Friday 20 April 2012

Boiling Point
Philip Mallinson


My new dress is on the floor at the side of the bed, ripped and stained. I feel an enormous sense of loss, much more than a dress warrants but it took so much to get that dress, and then it gets ruined in one night. Not that I will have the chance to wear it again. I had to beg this time. I slept in my mismatched underwear; I was in too much of a state to remove it. My head spins as I make my way across the bedroom, I grab my faded pink towelling dressing gown from behind the door and go downstairs, not knowing what to expect.
            Michael is at the kitchen table. He doesn’t say anything. I cringe seeing my bottle of vodka in front of him, he has a glass poured. He doesn’t look up. I don’t acknowledge it, I haven’t touched it in weeks but I couldn’t part with it yet. I can tell from the amount left in the bottle he hasn’t drunk any, I will always know how much is left in that bottle. I wonder how long he’s known about it, how he found it. He would have had to have really rummaged to find it, and I hate him for that. I hate that I can have nothing private, nothing is out of bounds. I remember at first how he used to burst in on me in the bathroom just checking he would say and it’s for your own good, I would sit there crying on the toilet afterwards more desperate for a drink than before. The fact the vodka is still around means it was another of his tests. I guess he wants me to think he’s sat there all night tempted to turn to drink by my actions but I can see through to the living room and the cushions on the couch are crumpled. I risk a muffled ‘morning’ as I head for the kettle.
            ‘Is it?’ he retorts.
            ‘I never said it was good.’ An ache in my arm reminds me to be careful when he swears in return. The winter sun is trying to force its way through the blinds threatening my already sensitive head. ‘Do you want a coffee?’
            ‘A coffee, don’t you want to join me with a vodka? You like vodka for breakfast don’t you?’
            I am surprised as my stomach lurches at the thought. The words come slowly. ‘I don’t drink anymore.’ I realise I mean them even after last night. Especially after last night. I grab two chipped cups off the mug tree and put a spoon of Nescafe in each. The kettle starts to vibrate a little on the worktop as it reaches boiling point. ‘Last night was a mistake.’
            ‘Damn right it was a mistake, your biggest one yet’.
            I want to say no that’s you, you’re my biggest mistake but I don’t. Last night was a mistake, it was my fault and I did go too far. I wonder what is going to happen, he is angry, justifiably this time but not as angry as he can get over trivial things. Starting with his thumbs then working through each finger in turn he cracks his knuckles. Sometimes, like the kettle it is a while before he reaches boiling point. Even after all his lies and games, his mind games to mess with my head I know he is genuinely hurt this time, but then who wouldn’t be?
            I look at him as I carry the cups across the kitchen. His receding hair in a greasy quiff; his large glasses magnify his beady little eyes; his beard does not manage to hide the acne underneath it.  He’s wearing a lemon coloured t-shirt tucked into stonewash jeans that stop short of his dirty white trainers. He’s sat up straight in his chair with his arms dangling down by his sides. I try to swallow a lump in my throat. I put the coffee down and sit opposite him. ‘I guess we better talk,’ I say.
            ‘What about you getting drunk; you cheating on me; getting me assaulted - or...or...nearly getting me arrested? You’re paying those bloody fines by the way it was your bloody fault!’
            I’m surprised he isn’t angrier; I’m also surprised he’s more bothered by the police and the fines than me cheating on him. ‘Fine, I’ll pay the fines’ I say, something is niggling at me as I sit familiarly at the table being reprimanded like a teenager.
            ‘Who’s your boyfriend anyway?’
            I fight the urge to smile. ‘Just some kid with a crush.’
            ‘Ha. A crush. You idiot. You think he has a crush on you, who the hell would fancy you? He was taking the piss, he thought you would be easy, and he was right. A couple of drinks are all it takes you drunken filthy slapper.’
            His words cut through me, touching on the truth. I know when I look in the mirror now: the drink has aged me, my face is gaunt, I’m almost skeletal, my clothes hang from my body.
            ‘We didn’t do anything.’ Again I feel like a child.
            ‘You were all over him, I saw you. What you didn’t see was his face; he was laughing at you.’
            His words cut even deeper and my eyes start to burn. This niggling feeling is getting stronger like a word on the tip of your tongue or a memory trying to fight its way through.
            ‘Yeah, well he was laughing at you too, right after he threw you to the floor. Not used to someone fighting back are you?’ He slams his fists on the table and I shudder. The tears are coming now, I pull a tissue from the pocket of my dressing gown. It’s an old tissue, nearly a solid egg shape but I manage to unravel it. Michael’s face is crimson, he’s almost shaking as he glares at me.
            He slides the glass of vodka across the table towards me.
            ‘Drink it.’
            I look at it and for a second, just a second I am tempted. I shake my head.
            ‘Drink it.’
            ‘Drink it.’
