-conscious. I’m a mistake specialist. None of us live a perfect world. I love to write. This is not a mistake. This passion for writing takes me across the globe to entertain others with my stories and books.
Daily I post a page from a book I’ve written and published onto a group advertised on Facebook named ‘keeping up with my writing’. I wish I hadn’t chosen this title because daily other members post their stories in this group which is annoying. For the past five years, I’ve been posting a page to this group starting from a couple of members which now has a membership of seven thousand six hundred members from all corners of the globe.
I’m surprised by this huge membership and visualise in my mind daily this number receiving my daily post to read. Now I’m not naïve enough to think each member actually reads this daily post but receiving daily feedback shows many actually do and make comments. This delights me in a way when I began this strategy I wish I hadn’t but started sooner.
Writing a book is the easy part of writing. Publishing the book is also easy. Marketing your book to have others interested enough to purchase your book is totally different. Marketing is the key to success. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool for others to volunteer your book for others to purchase.
Another important strategy I use daily is to select a friend on Facebook which I have over four thousand across the globe to wish them a ‘Happy Birthday’ on their birthday. Also, attach a free book as a gift. The response has been overwhelming with messages return to thank me for my best wishes also for a FREE book. Each time I receive a message of appreciation from this birthday friend I attach a copy of my latest book for their reading. This response is more overwhelming.
Since I’ve started this type of marketing ‘I wish I hadn’t’ has never entered my mind. From reading the responses from these Facebook friends their messages warm my heart and soul to fight on with marketing my writing to as many others as possible. Facebook gives me this platform. Another strategy is to ‘like’ a person’s Facebook Page when requested to do so. I tick ‘like’ and respond with a message ‘Done!’ When the message is returned with appreciation of ‘thank you’ I respond with providing this person to click onto my website to read books I’ve written and published. When they respond to this message I attached a copy of my latest book for them to read FREE!
These strategies are daily chores I need to keep doing to service my customers. If I thought ‘I wish I hadn’t’ never would I have the number of members in my group together with the many friends on Facebook. I’m pleased I wish I hadn’t and instead took hold of my dream to make this dream a reality.
Word count: 528
Is That The Time
Twenty-ninth of April nineteen seventy-two at a quarter to five in the afternoon standing with my best man Brian at the alter awaiting the arrival of my soon to be wife.
‘Is that the time?’ I squeaked to Brian. ‘She’s a half-an-hour late. She might have decided not to turn up.’
‘She’ll be here. Don’t worry. Brides are always late. Remember my wedding. Gail didn’t turn up until almost after the reception.’
‘I remember.’ At that moment, the wedding march music echoed throughout the church. I looked ahead drilling on eyes onto Jesus hanging on the cross. Brian stood erect beside me.
‘Here she comes.’ He whispered. My whole body shook with excitement. In a few moments, I would become a married man with the responsibility of a wife to care for.
Brother Paul stood looking toward the rear of the church. A huge smile spread across his face. From the corner of my eye a white dress appeared. Brother Paul asked, ‘who giveth this woman.’
My future father-in-law gaffed, ‘I do.’ Brother Paul took my left hand and joined both hands. My heart almost plunged from my chest with excitement and pride.
Words spoken by Brother Paul didn’t penetrate my mind only when came the time to say those magic words, ‘I will.’ He pronounced us husband and wife. When I lifted the veil from my wife’s face to kiss her I became the luckiest person in the world to be marrying the girl of my dreams.
We only met one another eight months before on the footpath in front of the Cunnamulla Post Office when introduced by a friend. Before this moment, I didn’t believe in love at first sight. From this moment onward became our own fairy tale. Our romance blossomed from the moment we met.
Instantly I forgave her for being late. A bride’s privilege to keep the bridegroom waiting at the altar. The words ‘is that the time’ rushed through my mind several times before my bride finally arrived to become my wife.
Twenty-ninth April of each year we celebrated our wedding anniversary except our first. I forgot. Something was wrong because she kept reminding me of the date. Like most males, the bulb didn’t light up when I said, ‘Is that the time’, spreading my arms and yawned.
‘You don’t remember this day. Do you?’ These words spoken louder than her usual words.
Honestly, I never in my wildest dreams understood what she was referring to.
‘Our first wedding anniversary.’ She shouted, jumped off the lounge and walked to the bedroom. ‘You can sleep on the lounge tonight’. The bedroom door slammed.
We celebrated thirty-one years of marriage and apart from the first one I never forgot any other wedding anniversary.
Word count: 464
Island On The Sequent Love Nun
Unfortunately, I have no idea of this title only after a search on google showed me this is the title of a book written by Christopher Moore. Major character of the story is Tucker Case (Tuck) who is the pilot for a cosmetic company. During a flight enjoying sex at the same time, the plane crashes on an island. Introduction to this book found Tuck left hanging from a tree by his ankles.
Mention of comparing Hamlet written by William Shakespeare to this story showed the author possessed a great mind on writing a comparative analysis of both stories. Each having different characters with common outcomes.
My role as an author is to entertain my readers. To do this I use information from Bryce Courtenay, one of Australian’s greatest authors. His words are encased in my mind: Writing a book is never easy – takes guts, patience and a huge amount of self-discipline to succeed.
This morning on Facebook a member posted a message for me to read: I didn’t keep a copy and wished I had but in essence went something like this. Two authors placed in a tank of milk. The first author gave up and drowned because his first book didn’t sell whilst the second author carried on with his dream to become a best seller author. Cream eventually rose to the top. Lesson to be learned, first author drowned in milk whist the second author rose with the cream.
My journey of being an author have had many ups and downs. At one time, I almost decided to give writing away because I honestly thought my mind couldn’t reach any other level. The writing tide turned when I joined Pomona Writer’s Group. Writing again took over my life because of the model this group has. Writing these five hundred word short stories throws out a challenge weekly to each member, particularly, this topic.
This year I will publish book number nineteen. Along this journey, I needed to come up with an idea similar to what Christopher Moore did to include Hamlet into his stories. My thought came when I discovered a timeline with outback Australian history. For instance, my latest book ‘Tilbaroo Station’ is set in outback Queensland on a property near the small township of Eulo.
The story is set in 1897 during the Great Australian Drought which almost destroyed this area. This drought lasted six years. Of important during this period the discovery of Great Artesian Water Basin. I did a similar thing to what Christopher Moore did. Rather than compare my story with William Shakespeare’s story of Hamlet, I discovered what happened in south-west Queensland in a certain period and built a story around this period.
‘Tilbaroo Station’ is the third in a series I’ve written using this method. Without this information of the period I mention in these books honestly, I haven’t an idea of what to write. So, by combining actually history with a storyline of characters to the reader the cream will rise to the top.
Word count: 514
Just For Pleasure
Weekly I play lotto. Just for pleasure. Don’t worry, if my numbers appeared and if I won, playing lotto would be just for pleasure. I’d continue to play the game because I play just for pleasure. One day I will win.
I want to share a story of two people living in two different countries across the world from each other. One lives in Canada whilst the other Australia. They are friends on Facebook. They’ve never met in person.
On Tuesday, his friend from Canada celebrated a birthday. The Australian friend wished his Canadian friend a happy birthday wishing all her birthday wishes come true. Surprised to receive a thank you from his Canadian friend she mentioned she almost won lotto and showed him the numbers.
Tuesday night lotto in Australia if won would’ve been two million dollars. This Australian friend asked his friend to select three numbers whilst he selected four numbers to make a game. She sent him numbers: 16,21,24. Without delay the Australian friend selected his numbers: 3,4,25,26 and played the seven numbers in Oz Lotto for $2M prize.
After playing the game on-line the Australian sent his friend a copy of the entry and asked how she wanted her prize paid. Without delay she replied she would travel to Australia to collect her winnings.
Tuesday night the Australian had difficulty sleeping because of the possibility of winning $2M and sharing half with his friend on Facebook. His dream of winning came to fruition when next morning checking his on-line results their numbers appeared. With an uncontrollable beating heart, he quickly notified his friend in Canada to share the news.
Swapping messages across Facebook almost screaming with delight the Canadian friend said, ‘I’m on the next plane to Australia. Pick me up at the airport.’
‘Here is my telephone number. Phone me when you arrive.’ The Australian answered.
Using Facebook all friends read their story. When the Canadian arrived at Brisbane International Airport a gathering of television crew surrounded the Canadian when she left the plane. Channel 7 wanted their story. Both Australian and Canadian rejoiced to meet one another for the first time in person.
This story through public media showed how two friends on Facebook; both on the opposite side of the world to one another rejoiced in their winnings. This became the headliner for many overseas countries. Good wishes reached these two people who couldn’t imagine anything like this event happened to them.
With a shake of the body by the Australian’s partner he awoke to find he dreamt the whole winning Oz Lotto with his friend in Canada. After checking the numbers found they didn’t win any prize and in fact Oz Lotto jackpotted to $5M for next Tuesday. His dream just for pleasure.
