Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rockets


My name is Annie and when I was nine I didn’t have too many friends except my Grandmother who always wanted to be an astronaut. 

She said that my Mother had come along and put an end to that dream, thank you very much for asking - but I hadn’t asked.

I didn’t quite understand how or why my Mother had stopped her being an astronaut but my Grandmother was not one to talk crazy like, so I went along with her story. It had something to do with my Granddad turning my Grandmother’s head with all that kissing nonsense and such like and her being in the family way, thank you very much. 

It didn’t stop me and her always talking about being astronauts and we would look at the maps of the sky and choose which of the planets we would visit first. My Grandmother was going to Jupiter and I was very definitely a Saturn girl.

When I was nine I used to think that my Grandmother smelt a bit funny which I thought was because she was in training and eating special astronaut food. 

One evening, when I was safely sitting on her knee and after she had put a large log on the fire, she told me how she had always dreamed of going to the stars. 
“One November afternoon my parents, your great Grandparents Annie, took my brother and me to see a film at a little tea room down Duchess Street, mind you that street’s all gone now, got bombed in the war and they had to pull the whole lot down.

“By day it sold the most wonderful cakes in the world but in the evening, well then it became a wonderland. Mister Guitolli would hang a white sheet on the wall and then show films from a projector which he turned by hand. He never charged anyone a farthing but at the interval Mrs Guitolli would sell some of that day’s stale cakes for a half penny each. 

“Sometimes, if he had had a hard day, he would turn the projector very slowly and every one would stamp their feet to get him to speed up. Sometimes he would just fall asleep and the film would stop, then smoke would start rising from the projector and people would run out of the cake shop, screaming. They knew it wasn’t a real fire but to us it was the only chance we ever got to scream in front of grown-ups.

“On the days that Mrs Guitolli was in a good mood and kissed Mister Guitolli on the cheek in front of everyone, well those were the days that the people in the films would move very fast as Mister Guitolli wanted to finish early. My Mother never did tell me why he was in so much of a hurry.” Then my Grandmother coughed, cleared her throat and continued.

“One day Annie I saw the most marvellous film, The Journey to The Moon, the one where the rocket lands right in the eye of the Moon’s face. Everyone was laughing but I felt sorry for the Moon and made up my mind that I would go there and apologise for what had happened to his eye.” 

Sadly nothing much happened to my Grandmother and her dream for many, many years, not until the very day of her fiftieth birthday on April the 12th, 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

My Grandmother decided two things that day: 1 – fifty was no age, no age at all, and fifty year old people could still go to the Moon and 2 – if anything happened to Granddad, God forbid, she would marry Yuri. There was a time when she more inclined to John Glenn, the first American in space than Yuri, but in the end the Russian won her heart. He was her first Cosmonaut and that was that.

My Grandmother said that every day she would check the newspapers looking for an advert that would state ‘Have you ever considered being an Astronaut or Cosmonaut? Then telephone the following number .....” but she never did find it, “Must have been on one of the days I didn’t buy a newspaper.”  she said.

She always wondered, considering the amount of people she had told about her dream, why the rocket folks hadn’t actually contacted her. “I mean”, she said “wouldn’t it be better having a really enthusiastic astronaut than a reluctant one?” 

She even wrote to the Russian Embassy who invited her to tea one afternoon and told her that the waiting list to be a cosmonaut was so long that she would be a hundred and twenty years old by the time they got to her. She had to agree that one hundred and twenty was a good age but mentioned that if her name did come up, then could they contact her anyway? The man said he’d put her name down on the list straight away and sent her home with a signed photo of Yuri that said ‘To my comrade’.

