Stories categorized “Human stories”:

The hatred of strangers

Published February 1994.

It didn’t take long for Jeremy Whaley to realise something was wrong. It was four in the morning, he was alone in his cottage near Petworth in the shadows of the West Sussex Downs, his dogs were asleep and all was quiet. First the phone rang, and then stopped. He was used to that happening and he might simply have turned over and gone back to sleep if his senses had not been sharpened by his years of bitter experience. There was something moving outside.

Murder among children

Published October 1993.

Every evening in Watton is more or less the same. Around six, the children start to gather in the cafe in the High Street, sitting at the moulded plastic tables, pushing butt ends round the ash trays, until the cafe closes at seven and they move across the road to the pavement outside the Gateway supermarket, where they slump together in the doorway and watch the town go dark.

The massacre inside the Bay City Rollers

Published December 1992.

It’s hard to be sure exactly when Les McKeown’s bubble burst. Maybe it was right back on his first night in the Bay City Rollers when the lead guitarist ordered him to dump his girl friend and Les ended up trying to batter him on the back seat of the car. Maybe it was when the promoter in America pulled a gun on him, or when his manager was busted for gross indecency, or when he got so fed up in the recording studio one time that he sneaked in after dark and wiped all the tapes clean. Maybe it was only ever really perfect when it was all in Les’ head.

Somebody is making a mess of my name

Published October 1991.

I have never liked my name. I’ve always thought it dull, but, on the other hand, it has never done me any harm. Now, however, nobody at all likes my name. Suddenly, it is mud of the nastiest sort, so nasty that it may well do me harm. Because my name also belongs to someone else.

Captain Jack’s Great Adventure

Published October 1991.

The strange tale of Captain Jack and the Great Adventure is the sort of story that would once have been made into a film by Ealing Studios. It is full of very English characters – the boatload of unlikely rebels striking out for freedom, the country vicar who joins them, the village policeman who helps them, and the man from the ministry who pursues them with his big book of little rules – and underneath all the slapstick and sentiment, the film would simply have asserted what every romantic rebel knows, that there is a special kind of freedom in daring to be different.

A white man in a black town

Published February 1991.

Clarence Brandley always knew the truth. Long before his own trouble started – before the white girl was killed, before he was blamed, before he was condemned to death – he knew how dangerous it was to be a black man in a town like Conroe.

The father and his daughter, sleeping in a stable at Christmas

Published December 1990.

It was a bad night in Bethlehem when a couple of travellers found themselves forced by a housing crisis to sleep in a lowly cattle shed. Yet, on an ordinary night in England nearly two thousand years later, Jake Sudworth frequently has to do the same.

The woman who kills bulls

Published August 1989.

Ernest Hemingway believed that bullfighting was a great and uplifting art, a sacred ritual in which courage, honour and death were all perfectly blended into the most tragic and most inspiring of spectacles. But Ernest Hemingway never saw a bullfight on a Friday night in Frontignan.

The Westminster Abbey Game

Published July 1989.

The Westminster Abbey Game is a contest for two teams. On one side are the Wrist Slappers, who may be male or female, are invariably elderly and grey-haired and usually wear conservative clothes from the 1940s. Then there are the Foreigners, lots of them, and preferably draped in plenty of photographic hardware.

Plastic people

Published March 1989.

Mail on Sunday magazine March 1989 This is the story of an American romance, of a man and a woman alone in this crazy world with only their dreams and a standard set of surgical tools to inspire them, and of how they found happiness in their own special way. The man is Dr Harvey […]

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