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?

Monday, 28 July 2014



Regan waited in the hallway with her own bottle of Glenning Water to hand. When the invigilator came round the corner, she collided with him.
            'Sorry,' she said, dropping her water bottle after his. She picked up a few of his papers and handed them to him whilst swapping the bottles around underneath.
            'It's fine, it's fine,' her mark said, 'Are they setting up in the gym?'
            'Right. I'll have to check if they've got the recording equipment.'
            'It's all set up. The technician tested a disc in it.'
            'But not this one.' the invigilator held up a disc marked 'PORTUGUESE UNIT 4: LISTENING'.
            Regan followed him into the room. 'I know where the technician is if we need him.'
            'All right.' the invigilator put the disc into the computer drive.
            A few electronic whirring sounds later and: 'This is the Portuguese Listening exam. There are...'
            'That's fine then,' the invigilator paused the track and glanced up at Regan. 'You feeling thirsty today?'
            'Forewarned is forearmed.'
            'Very true.' he began to loosen his collar. 'It's actually feeling a little close already...'
            'I'll open a window then.' Regan moved slowly over to back end of the room, watching as the invigilator drank a quarter of his water bottle in one go. 'Feel better?'
            'Marginally,' he said.
            'I might just check on the gym lot,' Regan said, 'While I'm at it.'
            'All right.' The mark sank into his chair.
            Regan closed the door behind her and returned to the corner outside.

            About half an hour into the exam, Regan noticed the invigilator struggling in his chair, his hands gripping and slipping off the arms. The student glanced at him then nodded at her.
            Regan entered, kneeling down beside her mark to check his pulse. The student continued to stare at him.
            'Are you all right?' Regan said.
            'It's like he's...shut down.'
            'A few of his key organs, definitely. The rest of him will take a bit longer.' Regan stood up. 'I can't resuscitate him, you know.'
            'I know, it's just...'
            'How far are you? Into the paper?'
            The student frowned at her but flicked through it. 'Two pages.'
            'Well that might have to be where you leave off.' Regan grabbed the poisoned water bottle before it fell away. 'Come with me.'
            They moved into the next room, leaving the recording to play to itself. 'I'm just going to find someone. Steady breaths, okay?'
            The student nodded. Regan propped the door open with a wedge.

            Regan stepped outside, emptying the bottle onto the already rain-soaked pavement. She knew that the student wouldn't be able to handle it when the body went limp; even the adults she usually worked for preferred to not actually see the act or even the lifeless face after it. This girl wasn't quite as hardy as her mother, she lacked the morbid interest.
            Regan never quite understood what she found so captivating about death. It was just a sudden collapse, the stopping of breathing. Even murder isn't quite so interesting when there's no passion in it. Regan found that whenever anything becomes a business, no-one wants to watch the process more than once.
            Then again the student's mother must have stopped watching a long time ago, must have discovered the passion for herself. Fortunately she never learned how to safely leave it behind.
            Regan re-entered the building and caught up with the technician.
            ‘The invigilator in the room beside the gym,’ she said. ‘He’s dead, I think.’
            ‘Sorry?’ the technician said.
            ‘The exam invigilator died in the Portuguese Listening exam. I moved the student but the equipment is still in the room.’
            ‘Right.’ the technician turned on his walkie-talkie. ‘Derek, there's a serious problem in P14. A casualty apparently. I’m going to check.’
            ‘I’ll go tell the exams officer,’ Regan said.
            ‘Right.’ the technician ran up the hallway.
            Regan carried on slowly, taking turns that led her further away from the exams office and towards the main entrance. She had already removed her visitor’s badge. She threw the bottle into a random bin.   
            She thought about the girl, how scared she would be, how much she probably needed to talk right now. Regan would send a short, apologetic message to her mother and then, from a safe distance, do the right thing.

Sunday, 27 July 2014



The examination room was small, formerly a cupboard for sports equipment. Regan eyed up the blue hula hoops beside the big window at the back.   
            Regan followed the mark's pacing path from the wobble in his desk to the back of the student's designated chair. She could put a slight dusting of anthrax on it, not enough to seep through the fabric of the girl's shirt or be breathed in naturally but plenty to fill the hand of the invigilator. She dismissed the thought halfway down the line: risky and ridiculous.
            She moved her attention onto a spare pen on the student's desk; it could easily be fashioned into a one-shot dart gun to be aimed at the mark's neck. Then again that would be leaving it all up to the student.
            She returned to the mark's desk. Aside from the student, allegedly, he tended to only touch the things he had brought with him. The sheets, his cuffs, the...
            'Bored of being outside?' he said, door closing behind him. 'I understand but I've already set up. No help really needed.'
            'It's a lovely comfy chair,' Regan said.
            'Well, at least it's not plastic.'
            'Do you tend to get thirsty in long exams?'
            'Your water bottle. It's never quite full when I see it.'
            The mark glanced at it. 'I suppose it is. The rooms I frequent tend to get rather stuffy. Poor ventilation.'
            Glenning Water. The sticker was ripped in a very particular way but these bottles were relatively easy to find in the area. She made a mental note of the dents, how deep they each were.
            'I'll leave you to it then.' Regan stood up. 'If you need me, just tap on the window.'
            'All right.' the invigilator sat down to fill out his sheets.
            As Regan stepped outside, she saw the student ascending the stairs.
            'He touched your sister too?' Regan said.
            The student nodded. 'Same places.'
            Regan held open the door for her, mentally charting all the nearest corner shops.