            ‘Stick it up your arse,’ I say and grab the glass of vodka intending to throw it at him but he quickly seizes my arm, he squeezes and twists it as he takes the vodka off me then he throws the glass across the kitchen, it smashes against the fridge putting a dent in the door. I see a look of pleasure in his eyes at my distress but like the dress I find myself upset because the fridge is now spoilt not because of any pain he is inflicting. There was a time I would have been more distressed about the wasted vodka, material things didn’t matter then. Money was for alcohol nothing else mattered. Then I met Michael. I’ve often tried to remember how I met him, racked my brains how we got together but I can’t remember. Our relationship just seemed to materialise as the haze lifted. He lets go of my arm and I go to clean up the broken glass, the smell of the vodka is as strong to me as ammonia and I know I really don’t want it anymore.
            A piece of glass slices my toe and blood smears the lino. It reminds me of last night; Michael’s hand was covered in blood after John pushed him to the ground in the car park. I was clinging onto John when Michael arrived, okay it was a bit more than that and Michael dragged me off of him ripping my dress. He took a swing at John, but John easily dodged it. Michael kept trying to hit him and on one attempt he really over swung and John gave him a little shove and he went sprawling. John was laughing I can’t hit a guy with glasses, not that he even needed to; Michael was no threat to him. Michael may have been right about John or partly right at least, he did get me drunk, deliberately or not I don’t know. He asked me if I wanted a drink and stupidly I said yes. I honestly didn’t go to the party intending to drink, I had rehearsed answers in case anybody asked me, polite declines, but they all went out of the window I was so nervous. I went to the party hoping to get to know my new workmates, break the ice, hopefully make friends but it was like I didn’t exist until John came over to me. Of course the fact he was young and good looking didn’t help my nerves any. We talked for hours, he introduced me to people, I laughed, and I can’t remember the last time I laughed. He did keep buying me drinks but maybe he was just being nice. We ended up outside, I was in a bit of a state, maybe that’s why John took me outside, I can thank him for saving me from making a fool of myself in front of everybody. No doubt Michael would have come inside looking for me too like a father picking up his daughter from a party. Only a small crowd witnessed what happened outside. I can get over that, again that niggling feeling rises; I can get over being drunk in front of those people but I am ashamed of Michael, what they must think of him. Why am I with him? He is the pathetic one; I look over at him scowling like a child.
            I look around the flat, it’s barren, wasted. Nothing like a home. Anything of value I sold when I was drinking, anything of sentimental value Michael had removed. I had bought the fridge since I started working. That was the first thing, with the fridge I could get proper food in again, start to live normally.
            That is the hard thing; I do have Michael to thank for stopping me drinking even if I hated his tactics. I do have Michael to thank for pushing me back into employment. Yes he helped me but as I think about it I begin to realise is he didn’t do it for me, he did it for him. He wanted someone he could control, that’s how he gets off, but his schemes have started to backfire a little. With the return to sobriety and now the job my senses are starting to return, my independence, my common sense and more importantly my strength. He knows it too, last night was his Pièce de résistance, his planned proposal and that backfired too. His last hope I guess was to control me through marriage.
            Michael was raging in the car on the way home, screaming at me that he knew I would mess up. If only you hadn’t messed up Sue, I was going to propose to you tonight he said and pulled a ring out of his pocket. I told him I wouldn’t marry him anyway and I grabbed the ring off of him and threw it out of the window. He screeched to a halt on the hard shoulder, he went ballistic, it was his mothers ring. I was being sick in the grass when the police showed up, Michael was frantic, and he can’t handle authority so his bad attitude made them come down on him like a ton of bricks. They breathalysed him; they checked his car from top to bottom finding a few things to fine him for and after giving him a severe dressing down made him leave without his ring. I smiled as he stood there like a naughty boy, squirming frustrated as they reprimanded him. They were nice to me at least.
            I drop the bits of broken glass and the dishcloth in the sink and opening the blinds look out of the window. It is a clear crisp day. A boy is riding up the road on a motorbike, he has no helmet and probably isn’t even old enough to be on it. Two girls push prams towards the shops, both young; both smoking over their half dressed baby’s heads, while they are in large coats, one of the girls is still wearing her pyjamas underneath it. I look down at my dressing gown, and then back out of the window, I decide it’s time for change.
            I walk across the kitchen, Michael stares at me. I go upstairs and get washed and dressed quickly. When I go back downstairs Michael hasn’t moved. I walk up to the kitchen table and slap Michael across the face sending his glasses flying, he sits there stunned. I pick up the bottle of vodka and pour it down the sink. ‘I’m going to buy a new dress,’ I say calmly, ‘when I get back I want you gone, if you haven’t I’ll go to the police, I’ve even got fresh bruises I can show them.’ I don’t even give him chance to reply. I’ve pulled his cord. No doubt he will trash the flat but I don’t care.
Philip Mallinson lives in West Yorkshire. He is currently (2012) studying Creative Writing with The Open University. He has a blog following his writing journey @

