“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way:  Editing becomes re-writing (4)

I’ve been looking at the role of the [policewoman, and her interaction with the shop’s participants.

I’m still working on whether she needs more or less of an introduction, but, for the time being, this is what I’m going with:

 

It had been another long day at the office for Officer Margaret O’Donnell, or, out in the streets, coping with people who either didn’t know or didn’t care about the law.

People who couldn’t cross the road where there were crossings and lights to protect them, silly girls shoplifting on a dare, and boys who thought they were men and could walk on water.

The one they scraped of the road would never get to grow up, and his mother, well, she was not doing another call on a family to give them the bad news.

That was her day.

So far.

At the end of the day, she was glad to be getting home, putting her feet up, and forgetting about everything until the next morning when it would start all over again.

Coming around that last corner, the home stretch she called it, she was directly opposite the corner shop, usually closed at this hour of the night.  It was not.  The lights were still on.

She looked at her watch and saw it was ten minutes to midnight, and long past closing time.  She looked through the window, but from the other side of the road, she could only see three heads and little else.

Damn, she thought, I’m going to have to check it out. 

She was aware of the rumors, from her co-residents and also her colleagues down at the station, rumors she hoped were not true.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

Inspiration, maybe – Volume 1

50 photographs, 50 stories, of which there is one of the 50 below.

They all start with –

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

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

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.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“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 2019-2021

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

InspirationMaybe1v1

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way:  Editing becomes re-writing (3)

I have reworked the first part of the story with a few new elements about the characters and changed a few of the details of how the characters finish up in the shop before the policewoman makes her entrance.

This is part of the new first section is the one that involves the shopkeeper`:

  

This wasn’t the shopkeeper’s first hold up.  In fact, over the years there had been a dozen.  But only one got reported to the police, and that was only because the robber was shot and killed.

He’d taken a bullet that night, too, which, from the police point of view, made him a concerned citizen simply defending himself.

The rest had been scared off by the double-barrel shotgun he kept under the counter for just such emergencies.

The young punk who came into the shop with his girlfriend had pulled out the pistol and told him if he reached for the shotgun he’d shoot him.  The kid looked unstable and he’d backed away.

When the kid collapsed, he should have gone for the shotgun, but instead, he thought he could get to the gun before the girl realized what was happened.  She wasn’t an addict and clearly looked like she was only along for the ride.  Her expression, when the kid pulled out the gun told him she’d known nothing about her partner’s true intentions.

But, he wasn’t fast enough, and she had the gun pointing at him before he’d got past the counter.

From one pair of unpredictable hands to another.

Like the girl, he was just as surprised when the customer burst in the door, just before closing time.

The situation might have been salvageable before the customer came in the door, getting the girl to go along with the robbery being about money, but there was no denying what the kid on the floor’s problem was.

Damn.

He had to try and salvage the situation simply because there was a lot of money involved, and other people depending on him.  He looked at the boy, on the floor, then the girl.

“Listen to me, young lady, you would be well advised to let this man go as he suggests.  And, please put the gun down before someone gets hurt.  Your friend needs medical help and I can call an ambulance.”

The girl switched her attention back to him.  “No one’s going anywhere, so just shut the hell up and let me think.”

The storekeeper glanced over at the customer. 

He’d seen him come into the shop once or twice, probably lived in the neighborhood, the sort who’d make a reliable witness, either a lawyer or an accountant.  Not like most of the residents just beyond the fringe of respectability.

If only he hadn’t burst into the shop when he did.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way: Editing (2)

The story fleshed out for the second section, discussed in Point of View

 

Annalisa looked at the two men facing her, a shopkeeper who, despite his protestations, was a dealer, and the other man, a customer scared shitless.

The poor bastard was not the only one scared. 

It was meant to be simple, arrive at the shop just before closing, force the shopkeeper to hand over the shit, and leave.

What had happened?

The shopkeeper laughed at them and  told them to get out.  Simmo started ranting and waving the gun around, then all of a sudden collapsed. 

There was a race for the gun which spilled out of Simmo’s hand, and she won.  No more arguments, the shopkeeper was getting the stuff when the customer burst into the shop.

This was worse than any bad hair day, or getting out of the wrong side of bed day, this was, she was convinced, the last day of her life.

Her mother said she would never amount to anything, and here she was with a drug addict coming apart because she had been cut off from her money and could no longer pay for his supply, which had led them to this inevitable ending.