Apollo eight was the next big milestone in my Grandmother’s life and that was the one that got me interested.
In March of ’68 Yuri died in a tragic accident and my Grandmother went into a mild sort of mourning. Other people were twisting to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones but my Grandmother had all the heroes she needed in one man and now he was gone. My Grandfather used to be jealous of a person he had never met and would refer to him as ‘that bloody communist’ but after Yuri Gagarin’s death, and I’m ashamed to say it, my Grandfather started to whistle. It led me to wonder if he hadn’t had Yuri bumped off.  

My Grandmother gave me a poster of the crew of Apollo Eight to hang on my wall, I still remember their names: the commander was Frank F Borman the 2nd, James A Lovell Junior was the Command Module Pilot and William A Anders, the Lunar Module Pilot. 

I always wondered what happened to Frank Borman, the 1st and James Lovell Senior, were they lost in space somewhere?  

In those days, the launching of a rocket was the most important thing in the world – at least to me. Every television channel would cover it and very clever people with extremely large foreheads would discuss it for hours on end. We would sit with bowls of popcorn and devour every delicious second of the programmes and when the talking got boring, Grandmother would test me on all the people who had ever been in space. 

We had a happy Christmas and we made it extra so, because my Father was off to Singapore in the New Year to work for several months. My Mother and I moved in with Grandmother in order to provide company for us all and I was more than delighted. 

Apollo 9 was a bit of a strange one and never really went anywhere, there was lots of talk of trying out modules but to be really cross-my-heart-honest, I found it boring. 

The next trip was really exciting, the guys were going to go to the Moon and try everything except land. I thought it was a shame and so did my Grandmother “Why couldn’t they just let them land on the Moon for five minutes?” she said, but it wasn’t to be and they all had to come home again. 

In July 1969, me, my Mother and my Grandmother all went out to Singapore to see my Father and we had the best time ever. It was a truly amazing place and it was there we got to see Neil Armstrong on television, not just land on the Moon but actually walk on it. It was brilliant. 

My Grandmother and I sat there holding our breaths as Commander Neil put his foot on the Moon’s surface. My Father said he thought that his foot would go right through and he’d get stuck but then I caught him winking at my Mother - my Father, not Neil Armstrong. 

I remember the day I asked my Grandmother who the first man to walk on the Moon was and she said “where dear?” and I have to tell you, I thought that was a funny thing to say. “Too late” I said, “It was Neil Armstrong”.
“Who dear?” 

Then I heard she’d fallen down the stairs which I was sure was due to her Astronaut training. She was very hard on herself. 

She never did tell me she was going to Astronaut Training Camp, my Father did. I asked him whether my Grandmother had found the advert in the paper and he said that she had and that they had accepted her. So I was pleased but I really wished she had told me herself.

Then one day my Father looked really sad and told me that I had to be brave and I said I was. He said that his Mother, my Grandmother, had gone to live on the Moon and I said stop talking crazy like as Apollo Twelve wasn’t due to take off for some months. He told me that she had been sent on a secret mission and that I was to tell no one. I never did. 

When I was nine years of age my Grandmother went to the Moon and didn’t come back.

She will soon and I bet she’s building a rocket even now.



bobby stevenson 2012

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Kinder Love


Even after all these years,
I awoke with you this morning,
Your arms in mine, your heat, your hair,
Your smell, your sleeping smile, your skin,
Your morning eyes,
Oh – those eyes.

Even after all these years,
When neither knows who lived or died,
I can still feel you inside
Clawing at the emptiness of my heart,
I was only ever happy in your company, that much is true.

Maybe we met a thousand years before,
And swore we’d love in different forms,
Perhaps this time we’ve only glanced each others' souls and
Hope the next will be a kinder love.

Even after all these years,
I still dream of you and hope.

bobby stevenson 2017

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Someone Else's Perfect



Don’t waste your breath,
Being someone else’s perfect,
Don’t struggle or crawl across
Someone else’s winning line,
Make it your own race,
Win or lose, the rules are yours,
Please, please, don’t waste your life
Being someone else’s perfect,
Breathe in deep, let go and be free.




bobby stevenson 2012

The Luckiest People Alive

When he stood on the hill top and bathed in the sun’s rays, he wanted to celebrate his being alive
So he tapped his toe to the sound of the wind beating on the trees and he smiled.

