David C Dawson's blog

David C Dawson's blog

Thoughts of my Mother

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:27:23

Thoughts of my mother

Remember the time, remember the place?

Remember the moment, remember the face?

Was it then, are you sure, did he really say that?

Did he always possess such a ridiculous hat?

We sit on the sofa and talk of the past.

I forget many things, but your memory is vast!

It holds every detail; it’s sharp as a knife.

It vividly paints the real pictures of life.

Our history, we’re told, is momentous and fine:

The war, the Depression, those significant times.

But you’ve made it so clear how our family is key,

They’re the people to think of; they should matter to me.

The dates of their birthdays, all the things that they’ve done,

The people they’ve met, or the battles they’ve won.

No detail’s too small, no moment too minor,

No crisis is trivial, no triumph is finer.

For most of my life, work has stolen its share

Of my time, an excuse for not being there,

Or turning up late, always failing to see

That the person who’s missed out on real life is me.

Your values are constant, they are family and friends.

Love unconditional, old wounds always mends.

I’ve been so slow to learn it, but I hope that you see,

That I love you for teaching this lesson to me.





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Real Life

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:22:17

REAL LIFE

Andy adjusted the corset and regarded himself in the mirror. He wondered idly if he could turn the medical necessity into a fashion statement. Not with his scrawny body, he concluded, as he pulled a black polo neck over his head and tucked it into the waistband of his trousers. Already, the corset chafed the underside of his scraggy male breasts. Andy pictured the end of this day, when he could release himself from the torturous device.

He picked up a New York Times from the news stand on the corner, and walked the two blocks to his regular coffee shop. It was only April but the early morning sky was blue and he felt the faint warmth of the sun on his face. Despite the sunshine, he avoided the tables on the sidewalk and found a booth at the back of Carlo’s, where he could avoid the stares of the curious.

As he flicked through the pages of the newspaper, a headline made him pause. “SOLANAS RELEASED” was all it said. Andy laid the paper carefully on the table. He lit another Marlborough. There was no photo. But he could picture her face clearly, as though she was before him right now. Once more he saw her raise the gun. He instinctively covered his face, as he had done three years ago.

“You alright, Mr Warhol?” Carlo was placing a cup of soupy black coffee on the table. “Somethin’ wrong with your eyes?”

Andy lowered his hands and looked up at the coffee shop owner. He shook his head. “I’m fine Carlo. Just not been sleeping so well. The coffee will fix it.”

Carlo picked up the newspaper and looked at the open page. “What the hell’s John Lennon still doing with that Chinese chick? She’s seriously going to screw him up.” He dropped the paper back on the table. “You’re a friend of his, Mr Warhol. Can’t you talk some sense into him?”

Andy took a final drag on his cigarette. “Carlo, she’s good for John. I envy him, having someone like that. I never used to believe in love. I always though that everybody winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight. Maybe John and Yoko are an exception.”

Carlo shrugged and walked away. Andy picked up the paper and read the first few lines of the Solanas story. “Radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who shot pop artist Andy Warhol in June 1968, walked free from gaol yesterday, less than three years after the shooting. Solanas, 35, wrote the SCUM Manifesto, which calls for the elimination of men from society.” The corset dug deeper into his chest, a daily reminder of the injuries that had nearly killed him.

On the corner of East 16th Street, Andy pushed open the heavy metal door of the Factory. As always, he was the first one there. In the distance, the shrill, insistent ring of a telephone cut through the sunlit studio space. He walked over to the small kitchen area. He paused, his hand above the receiver. It was as if he was re-watching the scene from three years ago. Valerie had been standing behind him then, as he had picked up the phone. He looked around, but there was no one here. It was like watching a scene from TV. He only felt half there. The ringing stopped as he put the receiver to his ear.

“Still an early riser, Andy you shit?” The woman’s voice rasped in his ear and he closed his eyes, breathing.

