The Job: Part Six

This is the sixth part of a fiction serial, in 717 words. It may contain some swear-words.

Spain, 2007.

After almost twenty-five years in Spain, Alan was living in a bigger villa. It had a decent-sized pool, and a local woman came in twice a week to do the cleaning, and his washing and ironing. She called him ‘Senor Ricardo’, which always made him think of the old actor, Ricardo Montalban. He had given up the flat in Barcelona some years before. The winters could be cold and wet, making the city feel dismal, and his girlfriend had long since deserted him for someone who had a nice motor yacht.

Of course, she had no idea how wealthy Alan was. Even though he didn’t stint on his very comfortable lifestyle, he continued to pretend that he got by on the income from his hire business. So when she met some East European waving money around and boasting about his yacht, that was her cue to scarper.

For the last three years, he had been seeing an English woman who had worked as a holiday company rep in Tossa, and then settled there. Chrissy was ten years younger than him, and rented a flat in the old town. She helped out in one of the English bars, serving beer and full breakfasts to sunburnt tourists as they watched British football or cricket on large TV screens dotted around the place. Chrissy was very much her own woman, and knew the area like the back of her hand. She had turned down Alan’s suggestion to move in with him, but regularly stopped over a couple of nights a week.

Rosa was still running the business. She was pushing fifty now, but you would never guess.

The truth was, Alan was lonely. Back in London he had known a lot of people, even calling some of them friends. In Spain, he still had to be careful. Live the life of Richard Alexander, never talk about Islington, or what he did before he arrived in Spain. And he was feeling his age. He had been there so long that one of the restaurants saved a table for him, just in case he turned up. The waiters called him ‘Mister Richard’, and they all knew what he liked to drink.

Before Vince died, Gloria and him had taken their holidays in Spain, but never close to Alan. Vince preferred Benidorm, so Gloria said. That was five hundred miles further south, and although Gloria would always phone him to let him know they were there, it was never once suggested that he drive down to visit them. Alan knew Vince didn’t like criminals. He had never made any secret of his disapproval of his brother-in-law’s choice of career, or the fact that he had skipped to Spain, leaving Gloria to care for their mum and dad as they got older.

Vince worked as a market porter at the New Covent Garden Market, in Nine Elms. He had worked in the old market near Charing Cross, before it had moved in seventy-four. Starting in the early hours, Vince lugged around fruit and vegetables for one of the wholesale companies. He was a man who believed in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. A phrase he was often heard to utter. They never had any kids, even though they were married at eighteen, when everyone thought Gloria must be up the duff. Most people presumed Gloria had something wrong that stopped her having babies. But she had told Alan it was Vince who couldn’t father any.

When he died, Gloria took it hard. Alan offered her to live with him in Spain, but she wouldn’t leave the family in north London.

He had always got on well with his sister before he left England, even though there was no love lost beteen him and Vince. He had to admit that he missed Gloria, but he would never have admitted that to her. He hoped she knew.

The phone call saying his mum was seriously ill shouldn’t have been such a surprise, but it was. He didn’t have long to sort things out with Rosa, transfer some money into an account he could access easily, and book a one-way flight to London.

On the plane going over, he felt anxious, and not just about his mum.

The Job: Part Five

This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 770 words. It may contain some swear-words.

Spain, 1982.

The airport job paid out as agreed, eventually. Straight into a bank in the Cayman Islands. Alan didn’t mess around, and transferred the money to two different banks within a week. He had enough travelling money to set himself up with a front, and knew not to act flash, like wearing a Rolex, and checking into a five-star hotel. He exchanged the hire car for a much more boring runabout, and rented a tiny one-bed villa just outside Tossa de Mar.

It was going to take a while to get used to being Richard Alexander.

The passport was top-notch though. They had even got some genuine old stamps in for places like Ibiza and Corfu. For all the world he looked like a regular tourist who had decided to settle in Spain. The UK driving licence and International driving permit were suitably aged, and his date of birth had only been changed by one year older, so it would look convincing.

There had been no problem finding a property agent who spoke English. After a week in a budget hotel, he had rented the modest villa, and had her working on a commercial property for rent. He didn’t need a business to make money, just to look good, and give him a reason to be there. Once the woman found him somewhere suitable, within walking distance to the popular tourist spots, he bought forty mopeds and six VW convertibles, setting up a hire business squarely aimed at tourists.

Not speaking Spanish, and not actually wanting to sit in a pokey office all day renting scooters at a loss, he hired a German girl called Monika to run the place. She spoke English and Spanish as well as German, and she could manage some Italian at a pinch. Her interview speech was all about how she could get lots of German customers. Alan had to stop her in mid-flow and tell her she had not only got the job, but would be paid extra to teach him enough Spanish to get by on.