Friday 13 April 2012


Roger Noons

A hefty half-tumbler of scotch

He locked the car and darted to the front door, eager to get out of the rain. It was a struggle to put the key in the lock and hold his cue, together with the trophy. He managed it and eager to show Betty the shield, he stepped inside, but in so doing his cue slipped from his hand. It fell across her twisted legs and the tip hit the wall. He stared at the crumpled body of his wife.
    ‘So, Mr Adams, what time did you get home?’
    ‘It would have been around a quarter to eleven, I don’t know exactly, I didn’t look at my watch,’ Walter told the detective.
    ‘And that was how you found her, at the bottom of the stairs?’
    ‘You didn’t touch her, or anything else?’
    ‘No, well only the telephone to dial 999.’ Walter looked down at his hands. He had been squeezing his fingers so tightly that they were aching and bright red with blood. ‘Oh and I pulled her skirt down. You could see her underwear.’ The policeman nodded. There was a tap on the door and a uniformed officer’s  head appeared.
    ‘The doctor’s finished, sir. I think he’d like a word.’ Walter began to rise.
    ‘It’ll be me sir, that he wants a word with,’ the sergeant said, resting his hand on Walter’s shoulder. After he left, the constable fully entered the room. He stood with his back to the sideboard, looking down at Walter. He smiled but Walter looked away. Although he was six feet tall and weighed over fifteen stone, he wanted to bawl like a baby, but he managed to control himself. He stared at his own reflection in the grey television screen. Why did it have to happen? On this of all nights. He had returned home as the West Midlands Snooker Champion, all set to celebrate with Betty. He’d been given a bottle of fizzy wine, especially for the occasion.
    The Detective Sergeant re-entered the room. ‘That’s it for tonight Mr Adams. The doctor’s gone and we might as well get along as well. Is there someone I can ring , to come and stay with you, do you have any children? It would perhaps be best if you‘re not on your own.’
    ‘I’ll be alright. Thank you. I’m sorry you’ve got this trouble. What will happen next?’
    ‘I’ll come back and see you tomorrow, sir. Will ten o clock be OK?’
    ‘Yes, that’s … er … fine, tomorrow …yes.’ He began to rise from the armchair.
    ‘Don’t get up sir, we’ll see ourselves out.’ Walter nodded, but still stood up, staring after them as they departed leaving the door just slightly ajar. He heard the front door slam and a little later the engines of two cars were started and the vehicles were driven away. Walter turned and gazed at his reflection in the mirror above the fire grate.
   ‘Oh, Betty,’ he said out loud, ‘I’m so terribly sorry.’
    As there was no suspicion of foul play, the official aspects of the case were quickly completed and two weeks later Walter was advised that he could arrange the funeral. The inquest had been opened and adjourned and when it was reconvened, the Coroner was quickly able to bring in a verdict of accidental death. Elizabeth Adams had fallen down stairs mainly due to imbibing an amount of alcohol, which, had she been driving, would have been described as being three and a half times over the limit. Her sister who came to stay with Walter was shocked, as were their friends and neighbours. As far as anyone knew Betty did not drink, well, perhaps a sherry now and again, or a glass of wine on special occasions.
    Walter of course knew different. He was aware of the situation. He had found the empty bottles, in strange places. A vodka bottle in the airing cupboard, another among the Christmas decorations in the attic and gin bottles underneath his shed and once, buried in the garden. He knew, but didn’t know how to deal with it. He realized that he should have sought help but who could he turn to when he didn’t have the courage to discuss the matter with Betty. At first he tried a jokey way. ‘Steady old girl,’ he would say if she stumbled or was a bit unsteady. Once when he found her on the floor in the bathroom, whilst helping her up he said, ‘you’ll have to take more water with it love.’ 
    A week after the funeral, Annie was still staying with Walter. She placed his supper on the table. ‘Would you like a glass of beer with your meal?’ she asked him, as she had noticed several bottles in the cupboard under the stairs.
    ‘No, no thanks, I can’t face a drink. I’ve never drunk much, at snooker I’d only have a couple of shandies, usually when I’d finished playing.’
    ‘Did you know, about the drinking I mean?’ She asked him as he sat down at the table. He stared at his food and after a long drawn out sigh, he nodded.
    ‘Yes, but I didn’t know what to do. I suppose I pretended that it wasn’t serious. I recognized her mood changes, heard her being sick in the bathroom. The more she was affected the more I went out, so I didn’t have to face it. If I played four evenings a week, it meant that when I came home she’d either be in bed or fast asleep in the armchair.’
    ‘Why didn’t you call me? I would have come I could have talked to her.’
    ‘I was ashamed, that’s why. You see it was all my fault. I should have been here not out playing snooker and ignoring her. It was my fault she took to drink. My fault and I did nothing about it.’
    Walter began to get over the death of his wife, time was healing, but he never played snooker again. In fact he never goes out in the evening he sits in his chair in front of the television set and sips his Scotch. More often than not he’s fast asleep in his armchair by ten thirty at night.
  BIO - Roger Noons began writing in 2006, when he completed a screenplay, for a friend who is an amateur film maker. After the film was made, he wrote further scripts, then began short stories and poems. He occasionally produces non fiction, particularly memoirs from his long career in Environmental Health. 

