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Marty last won the day on March 10

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3,791 You Wish You Were Me

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About Marty

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    Reading, computers, spirituality, voluntary work, countyside, mountains, environmental issues

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  1. I sat in the railway carriage, listening to the rhythmic sound from the wheels as they went over the joints between the tracks. My luggage, consisting of a rucksack and a somewhat battered old suitcase, was safely stowed on the luggage rack above my head. I wasn't sure if I had packed everything I needed. After all, I had never actually left home before. Sure, I'd been away from home quite a number of times during the previous four years or so - like holidays, either by myself or with one or more of my various friends - but this was different. This time I was actually leaving home. I had also, just the previous Easter, actually left the island of Great Britain by myself, if only to travel to Jersey in the Channel Islands for a week. That had been a bit of an experience for a number of reasons. A plane had crashed just two days before I had travelled there, killing, if I remember correctly, all the passengers and crew. It had crashed into the electricity pylons supplying the airport, and as a result, the airport was closed. This meant that on the ferry over the passengers were packed like sardines, since all those people who had booked to fly had been switched to the ferry. And the seas had been atrocious, with huge swells, so I was to experience my first ever bout of sea sickness. I had stayed in a hotel for the first time in my life. And I had seen the remains of the aeroplane by the side of a football field whilst watching an amateur football team from London who were staying in the same hotel as myself playing against a Jersey team. I had found that quite grotesque; seeing the broken and scorched remains of the aeroplane, and knowing that all those people had died in it just a few days before. The reason for my visit had been an interview for a job at the Jersey Zoo, which had been founded by the famous naturalist and author, Gerald Durrell. I think I had read all his books in the previous couple of years, having borrowed them one at a time from the school library, as far as possible in the order they had been written. The book I really remember was called My family And Other Animals, which was an autobiographical account of a part of his childhood which he had spent in Corfu. His zoo on Jersey had been designed not to be a place where animals were to be caged simply for display to the public, as most zoos up to that time were, but to be a home for endangered species; and a place where they could be kept from going extinct, breed, and hopefully be eventually released back into their natural environments. I think it was the first zoo, certainly in the British Isles, to operate such a policy. And that was why I had sent a letter of application in reply to an advertisement seeking staff to work there. I had received a letter back asking me to ring them, and to reverse the charges. When I did they had asked me to travel over for an interview, and offered to pay all my expenses. Much to my disappointment I hadn't actually been interviewed by my hero, but by his assistant, who, after showing me around the zoo itself, announced that they were offering me the job, and that they wanted me to start the following week. Even though he promised that within two years of starting I would be travelling the world on safari, I turned the job down, mainly because I was just a few months short of sitting my A-levels, and saw no sense in not finishing out the last term of my fourteen years or so of school education. I'd naively assumed that, since I had made it clear in my letter of application that I was about to do my A-levels, they would hold the job open until I had actually finished them. Fortunately they still kept to their promise to pay my expenses. Had they not, I wouldn't have been able to pay back the money that Paul, the Italian guy who owned the café where I worked part time, had lent me to make the trip, and would probably have had to work for no wage for the next few weeks. When I finally arrived home from that trip and explained to my mother what had happened, she surprised me by saying "Well when you walked out of the door last week with your suitcase in your hand I thought to myself 'That's the last time we'll see our Daniel now apart from holidays, weddings and funerals'". I couldn't believe that she thought I'd walk away from my A-levels just like that. Nor could I believe that she could seem so unconcerned that her fourth-born child would have simply left home without at least making some sort of prior announcement. So I'd got back to my studies. The summer turned out to be one of the sunniest and