There comes a point in every man’s life when tough choices have to be confronted. A moment when the indecision, the shilly-shallying has to stop. That moment when a man looks at himself in the mirror and says “Enough is enough. It’s time to say “No!”

For Richard Burton, no not THAT one,  but Richard Burton , known to all as Dick, of number 53 Fox Gloves Crescent somewhere deep in Middle England , that moment had finally arrived. After yet another dismal performance by the team he had given his heart and soul to for so many years, he had definitely had it! He looked at himself in the rear- view mirror of his Honda Civic and muttered “ I`ve had it. Enough IS enough.”  Inwardly, and outwardly, fuming he picked up the match day programme and turned to the double page spread advertising the “Early Bird” offer of a 25% discount on any Season Ticket renewals before the end of January.  In past years it had been a given that he, Dick Burton, would get out his Mastercard and loyally fork out whatever amount the club demanded. No price, even with a discount for an early purchase, was too high if it meant that he could keep his seat behind the goal in the North Stand. A seat in the same row where generations of Burtons had sat, proudly wearing their colours and cheering on the team come rain or shine, through the good times and the bad. Well three generations to be exact as his own son had, quite sensibly, decided that football wasn’t “ his thing”, despite being named after the entire legendary team of 1984.

Now though the good times were becoming a distant memory. How many years had it been since his first game he thought?  He recalled how as a small boy he had stood nervously between his father and grandfather overawed by the noise and the close press of the men in their cloth caps and smelt the all-pervasive smell of tobacco. How he had struggled to see anything until he was passed down to the front over the heads of the crowd until he was able to stand alongside the other small boys watching, yes actually watching, his heroes out there on the pitch right in front of him.

He remembered the trip on the coach down to Wembley for the Cup Final against their local rivals. It was the last time Grandad Burton had made it to a game. When he died later that summer his last words were, according to family legend, “At least I`ve seen us beat those bastards down the road in the Cup.”  “Typical Grandad”, Dick would say every time the anecdote was repeated at family gatherings. He would stare lovingly at the photo of the two of them standing beneath the famous Twin Towers of the stadium on that memorable day. “ What a man he was,” Dick would say, “ Taught me every obscenity I know.” And everybody would laugh. Except his wife Beryl who had always thought the old man was a foul -mouthed bore.

Dick had so many emotional memories of a lifetime of love and devotion to the  team known as “ The Mighty Whites” but next season they would have to manage without him. He had thought that his wife would be especially pleased when he told her. Beryl was always complaining about the money that he spent on tickets, about the hours he spent travelling back and forth to games.  How much she hated the bedsheets adorned with the club’s crest that they slept under every night. Those awful “Lucky Y-Fronts” that he refused to have washed in case the very act of washing would bring the team even more bad luck. Although strangely enough, Dick reflected, she hadn’t sounded too thrilled when he had broached the subject of not renewing his season ticket after that  5-0 thrashing by the City the previous week.  In fact in the days following his shock announcement his wife of some 40 years had suddenly developed an unexpected interest in the team’s fortunes. After the midweek match, in which they  had managed a surprise draw against all odds, despite being reduced to nine men through ill-discipline, she had greeted Dick on his return home with an upbeat assessment of their performance.   Relegation, she had declared with some authority, could be avoided if they played like that every week. “It’s time to get behind the lads Dick, not give them stick.”,  she added as if it was she who was the club’s Number One Supporter, not her husband.

Spurred on by his wife’s words Dick had set off for the next game with renewed hope. Perhaps better times had only just begun.  As Beryl had said,  as she stood at the door to see him off, her right fist clenched in a gesture of solidarity, “Have Faith Dick, Have Faith!” Sadly, those false hopes had been crushed yet again after the “Mighty Whites” had put on, what one fan had loudly described as a “Complete shit show.” It was at the moment when he joined several thousand others in a spontaneous verbal assault on the sexual habits of the players as they trudged disconsolately off the pitch that Dick Burton finally made up his mind. When the ever optimistic, happy-clappy middle- aged supporter in the seat next to him said, “Cheer up pal, it can only get better. See you next week as usual.” Dick replied, “No effing chance mate, that’s it for me!” And for once he meant it.

