The Mice of Troon


It was a fine day in in the town of Troon, though perhaps a wee bit overly damp from the ongoing rain and cold wind blowing in from the sea.

The young boy played by himself in his home, left to his own devices to amuse himself indoors until the weather cleared while his mother finished on some chores. Naturally he spent the morning doing what young boys so often do when stuck indoors, namely he had adventures in whatever way he could.

Now this lad had been born with poor vision, which was a hindrance in some ways, but also led to his greater attention to subtle details. His parents and teachers were often amazed not just by his imagination, but also the way he noticed the little things others might often overlook.

On this particular day, the boy had discovered the knotted cord to the recessed ladder leading to the attic of his home. He hadn’t noticed it before, for him this was a new and as yet un-touched adventure waiting to be experienced. What was a young boy to do but investigate?

He stepped up on a chair, ignoring the slight wobble, and stretching above his head, stood on his toes and reached up until his fingers finally curled around the cord dangling from the ceiling. Victorious, he pulled until the ladder revealed itself and extended down to the floor. Torch in hand, he slowly climbed the rungs towards his mysterious new adventure land, until his feet finally disappeared from view as he stepped fearlessly into the dimly lit attic.


He spent the better part of the afternoon up there, and after several hours of adventure digging through the treasures secreted away in his newly discovered playground, he came across a small old metal and wood device tucked in a corner. The pine was coated with dust, the metal bits had long ago developed the patina of age. Curious, he decided to carry it downstairs and show his discovery to his mother.

Back on the ground floor, he brushed the cobwebs from his clothes as he stepped into the kitchen, finding his mother busy making mince pies to follow the evening’s supper.

“Mummy, why do we have these in the attic?” the boy asked.

She looked up from her work to see what new mischief her son had gotten into, her eyes falling on the disused device in his hand. She wiped the flour off her hands with her well-used apron and smiled warmly at her son, running her hand through his hair with a loving ruffling as she exclaimed, “Oh, you’ve found some new treasure have you? Well do you know what that is for?

“No, what is it?”

“That’s a mouse trap. They’re used to catch the mice in the house.”

“What mice?” the boy asked, “everyone knows there’s no such thing.”

His mother chuckled. “Don’t be silly, of course there are dear, but the traps are just rubbish at catching them, that’s all. That’s why we got Mr. Jingles the cat, to keep the mice out. Of course he shreds the curtains, but that’s why Humphrey is such a good dog, he keeps Mr. Jingles in check.”

The cat slowly blinked as he looked at the boy with a sly look in his eye, his jingling bell collar chiming out softly as he turned his head.

“No mummy, can’t you see? There aren’t any. Mice don’t really exist.”

“Don’t be silly darling” she replied as she turned her attention back to filling her pies, “Of course they do.”

“But have you actually ever seen one?” He asked. “I think the cat is just playing a trick on you, convincing you they’re real so he’ll have a nice warm place to live and plenty of food to eat.”

mti4otkzmdyzndkzmzu1ntmw            A slight tingling of bells chimed as Mr. Jingles slowly turned his head and fixed his gaze on the boy, giving him a rather nasty look.


His mother, however, paused for a moment, digesting the thought her son had put in her mind. “Come to think of it” she said, “when have I actually seen one?” The seed of doubt just planted, suddenly began to take root.

A slight puff blew through the room, and just like that, things suddenly felt different.

“Why come to think of it, I believe you’re right.” she said. “In fact, I know you are. Goodness, I don’t know what I was thinking, of course mice don’t really exist, how silly of me. Aren’t you a clever boy.” she said, smiling at her son proudly.

“You see mummy,” said the boy, “I told you. It was all the cat’s doing.”

“Cat? What cat?”

“Mr. Jingles, the cat Humphrey is always barking at.”

“What cat?” she said once more, “Darling, everyone knows cats don’t really exist.”

“What do you mean?” asked the boy. “I’m sure I saw him.”

No sooner had he uttered those words, he heard the quiet click of paws on the wood floor as Humphrey slowly padded into the room, casual in his gait, tail swishing in a slow arc from side to side. The old dog paused at his bowl, tail still wagging, and looked the boy right in the eye. Even with his impaired vision the boy was certain the dog smiled at him and winked before he looked away, turning his attention to the mound of kibble before him.


~ For Bean ~



Short Script Collaboration: Audrey’s Knickers

Shore Scripts Laurel

Knickers: (N) \nikərz\

Def: A woman’s or girl’s underpants (which may or may not have magical properties).