“Saw you’d moved the studio. But I took a punt on you keeping your number. Still painting that consumer crap? Coke bottles, soup cans? Why don’t you do some more, like that lovely mushroom soup your mama made? Still love your mama Andy? Fuck knows why that bitch dumped an asshole like you on the world.” The voice paused and Andy could hear the woman take a long slow drag on a cigarette.

“Listen to me, little man. I’ve got your number. And I’m going to get you. Any day now.”





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Rags to Riches

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:16:46

Rags to Riches

So I was sat with Marjorie in front of the TV, as we do, on a Saturday night. She was snoring away. I was waiting for the woman with the balls to come on. Marjorie’s snored since, well whenever. Since we were weekly boarders at the Convent in 1948 and the nuns used to poke her because she kept the other girls awake.

She’s snored since she came to live with me after Herbert died. Drives me mad. I could kill her. Except she’s my sister.

So the woman with the balls comes on, then the man calls out the numbers and I don’t have to write them down because we always have the same numbers. I have my birthday, Herbert’s birthday, mum and dad’s birthday and the Queen’s official birthday. Marjorie has mum and dad’s birthday and the Queen’s birthday just like me. Then she has her birthday and the day she got engaged. She never married.

I just stared. The numbers came up. There was mum’s, dad’s and the Queen’s birthday. Then blow me, Marjorie’s, and the day she got engaged. They all came up. I leaned over and gave her a poke. Seventeen million. Bloody hell Marjorie. Seventeen million. But she didn’t say anything. And the snoring had stopped. So I poked her again.

So I’m standing there with Marjorie dead in the chair and I’m holding her Lottery ticket thinking bloody hell. She’s gone and won and now she’s dead. What do I do? I know she’s left all her money to the cats home. All because of that bloody moggy with the evil eyes and the broken ear. Doted on him even though he used to rip her candlewick to shreds. If the Lottery people give it to her, it will all go to the cats home. That will keep them in Whiskas for a bloody long time.

So I’m standing there hanging on the phone to the man from the Lottery company. “Yes this is Marjorie Cantrip. I think I’ve won the jackpot. What do I do now?” He says yes that all seems present and correct so now they’ll send someone round tomorrow to check the ticket and make sure it’s all kosher. I’m going to have to tidy up the lounge a bit.

I do wish Marjorie had gone on that diet like she kept threatening. Took me ages to haul her into the yard. The bin bags kept slipping off and her head made a hell of a bang when it hit the kitchen step. Good job she can’t feel it. At least the lounge is tidy. Well it will be when I’ve vacuumed. Don’t know what I’m going to do with Marjorie but I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier to sort out when I’ve got seventeen million in the post office.

He’s a very nice man with very shiny shoes. I opted for no publicity. He says they can advise me on how to invest it and they can appoint a fund manager and all sorts. Me, I just want a new bathroom. It’s embarrassing when visitors still have to go out to the privy in the yard. He went out a couple of minutes ago. Said he’d drunk too much tea. I’d better go and check he’s all right. Don’t want him finding things he shouldn’t.



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Green

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:09:43

GREEN

“Green! How on earth can you expect me to wear green? It’s so not my colour.”

Stuart was not happy. His partner, Richard, waved the fabric swatches under his nose. Stuart pointedly looked away.

“It’s an important message my love,” said Richard. “We’re making our statement about the environment. Just as we are with the electric car.”

“And that’s another thing,” retorted Stuart. “I’m not arriving in that electric roller skate. It’s so demeaning.”

With an effort Stuart suppressed the anger bubbling inside him. He looked up at his partner with what he hoped were puppy dog eyes.

“Richard. Sweet heart. Ours is going to be the first gay wedding in Britain. Although, only just,” Stuart’s nostrils flared momentarily. “After all, it was so nearly Trevor Ecclestone and his ghastly twink from Portugal”.

Stuart was less upset about the colour green, than Richard’s bid to take over the design of their wedding. After all, he was Stuart LeVain, the twice Olivier award winning theatre designer. As they stood in the dining room of their lovingly restored Art Deco flat in Pimlico, the evidence of Stuart’s skill was all about them. Richard by contrast was the heartthrob presenter of environment programmes on global television.