She heard a strange sound come from beside her and looked down.  Simmo was getting worse, like he had a fever, and was moaning.

 

If Alphonse had thought his day was going to get any better after the delivery disaster earlier that day, he was wrong.

If he thought he could maintain his real business and his under the counter business with no one finding out, in that he was wrong too.  He’s know, inevitably, some useless punk would come and do exactly what Simmo was doing.

It might have been salvageable before the customer came in the door, but now it was not.  The customer had heard the words, and given him ‘the look’.  A drug addict telling the cops he was a dealer, it was his word against an  unreliable addict, but this local chap, he had that air of respectability the cops would listen too.

Damn.

But he had to try and salvage the situation, there was a lot of money involved, and other people depending on him.  He looked at the boy, on the floor, then  the girl.

“Listen to me, young lady, I have no idea what you are talking about.  Please, put the gun down before someone gets hurt.  Your friend needs medical help and I can call an ambulance.”

The girl switched her attention back to him.  “Shut up, let me think.  Shit.”

The storekeeper glanced over at the customer.  He’s been in once or twice, probably lived in the neighborhood, but looked the sort who’d  prefer to be anywhere but in his shop.  More so now.  If only he hadn’t burst in when he did.  He would have the gun, called the police, and brazened his way out of trouble.  Now, that remedy was off the table.

Now he had to deal with the fallout, especially if the girl started talking.

 

 

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way: Editing (1)

First drafts are always a little messy.  The words spill out onto the page, and it’s rare that any or all of them are perfect.  Sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time you don’t.

That’s why there’s revision, or by the more dreaded name, editing.

Editing conjures up a lot of different images in my mind, from completely re-writing, to cutting the mss down in size.  Or where you discover the main character’s name has changed from Bill to Fred after a bad night.

Usually, though, as stories progress, they go through a number of rewrites, and sometimes because of what follows.  It depends on how long a period the story is written.  Some of mine take days, others quite a lot longer.

This is the rewrite of the first section of the short story I’m undertaking, adding some new details:

 

Jack was staring down the barrel of a gun.

He had gone down to the corner shop to get a pack of cigarettes.

He had to hustle because he knew the shopkeeper, Alphonse, liked to close at 11:00 pm sharp.  His momentum propelled him through the door, causing the customer warning bell to ring loudly as the door bashed into it, and before the sound had died away, he knew he was in trouble.

It took a second, perhaps three, to sum up the situation. 

Young girl, about 16 or 17, scared, looking sideways at a man on the ground, then Alphonse, and then Jack.  He recognized the gun, a Luger, German, relic of WW2, perhaps her father’s souvenir, now pointing at him then Alphonse, then back to him.

Jack to another second or two to consider if he could disarm her.  No, the distance was too great.  He put his hands out where she could see them.  No sudden movements, try to remain calm, his heart rate up to the point of cardiac arrest.

Pointing with the gun, she said, “Come in, close the door, and move towards the counter.”

Everything but her hand steady as a rock.  The only telltale sign of stress, the beads of perspiration on her brow.  It was 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the shop.

Jack shivered, and then did as he was told.  She was in the unpredictable category.

“What’s wrong with your friend?”  Jack tried the friendly approach, as he took several slow steps sideways towards the counter.

The shopkeeper, Alphonse, seemed calmer than usual, or the exact opposite spoke instead, “I suspect he’s an addict, looking for a score.  At the end of his tether, my guess, and came to the wrong place.”

Wrong time, wrong place, in more ways than one Jack thought, now realizing he had walked into a very dangerous situation.  She didn’t look like a user.  The boy on the ground, he did, and he looked like he was going through the beginnings of withdrawal.

 “Simmo said you sell shit.  You wanna live, ante up.”  She was glaring at Alphonse. 

The language, Jack thought, was not her own, she had been to a better class of school, a good girl going through a bad boy phase. Caught in a situation she was not equipped to deal with.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

“Trouble in Store” – Short Stories my way: The end of the story

The stage is set for the big finale, though I’m not quite sure how ‘big’ it’s going to be.

Jack is ready to go having been given the green light by the girl with the gun.  It seems collateral damage is not on the agenda for her, though he does admit to himself she is between that proverbial rock and a hard place.

