Touch and Go. Short Short by Dave Moores

by Dave Moores

Dave Moores is the author of Attitude and Windward Legs. Both published thorough MiddleRoad Publishers.

The grassy pathway before me descended into an empty valley. Pretty summer clouds graced the sky, the day was bright, and the air carried the scent of fresh-cut hay. I had no notion of my purpose here and strangely this did not concern me.

An odd little man appeared at my side. His face displayed the lines and papery pallor of advanced age. He was formally clad in black, a cloth jacket over a white shirt and black tie. On his head,  a bowler hat. He carried a walking cane and wore unexpected black shorts. The ensemble was completed by dress shoes and socks, black as well—hardly appropriate for a ramble in the countryside. When he spoke his voice was surprisingly clear, the accent and diction refined. “Come along, we have to get below right away.” He beckoned to me and set off down the path with a nimble gait. I felt compelled to follow.

Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

A single-track railway line came into view. Strange again, that I had not observed it sooner. My guide pressed on and our path turned left beside the track. Around a bend we came upon a small structure having the appearance of a shed. I recognized it as what used to be called a halt, not exactly a station but a place where a local train might pause for passengers to alight or embark. We drew near and climbed weathered wooden steps to a sheltered platform.

The man consulted a timetable displayed in a glass-fronted case. He checked a pocket-watch and gave a satisfied nod. “You won’t have to wait long. Five minutes, it’s always on time.” For reasons I can’t explain, I still felt no curiosity, merely a sense of anticipation. I have always enjoyed train-rides. We seated ourselves on a bench. 

The hoot of a train-whistle was followed by the rumble of wheels. A small steam locomotive puffed into sight pulling a couple of carriages. The sight recalled childhood day trips to the seaside with my parents. The train pulled in with a hiss of steam and gentle grinding of brakes.

We got to our feet. The man reached for a door handle. “Farewell, the train will take you where you need to go.” He handed me a business card which I pocketed as I boarded. There were no other passengers.

As the train moved off, a nagging sense of unmet obligations replaced anticipation. Had I failed to make a payment, or missed a crucial appointment? I searched my memory in vain.

Miles went by and the day darkened. Landscape passing the windows turned to wild moorland and sombre woods. My unease deepened to fear, but fear of what, I still had no idea. Who was this person who’d put me here, anyway? I reached into my pocket and withdrew the business card. The name read “Sebastian Angelo D’Eath.”

Angel of . . ?  

I awoke to a beeping sound. Two paramedics stood over me. One held something against my chest. He let out a breath and gave me a smile. “Touch and go for a minute there. Thought we’d lost you.”

HOME

WRITING

My Writing: Over several decades I have documented my life in [unpublished] Journals, written two novels and a collection of short stories, all published by MiddleRoad Publishers.

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A Guest Writer also features his short story here occasionally

 


RACING WITH THE RAIN. A PHENOMENON WITNESSED IN THE TROPICS

A fast moving rain cloud in an otherwise clear sky triggers a sudden downpour and people run helter-skelter for cover. Is it possible to outrun the rain? Can one ever really escape the past and avoid the inevitable? The novel spans three decades, shifting locations between pre and post independent Guyana, Cuba after the revolution, and Canada in the 1970’s.

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Guyanese born-Canadian naturalized CARL DIAS’ relationship with his family is unravelling. And now, he receives news that his father has died back in Guyana. His return for the funeral will reignite memories of a period in which the political and social fabric of the colony collapsed into racial conflict and instability. Carl’s past link with the opposition party and a North American group planning to unseat the current government will also place him in jeopardy with the country’s security force. Will he be able to return to Canada?

 

Link

Racing With The Rain

 

 


CAN AN INDIVIDUAL MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN POWERFUL FORCES ARE ALIGNED AGAINST DEMOCRACY? CAN SOMEONE AVOID THE STIGMA OF HIS HERITAGE?

These questions are essential to the theme of Ken Puddicombe’s new novel JUNTA.