The fact that she ended up in his bed most nights was an unexpected bonus.

Back then, Spain was full of British criminals living the high life in the full glare of publicity. Alan wanted none of that, hence choosing the down-market Costa Brava instead of the gangster’s domicile of choice, Marbella. After making sure he could rely on the German girl and the two Spanish girls she had employed to help her, he spent some time in Barcelona, only ninety minutes away. Feeling instantly at home in that city, he took a lease on a flat in the Barri Gotic district, intending to spend half the year there.

Sure, he knew Monika would rip him off in his absence. But he really didn’t need the business to make money, just to tick over.

If he had a regret, it was that his parents and Gloria would never know about his new life and new identity in Spain. They would of course presume he had skipped after a big job, and just live with that. The families of criminals were a different breed. Staunch. If anyone had grassed up Alan Gill for the airport job, they would get nothing from his family.

After almost ten years, and no sign of any cops trying to arrest him, he went back, travelling as Richard Alexander of course. His dad looked as if he had been painted battleship grey, and Vince wasn’t much better. He dropped his mum and Gloria a wad of cash, but couldn’t stand life back in London. He only stayed for four days, before returning to Barcelona. They didn’t complain when he said he was going. On the quiet, he told Gloria about his new name, and gave her a mobile number he was sure to answer.

The first time she rang it was almost a year later, to tell him their dad had dropped dead in the street. Heart attack, Gloria said.

The next few years were good years. He had a new Spanish girlfriend in Barcelona, Monika went home to Cologne, and was replaced by Rosa. She actually made money from the hire business, and Alan bought more cars and mopeds, just to make sure the profits were not too obvious. Alan could get by in Spanish, and in German too, thanks to Monika. His tan was like mahogany, and shopkeepers and bar owners in Barcelona gave him a ‘Hola!’ as he walked by.

Then Gloria phoned again. Vince had prostate cancer. Six months if he was lucky.

A Very Short Summer

Only a few days ago, I was posting about walking in the warm sunshine, and Ollie having to have three dips in the river to cool down.

Okay, I appreciate that 26C was an unusual temperature this early, but it was only last night that I had to sleep on top of the bedcovers with a fan blowing on me from the end of the bed.

But this is England.

Today started out cloudy and overcast, and didn’t feel too warm.

On Ollie’s walk, he only went into the river once, to have a drink. The sun didn’t appear, and I was walking briskly once again, untroubled by any heat. Although some young girls were swimming in the river, I was reminded that it was only two days ago that I saw almost fifty women and children in the same spot, using tents and towels to shade the youngsters from the hot sun.

The best we could manage here on the 4th of June was 15C. And by 3pm it was raining.

Now it is 6:30 pm, in summer. Still raining, windows closed, gloomy outside, and lights on.

The 21st of June is the longest day. Midsummer, in England.

It was good while it lasted…

The Job: Part Four

This is the fourth part of a fiction serial, in 773 words. Some swear-words may be used.

Richard Alexander.

When Reg had left and Gloria went back to bed, Alan sat in the kitchen thinking about whether or not he could be bothered about the job. It depended on a lot of things. How much was involved. How many he would need to pull it off, and Graham and Carly keeping their mouths shut. He would decide for sure once he had met the bloke.

Alan Gill had been a professional criminal all his life. But he had never once been arrested, had his fingerprints taken, or had to give a DNA sample. In every respect bar one, he had never really existed once he had left school. He had never paid taxes or National Insurance, never been employed legitimately by anyone, and certainly never claimed any social security benefits, or registered to vote in elections.

When there was a census, his mum and dad had known to leave his name off of the form, and he had never applied for a passport, or been abroad on holiday. The only document he had ever had that bore his real name and address was a driving licence. Not to have one of those was asking for trouble if he had been stopped for some mickey mouse driving offence. If he needed a dentist or a doctor, he paid privately for one that asked no questions.

He had watched his dad working for basic pay as a delivery driver for John Lewis. Happy to get overtime for a Saturday morning, acting like the manager was doing him a favour letting him work. Although he could have done well at school, he chose to leave before he was seventeen, and go to work for Frankie Toland. Frankie had the local detectives straightened up, so nobody ever asked who the new kid was when they saw him helping out at one of the warehouses. By the time he was eighteen, he was driving one of Frankie’s vans and delivering juke boxes and gaming machines to pubs and clubs that had been told they had to have them.

Alan had an interest in guns. He read about them in magazines, played around with the ones at Frankie’s place, stripping them down and cleaning them. All of the older blokes working for Frankie carried shooters, though mostly just to wave around and frighten people with. By the time he was twenty, people were calling Alan ‘The Armourer’, and it seemed only logical that he should embark on a new career, away from Frankie’s seedy businesses.