Then a tune swept inside his head, one from before he could remember - one that his grandmother or great aunt had sung to him as a baby and he tapped his foot.

But his other foot felt it wanted to join in too and so he hummed a tune out loud, one that had made him happy as a boy.

Now he was dancing a little jig at the top of that hill and laughing and laughing and laughing still.

Then he saw his friend, his pal, someone he had known from the start of his life, make his way to the top of the hill and his friend stood beside him and faced the sun.

And his pal started humming a tune that he knew as a boy and they both danced a jig and both laughed and cried for all they had seen and all they had heard in their lives.

When the townsfolk heard the commotion from the hilltop, they ran to see what all the noise was about.

Then they too started to dance and laugh and celebrate all that was good about life.
All of the townsfolk and all of their friends sang the same glorious song to the sky.

And each of them realised that with their friends by their sides, singing and dancing, they were the luckiest people alive.




bobby stevenson 2012

Monday, 13 August 2012

Stealing Moses

Pitched @ BAFTA (04, 2012)

I love him like he’s my brother.

When we first moved to Churchill Heights, Moses was just another little black kid who happened to live next door. I was fourteen years old and he was in another universe. Being four years younger than me was a chasm in my world.

We both had something in common - our fathers were long gone. His father had been hounded out of town by guilt and mine was everyman I ever passed in the street, or it could have been. 

Okay, I didn’t have a dad but I had a mother who loved me in her own way and who was a just as great at being a father . Perhaps this is what this story is all about: love. How people can love each other in the weirdest of ways. It has nothing to do with sex, it just that love can mean a million things and still be the best of everything. 

My mother spent most nights out in the streets looking for love and if it came with money left next to her bed then so much the better. It meant we could eat. 

Moses’ father had been a preacher in a baptist church in Wind Cotton Row, but one summer he had seen the light in a deaconess by the name of Tallulah and they disappeared for good into the wilderness.

His mother was scared that the struggle against Satan was only as good as that particular soul’s DNA and so if Moses was anything like his father then the devil would find him a walkover.

 So every night when Moses returned from his schooling and after being watered and fed (and having said his prayers), he would be put into his bedroom and the door locked against the forces of darkness. I’m not criticising his mother, this was how she showed her love by protecting her boy - by squeezing the very life force out of him. 

I know all this because his bedroom was through the wall from mine and every night,as I went to sleep, I could hear the poor kid weeping and calling for his father. After a while I got so used to it, that I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t hear him anymore. 

That was until one night while my mother had taken to the streets; I heard a scream from next door that made me think Moses was dying. It didn’t stop, in fact, if anything, it got worse making me get out of my bed and go to see what was wrong.

I knocked on their door but there was no reply. I looked through the main window and there were no lights showing, so I decided I had to do something and I charged the door with my shoulder.
 It didn’t move an inch. It was then I spotted a small side window open and without too much bother I managed to let myself in (I don’t want to give too many details away in case someone reads it and copies me).

Although I must have tripped over everything in my path, I found his bedroom - it was in the same place as mine but the other way around. Luckily there was a key in the door but so as not to frighten Moses further, I shouted.
“It’s me, Josh from next door.”
 I don’t think he heard me, or at least he didn’t care as he just kept on screaming.

When I opened that door I stumbled into the strangest bedroom - ever. There were pictures of angels and Jesus covering all the walls, it was enough to give me the shivers and there, in the middle of the floor, was a ten year old boy who was screaming his head off. I guess he’d just had enough. It happens to us all.

I’ve never been much good at hugging people but I felt that this was what was needed. I held the poor kid and tried to get him to calm down; after a half an hour or so, he began to cool it and I so I got him a fizzy drink from my place. 