Back at number 53 Fox Gloves Crescent Beryl Burton heard the football results on the BBC with a dismay that matched her husband’s but for an entirely different reason.  Dick Burton’s lifelong obsession with an under achieving football club had, unbeknown to him, given his wife the opportunity to forge a life of her own. Those ninety minutes plus injury time were life savers. All the hours Dick spent travelling to away games  were bliss. Oh how she longed for the team to be drawn away in the Cup to distant Plymouth Argyll or Carlisle United!  His total immersion in the mixed fortunes of his chosen club had allowed her to quietly enjoy plays on Radio Four, her collection of folk music cd’s , a long soak in the bath with scented candles and hours of recorded episodes of  the X Factor  and Grand Designs without the endless, aggravating interruptions from the man in her life. As much as she loved her husband she found many of his traits extremely annoying. Could she really cope with him getting under her feet throughout the football season? At least in the summer he had his allotment and the occasional pre-season Friendly, but how would she manage during those long months of the seemingly endless football season? Did she really want to share her precious “Me Time” with somebody who couldn’t let a news bulletin go by without an accompanying string of his grandfather’s favourite expletives? It wasn’t as if he would be of any practical use around the house. Dick Burton was man who considered home decorating as time spent in purgatory? No, this was a disaster. More was at stake now than the  apparently not so “Mighty Whites” inevitable relegation . It was decision time.

When he got back home Dick found a note from Beryl on the kitchen table.  In her elegant handwriting she had written;

So sorry they lost again Darling but I can’t live here anymore. Dinner is in the oven. I`ll be at my sister’s if you need anything. Bring over your ironing if you run out of shirts. I honestly don’t mind being the second most important thing in your life but I need time to myself. Please, please don’t give up on the team. There is always hope, even if it’s only a sliver. Please Dick, renew your season ticket . It’s our only chance of a happy life together. If you do, I’ll come home. By the way, I had to leave the cat with you because of Helen’s allergies. You know he loves you too in his own funny way, so please don’t kick him if they lose. Keep the Faith Dick, Remember it’s not too late to renew. ”





Kidnapped”, or to give it’s full title, Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Castaway; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by Himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson  was first published in 1886 in a weekly children’s literary magazine called “Young Folks”. It is an exciting tale involving a young man wrongly denied his inheritance and a real-life  Scottish adventurer called Alan Stewart who had the unfortunate Gaelic nickname of  “Breac” which apparently means “spotted”.( On account of his face being ravaged by smallpox). In 2014 the book was placed twenty fourth in a list of the greatest 100 English novels compiled by Robert McCrum the associated editor of The Observer.

Have you read it? You have? Sadly I haven’t and I`m not especially proud of the fact. I`ve seen a version of it on the telly but I`m not sure that counts. It was though, not so much the not reading of the book that gave rise to my Mother’s disappointment all those years ago but what I had done with my copy of  Stevenson’s masterpiece. A copy she herself had given me.

My Mother’s Admonishment– or to give this description of the incident it’s full title: Being the memoir of an eleven-year-old boy living in a small village in the county of Dorset in the year 1959. How he took a treasured copy of the novel Kidnapped by the esteemed author Robert Louise Stevenson and tried to flog it around the village. His acquaintance and financial dealings with a certain Roger Abbot: With all that he verbally Suffered at the hands of his mother, Violet Lillian Lydia Crockett otherwise known as Rita. Written by himself as an apology to those he offended.

I will begin the story of my adventures concerning the book in question with a certain morning in the year of grace 1959 when I took the book for the last time out of the door of my father’s house. I can’t honestly remember if the sun began to shine upon the summit of Duncliffe Hill near Shaftesbury as I went down the road or, that by the time I had come as far as the crossroads at the centre of village, if the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, or if the mist that hung around the valley of the River Stour was beginning to arise and die away.

As I went from familiar door to familiar door I asked with increasing desperation whether any within would care to purchase a copy of the adventure novel  Kidnapped” that was, as could be seen, in excellent condition. At one humble cottage, I was asked why a boy who seemingly lacked for nothing should be reduced to selling such a treasured possession. Had I fallen upon some misfortune or had I been cast out of my home and in want of a good breakfast? When I assured my inquisitors that I had been both fed and clothed by loving parents many declared it was indeed a strange case and pressed me to reveal the truth of my situation.

Knowing my neighbours to be good honest Christian people I felt it behoved me to accede to their request and give them a full account of my purpose.