Word count: 467
King Of The Animals
If animals were exchanged as human beings, who in the human race would be King Of The Animals? Our present Prime Minister is King Of The Animals for Australia whilst he remains on his throne. President of United States Of America is King Of The Animals in America.
In the animal kingdom, the Lion has always been the King Of The Animals. Is our Prime Minister a Lion in this human jungle? Lions roar. Has our present Prime Minister roared? Can you picture in your mind our Prime Minister roaring in Parliament? I doubt he would roar. If he had an opportunity to roar, I think he would if his members allowed.
Because the lion is accepted as King Of The Animals, other animals look to him for proper guidance and decision making to make their lives liveable. Over the past years our King Of The Animals have been dethroned more times than any other period in history of our great nation.
King Of The Animals are selected by their peers to become their leader of various government parties. The government party with the most votes from other animals throughout the kingdom are elected to govern when the King Of The Animals leads this particular party to serve their country through economic growth.
Leadership of any kingdom is paramount for success. If all animals in the kingdom fail to understand their leader’s requirements, then failure. Australia has a small population compared to countries of a similar size therefore to carry the burden of economy and growth, the more animals work together toward the common goal of success, the better chance everyone has of success.
Unfortunately, animals who fail to lead. These animals follow their leader through feast or famine. Whilst the King Of The Animals leads his animals toward success no animal complains. Once this leadership quivers, all hell breaks loose with Lions fighting tigers, kangaroos fighting emus and the list goes on before long King Of The Animals has lost control of leadership and Australia left in a mess with no leader.
To overcome these issues, only one leader who is a leader of a kingdom. His skills to make decisions for the betterment of his kingdom for growth and stability. If the animals of his kingdom have no knowledge of outcomes when decisions are made, is no hope of success.
Take for instance our present King Of The Animals wants to increase taxes to pay overdrafts left by his previous King Of The Animals. Should he go ahead and increase this tax? If he does, then he would be dethroned like his previous King Of The Animals. Whatever his decision must be one of leadership to show his kingdom of animals his leadership is worthy of trust and bringing home the bacon or his lion’s share of the bacon.
Word count: 478
Nothing Like The Rest
At times, I’m alienated from my family. Not all of the time; however, thinking through my life my feelings always tended to want calmness. I hate confrontation of any type. Instead I prefer to work out issues to form a common solution.
When I studied transactional analysis at college the floodgates opened in my mind particularly with solving conflict. Our instructor showed us how we have three levels of communicating with one another. First is adult to adult: when two adults are speaking to each other on the same level. Second information to information when two people share equal information with one another. The third child to child when two people play as if a child.
This may sound out-of-this-world but I can tell you this TA theory works. I’ve used this theory many times to overcome conflict. You may not have experienced nothing like this before because this way of communicating is nothing like the rest.
I’ve always hated confrontation. To overcome this hatred, I’ve learned to become tolerant and to listen. When anyone confronts another with an issue of confrontation the major person directs their words in an adult ego. Similar to our parents talking down to their children. Speaking from their adult ego to child ego therefore making the other person a child.
The second form of communication is information to information which is the best way to communicate because both parties are sharing information to build trust. This is the common way of communicating. Last but not least is child ego to child ego when both parties act as if they’re acting like children.
Let’s take an example from my place of work before I retired. My role customer service within the organisation. Each day became a joy to attend work and service customers. At the time my age fifty-three years old. Honestly, I was thinking of retirement to become a fulltime author.
One morning our supervisor from our office was sent to another office and in his place a young supervisor in her early twenties replaced him. Her first instruction to me raised the hairs on the back of my neck. She exhibited her adult ego to my child ego. In turn I didn’t want to play her game and totally ignored her. She continued to rant and rave and strongly suggested to report me for not taking her instructions.
I continued to ignore her instructions and set about with my daily work. In a huff, she left to speak with the department leader obviously about my ignoring her instructions. On her return, she ignored me and had to be sent to the naughty corner for her behaviour. I continued with my work.
She was nothing like the rest. Her presence didn’t go over too well with the other staff and by the end of the first week she returned to her original office. We received our supervisor in return. The moral of the story: She was nothing like the rest.
Now If I Were You
How many times did these words uttered by my peers whilst growing up? More times than I care to remember. Now if I were you became a motto each time I asked my elders for advice. In the world of my youth we did what we were told never speaking back to adults only carrying out their commands.
In the present day with Facebook and other public media everyone is full of advice. You’ve only got to throw a question to the world and presto a million replied tell you how to resolve the issue. Communication is our way of life in today’s society.
To give you an example of how this works: I remember starting work at fifteen years old as an apprentice fitter and turner. My weekly wage being seven pounds ten shillings per week which equates to $15.00 per week in today’s currency. From this wage, I paid my mother board which gave me about sixty per cent left with to spend as I liked.
On a Sunday morning, I always read the Sunday papers. One such morning I read about sale of land nearby to where we lived. My mind went into overdrive. Instantly my mind filled with a dream of owning blocks of land throughout the country.
After raising the subject of my idea with my father his words, ‘now if I were you.’ These words didn’t help me only hindered my pathway to riches. He agreed to follow my plan to purchase a block of land; however, instead of my idea to purchase a block within my price range, my father, with my uncles and aunts, mother and other relatives coaxed me to purchase a block far dearer than I ever imagined.
In a short space of time from reading this wonderful idea in the Sunday newspaper to digging myself a debt hole too large to fill. Repayments for this chosen block of land by my so called good hearted relatives cost me two pound ten shillings per week from my pay. With this extra financial burden, I gasp for breath.
After careful consideration and looking forward to another five years of payments I decided to ‘take the bull by the horns’ and find a second job to help pay for this block of land. Instead of working five days per week now I worked six days per week. This final day paid for my block of land. Each month on my way to college I paid ten pounds to the land developer. This became my compulsive savings account.
After paying four years of payments the amount left to finalise the loan became one payment. This became a turning point in my life. Over the past four years my wages increased to making further payments. On the day, I visited the developer office to pay the final payment for the block of land the block had been sold.
In disbelief, I asked the question ‘How!’ My father needed money and as the land was in his name and not my name because of my age at the time of purchase he sold the block without telling me. His words echoed in my mind, ‘now if I were you.’ I’ve never forgiven him and never will. A true lesson in life.
Word count: 554
Nun – School – Hate
The word Nun reminds me of the ‘Flying Nun’ on the television programme many years-ago. The name of the actress slips my mind at this moment. She’d fly everywhere through the sky helping those unfortunate children who hated school. Sally Fields. I checked on Google before continuing.
I wouldn’t miss an episode seeing her fly above the trees looking down on her flock. They were the days. Magic. We continue to have magic to this day and age with the internet. Similar to checking on Google about ‘The Flying Nun’. Before Google either I needed to depend on my memory or read through old television programmes to find her name.
School is a place we all need to attend in our lives to hate or like. My memory of school at times enjoyable except for certain lessons. If only we could’ve been like ‘The Flying Nun’ to make school more entertaining and enjoyable. My days at school, or lack of them, especially in grade eight. I played truant many times. Motivation to attend school worsened in High School.
When I recall my lessons at school, on the times I attended, left a lot to be desired. I’m not placing blame on the teachers for they had their work cut out to convince me to attend school, little wonder to learn. In scholarship year, the prerequisite to pass to be allowed to enter High School. Amazingly I passed, only just to enter the huge world of High School.
Here I excelled at Manual Arts subjects. Other subjects whizzed through my mind so fast nothing stayed sealed in my brain. I didn’t realise at the time how important school learning became so prevalent until later in life. Shock horror came when I joined Queensland Police Service as a Probationary Constable. Four months of solid training ranging in varies aspects I’d never personally experienced. My only wish I didn’t hate school and none of this personal experience would’ve been like climbing Mount Everest.
Our Police Commissioner wanted his officers to be educated. At the time the education requirement being a pass in Scholarship which I passed. Now our leader wanted his members to be educated at college outside of their work hours. An Arts & Science Course introduced for all police officers consisting of seven subjects. No time limit to study for this course only if a constable passed two subjects this would provide an early promotion to Senior Constable with seven years’ service instead of waiting the normal ten-year period.
My intentions to pass these two subjects for early promotion. After three years study, I passed the required subjects and thus received promotion to Senior Constable with seven years’ service. At the time, I couldn’t believe I achieved this promotion through study.
Progressing through the ranks in the force I received a promotion to Detective Sergeant Second Class. Still I couldn’t believe how I reached this pinnacle in my life. Something happened in this period forcing me to seek out further education. I attended college after which I attended university achieving marks way above my fighting weight.
So, if the television programme ‘The Flying Nun’ as a child, wasn’t on television, instead of studying, I perhaps would’ve had a hate for school.
Word count: 547
Out For The Count
For some reason, I hated fighting. My nervous system immediately went into a spasm. My brain froze. Fight versus flight. I couldn’t think. I became afraid to hurt my opponent. An incident happened after school in grade 1. On the footpath in front of the school another student and I were hammering into one another – hit for hit. A man tried to stop the fight. I became so intent on hurting this other student nothing was going to stop me. This man offered each of us one shilling each if we stopped fighting. My opponent stopped and received a shilling from this man. I left and walked home.
