Mind over matter



The power of the mind is greater than anything in the material world. The material world, what we call ‘reality’, is just an illusion. A projection of our minds. A limitation we place upon ourselves.

Understand this, believe it, and it becomes possible literally to step beyond the physical world. Believe you can do it and you can walk through walls. Dive through pianos.

My assistant will demonstrate. Henry, if you please.


Breathe. Believe. Concentrate.

(By the way, I’m sleeping with your wife.)


Oh dear. Something must have broken his concentration. Henry! What a tragic end.

Mind over matter - Piano man


© TheSupercargo

The above was written for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The prompt: the legs of a man projecting from the body of an upright piano. I’m proud to say this week’s photo was one I took myself, but in keeping with the style of this website I choose to reproduce it here as a doodle. As ever the Friday Fictioneers target is 100 words – and this week I hit it on the nose! To see a list of links to all the responses to this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, click here.


Grendel sliceThe feasting and noise from Heorot night after night seriously disturbed the neighbours. Especially irritated was Grendel, not so much on his own account, but on behalf of his mother, who was getting on in years and needed her rest. Ever since Hrothgar and his Thanes had moved in she had lost more and more sleep and was becoming increasingly peevish. She tended to take this out on her son, which he did not enjoy.

One night, when the din from the “mead hall” had been particularly loud and had gone on for a particularly long time, Grendel’s Dam had become particularly upset. Finally Grendel exclaimed, “No, no. This simply won’t do!” Putting on his cardigan (for the early autumn mists were chilly), he strode across to Heorot and marched up to the front door.

He rang the doorbell and hammered on the door. To no avail – the noise inside was too great. Exasperated, he tried the door and to his surprise found it unlocked. He pushed it open and stepped inside.

The noise outside was as nothing to the volume within. Raucous music – Grendel assumed it was supposed to be music – bellowed from amplifiers. Voices were raised in song or argument. The hall was packed with long-haired louts, sweaty drunks in boots, jeans and leather waistcoats, who stood in groups, leaned against the walls or sat on on the staircase. Blear-eyed, they clutched cans of lager or passed fat, poorly rolled joints from hand to hand.

It wasn’t obvious at first, but after a moment Grendel realised some of the brutes in the hall were women. Somehow this made the whole scene even more gross to him. Shuddering, he looked about for Hrothgar. The man was not to be seen. Barely able to hear himself think, Grendel touched the arm one of the louts standing near the door, meaning to ask where Hrothgar was. The man looked at Grendel and all the blood drained from his face. This was made the more dramatic because he had a particularly red face, with bloodshot eyes and a glowing nose, but looking at Grendel he turned pale, paler than pale, his eyes rolled back in his head and he crumpled to the floor.
Irked, Grendel tutted to himself, stepped over the inert body and touched a second man on the shoulder. This man looked at Grendel, took in his long face, his horn-rimmed glasses, his cardigan (which his mother had knitted), and stepped back a look of loathing and utter horror twisting his face. Already unsteady, his heel caught the foot of the stairs and he tripped, falling backward, his head clipping the edge of one of the steps as he went down. The noise of his fall, which must have been prodigious for he was a large man, was drowned by the volume of sound in the hall and to Grendel it looked almost as if he fell in silence.

Grendel turned to a third man who leant up against a doorpost. The man had clearly been watching Grendel’s progress with alarm. When he realised he was next, the fellow’s knees gave way and he slid down the wall, turning his head to vomit as he did so.

“Oh, really, this is too much!” Grendel was quite disgusted. “What are they on?”

Now a woman saw Grendel surrounded by bodies. As the third man keeled over, she suddenly screamed. At last something that could cut through the noise in the hall! Someone switched off the music and the shouting and singing died away. Grendle was conscious of standing in the middle of a crowd who looked as though they would be perfectly happy to beat him to a pulp, but no thought of personal safety disturbed his rightous indignation.

“Where is Hrothgar?” He demanded.

“He’s gonna kill Hrothgar,” screamed the woman.

“I am not – “

But he was cut off as one of the louts swung at him with what seemed to be a chain. The man was as drunk as all the rest and Grendel had easily enough time to dodge the blow. The weapon, missing its target, struck the face and neck of another man in the crowd, who screamed in pain.

Now the noise was back. The brutes who filled the hall were howling and cursing and all sorts of weapons were appearing in their hands. Knives, knuckledusters, chair-legs, baseball bats. (Grendel had time to notice, not a single honest cricket bat.) But space was at a premium and the bullies’ hand-eye coordination was not of the best. Grendel was scratched on the cheek, but the damage the louts managed to inflict on one another was infinitely more serious. Soon blood was splashed on the walls and bleeding men and women were crawling on the floor, trying to get out from underfoot.

Finding himself back at the front door, Grendel decided discretion was the better part of valour, and slipped out.

He walked home.

Stepping indoors, his mother called out to him from her room: “Is that you, Grendel?”

“Yes mother. Never fear!”