“My love,” said Richard, in the warm voice-over tone he used for his shows on armchair environmentalism. “The world’s media will be focused on us, in a beautiful village at the heart of one of Britain’s world environment heritage sites. It’s a perfect opportunity to make a statement about how man’s life choices are destroying the world. The publicity will be perfect. Please Stuart. You know that HBO is looking for a front man for its big push into environmental programming. A green gay wedding could do wonderful things for my prospects. It could mean two years in California.”

Richard added this last point enticingly, knowing his partner’s weakness for the West Coast.

“And with one green suit on the front cover of Hello, I destroy my credibility in theatre land,” Stuart took hold of one of the fabric swatches. “If I wear this I’ll look like Shrek. You know I wanted white. Well cream. Dominic had set aside some beautiful cloth he’d found loitering at the back of his storeroom months ago. In fact”, he paused for effect, “he went and sought it out the day after I called him from St Raphael to tell him about your beautiful proposal.”

Throughout this speech Stuart had held his eyelids open. It forced his eyes to water. The timing was perfect. He blinked and turned his head slightly, to let Richard see the glistening tear in the corner of his eye.

His partner fanned out the cloth swatches like a deck of cards. “Stuart dear. Don’t pull that damp eye trick with me. I know what your theatrical friends teach you. Look, I don’t want us to fall out over this my love. Perhaps we could have a horse drawn carriage instead of the electric car…”

“White horses,” added Stuart.

“Yes of course, white horses and a liveried groom to drive the carriage…”

“In tall boots,” added Stuart.

“You design his outfit my love. But please, I’d like us to make a strong, green statement…”

Stuart reached for the little pieces of of fabric, now spread across the Rennie Mackintosh table. An idea had popped into his head. An idea that was brilliant, but devious. A dark cream colour would suit his complexion best. Richard would never know the subterfuge. He was colour-blind.

“Well, I’d really like a colour that’s paler than any of these. It has to be light. Not dark and heavy. Let me ask Dominic to find something from his little goldmine. I’ll bring it for your approval of course.”

Richard leaned forward and kissed Stuart gently on the lips. “I do love you,” he whispered.

Stuart melted, and his devious plan melted away as well. How could he pull such a cheap trick on this adorable man? On his wedding day? He looked lovingly into Richard’s eyes. “What about cream with a green pinstripe?”



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A Friend of Dorothy's

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 20:58:13

A Friend of Dorothy’s

Timothy stood on the crowded underground train, the carriage packed with Friday evening commuters. His fingers clasped tightly around the handles of his carrier bag. It held his impulse buy. A very expensive, impulse buy. What the hell he thought. His contract had just been extended by another four months. It was his reward, he had earned it. Tim was a researcher at Channel 6’s hit day time television show Ey Oop It’s Elaine. He had a regular weekly salary and a flat share just off Brixton High Road in South London. Life could not be better as far as Timothy was concerned. And to crown it all, he had an invitation to the party of the year.

Top talent booker Oz LeStrange, the doyenne of daytime, threw a party at a private room, at the Vauxhall studios of Channel 6 once a year, and Timothy had an invite! It was his passport to making it in TV.
It was all thanks to Dorothy Dimpkins, deputy make-up artist on Wake Up To Weather! He had nearly got off with her that Friday lunchtime at the Channel 6 local; the Red Lion. She was older than Timothy, a lot older. At least five years. She must be nearly thirty but looked amazing for her age.

That lunchtime she had stared deep into his eyes as he told her all about the brilliant booking he had made that morning. Britain’s only conjoined triplets would be live in the studio next Wednesday. It was a coup. No other TV company had got them. It was all thanks to Timothy, Tim the Man!

There were lots of high fives in the office when he announced his success, coupled with envious glowers from his co-researchers on the show. At the end of the morning, executive producer Sandra Crow had called for him. Sandra Crow! The most intimidating woman in TV, known as Scare Crow behind her back. She was delighted with Timothy’s booking and promptly extended his contract.

