If only something made sense…

It seems rather fortuitous that we have a holiday at the end of the year.

I mean, who sat around a table however many years ago and decided that holidays like Christmas should be at the end of the year.  And who decided one half of the world could freeze to death on their holidays, and the other half burn?

At the end of a long year at that, you know, 52 weeks, 12 months, 365 days, where even when some of us get a weekend off once in a blue moon, it still seems like we’re working 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

So, who decided a week would have seven days, a year would have 12 months, and while we’re at it, who decided to give each month a different name?  And who named names?

Was it Father Time.  As children, we all learn about father time, or has political correctness stepped in and we now call ‘father time’, ‘person time’.


Who do we blame for this mess, we have to blame someone.  It’s not our fault.  If it were up to me I’d have Christmas in September when there’s more temperate weather in both halves of the world.

And who decided that Christmas should be attached to Winter and not Summer?

It’s like the whole mess was designed by a group of academics majoring in philosophy sitting in a back room and fed Coca Cola and Pizzas until they came up with an answer, which was probably to send it all to a parliamentary committee made up from candidates from Bellevue Asylum.

The same people, by the way, who are responsible for coordinating traffic lights.

And then there’s that other mystery I’ve never quite understood.

If you work for the FBI your first name suddenly becomes ‘Agent’.  Everyone gets that name change whether you like it or not.

Which is much the same as all Russians once upon a time calling each other ‘comrade’.  Beats the hell, I suppose, out of remembering peoples first names, especially in Russia where, to us, they’re unpronounceable.


You can tell it’s getting close to Chrismas.

I’ve become a gibbering idiot.

What’s said cannot be unsaid

You know the moment the words leave your mouth that you have said the wrong thing.

It might be exactly what you were thinking, it might be said before you had time to process what you were going to say, but it’s the look on the face of the recipient that tells the story.

Oh, my God, I shouldn’t have said that!

Your initial reaction is to try and say it’s not what you meant.

Generally, these horrible mistakes come at a point where emotions are running high, and there is an element of truth in the statement, and one that the recipient is aware of, and doesn’t need reminding of.

Not by their best friend, partner or closest relative.

Would it be better if you were not one of those three?


But it isn’t.  Anger, followed by tears, followed by silence.

This is where the statement, time heals all wounds, is brought into play, and you hope that it is true.

Interesting subject, is it not, for the opening gambit of a story?


In a word: Keep

Yes, this is an easy one.

I want to keep the car.  Especially if it’s a Lamborghini and it didn’t cost $500,000.

This form of the word simply means to hang on to something, or the proper definition, to have or retain possession of

Paring it with other words is where it gets complicated.

For instance,

Keepings off, make sure that the ball doesn’t get into someone else’s possession.

Keep it to yourself, yes, here’s your chance to become the harbinger of secrets and not tell anyone else.  Not unless a lot of money is involved, or a Lamborghini.

You guessed it, the car is the running joke on this post.

How about, keep a low profile, been there tried that, it’s a lot harder than you think.

What about keeping your cards close to your chest, yes, this had both a literal and figurative meaning which makes it sort of unique.

That might follow the second definition, to continue, or cause to continue a particular state.

Another way of using keep is by delaying or stopping someone from doing something or getting somewhere; ie, I was kept waiting at the doctor’s surgery because he was late.

There are any number of examples of using the word keep in tandem with other words

One that specifically doesn’t relate to all the former examples, is simply the word keep.

What is it?

Usually the strongest part of the castle, and the last to fall in an attack.

At least, that was the theory.

Writing about writing a book – Day 7

Even God got to rest of the seventh day perhaps to admire his handiwork, but for a writer there is no rest.

I have to go to lunch with an old friend who is concerned that I have locked myself away in a garret and will wither and die, the same as not admitting myself it was time to move on.  There is the woman you marry, and your one true love, the one you can say anything to and is taken.  Marilyn is that person.  I’m not sure how this lunch will go.

Perhaps a little more work on the plot, and a few drinks to settle the nerves.


Still working on the characters (and all need a lot more work, particularly Davenport, oh, and by the way, he’s new):


Richardson – Vanilla Office worker in the wrong place at the wrong time

Gator, Inspector – Jaded policeman not far from retirement, overlooked for promotion, and always on the fringe.  Will this be his big case before he retires?