He wanted to be an armed robber.

Permission had to be sought of course. Frankie agreed to Alan branching out alone, so long as he got a good earner out of it. Fortunately, he wasn’t greedy. “Ten percent is acceptable to me, Alan. But don’t you dare stitch me up, or believe me you will be sorry”. With a couple of decent pistols, bought from Frankie on credit, he set up a job with one of the other van drivers, another Alan known as ‘Little Alan’ because he was so short.

Keeping well away from home territory, they hit three post offices on three consecutive days. Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire. Then they went to ground as the news was all over it, describing it as a ‘home counties crime wave’. After that success, everyone wanted to work with Alan The Armourer. He had shown he had a cool head, and was a natural meticulous planner.

The good years that followed started to build up to bigger and bigger jobs, until Alan set up one of the biggest robberies in British history. A robbery that never got any news coverage for fear that it would set off a wave of copycats. It was simplicity itself. Dressed as airport workers, the team were supposed to load bullion into a cargo plane at the edge of Heathrow, using forklift trucks. Naturally, security guards were in attendance, but when the robbers produced a small arsenal of automatic weapons, they did as they were told and lay face down on the ground. Then the gold was simply loaded into another aircraft, already arranged to fly it out of the country.

There had been a lot of ‘fixers’ taking their cuts, and they also had to pay off the genuine airport workers. Too many people were involved, but it was enough to set him up abroad. He already had a new identity, a genuine passport, driving licence, and bank documents. They had cost enough too.

When he drove his hire car onto the ferry to Santander that night, he was Richard Alexander.

Apologies For A WordPress Glitch

I have to break my rule of not posting so much to let you know that many comments from regular blogging friends have gone astray.

I was about to empty my Spam and Trash folders earlier, and I was shocked to find 45 genuine comments had been dumped in there by WordPress. I have just had to manually approve and reply to them all. If you left a comment that I did not acknowledge, the chances are it has been trashed and deleted by WordPress, definitely not by me!

Apologies to everyone who kindly left a comment, then must have thought I had completely ignored it. It wasn’t my fault, and seems to be yet another of those random WP glitches that cause me so much annoyance and frustration.

Anyone wondering my my replies have come so late now knows the answer.

My suggestion to you all is to quickly check both Spam and Trash folders.

Comments from your blogging friends may have been dumped there without you knowing.

The Job: Part Three

This is the third part of a fiction serial, in 730 words. There are some swear-words included.

An Idea Forms.

“The Bank of England, Reg? I presume we are not talking about walking into Threadneedle Street and holding it up? I doubt there is any cash on the premises mate”. Alan lit another cigarette, feeling the pressure on his chest as he inhaled.

Reg took another big swig of the Black Label, and Alan refilled the glass for him.

“No, Alan. This is a warehouse in East Ham. One of the places where old notes are stored from banks all over London. They are counted out into amounts, wrapped in plastic, then put in wheeled cages. The lorry drivers load them up, and take them to sites around the country to be incinerated. The biggest one is in Wales. But the thing is, next year, they are going to start composting them. Chop them up, and recycle them. It’s all this Green thing, you know. Global warming, pollution. You must have heard about all that crap, even in Spain. The bottom line is that this is the year. The last chance before they stop burning them. Once they are chopped up, they will be worth nothing. Fuck all mate.”

Waiting for Alan to say something, Reg tapped the rim of his glass with his unusually long and thick fingernails. But before he got an answer, there was the sound of someone moving outside in the hallway, followed by the bang of the toilet seat being lifted carelessly. Next came the unmistakable sound of someone throwing up, with the accompanying gagging and retching. Alan stood up and switched on the kettle, sliding a mug over before dropping a tea-bag into it from the canister nearby.

Gloria would need a cup of tea after that.

As Alan allowed the tea to brew and spooned in two sugars, the tapping of the glass was irritating him. Reg seemed nervous in a situation where he had no need to be. He added a splash of milk, and stirred the tea. “Won’t be a minute, Reg. Just need to check on Gloria”.

His sister was taking her dress off as he walked into the bedroom. Her hair was plastered flat on one side, and her face was as white as a sheet. He put the tea down on the bedside cabinet. “Drink this, love. Then get some decent sleep. I’m just chatting to Reg in the kitchen”.

Before going back to Reg, Alan leaned against the wall in the hallway, staring at the knitted flamenco dancer ornament on a side table that Gloria had brought back from a trip to Benidorm. If he worked on this plan, it would mean months of preparation. He might even be there well into the new year. Even after seven years, Alan hadn’t got used to seeing a two in front of the year, and two thousand and eight wouldn’t change the feeling that it didn’t seem right.