The storekeeper still has a plan, shaky at best, to regain hold of the situation, once the customer is out of the shop.  Nervy or not, he doesn’t think she had the capability to pull the trigger.  He knows what sort of person it takes to do that, and she isn’t one of them.

The policewoman is not sure what to expect but thinks that surprise is on her side, and whatever is going on, she will be able to resolve it.  She has her weapon drawn and ready to use.  She had yet to shoot anyone with it

The girl is at the point of no return, that point where she had nothing left to lose.  Anything she had before was gone, destroyed by the choices she’d made.  No one ever handed out a manual on how you should live your life, or provide a list of people you should avoid, and her father’s prophetic words the last time they men came home with a thud, ‘your life is defined by the choices you make’.

She was not going to jail so it was going to be death or glory.

 

Now read on:

 

Jack had heard there were moments where, in a split second, your whole life flashes before your eyes.  He did, and what he saw he didn’t like.

But, then, neither was he very happy about the fact he was nearly out the door before the policewoman on the other side crashed into him and sent him sprawling to the floor.

That was about the same fraction of a second he heard the gun go off, twice, or so he thought and knew he was a dead man, waiting for the bullet.

Another fraction of a second passed as the policewoman tried to unravel the mess they’d become, and at that moment in time felt the tugging at his sleeve and then, as if in slow motion, the sound of the glass door disintegrating behind him.

 

Annalisa was quite prepared to let the customer go.

She kept one eye on the shopkeeper and one on the customer, sidling towards the door.  The gun was ready to shoot the first person who made a wrong move.

Or so she told herself.  It was getting heavy in her hand, she was shaking almost uncontrollably now, and was getting more and more frightened of the consequences.  She didn’t think, if she aimed, she could hit the side of a barn let alone a person standing ten feet away from her.

The customer reached the door.

At exactly the moment he put his hand 0on the door handle to open the door, another person was pushing the door, trying to make their way in.

With force.

She saw the blue cap, guess it was the police, though she hadn’t heard the siren, but also guessed the shopkeeper might have a silent alarm.

Damn.

A single shot, instantly in the direction of the door, not necessarily aimed at the two people now collapsing to the floor in a tangled mess, but at the door itself.

The impact, yet another guess, might shatter the glass and make it easier to escape.

After one more job.

The hell with Simmo.  He’d dragged her down the rabbit hole far enough.  Simmo knew her first name, that she had rich parents, but nothing else.  Besides, he was in such bad shape she didn’t think he’d recover.

The shopkeeper had no idea who she was, it was the first time she’d been to his shop, and now, after a few weeks with Simmo, not ever her mother would recognize her.

She swiveled the gun and aimed it at the shopkeeper and pulled the trigger.,  One less dealer in the city was good news not bad.

She saw it hit, not exactly where, but it caused him to twist and start falling to the ground, at the same time letting out a very loud scream.  Panic or anger?

She wasn’t waiting to find out.

A last glance at Simmo, now down for the count, she ran for the door, past the two on the floor, what she could now see was a policewoman with her weapon drawn, but unable to use it.

She crashed through the remainder of the glass shards put into the street and ran.

In the distance she could hear a police car coming, siren blaring.  A warning if there was ever one to run harder, up the road, down an alley, out into another street, then down into the subway.

Gone.

 

It took fifteen seconds to disentangle herself from the customer, pushing him away, and getting to her feet, weapon aimed.

At nothing but air.

The girl had gone, and then she had the vague recollection of a shadow passing her as she was facing the other way getting to her feet.

And running out the door.

Five more valuable seconds as her brain processed this piece of information before it issued the command to go out the door and see which way she went.

Another ten seconds to get out the door, and see the police car coming from the same direction she had earlier, screeching to a halt outside the shop, a car door opening, and an officer getting out.

Margaret was guessing at the driver to drive down the road where she guessed the girl had run, managing to yell breathlessly at the office getting out, “She’s gone that way,” and pointing.

The officer relayed the message and closed the door as the car sped off.

“What happened?”

“Shots fired by a woman, more a girl, in the process of a robbery.”

She ran back inside the officer following.

The customer had moved to a corner and was standing, testing his limbs, with an expression that said he was amazed he was still alive.

“Over behind the counter.  She shopkeeper.  He was standing there.”

The policeman rounded the end of the counter and looked down.  “He’s here.  It’s not looking good.”

Margaret didn’t hear him.  She was calling an ambulance.

