(NOTE: All titles shown in bold type.)

My Satellite used to be a Sandcastle

A long time ago, when my toenails glowed purple, I wandered alone through the vasty  Universe.  There were no winds to comb my hair or asteroids to nibble at my feet.  Then lightning crackled round me and storms swallowed me up.  I heard the sandcastle before I saw it, as it whispered of seaweed and paper flags.  The taste of salt filled my mouth and I fainted.

When I awoke, the sandcastle rode on my shoulder, heavy and damp.

"Get off," I said.  "You hurt."

It dug in its sea shell claws and spread a tail of rope round my neck.

"We need each other," it said.  "I'll sing to you and quench your thirst with buckets of tea."

I'd never tasted tea but my mouth was dry and I wanted the songs.

"You're all wet," I said, "and you spoil my shape."

"Do you want to be alone for ever?  Once I leave, you can never call me back."

That frightened me.

"Must you cling so tight?" I asked.  "Wouldn't you be more comfortable if we didn't touch?"

So now the sandcastle circles round me and spouts tea into me twice a day.  But my toenails will glow no darker than green.


My Albino Leprechaun Said Drop Things On The Gearstick, And Don't Rub Up Against The Stalactites On The Way

No one knew the origin of the spaces.  They just appeared and multiplied.  They became such a hazard that stony-faced monitors would be stationed next to them yelling "Mind the gap!" whenever you stepped too close.

Things fell into the spaces and were never seen again.

Things fell out of the spaces that had never been seen before.

Homely float birds, dunes full of shoe jars and wet-snow flying sprites.  Bovine speed gloats with udders for rudders.  Trash Goblins and Imp Inebriates - and, of course, my Albino Leprechaun, who claimed to have some of the answers.

"It's a race against time," he told me, cowering from the sun.  "Space is leaking space into space.  Space is leaking out of space.  Everything is falling though into everything else.  We have to put a plug in it.  It's a dyke that requires a Dutch boy and your arm is as handy as the next."


"Build a vehicle," he urged.  "Out of all the flotsam that comes through."

So I did - from tickle bricks and mechanodes, jag sword pieces and sheets of corrugated lion - sourcing suitable tools to do the job right - dew drivers and ledge slammers and craw hummers.

When it was finished we climbed into the cat liver cockpit and slid into the up-holsters.  My vehicle was powered by means of an orgasmic engine, attached by squiddish entrails to a peppledash dash.  It had eels for wheels and a trunk for a trunk.  I fired up its angelic hark plugs with a quick turn of the indignation tree and grabbed hold of the phallic boy stick.

My Leprechaun yelled a gibberish countdown.

"Flee-fly, slow-strum - look out maybe ear-eye-gum!"

I pressed my foot to the puddles and the axe-elevator launched us into a space.
The stalactites were hard to avoid.  They hung down like monolithic teardrops from the eyes of giants.  We ricocheted from them at wild pinball wizard angles, searching forever for ever elusive spaces.  And all the while time went slipping away like grams of Spam in a leg ryhmer. 


I was simple in the haze of a smelly thunderbolt, but heaven knows I'm prehistoric now

There was an almighty crack.

I just stood there, coughing and blinking in the middle of a deserted Tesco's car park, half-expecting sirens and wondering why I was still alive.  Out of the smoke haze strolled a skinny teenage boy: tatty leather jacket, big grin on his face, swinging what looked like an enormous mallet.

"Yeah, sorry 'bout that.  Still getting the hang of it."  The boy swung the mallet onto his shoulder as if that explained everything. 

"It's all right, don't worry about it."  The automatic platitude slipped from my lips as I tried to shake off the thrumming aftershock, fingers and toes buzzing.

Bright blue eyes glinted behind a spiked curtain of blond hair.  "This place still open?  Only Dad's got a thirst on him and it's not a good idea to keep him waiting." 

"Sure, it's Thursday.  Late-night opening."

"Great.  Give us a hand?  Can't manage the trolley and Dad's Hammer at the same time."   There was that grin again, wider now. 

I found myself trailing after the boy, pushing a trolley weighted down with crate after crate of beer and a mad assortment of spicy snacks.  As he swaggered ahead, the different coloured lights winking along the length of the Hammer caught my attention.  The guy manning the checkout didn't look too impressed; he sighed as the boy jammed the Hammer into the front of the trolley and began fishing in pockets for his wallet. 

There was a faint humming coming from the Hammer, I was sure of it.  My fingers traced the pattern of lights and then tentatively grasped the thick metal handle.

There was an almighty crack.


Are you trying to elope with that thrusting Buddhist?

Night.  After everyone's gone to bed.
A: Are you trying to elope with that thrusting Buddhist?
B: Who?  Nigel?  Not really, in any case how can I elope?
A: Love overcomes all obstacles.
B: I am an obstacle.
A: Just because you're a static caravan doesn't mean you can't find love.
B: I don't know.  How can someone so new spend the night in me?
A: New?  How can Nigel be described as new?  He's 48.
B: No, no.  That's his surreal number.  He only came out of the Xerox tanks last Thursday.
A: Oh.
B: So how about your love life?
A: My love life? 
B: Don't be shy.
A: Well.  I want to use the "surreal" global on your Cantonese Warthog until it's frilly.
B: But Eddie the Cantonese Warthog is my favourite pet. 
A:  Never mind, she never looks twice at me.
B: He's a Cantonese Warthog, you're a lamp post.  Trust me it wouldn't work out.
A: I guess.  Whatever happens I'm not dating any dogs again after that Spaniel.

(Clockhouse London Writers contributing in this order: Sandra Unerman, David Turnbull, Susan Oke, Mark Lewis, Gary Budgen, Rima Devereaux, Allen Ashley, Sarah Doyle, David McGroarty).