I was given this fine book by my mother as a gift,” I explained, “ She is ever anxious to improve my mind by providing me with great works of literature. Sadly, although the book has an exciting cover showing Redcoats searching the Highland heather for escaped Jacobites, I found the opening chapter a rather ponderous read and not as exciting as the illustrated stories in the War Picture Library comic books,  which are full of tales of heroic British Tommies fighting off hordes of ‘Jerries’ who, for some reason,  are always  shouting out  things like “ donner blitzen” and “ Gott in Himmel!  Furthermore,” I continued, unabashed by my unworthy moral descent into base commerce, “ I have set my heart upon purchasing a Dinky toy model of a Centurion tank and its transporter at a cost of a full 17/6d and my pocket money is a meagre 2/6d per week.”

Even with the added incentive of the inclusion in the sale of another “exciting” storybook involving French musketeers in what, in later times would be called a BOGOF, my urgent entreaties to buy my wares went unheeded. Weary with my endeavours I sat upon a nearby stone. It was while resting upon that stone that I saw a small creature, a rabbit, nervously emerge from the nearby churchyard. In an instant, I saw my future course. With renewed enthusiasm for the task ahead I set out towards Stour Lane and the home of a fellow pupil, a studious boy called Roger Abbot, naturally known to all at school as “Rabbit”. Here I was given an undeserved warm welcome and after sampling one of his mother’s freshly made cakes I was sent upon my way, bookless but with a whole  Half Crown in my pocket.

When I returned home my own mother was naturally curious as to where I had been and why I seemed so pleased with myself. I was torn between my desire to conceal the nature of my morning’s activities and my filial instinct not to tell a lie to my mother, knowing full well that eventually, she would discover the truth anyway. After wrestling for some moments with my conscience I decided to make a full confession and take the consequences. To my astonishment, she responded with quiet words rather than anger. Expressing her disappointment that I thought so little of her gifts that I should sell them before I had even read them. What really concerned her, however, was what our neighbours would think and how my actions would affect our standing as newcomers in the village. In my mother’s eyes, I had behaved like a common beggar seeking charity from others. She made it clear that she considered that my actions had brought shame upon her and my father since it implied that they were incapable of providing for their family. She insisted that I return to the Abbot household and give back the money and offer the books as a gift, not as a business transaction. Humbled and embarrassed by her remarks I immediately did as I was bid and the matter was never mentioned again.

Growing up I was always aware that money was “tight” in our house as it was in many families. The concept of  “Mend and Make do” wasn’t a lifestyle choice for my parents’ generation but a necessity. However, it wasn’t until many years after that incident that I came to fully realise the importance to people like my mother of self-respect and keeping up appearances.  She often referred to the “workhouse”, an institution that had obviously loomed large in her childhood memories, and for her and many like her, asking and receiving charity was one step on the descent to such a place.

Last year I finally bought the Dinky toy model of a  Centurion tank and its  “mighty Antar transporter”. I bought it for slightly more than 17/6d. I don’t really know why I bought it, to be honest. I suppose it was just because I could and once upon a time owning it had been very important to me

Have I read Kidnapped” yet? Sadly not, but I bet Roger Abbot has and I hope he enjoyed it.






Nosferatu lay in his coffin waiting for darkness to cover the land. Dusk was his favourite time. It provided him with the gift of a few moments of quiet reflection before yet another busy night of fangs and feasting. He had always considered that as a vampire his own personal form of death was surprisingly pleasant. Neither dead nor undead so to speak and so it been now for half a millennium. In fact, he considered that his lifestyle was one that many mortals, especially students at some of the world’s finest institutes of Higher Education, would envy. Sleep all day and then spend the night drinking. Only in his case blood rather than alcohol.

But as the last of the days light ebbed away Nosferatu felt no enthusiasm for the hours to come. He felt strangely listless and indeed had done so for some time now. As a cultured man of learning, albeit one who could also inspire dread and loathing, he recognised his feelings of lethargy as constituting what the French called “ennui” or what his fellow Transylvanians would describe as “plictiseala”. Finally, after several centuries of terrifying simple peasants, Nosferatu was suffering a kind of mid-life crisis. Increasingly his hours of rest were tormented by dark thoughts of failure and inadequacy. “What exactly have I achieved with all this bloodsucking and general frightfulness?” he constantly asked himself as he tossed and turned in the awful silence of his tomb. His feelings of self- doubt increasing with every dreary minute of restlessness.  Emotions made worse by the inevitability of yet another night of his existence consumed by the tedious repetition of biting village maidens in the neck.