Eventually Moses only let out the occasional sob and it was then I saw he was clutching at a postcard of some beach.
“It’s Hastings”, he said, apparently it’s where his father was from and get this - Moses had never seen the sea. His father had promised to take him one day. So this is the point where I promised the kid that I would take him to the beach the very next day,  when both our mothers were out doing other things. 

The following morning, after I heard Moses mother leave, I took some money from my mother’s bedside table (the money she got from her boyfriends to get her through the recession) and went next door. 

Once again, I had to break in – what is wrong with this woman?  Satan isn’t going to come knocking on her door, although I can see what you’re thinking – I could be the bogey man, but I’m not. 

Moses was sitting on the edge of his bed and he was all ready to go. Apparently he didn’t sleep at all because he was so excited. To tell you the truth I hadn’t noticed that there was no sobbing through the wall.

When we were on the train, he told me this was his first trip on one and I was totally blown away by this little guy’s excitement. When we finally reached Hastings, he ran all the way from the station to the beach and shouted and laughed and cried (all at the same time). 

He had me look for the exact spot that was shown on that postcard of his father’s and whether by luck or providence, we found the very spot and that was when the poor kid started to weep. To celebrate and cheer him up, I took Moses to an ice cream parlour – sure, he had had ice cream before but never walking along a sea front. I stole a look at him and he was a million miles away from that little boy in the bedroom. 

And then he did something that I’m sure was rarer than gold, he smiled - not just a grin but a full- on smile from ear to ear. It was then I knew I had done the right thing. 

Once we’d finished the ice cream, I asked Moses if he was still hungry and do you know what he said?
“Yeh”
So we bought some fish and chips and as we ate them as we weaved our way through the fishing boats that sat on the beach. That’s the unusual thing about the trawlers down here - they launch them from the beach. 

As we reached the old car park, the seagulls started to dive bomb us, I guess they pass this little piece of wisdom from seagull to seagull, that if you annoy the tourists enough they’ll drop their fish and chips and leave a banquet for the birds. 

It was then I saw her - Moses’ mother and a posse of folks I took were from the baptist church, the God Squad were on our tail. She must have known he’d pick this place to disappear to, and she probably thought that if the devil ever took a trip anywhere, it would be to Hastings to corrupt ten year old boys. 

I was sure she hadn’t seen us but just in case I made Moses run, telling him that the gulls were coming in for an attack. He seemed to believe my story and so we ran into the nearest toilet which stood at the end of the car park. 

I told Moses to be quiet while I listened for marauding church people but it seemed all clear. Moses then decided he needed a pee but that  he wasn’t prepared to use the urinal, he wanted to use the cubicle and could I stand by the cubicle door just in case. 

If it made him pee a little easier then there was no problem with me.
While he was in the cubicle, he kept asking was I still there, I’d tell him yes and he’d go back to whistling. Then he passed a newspaper cutting under the cubicle door.
“What’s this?” I asked him.
“Read it.”
So I did. It was all about this guy who stood in the high street of a town preaching the gospels for as long as there was daylight. He’d made the more sensational papers and they’d dubbed him The Jesus of Bromley – an area in south London.
“That’s him, that’s my father” he whispered under the door. 

I read on and it seems to get back in God’s good books, after running from his family, he’d taken it upon himself to steer the people of  Bromley back to a more religious path. The ‘newspapers made out he was crazy. To be honest, I liked the look of the guy, he seemed to be just an older version of Moses. Same smile, same kindness.

“I miss my Dad” he whispered.
When Moses had finished up and his hands were washed, I decided we should make a run for it. Where to, I hadn’t decided yet but we couldn’t stay in the toilet.

As we ran out of the building, it was like that final scene from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. They were all there waiting on us - the police, the social workers and the baptist posse led by an angry version of Moses’ mother. 