Years went by until my teenage years. A friend Geoff boxed and trained under his home. His father trained him. One night he wanted me to pull the gloves on and go a few rounds. I declined until sufficient teasing prompted me to spar with him. Geoff had been boxing since he was old enough to walk. My experience absolutely nil.
After a few jabs to my mouth I somehow gathered sufficient courage to duck one of these- flurry-of-punches and connect my right glove on Geoff's chin. He fell to the floor. Actually, he fell so fast I honestly thought I was in trouble for punching him so hard. I immediately looked at his father who looked shocked and said. 'He's never been knocked out before in his life.' Geoff recovered. I never.
I hated confrontation of any type. Probably because of an alcoholic father who promised everything and delivered nothing. Over the years witnessing drinking between my father and uncles, fights ensured always someone ended up with a fat lip and everyone laughed. I didn’t laugh. I hated fighting. I’d rather walk away then confront the person than fight my way out of the situation.
After joining the police one of our roles to intervene in public fights or arguments. My nerves went into flight when I needed to take hold of a person to stop them from fighting another. Next, they’d turn on the police and hell broke loose. I remember a comment made by a drunken person one night before we arrested him, ‘take that uniform off to fight like a man.’ I ignored his comments and did my job.
Bluff became my greatest friend to stop these stupid individuals from proving they had more power than the police. They were a menace to society. My position in between a rock and a hard place. If I ripped my shirt off and gave this person a lesson of life, I’d end up on the wrong side of the law instead of him.
Media love to witness police confrontation with idiots who drink too much or heavy on drugs abuse police sufficient for them to be arrested. I didn’t want to become one of those police officer investigated for taking my duties too far.
During police training we learned various judo moves to contain an individual in order to arrest them. This training never counted when you dealt with real life situation of confrontation. At times my frustration became too strong not to fight so I trained martial arts in order to contain my anger.
Learning martial arts gave me sufficient self-confidence until one time I went too far and struck an annoying person who swore at the Judge in court. I didn’t assault the prisoner in court but returning to the police station we sort of stumbled down the stairs causing discomfort to the prisoner. I whispered a message in his ear as he rolled down the steps to respect authority.
With blood spurting through my fingers holding onto the prisoner’s mouth whilst he tried to shout abuse, I decided this wasn’t me. From then on if the prisoner wanted to abuse the Judge, I allowed this to happen without taking the law into my own hands. I was out for the count.
Word count: 663
Return Of The Wanderer
David, a long-time member of this writing group inspires each one of us with his stories of adventure on the high seas mixed with his personal ups and downs in general life. David is one of those members who bind a group together. His tone when telling a story heightens to a climax ensuring the listener to totally understand his story. Such a refreshing member to have in this group.
Almost eight months ago, David decided to have sabbatical leave not knowing when he would return. Without his attendance left a huge hole within the group. His ghost sitting where he normally sat. Many inquires made to determine if and when he would return. E-mails sent with no return. Honestly, we had no knowledge if we’d have the presence of our devoted member again.
David returned a couple of weeks ago, ‘to touch base’. His presence again heightened the thoughts of each member to wish he returned to make everything back to normal. Alas not to be. Again, an empty hole left in the group by David’s absence.
Out of the blue last meeting David returned. His motorcycle helmet tucked under his arm. Everyone in the room shouted ‘return of the wanderer’. David gave his normal smile and sat in his usual seat. Everything returned to normal with David again present for our meetings. Now the return of the wanderer is back into the grove of the weekly meetings I look forward to listening to his adventurous stories of battling the high seas of life. Great to have you back David.
I’d like to share my thoughts why Pomona Writers Group is successful. First our members are all independent writers. Each member has their own form of writing. Each individual reads aloud to the group their story they’ve written for the week. Although each member writes on exactly the same topic not two stories are similar in any way, shape or form. Each are written independently.
The most important aspect of Pomona Writers Group is ‘no judgement’ rule. Whether any member is International Published Authors, no member judges any other members writing. This gives freedom to write what the member wish to write with no judgement whatsoever. With ‘no judgement’ rule being an important aspect of writing, this leaves members to write what they want to write full knowing their writing will not be criticized or judged. This formula has been the most important ingredient to the mix of how successful Pomona Writers Group has become.
I have a confession to make. In 2010 when I joined Pomona Writers Group I was at the fork of the road with my writing career. At the time, I lost my way with my writing. I almost gave writing away. After joining this special group of writers’ fire erupted in my belly taking me into a different direction. At this time, I’d written and published six books.
Gaining this new personal drive and desire to write, after six years with this group, in November this year I will be publishing my 19th novel plus a book of stories we write at the weekly group making a total of twenty books. My personal writing goals would never have been achieved without members of Pomona Writers Group. You all have been my driver to force me to dig deeper into my writing soul to exploit those hidden secrets and endeavours I want to write about.
I personally thank you all for your support and encouragement to help me achieve these endeavours. I couldn’t have succeeded alone.
Visit a Bunnings Store daily anywhere immediately your nostrils fill with cooked sausage, onions forcing you as a customer to stop and purchase this aroma attacking your nostrils. Before you enter the store, you’ve devoured between a slice of bread a cooked sausage covered with tomato sauce and cooked union. Sporting Club members volunteer to have a sausage sizzle at the front of Bunnings to lure customers to raise funds.
In my day, we didn’t have ‘sausage sizzle’. The thought of eating a sausage between a slice of bread never entered our minds. We instead enjoyed the good ole hamburger; a bun, ingredients of fried egg, together with a slice of bacon, tomato, cooked union and lettuce.
I remember as a member of a club, a couple of members cooked the meat and unions whilst others sliced and buttered each bread roll. Thinking back to this time I think we only charged two dollars and fifty cents for the hamburger. Today one sausage wrapped in a slice of bread with a little union and sauce cost a similar price. How else were clubs to fill their financial coffers by providing a cheap meal to their customers?
Let me take you back to the dim dark ages of the fifties. After a Saturday afternoon at the movies we young fellows gathered at the local fish and chip shop to purchase sixpence of chips wrapped in newspaper. Gathering together on the footpath in front of the fish and chip shop we tore open the top of the newspaper plunging our fingers into the hot chips pushing them into our mouths to a flavour savoured by many.
Along came adolescent years. To surprise your girlfriend, you’d take her to the local hamburger joint where the local bodgies and widgies hung around. Great days. The hamburgers cooked to perfection. Swallowed down with a Coca-Cola soft drink. What a night to enjoy.
Growing to a wife and children I remember Sunday morning visiting Hungry Jacks at Kedron to eat not one but two giant whoppers followed by a large vanilla thick shake. They were the days. Along came fast food with McDonalds and a host of other outlets. The corner hamburger shop closed their doors. A passed era.
One memory which never leaves my memory is driving from Sandgate to Caboolture at midnight one evening to purchase a hamburger and milk shake from ‘The Milkie Way’ a BP Service Station which housed their own dairy cows to provide the milk shakes. This was worth the drive. This place became so popular, a shame they closed their doors with progress. Sadly, missed.
Along came the sausage sizzle which by the look of popularity will be around for years to come.
Word count: 459
Scientist – Nun – University
‘Hail Mary.’ Sister Rose shouted in disgust standing at the Administration Office of the University. ‘Who didn’t accept my enrolment?’ Her voiced raised. Dressed in her habit, her arms crossed in front of her. Anger filled her face. Sister Rose wanted to speak with the Chancellor of the University. This request denied. What can she do. How to find the right reason for her refusal to enrol at this university.
This became an unusual enrolment at this particular university because never before in the history had a nun enrolled in a degree to study science. Her application rejected by the Chief Scientist who didn’t believe Sister Rose wanted to study science. Her religious beliefs would sway other students.
Sister Rose turned, opened the front door, walked to the stairs. In her haste, she accidently bumped into a gentleman dressed in a gown. ‘I’m sorry. Please excuse my rush. I’ve been denied admission to this university, left in a hurry and accidently bumped into you. Please accept my humble apologies.’
The gentleman stood beside Sister Rose listened to her rant and rave, never before experiencing the words spitting from a lady of religion. ‘Perhaps I may help. If I can.’ He asked solemnly.
Sister Rose’s attitude instantly changed. She warmed to this gentleman who wanted to help her. ‘Please, if you can help me. Would be appreciated.’ Holding the cross of Jesus in both hands almost pleading to this stranger for help.
‘Have a seat over here.’ The gentleman offered his hand to guide her to the seat. When both comfortably seated. ‘Tell me what you are concerned about?’ His voice soft and welcoming.
Sister Rose blurted all her frustrations onto this gentleman who sat listening to her rant and rave about being denied access to study science at this university. His calm attitude showed Sister Rose he listened to her complaint showing he probably held a position in the university to help her.