Saturday, 26 July 2014



'A floating invigilator?' the actual invigilator said.
            'I'm between your room and the gym,' Regan said. 'In case anyone needs the toilet.'
            She could make proper eye contact with her mark now, thanks to the lifts in her shoes. Then again she blinked more frequently, having switched from glasses to contacts.
            'I see. This girl usually goes before she starts but, well, you never know.'
            'You've had her before?'
            'And her sister too.' the mark smiled. 'A few years ago.'
            'Just as well behaved?'
            'I'd say more so.'
            Regan stared at him, her mannerism running dangerously close to yesterday's. She brightened up, much like her apricot blouse; emphasising her Newcastle accent. 'Well then. Time to hover.'
            'You mean float.'
            'I'm a spare part, not shit.' She tagged on a giggle at the end. 'What are you like?'

            The student arrived a few minutes later and the invigilator got started straight away. Regan stuck close outside the room, scrutinising the man through the window in the door.
            Middle-aged and shabbily dressed so obviously not retired, just probably otherwise unemployed. Tall, long-legged though not prone to keeping his trousers around his waist so they trailed a bit, the hem catching the heels of his thick-soled shoes. Favours the desk immediately beside the door - indicative of vigilance and perhaps paranoia. Fills out sheets first then spends the rest of his time adjusting his cuffs - obviously too tight - tucking his shirt into the back of his trousers, slouching, sitting up and drinking from his own water bottle.
            Occasionally he stands up and gets very close to the student, accidental brushing of the back of his hand against her shoulder. Feigned.
            Regan calculated only six ways of introducing poison into his system, most of which were simple and required objects pre-emptively planted in the room. She needed to get inside.
            The mark approached the window and winked at her. Whatever she felt was irrelevant and she was surprised she had to keep reminding herself of that. This student was really just another unfortunate stranger, loosely connected to a fond memory. This closed room conundrum reminded her of her first job so she focused on that. The girl's mother had been in the adjoining room, waiting.

            Smiling back and adjusting her brown wig, Regan headed towards the gym.

Friday, 25 July 2014

THE PORTUGUESE EXAMS - Part 1 (a.k.a. Another Serial Dug Up and Dusted Down)


Regan arrived at the exam room on time. The student and invigilator were already settled in.
            'So the teacher found you in the end,' the invigilator said.
            Regan pulled up a chair beside the student. 'I crossed him in the hallway.'
            'So he gave you all the particulars then?'
            Regan held up the sheets and the recording device. She had replaced the one she had received from the teacher with the one she had previously been asked to bring. The invigilator took it.
            'She's had five minutes to prepare already but I'll up it to ten so you can get sorted too.'
            'Actually I'm just about ready to start.' Regan smiled at the student.
            The invigilator scrutinised the buttons on the side of the recording device. 'It's just press record, isn't it? Nothing too complex?'
            'From what I can tell.'
            'All right then. If you're sure you're ready.' he pulled up a chair between Regan and the student. 'And...go.'
            'Hello,' Regan spoke in Portuguese.
            'Hello. How are you?' the student replied, also in Portuguese.
            'Fine. How old are you?'
            '16 years old.'
            'How's your mother?'
            'Still in jail.'
            Regan nodded slowly.
            'I like rock music,' the student said.
            'You're getting too serious. Ask me about my favourite band.'
            'Who's your favourite band?'
            'Toto. Try to be a bit more lively.'
            Regan smiled. 'So the classics then.'
            'This recording will fail, right?'
            'Yes. I rigged the device. He's not listening, is he?'
            'The invigilator? I doubt that.'
            'And he's the mark?'
            Regan leant back. 'So what's your favourite Toto song?'
            'Hold the Line.'
            'And how long have you been interested in this particular...classic?'
            'You mean the invigilator?'
            'Since he felt me up.'
            'He looked like he understood that.'
            Regan glanced at the invigilator. He was staring at her but quickly looked away.
            'How long before the device fails?' the student said.
            'Should short out at 2:40.'
            'Not long then.'
            'No. Are you sure about this?'           
            'My mother will pay you.'
            'She's in jail.'
            'She left me an allowance.'
            Regan sighed. 'I'll do it pro bono.'
            'No. She told me to give it to you.'
            The device started bleeping.
            'The money is in my jacket,' the student said.
            The invigilator held the device up to his ear. 'I think it's malfunctioning.'
            Regan took it from him. 'Yes. Fortunately I always carry a spare.'
            'I'm not sure its allowed.'
            'I've cleared it. If it makes you feel better I'll hand it in to the teacher myself, explain the situation.' Regan passed him the other recording device.
            'I'll still have to put this down in my report, you understand?' He barely looked worried. Yet another power trip.
            'That's fine,' Regan said. 'Now shall we start again? We've wasted enough of this young lady's time already.'
            'Fine.' the invigilator pushed a button and rested the recording device on the table.
            'Hello,' Regan spoke in Portuguese.