And frankly people we not as terrified by his antics as they once were. In past time if he suddenly appeared inside a young woman’s bedroom, he would find his victim deep in innocent slumber. His virginal prey ripe for corruption by his nocturnal nibblings. In recent years however he found such innocence increasingly difficult to find. As often as not his intended victim’s virtue had escaped through her bedroom window long before he had entered through it. As for scaring the locals, on a number of occasions in recent years he had arrived in some village or town square on All Hallows Eve full of evil intent only to find the streets full of mortals dressed as every aspect of the diabolical. Once sleepy simple rustic settlements were now seemingly overrun by characters with blank staring eyes, bloodstained clothing and all manner of horrific facial features. Yet, laughing, joking, feasting and completely indifferent to their own nightmarish appearance. At such moments, when the world seemed to have succumbed to creatures of humanities most fearful imaginings, he himself had moved among them virtually unnoticed. Although several times of late he had been pestered by drunks looking remarkably like him demanding “selfies”!

Could it be, he wondered, as he lay in the stygian gloom of his sarcophagus that his days as the stuff of human nightmares was finally over? Perhaps the time had arrived for some kind of career change? But what to do? What openings existed for a man of advanced years whose current and only previous employment involved preying on young females in the dead of night?  Of course, there was always the old family business but was there a need for impalers in this confusing modern world?  Well, it was worth consideration at least and surely better than turning up at some dwelling during the middle of the night offering discounts on double glazing!

As night finally vanquished day Nosferatu felt strength returning to his limbs and with renewed energy, he raised the coffin lid, clambered out of his refuge and reached for the glass of bull’s blood that always greeted him upon waking. His early evening snifter as he called it. On this occasion, however, it was absent. He called loudly for his manservant, hearing his own voice echoing through the cold vastness of his decaying castle. There was no response.

Damn and blast the lazy dog!”, he shouted. His anger rising with every second his calls went unanswered. Loudly promising unbearable torments upon his tardy servantNosfaratu entered the castle’s ramshackle kitchen where two of his several brides were gorging on the still warm corpse of an orphaned child. When asked if they had seen his lackey one of the hideous feminine fiends nodded to a note on the table.

Nosferatu picked up the note and to his astonishment read, with difficulty, the barely legible scrawl. “Sorry Master but I have been offered a job with better pay and prospects in the UK.   By the time you read this note, I will be starting a new life in London”

Alongside the note was a half torn English newspaper left open at the jobs section. One advert had been circled by his errant employee. Nosfaratu’s schoolboy English was somewhat rusty after so many centuries of neglect but he was able to make out the words;

“Bar Staff needed for popular historic London pub”. With the name of the pub underneath the heading and a contact number listed at the bottom of the advertisement.

So that’s where the wretch has gone!” muttered the enraged owner of the infamous Castle Bran.

A plague of vermin upon his prospects in Whitby”, he cursed, confusing “in” for “of”.

(A common error- apparently- for Transylvanians for whom English is, of course, the second language.)

Then his eyes were drawn to an adjacent advertisement…

“Blood Donors required urgently. The Nation Needs YOUR blood!”.

 When he read those words Nosfaratu’sanger subsided immediately. Suddenly he saw his way forward and new horizons beckoning.



A few years back I made contact via the internet with an old college friend I hadn’t seen for some thirty- seven years. We arranged to meet at a pub half-way between our two homes. A neutral ground in case absence had not made the heart grow fonder. As I pulled into the car park I saw a man standing by his blue Volkswagen saloon who at first glance looked unnervingly like myself. Stout of statue, short of hair but unmistakeably my old housemate Ian. As I got out of the car he grinned and patted the top of his head acknowledging our mutual baldness.

Inside the pub, he produced some black and white photographs of two slim young men with long hair who were, apparently, us. Over that pub grub favourite, steak and ale pie, we each gave a brief resume of our lives so far. It seemed Ian had been far more diligent in keeping in touch with many of our fellow students and was able to give me chapter and verse on who had ended up where and who had married whom. Including the fact that he himself had married a girl who had been on my course and to whom I was to be reintroduced to later that afternoon.

In the years that have followed my wife, Sue and I have regularly met up with Ian and Chris for lunch dates and outings. The ladies generally exerting a moderating and calming influence since it turns out that Ian and I have become even more entrenched in our opposing political views. Though of course, much of our conversation nowadays includes regular, lengthy updates on our slowly declining health and the attendant problems.

Two years ago, we arranged to meet at Draycott Water for a pre- Christmas meal. After a longer than expected journey along the A45 between Coventry and Rugby Sue and I arrived with only minutes to spare before the appointed hour. Anxiously waiting for us in the car park was Ian in his trademark parka coat and Soviet-era styled headgear, waving his arms about like some agitated flight director on an aircraft carrier in choppy waters, directing us to an empty space. Safely parked we made our way to the café where Chris was waiting at our reserved table which had been colourfully decorated for the season.