Once Sister Rose stopped to breathe, the gentleman said, ‘I totally understand why you are frustrated with the decision made by the university. Perhaps if you explain why you want to study science, may help me to understand.’ His voice soft.
Sister Rose explained how she loved her God all of her life. She wanted to understand how science is related to God’s work. The gentleman listened to Sister Rose nodding his head in agreeance giving her sufficient time to tell her story. By the time, Sister Rose finished explaining her situation time passed quickly.
‘Can you help me?’ Her final words.
‘I will if I can. First I have a query which you may be able to explain.’ The gentleman expressed in a concerned voice.
‘I’ll answer any query you ask.’ Sister Rose replied. A smile broke on her face.
‘Would you agree we celebrate Christmas Day on the 25th December each year and have done so since the birth of Jesus?’ Asked the gentleman.
‘Yes, most certainly I agree.’ Sister Rose smiled in answer to the question.
‘If this is so. Why do we celebrate the new beginning to the year seven days later?’ Asked the gentleman.
Sister Rose thought about her answer. ‘A good question.’ She replied not certain of how to answer.
‘This is why you failed your enrolment to this fine university. If you ever find the answer, be certain to re-apply. Until then I’m sorry for not accepting your request. I’m Professor Wright, Chief Scientist.’ He stood entered the front of the university.
Word count: 588
Bundy Quicksilver and his friend Quincy Simpson finished their investigation into the death of a farmer. From the beginning of this investigation always something fishy how this death occurred. Over many years, they investigated many crimes resulting in satisfied outcomes. This one in particular caused more work than any other investigation they’d carried out.
‘This has been a tough one.’ Bundy said to his friend.
‘Certainly has. In the end, we solved what caused the death of the farmer.’ Quincy’s answer, define and correct. Quincy’s position Chief Forensic Scientist for Queensland. Bundy, detective with Queensland Police. Each worked together like two peas in a pod.
With this investigation completed, Quincy and Bundy decided to do some fishing in a dam on a property. Quincy didn’t like to waste time fishing in the usual manner with a rod and bait instead use a fishing net swung across the dam.
Bundy stood on one side of the bank whilst Quincy dragged his end of the fishing net across to the opposite side. Tying their ends to a nearby tree the net sunk into the water. They left the net to return the following day to inspect their catch. Images of huge yellow belly fish formed in their minds almost causing saliva to flow from their mouths.
Driving to the dam they chatted about the number of fish and size would be caught in the net. Arriving at the spot each unfastened their ends and dragged the net to the side of the dam. Caught in the centre of the net a large cat fish. Those slimy fish with whiskers on their head thus how they obtained their name.
‘Only one.’ Quincy said in surprise taking the fish from the net. After using his knife to cut the fish from the netting, and keeping his hands away from the whiskers for if he touched them by accident the injury hurt and ejected poison. In his hand, Quincy held the fish, sliced along the belly extracting gut and other contents. ‘I’ll wash this one.’ He entered the water placing the fish into the water holding on firmly. Suddenly the fish wiggled and fell from Quincy’s hand. Dipping below the coloured water disappeared and never seen again.
‘Can’t you find the bloody fish?’ Bundy shouted from his side of the dam.
Quincy trawled the dam with his hands and feet. To no avail. No fish.
When the fishing net became exposed they found a huge hole in the centre. Obviously, fish instead of being caught by the netting swam through this hole instead of the one which got away.
‘If you ever tell anyone this story. I’ll deny everything. You understand.’ Quincy stated.
‘I’ll take this to my grave. Something fishy about using this net.’ Bundy replied.
Sound Of A Distant Bell
Growing through my childhood in Roma aged six years to twelve, I always attended church service most mornings especially on Sunday. Awakened by the sound of a distant bell caused alarm to quickly dress to arrive at church on time. We lived on the outskirts. I hurried to arrive before the service began.
Six years I continued this ritual. Sundays being ‘Sunday School’ lessons after the service. Church of England provided my early childhood memories of religious instructions together with studying the Bible. Sound of a distant bell always alerted my mind of a service jolting my mind into action to attend the service.
My family moved to the city. I continued attending church services to the sound of a distant bell. We lived not far from the church. Sound of a distant bell continued to be my alarm clock to attend church service. Becoming a teenager soon changed my mind of listening to a sound of a distant bell fading into the wilderness. My mind on more important things in life.
Growing through this period of my life somehow the sound of a distant bell lessened. Further I walked through this period. Further away from the sound of a distant bell I walked until one day the sound faded to nothing. Did I walk away from my early religious training dependent on the sound of a distant bell to remind me of my faith?
Life continued flowing from top to bottom on the wave of life, at times forcing me to surrender my faith in the church to venture into a different direction to experience other events in my life. My early days to listen to the sound of a distant bell completely left my mind to more important events. My life became a leaf blowing through the breeze carrying me in any direction not having a clue where my life was going.
Remembering those early days of learning religious instructions my life became real in some of the stories. Until one day my leaf dropped to the ground. I discovered the love of my life in a woman. We fell in love. With marriage in mind the sound of a distant bell returned. We married in the Church of England.
Although my faith diminished to an all-time low, this wonderful person who fell in love with me bought me back to the sound of a distant bell. We lived happily until the sound of a distant bell took her away from me thirty-one years later.
Tell This Story
This week’s story is taken from a photograph of a lady dressed 1930 era; aged early 20’s.
Looking at this photograph reminded me of a story my grandmother told me when I was growing up. At ten-years-old her mother passed away whilst giving birth to her youngest sister Nellie. The year 1913.
After the passing of her mother, her father wouldn’t continue to care for herself and three younger siblings and gave each child away to folks in town ‘like a litter of pups’. Grandmother went to a lady who owned the drapery store, whilst her other younger siblings went to other families in the town. Baby Nellie to live in another town many miles from where my grandmother lived. This became the final contact my grandmother had with her baby sister Nellie.
One hundred years later. I received an e-mail from a lady who claimed to be Nellie’s eldest daughter who had been searching for her extended family for over forty years. She sent me a photograph of a woman. This woman identical to the photograph given to us to write this story. I couldn’t believe the resemblance.
I never met my Great Aunt Nellie but after viewing her photograph she resembled in many ways my Great Aunt Sue (my grandmother’s sister). After acknowledging Nellie’s eldest daughter as my second cousin we regularly corresponded to make up for lost time. I couldn’t believe it’d been a century since this event took place.
Nellie’s eldest daughter, during her research to find her family obtained marriage certificates, birth certificates, and other information to show undisputed evidence she was related to my family. I believed her. Something my second cousin was unaware of her Great Grandfather instigated ‘The Great Shearer’s Strike of 1891’ with twelve other shearers. I explained my grandmother shared this information through her storytelling. I decided to write and publish a book named ‘The Shearer’.
In this book, I used the correct name of my Great Grandfather changed names of other characters. Because I didn’t live in this era I can share with you when I wrote this book I’m certain my Great Grandfather stood beside me so I wrote the story close enough to the truth.
I’ve never met my Great Grandfather but when I wrote this book he provided me with sufficient evidence not found in text books or research material. When I completed the book, I sent my aunt (my grandmother’s daughter) a copy who later contacted me asked. ‘This information, reads so real.’
Shivers go through my bones when I looked at the photograph of the woman we wrote this story about. So much resemblance for her not to be my Great Aunt Nellie, whom I’ve never met. The resemblance between the photograph compared with my relative undisputed.
Word count: 469
Thank Goodness It’s All Over
This is a true story which happens only once in a lifetime. In 1975 my role, a detective in the Queensland Police Force attached to the Drug Squad Brisbane. My off-sider and I were called to Narcotic Bureau in Eagle Street, Brisbane to meet with a Detective Sergeant who apprehended a person carrying marihuana in the boot of his vehicle.
Often both Drug Squad and Narcotic Bureau worked together with drug matters. This person admitted to owning the marihuana. We escorted him to our State office for further questioning. He admitted ownership of the marihuana to sell. Subsequently I arrested him, escorted him to the City Watch-house where he was charged with the possession of the drug. Following morning he appeared at the local Magistrate Court asking for an adjournment for a month which was granted. He failed to appear at the court hearing. A warrant issued for his arrest.
In early 2016, forty-one years after this event, I received a telephone call from a local detective asking if I was the officer who arrested and charged this person with drugs. Instantly my mind flashed back forty-one years replaying my role as a detective working in the Drug Squad.
In all this time, I never forgot the name of this person nor the investigation. I needed to ‘keep the exhibit’ until the offender’s apprehension. I carried this exhibit (a large plastic bag containing marihuana) to all police stations I’d been stationed for the next eight years. At times the stench of marihuana so powerful almost suffocating.
After eight years carrying this special exhibit I decided to destroy the exhibit. After taking photographs, the exhibit destroyed. The information filed.
The offender has been apprehended after forty-one years. His court hearing is about to begin. I’ve given a statement of my investigation to the local detective who arrested the offender on the outstanding warrant and waiting for a court hearing.
All I can say about this investigation is: Thank Goodness. It’s All Over.
