Cade Allsopp:The Telephone

Cade Allsopp:
Thirty something single male who, after a long term relationship breakup, now lives on his own.
He has his own apartment, plenty of friends, in fact a decent life by many others standards.
Snippets of his life will feature here as I create them.

Today’s episode: The Telephone.

Attempting to save contacts on his new phone, Cade sat intently reading the instruction booklet. He figured it could not be that hard, after all it was a landline phone with only fifteen pre-dials available to him but try as he might, he could not get a single number saved into the phone memory!

He reread the instruction booklet and finally discovered that he had been pressing the wrong button to store the numbers in the required locations. Now he was ready to start adding his contact numbers.

Who to add would be his next quandary. He had over one hundred contacts on his mobile and now he had to whittle them down to just fifteen people. Obviously his parents would be number one on the list but who else? He had no significant other in his life right now, he had few friends that he considered close, not close enough to really warrant putting one above the other on his phone. He concluded that he would add just his work number and his doctors surgery to his new phone, making just three contacts available to him at the lift of the receiver and touch of one button!

Cade was startled at the realisation of it all. He thought he enjoyed his life. He had some good friends yet not one of them could he consider a close friend, one he could confide in. Suddenly, he felt very lonely!

After pondering this new and rather surprising fact about himself, he got up from the sofa and poured himself a large bourbon and coke, he had to contemplate what had taken place in his life that had brought him to this point in time.

He had what he thought was a good social life, he went out two or three evenings a week to the local bars or to the cinema with at least a few from his group of friends. He holidayed abroad for two weeks every year, somewhere warm and sunny with a lovely beach and full nightlife, again with people he considered friends. He had a job, earned enough to live on, pay his bills and have a good time.

He sat sipping his bourbon and coke.

His mobile phone rang, it was Philip asking if he was going down the local bar tonight? Cade confirmed that he would meet Philip and whoever else was out down the bar at nine, but still his thoughts lingered on how lonely he felt.

Cade showered, changed into clean clothes and headed out to meet the people he considered his friends.

©2012 Trevor Litchfield

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The Frame

In response to Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press

Visual Prompt 2 -- Portal by Stephen Shulz (http://fracturedphrases.blogspot.com/)

Green tea nestling on the bottom of the teapot. A vegetable steamer waits empty on the hob. Both require hot, steamy water to make the most use of them.

He pours boiling water into the teapot, replacing the lid and then covering the plain white teapot in a flowered tea cosy. Then Llanal, for that is his name, leaned towards the mug tree on the worktop and took the only delicate china cup hanging among the coffee mugs that hung from the other branches on the mug tree. He loved his green tea in a china cup. He had no saucer for the cup but enjoyed the way the tea swirled into the cup as he poured it.

Llanal waited for the tea to stew a while.

Once poured he added no other additives, green tea was meant to be drunk with nothing added except on the odd occasion when he added a spoonful of honey. He left the kitchen, turning out the lights as he passed the switch, then headed towards the darkened living room for an evening of quiet contemplation. Atmospheric, ambient music played quietly, providing a background to his thoughts as Llanal relaxed on his oversized and very comfortable sofa. He had lit several candles around the room and now sat in the subtle light enjoying his tea and solitude.

Llanal, a forty something male now divorced and coming to terms with his new single status, enjoyed these quiet evenings to himself. He worked in a very loud factory, operating a machine that made parts for chairs. They were metal parts that looked to Llanal like they would be of no use in the manufacture of chairs.

Not that he cared much, he earned enough money to pay his way and enjoy the odd evening out with some new friends he had met one evening whilst out with an old friend whilst they ‘celebrated’ his divorce. They had decided to go ten pin bowling and a mixed group on the next lane had included them in their evening and they had all soon become quite friendly. Now they invited both Llanal and his old friend out to regular evenings but as often as not, Llanal would go on his own as his old friend was still happily ensconced in his marriage.

Now he relaxed further into the sofa, staring at the frame set in the wall opposite. At first glance the frame looked like a window but once night fell it was obviously a picture set in the wall to look as if it were a window. On evenings like the one he was about to enjoy, Llanal hit the switch that would offer light into the frame, making the picture within come alive and for all the world, look like a window into another day-lit world in the darkness of the room.

Although the frame looked like it housed a picture of a mountain in daylight hours, after dark and with the carefully placed lighting switched on, it took on a life of it’s own. Sometimes Llanal could see a hillside village and almost make out the old villagers as they scratched a living from the meagre land. Other times it looked as if he were looking in on other worlds, odd shaped buildings, strange creatures and very strange landscapes. Totally alien!

He never saw the same landscape twice, every time it was a different hillside village or alien landscape.

The frame itself was quite large, measuring 24 inches wide by 48 inches tall. He could have hung it width ways but he felt it looked more at home as a window frame rather than a picture frame. It was an old wooden frame that Llanal had found on his meandering walks that he sometimes took around the estate late at night when he couldn’t sleep. It had been dumped in a skip and he had salvaged it in the hope of finding a picture big enough to put in it. The desire to see it hanging on his wall had overtaken him as soon as he had arrived back home that late night and within an hour he had mounted it on his wall opposite his sofa.