So recently my dear friend Gillian Hay  (link to her Spotlight page)

a bloody amusing Scottish actress, songwriter and all-around great gal, shared a short story of hers with me. It was a funny little tale she had whipped up about a girl with an abundance of hope but also an abundance of bad luck when it comes to men. That is, until she is visited by a pair of mysterious, talking underpants.

It was absurd and amazing, so needless to say, I was hooked. We laughed excessively at the madness that tends to spring from her mind (even moreso than most Scottish people, and that’s saying a lot), and after the revelry finally diminished, we decided to collaborate and see what would come of it. Ultimately we made some tweaks and additions here and there, fleshed certain parts of the story a bit more, and then I sat down and banged out a short screenplay adaptation of her brain-child, which got us all the way to the quarter finals in the Shore Scripts Screenplay Competition (yay us!) Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 6.13.15 PM

If you’d care to give our little tale of talking underpants a read, here’s a link. Audrey’s Knickers

Scottish Foxes and Posh Superheroes

Inspired by a conversation with my Scottish friend Gillian, here’s an odd little short story I whipped up for shits & giggles following a late-night chat that somehow devolved into a bizarre conversation about posh superheroes and rebel foxes.

Those Damned Foxes

A pack of slender shapes darted through the shadows of the small London suburb, tails held high in the air, ears pointed and alert. The foxes were on edge as they quietly scurried through the streets, clamoring and nosing their way into whatever nooks and crannies they could fit. An open window here, an unattended gate there, and perhaps once in a while, even a door opened by a mysterious gloved hand, wrist cuffs fraying from wear and years of nipping fox bites.

The hungry canines spread out in all directions, searching the homes they found accessible, noses twitching at a hummingbird pitch, scavenging for any scrap of food. “So Hungry” they all thought in unison.

Some of the foxes were stealthy in their nature, and those were the select few most likely to survive the night’s ordeal, spiriting away to the countryside whilst clinging to the shadows if they were lucky. Others were less cautious, their hunger making them reckless in their decisions. Occasionally one even took an ill advised taste of a sleeping human child, though not for desire of eating it but rather to lick clean the sticky remnants of jam and scones smudging the young one’s hands and cheeks, the raspy tongue waking the youth to the unexpected sight of a furry face and bright white teeth.

Screaming most typically comes next.

Parents, naturally, do not appreciate this.

They dislike it so much in fact that they chased the foxes with brooms and sticks, yelling angry oaths whilst sending the furry intruders fleeing into the night.

A shabby man in a well-worn mackintosh watched it all happen from the shadows as he leaned against his pristine van. He checked his watch,, then closed the rear door to his van and slowly climbed back in, starting the engine with a quiet cough before heading off down darkened streets.

In his wake the townsfolk had taken to the streets, yelling and hollering while chasing foxes from their doorsteps. “Out you damn vermin! Out I say!” shouted a blubbery man wearing an enormous mustache but not much more as his mass jiggled from his porch.

“Mr. Olsen” exclaimed his elderly neighbor, “What ever are we to do about these horrible foxes?”

“I think there’s only one thing we can do Mrs. Smith.” With that he picked up his telephone and dialed a 3-digit number. “Yes, hello? I’m afraid we have a fox problem, it’s really quite out of hand. Do you think they’d be able to find time to come help us common folk?” he asked into the handset. “Yes, of course, we’ll light it right up. Thank you so much.” The man turned, looking up the road, calling to a young boy watching the commotion from his window. “Tommy,” the man called out, “light it up, they’re willing to come to our aid.”

Tommy shut his window with a bang, then stepped out of his house, scurrying up the street at a quick run, dodging foxes as he went. Moments later a loud metallic clanging could be heard as faces appeared in windows.

“Oh, is someone lighting it?”

“Are they really going to come?”

“I hope I can get an autograph!”

The sky flickered for a moment as the enormous light came on, a massive image of a bugle clearly emblazoning the sky.

“It’ll only be a matter of time now” said Mrs. Smith, “I think at last we can all breathe a sigh of relief.”

Back in the stables on their 300 acre estate (the small Summer parcel they sometimes gathered at), The Posh Crusaders sipped their tea and nibbled on finger sandwiches as they gazed up at the sigil lighting the sky.

“Well, it’s about time.” Said Sir Richard Excellent Dibbley. “Damn plebs have kept us waiting for hours already.