Word count: 339.
For this story, we were shown a photograph depicting a dumpster with an open lid. A male stood either end wearing white ovals. My first thoughts went directly to the television programme ‘Castle’. One of my favourite programmes.
Rick Castle, mystery novelist who offsides with Detective Kate Beckett on NYPD. Together they solve murders and work together. Kate the detective. Rick the writer. They have two off-siders working with them to solve crimes in New York City. Detectives Kevin Ryan and Javi Esposito.
Thinking back to one of the ‘Castle’ episodes I remember both Detective Ryan and Esposito standing at either end of a dumpster. A body discovered eaten by rats found in the dumpster. Detective Beckett gave the orders whilst the other three members of the team abided by her instructions.
In this particular episode, many twists in the story took the team from the dumpster to the morgue where Doctor Lanie Parish, medical examiner and close friend of Beckett performed a post-mortem on the body. A tattoo of a dragon is discovered on the shoulder of the deceased. Also, drugs in the deceased person.
Detective Kate Beckett confers with Rick Castle to elicit his ideas. Rick sounded off a scenario from one of his novels to suggest the tattoo commonly displayed by members of Chinese mafia. Together, Detective Beckett and Castle go to a restaurant in Little Chinatown. Rick has contacts through his research when writing novels.
They are stopped at the front door by two Chinese bouncers. Rick hands each a one hundred dollar note to allow their entry. Detective Kate Beckett said, ‘alright for some whose loaded with money,’ and follows Rick through the restaurant to a table across the room. A middle aged Chinese man is seated alone waiting for them.
After shaking hands and introducing Kate to this person Rick speaks to this person in Chinese describing the body of the deceased and particularly a close description of the tattoo. Kate stays silent. The man writes in Chinese on a piece of paper and hands the paper to Rick. ‘This is the person you’re looking for’. They shake hands. Rick with Kate leave the restaurant.
‘You speak Chinese?’ Kate said once they reached the front of the restaurant.
‘Plus, many other languages.’ Rick replied lifting his eyebrows and handing the piece of paper to his off-sider.
Kate looked at the piece of paper and couldn’t understand the writing being written in Chinese. ‘Can you read Chinese?’ She asked Rick.
‘Yes, the person we’re looking for is Chin Wang. He’s the hitman for the Chinese mafia. We’ll find him two blocks away at this address.’ Rick sounded confident.
‘I’ll have Ryan and Esposito join us.’ Before Rick acknowledged, Kate’s mobile phone opened when to meet them at the place Rick told her. Within one-hour Chin Wang was arrested for the murder of the lady with the tattoo.
‘This needs to go into my book ‘Nicki Heat’ a story of your life Kate.’ Castle says before bidding the others goodnight.
Word count: 509
This week’s topic is taken from a photograph depicting two ladies dressed in coats each carrying a handbag seen walking away from the camera. Last Friday I attended a funeral. Before the funeral, we gave two ladies from our local town a lift to the funeral. Each resembled people in this photograph.
‘Good morning ladies.’ I commented when they opened the rear door of our vehicle and climbed into the rear seat.
‘I’ve got to fasten this blasted seatbelt on.’ One of the ladies replied trying to fasten her seatbelt. A buzzing noise echoed through the vehicle.
‘Don’t worry. I’ll turn the motor off while you fasten your seatbelt.’ I replied whilst turning off the motor. The noise instantly stopped. The seatbelt clicked into place. I restarted the motor. We drove to the funeral.
Throughout this journey the image of these two ladies in my photograph wouldn’t leave my mind. These two ladies seated in the backseat of our vehicle resembled the ladies in the photograph. My mind exploded with ideas. Chitchat took place between the passengers on our journey to the funeral on questions, ‘a wonderful and sincere human being’, with other chitchat.
Thoughts gathered to form a story in my mind about these two ladies seated in the rear seat of our vehicle twisting into a storyline about the photograph given to us to write our weekly story. Before we arrived at the funeral I wrote in my mind words for the story. More came when we attended the funeral.
Many perishers arrived to say their farewell to Charlie Simpson who suffered at the hands of cancer to loss his fight against the dreaded disease only a few days before his farewell. I only met Charlie a couple of times. Each time he always smiled and greeted me in a friendly manner. Signing the Grievance Book I took a programme of the service from the table.
Charlie passed away aged ninety-three years old leaving behind his wife of sixty-eight years, six children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. During the service his grandchildren spoke highly of his love for his family and their grandmother. Also, his life as a farmer. On retirement, his other love indoor bowls. Passages of Charlie’s life passed through my mind after reading and listening to his life story.
After the service, we returned to our home town. ‘Would you like me to drop you off at the cafe or somewhere else.’ I asked entering the town.
‘Here in the street will be fine thank you.’ One of the ladies replied.
I stopped the vehicle on the side of the pavement. They alighted from the vehicle. My mind filled with crazy thoughts of how life takes us into different directions. Meeting these ladies and attending the funeral of their friend certain gave me sufficient imaginations to write this story.
Word count: 479
The Times They Are A’Changing
Listening to the daily news almost forces vomit to rise in my throat and spew from my mouth. Daily more citizens killed by either guns or bombs throughout the world. The times they are a’changing. News is broadcasted from all corners of the globe instantly to your lounge room giving each citizen a first eye view of the shootings or bombing. I mute the television. What is happening to our world has never before witnessed?
Growing up in the fifties the only shooting when using our daisy air rifle in the bush. Today’s society, machine guns replace daisy air rifles to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time. Thankfully, we’re not at this stage of living in fear in Australia of being killed however, the thought enters one’s mind when witnessing the shootings and bombings overseas. Our only hope this doesn’t happen here.
Being a grandparent I worry about the world our grandchildren are growing up in. In our day, we never had the technology our children use today. Technology is great if the technology is used for good of mankind otherwise with the destruction of mankind is destructive. Like the internet for instance. I still can’t believe how this technology has raised our standards to allow us to communicate with anyone in the world wherever they live.
I, for one, totally agree with this advanced technology especially the use of NBN (National Broadband Network). Like any human being I require the quickest communication with technology instead of hanging waiting for a response. With the NBN this has happened. When I load a book onto Facebook for a member to download at their home across the world I pinch myself I’m not asleep because of the speed to download a book. Utterly magic. The times they are a’changing.
My one-year-old grandson sits on his father’s lap, takes hold of his father’s mobile telephone instantly pushing a button to bring the telephone alive. With a flick of his small finger the telephone comes alive with flashing lights. What is technology going to be like when he’s my age. Mobile telephones will probably be replaced by up-to-date technology whatever this may become.
Another grandson, four years of age, shows me his tablet with a movie showing. I ask him, ‘How did you do that?’ His reply by showing me how to switch the tablet off and restart with the movie showing. I have no idea what he did nor how he made the movie start. The times they are a’changing.
Starting from grade 1 I learned to write using a slate and chalk. Today children in grade 1 use computers. Our generation didn’t experience computers until we were aged close to fifty years old. What chance have we with today’s technology. Quick learners, I suppose. The times they are a’changing.
Word count: 479
The Wrong Box
In the early days of television in Australia Bob Dyer compared a television show named ‘Pick A Box’. Audiences glued to their television set nightly for this programme. Similar to ‘Australia Chase’ today. Quiz shows gave the audience a chance to answer questions before the contestant answered.
Bob Dyer with his wife Dolly his off-sider had their audience on the edge of their lounge seats. After a contestant correctly answered a question they were asked to ‘Pick A Box’. Most times the contestant picked ‘The Wrong Box’. Until a contestant named Barry Jones appeared on the show. His knowledge and quickness to press the buzzer after the question asked became a nightly viewing.
Barry picked ‘The Wrong Box’ many times through his stay on the show. His knowledge incredible after winning the box explained history of the question or event. Everyone in television land wanted to become Barry Jones. His stay on the programme lasted for a couple of years undefeated. Barry went on to win many prizes after picking ‘The Right Box’.
How would the television show rid Barry Jones? They didn’t. After a couple of years, he became Champion of the show eventually deciding to leave on a winning note with a huge prize to finish his time. To find another Champion became almost impossible leaving the show without a winning formula. Eventually the show stopped. Bob and Dolly retired.
Picking ‘The Wrong Box’ I relate to our lives. Life is similar to a quiz game in reality. Barry Jones showed how study elevated his knowledge far higher in society than at any other period. Stories of his life appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country. I remember reading once when Barry travelled by plane from one country to another he read four novels. His mind photographic.
At this time, I thought perhaps my mind to be photographic and commenced to read one novel. I picked ‘The Wrong Box’. I’ll never forget the novel ‘Valley of the Dolls’ written by Jackie Collins. Top author at the time. This novel took me almost a week to read from cover to cover. Tough going but I completed the novel. I didn’t want to read the story again.
Over my time of reading I now understand how important life is for an author. To write a novel one needs to read as much as possible and sit themselves in the other author’s seat when writing their novel. Today I read using my kindle e-reader with a selection of thirty books at a time. This journey has taken me from reading one novel over a week to reading three or perhaps four novels a week.