hottest that I could remember since the drought of 1959. And that certainly made sitting in the house trying to revise difficult, as I would far sooner have been out in the fresh air enjoying myself. I had nearly died from the heat sitting in the examination rooms doing the actual exams, and by the end of them all had convinced myself that I had made a complete balls-up of Chemistry and Physics, but might just have passed Biology. I persuaded my mother that I could spend another year at school repeating my A-levels, as I certainly wasn't going to get to university on the strength of this year's exams results. But, with the end of the exams, I at least had the pleasurable thought of the best part of three months of freedom before I would have to start back at school to repeat the year again. And the summer had not gone away. Day after day of sunny weather came and went. There was the occasional rainy day, but even those just seemed like some sort of blessed relief after all the dry ones. Most days would see myself and my best mate, Peter, out and about getting up to some sort of mischief or other. Often we'd get the bus out of town and just head off into the country for the day. Sometimes we'd hang around the shopping centre where the air-conditioning at least made it easier to breathe than outside in the hot and dusty city streets. And, more often than I care to admit, we'd head off to the local open-air swimming pool, climb over the wall to avoid paying in, and spend hours just horsing around in the water. My naturally pale skin first got badly burnt by the sun, then great flakes of it peeled away, and finally I actually managed to get a suntan. I tried to put the thought of the impending exam results out of my head as I just revelled in the excesses of being young and not really having a care in the world. There was nothing I could do about the exams now anyway, so it just didn't seem to make any sense to let any unnecessary worry about them spoil my enjoyment. And Peter wasn't doing his exams till next year, so we also celebrated in the knowledge that the dynamic duo weren't going to be split up for another year yet. But the middle of August, and the dreaded results day, finally dawned. I tried suggesting to my mother when she woke me that I should just wait until the results arrived in the post in a day or two's time, but she insisted that I actually head up to school to find them out. I tried arguing that I had been camping in the Lake District two years earlier when my O-level results had come out, and hadn't actually found out how I had done until I got home more than a week after the results had arrived. But she insisted that A-levels were much more important than mere O-levels, and that I should get my arse out of bed and get down to the school to find out just how badly I had done. And she said that in that tone of hers that I knew meant that any attempt on my part to refuse would not only be unsuccessful but would also be extremely unwise. So I dragged myself out of bed at what at the time seemed to be the ungodly hour of almost nine-o-clock in the morning. I almost forgot myself by putting on my old school uniform, but then remembered that I was no longer actually officially a pupil at the school so decided to just wear my faded jeans and T-shirt. After a hurried bowl of cornflakes and a mug of coffee I stepped outside the house to face the world. And less than thirty minutes later I found myself getting off the bus and walking in through the school gates; portals that I had hoped less than two months ago that I wouldn't have to pass through again until September. A couple of my old school mates were heading out of them, and I could see a group of people gathered near the main entrance. "Hey, Spud!” David Jones, one of the two, called out to me. "Come for the bad news?” "How's yourself, Taffy?” I responded. "Something like that. Just how bad was yours?” Nicknames abounded. Just about no-one at school got called by their real name. Taffy had got his quite simply as a result of his Welsh surname. Some people were less lucky and had got a nickname as a result of some physical disfigurement or some embarrassing thing they had done, or it was rumoured that they had done. Sometimes the exact origin of a nickname might not be apparent to an outsider. Duke might seem like a nice enough nickname to give someone. But John Stevenson had got that nickname because of a rumour that had gone round school at the beginning of the fourth year that he had admitted to having had sex with sheep at his uncle's farm in Cheshire during the previous summer holidays. He'd apparently claimed that he'd needed to put their back legs down the front of his wellington boots to stop them running away. Hence the nickname Duke – from the Duke of Wellington. "Three grade C's. Not what I'd hoped for, but they'll do,” replied Taffy. "So what you doing next year?” "Was hoping to go to Edinburgh, but I needed better grades. I'll get my second choice though. Geography