As we all tucked into our starters Sue and I recounted a longish tale about our recently rehomed rescue cat Georgie and his urinary problems. To their credit, our companions managed to maintain an appearance of interest as we described in some detail every twist and turn in the story. They, quietly supping their Soup of the Day, we, too involved in the telling of the tale to make much impression on our salad and goat cheese tartlet. As the meal progressed I couldn’t help but notice that Ian was the only one not wearing a paper hat. Feeling that he had failed to enter in the spirit of the occasion I pretended to read a joke that I had supposedly found in my cracker. “What,” I said in what I thought was my best comedy manner, “Is the best thing about Brexit?” Before he had time to reply I delivered the none too original punch line;

“No Brussels!”  It was no surprise that he remained completely unmoved by my feeble attempt at humour and thankfully the main course arrived and we all moved on!

After the meal, we decided to go for a walk. The main purpose being to demonstrate my recently acquired mobility scooter and hoist. As we walked along the side of the reservoir the “horrid” weather that Ian had predicted the night before hitting us with the full force of a howling gale. Battling to be heard against the elements Ian and I reminisced about the house we had shared back in Reading. A dilapidated terraced house with unsatisfactory plumbing.

“Do you remember the giant mole beneath the sink?” I thought I heard him say as the biting wind cut through our clothing. Rummaging through my mental archives, past the ever-thickening mists of time, I recalled that at the fag end of the Sixties some of us had, allegedly, dabbled in certain substances on a non-prescription basis. In truth though I had no recollection of giant moles, real or imaginary. The best I could do in the circumstance was to mutter in agreement while trying hard to conceal my concern at my old friend’s state of mental health.

I had read somewhere that it can be upsetting to challenge the faulty recall of those who are increasingly frail and confused. I had also read that it can be beneficial to them by assisting in their remembrance of past times. In that spirit I said; “Yes, I do, and I also remember that giant fungus in the kitchen.”

Ian looked down at me on as I sat on my scooter, “That’s what I meant,” he said with a puzzled expression. “Giant mould!”

Now it was my turn to feel the increasingly chill wind of old age and mental confusion and we walked on in silence.

Back in the car park, we exchanged the usual good wishes and a promise to meet again the New Year. Before finally leaving Ian clasped me to his chest with his arms around me in apparent friendship. Pressing his mouth close to my ear I expected him to wish me at the very least a fond farewell and safe journey. Instead to my surprise, he muttered;

“Next time Robert, turn your plucking hearing aid on!” At least I think that’s what he said but, in that wind, I couldn’t be too sure.





(To be read aloud in the style of Pam Ayres- or failing that try Benny Hill on Ernie’s milk float!))

It was wholly unromantic, given what I was trying to do,

When I went up to my lover’s door,

And shouted “I love you”

He looked out of his window at my upturned face,

And said without compassion,

“You look a right disgrace”,

“Why don’t you leave me alone? He cried,

“My wife is by my side”

But I`d just seen her down the Co-op,

So, I knew that he had lied.

For years he’d kept me dangling with promises so sweet,

He’d leave his wife in Crewkerne and live with me in Street.

Then, SHE leaned out of the window and gave me such a stare,

I was shocked by his duplicity,

Cos the hussy had red hair.

“I’ve always fancied blondes myself” He used to say to me,

As we cuddled in his Skoda,

And let our passions run wild and free.

Betrayed beyond all reason, revenge was on my mind,

And so, without a second thought,

I grabbed the first thing I could find,

A little bag of doggy poo was lying by his gate,

I picked it up and threw it,

At his latest adulterous mate,

Now the months have hurried by and I have met another,

I`m living down in Dorchester with the cheating bugger’s brother.