In the beginning, I did choose ‘The Wrong Box’ now I’ve chosen ‘The Right Box’. A better prize at the end of the day.
Word count: 474
Tight Little Island
Over our Christmas vacation we visited Tasmania, a tight little island on the bottom of Australia. Tasmania is a true treasure which up until this time has not been discovered for its beauty and wilderness.
Landing at Launceston after departing from Brisbane with a change of flight in Melbourne we stayed at Country Club Launceston, a casino. Without luck, I didn’t win keno leaving them with some of my money.
Next morning, we journeyed to the beautiful Cataract Gorge to cross the gorge in a chairlift to view magnificent Victorian Gardens and happysnap peacocks spreading their feathers in a bloom of colour. Then off to Stanley driving through the towns Deloraine, Burnie and Wynard stopping at Penguin to see each rubbish bin in the town designed in the shape of a penguin.
Our accommodation for two nights Stanley, Tasmania’s North West Coastline where The Nut rises above the ground. Because of the weather, we didn’t ride the chairlift to the top of The Nut. Next morning our venture to The Edge Of The Earth standing on the most western point of Tasmania covering an area of 4,917km2.
A boat trip on George Robinson took us along The Arthur River through rainforest wilderness not disturbed since beginning of time. Timber never touched over 650 years. Rick our skipper, who lived in the area all of his life gave us his story and history of this part of the world.
Returning to Stanley after the cruise we rode the chairlift to the top of The Nut to view the magnificance of Stanley and Bass Strait. Next morning off to Tazmazia a popular village of crackpots. A maze to get lost in afterwards enjoying pancakes for morning tea. We were tourists afterall.
Onto Ross a small town settled in the early 1800’s afterwards journeying onto Hobart to stay four nights at Hobart Casino where my skills on playing keno were put to the test. Lucky I’d taken sufficient money to invest and hope to win. Alas after playing most of the time I came away losing. Wait until next time.
Our next adventure in this Tight Little Island became an even tighter smaller island by the name of Bruny Island. We ventured across the island by car ferry delighted in the adventure of visiting Adventure Bay and Cape Bruny. Sampled chocolates and oysters to return to our night’s accommodation at Hobart pleased with the day’s activities.
After visited Huon Apple and Heritage Museum to witness the birth of apples, we ventured onto Tahune Airwalk with breathtaking views of forest canopy. Christmas Dinner enjoyed at Hobart Casino and after seven days of visiting this Tight Little Island we returned home totally exhausted.
Word count: 454
Gambling is in my DNA. My mother, grandmother, probably my great grandparents were gamblers because I turned out to be a gambler. Instantly an idea of winning money enters my mind, I gambled on the odds to win.
This first time, I remember when ten years old at the local Ambulance Christmas Raffle when I purchased a ticket for one shilling. Number 56 drawn. I won a tin of ham for Christmas as the prize. Since, ten years old I’ve gambled on numbers, horse racing, anything to throw odds against the wind to win a prize. Been gambling most of my life.
Through my teenage years, Saturday attending racecourses gambling on horse-racing chancing my luck with choosing the correct winner. Tell you a thousand stories trying to pick a winner, placing a bet to collect the prize. Didn’t happen enough times to remember.
My dream to own a racehorse came true. Actually, with my wife, we owned a number of racehorses which she trained. Some successful, others not so successful. In the end learned from personal experience to win was luck. Probably the largest win I ever experienced began with a bet on a horse paying 100-1 which won. I collected $3,000.00. This amount of money saved me a couple of years wanting for punting money.
After fifty-eight years of gambling with the idea in my mind of winning the HUGE PRIZE, drives me on with unfinished business. Gambling is mostly luck. The ole saying, ‘if you haven’t got a ticket. You can’t win.’ With my luck and determination, the tables should turn before I kick the bucket.
I have a system. All gamblers have a system of some type. Mine is pure lady luck. My unfinished business ‘TO WIN LOTTO’. According to the odds a slim chance of ever winning lotto. I’ve got to try to finish my unfinished business.
Weekly I play different lotto games. Each day of the week I’ve chosen sixteen numbers in two games of ‘Set For Life’. If eight straight numbers fall I win $20,000.00 per month for twenty years. You wouldn’t think this to be difficult. In the first eighteen months, I’ve been playing these games the most I’ve won is $40.00. Weekly cost is $8.40c. I’m a little behind and need a win.
Monday and Wednesday nights, I play lotto to win $1,000,000.00. I’ve chosen four numbers, 3,4,25,26 add another two numbers to make up six numbers to play twelve games. My chances of winning a small dividend you’d think possible. Nothing so far. Cost $7.40c per entry. Tuesday night play Oz Lotto. No return as to this date. Thursday night Powerball. Play same numbers weekly with only a couple of small prizes.
I mentioned ‘luck’ to be the major factor in gambling. Therefore, my unfinished business is my dream to WIN LOTTO! I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!
Word count: 481
Up Up & Away For How I Got This Bad Back
Aged thirty-five I visited my local doctor because my back ached. His comment, ‘how old is your son?’ After explaining his age eight years, his comments, ‘carrying your son around 24/7 must be difficult.’ Honestly, I didn’t understand his comment. My son weighed around thirty kilograms at the time.
My weight at the time being one hundred and six kilograms. Far too heavy for a male at my age. I tried diets off and on until one weekend my wife and I visited our friends in Warwick. Allan and Jenny lost over twenty kilograms each. They looked great.
On our return journey, I said to my wife, ‘if Allan can lose weight, so can I.’ At the time, I made this statement I realised up, up & away for how I got this bad back because of my weight.
Whenever I put my mind to anything normally I succeed. Shortly after returning home I purchased a calorie counter book. Astonished to read how many calories I consumed daily wonder I wasn’t heavier. I needed to lose twenty-six kilograms to be a proper weight.
As instructed I counted daily calories I consumed to which amounted to over eight thousand. According to this book I should have been consuming twenty-four hundred calories daily. To lose weight I needed to consume fourteen hundred calories daily with exercise.
To reduce my daily intake of food I followed a recipe for each meal provided in the book. I purchased a miniature trampoline which I intended to jog on for thirty minutes daily. Naturally, one cannot reduce their daily intake of calories from eight thousand to fourteen hundred overnight.
Studying each piece of food passing my lips, after a couple of weeks of counting calories I did reduce my intake from eight thousand calories to fourteen hundred. This journey, with any journey in life was tough at first but got better after a couple of weeks. Will power mixed with self determination to succeed motivated me?
I remember well when I started jogging on the miniature trampoline. I thought thirty minutes jogging wouldn’t hurt. After two minutes, I physically fell to the ground. Each day I increased my jogging a couple of minutes until after two months of daily increase, I jogged thirty minutes daily.
In the beginning weight fell off me creating a body similar to Allan. I couldn’t be more surprised how these actions changed my way of life. Reducing food intake with exercise of thirty minutes daily. From that moment, I never needed to visit my doctor nor did I suffer from a bad back.
This event happened half-a-lifetime ago. Now in my retirement years I need to exercise daily, not by jogging on a miniature trampoline but step up up & away on a stepping machine. This solves my problem of a bad back as well as increase of weight. I want to live on forever.
Word count: 505.
I must wear a sign on my forehead showing ‘take me for a ride – I’m stupid’. Before Christmas last year my home needed repairs. A wooden step needed replacing, the front veranda painting. I hired a builder whom I thought I could trust to carry out the work. We agreed on a price of $150.00 cash. I paid him. He promised the work would be completed on my return from Christmas break.
Little did I realise this sign grew larger on my forehead day by day in my absence. On returning home anticipation work completed. Nothing done. Not only did I lose $150.00 cash and no work done. What should I do? I had vacant stairs. The reason I wanted the step repaired because over the years the wood deteriorated held only by bolts on each end.
Day after day I telephoned the builder to no avail. He’d left and taken my money. In desperation, I contacted the local constable who would have a chat with him. My mind settled thinking this may be the end of the matter. Actually, I should never had compromised the position of the constable to be a debt collector. Anyway, this action didn’t matter because after the constable spoke to the builder who admitted taking the money and not completing work. The constable told me this was a civil matter and not a police matter.
I was between a rock and a hard place thinking about my next move. Taking the bull by the horns I went to the builder’s home and confronted him. As soon as I placed foot on his property he abused me shouting obscenities making out I was the bad one and not him. Without delay I left thinking, ‘he’s high on drugs’. What next!
This is a tough position I placed myself into fully blaming my own stupid self for thinking the builder would do the right thing to carry out repairs to my home after I paid him. Thoughts rushed through my mind of taking the matter to the small claims court. The other alternative to treat this incident as a lesson in life. Trust is difficult to have with everyone. This time my trust to have the builder carry out the work after paying him in good faith certainly made the sign on my forehead grow into a neon sign bright enough for everyone’s attention.