Expatriate Marcus Jacobson wants to make a difference on newly independent Saint Anglia where he is taking up a professorship but there are forces that will test his expectation. The military, under General Marks stages a coup, and Hurricane David is heading for the island. Front Cover of Junta A Novel by Ken Puddicombe

Marcus also has skeletons in his closet. He’s descended from the Planter Class that once owned slaves on the island. He’s torn—does he have the right to get involved in the politics of the island or should he be a bystander?

The people Marcus encounters will determine his attitude to the Junta. These people include: Melanie, a student who thinks force should be used to restore democracy; Father Bert, a priest who believes in Liberation Theology; Clarence Baptiste, editor of the local newspaper who will use the media to oppose; The Reverend who runs a dirty tricks campaign for the Junta; Kentish, an islander who is a pacifist by nature and believes that events should run their course. Marcus finds himself being inexorably drawn towards Melanie and when she takes matters into her own hands, the decision is made. But, the Junta is determined to hold on to power at all cost.

Links

JUNTA -a novel

 


My First Collection of Short Stories, some of them previously published in literary journals

A taxi driver notices the changes in Independence Boulevard since freedom was gained from Britain. A free-wheeling spirit spends his time gambling and engaging in riots. A man is sentenced to death for the murder of his lover. Two women escape racial conflictand seek a better life at home and abroad. A housewife has faced the last straw with her husband. A mailman is caught in the middle of the World Trade Centre terrorist attack. These are some of the characters encountered in this engaging collection of short stories from the pen of Ken Puddicombe.

 

 

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Down independence boulevard : And other stories / by Ken Puddicombe.

Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories

On Amazon


 

INTERVIEWS

Q and A with different personalities. Writers about their muse and how they arrived at their work(s). Poets who share their approach to penning their published works.

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INTERVIEWS


 

SLICE OF LIFE

Our world is filled with interesting people and as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. I have met a substantial number of people in my lifetime, many of them fascinating characters worth chronicling in this Blog. Of course, names have been changed to protect the innocent. Perspectives: everyone has a point of view and I have a few. So, you can say that I have something to say about quite a number of subjects. My Blog will provide an outlet for this, mostly about what I think needs fixing in this world of ours.

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SLICE OF LIFE


 

TRAVELS

I have visited many places in a number of countries and some of those places have held a fascination for me. They will feature in this Blog.

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TRAVELS


 

BEST PICTURES

Photographs taken over the years, at locations all over.

Guest Photographs are also featured here

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Best Pictures (Work in Progress)


 

FOR WRITERS

Information to help the struggling writer along the way

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FOR WRITERS

 

KAIETEUR – The Wonder Of!

KAIETEUR FALLS ON THE POTARO RIVER GUYANA South America

JANUARY 2019

Kaieteur Falls, a cataract on the Potaro River in the interior of Guyana, South America, at 741 feet is the second highest in the world, behind Angel Falls in Brazil. Kaieteur is four times higher than Niagara Falls in Ontario and twice that of Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa. A series of steep cascades extend Kaieteur Falls to 822 feet.

By volume of water flowing over it, Kaieteur is the world’s largest single-drop water fall.

Video was taken in January 2019 on a first-time, long overdue visit to one of the few remaining non-commercialized natural wonders. Access is mainly by aircraft.

SOURCE WIKIPEDIA

Poems from MARY’S GARDEN by Ian McDonald

6.  Praise Song For Mary

Rounded

From Mary’s Garden

O of love

boon of heaven

heavy-looking now

birth soon to come

I celebrate the joy

beauty of body-swell

oval paradisal

proud miracle

I celebrate

all soft and circling forms

earth-root flower

the golden pregnant moon

showers shadows

call-glory of carols

bowls of ripe oranges

rose mangoes full plums too

stuffed sweet melons

rotund sun-ball in the sky

fat cloud-bellies sailing

in looms and loops of light

smoke-mist over water 

rain curves on river

ocean-swoops billows

roses pools of moon-water

home home home

hollows look hallowed

they are the kin of hoops

fat loaves – 

hot bounty

from old stoves

noontime and swallows

arcs of light

you are buoyant with becoming

a fountain

a meteor shower

flower-bloom

my burgeoning love

rock and cradling stars

in your belly-dark

time booms

and throb and towers

life starts again

I hear the double-heart

that God made with me

and you will make me soon 

a high-shining son.