What can I tell you about the outcome? Moses was returned home and I was told to appear in front of a panel of old people who would sit and judge me.
And they did.
Because I hadn’t forced Moses to come to the seaside, I was put on probation,  or more accurately, I was bound over to my grandmother on the condition that if I absconded from her, I would be sent to a young offenders’ institution until my 18th birthday – no questions and no appeals. 

So I moved in with my grandmother and it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I know my mother loves me but my grandmother was at least home most of the time.

One night, I sat outside my grandmother’s house in the garden. I’d never lived in a house with one of those before and I loved it. Looking after the garden was my grandmother’s hobby, although looking after me seemed to be up there with it.

I loved living with her, although I did still miss my mother and even Moses in a funny sort of way.  Then one night, my grandmother was on the ‘phone talking to one of her friends and they were discussing a boy.

“And he hasn’t been seen? No....no....what, just completely disappeared?”Asked my astonished grandmother.

It seems that Moses hadn’t been seen, even at school and I knew right away what the problem was.

I guess Moses’ mother thought that I was the devil or the nearest thing to it and to keep him safe, she’d locked him permanently in that room of his. Poor Moses would be going insane.

I had to do something and I knew it was going to hurt me very badly but I couldn’t leave my friend, my brother Moses stuck in that room, it would finish him off. I wasn’t angry at his mother -  it was a sort of love, that all she wanted to do was keep him protected. 

If I went to get him and they caught me, I would go to prison but the other side of the argument was that Moses was already in one.

So the next morning while my grandmother was having a bath, I took her rent money from the box underneath her television. I knew this was wrong but sometimes you’ve got to do a thing even if you don’t like it.

I waited outside Moses’ house until his mother went out and then I went in and got him. It wasn’t so easy this time, nothing was lying open, so I had to smash a window.

When I eventually broke into his bedroom, he was lying on the floor in the foetal position. When he saw me, he got up and threw his arms around me. Someone needed me and it felt good.

We managed to catch the Bromley bus but I didn’t tell Moses where we were going.
We stood at the bottom of Bromley High Street and there, at the top, was his father preaching to a crowd of maybe six or seven people. The moment Moses saw his father, he flew up that hill and threw his arms around him.



I smiled, as I walked back down towards the bus station.
I knew I was leaving and not coming back, but for the first time I had done something good and it filled me with hope.


Josh, aged 14.



                            Thanks to Stellar Network for their hard work and encouragement. :-)






bobby stevenson 2012

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Library




He was born under the tree, the one that still stands in the library and as tradition has dictated down through the generations, he was to be called after those who had lately left the tribe. 

James and John, the Bentley brothers, had gone out one morning and simply never returned. That was over five months before the birth and so it was decided that the new born baby should be known as John James.

John James was strong in mind and body and lived within the library, a place where only the privileged were allowed to inhabit.

And as he grew, he knew in his heart when it was time to move on. The library could only hold a heart and soul for so long before the need to walk in one’s own shadow became too great. 

When the time came, he took as little as possible - for he knew that any more than this and he would encourage the robbers and bandits who plagued the highways and forests in his path. 

He had heard of a great village they called the Quiet Town and if he survived the journey and the disease that had come after the Ending - he would probably remain there for the rest of his life.
He was twenty years of age now and if he was graced, he could look forward to the same again. 

There had been stories that before the Ending people had lived until 70 or 80, even 100 years of age but he dismissed that as myth. 

There had been many myths since the Ending but in his hand was a photo of Quiet Town – this could not be a myth. 