“Did you make them stop? It’s much quieter now.”

“Yes. I think things will be a mite more peaceful now. You can rest easy.”

“Thank you, son. What would I do without you?”

Grendel's mouth“Without me, mother? Why, you’d have to teach them a lesson yourself!” Standing now in the bathroom, inspecting the scratches he had received, Grendel smiled quietly to himself. The idea of his mother going over to Heorot and her reaction to the scenes he had witnessed struck him as amusing.

They wouldn’t know what hit them, he thought.


© TheSupercargo

For the real story I warmly recommend Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. The illustration of Grendel the Stockbroker is based in part on a photograph of TS Eliot.

Rehearsing winter

Dandelion clocks rehearsing winter




The summer meadow,

green-gold last week,

this morning’s hazed with white.


Dandelion clocks rehearsing

frosted winter.

© TheSupercargo

This poem describes a true event, but started life as a response to a Twitter wordgame. I liked it well enough to rework it for Articulations.

The Camelopardophant in the Zoo of Heraldic Beasts

You humans don’t realise how demeaning this is. And boring. For me anyhow.

The griffin, the unicorn, even the cockatrice have their fans. And Leroy over there gets a stream of visitors. “Do rampant!” They say. “Do couchant!” And he obliges. He’s a trooper.

Well, actually he’s a lion and an egomaniac. But that’s Leroy.

Not me. I don’t get the requests. Does anyone have me on a shield? The only visitors I get say: “What’s this funny looking thing?”

I say: You want funny? Look in a mirror!

No, I don’t. Can’t speak, can I? But think it and try to transmit my contempt by telepathy.

Heraldic Camelopardophant

© TheSupercargo

The above was written for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The prompt: what appears to be a large soft toy animal with the hindquarters of a zebra, the body of a tiger, the forequarters giraffe and the trunk of an elephant. Obviously a camelopardophant! As ever the Friday Fictioneers target is 100 words – as ever I fail to hit it, but the above is only 107 words long. To see a list of links to all the responses to this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, click here.

Atropos and Mnemosyne


His same question,

my same answer,

again and again.

Atropos clips

the gossamer threads of his memory

faster than

Mnemosyne can weave them.




© TheSupercargo

I’m aware this should probably be Atropos and Clotho, but Mnemosyne seemed more appropriate.

A pride of princesses

Penny was our captain, the only girl among the four of us, but where she led we followed. We built castles in the sandpit with water fetched in bottles from Penny’s kitchen. We built a lean-to of sticks round the climbing-frame, camped there till sunset when our parents fetched us home.

Inspired by her cousin’s forthcoming high-school prom, Penny decided we should have our own. She commanded: wear ball-gowns! And after a fashion we did. Jim wrapped himself in a sheet, Peter found an old dress of his mother’s, I wore my sister’s ballet-skirt.

Penny “borrowed” her cousin’s dress.

A pride of princesses in the playground.

The uproar when we were discovered!

Princesses of the playground


© TheSupercargo

The above was written for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The prompt: a brightly coloured ball-gown hung to air on an American-style fire escape on the facade of a monochrome old tenement. The target is to keep the text to 100 words. I haven’t quite managed it yet and not this week either, the above is 112 words. There’s a Pride Week going on in my town at present. That might have influenced me too. 🙂






If someone with porphyrophobia

     runs screaming

          from a reading

               of Alice Walker’s

               The Color Purple,

          does that count as racism?




© TheSupercargo

Porphyrophobia really does mean an irrational fear of the colour purple. Look it up! And the doodle is of the front page of my copy of The Color Purple, hence the Virago iron logo.




     Spring creeps up on old Winter,

          breathes warm in his ear.

Winter and Spring - surreptitiously


© TheSupercargo

Hanging on the telephone

I’m in the phone booth across the street.
It’s trashed, but I’m hiding here.
Calling on my cell.
Why can’t we talk again?
I’ll keep ringing!
Hanging on the telephone Don’t answer – I’ll keep ringing.
Switch off the sound – I’ll vibrate in your pocket!
But why can’t you answer?
Saw your mother just now. She going to work? The store?
All those things she said.
I told you…
Why didn’t you listen?
Godsake. Pick up!
When I don’t hear your voice things go… wrong.
Can’t we talk again? I want to tell you…
Sirens. Your mother’s called the cops!
I can’t control myself. I’m coming…
I just want to show you some… affection.
Don’t leave me hanging…



© TheSupercargo

The above was written for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction forum. The prompt: a clapped out US telephone booth. As soon as I saw it, Blondie’s  “Hanging on the Telephone” started on a loop in my head. Perhaps I should add that I’m aware the illustration limits the text; in fact there’s no reason to assume the speaker is a woman. Blame Debbie Harry 🙂



Though the world found his manner





                liked to think of it as






© TheSupercargo

The doodle is based on a painting I found on the Internet, I liked it, but I didn’t recognise it and I’ve been unable to identify the artist. Any visitor who can help, please do leave a note!