Giving it a Go


“Remember, everything is possible as long as you have a positive attitude, and truly believe you will succeed. Rest assured, Lads, I am right here behind you!”

“Okay, Sir; so as long as we keep believing that we can climb out of our trench in the face of pre-sighted machine guns, cross one hundred yards of waist-deep mud, shell-holes, and broken wire, and then work our way through an additional fifty yard wide mine field before climbing their barbed wire obstacles, we should take their trench easy-peasey?” Private Grant asked.

“I think that sums it up pretty well, Lad,” the captain replied.

“Well, let’s give it a go then,” Grant said confidently.

You just have to appreciate our education system, the captain thought to himself as he lined the eager replacements up for the assault.



Stake outs weren’t like they were in Dan’s father’s day. Dad used to be gone for days at a time and return home smelling of sweat and stale coffee. No, Dan’s surveillance were quite different with state of the art optics, audible, and sensor arrays. To make it better still it was all done in the station, a mere ten minutes from home with decent coffee, and a unending supply of donuts.


The Real Power In The Office

My boss called me into her office and silently handed me a piece of a paper instructing me to use my position as the office “gopher” to implement some productivity initiatives. First, I was to surreptitiously exchange the French grind coffee in the break room with a generic supermarket grind. This she believed would decrease the number of breaks for refills and also cut down on catering costs. Next, I was to gradually shift the file cabinets to decrease the standing space around the water cooler in order to hasten workers’ returns to their desk. Finally, I was instructed to replace the cushioned two-ply in the restrooms with a coarse paper which made toilet breaks on office time a less appealing proposition.

Well, her predicted results manifested themselves soon enough. But what I enjoyed most was not the sense of power I had in being instrumental in the changes; but rather the lucrative side-business I ran selling first-rate coffee, and plush toilet paper from my mail room trolley.


The Sighting

Waldemar Brandt at Unsplash

“I tell you, I know what I saw,” Hans said passionately.

“You couldn’t have. Everyone knows that these lands were cleared of them years ago,” Dieter replied.

“What are you two arguing about?” Karl asked, sitting down next to Hans.

“Nothing of any importance,” Dieter said.

“That’s not true,” Hans said indignantly. “I saw an Ogre in the wood.”

“If you did, how have you lived to tell of it?” Dieter challenged.

“I was lucky, or downwind, or something.”

“Or something,” Dieter mocked.

“Wait,” Karl interrupted. “In the Fallun Wood?”

“Yes,” Hans said.

“It wasn’t just me then,” Karl said leaning in and lowering his voice. “I found some odd tracks about a week ago and tried to dismiss it, then yesterday I saw something big deep in the treeline. I think we might have a problem here.”

“The problem . . . ,” Dieter almost shouted, before being hushed by the other two. “The problem is my two best mates have gone mad.”

Karl cut him off and whispered, “We need to check this out, but we farmers ain’t meant for such things. We need to have a look, but we need help.”

“What about Otis,” Hans whispered. “He was a warrior.”

“So now you want to get a sixty-year old all caught up in your craziness?” Dieter challenged.

“It can’t hurt to be sure,” Karl said. “If anyone can tell us if we’re fools or not on this, Otis is the one.”

“Fine,” Dieter said. “I can always use someone to back up my opinions.”


All In A Day’s Work

Trevor and Will had spent the morning filling potholes on the Farmington Road. With the job done, Will poured a couple of cups of tea from the flask while Trev looked at the next ticket.

“Looks like another bridge obstruction,” Trevor said, holding the paperwork up for his partner to see.

“That’s the third one this week,” Will reflected.

“I think it got something to do with the season,” Trev said.

“Could be,” Will said taking a gulp of tea.

The pair hitched up the horses to the red and yellow stripped wagon and headed to the bridge.

They stopped about fifty yards short of the structure, and Will opened the tailgate marked “Highway Maintenance” and took out two “Men At Work” signs. Meanwhile, Trevor donned his yellow reflective vest and strode to the bridge. He went about a third of the way over and leaned over the railing to look beneath it. He recoiled a bit and pinched his nose with two fingers before shaking his head and heading back to his colleague.

“It’s smelly down there, and it looks like a type two Ogre.”

Will opened the door of a cage at the back of the wagon, and grabbed the harness of a large goat. “Come on, Gruff, old fella, time to get you a little exercise.”


The Search

Gorge, River, Mountain, Jaen, Andalusia, Spain

“I’m pretty sure we came this way,” Wendi said.

“Pretty sure?” the deputy asked.

“It was dark, but I do remember a wood walkway and the sound of water.”

“Even in the dark you should know if you were on this side of the river or not. Was the water on your right or left?”

“It was – um – I’m not sure,” Wendi said.

“So you can’t say if we are going in the right direction, even if you at this spot last night?”

“No. Sorry,” she said trying to sound coy.

“You are telling me that you left your friend injured out here, and you don’t know where you left her.”

“She wasn’t exactly injured, just kinda passed out. That’s when her phone fell in the water, or I’d just ring her.”

“So you left her passed out in the river?” he asked in a shocked tone.

“No. She was on the edge. Only the phone was in the water.”

I hate sorority girls, the deputy mused. “So she was passed out on the river bank, and you left her.”

“Well I had to pee. Besides she was passed out in a good way. It was wine, not drugs our anything.”