He gave the photo one last look, kissed it and then set off in search of a life that was his.








bobby stevenson 2012


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Just 'Cause You're Breathing, Doesn't Mean You're Alive


Just ‘cause you’re breathing,
Doesn’t mean you're alive,
Just ‘cause you’re clever,
Doesn’t mean that you’re wise,
Just ‘cause you’ve faith,
Doesn’t mean that you’re kind,
Because you can see,
Doesn’t mean you’re not blind.
Just ‘cause you’re loving,
Doesn’t mean you know love,
And by sitting in church,
You don’t speak for Above,
Just ‘cause you’re hurting,
Doesn’t make you unique,
And because you feel down,
Doesn’t mean that you’re weak,
Just ‘cause you're thinking,
Doesn’t mean you don’t strive,
Just ‘cause you’re breathing,
Doesn’t mean you're alive.




bobby stevenson 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Touching Gravity

The actual mountain, snow covered at the back, above Loch Tulla  
                        


Where I am today, I can trace all the way back to that time on the mountain.

I suppose there are many people with similar stories but this one had so much impact on the rest of my life that I still think about it every day.

Prior to the mountain, I was just a guy who rarely thought of anything other than work and holidays. On one of those weeks every year, I would walk the West Highland Way with friends. It runs 95 miles from Glasgow to Fort William in the west highlands of Scotland. It can be a rough walk and usually is.

The first couple of times I went with my pal Freddie and his son. They were both very fit and enjoyed the experience a lot more than I did. We all suffered from blisters on our feet but my blisters seemed to have their own blisters.

I killed the pain by taking aspirin every morning – not a healthy way to walk. So I decided for the following year  that I would get super fit and start to enjoy the walk.

And get fit I did. So much so, that we started not just to walk the 95 miles but to climb up every mountain over 3,000 feet along the way. In Scotland hills over that height are known as Munros after the man, Sir Hugh Munro, who recorded them.

Just before the walk reaches Glencoe, there is an estate known as the Black Mount which belongs to the Fleming family (as in Ian Fleming of James Bond fame). There is a path which winds through their estate and which follows the old military road built around 1750. About a mile or so into the estate there is a crossing called Ba’ Bridge. Freddie decided since it was such a warm, sunny, June day that we should climb over into Glencoe over the nearest munro.

We were in shorts and t-shirts as we ascended up the grassy slope. This took us on to a horse-shoe shaped area, and apart from the path we came up it was 2,000 feet down all around. The hills were sloped to the east and it was difficult to see to the west coast and appreciate what type of weather was coming.

We reached the top of the horse-shoe with little struggle. Then it suddenly got very cold, followed by a severe wind and then snow, lots of it – and all this in June. It came down so hard that it was impossible to see anything, a real whiteout. We were freezing and it was dangerous to walk any distance.

A few feet in front of us we saw a small wall of stones that had been built at the summit as a protection from the wind.And there we stayed as the weather closed in. It only got worse.

We sat looking at each other and freezing and I felt as if I was watching a film. How could this happen? It wasn’t meant to be like this, not here and now. Funnily enough the same feeling occured a few years later when we were landing in Helsinki airport and the landing gear wouldn’t come down.

Freddie and I covered ourselves and hoped it would pass and this was all before mobile phones. We hadn’t told anyone where we were going and we didn’t know ourselves until we were actually climbing the mountain.

I felt that if I was going to die of hypothermia then I may as well go for a walk and take my chances. In staying put there was a certainty of dying. Freddie decided to walk too.

What happened next you can interpret it as you feel fit. There was only one other way off the horse-shoe without falling 2,000 feet, a very narrow path (maybe two feet across) that provided a way across to the top of Glencoe.

Suddenly the sun came out – not across the sky but just one sharp sliver which had pushed through the clouds and lit up the narrow path; nothing else surrounding it, just the path. Although the snow was still falling, it was possible to see that the path led to a safe ledge and so we took it.

This is the part that made me change my idea of everything: when we got to the other side and safety, the sky clouded over and the sun disappeared. Not after a while, but right there and then.

We were able to walk down through the Glencoe ski area and reach the climbers’ bar at the Kingshouse.
We didn’t really talk that night – we both knew what had happened. We drank whisky and thought about things in front of a roaring fire.

