I (sometimes) call myself Mr. Pondersome. I'm a rather wordy, weirdy person. I say hullo a lot. I write a lot more. While you're here, why not give some of it a read?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

MY BEST FRIEND WOULD DESCRIBE ME AS (a.k.a. Why You Should Never Ask for Help on Your Online Profile Description)

My best friend would describe me as:

'a fish out of water and sometimes on the grill'
'the child of an era everyone forgot'
'a velvet slipper'
'a beloved cardigan'
'a grandma in waiting'
'sweet with occasional punches'
'the best peach in the bag'
'plentiful'
'delicate'
'more curt than courteous'
'the microfilm of the thriller'
'Asraf'
'ballin'
'papier-mâché-crazy'
'not your mother's first choice'
'a Christmas tree with more lights on than tinsel'
'carrot cake the wrong way up'
'good with children if they can play their pets like instruments'
'open to disaster'
'you seriously don't want me to seriously describe you'

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WOMAN BUS DRIVER (a.k.a. A Vehicular Valentine's Day)

Bus on time - 
right on the line.

Climb aboard,

faith is restored.

Long dark hair:

hard not to stare.

Glasses gleam;

smiling, it seems.

Fare given,

now I'm driven.

Sat up front,

we start to shunt.

Mirrored smile,

she steers a while.

At the stop,

time to be dropped.

The doors part,

so does my heart.

Monday, 1 January 2018

ONE TWIN IN A CAFE (a.k.a. All the Best for the New Year)

      The following day I sat down at this little cafe I knew.
      It was quiet and the serving staff moved slowly, as if every slight movement was a new shock to their system. I didn't feel great myself, stirring my tea perhaps a little too long.
      Then the door opened and in came one half of the twins I saw yesterday, dressed in the same smart clothes. They barely looked wrinkled.
      He, however, was very pale and had this look in his eye. It wasn't quite the same hundred yards stare as everyone else in the place, his look seemed to have a more tangible target in mind.
      He flinched as the sleepy waitress came to take his order and fell back into the same reverie as soon as she had gone.
      I started devising scenarios of where the brother might be: nursing a hangover, lagging behind, just around the corner. That wasn't it though. I just knew. His absence was tied inextricably with this brother's sickly silence.
      I sympathised: not easy with perfect strangers but at the same time impossible not to when I saw the once lively old man before me.
      Except perhaps he wasn't so old. In fact he could have been middle-aged, his uncomfortable movements added years to his appearance.
      When I could bear it no longer, I finished my tea and paid at the counter. When I turned to leave, he was still there though I had expected him to be gone.
       As I crossed his table on the way out I realised something. It was natural, whatever had happened, sad but still cause and effect. They had looked too much alike: now this brother could wear his own style, be his own man. 
      While his brother had obviously been wasting away, this man had a full head of hair, no white in his beard at all. He still had time.
       Be different, I thought as I looked at him one last time through the display window. Good luck.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

TWINS FROM THE TAKEAWAY (a.k.a. A New Year's Eve Vignette)

      I crossed twin men at a Chinese takeaway.
      They were well-dressed in slate grey jackets and open-necked white shirts.
      They were identical in every way from the stray grey hairs on top of  their thin heads to the scuffed black soles under their thick shoes. They even carried identical white plastic bags filled with the same tin foil containers poking out at the corner.
      Except there was one difference. While they both had well-groomed Van Dyke beards, the one on the left had a longer, whiter tip.
      Nevertheless they both seemed jovial. Their open-mouthed smiles lasted so long on their faces that it seemed to me a little suspicious. Then again they were brothers bringing home dinner on a  Sunday night.
      And it was a big night. Though I couldn't remember why.
      I watched them go. Another difference: the one on the left had a small but growing bald spot.
      While the white in the beard was explainable, I wondered how one twin could have such vastly different hair patterns to the other.
      Maybe they weren't twins, maybe one was simply dressed up as the other, an uncanny resemblance. Maybe they weren't even brothers.
      No, I thought. They were brothers. It just made sense.
      And the place they had come from, the takeaway, what was that? I had never seen it before. The name was lost in Chinese characters.
      For a moment I thought about going inside but something stopped me. It was a big night, for everyone, It would almost certainly be busy without a gormless browser dawdling in too.
      So I carried on home. With every step, I slowly convinced myself of how tired the one on the left had looked compared to the right.
      Yes, he was a little more bent over. Yes, he did seem to drag his feet.
      Yes, that smile was probably the first to fade.