Thursday 12 April 2012

Fitting End

                                                                           Patsy Collins
                                                              Water coloured to look like beer 

 He’s dumped and humiliated her. She’s now a women scorned: showing her
fury. He must die.


Accident, murder, cancer, volcano? Nothing is beyond her control. She
will watch him ugly with pain, humiliated, begging forgiveness.

Or maybe she won't. Perhaps he'll just vanish without trace. Will he
be missed and mourned, or quickly forgotten as though he'd never
existed? It doesn't matter - he won't be back.

When you’re a soap actor, you must never, never upset the script-writer.

If this is accepted, at the end could you put ...

Patsy's Debut novel is out now - buy it here!

Thursday 5 April 2012


By Charlie Britten
Sarah stood on a platform of nothingness, an empty stage rolling into the horizon.  As mortals do, she likened it to something she had seen before.  The floor, glowing in the bright sunlight, she supposed was marble and she knew without looking that blue and brown veins strafed the white stone.  She conjured up unending white corridors, in hospitals, at airports, in hotels, but the intense beauty before her bore no comparison.
She was no longer in pain. 
Or frightened.
A few minutes ago, she had been driving, tearing along familiar country lanes close to her home.  A black Ferrari had nudged up behind her, edging into the centre of the road.  ‘You can't overtake here, you stupid man,’ she’d muttered.  ‘Nothing like enough room.’
Sarah had presumed the driver to be a man, even though she couldn't see him through his blackened windows.  He’d powered into the right hand lane, gathering speed and pushing past her, forcing her into the hedge, then cut in front of her and stopped. 
Her car had squashed into his like a sponge.  For a moment, she’d sat motionless in her seat, her hands still gripping the steering wheel.  She was okay, just a bit shaken, but then she’d seen smoke rising from the engine and smelt burning rubber.  She’d reached for the door-handle.  She’d supposed they would have to go through the usual exchanging-names-and-addresses thing, and she didn’t have time.  She had to catch the nine forty-five to London. 
As she’d reached for her handbag on the back seat, doors slammed and rapid footsteps had approached.  A man in a leather jacket had run towards her.  All manner of words denoting ‘dangerous driving’ had risen to her lips, and a younger, more impetuous Sarah would have said them all.  She had been about to utter something reasonable and civilised, when he’d produced the revolver.
She’d drawn in her breath and held it, her lungs bursting with unspent air.  She’d recognised him, of course, despite not having set eyes on him for three decades.  She had been expecting him for about for about three weeks.  She’d even parted her lips to say, ‘Hello, Bogdan,’ but the words hadn’t come.  She would have despised herself for showing fear, for jumping at the loud retort of his gun.  Something had touched her forehead, a tap, a sharp gush of pain which had swelled through her body.  Her hand had stretched out to the doorframe, but her fingers had slid down the window.
Her body had spiralled upwards and inwards, irresistibly drawn towards a narrow point of light, the same light that now shone through the nothingness, dispersing the mists which she hadn’t noticed before.  On her left, a wide staircase led downwards, shallow, concrete steps, worn down in the centre. On the right, what looked like aircraft steps rose up and up forever and ever, with little lights glowing on the treads, or were they tiny jewels, possibly pearls?
She could see through the floor, which was transparent, not marble at all.  Below it lay the English countryside, the greens of the hedges and spinneys deepening as they did when it was about to rain.  The blue shape, wedged into white hawthorn, was the wreck of her car.  The Ferrari had disappeared. 