As he recounted all this to Dorothy he could see the glow of admiration on her face. Timothy felt sure that he was about to score. Then came the killer blow. “Did I tell you I’m going to Dubai this weekend?” she asked innocently. “My ex-boyfriend does something dreadfully high powered in investments or something. Out of the blue he’s said he’s taking me there, and on the Sunday we’re going out into the desert on dune buggy thingies with a whole crowd of his chums and Simon Cowell’s going to be there! Imagine! It’s going to be such fun and I just know he’ll be looking for make-up artists on X Factor USA. It’s so exciting!”

Timothy’s face must have betrayed the depths to which his spirit had just plummeted.

“Oh but darling Tim! You’re the man! Tim the Man! Look, why don’t you take this? I can’t use it because of the Dubai thingy. You must go.” That was when she handed him the invitation to the party. “It’s the party to get noticed at” Dorothy breathed. “Great things will happen Tim, I just know it!”

He had failed to get off with Dorothy Dimpkins, but Tim had an invitation to a party thrown by the great talent booking wizard Oz. You win some, you lose some, he thought.

Standing in his deceptively spacious bedroom in Larkminster Rise, he stared admiringly at his new, expensive purchase. A pair of cherry red Nike high ankle trainers. Sweet. That was the only word that came into his head. His eyes caressed them lovingly, before he turned to the important task of what outfit to wear for the party.

Ten o’clock that evening, Tim was in the ticket check line outside Hospitality B at Channel 6. The red Nikes hugged his feet and ankles, the turn-ups of his blue Beaumarchais trousers grazed the top of them. He self consciously rolled back the cuffs of his fake Gaultier jacket, Dorothy had sneaked it out of wardrobe for him. Tim reached the head of the line and handed over his ticket. He entered the pulsating atmosphere of the great Oz’s party.

He took a luminous blue cocktail from a passing tray, and felt an arm wrap itself around his waist . A voice purred in his ear. “Well hello! Why have I not seen you before? Tell me, are you A Friend of Dorothy’s young man?”

Timothy turned to see that it was none other than Oz LeStrange himself. The great man had singled him out! Perhaps Dorothy had mentioned his name to him, or maybe even Scare Crow had mentioned him!

“Well yes”, said Timothy turning. “I am a friend of Dorothy. And I’m a big admirer of your work”.

The next moment he felt a hand grab his crotch and the arm around his waist tighten. “And I’m a big fan of your works too young man. Relieved to know that you are a fan of Dorothy, like myself. This party was looking far too straight for my liking.”

By 10:30 on Monday morning everyone in the Ey Oop It’s Elaine production office had heard about Tim the Man’s misadventures at the party of Oz. His face remained crimson with embarrassment for much of the morning. Now he knew, that to say you were a “friend of Dorothy” in the gay circles frequented by Oz LeStrange, meant a lot more than being chummy with Dorothy Dimpkins.



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Accident and Emergency

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 20:49:29

Accident and Emergency

So the task from my writers’ group was five hundred words on accident and emergency. That was three days ago. Now here I am, half past six on a Sunday morning, driving to the John Radcliffe Hospital with Nick fading fast in the passenger seat. Is that irony? Or God having a laugh? Well there is no God so it must be Mother Nature taking the piss. Ooh, there’s controversial. Father God or Mother Nature? Who’s the worst supreme being? Which one gave my partner the pneumonia, which is now sapping the life out of him?

He’s the colour of fire ashes and coughs like an asthmatic. He just sits there, with his head resting on the door pillar of the car. He’s not even flinching at my terrible gear changes. He must be sick.

So, I can do Thame to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in under eighteen minutes. It’s official. And illegal. Officially illegal. If I’d been pulled over I had a good excuse sitting next to me, hacking up phlegm to prove the need for speed.

Thank God for the National Health Service. Or rather, thank you Nye Bevan for the National Health Service. And thank you to the one point three million people who work in it. Thank you Google for that fact. And thank you to the amazing people who are here on duty in accident and emergency today.