Halligan – General Manager, also a field agent who failed to complete his mission.  More on what that mission was is coming.

Bill Chandler, we seem to have him under control, except for one small detail, his memories will return.

Jennifer, Chandler’s friend, sister to Manilow, not all she appears to be.  Spoiler alert!  Manilow is another new character who will appear in Bill’s dreams (nightmares)

Benton, Chandler’s immediate superior, yes man, and eternal pessimist.

Aitchison, security chief, aka Colonel Warburton, Manilow’s old commanding officer, repatriated home after making some discoveries about wartime activities.

Wiesenthal – US management employee of Transworld

Giles – Chandler’s hardware assistant

Kowalski – executive promoted to head of security, also new, the cast is getting longer

Andy Collins –from the US, worked with Chandler around at the inception of the network installation, working with Chandler recently when updates were carried out

Davenport, aka Alphonse DeAngelo, Chandler’s old nemesis, ex-Army Colonel, and he will be a piece of work


The plotline continues but I’m not sure if this will be the eventual direction it will go.  There will be a lot of writing before now and then:


Chandler thinks he now has time for some private investigation because a lot of things about the recent events didn’t add up.  However, in the meantime, the perils of domesticity close in around Bill, the first morning with Jennifer.

A visit to the office, unscheduled, by Bill, brings to light a number of changes; new security and monitoring of movements, making it difficult for Bill to do anything.  Kowalski has replaced Aitchison as head of security, and Bill must pay him a visit.

Kowalski is full of sympathy and advises Bill that he has a lot of leave to be taken in order to get better, and a bonus as well.  He should not return until fully recovered, and then to a promotion.  In other words, Bill reads this as –’Stay Away’.

Giles gives more information of the network problems, and the disaster surrounding the backup tapes, with information that had been requested by Gator.  Of course, there was no information of the backup tapes provided, because they had been destroyed.  Was it on purpose or by accident?

Another dream and Brainless looms large and lifelike in their first meeting.

At his home to finish collecting his clothes and gear, he wakes up and remembers why he’s there.  He had removed a tape from a little-used system he’d installed for another purpose, and had brought it to his own PC to see whether there was any evidence on it – given that every other tape either proved Aitchison and Halligan guilty or had been destroyed by well-meaning but apparently incompetent consultants.  His tape has interesting information, which he notes, then hides the tape.


Dear God is that the time?  I’m late.


More tomorrow!

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:


And the story:


It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?


“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.


“I think he’s made us.”


“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.


Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”


I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”


© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.




“The Devil You Don’t”, be careful what you wish for

Now only $0.99 for a short time at  https://amzn.to/2Xyh1ow


John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favour for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favour’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.


Conversations with my cat – 71

This is Chester.

When I come down to the writing room he’s sitting on the table next to the keyboard.

I take this gesture to mean that he’s not trying to be confrontational.

He’d be sitting on the keyboard if that was his intention.

Or, perhaps he’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security.

I try to read his expression, forgetting that cats down have expressions, just a single look.


I sit down and we’re now eye to eye. Could it be that he is doesn’t like the idea of looking up at me? Might that almost suggest that I am the master and he is the cat?

Perhaps I’m just tired and writing too much into it. Maybe he just saw a mouse and wanted to get an overview of where it might have gone.

Plenty of hiding places in this office. Chester knows some off them himself because there are times when I can’t find him.

Then he deigns to speak. “I think it’s time you cleaned this room up.”

It seems it’s a universal request from everyone, grandchildren included.

“Sorry. Not sorry. I’m going for the grumpy grandfather’s study children are forbidden to enter look. Piles of books, shelves overloaded with more books, messy tables, and papers scattered everywhere. And nowhere to sit because seats are places to pile more stuff.”

He looks around.

“Done a good job of it then. How do you find anything?”

“I found you.”

“I wasn’t hiding.”

“Oh, I thought you were.”

I’m sure there was that imperceptible shake of the head in disdain, before he jumps down and leaves.

Dodged a bullet there. I was sure he was going to complain about his food … again!