Alan came back into the room so quietly, it made Reg jump. “So how soon next year does this composting start, Reg? Can your boy find out? It’s never going to happen this year, it will take too much planning, maybe even a couple of dry runs for timings and feasibility. Besides, I don’t know that many blokes still working in the game now, and finding a decent team is going to be the hardest part”. Reg smiled, knowing that Alan must be interested enough to have an idea forming in his mind.

“I can ask him tomorrow, Alan. His name is Graham, but everyone calls him Duke, ’cause he walks like John Wayne. He had a bad motorbike accident years ago, and his hip never set right. Alan lit a cigarette that sent him into a fit of dry coughing. “No phones, Reg. All face to face. And I’m going to need to see this Graham, sound him out, get the feel of him. Okay?”

Gulping down the remainder of his scotch, Reg stood up and felt for his car keys in a trouser pocket. Even though he had drunk the best part of a bottle of Black Label, he seemed like he hadn’t had one drink. There was no way he was walking home, Alan knew that. “Right, Alan. I will set up a meet. Somewhere quiet, away from any big-eared radar”.

The bathroom door slammed again, and they both heard Gloria bringing up her sweet tea.

Guest Post: Nadine Gordon On Canada

We don’t hear that much about Canada these days. Ever since the French-speaking people in Quebec stopped protesting about the British Royal Family, and Pierre Trudeau died, it seems that Canada hardly exists outside of North America. No reports of how they have been affected by the pandemic, and not even a feature on one of their ‘big freeze’ weather events. So when I read a post on the blog of Canadian writer Nadine Gordon, I thought it was only right to ask her to appear here as a guest blogger, and let us know what is going in in that vast country.

The Trefoil Muse Blog

https://thetrefoilmuse.blog/

This is a short ‘bio’ about the author, Nadine Gordon.

I began my writing career as a journalist for a small local newspaper. That’s where I discovered while interviewing several subjects that they shone while relating their own stories of how they accomplished that extraordinary feat to obtain victory or explained how to operate that new equipment prototype or even shared what the exciting idea behind the grand opening of a new store was. I thanked my lucky stars that I was the one able to capture those moments on paper through words for others to enjoy.

I have been published in Reader’s Digest, Horses All, The Violet Ray magazines and many newspapers. I write because there is a certain power in the written word that cannot be denied. Words can heal a wounded soul, teach, inspire, entertain and inform people. I also self-published a book called, “The Rose Path.”
I write because, I feel better when I do and from what I hear, so do others who read my prose.

WordPress is filled with talented, artistic entrepreneurs. It contains a wealth of knowledge if you are looking to learn. With the discovery of WordPress I began to take blogging seriously. As a Canadian author I find the WordPress community to be very kind and supportive.

I have come across many helpful sites on WordPress but upon finding beetleypete – well, I just kept coming back.
Beetleypete is very knowledgeable about the blogging world. From his site; I’ve learned what an avatar is and how to utilize the excerpt. Sites like https://www.beetleypete.com also teach blogging etiquette. I like beetleypete’s no nonsense approach.

The day he published: “New bloggers: Following Back,” I commented because even as a new blogger I’ve come across the ‘follow me back,’ phenomenon.
Be prepared new bloggers; if you comment on another site, your own may be visited. Have more than the, ‘WordPress example post’ exhibited on your blog if beetleypete visits! “Canadian Tourists always have Maple Leaf patches on their bags so that we don’t think they are Americans,” commented beetleypete. He has lived in London most of his life but has since moved to Norfork to enjoy a slower lifestyle and country ways.
Beetleypete otherwise known as Pete read, “Literally Torn,” then generously invited me to do a guest blog about Canada because they get little news about us unless it involves a Royal visit.

Upon Finding beetleypete

In Canada, we have been in short supply of worldly news. Starving the World’s population of international news is a fall-out of the pandemic!
(We did receive news in Canada regarding the Royal family’s loss of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We grieve with the United Kingdom.)
Let me begin by sharing that every five years in Canada, Canadians are legally required to participate in the ‘census’ to help paint a picture of our diverse population and where we live. We completed the census recently.
As a middle class Canadian, I get extremely annoyed when the census comes around asking questions regarding my cultural background. I have a myriad of different cultural bloodlines running through my veins. My family has been in Canada for generations. I was born here. I am Canadian! Enough said!

Even though I was born in the great country of Canada, it would be negligent of me not to mention that:
“I am not going to be reliable source for current events. I live an isolated existence on the Canadian prairie away from the masses. I do not live in an igloo or tee pee; I live in a house with four walls – sorry, for squashing that Canadian stereotype. We do have electricity; television and internet which helps me stay informed. Plus, Google is my friend – I know how research on it. I do my best to entertain those who love to read, learn and muse but there are other journalists better equipped in Canada to write about current events. So be prepared, I’m about to give you a rather satirical view of what is going on in Canada.”
“I don’t normally delve into the world of politics on my blog. However, life amid a pandemic has been frustrating even in our peace loving country thanks to the current political sphere.”