at Leeds.” "Not the end of the world, so. Reckon I'll be just repeating my A-levels in this dump next year.” "You and me both,” said Bob Fairhurst, Taffy's companion. "Unless I can find a job before next term starts, it looks like I'll be repeating as well.” "As bad as that, Blondie?” I asked. "Three grade E's. Bare minimum passes. No hope of uni with results like those. Not looking forward to what mater and pater will have to say when they hear the news.” "You've probably still done better than me. Neither of you happened to see what my results were, did you?” "Didn't even bother looking, old bean. Once I saw my own results I just turned on my heels and left.” I looked at Taffy, but he just shrugged. "When Blondie here almost burst into tears in front of everyone I just quickly checked my own results and then suggested we head down to the Dog and Partridge to drown his sorrows. God knows what some of those uncaring sods we have had to share our lives with in this place for the past seven years would have said or done had they actually seen the poor bugger cry. And I'm actually talking about the teachers, not the kids. You should follow us down when you get your results. We'll help you drown your sorrows as well.” "I'll think about it,” I laughed. "I suppose I'd better get it over with, anyway. Check the old results. Well done, Taffy. Hard luck, Blondie. Might see you later.” I trudged up the driveway to the main doors of the school. Although I really did want to get it over with, I oddly found myself at this moment in time to be in no actual hurry to physically see the results. I mentally cursed my mother for making me actually come into school today to face the humiliation of having my old school chums publicly sympathise, and possibly secretly gloat, over my pathetic results. When I finally got there it turned out that the doors were actually locked. The exam results had been affixed with Sellotape to the inside of the glass window of one of them. There was a crowd of a couple of dozen or so ex-pupils gathered round the door, some leaning over other's shoulders, each trying to check his own results. Another eight of so had already got theirs, and were talking excitedly about their plans for the future. A few of them nodded in my direction. Several teachers were also in evidence, but fortunately none of mine. If I could only get to the front of the queue and get my results before any of those turned up, I would be able to put off having to suffer their sarcastic comments until term started again in another few weeks or so. A minute or so later saw me with my finger tracing down the sheets of foolscap paper, desperately trying to find the line that my results were on, whilst being jostled from behind by others more anxious than myself to see theirs. The names were listed alphabetically by surname down the left hand side, with the subjects listed, also alphabetically, along the top of each sheet. My surname was about half way down the third sheet. As there were no lines ruled on the sheets I found it difficult to keep my finger on the correct row beside my name as I moved it across the page, whilst at the same time having to move my eyes up to actually see the subject names at the top of the sheet. The first time I tried I reckoned I must have made a mistake, for I read: Biology A; Chemistry B; Physics B. I moved my finger back to the beginning of the line and tried again, only to get the same results. "Damn!” I muttered; not because I would have been upset with those results, but because I was obviously reading the wrong line. "Come on, Spud! Get a bleeding move on. There's other people want to see the results as well, you know,” said a voice from behind me. It was Alan Hayes, or Carrots as he was known, on account of his mop of ginger hair. "Sorry, Carrots,” I replied as I stepped to one side. "I'm having trouble stopping my hand from shaking. Do us a favour and check my results when you've got yours.” I stood to one side of everyone in a state of shock. 'I must have made a mistake and read the wrong line. Those results can't possibly be mine,' I thought to myself. 'Carrots will come over shortly and give me the real results.'
  2. Not having a Premium account, I'm actually intrigued as to exactly where Drew made the break to convert it into 2 chapters. Although I suppose I could check that easily enough simply by looking at the word count for chapter 1....
  3. I hope the readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed editing it, @Drew Payne!
  4. Hiding part of what makes you who you are may sometimes seem necessary. And sometimes you may hide a part of yourself so well that you don't even realise that it exists. Danny Murphy seems to be living a charmed life, but he has a secret; one that he tries to keep so well hidden that he doesn't even want to admit it to himself. However, if he is hiding part of his real self, not just from others but also from himself, is his life really as charmed as it may seem?
  5. Marty