She’d have to leave her car and call the police later, after she’d seen Dave in London.  She must catch the nine forty-five.  She reached under her sleeve for her watch but her wrist was bare.  She reached down the side of her trousers for her phone, but it wasn't there, nor was her pocket.
‘Are you going to stay there all day?’ a voice boomed from above.
She looked up.  The speaker was a bearded, middle-aged man, wearing a thick, crewneck sweater and workman’s trousers, his silhouette framed by an archway studded with pinpoints of white light.  ‘Oh, hello.’  When she looked up, she needed to shield her eyes from his brightness.  ‘Do you have a phone? I need to call a taxi.  I've had an accident with my car.’
‘Come on, Sarah.’
‘Do I know you?’
‘I knew you when you were far off,’ he said.
She frowned.  ‘Have you got a phone?’
‘Can't hear.’
Sighing, she clambered up the staircase with its pretty lights.  ‘People think they know me because they see me on telly,’ she panted, as she reached the top.  ‘I'm sorry but I don't recognise you.’
He stretched out his hand.  ‘I’m Peter.  I'm a fisherman.’
‘Really nice to meet you, Peter.’  She shook his hand.  ‘But I really must get to London, to show Dave, my producer, the DVD of ‘Visions’.  That’s the working title of my latest programme.  I’ve been working on it for six months.’
Peter shook his head.  ‘Sarah, slow down.  None of this matters.’
‘Actually, it does.  I’ve got to get my programme on the air.  This... disgusting... Bogdan, this Polish man, is getting Polish girls, his own people.... to England, promising them that they’ll get good jobs and earn lots of money, then locking them in a basement and making them work as prostitutes.’
‘We know.’
‘And my DVD contained recorded interviews with girls who’ve escaped.’ 
‘Sarah, I said we know.  My colleague, Mary, is on the case.  She had similar experiences in the past, I'm afraid.’
‘Re-ally?’  Her eyes sprung wide open.  ‘Look, Peter, is there any chance I could meet Mary?  Later on, perhaps?’  Again she turned her wrist to consult the watch that wasn’t there.  ‘Oh no.  I've just thought.  The DVD’s in my car.  I’ll have to go and get it.’  She turned, putting one foot back on the stair, but Peter shook his head.  ‘I must. Look, you can see my car through the floor.  The blue one.’ 
Taking her hand, he led her away.  ‘No, Sarah.  You’re here now.’
‘Where am I exactly?’ she demanded.
‘You don’t know?’
‘No.  I'm completely lost.  How far are we from the station?  You know, I'm starting to think that what happened wasn’t an accident at all.  I mean, he had a gun.’
‘No, Sarah, it wasn’t.’
‘Oh God.’
Peter frowned.  ‘A friendly word, Sarah.  You don’t say ‘Oh God’ round here, unless you mean it.  Blasphemy is not liked, on high.’
‘Sorry.  It just slipped out.  As you can understand, I'm a bit stressed at the moment.’
‘No need, Sarah.  We don’t do stress here.’
‘Where am I?’
‘I think you know.’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘You will.  Another thing.  You mentioned that this Bogdan... the person you had an issue with... was Polish.  I’d just mention that I used to be Polski myself, for twenty-seven years, in fact.’
‘Sorry again.  I've nothing against Poland and Polish people.  I was a reporter there in the 1980s.  Lovely scenery, especially the Tatra Mountains.’
‘Oh yes.  I used to go skiing in the Tatra Mountains.  But I'm German now.  And before that I was Italian, for a long time.’
‘Oh.  Right.  You must’ve led an, er, interesting life.  I was in Germany, in Berlin, when the Wall came down in 1989, by the way.’
‘With your camcorder.’
‘It was absolutely amazing.  People taking down the bricks with their bare hands.  I never reckoned on people like Bogdan coming along afterwards.  I mean, back in the 1980s, we journos used to go drinking with him.  Wodkas, lined up on the table, down in one, all of them.  He was this really funny guy.  Polish humour.  About Commies, Russians, Solidarnosc.  Never about the Pope though.’
‘I should think not.’