Canada is situated on the top half of North America. We are often referred to as, ‘The Great White North.’ Canada is a large country spanning from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west. I have traveled Canada from coast to coast. Due to the pandemic, some of the provincial boarders are now closed.
Canada is a country with many cultures and belief systems. If you are interested in learning about another culture, the only thing necessary is an open mind and willingness to learn. Canadians are amicable, hard working, intelligent people who enjoy life. We have a great sense of humour. We value laughter. But, above all, we value what freedoms we are afforded. Most Canadians are very aware of the fact that other countries pay attention to our Democratic politics.
Canadians are also aware that our multi-coloured currency looks similar to that found within board games such as Monopoly or Stock Ticker. In our defence, we are a colourful people who deserve colourful coinage!
We are proud to be known as a Peace keeping nation which is why we display our maple leaf when travelling.
I suspect, the world sees our southern United States of America neighbours as more aggressive than those of us living in the Great White North because – they don’t have “legalized marijuana.”
We are known as humble people in Canada – even our own Prime Minister has described us as meek and complacent. Plus, most recently, he smugly referred to us as a bunch of ‘tinfoil hats!’

I find our current Prime Minister and his denigrated political ideals offensive. In my opinion, he has done nothing more than divide our beautiful country with reprehensible, arrogant viewpoints; toting incessantly that they are the “Woke.” If he actually believes that he or his party is “Woke” then they better lay-off of the ‘whacky tobacky’ they are so proud to have legalized in Canada! The “Woke” are out of touch with reality!
I am certain the Prime Minister would like to blame Covid-19 for the unrest in our country. According to the ‘Woke,’ our current madness stems from the isolation of our third pandemic lock-down.
The truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister of Canada was given too much power at the beginning of this pandemic. Too much power in the hands of the wrong person is dangerous. The Prime Minister and the Liberal party scheme behind closed doors – they are dangerous. They have been scheming to take hard fought freedoms and rights away but they have been found out! (Luckily, we still have the sharp-eyed United Conservative Party (UCP) actively working at the House of Commons in Ottawa. The UPC has alerted the Canadian public to numerous underhanded ploys attempted by the ‘Woke.’)
Regardless of what you may have seen televised on Main Stream Media (MSM); ‘meek, complacent Canadians,’ across the country have been banding together, outraged at elected officials who continue to participate in over-reaching, reprehensible acts in parliament such as abuses of power. Outrage alone should show the Prime Minister that Canadians are neither meek nor complacent and, remind him and his party that they are accountable to the people of Canada.
The ‘Liberal Woke’ members of parliament are elected officials who are not speaking, acting or representing their constituents. Instead, the ‘Woke’ party seek to promote their own dictorial ideals.
One would think Canadians actively protesting for their Charter of Rights would be enough to levy the Prime Minister and his party a rude awakening! Instead, their arrogance prevails. It seems the ‘Woke,’ merely roll up one fat doobie after another then check into fantasy land oblivious to the ensuing drama and political dissention they cause!
(Today’s politics or news broadcasts are all about denial, fear mongering & distracting the public with Covid statistics. It is absolutely nauseating! If you are looking for actual news in Canada, you have to look anywhere but Mainstream Media for it.)

Unrest in Canada is always indicated when the ‘Bloc Quebecois’ starts screaming separation. Quebec is the most vocal province we have when it comes to constitutional rights. I have always admired Quebecers for this tenacity. They are spitting mad and wanting a divorce!
Quebec – the rest of Canada is empathetic but, in light of never ending Covid-19 spikes; let me remind you to flatten the curve by quoting our illustrious Prime Minister, “Don’t breathe moistly on anyone.”
Quebec is an eastern province. If they separate, I hope they don’t take Newfoundland or our maritime provinces. Those people would give you the shirts right off of their back after filling your belly with jiggs dinner!
The Prime Minister’s fantasy land of choice is Ontario.
I never hear news about Manitoba. They are an extremely quiet province. The capital of Manitoba is Winnipeg. Winnipeg is a beautiful, extremely cold city. Many people call Winnipeg; Winter-peg. It’s still spring in Canada so the people of Manitoba could thawing their bones. I know from experience what it’s like to try and communicate when teeth chatter from the winter cold. Manitoba has its borders closed for non-essential travel.
Saskatchewan is the breadbasket of Canada.
People jokingly say that we live in Saskatchewan. We don’t but if I stood on a nearby hill with binoculars, I can see that province! From where I live, a carrier pigeon would deliver a message to someone along the Saskatchewan border in about four hours. I haven’t heard any substantial news about my neighbouring province to the east either. What I can tell you about Saskatchewan Canadians is that they are very loyal; especially to their Rough Rider football team. I mean, any people who would carve out a watermelon and wear it on their head like a helmet in loyalty to a football team is alright in my books!