My belief in life is always treat others as you want to be treated with trust and honesty. I’m not wishing for this building to be burnt at the cross when he eventually falls into hell but honestly, I thought he would’ve carried out the repairs to my home instead of leaving me with vacant stairs. Whatever goes around comes around.
Word count: 464.
As far back as I care to remember my parents always welcomed strangers into our home. This ‘welcome stranger’ gene must have passed down to me. I’d love to share a true story. Shortly after my marriage I was transferred to Stanthorpe in the police. Being broke all we afforded was our caravan to live in at the caravan park operated by the local council.
One night shift I worked by myself. This particular night from seven o’clock in the evening until three o’clock in the morning. The temperature minus three degrees. I finished work to drive back to the caravan when a young female stood in front of the hotel in town took my attention. I stopped to ask what she was doing. To my surprise, she’d been locked out and had nowhere to sleep. I invited her to stay with my newly wedded wife and I at the caravan.
We placed our kitchen table down into a bed to sleep comfortably. My wife wasn’t pleased until I explained I couldn’t leave this young lady out in the cold weather. ‘This is a fine way to start a marriage. I need to welcome a stranger into my home. One you’ve dragged off the street.’ She wasn’t happy.
Next morning our welcomed stranger thanked both my wife and I for our generosity and kindness. I drove her to her hotel after breakfast. I explained to my wife I couldn’t leave her in the cold near the hotel and only thought about her safety and a warm place to sleep. My wife forgave me until the next time I welcomed a stranger home.
Again, I worked a late shift. My boss’s son arrived in Stanthorpe to surprise his parents who’d gone away for the weekend. He had no-where to stay so I suggested he come home to sleep in our caravan. After placing the kitchen table down to a bed. He slept comfortable. Next morning, I returned him to his parent’s home.
My wife soon understood to welcome strangers I bought home. Actually, I never considered for one moment I did wrong. Obviously having this ‘welcome stranger’ DNA gene passed down through my parents to me caused my wife much discomfort. I couldn’t help myself each time another person needed help. I wanted to help.
Throughout the years of our marriage, thirty-one, many times we welcomed strangers into our home each time providing food and accommodation. I remember one particular time when a person came to visit me at the police station where I was stationed. I’d met him some years before. He wanted a place to stay for four days before returning home. His truck broke down and waited for parts to repair the truck. Without conferring with my wife this person became another welcome stranger into our home.
This ‘welcome stranger’ gene has been passed down to my daughter who told me her friend would be staying with her because she lost her job and had no-where to live. My personal thoughts are: better to welcome a stranger into your home than to turn them away.
Word count: 522
Well That’s The End Of Our Relationship
Sixteen years old with a broken heart. Betty and I attended the same school. Seventeen years old and a very bright girl. Love at first sight, if you believe in that stuff. All the time we were together always something missing. I couldn’t put on finger on the something missing.
On the afternoon, we met became the first time I met her parents. Soon afterward met the rest of her family and welcomed by all. Our relationship strengthened once Betty met my parents and sisters. Life was best for a fifteen-year-old teenager.
Having a girlfriend at fifteen years old did have benefits. I didn’t need to look at any other girl. In the beginning, we each thought we were meant for each other. Life goes on and after twelve months of being in this teenage relationship – tiny cracks appeared.
First crack appeared one afternoon when I helped her friend start her car. Betty told me in no uncertain terms I was her boyfriend, not her friend’s. Then the shoe moved to the other foot. My best friend Tommy arrived one afternoon unannounced and the next thing Betty and my friend Tommy weren’t only friends but they were together.
‘Well, that’s the end of our relationship.’ I told her.
‘I’m sorry.’ The only words she uttered.
My heart broke into small pieces. What went wrong? At the time, I thought I treated her right but my friend Tommy treated her better. Every bone in my body ached. Betty now in a new relationship with my closest friend. She was gone forever as well as my relationship with Tommy.
What hurt most, when after six months, I hadn’t seen Tommy or Betty and out-of-the-blue they pulled up beside me in their car asking if I needed a lift. Seeing them together re-broke my heart. Not only seeing them together but when they told me they were engaged to be married, well, that’s the end of our relationship altogether, definitely.
Betty or Tommy vanished after that time and often wonder if they survived. I only hoped they enjoyed a happy marriage. This left me out in the cold.
Around this time of my life through until my twenties many of my friends married their childhood sweethearts and within a couple of years divorced. This never happened with me. I met the love of my life when I turned twenty-three years old. We married and lived happily for thirty-one years until she lost her fight with cancer.
Word count: 423
What Are The Odds
Can she win the race again? Michelle Payne to ride in the Melbourne Cup first Tuesday in November 2016. The horse from last year will not start in this great Australian horse race. Michelle has thrown her hat into the ring to ride another outsider to victory, if a horse is scratched. What are the odds?
How anyone defy the odds of a female jockey riding the winner of a Melbourne Cup at the price of 100-1. Michelle Payne established this huge feat to place women jockeys level with their male counterparts. Her rise to fame since winning 2015 Melbourne Cup has been everyone’s dream, especially Michelle Payne.
After her celebration of winning the greatest horse race in Australia, Michelle’s story captured the hearts of Australian racing people. Michelle’s heroic ride made her into an overnight celebrity; publishing of a book about her struggles, passions, goals achieved in her life. A movie deal made headlines produced and directed by Australian actor Rachael Griffiths.
Earlier this year Michelle suffered internal injuries when thrown from a horse in a race at Mildura. She bounced back to her usual strong self to again ride in races. What are the odds of her riding in 2016 Melbourne Cup to regain her mantle of being the first female jockey to win a Melbourne Cup? Slim at this stage unless the Melbourne Cup Gods encourage owners to give her the ride. Without a ride in this great Australian race, she’d have buckle’s hope of regaining her crown. Qewy is the horse to start in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, winner of 2016 Geelong Cup. Michelle has thrown her hat into the ring to ride this horse.
Back in 1930 a chestnut horse named Phar Lap won this great race. Phar Lap became the people’s horse. Throughout these depression years fellow Aussies gathered at racecourses throughout the country where their idol raced and win. His race winnings started by winner the Derby at Flemington as a three-year-old. The rest is history.
So many Melbourne Cup winners dating back to the first in Archer who won the Melbourne Cup twice in his career. Trainer of Archer rode him from central New South Wales to Flemington to race in the Cup. An extraordinary effort, not only win once but twice. What are the odds?
In 2000 I attended the Melbourne Cup with my wife. A record crowd of one hundred and twenty thousand people attended this great race. I can’t even tell you the winner because we decided to leave before the race to return to our accommodation.
Forward to 2016. In my heart, I want the Melbourne Cup Gods to deliver a ride in the cup to Michelle Payne. What are the odds of Michelle winning 2016 Melbourne Cup? Why not!
Word count: 469
What Was The Question Again
‘I call Detective Sergeant Bundy Quicksilver to the stand.’ The prosecutor called in a loud voice.
Detective Sergeant Quicksilver walked confidently to the witness box, picked up the bible in his right hand, clearly spoke ‘I swear the evidence I shall give in this court, to be the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.’ Replacing the bible on the bench he sat and looked directly at the prosecutor.
‘Would you tell the court your correct full name please?’ This question said loud by the prosecutor.
‘Bundy Quicksilver.’ Bundy replied in a loud voice.
‘Is Bundy your true name?’ Asked the prosecutor.
‘Yes. My parents named me Bundy in relation to Bundaberg Rum because Quicksilver is what happens if you drink too much rum.’ A loud roar of laughter came from the audience in the courtroom.
‘Silence in the court.’ The Judge called out in a loud voice. Slammed his gavel on the bench. Silence fell in the courtroom.
‘Would you tell the court what happened on the night of fifteenth of June 2016.’ The prosecutor asked in an official voice.
‘What was the question again.’ Bundy queried.
‘I’ll repeated the question. This time a little slower for you to understand. Would-you-tell-the-court-what-you-saw-on-the-night-of-fifteenth-of-June-2016. Do you understand the question?’ The prosecutor finished.
‘Yes, I understand the question. This date is my birthday. I celebrated my birthday with friends.’ Bundy stopped speaking to look at the prosecutor.
‘Can you tell the court what happened that night?’ The prosecutor’s voice raised with a tinge of anger seeping in.
‘Everyone drinking alcohol. I didn’t drink because I haven’t drunk alcohol since 1977.’ Bundy explained.
‘Congratulations for sharing this important event in your life. Again, what happened on that night – your birthday?’ At this stage the prosecutor’s frustration began to show asking the question hissing through his teeth.
‘I wasn’t drinking. My last drop of alcohol to pass these lips was 1977.’ Bundy pointed to his lips.
The prosecutor slammed the folder he held hard onto the desk. He stood, ‘Detective Quicksilver. For the final time, can you tell the court what happened the night of your birthday?’ He leaned both hands onto the desk looked directly at the witness.
‘What was the question again?’ Bundy strained to understand the question.
The prosecutor at this stage almost started to tear his hair out, ‘Detective Quicksilver. Answer the question please?’ Almost at the end of his tether.