When I got back home, I decided that if something wanted me to keep going then it might have an idea where I should go. Within a year I resigned my job and moved out into the world, a changed man.

Today, I write a little, act a little and sing a little all because of that day on the mountain. Hey, I'm poor in money but rich in everything else.

I know what happened that day and so does Freddie. I’m glad he was there or I might have doubted it.



bobby stevenson 2012

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A Brilliant Life


Martin was a man.

That was the best and the worst of it. He lived in room that served as his bedroom and sometimes as his kitchen. He had no friends to speak of but then he had no enemies either.

His parents, Fred and Annie had had high hopes for their boy. They had fought so hard to have a child that when Martin finally did arrive, he was their moon and stars and sun.

He had a good heart and some might say he had the best of hearts. 
He tried to be strong for himself and his family and he made sure he smiled every day but he did find, as we all do, that there are people in this world who won’t let a soul breathe. He didn’t judge them too harshly as they had their own reasons. He would simply let the world get him down for a while, pull the covers over his head then after a sleep he’d feel better once again.

Martin had had his dreams of course. He’d wanted to be a professional footballer then he’d wanted to be a famous actor and other times he’d wanted to sing in front of a million people. After his mother’s death he’d wished he’d been the person who had found the cure for cancer.

Martin never became any of those things, not because he lacked talent but because he felt there were better people than him. Those who knew how good they were, those were the ones that deserved success.

He dreamed of love and being loved but it never came to be or at least he may have had his eyes closed as it was passing. He watched his school friends grow and marry and have children and he wished them well and just sometimes as he sat in the park and saw the parents and their children play, he wished that he was them.  

Now don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t jealous, not for a second because the world shared out its good and bad and with his parents Martin had had the best of all worlds.

Sometimes he wished that he’d had a brother or sister, just someone to visit at Christmas. To have nieces or nephews that he could buy presents and birthday gifts.

Martin saw every single day as a bonus. He wasn’t lonely and he wasn’t a loner, he just felt people had better things to do with their time than talk to him.

But he watched the world and he saw the people and their troubles and without letting anyone know he would try and help.

When he had a little drop of extra coins in his life, he would put the money in an envelope and leave it on the step of some deserving door; the lady whose husband who’d left her alone, the child who needed an operation, the man who just wanted a day away from the house.

Martin wasn’t a saint, not by any stretch of the imagination. Martin had hurt people and he’d wasted opportunities and most importantly he’d wasted time.

Because we all have our own ideas of what sin is, but to Martin wasting time was up there with the big ones.

He sent Christmas and Valentine cards to the lonely souls in the street. He sent postcards to the old lady who, like him, had no family. She probably didn’t know who or where it came from but the important thing was that someone had written to her.  

You see none of what he did was ever big but it mattered to the people he helped.

This world is awash with lonely souls and to someone like Martin who could appreciate that point, he felt it was his place to do something about it.

Martin’s gone now and I’m not sure if he moved or just closed his eyes for the last time.

No one really noticed that there was no longer a light on in Martin’s house but they did notice there were no longer little gifts on the door step, or that cards were no longer being sent.

Martin had accepted that what he had been given in his life, was his life and he had used it all in the best way he could.

He sometimes smiled, he sometimes cried and he nearly always laughed.

It had been a life that only he knew, it had been unique to him and it had been a brilliant one.





bobby stevenson 2012

Friday, 3 August 2012

Eastman


It’s one of those games we still played even after all this time; where did we think Eastman was born?

There was a day when every city west of Berlin claimed him as their own but in the end it was probably London or across the water in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

You wouldn’t have picked him out at the start as being the type of creature he became. The story is often told of him being referred to as The Quiet Man, the gentle man.

He wasn’t a devout anything, never really went to church and rarely spoke of religion. To be honest, he wasn’t extreme about anything. Not at first.

He was born with that indefinable gift of people liking him. He magnetized them, flattered them, became their friend and then used them.