I am from the Western province of Alberta.

Let me say that again; I am from Alberta. The Prime Minister would like to pretend Alberta doesn’t exist. He actually forgot to name our province when reciting the provinces of Canada! What an endearing puppet!

It is probably no secret that Canada has an upcoming election. Political posturing abounds between various parties. We have a great many things in our country to be proud of – the current Prime Minister is not one of them. Bearded or unbearded, I find him to be a complete embarrassment! The thought of an election has me on my knees praying to the Universe, “Please let Prime Minister Pinocchio and his ‘Woke’ party crickets return to fantasy land!”
So, while Quebec screams separation on the political front, a petition to unify Canada’s western provinces has emerged once again. The petition is called Wexit. It includes the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Albertan and British Columbia. I guess that bears further watching.
We started hearing the cry for Wexit again in Alberta recently when Premier Jason Kenney of the UCP, decided to flex his muscles and force our province into our third lock-down during the first week-end of May. The Premier’s tactic was to utilize RCMP members and city police forces to dole out tickets with hefty fines and/or arrest any Albertan who gathered peacefully in protest. Specifically, they were to target any Albertans defying rules which contravened Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act of Alberta – especially those who refused to wear masks even while outdoors. The facade behind the lock-down was to flatten the spiking Covid curve by jabbing as many Albertans as possible with the now available vaccines; thereby saving lives and easing the strain on our over-worked, stressed-out Health Care system.
Alberta protesters simply ignored the Premier as they were defending their Constitutional Rights such as the right to assemble and freedom of choice. I would like to point out, that peaceful protests were taking place in cities across Canada and internationally for the same reasons during that week-end.

In Alberta, rallies were held in a variety of cities including our capital city of Edmonton and in Calgary (home of the infamous Calgary Stampede), with no MSM coverage. Bowden; a town between Edmonton and Calgary, held a rodeo on private property. Why the Premier and the news media chose to zero in on the Bowden Rodeo attendees is beyond me. I’ve seen pictures and videos of the tough, healthy country folk, and cowboys who attended. They all looked healthy! Anyhow, there was quite the hoopla over this little rodeo because of their outlandish refusal to mask-up for an outdoor event.
The Premier said he felt like he’d been slapped in the face by the disobedient rodeo goer’s then closed the Alberta parliament for two weeks and ran home to sulk. He even admitted to wanting a new base of supporters.
Rachel Notley, is head of the New Dreamtime Party (NDP) in Alberta. They are the official opposition of Alberta’s UPC and close allies of the ‘Woke.’ She figured since the Premier had tucked tail and run that it was safe for her to poke her head up from wherever she’s been n-deep-sleeping and yell in all her blurry-eyed, glory; “Coward!” No doubt her munchies of choice during Covid-19 has been the orange coloured THC laced gummy bears – this heady delight, is what it would take for Ms. Notley to have found such dreamtime courage. Albertans have not forgotten what her short stint in power did to our province!

As for Alberta’s Premier feeling like he’d been slapped – better a good slap than a swift kick in the butt via pointed cowboy boots!
There have been MSM reports that Alberta is an anomaly. The Government doesn’t know what to do with us. (Political mumbo jumbo and Covid statistics are like the weather in Canada. If you don’t like it just wait a couple of minutes.)
The third lock-down in Alberta is easing.
The redneck slap brought Premier Kenney to his senses or perhaps, someone just poured him a strong cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. In any case, he returned to the Alberta Legislature Building after a two week hiatus prancing around like a proud rooster. Albertans successfully exceeded the Premiers expectations. 60% have gotten jabbed at least once with a dose of vaccination. Kenney is now dangling the golden carrot of freedom in front of his base supporters.

Beginning June 1st, Albertan’s can enjoy the more relaxed restrictions of Stage 1.
Stage 2 of regained freedom begins June 10th. We get more rewards as long as we stay diligent at flattening the curve.
Stage 3, enters at the end of June or beginning of July, with the promise of a Calgary Stampede. It appears we’ll be able to gather publicly – at least at the Stampede in Calgary. (This will be a welcome change from the gatherings held at Walmart or Costco!)
British Columbia is Alberta’s neighbouring province to the west. They too have had their borders closed for anything but essential travel. They are attempting to knock down the Covid-19 spike prior to tourist season.