The van pulled up and the shabby man approached. “Sir,” he said, “forty-seven foxes on the High Street as instructed.”

“Thank you Henson, that will be all for now.” Replied Sir Richard. “Alright team, it’s time to remind those commoners why the aristocracy shall always prevail. Lord Hamish Amazing MacKay nodded his approval.

“Very well Sir Excellent, let’s be off then. Lord Fantastic, Dame Incredible, gather the others, we ride in 10 minutes!”

The townspeople peered anxiously through the streets as shapes flittered in the dim light, both people and foxes alike, when a sharp bugle cry cut through the night. “It’s them, they’re coming!” shouted young Danny Fay. And sure enough, they were indeed coming.

The Posh Crusaders were a sight to behold as they slowly rode their enormous steeds down the street, black boots glistening in the pale moonlight, white pants crisp and clean, red coats blazing on their backs. Acutely aware of the eyes on them, they held themselves with the air of the elite, of the ruling class, of the aristocracy.

Sir Excellent scanned the scene and spoke. “Citizens. Commoners. You have called for our assistance and we are now come in your hour of need. He paused, allowing the common people to take in the sight of his majesty.

You sir,” he said, pointing at Mr. Olsen, “where are these scurrilous vermin from which you are in such dire need of rescuing?

Mr. Olsen pointed and stammered an incoherent reply, so glad was he at the sight of the Posh Crusaders.

Sir Excellent gave him a quick nod, then turned to his snooty compatriots.

“Crusaders, ride!”

A blare of bugles filled the night air, followed by the yowling of the Aristo-Hounds as they ran down the streets and alleyways, barks bouncing off the walls, echoing this way and that. The mounted heroes, though lacking capes (Lord Amazing had once floated that idea but it was voted down faster than the spandex unitard suggestion from Lady Stupendous) galloped forth to their task, and in a short but bloody frenzy the neighborhood was soon cleansed of the horrible fox menace.

The air had taken on a calmer feel, and Henson loaded the dead foxes into his van while The Posh Crusaders signed autographs and took pictures with the commoners. “Who do I make it out to?” asked Lord Amazing, the star-struck girl looking at him in awe.

Finally “Crusaders, mount up!” called Sir Excellent.

Once more astride their mounts, the heroes turned and rode off, but not before heartily shouting out, “Long live the aristocracy!” to which the grateful townsfolk replied in kind, “Long live the aristocracy!” and applauded as their saviours rode off into the night.

Back at the estate, Sir Excellent stood at the wash basin in the stables, dabbing specks of fox blood from his gloves.

“Forty four of the forty seven this evening Sir.” Said Henson.

“Only three missing this time? Not bad. Next week let’s make it an even fifty, shall we Henson?”

“Indeed sir, I’ll inform the kennels.”

“The people will always need the aristocracy Henson” Sir Excellent said to himself, admiring his strong jaw in the mirror. “It’s the natural order of things.”

“Yes sir, right you are sir.

In a small dugout on the outskirts of town, three weary and filthy shapes slithered into a gap between some boards, entering a long shuttered factory.

Suddenly a bright light shone down upon on them and a harsh voice barked out, “Password!”

The dazed foxes quickly gathered themselves, standing straight. “Bannockburn!” they replied in unison.

The spotlight went out, replaced by a dim glow illuminating the cavernous ruins. As their eyes quickly adjusted, the three saw their fox brothers and sisters in great numbers from floor to rafters. In fact they’d never seen this many foxes in one place, not even in the Posh Crusaders’ secret kennel.

One particularly large and grizzled fox padded over to them, sniffing their tails. “Good” he said, “Very good indeed.” The newcomers looked at him, curiosity in their eyes, but also a tinge of fear. This fox had an air of something different about him. Ah yes, an Alpha.

“The humans are getting more careless, soon our numbers will be great enough to reclaim what’s ours.” Said the burly fox.

“Can it be possible?” asked the youngest of the three newcomers, “we’d heard rumor of this place, but never imagined there were so many.”

“Och m’lad, it’s more than possible.” He paused. “Lights!” The room was suddenly illuminated and the three were astounded to see there were far more of their kin than they’d thought could possibly exist, let alone be in the same place.

The rugged old fox looked them over once more and flashed a toothy grin, nodding his approval of his newest recruits. “They call me Borlum” he said, “Welcome to the resistance.”