 

Next:  Perhaps some editing

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

 

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way: Actions have consequences

It’s time for the policewoman to arrive.

There is such a thing as pure dumb luck.

If she did not walk through the door when she did then Jack would have walked away.

From the policewoman’s perspective:

 

She crossed the street from the corner instead of remaining on the same side of the street as she did every other night.  When she reached the other sidewalk, she was about 20 yards from the nearest window of the store.

As she crossed, she got a better view of the three people in the store and noticed the woman, or girl, was acting oddly as if she had something in her hand, and, from time to time looked down beside her.

A yard or two from the window she stopped, took a deep breath, and then moved slowly, getting a better view of the scene with each step.

Then she saw the gun in the girl’s hand, and the two men, the shopkeeper and a customer facing her, hands up.

It was a convenience store robbery in progress.

She reached for her radio, but it wasn’t there.  She was off duty.  Instead, she withdrew, and called the station on her mobile phone, and reported the robbery.  The officer at the end of the phone said a car would be there in five minutes.

In five minutes there could be dead bodies.

She had to do something, and reached into her bag and pulled out a gun.  Not her service weapon, but one she carried in case of personal danger.

 

Guns are dangerous weapons in the hands of professional and amateur alike.  You would expect a professional who has trained to use a gun to not have a problem but consider what might happen in exceptional circumstances.

People freeze under pressure.  Alternately, some shoot first and ask questions later.

We have an edgy and frightened girl with a loaded gun, one bullet or thirteen in a magazine, it doesn’t matter.  It only takes one bullet to kill someone.

Then there’s the trigger pressure, light or heavy, the recoil after the shot and whether it causes the bullet to go into or above the intended target, especially if the person has never used a gun.

The policewoman, with training, will need two hands to take the shot, but in getting into the shop she will need one to open the door, and then be briefly distracted before using that hand to steady the other.

It will take a lifetime, even if it is only a few seconds.

Actions have consequences:

 

The policewoman crouched below the window shelf line so the girl wouldn’t see her, and made it to the door before straightening.  She was in dark clothes so the chances were the girl would not see her against the dark street backdrop.

Her hand was on the door handle about to push it inwards when she could feel in being yanked hard from the other side, and the momentum and surprise of it caused her to lose balance and crash into the man who was trying to get out.

What the hell…

A second or two later both were on the floor in a tangled mess, her gun hand caught underneath her, and a glance in the direction of the girl with the gun told her the situation had gone from bad to worse.

The girl had swung the gun around and aimed it at her and squeezed the trigger twice.

The two bangs in the small room were almost deafening and definitely disorientating.

Behind her, the glass door disintegrated when the bullet hit it.

Neither she nor the man beside her had been hit.

Yet.

She felt a kick in the back and the tickling of glass then broke free as the man she’d run into rolled out of the way.

Quickly on her feet, she saw the girl had gone, and wasted precious seconds getting up off the floor, then out the door to find she had disappeared.

She could hear a siren in the distance.  They’d find her.

 

If the policewoman had not picked that precise moment to enter the shop, maybe the man would have got away.

Maybe.

If he’d been aware of the fact he was allowed to leave.

He was lucky not to be shot.

Yet there were two shots, and we know at least one of them broke the door’s glass panel.

 

Next – the epilog

© Charles Heath 2016-2020

Inspiration, maybe – Volume 1

50 photographs, 50 stories, of which there is one of the 50 below.

They all start with –

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

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

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.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“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 2019-2021

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

InspirationMaybe1v1

“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way: Point of view

If this story was being written the first person the only perspective or point of view would be that of the narrator.

Since we need to have a number of perspectives it is better done in the third person so we can change between characters and try to understand their motivation.

We might look at the first-person perspective for each of the characters later.

The second of the protagonists is the girl with the gun.  How did she get it?  How did the situation deteriorate so quickly?   What is she going to do?

This is a short story and we need to know something about her, so we have to get to the heat of the matter quickly, so let’s start with:

Her mother said she would never amount to anything, and here she was, with a broken drug addict coming apart because she had been cut off from her money, dragged into coming to this shop to leverage drugs from his dealer at the end of a gun.  It was her fault, Jerry said and made her feel responsible, much the same as her parents and everyone else in her life.

One of life’s losers or just a victim?  This theme can go in any direction.