In British Columbia, MSM actually reported some breaking news on May 27th.
A mass grave with over 215 First Nations children was uncovered in what used to be Canada’s largest residential school in Kamloops, B.C. This school operated between the years of 1890-1969 under a Catholic order called the Oblates of Mary Immaculate until the federal government took it over and ran it as a day-home until 1978 when it closed. Missing, undocumented children as young as 3 years old were discovered by a ground penetrating radar.
The recent breaking story by MSM is a reminder of our not so distant past when assimilation took place in our country through genocidal, prejudicial degradation of our First Nations and Indigenous people.
I am not only devastated for the families and band nations in Canada for these losses but also, for those who continue to suffer daily because of elitist, anti-Semitic beliefs. Canadians will never be able to fully rectify these injustices. Those of us in touch with reality know who the true ‘savages’ are in our society and where they hide. We must hold them accountable for inflictions of horror.
The Prime Minister has offered his feigned, contrition.

On the Federal front, the Prime Minister has also come up with an International travel strategy; this mainly due to his own self-interests. His motivation – he desires to find the magical Blue Fairy who will turn him into a real boy so he can attend the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom which is scheduled for June 11-13, 2021.
It seems a shameful to have spent so much time sharing about Canada’s political sitcom when there are many wonderful things about Canada. However, the current political sphere has me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what type of absurdity will happen next! The state of our country or, that of any other country in the world since the pandemic began is unbelievable. The news here is the same as elsewhere – it’s all politically motivated pandemic propaganda or twisted with distractions designed to hide politically motivated strategies.
Suffice to say; no news is not good news for Canada!
At the end of the day, whether we exit or we stay, our PM remains nothing more than a drama teacher puppet. That being said, this ‘tin-hat’ bulletin author finds Canadians up Schitt’s Creek without a paddle.

Thank-you for reading! Stay tuned for more Canadian political satires on the blogosphere.
Also, my humble gratitude to Pete for graciously allowing me to guest blog on his site!
For more of my creative stories, please visit: https://www.thetrefoilmuse.com

Film Review: The Eight Hundred (2020)

I have just had my film review published in the online magazine, Mythaxis.

‘The Eight Hundred’ is a Chinese war film, set during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.

Here is a link, if you are interested in reading it.

(I watched the film in the original Chinese and Japanese languages, with subtitles. The trailer on the link is dubbed)

https://mythaxis.com/2021/06/02/the-eight-hundred-movie-review/

The Job: Part Two

This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 765 words.

Old Reg comes calling.

Gloria had definitely had too much to drink that afternoon. She was slurring in the cab on the way back to her flat, and Alan had to help her find the doorkey in her handbag. She went straight into her bedroom and collapsed face down on the duvet. Alan pulled her shoes off, then took the coverlet off the chair by the dressing-table and threw it over her.

Sitting in the kitchen with a glass of Black Label scotch, he thought about what Old Reg had said. Did he need the grief? After all, he would be fity-three next birthday. Still, Reg had looked serious, so the least he could do was to hear him out.

The noise of a police helicopter startled him, sounding as if it was right outside the window. Gloria and Vince’s two-bed on Highbury Grove had been a quiet place at one time, and they considered themselves lucky to get it. Now it seemed to Alan that the whole area was under seige. Gangs all over the place, drug-dealing kids on corners, and stabbings becoming an almost daily routine. He might talk to Gloria about going back to Spain with him.

This was no place for her to grow old.

By the time Old Reg arrived, the amber-coloured glass ashtray was full to the brim, the scotch bottle half-empty, and Gloria still snoring. Reg came in and sat opposite him at the tiny formica-topped table in the kitchen. Alan got a glass, poured Reg a drink, and leaned forward. “So, Reg. What’s this about a job?”

Alan had only ever known him as Old Reg. A solid friend of the family who must be at least eighty years old by now. His false teeth were too white to look remotely natural, and they made a clicking sound when he spoke too quickly. He downed half the glass, wiped his mouth, and nodded.

“It’s a big job, Alan. Right up your street. All cash, untraceable, and you won’t need a big crew to tackle it”. Alan sat back and lit another cigarette. “Reg, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Now, what’s this all about, and what’s in it for you?”

The old man ran his hands over his head, as if forgetting he had no hair left to smooth down. “Well, you know my Teddy? He’s fifty-odd now, and still serving time for that jewellery job twelve years ago. Anyway, his girl Carly has a baby now, little Dawn. So she lives with this bloke in a shitty flat in Agar Grove, and they want to buy a place further out. Dagenham or somewhere, it’s got a nice garden. But they don’t have a deposit, do they?” Alan put a hand up to stop him.

“The story of your grandchildren is all very nice, Reg. But what’s that got to do with this job mate?” He topped up both glasses, noticing the bottle might soon need replacing.

“The boyfriend, Alan. Carly’s boyfriend, it’s him that has the tip. All he wants out of it is a nice drink to use as a deposit. Give it a year or two, and they can say they saved it up. Carly works at the school, and he’s a lorry driver”.