    🎶Happy birthday to you...🎶
    🎶Happy birthday to you...🎶
    🎶Happy birthday, dear Myr...🎶
    🎶Happy birthday to you!🎶🎶🎶

    1. Myr


      Thanks Marty!

  6. Happy birthday! :) 

  7. Marty

    Chapter 4

    Enjoying the story, and the characters. Just one thing about the following:- In the UK (including England) whilst it is LEGAL for someone aged 18 or over to buy a child aged 16 or 17 beer, wine or cider if they are eating a table meal together in licensed premises, it is illegal to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 in a licensed premises; or for that person to attempt to buy alcohol, either in a pub or in a shop.
  8. Thanks, Geroen. This piece was intended to be a prologue to a novel I was intending to write. There's another small fragment of the same novel already here on GA but, if I ever do get round to finishing the novel, I doubt that either of these two pieces will feature in it.
  9. Jamie couldn't help wondering if he wasn't just the happiest sixteen-year-old in the world tonight. He also wondered if he really deserved to feel so happy. And he couldn't help further wondering if he should even dare to hope that this feeling could last. He felt no desire to go to sleep just yet. So much had happened in the past few hours that he wanted to stay awake for a while longer. He just needed to lie back and think about all the wonderful things that had taken place. Lying on his back in the tent, he became aware of the sounds of the night all around him. The crickets filled the warm night air with their constant chirruping. Not too far away he could hear the sheep cropping the short, sweet grass close to the tent. A gentle breeze was causing the flysheet to flap slightly. But, most importantly of all, he was aware of the sound of the quiet breathing of his companion sleeping beside him. Jamie would be the first to admit that he had always enjoyed these camping trips into the mountains with Tim. But this particular one was turning out better than he had ever even dared to hope. He reflected on the fact that previously he would always have great difficulty trying to get to sleep whilst sharing a tent with Tim. Instead he would usually lie awake, listening to his friend's gentle breathing as they lay so close together in the tiny tent. But tonight he was content just to lie there. Content to stay awake for at least a while longer yet. Content to think back happily over the events of the evening. Jamie chuckled happily to himself, causing his companion to shift slightly in his sleep and mumble a few incoherent words. In the half-light Jamie looked across and saw that he was lying on his side with his back to him. He turned onto his own side and carefully moved closer, being as gentle as he possibly could, not wanting to awaken Tim. He snuggled closer and lay so that their naked bodies were spooned together. He carefully placed his right arm across his companion's chest, and felt oh-so-happy that he was finally able to do this. His face was close to the back of Tim's head, and he delighted in the smell of his hair. He thought back to previous times that the two of them had been camping. And he remembered other nights that they had spent in this same tent. Nights of lying so close to someone so beautiful and special, and not being able to sleep. Seemingly endless minutes that would stretch into painfully long hours. Desperately long hours of lying listening to the other's breathing; seeing the outline of his body through the sleeping bag in the half-light; and wanting so much to be able to just reach out and hold him close. Nights of wishing that he could go to sleep holding him in his arms. But never quite sure just what the reaction might have been had he even dared to suggest such a thing. Long, weary nights when sleep simply would not come, leaving him exhausted for the next day's hike. Well, it was very likely that he would be tired tomorrow as well. But this time it would be for a different reason. He chuckled to himself again, and wondered if perhaps it wasn't just the effect of the joint they had shared that was making him feel so happy. He thought Tim may have actually heard this second chuckle, for he shifted slightly in his sleep and mumbled again. In his semi-conscious state he reached up a hand and placed it into the one that Jamie was holding across his breast, squeezing it gently and letting out an almost inaudible sigh of contentment. Tonight was certainly one night that Jamie almost wished would never end. For tonight was so unlike all those previous nights, when he would lie watching the dawn slowly getting brighter and brighter, almost willing the morning to finally arrive and release him from his frustrations. He smiled inwardly, remembering how the two of them had decided earlier that they would buy matching sleeping bags before they came camping again. Ones that they would be able to zip together to make a double bag, so that they would be able sleep together in the future. "Under the one blanket," as Tim had said. Not that that really mattered tonight. Because, apart from anything else, it was far too warm on this early summer's night to be inside sleeping bags anyway. But the thought of a double sleeping bag caused Jamie to chuckle once more. Tim grunted and turned around so they were lying face to face. He opened his eyes and looked at Jamie in the half-light. "Wassup?" he asked. "Nothing." "Unable to sleep?" "Sort of." "Do you want me to roll another joint?" he asked, letting his mouth break into that boyish grin that Jamie had grown to love over the years that they had known each other. "Nah, that could probably just make it more difficult to get to sleep." "Good. 'Cause I'm feckin' exhausted after all that kissing." Now it was Jamie's turn to grin. "I was just lying here remembering it all." Tim lifted his head and gently kissed Jamie's forehead and the tip of his nose. "Now go to sleep." "I'm almost afraid of going to sleep." "Why so?" "Sure, I'll probably only wake up to find that it was all just a dream." Tim smiled again. "Aragh, well if you're dreaming, I sure like being in your dreams. Go to sleep now. Sure, we can talk about things in the morning." Jamie wrapped his arms around his companion and laid his face close to his. He closed his eyes and felt sleep slowly drawing him downwards. And so, in this half-awake, half-asleep state of utter bliss, he thought back over the past few weeks and the strange sequence of events that had led up to the two of them, just a few short hours before, finally declaring and demonstrating their love for each other. And he found himself thinking even further back. Back to the time that he first became aware of his sexuality. Back to times when he had tried denying it to himself. To times when he wished he could change what he was. Times when he had wished he had never been born. And back to a time when he had even considered that suicide might be an option. "Can this be true?" he thought to himself. "And can it really last?"
  10. Marty

    Flat Lining (Flash)

    Thanks for the comment, @Talo Segura. As to who the person being resuscitated was, I don't think it really matters. It could have been the victim of an attempted robbery. It could have been a victim of domestic violence. It could even have been someone shot by the police as he was committing some crime of his own. None of that mattered to the doctor trying to resuscitate him. All he saw was a fellow human being that needed his intervention to try to stop him from dying. Something to do with the Hippocratic Oath he had taken, maybe?
  11. Thanks, Geron. I have plans for these two characters. Hopefully I won't keep people waiting too long for another installment, although just at the moment I am struggling trying to get a piece written for the Spring Anthology.
  12. Thanks for the comment. While there will be some humour to come, some of it may be of the dark variety.
  13. Happy birthday!

  14. Happy birthday!

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