He spoke on television, on the web, wrote best selling ebooks and even composed several successful music downloads. He was the champion; he was the peoples’ champion, he was their champion.

His ‘Deacons’, as he called his close followers, financed his rise. He was astute and he waited until the time was right. After the crash of the Eurozone and the 60% unemployment, he offered cheap food in Eastman Stores, all making a loss and all promoting his ideals. Cheap camps were setup in Spain and England and these were known as Eastman Vacs, where families could vacation for almost next to nothing.

This was when he was loved and this was when he made his move.
It was as quick as it was well thought out.

He didn’t attack the churches at first, not at first. On his daily web broadcast he maybe hinted at his objection to the church, its power and its money. Only later did he talk of the actual buildings being insane asylums – only later did he suggest that holding a faith was a mental illness.

Then the first one went, a Baptist Church in South London was razed to the ground. The Eastmen (as the disciples now insisted that you call them) blamed it on a race issue – wasn’t the church full of outsiders? But it didn’t stop there. Within two years, any form of worship in England was outlawed. This didn’t apply to the former UK countries of Ireland North and Scotland, they had gone their own way.

When Eastman finally claimed power, it was amongst the poor that lived in tented cities in the parks of England. They ate Eastman Food, watched Eastman Broadcasts, Eastman Movies and drank Eastman Gin (Orwell would have smirked at that last one).
Every June the 1st was Eastman Day and the Eastmen would hold parades in every corner of the country. It wasn’t an option to attend.

But what you might ask, became of the opposition? Or the devout Catholics/Muslims/Protestants/Jews and others? Those that insisted on worshiping were slung into the other type of Eastman camp and worked to death.

Those who spread any form of socialism or brotherly love were beheaded in the Eastman Squares at the centre of every city.

Eastman Money was offered to anyone who snitched on their friends and family who worshiped in secret. Normally their homes were set on fire with the occupants inside.

Somewhere in all the cynicism of the 21st century we stopped caring and as we stopped caring we fed the beast.

As I sit here, I think back to the greed that started all of this; the bankers, the debt, the crash of the Eurozone, the unemployment, the riots and the rise and rise of Eastman.

You may mention Hitler in the same breath and you’d be right.
And all of this?

Well these are my final thoughts as I know they’ll be coming for me soon.

You may ask what my crime was?

I was a writer.

I’ll be taken to the re-education showers shortly.

No one ever returns. 






bobby stevenson 2012

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Faster, Higher, Stronger by Bobby Stevenson


She washes her mother with water and with love. Gently caressing the body that looks like someone she once knew, but her mother’s mind has already gone ahead and waits for the soul to return. She cleans away the saliva from the mouth that once used to chastise and kiss and smile.

He dreads the sun coming up as it means another day and another night of little sleep. Somewhere between being ten years of age and this morning it all got complicated. The knots are too tightly tied to try to undo them anymore. He can hear the car next door starting up – the sign that he has to do it all….all over again.

If it wasn’t for the kids she would have left months ago, may be years. They were happy once. They were in love back then but all she did was turn her head away, take her eye off from where she was going and they slipped away from each other.

Okay, so he’s not a kid anymore but he tells himself that the injections he puts in his leg every morning are increasing his super powers. Yesterday he told himself he could see through peoples’ clothing. It made him smile and it greased another sticky day.

She’s 17 and gravity hasn’t hit her yet. She doesn’t know what waits around the corner but she is happy with her family and her dog called, Bertie. Oh, and her boyfriend.

The old lady lives two doors up from no one. She’s been there since the war and the neighbours have come and gone and although she used to know everyone, she locks her door against the night. When she goes, she’ll go like Eleanor Rigby. Then she hums what she thinks is the tune.

It’s the end of another day and as the heads lie on the pillow, or the sofa or the street, everyone should be standing up there on the podium, arms aloft for a job well done.

To get through a day, any day, deserves a gold medal.