The Ransom Note



Dear Mr and Mrs Spencer,

Can I begin by offering you my sincere apologies for the disgraceful ransom note you received from us yesterday.

It was extremely crude, both in terms of its layout and the vulgarity of the language used. Unfortunately, it was the work of my somewhat stupid associate. A loyal employee, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Rest assured he has been severely spoken to and has assured me this will never happen again.

In his defence, I believe him when he says he was trying to help by taking some of the workload off my shoulders. Unfortunately, his somewhat poor home background, deprived childhood and unsatisfactory schooling, came to the fore and you were the recipients. Once again please accept my profuse apologies.

Despite his shortcomings, my colleague does possess certain qualities that I find indispensable in our line of work. Personally, I would have been a little less graphic with the threats. Unfortunately, he does have this annoying habit of saying things as he sees them, though his choice of words leaves much to be desired. So when he wrote, and I quote, “Pay up or I’ll cut the little bitch up real nasty.” I’m afraid that is exactly what he meant. I’ve seen him at his work and, while not pretty, he is very good at what he does.

Once again I feel that I must offer you my sincere apologies for the manner in which this information was delivered to you. Procedures at this end have been tightened up considerably to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In conclusion, may I remind you that the ransom deadline draws near and my associate grows impatient.

I look forward to an early conclusion to our present business.

Yours faithfully.

Your Daughter’s Captor

Rearrange Me ‘Til I’m Sane



I’m sat in this chair
in a place, they call home.
I don’t recognize it but
it’s where I live.

There are other people here
just like me,
old and frail,
lost in this strange world
we call home.

I’m sat in this chair
looking out of the window
staring at my reflection
not recognising the person
looking back at me.

A stranger.

He’s old, so old.

Wispy hair,
a wrinkled face,
gnarled hands.

His whole body
wrapped tightly in that chair.

A warm blanket
holding him  fast
less he escapes.

I try to speak
to ask the reflection who he is,
but only spittle and strange noises
fall from my mouth.

I watch him dribbling like a baby.

Young ladies in blue uniforms
start to rearrange me,
wipe my chin,
straighten my cushion,
tuck the blanket around me even more tightly.

They smile at me,
their words sound kind but meaningless.

I want to answer them,
but the words won’t come.

They think I’m mad,
an old mind
too tired to work any more.

I so want to talk to them
about my life,
my dreams,
the love and the heartache I have seen.

Instead, I simply dribble and gurgle.

They respond by smiling and
rearranging me again
in my small world,
another shift of the cushion,
more tucking in.

If only these Angels in blue
could get inside my head
rearrange my mind,
and make me sane again.

Mike Jackson

Unrequited Love



She had been warned, but now it was too late. Nobody could say he hadn’t given her plenty of chances. How many times had he sat on the next table at the coffee shop or followed her shopping or sat outside her house for hours? He’d even smiled and said hello to her once at the bar in the local wine bar. Yet she totally ignored him.

They’d first met 18 months ago. He’d been in a hurry picking up some last-minute shopping when he literally bumped into her. His apology had been genuine and she had smiled and been so gracious. He could still remember that smile. It was then that he knew she was the woman for him.

After that, he just couldn’t get her out of his mind. He would find himself driving past her house on the way home from work in the hope he might catch a glimpse of her. At weekends he would follow her shopping or sit in his car outside her house. The more he saw her the more certain he was that she was the woman for him. There were only two obstacles standing in their way – his wife and her husband.

Getting rid of both of them had proved to be much easier than he’d first envisaged. His wife died in a tragic accident in the Lake District. She’d slipped while on one of her favourite hikes and fallen down the mountain to her death. That was the story he had given to the police and they believed him. He could still see that look of surprise and horror on his wife’s face as she tumbled over the edge.

Disposing of the husband had also been relatively easy. This time a quick push in the back on that crowded platform and the next thing you heard was the screech of brakes and screams from people who witnessed the tragic accident. The coroner heard he had been under extreme pressure at work and brought in a verdict of suicide.
So why, after all he had done for her, did she still ignore him? In the end he decided to go and ask her. When she opened the door it was obvious she didn’t know him. She looked so alarmed when he told her all that he had done to ensure that they could be together.

He hadn’t meant to hurt her but if he hadn’t hit her she would have screamed the place down.

When the police found his car it looked like a joint suicide. A classic case, the car parked up in a deserted spot, a hosepipe from the exhaust pipe in through the driver’s window.

What the police couldn’t fathom out is why the pair of them had decided to take their lives? According to all the friends and relatives they interviewed it seemed that the two hadn’t even known one another.


Mike Jackson