“Yes, and I might of had a little bit too,” she said with a childish lisp. “And when I finished peeing – I couldn’t find her, so I called you.”

“So you were drunk?”

“No just a bit ditsy, I mean tipsy.”

That about explains everything, he thought.


What About Love?

Love, Potion, Bottle, Cork, Liquid

The apprentice, Lilibet was grinding dried sorrel with the adept, Sandra.

“Sandra, why do we make a cordial that is mainly used for fighting? Shouldn’t we make something nice like a love potion instead?”

“To start with it’s not practical,” Sandra said.

“Why not?”

“Okay, let’s examine it. A woman sees a desirable partner and decides to slip them a love potion. The object of her affection falls head over heels for her and is devoted to her until the potion wears off. To avoid this she has to ply her beloved with the potion on a regular basis, this is not only expensive, but a kind of deceit as her lover is in reality involuntarily bound to her through the potion.”

“But what if they happen to actually fall in love with her in the mean time?” Lilibet asked.

“How will she ever know?” Sandra replied. “Is it worth the risk to not give a dose?”


“Besides, it wouldn’t be practical for us either. Think about how much product we would have to produce just to keep up with the daily or weekly demand. Out forest couldn’t provide the needed resources, nor we the work force without outsourcing our techniques, and losing our monopoly.”

“Yes, but even if one couple . . .”

“Don’t go there. So lets flip this. A man sees a hot young thing, and slips her the potion. She in over the moon in love with him, against her own control mind, and they marry and have a family. Ten years on, the man sees her with her ‘mom’ body, and he constant tiredness owing to family life. Will he be tempted to buy more potion, if he was shallow enough to have used it to ‘catch’ her in the first place? I think not. Before you know it, he has fallen out of lust with her, she has stopped magically loving him, there is a broken family, distressed children, and to top it all off – we have lost a regular customer.”

“Wow, I hadn’t thought of that,” Lilibet said reflectively. “You are really wise.”

“No, just experienced. We tried that line about twenty years ago and it was a disaster.”


Thanks to my wife for suggesting this story line.


Drank, Magic, Alchemy, Bottle, Piston, Larp, Witchcraft

There were innumerable potions and elixirs available in the Kingdom. Two guilds in particular, the Fluid Alchemists, and the High Herbalists nearly cornered the trade. There were mixtures that instilled the user with strength, others with dexterity, and yet others that gave momentary abilities such as Dragon’s-breath.

One small cottage industry on the edge of Northwest Woodlands, however, produced the most widely sought after “cordial” of the lot. It was brewed by a pair of Cunning Women, and their apprentices, from ingredients found in the meadows and forests of that region. Prime Cordial, as it was called, would transform the user to their “prime” form.

For an ageing warrior, it might restore the strength, and vigour of twenty years hence, yet it would not erase the skill or knowledge that years had bestowed on them. For a fledgling fighter it might give them brawn and skill they might not achieve for ten years to come. Thieves might find their maximum dexterity and mages recall spells long lost to their memories. The effects however were short-lived lasting but an hour.

The brief enhancement was further complicated by some drawbacks. Chief among these was that the cordial could only be used once in a moon-cycle or the user might face a type of poisoning which would permanently rob them of skills. Other concerns were more practical, such as a young warrior becoming to bulked to fit their armour, or and we need not address the one-mindedness experienced by some Bards and Rogues, which diverted them from the other tasks at hand.

Many sought the secrets of this marvellous mixture, but it was guarded jealously by the “Sisterhood,” that produced it. Numerous safeguards were put into place, such as no two junior apprentices knowing the ingredients or procedures involved in its production. Adepts were limited to three at a time, and each of these still lacked certain aspects. Only the two Mistresses held all of the knowledge and skill required, and this was only passed on to one senior adept each.


Paths of Misfortune

Mountains, Lake, Lagoon, Glacier

The direction of travel was a matter of dispute.  Wentworth was sure that their destination was right over the eastern ridge.  Haymann on the other hand said that it lay to the north.  The bickering ended up being so intense that they went their own ways and Wentworth wandered widdershins and found himself in the Valley of the Trolls.  Haymann fared little better as he became lost in the glaciers of the north and froze.


Weekend Writing Prompt #245 – Widdershins in 75 words



War, Special Forces, Sniper, Army

Crime evolves. Weakness is exploited. Order must evolve with it.

The 1820s saw the formation of the Peelers in England to deal with the disruptions of the peace in industrial urbanisation. The 1920s and 30s witnessed the birth of the G-men in the wake of the Great Depression.

The 2020s saw the end of traditional venue based retail. Strip malls and then the big mega-malls closed their doors. Commerce moved online, and the likes of Amazon and FedEx became the outlet to goods of an increasingly isolated and sedentary population. The underclass and those seeking quick gain soon cashed in preying on the delivery mechanism. This gave rise in 2028 to a new breed of lawman – The Deliverymen.

The D-men were highly-trained ex-military and paramilitary operatives. They were equipped with state of the art surveillance systems and weaponry. They had one simple mission: that the goods flowed without impediment. By 2034, slow railway junctions were no longer littered with low value goods and the discarded packaging of looted goods, but with the rotting corpses and bleached bones of would be train robbers. The age of the D-men had come.