26. 35th Anniversary

I found my wife crying.

What had happened, what sadness had come

upon her? Not long before I had embraced

her, said how much I loved her. Life is good;

you make it good, my love. Talked about our

children’s children for a while and she smiled,

squeezed my hand by the kitchen door. Join me

in the garden when you are done; there’s a poem

I want to read to you. She was late coming

to me, said, I cannot bear the thought

I grow cold as death, I cannot bear the thought

there will come a day…

I held her close, close as I could.

A BARBER’S SON BY Raymond Holmes

 Copyright 2020 By Raymond Holmes 

Book Review by Ken Puddicombe

One of the two epigraphs in A Barber’s Son is by Pascal Mercier in his book Night Train to Lisbon:

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there, even though we go away and there are things in us we can find again only by going back.”

In our fast-changing world, with about twenty percent of the population in a state of flux at any one time, in neighborhoods swiftly giving way to the march of “progress” it is difficult to imagine that we can ever revisit the childhood place we once lived. We will find nothing but tenuous connections, at best, when we go back. “Going back” can only be fleeting and left to the imagination and memories that linger on and on.

Holmes’ Biography, however, attempts and succeeds in taking us back to such a place. It is Toronto, Ontario, and the period is the 50’s.

Raymond Holmes dedicates his book to his mother Mary Grace Holmes (September 28, 1902-January 9, 2005) and the reverence with which he held his mother comes through time and again in the book. Her home-spun philosophy is evident throughout and it’s clear that she had an indelible and lasting impression on him. Her acerbic wit comes across like a pin piercing a balloon at times. Like when a furniture salesman tries to sell her a vibrating recliner-chair which Raymond wanted but which she didn’t see the need of. Her response: “If you want to vibrate, stand outside in your underwear in January.” Or when she tells Raymond: “Make your money last the entire day,” when he’s heading for the C.N.E. in Toronto. Ever a practical woman, her approach to a newly married couple always arguing and fighting in the neighborhood, (the sound of smashing dishes reverberated off walls) she said: “They must spend a fortune replacing crockery. If she threw pots and pans at him, they wouldn’t break and she’d save money.”

About Raymond’s father (the barber in the book). In true fashion, and in keeping with the universal cliché about barbers: Dad knew everything about the neighbours’ lives. Children conceived out of wedlock, husbands or wives with cancer, domestic violence… and he was also someone with robust views about almost everything. Raymond’s invited his friend Rick Sakamoto to his home. Sakamoto was someone subjected to racism at school for being Asian, and the lad was summarily ejected by his father. Raymond couldn’t help thinking that his father’s behavior bordered on being senseless and it was left to his mother to explain the implications of Pearl Harbour and the Japan’s entry into the war. And yet his father had his own homespun philosophy, and was wise enough to know that his days as a barber would be impacted. “You can’t stop progress. People value convenience more than tradition, especially if it’s cheaper.”

The book is filled with many entertaining and clever asides by the author, some that might have come from a youngster during that era or perhaps from the more mature outlook of someone looking back over his years at his life and wondering about the inexplicability of events and interaction with people. Like when two brothers who always fought with each other in the neighbourhood, “the red-haired vet always got the worst of it, which puzzled me. Wasn’t he trained to kill people?” Or “Being high-class cost a lot of money.” Then: “I hadn’t thought much about God. Did he pay any attention to me?”

Racism raises its ugly head in the 1950’s Toronto and Raymond’s World Of Lower Riverdale (Chapter 3) and he does not shy away from coming to terms with it. His insular world “comprised people from European countries mixed with the majority Anglophone population.” Indeed, the only exceptions in his neighborhood were two Asian households and a black family, (“a rare situation in those days”). An encounter with someone outside his White world was rare. Like when he and friend Tony has a first sighting of an East Indian woman dressed in a sari and  Tony says: “She looks like she’s wearing living room curtains.” It goes even further, for in Raymond’s “white person’s world with widespread racial, social and cultural bias simmering beneath the surface veneer…White Caucasian was considered the best race…and society viewed gay and lesbian people as degenerate or mentally ill…” 

It was a question worth raising with Raymond in an interview. “Do you think Toronto is a much better place with its multicultural population today?” And he was unequivocal in his response: “No question about it.”