Roger’s increasing hearing loss and periodic bouts of confusion had for some years been a source of both concern and unkind merriment with his fellow members at the Ecclesbrook Dramatic Arts Society and had been the cause of several unfortunate incidents. There was, for example, that embarrassingly acrimonious and frankly unpleasant argument with the newly appointed Chair of the Society. A rather forceful and, in Roger’s view, opinionated local councillor called Desmond Willey. They had clashed at a planning meeting when Roger had insisted that Oscar Wilde had never, to his certain knowledge, written a play called “The Impotence of Brian and Ernest”. Then there was that business when Roger had volunteered, after a short telephone conversation with Mr. Willey, to take charge of publicity and, at great expense to the Society, had commissioned a dozen large posters and a thousand flyers advertising a forthcoming musical production that Roger claimed he was told was called “The King said Hi!”
After that incident Roger felt increasingly side-lined and, in his frustration, wrote a complaining letter to the committee. In an apparent spirit of conciliation and at the behest of other committee members, the Chairman took Roger to one side and recommended a visit to a local independent audiologist that he knew well and also suggested that Roger might like to make an appointment with his GP about his general health. A suggestion Roger rejected indignantly. Despite paying a considerable amount of money for the hearing aids that he felt he was cajoled into buying Roger wasn’t at all convinced that they made that much difference and felt further aggrieved towards Mr. Willey.
Still despite his annoyance Roger continued to support the Society in whatever ways he could even though he seemed to be offered far fewer roles, either on or off stage, than in previous years. So, he was very pleased to receive a call informing him that he was invited to try for a part in a new play that had been specially written for the Society by the Chairman’s son. An ambitious young man who had just returned from drama college and was apparently keen to start a career as a playwright and director.
To be honest Roger was not entirely sure that the proposed project was in keeping with the Society’s hard- won reputation as a family friendly theatre company. He remembered that many years ago somebody had suggested that they put on a production of a musical called “Hair” that apparently contained nudity but thankfully, and to the general relief of the local theatre going public, common sense and common decency had prevailed. But times, as Roger reluctantly conceded, had changed and a production by a promising young writer could be just the thing to bring some much- needed new blood into the Society. Roger was thrilled to be asked to be involved and keen to get on with it despite his reservations.
He decided that to make an impact he would provide his own costume for the audition. So, he braved the internet and purchased an old vintage Burberry Trench Coat on E-Bay for just £6.99 plus postage and packaging. Inevitably at that price it did show distinct signs of wear and tear. For example, it had two stains at the front top left-hand side and a rather unpleasant odour It was though exactly what Roger wanted and would fit the bill admirably. To add to the desired effect, he put an old trilby that he had found lurking at the back of an Age Concern charity shop on his head. The overall effect was spot on and with renewed enthusiasm he set off in his car to the theatre wearing his costume. After all the sooner he got used to it and got over his inhibitions and embraced the new creative culture that had come to Ecclesbrook Dramatic Arts Society the better.
Entering the Palladium Royal Ecclesbrook, a rather grand name for a rather shabby edifice, Roger was pleased to see so many young people in summer garb standing on the stage holding their scripts and listening intently to a young man who was obviously the director. On seeing Roger in his overcoat and trilby Dominic Willey and his father looked totally bemused. Roger who, in his excitement to get to the theatre, had forgotten, as he sometimes did, that at the height of summer the badly ventilated old auditorium was not the best place to wear winter clothing , was starting to sweat profusely and feel distinctly uncomfortable.
“Oh dear, done it again have we Roger.?” Said Willey senior, with a shake of the head, exhaling with what to Roger seemed like exaggerated exasperation. “Do you think you’re really up to all this anymore? I mean look around you.” Roger followed Desmond Willey’s extended arm as it made a sweep of the stage where some members of the company were starting to snigger behind their copies of the script. “Well, I`m here for your son’s play, as requested” replied Roger who was starting to get extremely annoyed with the attitude of the young Director’s papa.
“And what play would that be? asked Desmond Willey as he handed Roger a copy of his son’s handiwork. Roger took the script and looked disdainfully at Willey who he considered unctuous and unappealing in every way. He looked at the script and with growing horror read the title “Fresher’s Hall. A new play by Dominic Willey”
“Oh, So, that’s what it’s called” said a shocked and rather embarrassed Roger who, as the auditorium started to come alive with the sounds of laughter, suddenly felt mocked and brutally ridiculed.
He put the script down on an empty seat and walked towards the youthful cast, climbed the steps and made his way centre stage. He turned and faced the two Willeys standing together in the dimly lit auditorium and slowly and deliberately unbuttoned his vintage Burberry Trench Coat to reveal his naked torso with a large gold star covering his testicles. He stood for a moment to absorb the shocked silence and then with as much dignity as he could muster he did up his coat and walked out of the theatre and out, forever, from the Ecclesbrook Dramatic Arts Society.
Dominic Willey picked up the script that Roger had cast aside and turned to his father. “Well Dad, I think Flasher’s Ball, would make a much better play than this dross I`ve written”