‘The Poles worship the ground Pope John Paul II walked on.  They rank him higher than God himself.’
Peter pursed his lips as he shook his head.  ‘No.  Peter is Christ’s vicar on earth.’
‘Yes.  Okay.  But Bogdan’s got to be stopped.’ 
‘He will be.’
She stabbed at the transparent marble floor with her toe.  ‘Hang on.  I can't see his Ferrari down there now.’
‘He left the scene of your ‘accident’ several minutes ago.’
‘Oh no.’  She groaned, a deep, throaty groan.  ‘My DVD.  Tell me he hasn't got my DVD.’
His bushy eyebrows rose into the furrows of his frown.  ‘As a matter of fact, he’s destroyed it.’
She stared at him, her eyes fixed upon a wayward strand of his shaggy brown hair.  ‘Oh-’
He held up his hand.  ‘No swearing, please.’
‘How?  How did he destroy it?’
‘Well, he cut it in two with secateurs.  Does it matter?  Can’t we stop talking about Bogdan and your programme?’ 
‘He could’ve killed me.’
Peter drummed the pearly gates with his fingers.
‘He did kill me, didn’t he?  Oh God, oh God, oh God.’
‘Sarah, please-’
‘I'm sorry.  I really am sorry, but you’ve got to understand that this is a bit of a... blow.  I wasn't expecting it.  Oh...’  She blinked several times.  ‘So you must be...?’
‘And this is...?’
‘I don’t deserve to be here.’
‘None of us do, except one.  Certainly not me. Even now, I cannot bear the sound of a cock crowing.’ 
‘I was very bad at attending church, you know,’ she said in an almost inaudible voice.  ‘I always believed but I'm afraid I only prayed when things went wrong.  It isn’t easy when you work in the media.  Everybody’s too cool to be religious.’
‘Pride, the worst sin of all.  God forgives. Fortunately.’
‘Yes.  Yes.’  For a moment, she stared ahead, unseeing.  ‘I did a lot of investigative journalism, you know, campaigning stuff.  You see, I did love my neighbour.’ 
‘If he – or she - happened to be newsworthy.’ 
‘I so wanted to get ‘Visions’ on air.  For the girls’ sake.’
‘You have to leave it with us now.’  He nodded at the wide staircase leading downwards, with shallow treads, worn at the centre.  ‘Bogdan, he’ll go down there.’
Peter shuddered.  ‘Yes.’
‘And the girls?’
‘Relax, Sarah.  You can't do anymore’
‘But I can't rest-’
‘Yes, you can.  Forever.’  He waved her through the big, pearly archway and into a garden which extended as far as she could see.  She walked a few paces along a path lined with luscious green leaves and vivid blooms; in the distance, she could hear gentle trickle of living water.
Peter was no longer with her.  He remained by the pearly gate.
She ran back to him.  ‘What about the girls in the brothels?’
‘It’ll be sorted out, Sarah.  Through Him all things are possible, as my mate, Matthew, says.’
She didn’t move.
‘Sarah, please.’  He turned, as if about to go, but he jabbed at the transparent marble floor with his toe.  ‘Look at earth below, if you must.  Can you see your computer?’
‘Yes, in the study, at home.’
‘The ‘Visions’ programme file is backed up on your hard drive, isn't it?’
‘I didn’t suppose you’d be so IT literate up here.’
‘Of course we know about computers, and many other machines the mortals on earth won't, er, invent, for a long time.  Trust Him to get your file to the police.’
‘To the police?  So it’ll never get on air?’
‘So vain, Sarah.  Pride again.  It’s good thing we get here by grace, isn't it?  Now get yourself into Heaven.  Before I change my mind.’

Charlie Britten has contributed to ‘FictionAtWork’, ‘The Short Humour Site’, ‘Mslexia’, ‘Linnet’s Wings’, ‘Radgepacket’ and also previously had a book review published in the ‘Copperfield Review’.  She writes because she loves doing it and belongs to two British online writing communities.
All Charlie’s work is based in reality, with a strong human interest element.  Although much of her work is humorous, she has also written serious fiction, about the 7/7 Bombings in London and attitudes to education before the Second World War. 
Charlie Britten lives in southern England with her husband and cat.  In real life, she is an IT lecturer at a college of further education.