Some of Raymond Holmes’ short stories in his book Witnesses And Other Stories (published by MiddleRoad Publishers in 2019) are clearly drawn from his Biography and the transition from Biography to Short Story is seamless and the world of Short Story telling is much better for it.

A Barber’s Son is filled with many colorful characters and juvenile memories that will transport you back to your own childhood, as it did for me. Indeed, A Barber’s Son is an homage to growing up in Toronto in the 50’s and should be on every library shelf in Canada, if only to invoke the memories of those who actually had the experience of growing up there during that era, and for newcomers who should familiarize themselves on the history of the city in which they live.

Highly recommended.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Poems from The Garden by Ian McDonald

28. Bougainvillea

throw of red

against the wall

bougainvillea abloom

shouts of colour

joy of children

phagwah in the garden.

Photo: Jamie McDonald

102. Hibiscus

Cold in the night wind, alone in the crowded stars,

counted one hundred hibiscus in the garden,

everyone beautiful. One day’s light they last,

adorn the world and are gone. Eight years

the same — at least it seems so at the end.

Photo: Jamie McDonald

Ian McDonald: Author Profile

Born in Trinidad, West Indies, Ian was educated at Queens Royal College and Cambridge University. His career has spanned several decades in a variety of fields: Business, Sports and Literature. Ian is the recipient of Guyana’s Golden Arrow Of Achievement. The University of the West Indies in 1997 awarded him honorary Doctorate Of

Letters. He has been a Fellow of The Royal Society Of Literature since 1970. He has written extensively on cricket. In addition to writing poetry and prose, Ian has edited and co-edited numerous collections and anthologies. His novel The Hummingbird Tree(1969) was made into a BBC film. He won the Guyana Prize for Literature — Poetry three times: in 1992, 2004 and 2012 and has published seven poetry collections in addition to short stories and two collections of essays and speeches. He continues to write on cricket and poetry and several publications are in the works.


PUBLICATIONS

        FICTION

  • The Hummingbird Tree (1969 )

        POETRY

  • Mercy Ward ( 1988 )
  • Essequibo ( 1992 )
  • Jaffo The Calypsonian ( 1994 )
  • Between Silence And Silence ( 2003 )
  • The Comfort Of All Things ( 2012  
  • River Dancer ( 2016 )
  • People Of Guyana (with Peter Jailall) (2018)
  • New and Collected Poems (2018)

           DRAMA

  • Tramping Man ( 1969 )

            NON-FICTION 

  • A Cloud Of Witnesses ( 2012 )
  • A Love Of Poetry ( 2013 )

EDITED

  • Selected Poems of Martin Carter (1989)
  • Collected Poems of A.J. Seymour (with J. de Weever) (2000)

ANTHOLOGY (with Stewart Brown)

  • The Bowling Was Super Fine — West Indian Cricket Writing (2012)

The Freight Train: by Dave Moores

Excerpt from his best selling novel ATTITUDE.

Published by MiddleRoad Publishers

http://www.middleroadpublishers.ca

Lyle desperately needs to find Laura. Her best friend Darlene may know something. She’s at volleyball practice

Lyle couldn’t bear to wait on this any longer. During the phone calls, horrid visions of what might be happening to Laura kept surfacing. He tried to push them aside but they wouldn’t go away. Idiot! How could he have wasted a whole afternoon hanging out at Garth’s? The need to know if Laura was alright had become a fire alarm jangling in his head.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 Volleyball practice for the Southmead Storm girls’ rep team would be at the school gym. Mom wouldn’t take him, no point asking. He’d have to ride his bike. Really, dipshit,? Three kilometres on snow-covered roads? Walk instead? It was already past seven and he needed to get there. So it was bike or nothing.

