No Laughing Matter by Daphne Jaaback

Non arboreal

And cursorial

Sometimes spotty

Even stripey

Using jaws

And not its claws

To consume its prey

Just straight away


Very vocal

Local yokel

Whines and moans

Giggles and groans

Nothing meaner

Than hyena

Turning sharply

Active nightly


The heat of day

Not passed away

Made tourist decide

To sleep outside

She awoke to a smell

And had visions of hell

The crunching of bone

She found was her own


A scream erupted

Her face corrupted

Help came quickly

To a scene so sickly

Hyena seen running

Grunting and laughing

Tourist air lifted

For face to be treated

Two Pieces of 100 word fast fiction

Itsy Bitsy Spider


Corinna Beamish

(summary of the removal of a spider from a man who had been on holiday in Thailand. The spider managed to get in through a hernia scar and burrow up to his abdomen under the skin….)


I was nice and warm in my nest.  I had taken a lot of trouble to burrow in and create it.  It was strange though.  It was moist.  It smelt funny. I settled in and got busy.  Something dug at me from above. Then I was pulled out, though I tried to hold tight. I have lost two of my legs and am in the open.  Strange eyes peer at me.  Different smells.  I raise my two front legs.  I sense I will soon be dead.  But I have achieved my aim.  I have laid my eggs.  They are safe.





I always  dawdled past the old house , hoping today  the blue shutters in the downstairs bay window might be open, or the tiny window directly under the pointy roof, might show a sliver of light. But they never did. I loved the tall tower at the back, and the creeper draped porch over the peeling front door.  The house was framed by two tall palm trees , branches tossing in the wind. Who lived here? Nobody knew. Once I swear I saw a woman’s pale face looking out at me from the tower window –  why? And who was she?



Trilogy of Limericks by Daphne Jaaback

There once was a sturdy Great Dane

Whose preference for socks was insane

When they opened him up

They found in this pup

Twenty  one pairs of  socks causing pain


There once was a frog called Kermit

Whose behavior was that of a hermit

He discarded his socks

And swallowed some rocks

That survivor of note called Kermit


There once was a Pointer of note

He was sporty and bore a short coat

Disregarding his fate

A skewer he ate

And lived to be Pointer of note



(Inspired by “They Ate What?”, an annual competition in which vets submit their most bizarre cases.

Kermit received first prize and joint second  were  the sock scoffing Great Dane and the German  shorthaired  pointer.)

Safe Anchorage by Daphne Jaaback

Soulmate of mine

Always there for me

For the last fifty years

Ever remembered with love


An anchor in storms

Now anchored himself

Cancer consumed

Home at the end

On morphine routine

Rallying at times

As he bravely fought

God gave him rest

Ever remembered with love


3 Flashes From Mars by AM Smith



I knew I would die on Mars.

When I signed up they said: you do know it’s a one-way trip? But I didn’t care – going to Mars! Being a space pioneer – one of the first colonists on Mars. My lifetime dream actually manifesting as reality.

The training, the launch, the long journey, the botched landing, the struggle to establish our temporary survival domes – achieved on adrenaline alone. But the chain of accidents, the slow attrition:  hard to bear, but I survived. And now I’m alone, dying on Mars, tasting the bitter failure of Mankind’s last chance to save our species from extinction. At least we  tried.


You can train all you like, but when Lift Off finally happens nothing prepares you for the feeling – not so much the physical force, the noise, the sheer power – no: it’s the feeling of exhilaration. We did it! you yell inside your head. And when we landed clumsily and off-target on the red Martian soil another wave of feeling: elation, mixed with dread. Over the years, tsunamis of feeling: triumph, bitterness, disappointment, sorrow, and loneliness. I never thought I’d be the last one. I suppose somebody had to be. Why me? I snivel. There’s nothing noble or special about closing a doomed mission. I slowly take off my helmet and look over the horizon in the direction of Earth.


Goodbye, Baikonur! At last – no more Russians! Mars here we come! If we succeed, we’ll be the first crew on Mars. Pity about the Russian’s Mars-shot last year – Andrei Zatov was a decent guy, even if he was a Russian. Whoa – this is gonna be a rough landing! What the ? . BAM!! .. Urrggh … pray I can  open the hatch before this baby blows –  made it! Now what? Huh? Crackle-crackle-hiss – impossible – how can there be a local signal? Welcome to the new Soviet Republik of Mars, Comrade!  Huh? Andrei ?? Andrei Zatov? You’re supposed to be dead!

Writing Group Blues by Gwynn Dawson

The lass on my left

is waiting to publish,

While I’m sitting here

trying not to write rubbish!


The girl in the wing- back,

is pen -poised and gifted,

Oh! help me, the Muses!

As through hell I’ m sifted.


Now they’re all on about


Are we writing or fishing?

Oh yah ! Its tea time!


On , on we go

Just so much to know.

My verbs are entangling,

My adverbs not lucid.

My nouns are all jangling,

My commas quite putrid.

My grammar is terminal,

the sub text ,sub zero

Oh Lord  I’ve forgotten

To write in a hero!


What! You all like my piece ,

its spontaneous and free.

Dear fellow writers,

This group is for me!


Now as I leave you,

To live in the country,

I know I will miss you.


The laughter,

The banter.

Oh yes !it’s been fun,


Somehow , a miracle!

Good writing was done!

Peacock Feathers by Daphne Jaaback

From an early age, our son, Ken, realized that monetary coins were different from all other circular or cylindrical objects. They had a unique  swappable  value. Marbles could be swapped for marbles, precious stones for precious stones but coins could be swapped for anything, dependent only on the size of the thing.

At a sea-side shop  he spied a brightly coloured beach ball which he had to have. He was two years old at the time so he didn’t  have his own stash of coins. He pulled my arm and asked for one. He proceeded to the counter , proffered the coin to the assistant and pointed to the ball of choice. He was disappointed that no change was forthcoming. The assistant explained that he could have a smaller ball and that purchase would give him an additional coin. Ken happily went that route. Perhaps this was his first lesson in spending according to one’s means.

Years later we moved to an area close to a tree lined park , the centre piece of which was a small dam. The latter was home to small fish, frogs and a host of other fascinating water creatures. Peacocks, herons and other birds inhabited the lush surrounding s.

Armed with rods of stick, string and hook our children  used to head to the water. They would thread worms onto the hooks and spend many happy hours   catching tiddlers. Ken would  sometimes sell these fish at our gate.

One afternoon they discovered a dead peacock and carried it home for burial. Before lowering it into the hastily dug grave, Ken insisted on plucking half a dozen feathers. He had heard that the owning of a peacock feather brought good luck.

Next day he stood outside our front gate and placed the jar of feathers, with a ‘For Sale’ notice, on a rock. He did brisk business and  pocketed  the proceedings.

That night he seemed restless and I wondered whether he was unwell.

Early in the morning I caught sight of him by the grave. He appeared to be exhuming the peacock. He then carefully placed some small objects on top of the body and covered it up.

“Ken, what are you doing?”

“I felt so sorry for the turkey that I had to give him the money.”

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