Then a moment to reflect on why she was here:

Why had she agreed to go with Jerry?  At that moment when she picked up the gun off the floor, she realized it was not out of responsibility or fault, it was out of fear.

That gives us the why; he had obviously tried to make her feel responsible and when that failed, he threatened her.  But now there’s a bigger issue, the gun and a situation spiraling out of control.  The thing is, she has the gun and the power to walk away or make matters worse.

The problem was, she has outed the shopkeeper as a dealer in front of someone who had not known.  That now made him a victim as much as she was.

She looked at the two men facing her, a shopkeeper who was a dealer and a customer scared shitless.  As much as she was.  Her gun hand was shaking.

The scene is set, something has to give.

Time for the shopkeeper to weigh in.

“I have no idea what you are talking about.  Please, put the gun down before someone gets hurt.”

It’s a typical response from a man who realizes he’s in trouble and is trying to make time while he thinks of how to rescue himself from a potentially dangerous situation.

Time to change the perspective again and explore the shopkeeper.

If only Jack hadn’t come in when he did.  He would have the gun, called the police, and brazened his way out of trouble.  Who would the police believe a pair of addicts or a respectable shopkeeper?

Now he had to deal with the fallout, especially if the girl started talking.

 

Next, actions have consequences, building the tension.

 

This section rewritten, moving from Jack as the narrator to the girl, and then to the shopkeeper:

 

Annalisa looked at the two men facing her, a shopkeeper who, despite his protestations, was a dealer and a customer scared shitless.

The poor bastard was not the only one.  This was meant to be simple, arrive at the shop just before closing, force the shopkeeper to hand over the shit, and leave.  Simple.

Except …

The shopkeeper told them to get out.  Simmo started ranting waving the gun around, then collapsed.  A race for the gun which spilled out of his hand, she won.

He was getting the stuff when the customer burst into the shop.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, she thought.

Why had she agreed to go with Jerry?  It was her fault, Jerry had said, and he made her feel responsible for his problems, much the same as her parents and everyone else in her life.

Her mother said she would never amount to anything, and here she was, with a drug addict coming apart because she had been cut off from her money, dragged into coming to this shop to pick up his score from his dealer at the end of a gun.

She heard a strange sound come from beside her and looked down.  Simmo was getting worse, like he had a fever, and was moaning.

The shopkeeper saw an opportunity.  “Listen to me, young lady, I have no idea what you are talking about.  Please, put the gun down before someone gets hurt.  Your friend needs medical help and I can call an ambulance.”

The girl switched her attention back to him.  “Shut up, let me think.  Shit.”

The storekeeper glanced over at the customer.  He’s been in once or twice, probably lived in the neighborhood, but looked the sort who’d prefer to be anywhere but in his shop.  More so now.  If only he hadn’t burst in when he did.  He would have the gun, called the police, and brazened his way out of trouble.  Who would the police believe a pair of addicts or a respectable shopkeeper?

Now he had to deal with the fallout, especially if the girl started talking.

 

© Charles Heath 2016 – 2020

 

A photograph from the inspirational bin – 22

I found this…


So near and yet so far.

What I found was the moon out in the late afternoon, a phenomenon that might happen on a regular basis, but this one of the few times I’ve seen it.

And it reminds me of something I was told a long time ago. Shoot for the moon. I never quite understood what the person meant, not until a long time later when I realised that I was being told nothing was impossible.

Had I ever achieved the impossible?

The thing is, each of us define what is possible and what is impossible ourselves, and is therefore different for every person. If you tell yourself it is impossible, then it requires a mind shift to get past that barrier.

But, the question still remains the same, did I achieve the impossible?

I never thought I’d write a book, or have it published. Some would say I still haven’t achieved that goal because I self published it on Amazon.

I think I achieved what I set out to do.

I never thought I’d get a university degree, but people had faith in me, and yes, I got it in the end.

I never thought, when I was younger, I would be a father, and sometimes I wonder whether it was worth it, but having grandchildren dispelled any perceived disappointment.

And what is on the impossible list now?

Not a lot. At my age, I don’t think it’s possible I will travel to the moon, nor afford to skirt the edge of space, as much as it would be amazing to look back at the planet.

I don’t think I’ll ever become a CEO, but then I don’t want to. Too much responsibility.

What’s left that is achievable?

Tracing my family history, and going back to where my ancestors came from, and, hopefully finding someone who was ‘famous’.