Lyle shrugged on the parka and mitts he wore for mornings waiting on the school bus in the frigid darkness. He headed for the back door. “Mom, gotta go out, forget supper,” he yelled, slammed the door without waiting for an answer, ran to the garage and grabbed his bike. 

Dad had got it for him, a mountain bike with knobbly tires, not long before he went away. It could handle the winter roads in a pinch, but was hardly ideal transport at this hour, lacking lights.

A bitter night, no wind for once. No moon either. Instead, an endless canopy of stars, enough to light the way as Lyle’s eyes adjusted. The spectacle caught his attention and brought to mind a TV program about galaxies and the Big Bang and stuff. Here it all was, right there above him, and for a moment the reality of it was almost scary. Here he was, biking across the flatlands by the light of a billion suns. Sorta awesome, he’d have to tell Garth about it, the little nerd got off on that kind of thing. Then images of Laura being used by Brad and Mitch returned and eclipsed the majesty of the Universe.

A couple of vehicles passed going his way but nobody stopped to offer a ride. Which they could have, a pickup and an SUV after all. Lyle didn’t care, he could do this, was going to do this. A hard knot of purpose had formed. Wheeling through the freezing darkness, he’d embraced a mission. The women he cared about needed help and he would find a way to bring it. And right then, his distress about being the not-totally-up-to-the-task younger brother fell away, no longer shadowing him like an unwelcome revenant. It felt strange, yet free, and he pedalled on.

The deep insistent drumming of a locomotive sounded across the fields. Lyle approached the railway crossing. His leg muscles had begun to burn but time was short and the approaching train would be one of those mile-long freights that took forever to pass. He stood up on the pedals and made all deliberate speed toward the tracks. The air started vibrating.

No problem, he’d make it with a good hundred meters to spare. He sped up to the crossing, the locomotive’s siren deep and urgent in his ears. The barriers had come down and the red lights flashed a warning. No problem again, a quick zig around the barriers and he’d be by. 

The train’s headlight was a staring white eye getting big. The bike’s front wheel hit a skim of ice and Lyle slammed down hard, sprawling. The siren sounded staccato, urgent blasts. Lyle’s left leg got hooked through the bike’s frame and it was taking way too long to drag it free. The train had become a child’s nightmare monster bent on ending his life but in the final panicked moments Lyle managed to free his leg and scrabble, like some crabwise crawling thing, across the last rail. He barely had time to twist around and watch the locomotive thunder past, shaking the ground.

Every part of him felt like jello. His leg hurt bad. Freight cars rumbled by, that close, stirring up gusts of cold air. The bike was gone.


UNFATHOMABLE AND OTHER POEMS. Collection by Ken Puddicombe

UNFATHOMABLE AND OTHER POEMS. Collection by Ken Puddicombe

https://kenpud.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/unfathomable-and-other-poems/
— Read on kenpud.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/unfathomable-and-other-poems/

Into poetry? An easy read for a first time reader written by a first time poet!



On the yacht Jackdaw. There’s a storm coming.

Extract from the novel WINDWARD LEGS. Copyright Dave Moores and Middleroad Publishers.

A flick of lightning lanced down in the middle distance. Oh, here we go, Alice said to herself. She felt a clutch in her stomach.  No use wishing they were safely tied to the dock. This thing was coming for them and would arrive long before they could make harbour.

“You all saw that, right?” she said. “We’re only a couple of minutes from the windward mark and then we’ll be heading back towards the shore anyway. I suggest we keep racing, but if anyone wants to turn around right now, just say, and we will. No discussion.” So strongly did she believe this that she didn’t even consider asking Mr O.

They turned to him anyway. He stared right back.

Photo by Darius Krause on Pexels.com

“Your skipper asked you a question, why are you looking at me?” 

Thanks Mr O, she thought, much appreciated.

“I’m good,” said Marcus.

“I’m good,” said Derek.

“Go for it, we’re good here,” called Joss, from the rail. Teenagers: immortal of course.