Monday, 25 December 2017

CHRISTMAS MEASURES (a.k.a. Part Two of a Downbeat Though Hopefully Not Altogether Depressing Christmas)

A Christmas is measured
in the number of cards received
minus the ones sent out.

A Christmas is measured
in the time between buying gloves
and losing one or both.

A Christmas is measured
in the ratio of gift bags used
and wrapping paper rolls.

A Christmas is measured
in decibels of the living room
compared to outdoors.

A Christmas is measured mostly
by the New Year.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

LIFE OF THE CHRISTMAS DO (a.k.a. Part One of a Downbeat Though Hopefully Not Altogether Depressing Christmas)

I thought I said I'd buy you a drink, Sid!
    So how is that car of yours doing anyway? Got round to the MOT yet?
    I'm still learning. Stuck on parallel parking. I hate it.
    Always the last to finish, Jenna. If you poke that around any more, it'll crumble away entirely.
    Is anyone having dessert? Just Pepe?
    Nah, I'll do.
    I'll join you at the bar, Fearne. 
    Another red, is it?
    I'm not judging...

    How are you anyway?

    Christ.
    To be honest I'm just glad to be out of work. How's yours?
    I don't think I've ever been this tired.
    Well, Fearne, if you're buying.
    Three quid? I'm sure that went up since we first got here!
    Ah well. Thanks anyway.
    Back to the fray, I suppose.

    No party crown this year, Sid? I had no idea you were so vain about that haircut.

    I know. That was mean. I apologise, especially to you Fearne. You have to go home with the pretty boy.
    Sorry! Hey, I did bring you that drink!
    I did, in fact. I brought it all the way over from the bar!
    Blimey! Do you even have room for that sundae, Pepe? I wouldn't.
    Well, I'm pooped, Pepe.
    Sorry. It just slipped out.
    Look at that little brown trickle! It's gone right down his chin!
    Oh, shit. Was that loud? They just looked over.
    Table on the far right. Big window. Don't look.
     
    Right. Yes. I have been loud tonight. Louder than Noddy Holder. Lord...
    Sorry, Jenna. I'll shush. I'll be a good little boy.
    Maybe we should go. That was delicious but it's gotten really quiet in here. I hope we didn't chase them all out.
    Unless anyone else is thirsty? No?
    Well, all right then.

    Bitter. Absolutely bitter out here.

    I should probably have worn cords like you, Pepe. So stylish. 
    Anyway wanna go halfsies on a taxi?
    Oh right. A lift.
    Well, actually, Sid, I don't live that far from Pepe's.

    Fair enough. I fancy an early night myself. I'll grab a taxi.
    Thanks for organising tonight, Fearne. Sid.
    Did you leave your windows open, Jenna? Oh, hell. Go check. If you're lucky, the only thing that will have got in is the cold.
    All okay? Well, you best thaw out your bum before going! Daft mare!
    Merry Christmas, everyone! Catch you in the new year!

    God.

    Such a thankless bunch of sad sacks...

Monday, 13 November 2017

WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY by Leslie Nneka Arimah - A Short Story Collection Review (a.k.a. Something A Bit Different)




     I discovered this collection through Levar Burton Reads, an excellent podcast.
     The title story, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, proved itself to be a fascinating sociopolitical sci-fi tale featuring a subject that always gives me pause: grief.
     Indeed a few stories in Arimah's collection also deal with some kind of grief though I'll admit I wasn't drawn to the presentation of most of them.
    While it is eye-opening to explore the present state of African culture, the spectacle eventually wore off for me and something more unique was desired.
    Fortunately there were a few fantastical tales speckled throughout the collection which I cherished between the straightforward spouts of human conflict.
    I also loved the cheekiness of Arimah's omniscient third person narrator: without that, the 'reality' of her fictions would have just been crushing.
    A strong debut.

Notable Stories


  • ·         Windfalls - that last fall will haunt me every time I think of this collection: pure tragic irony.

  • ·         Who Will Greet You at Home - a hungry hair baby is not as horrifying as you might think...


  • ·         What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky - my entry point with strong world-building.