Seven minutes. That’s all it took. From arriving at the reception desk to Nick having an oxygen mask put over his face. Blood tests. Intravenous antibiotics. More blood tests, then the X-ray that shows the storm cloud of pneumococcus over his left lung. We take a photo. Perhaps it will be a first for Facebook. Something to share and like. Yes! Three people like it in the first twenty minutes. Why isn’t there a “that’s terrible” button on Facebook? (Ed: OK, there is now..)

Nick’s lying here now. His breathing is shallow, but his temperature is falling and his oxygen levels have stabilised. It’s a start. The doctor has curly hair falling across his baby face. He looks like Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who played Mark Zuckerberg in the film the Social Network. Perhaps I should ask him about the Facebook button idea. Maybe not. He might look young but he’s got a brain the size of a planet. Like all the doctors here.
He’s on the phone, trying to find a free bed to admit Nick to the hospital. He’s making a lot of calls. Endlessly patient. Endlessly polite. But persistent. Thank goodness for his intelligent idealism. Let’s hope the dead hand of government health service reform doesn’t squeeze it from him.

Midday. Nick’s been admitted. The only bed was in infectious diseases. Inappropriate, as pneumonia isn’t infectious. But it means he gets his own room. On the ground floor with a window looking onto a garden. Well, a scattering of gravel and three pretty looking weeds. Nick’s asleep. He will get better.



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A Death in Autumn

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 20:43:59
Published in the first anthology for Chesham Writers and Scribblers 2015. Look out for the second one this autumn

A Death in Autumn
As he stood on the platform that late September morning, Harold got ready to set in motion his plan for the death of the man in the smart overcoat. The mechanics of the plan had always been simple. But until now it was the means of avoiding discovery that had eluded him.

Not any more. His plan was now perfected. Today he would put it into action. Everything was right on this first day of autumn.

The platform was filling, as it always did, for the six thirty eight to London. This was the first wave of commuters, who always arrived in good time for the non-stop City train. Immaculately dressed, coffees in hand, perfectly groomed. Soon would come the last minute dressers. Women still applying their make-up, men reluctantly putting on their ties. Finally, at around six thirty two, the pushers and shovers would arrive. Delivered at the last minute by their spousal taxi services, they started at the back of the crowded platform, yet always got to the front as the train came to a halt and its doors opened.

The man in the smart overcoat was part of this last group. Today, Harold was ready for him.

He had rehearsed his moves many times. He needed to be just to the man’s side as the train doors opened. He would execute a swift jab to the man’s thigh as he moved forward and then Harold would pull back. The forward surge of the commuters would carry the man into the carriage. Even as the doors closed, the poison injected into his thigh would begin to act. By the time the train got to Moor Park, the man in the smart overcoat would be dead.

And good riddance. That man who had cost Harold his job, his marriage, maybe even his sanity. The man who Harold had seen on television, saying over and over: “There are always casualties in a recession”. The man who last Christmas received a bonus of three million pounds from his bank.

The imminent arrival of the six thirty eight was announced. It was on time. Harold looked over his right shoulder. As people gathered up their belongings and shuffled forward, he saw the smart overcoat. Harold stared straight ahead and drifted to his right as the commuters around him got ready to move. One further brief glance to his right confirmed that he was alongside the smart overcoat. Harold reached into his pocket and his fingers wrapped around the adapted hypodermic. The crowd surged as the train doors opened in front of him.

By lunchtime it had made the headlines on the television news.

“The twin brother of Global Bank’s deputy chairman Cedric Messeter was found dead on a crowded commuter train this morning. Angus Messeter, a director of the charity Poverty Action, apparently died from a heart attack. He was forty two. He was a vocal opponent of his banking brother’s hard line approach to struggling businesses during the recession.”



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Wide Open Spaces

Book toursPosted by DavidCDawson Sat, August 27, 2016 10:00:07
I'm delighted to announce that Wide Open Spaces, Renee Stevens' new book in the series States of Love, is now available. Here are the details:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Genre: Contemporary Length: 35,659 Words

Rating: Adult/Mature

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: USCAAUUKDE All Romance

About Wide Open Spaces
Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi.
After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.
No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee lives in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.
When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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