She had one last question. “If it gets crazy, which sail do we drop first on these boats?” 

“The jib for sure.” answered Mr O, as they arrived at the windward mark.

Once around it, Jackdaw was sailing downwind with the mainsail out to one side as far as it would go, the wind pushing them from behind. 

The storm swept in fast, really fast. Spooky-looking skeins of pale cloud rolled in beneath the darkening overcast. A draft of chilled air felt like somebody opening a freezer door. Lightning strobed in the clouds, making deep booms Alice could feel in her chest. So far the wind was manageable, gusts showing up to thirty knots on the display. You’d have to be crazy to even think about hoisting the spinnaker.

Back at the mark, Tomahawk rounded with Fang right behind. Tomahawk was trying to reef his mainsail, a tough go with the boom way out to the side. The crew were screaming at each other and the sail flapped like crazy. Then the wind exploded it with a crack like gunfire, leaving shards of sailcloth fluttering from the mast. 

“He should’a done it when we did, you were right!” shouted Derek over the roaring wind and rush of water past the hull. 

 The tiller was kicking and pulling in Alice’s hand as Jackdaw careered along, rolling from side to side and barely under control. It was hard work, like driving a car without power steering. 

“Chas, can you come down?” she called, “I need a hand on the helm here.” She wasn’t sure why she’d chosen him, could be the smiley face and the mop of straw-coloured curls. It was tight quarters in her little steerer’s cockpit and he had to squeeze in next to her. She noticed the heft and warmth of his hard young man’s body. 

“Follow my movements, okay?” He gave a nod and a thumbs up and in seconds they had it together. They were side-by-side, he had an arm around her waist to brace them, and the other hand on the tiller next to hers. They weren’t fighting each other for control and it felt as if he knew her movements before she made them. She turned to gaze into his earnest young face. “You’ve sailed with a tiller before, right? I can tell.”

“A few times, yeh.” 

Good boy, more than a few, she suspected.

READ MORE OF THIS IN Dave Moores’ BOOK WINDWARD LEGS

Michael Joll. AUTHOR PROFILE

Born in England during the Late Pleistocene Age, Michael Joll has called Canada home since shortly after Confederation. He has held many jobs, from selling Continental Delicatessen in Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, to temporary part time deck hand and purser on a car ferry plying the North Reach of the Bay of Quinte. In between he was gainfully employed for forty years too many. Retired since 2004 (“The hours are great, the pay not so much”) he has spent most of that time writing fiction. He has lived in Brampton, Ontario since the mid-1970s with a wife (his own) and the memories of the dogs with whom he has been privileged to share his life.

MJoll New Background for CS
Author Michael Joll

Dave Moores: Author profile

Dave Moores

Raised in Bristol, UK, Dave Moores secured  a place at Cambridge University where he took a degree in Philosophy. Since prospects for a lucrative career as a philosopher were non-existent, Dave’s interests quickly took a hard turn away from liberal arts to technology, resulting in a Diploma in Electronic Engineering from British Aerospace College. His inclination to write was sparked soon after by a short story contest in the industry journal Airframe. The entry, a science-fiction piece, didn’t win but received publication.

Marriage, the arrival of offspring and, in due course, migration to Canada, took writing off the table. Along the way, Dave’s career spanned the domain of information technology, culminating in the position of Chief Systems Architect in a major high-Tech corporation.

Dave has long enjoyed a passion for competitive sailboat racing. One evening after a race, his crew of spirited ladies suggested he write a story based on their adventures and personal anecdotes. The writing gene was reactivated and the result was Windward Legs, set in the sailing milieu of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe and much enjoyed by the sailing crowd.

Dave’s preference, both in reading and writing, favours narratives that keep the pages turning. He’s a big believer in one of Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writers: If it sounds like “Writing,” rewrite it.

Dave’s novel Attitude, a Young Adult story is published by Middleroad Publishers. His third, Sparkles and Karim, set in Iraq during the ISIS incursions, is coming along.

Dave lives in Oakville, Ontario with his wife Chris. 

Dave Moores is the author of:

Windward Legs (2021)