The mountain appeared within the frame and the frame took on the appearance of settling into the wall as soon as it was hung. The following days saw odd, hazy apparitions appear within the frame but Llanal could not make them out. That was when the idea of some carefully placed lighting came to Llanal. He had no idea where the idea came from and even less idea of where he should place the lights, they seemed to choose their placing themselves.

That evening he sat back in the sofa and new worlds started to appear in the frame. He had tried walking up to the frame one evening but the worlds disappeared and the image of the mountain returned. Now, on quiet, solitary evenings Llanal would make his green tea and settle back letting the old frame take him to places he could barely dream of, see sights unseen by humans before or since.

©2012 Trevor Litchfield

Because I Can!

Just for the sheer hell of it, the image I’ve used today is one I took several years ago (in fact 11 years ago according to the date stamp on the photo!). It was taken along the Norfolk coast at Winterton-On-Sea and the buildings you can see are those found at Hermanus Holidays. I’ve always loved the look of this place but have yet to sample the type of holiday they have to offer………one day perhaps.

I love the Norfolk coastline and have spent many a happy afternoon (any season) walking the long stretches of sandy beach that are there just for the walking behind the dunes.

I have decided to make use of my Paper.Li account once again, this ‘publication’ features items from all the people I follow on twitter, so if I follow you and you post a link to a webpage or news item on twitter, you might find yourself mentioned in this ‘publication’. It is called ‘My World Tonight‘ (permanent link in ‘Other Cyberspaces in column on right) and is mainly for my own gratification as I often find it hard to keep up with everything everyone tweets. This way I have a handy ‘website’ with everything in one neat little package. Of course you are welcome to read it any time you desire. It is updated daily at around 18:00 GMT and you are also welcome to subscribe to it if you really feel the need.

I came across an new find in the magazine section of my local news agents yesterday evening. I’m always on the look out for something worth my money and most times come away disappointed at what is on offer. Yesterday I found a copy of Inter Zone, a Sci-Fi and Fantasy mag that features short stories from both established and new authors. Not that I’ll be sending anything to them but to find a mag that is highly readable, has no or very little advertising, is packed full of news and features, book reviews, film reviews, DVD/Blu Ray reviews, some truly excellent fantasy art and of course the aforementioned short stories, all for less that £5 is in my book, excellent value for money! The only downside is that it is published only bi-monthly but then it will give me time to fully digest everything within and maybe even find myself in Waterstones purchasing the odd recommended read!

Inter Zone is printed and published in the UK by TTA Press and is available worldwide by mail order from their website, I imagine it is available in the USA in larger magazine sellers. They also publish a bi-monthly horror mag plus other offerings depending on what you enjoy reading.
Their website is http://ttapress.com/if you are interested in finding out more about what they offer.

Inter Zone Nov-Dec 2011 Issue 237

Inter Zone Nov-Dec 2011 Issue 237

That night!

This story is fiction but is based on a real event.

The pills are on the table, all popped out of the foil packets and ready for me. Over the last couple of weeks I have gathered quite a collection, I have my blood pressure pills, three sorts, then I managed to get some prescription sleeping pills and painkillers, two months worth are now on the table as well. I also went down the shop today and bought a bottle of my favourite whiskey and some cheese nibbles to help pass the evening.

This may look like a premeditated evening but what sits in front of me now is a bit surprising! I have felt low for quite some time, my life has been crap even longer but I’m here, on my own in this tiny studio flat with what appears to me, nothing left worth living for. I’m not brave enough to sit in a hot bath with some razor blades, I hate heights so I’m not going to be jumping any time soon. To me this feels like a safe way of ending it all, take the pills, go to sleep and hope I don’t puke it all up ending up in hospital with half my vital organs dead but my mind still able to regret the coming events.

I put on the TV and search for something worth watching in what I have now decided are going to be my last few hours. I open the whiskey and pour a tumbler, I open the bag of nibbles and pour them into a large glass bowl I have beside my tablet cocktail on the table. I have also treated myself to twenty cigarettes, I normally roll my own with tobacco and papers but tonight I thought I deserved to smoke without having to fight with loose tobacco all over the place.

I have spent my day tidying up the place. I cleaned the bathroom, kitchenette and the main living space, hoovering and scouring everything within an inch of it’s gloss. I did my laundry and put all my clothes away neatly. I washed up all my pots, plates and eating implements. I intend for whoever finds me to think that I was a tidy, well kept person before they found me. I would hate to think of someone breaking in and finding the place a tip! Not that it would matter of course but I like things to be neat and tidy.

I take a sip of the whiskey, still searching for something to watch on TV. There seem to be no films on any channel tonight. I would prefer to watch a film. Perhaps I should put a DVD in and watch an old favourite instead. I decide this is going to be my best evenings entertainment and dig out the longest DVD I can find, it doesn’t really matter what it is because I know I will enjoy what I get to watch of it.