Alan went to get another bottle from his bag in the hallway, wondering what Reg was on about. Perhaps he was losing his marbles. He was the right age for that.

“How much is what this bloke thinks is a nice drink then, Reg?” Alan filled the glasses as he spoke. “Twenty grand, Alan. That’s all. He couldn’t explain away anymore than that anyway, and he’s a straight bloke. Never been in trouble. And I don’t want nothing for myself, just looking out for young Carly”. Alan wasn’t the sort to get excitable, or fling accusations about, but he wanted to know something.

“You put this job up to anyone else, Reg? Told any other firm about it? ‘Cause if you have, it’s a non-starter, you should know that”. Reg shook his head. “No, honest. Carly’s bloke mentioned something to me about where he works a couple of weeks ago. Then when I heard you were coming back for the funeral, I thought I would give you first refusal. It’s definitely your sort of work, Alan”. Lighting his fiftieth cigarette of the day, Alan screwed up his eyes as the smoke drifted into them.

“Where’s this bloke work then?” Reg’s top teeth slipped down as he replied with a big smile.

“The Bank of England”.

The Job: Part One

This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 740 words. It is about criminals/gangsters in London. If you do not understand any of the terminology or expressions, please say so in the comments, and I will translate.

Home from Spain.

London didn’t feel as cold as Alan remembered. Even after twenty-five years in Spain, he didn’t need more than a normal suit that morning. But the tie felt strange, and so did the heavy black shoes. Too long in shorts and a tee shirt, wearing flip-flops for most of the year. Gloria was holding his hand in the back of the car. Her hand felt cold, and he noticed the wrinkles around her neck. She was wearing too much perfume, and he fought back a sneeze.

He wouldn’t have come back if not for mum dying. His older sister had rung him and told him she was ill, but he hadn’t expected her to go that quickly.

Gloria was pleased to see her brother. Since Vince had died, she spent too much time alone.

Some of the locals showed up for the funeral, no doubt mainly for the free drinks and buffet grub at the pub later. Then there were the few remaining relatives, most of whom Alan hadn’t seen since he skipped. Young women came up to him and called him Alan, or cousin Alan, and he didn’t even know who they were.

But he recognised Old Reg, amazed that he was still alive. Reg shook his hand outside the crematorium. “Like to have a chat later, Alan. At the pub, okay?”

On the way back, Alan took in the changes. The area he had grown up in looked the same, but different. The shops were different, the people on the street looked different, and the traffic was bloody awful. Bus Lanes full of buses and taxis, bikes and motorbikes weaving in and out.

Then when they got to the pub, he couldn’t even smoke inside. At least standing outside allowed him to slip the knot on his tie, gratefully running a finger around where his neck was sore from the brand-new unwashed shirt. He had left Gloria inside, doing the meeting and greeting. He put five hundred behind the bar, and told the manager to let him know when that ran out.

Even the pub was different. The Admiral Nelson was owned by a company now, and served cappuccinos and lattes along with the booze. Pie and chips had been replaced by a Panini press, and Gloria said you had to book a table if you wanted to eat. She had arranged for the back bar to be closed to everyone except the funeral party. The manager knew a good earner when he saw one.

A flash motor pulled up. The driver got out and opened the back door. He was a big black guy the size of a grizzly bear, and his grey suit was creased to buggery at the back. Frankie Toland got out of the car, immaculate in a cashmere overcoat and three-piece suit. He still had his hair slicked down, like someone from the sixties. Walking up to Alan, he extended a hand. “Good to see you, Alan. You look like one of the bloody Beach Boys with that sun-bleached hair and tan. How’s life treating you? I just popped in to pay my respects to your old mum. Won’t be staying long.”

Alan returned the firm handshake. “I’m good, Frankie. You’re looking prosperous”. Toland was an old-time villain from back in the day. When everyone had started getting into drugs, he had stayed in the protection rackets, and running girls up West. Looked like he had survived the arrival of the Russians, and still had his spot. But Alan knew gangsters like Frankie were past their sell-by date. He must have been seventy, maybe seventy five years old now, and his time was almost up. Like the dinosaurs, he was set to become extinct.

As he walked inside, Toland turned back for a moment. “You looking for work, Alan? I could find you something”. Alan shook his head. “Heading back to Spain soon, but thanks for the offer”.

On the third cigarette, Old Reg came out to find him. With an arm on his shoulder, he guided him to the street corner, away from any snooping ears.

“Alan, I have to talk to you about something. Can I come and see you at Gloria’s tonight? I want to tell you about it before you go back to Spain, and I think you will want to hear it”. Alan nodded. “Okay, Reg. But what is it about?”

“A job, Alan. A really big one”.