‘What was the question again?’ Bundy strained to understand the prosecutor.
Word count: 422
What Went Wrong!
Over Easter on our trip everything went well until our bus climbed a huge mountain. Half way up this mountain a loud noise erupted from beneath causing a loud gasp escape from most of the passengers.
‘Don’t worry folks,’ the driver called. ‘We’ve lost power. I’ll try to reach the top and pull over.’ He calmly told the passengers.
Most of the passengers were in their late eighties. Hope seeped through my mind to realise something was wrong. Sun shone down. I looked at the clock on the bus to read midday. The hottest part of the day. Eventually the bus limped to the top of the mountain. The driver parked in a gravel portion of roadway used by truck drivers for rest.
A quiet buzz through the bus showed some of the passengers were alarmed at what went wrong. We’d been travelling with this bus company for more than a decade and this being the first time anything like this happened.
After the bus driver pulled out a cover, he spread the cover underneath the bus and climbed underneath to survey the damage. A hose disconnected causing the motor to lose pressure. Calmly the bus driver climbed out from beneath the bus and tried to explain what went wrong. I had no idea.
Because of no public conveniences nearby most of the passengers of both sex attended to going behind a bush. Once the driver contacted another company for help he arranged lunch. I couldn’t believe how calm and relaxed his demeanour showing no sign of anxiety.
After the distribution of sandwiches, an apple, a bottle of water we spread out, some sitting on logs whilst others found a suitable place to sit to enjoy their meal. No shade. The sun beating down. Everyone appeared calm. Jokes of spending the night under the stars erupted laughter amongst the gathering.
As if by magic another bus arrived within an hour to take us weary passengers to the next town whilst the driver slowly drove our bus to a depot for repairs. Until repairs were carried out we remained at the local McDonald’s Restaurant the only place open on Easter Saturday. At least we had the opportunity to relax in air-conditioning. Much better than sitting on the side of the road in the heat of day.
Eventually the bus repaired and we were all on our way to our overnight stay. An event we’ll remember of what went wrong to our bus.
Word count: 417
What’s Next: I Was Better Before I Got Old
Wisdom is earned by getting old. I’ve read when a person turns sixty years old wisdom takes over. Experiencing life along my journey has had many ups and downs. For instance, at 42 years old I suffered a major fault in my heart causing me to have a pacemaker implant.
When such an event occurred to oneself at such a tender age, everything changed immediately. My career of twenty years gone; friends, or people I thought were friends kept their distance. Emotionally I fell into a BIG BLACK HOLE!
For two years, I lived in this BIG BLACK HOLE not having a clue how to climb out. Suddenly this BIG BLACK HOLE threw me out to again a new life. I never wanted to fall back into the BIG BLACK HOLE. At 45 years-old with a new career I studied personal development to rise above any BIG BLACK HOLE.
Proceeding through a major change in my life I treasured each moment to reach a point of total satisfaction in my life. Up until this time I’d written and published about six books, written number of stories for my website. A light bulb went off in my head. I honestly wanted to become a writer. How, I had no idea.
Turning 53 years old I decided to take the plunge to write and publish my own books fulltime. My wife’s remarks, ‘we’ll starve’. Since making this proclamation I’ve never gone without food and never starved. A personal venture of satisfaction along this journey at times looked defeat in the face, whilst throwing caution to the wind to make writing work for me.
A turning point in my writing career to join Pomona Writers Group in 2010. Up to this stage I’d written and published about eight books. I needed to learn more about this craft. Our facilitator at the time provided a sheet of paper ‘helpful hints for creative writers’. These words circulated in my mind to create a pathway for my writing career. One major message on this sheet of paper: Practice, Practice, Practice. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!
After six years with Pomona Writers Group recently I published book number 19 with a book of stories this year making a total of twenty books published by the end of 2016.
I love to write. Writing is only a passion, an honour to place words onto paper thereby making a story for others to read and enjoy. At the time the light bulb went off in my mind to become an author publish my writing to the world, started off as a dream. Now a reality.
What’s next: I was better before I got old. I don’t think so. Older I became more personal experience of life provides me with a reservoir of information to use in my stories which are many. I will keep writing and publishing my writing until I am too old to not worry about writing which I hope will never arrive.
Word count: 506
Without A Family What Is Christmas
Year after year my family gathered on Christmas Day to celebrate Christmas together. After 2003 we’ve never met as a family for Christmas Dinner since the passing of my wife. A couple of years following my wife’s passing I met my present partner.
Christmas was never the same either for myself nor my partner. She lost her husband not long after I lost my wife. We tried to celebrate Christmas with our new extended families to no avail. Everything was so different to how we celebrated Christmas before with our partners and families.
Discussing how we should remedy this issue we decided to go on a Christmas Tour with Sinclair Tour & Travel by ourselves. Being a huge decision for each to make. The first year we said ‘Merry Christmas’ to our families joined a Christmas Tour of seven days.
Port Macquarie in New South Wales our destination to enjoy Christmas Dinner with strangers. An adventure for both of us to realise a way to enjoy Christmas without a family. Would the meaning of Christmas be different to what we were used to enjoying? We soon discovered our answer.
In a couple of weeks, we will join our new Christmas family with Sinclair Tour & Travel to enjoy Christmas in Coffs Harbour. Both families accept what we do. This will become our twelfth Christmas Tour with this travel company. What is the difference you may ask?
Children mainly. Before the passing of my wife witnessing our children growing to adulthood, enjoying their own children, times changed. Being a grandparent, particularly between two families have their flaws. Christmas is a special time to share good wishes with family members. Unfortunately, trying to spread joy and greetings to extended family made life difficult if not impossible.
I remember one Christmas my partner and I decided to remain home for Christmas to enjoy the family. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Utter chaos. ‘Never again.’ My partner stated, ‘we’re going away by ourselves each Christmas.’ Every year since then we’ve celebrated Christmas with Sinclair Tour & Travel.
We’ve been to all corners of Australia, Tasmania twice staying at Hobart Casino. Each year is better than the previous year. I’m certain we will continue to be with Sinclair Tour & Travel with their Christmas Tours until they stop or grow too old to do them.
Our Christmas family is now the people we have formed deep friendships with on these Christmas Tours. The adventures we share with each one of them. Exciting times, different places to visit. Do things we would never had done previously or by ourselves. Memories to cherish.
Our families have accepted our going away for Christmas.
Word count: 452
You Have Been Warned
How often has this saying been thrown at me during my life. More times than I care to remember. Being a forward type of person who never understood how to keep his mouth shut probably wears a sign You Have Been Warned on his forehead. Probably much to do with my brain. I don’t connect my brain before I open my mouth. I’ve always been a little slow to think. Must be some electronic connection between each brain cell. Probably killed off thousands when I drank alcohol.
You have been warned became my totem pole stretching high into the sky. If I had a dollar for each time this warning had been given during my lifetime, I’d be a rich man. Why is this so? Whilst studying human nature in my younger days, comparing learnings with my own life, I learned how easier my life would’ve been if I had self-confidence in my own abilities.
Whilst attending school I struggled to understand what I needed to learn. Each teacher pushed me further up my totem pole ‘you have been warned’. How I reached the places I have, has astonished my ability to do the things I’ve done.
Writing has been a Godsend. From fourteen years old my English teacher, Mr Imoff, praised my writing to quote, ‘you have a gift for writing. You write the way you speak which is unique.’ These profound words, particularly said by an English teacher, remained in my mind since he said them. At the time, because of my slow thinking, plus the inability to understand why he told me these words, no message seeped into my mind.
Life went on, met the love of my life, married, created a family. At thirty-five years old, twenty-one years after Mr Imoff told me those profound words, each word came to me from another source.
My lecturer, Bob O’Sullivan, who taught me studies at TAFE College said these exact words after I wrote an assignment. Two people unknown to one another say these exact words to me twenty-one years apart. To show you how slow my brain to compute these words I needed to ask him what he meant by them? His answer, ‘we’ll write a book together.’ Picking my jaw up from the floor my journey began as an author.
You have been warned again showed how my totem pole became my mantra. To think I had the ability to write a book with a lecturer from college far out-reached my self-confidence and ability. We completed the task which eventually became a best seller. Fancy this happened to a person like myself? ‘You have been warned’ became an inner message in my mind to show what may lay ahead in my career as an author.
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever had imagined presently writing book number 19. This journey started many years ago with a symbol of you have been warned never at any-time during this period did I realise this symbol guided my journey as an author. I am blessed to be in the position I am in life and thank you have been warned Gods for guiding me to this point and beyond.
Word count: 539
Each week in 2016 I attended the Pomona Writers Group. The facilitator asked us to write a story about a topic he chose. These stories less than 500 words are OMR (One Minute Read). I hope you enjoy reading each one. If you have enjoyed reading this book, or if you haven’t enjoyed it, still let me know. I would love to receive your feedback. You can contact me on my e-mail: I’d love to receive your feedback. Pat Ritter - Author/Self Publisher