A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times





Russell Hopkins - Hoppo, Hopkiss or even Hippo to his supposed mates, those that rang him when nobody else was available for a drink down the local. Lived in a City of a thousand trades; and irrespective of his whereabouts, he was still without a job. He was the son of Joan ‘the pinnie’ Hopkins and Eric Hopkins.

He stayed in for most of the week, except of course for Friday nights, mainly because that was his parent's sex night.

After eight pints of cider at his local, Eric would often be seen staggering home to Joan who would be waiting naked under the duvet for him; listening as his hand guided him up the stairs, finding the toilet in the dark and emptying his bladder; half into the toilet, half on the floor, and the rest shared out between his hand, the toilet seat and his trousers that languished around his ankles. Entering the bedroom, he'd step out of them and into the warm bed; slide under the duvet and slide into his wife Joan; who would then begin counting the tiles on the ceiling and planning tomorrow night's tea.

It was 7.30 in the morning now. He heard the familiar footfall outside pounding the pavement on the street from his bed. He'd already missed the purple haired jazzy girl that jogged past his house.

He was forever trying to accidentally bump into her when on her morning run. He'd stepped out in front of her several weeks earlier and tried a “good morning” on her, only to find himself drawn to her huge breasts, which didn't look that big from his bedroom window. Naturally she'd ignored him ever since and he'd now been relegated to her exclusive club of letches and leerers.

He pulled himself out of his bed, got dressed and before going downstairs put on his black onyx and gold ring that his mother had bought for him on his 38th birthday. She'd waited ages, queuing at checkpoint 'A' in the local ARGOS store for it, and he made sure she saw it as he passed through the kitchen.

Russell finally stepped out into the street. And with the purple jazzy girl long gone he made his way towards the newsagent's. Only this time he wouldn't buy the Star or the Sun newspaper, this time he'd try and better himself with the Guardian or the Times.

After buying himself the Times he then attempted to read it as he made his way home. It gave him the beginnings of a migraine, so he took it back to the shop and got a refund. He came out again with the Sun newspaper firmly tucked under his arm.

His lack of personal hygiene had attracted the attentions of Genus Vespula, that’s a wasp to the likes of us. It followed him on his path then hovered in front of his face. He took a swipe at it and missed. He took another then another. Maybe the Times newspaper he concluded, would have been a bigger and better tool to defend himself with.

But he carried on down the street regardless, waving the newspaper and performing a pirouette of sorts as the wasp circled him; pulled in by the sweet scent of Russell’s unwashed armpits.

He was then stopped in his tracks by the scrunchy woman; so called for the different coloured scrunchies she would wear in her hair, one for every day of the week; who had stepped out in front of him, with a thunderous face. She screamed at her daughter to get the fuck out of the house.

Russell stepped back in shock which also took the wasp by surprise. He seized the moment and took it out. He’d flung it into the path of a hysterical Amy now making her way to the front door, dragging behind her favourite cuddly toy and sobbing for all she was worth. The wasp instantly collided with the daughter of the gypsy/traveller and buried his sting deep into the poor girl.

She screamed again and collapsed on the floor. Her body started to swell and her face turned blue; and the wasp resumed its attention to Russell; only more ferocious than before. More futile flapping only served to annoy it even further, and so Russell ran back to the newsagent to fetch a copy of the Times.

He’d returned to find the scrunchy woman frantically attempting to revive her daughter; pumping at her chest and blowing into her mouth somewhat erratically. Turning back to the wasp, he gave it his all as he hit it for a second time, the wasp bent double and landed in the road.

From behind her freshly washed curtains in the house opposite, Maggie Booth felt a wry smile appearing on her face. She had observed the scene without any emotion. She had also hated the scrunchy woman ever since the council had relocated her within the neighbourhood. Her daughter was always screaming, and Russell from down the road it seemed, was just a perverted mummy's boy. But she reluctantly rang for an ambulance.

The ambulance pulled up outside of the house, running over the wasp that was still attempting to take flight. ‘Lamb legs Leslie’ was the first paramedic on the scene. Most calls Leslie had attended were either for drunks or suspected heart attack victims, which turned out to be suffering no more than indigestion. But today, Leslie's luck was changing.

She inserted a tube into Amy's trachea, which had swollen up, blocking her airways. The little girl began to cough and splutter as she began to breathe again. She was taken into the back of the ambulance by Leslie and her fellow paramedic. The gypsy/traveller scrunchy woman followed them in.

It had been at least ten minutes since she last sent someone a text, she thought as she took out her phone and took a picture of little Amy wired up to a monitor. Three hundred free texts a month and free calls in the evening were not to be wasted she thought.

Russell went back to the newsagent shop a further time, where he received some free advice on wasting the newsagent's time. And once again, he came out with a Sun and read it on the way home.

It was Friday today. And because it was Friday, he was going out tonight. A few drinks down the pub, then on to a disco. You never know, he thought. You might even get lucky. Or so he hoped.



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