So, I’m set. Whiskey, pills, nibbles and something to watch as time passes.

My mind goes back to happier times, when I was young, laughing and messing about with friends that are no longer in my life and have not been in my life for many years. Friends like that only came into my life once, then in my wisdom I decided that I had to get away from them. Now, years later I find myself on my own in this tiny little studio thinking about putting an end to it all. Is my life really this bad?

Another sip of whiskey and a couple of the cheesy nibbles. I light a cigarette.

I have drifted through life, not really becoming attached to anyone, letting no one enter my life long enough to care for me. I have always moved on once it has become obvious that someone cares for me. Why this is I do not know! I like having people in my life, I love sharing my life with someone close to me, I even shared my life with a special person for a couple of years but in the end I walked out on them. Why would I do that? I feel I need a special person in my life but I never let anyone in!

My film starts, I settle back on the sofa.

I stare at the pills on the table. There must be nearly two hundred pills, if not more! I know I can take six or seven at a time, I have no problems swallowing pills. I remember a time when I hated taking medication but over the years this has changed. I take three twice a day for my blood pressure and I take them with just one sip of water. Six at a time should be no problem. Six into two hundred works that I will have to swallow thirty three times six pills with the odd pill left over by which time it should not matter anyway. The bottle of whiskey should be plenty to wash them all down with, I hope so anyway!

Another sip of whiskey as the film is in it’s first few scenes, more nibbles and I extinguish the remains of my cigarette in the glass ashtray on the coffee table.

My mind goes back to my childhood, playing with the kids from the village on the playground. Kiss chase with the girls, I always chased Tina, my pre-teen crush at the time. Football with the boys and then laughing afterwards as we all sit around one of the picnic tables telling jokes or stories, relaxing together in the rose tinted summer sun. I wonder where that freckly beauty from my youth is now? Does she even remember that fat kid who used to chase her around the park on those long summer evenings? How I could do with someone in my life worth chasing now!

Dusk finally turns to darkness. I can still see the trees through my window because of the street lighting but the sky is down black. The stars are not visible because of the street lights but I know they are there, looking down from their lofty position, bringing wonder to some small kids eyes.

My whiskey is not going down as I had hoped, it feels like it is choking me with every sip. Is this due to some subconscious thoughts about what is supposed to be going down with it. The pills lay untouched, scattered over the coffee table.

I had thought about writing a note for the finder of my body but I decided against it in the end. What is there to say apart from goodbye cruel world? I would be saying that anyway once I start to go through with this evenings meal.

The film goes on though I am taking little notice of the action on the screen, my mind is taking me back to happier times. Perhaps it is my minds way of saying it is not ready to die just yet, who knows? The thing is it is my mind that is also saying that it has had enough, or is that my heart saying it has had enough? My heart feels sick with loneliness. What is my heart though? When everything is considered it is simply a feeling from within, sensations converted by my mind telling me something is either right or wrong. My heart is simply another part of my mind telling me how my emotions are behaving, reacting to my current situation. My mind is what should really be in charge in this situation, the bit that reasons everything out, not my emotional part at all.

I light another cigarette and sit up. I feel uncomfortable laying down and I’m not going to be able to swallow those pills if I am laying down!

So, this is my emotions telling me to do this. I can feel it deep within me that this is what I want to do, I want to start swallowing the pills. My throat tightens as if my mind is telling it to close. I sip some whiskey and it chokes me. My throat is closing! My mind is finally taking control of the situation. It is like my mind has let my emotions go this far but will not let them go any further. I feel like crying!

I get up, going to the window to look out at the world. Tears start to creep out of my eyes. Would it really have been that simple? Could I have really swallowed all those pills? Probably!

I open the window, breathing deeply on the fresh night air.

I go to bed and sleep sounder than I have in months to wake to the reminder of my previous evening. The TV is still on, the DVD still in the player but all are simply displaying their logos as is the way with modern electronic gadgets.

A new day begins as I hide yesterdays thoughts in small bottles I have around the place, remembering to take my three blood pressure pills before I put them all back in the bathroom cabinet.

©2011 Trevor Litchfield

Book Review: Pavane by Keith Roberts

PavanePavane by Keith Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1588: Queen Elizabeth is felled by an assassin’s bullet. Within the week, the Spanish Armada had set sail, and its victory changed the course of history. 1968: England is still dominated by the Church of Rome. There are no telephones, no television, no nuclear power. As Catholicism and the Inquisition tighten their grip, rebellion is growing.

Why this book took nearly a month to read I’ve no idea, it is a tremendous read!
It is basically a series of short stories, loosely related but all set on a different time-line. The characters are well defined and I felt a sympathy for each character I met. The separate stories are great, full of detail and easy to read.

I really enjoyed this book and it is a definite recommend to any Sci-Fi fan who likes something a bit different. I would think it would capture the imagination of readers of historical fiction as well because nothing is fantastical apart from the premise itself. Great fiction!

View all my reviews

Published by Panther Science Fiction 1974
191 Pages
First Published in GB by Rupert-Hart Davies Ltd 1968

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