London 1962: Ten year old Stanley Atlas is sat alone on a park bench in Hyde Park stuffing his face with a cheese and pickle sandwich lovingly made for him by his mum. It is after all lunchtime and Stanley is starving rotten hungry. He has no idea that his world is about to change irrevocably as he opens his gob to take the last bite. Unbeknownst to Stanley the legendary ‘Whitechapel Earwig of Doom’ out for an early afternoon constitutional has taken it upon himself to crawl into the boy’s lughole to nourish itself upon that part of his brain that emits the signal to young Stan’s body to ‘walk.’ Having had a sufficiency of skull fodder the earwig makes to leave; maybe have a kip or whatever. It matters not as the ‘Whitechapel Earwig of Doom’ is to play no further part in this sorry tale.  Stanley, not the wisest of kids has no idea the henceforth he will be able to ‘stand up,’ ‘sit down’ and ‘run’ yet never again will he merely ‘walk.’

Wimbledon 2014: Stanley 62, a lonely, single man and after forty eight years in the same job readies himself for work for the very last time. You see it is today that Stanley retires from the only job available to a man who can only ever run and never to know the joys of a casual stroll. He exits the front door of his maisonette in Mitcham at some pace and sprints to his place of work at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium a mile or so away for tonight there is his final race meeting to attend and Stanley is, as he always has been in adult life, the reluctant ‘Human Hare’ for the dogs chase each race – my how he hates this fucking place.

“Best get your hare suit on sharpish Stanley boy the first race is off in just 5 minutes. I reckon you’re slowing down in your dotage matey boy,” says Frank the steward on the gates as Stan whizzes past him muttering a heartfelt, “Piss off” under his breath. He grinds to a standstill in the changing enclosure and puts on his attire one last time then veritably gallops off to the starting line noting that the greyhounds are in their gates ready for the traps to open. With all punters bets duly placed the flaps go up and Stan is chased around the track struggling for the first time in his life to keep a decent safe distance from the hounds. There are six races on the card and they all go much the same way with the animals hot on Stan’s heels to the extent the bookmakers are giving odds on Stan being caught by the canines and ripped to shreds.

Finally the last race. Stanley is so very, very knackered and ponders the point just how much he wishes he could simply walk about the place like a normal bloke; how much he would have loved a job behind the counter in the post office or such like; of how he would have also loved to have married and raised a family like a normal bloke – things like that. He recalls that once his sister Mavis let him push the pram when her baby son was tiny yet Stan shot off at such momentum down the Mile End Road that he got a speeding ticket and points on his driving licence. That story even made it into the local newspaper under the headline, ‘HARE MAN DONE FOR SPEEDING WITHOUT A CAR.’ With his mind full of a lifetimes regrets quite elsewhere he momentarily forgets entirely that the traps have opened and the last race is underway. The only thing spurring Stanley on is the fact that the CEO of the race tracks is to present him with his retirement present at the close of the evenings events. He understands that that present will be an all belts and braces expensive treadmill for him to keep in his lounge so as to run on whilst watching the TV of an evening.

Then disaster! For a man of his age Stan is still quick yet the delayed start gives the dogs the edge this time. Just on the cusp of the final bend the greyhounds catch up with poor Stanley and do indeed rip him to shreds. An air ambulance is called yet Stan is declared dead at the scene. Women in the crowd of spectators go moist and dab their eyes; grown men sob uncontrollably whilst the dogs having had their fill of Stan’s meagre fleshy parts lay scattered about the track sleeping it off after what to them was a feast of fresh raw meat.

With the stadium all locked up and tickety-boo Frank the steward leaves for home in a sorry state for whilst he had spent years joshing with Stan – sometimes cruelly – he really had a soft spot for the old boy. Frank puts his key in the lock of the two up, two down Victorian terrace he shares with his missus Charlene who, in an anxious state is waiting for him just inside the front door. “Frank I’ve heard the terrible news about Stan on the TV. The poor, poor man – to die such a death on the very night he was to retire.” Frank ponders the point, nods his head mournfully, puts a manly arm around his wife’s shoulders and says, “Charlene luv I was thinking.” “What’s that Frank?” “Well you are getting a tad beyond the optimum point of chubby in my book – so I’ve got you a treadmill. We’ll keep it in the lounge so as you can work out whilst watching those fucking soaps that bore me shitless yet you are constantly glued to on the telly whilst filling your fat face with endless Pringles then at least you might end up looking half decent again.”






    1. Funnily enough I was told over dinner the other evening by our guest about the story of a very old man living in a retirement home who could only run – so I decided that would make a good story and made this up!

  1. You did it! And very cleverly too, I might add! But since he’s dead, I guess now you’ll have to go back to pre-2014 to do any more stories of the poor running-man. 🙂

    1. Rachel today I’ve got a mermaid post on the go – all due to you. Shall post it with proper credits to you later – ’tis a bit on the ‘rude’ side but that’s what Jonny Catapault does best!!

      1. Really? I LOVE mermaids! And I love Johnny Catapault, even his usual delightful raunch. It sounds like you may have finally had a good night’s sleep? All of your creativity is surging again and it’s wonderful! Shirley must be in stitches around the house as you entertain her with your tales. 😀

      2. Certainly my mood has returned to its usual juvenile self – almost had one of those depressed moments that used to be a regular feature last week yet thankfully the black dog walked on by to feed, no doubt, upon some other poor sod! Back in the game I am!

      3. YAY! Next time, kick the black dog in the ribs hard. I’m telling you, that’s the makings of some serious good fiction there. Did you ever decide about writing your PI novel? Or you can’t think about that yet until you move?

      4. Do you know what Rachel I did think long and hard and concluded that the only way I could do it is by giving up blogging. Being a bloke I can’t multitask like you gals do. The thing is I’m reluctant to give up blogging. A book of lunacy full of short stories would be easier I think as I could still keep my blogging mindset.

      5. Oh, poo! I guess I’ll have to take a holiday to England and have you tell me all your stories, then I can write them for you and you can approve them then we can use BNBS to publish it. Definitely don’t stop blogging! 🙂

      6. Time management – you obviously do that very well. I can’t think of more than one story-line at a time. Does me old head in when I try! Even harder when looking for a new house – we are off out looking at a strange place this afternoon. A regular property with four bathrooms and a wet room! There must be a story behind this so even if the house is useless I might get a skit out of it!

      7. What the heck is a wet room? (Do I want to know?) I can’t multitask like that either. That’s why I try to write all my blogs at the beginning of the month, then write on my books the rest of the month. But I really do want to holiday in Europe in the next couple of years, so I might as well get some new things to write about while I’m there. 😉 I’ll have to email you sometime and tell you some of the (secret) endings to some of my stories so you can actually see how I roll. Did you and Shirley watch Catch Me If You Can yet?

      8. A wet room is nothing horrible. It is one big shower room – i.e. the whole room is devoted to being a shower with drainage in the centre. It seems the place we looked at yesterday was occupied by an old couple and as their health failed they gradually moved down the house building a bathroom at each stage hence it had so many. It was a nice house yet also had a north facing garden so that’s another off our list! If you do come to Europe you must let us know for we will (unless we are living in a tent out of desperation for something facing south) ample room and there are castles galore all over Kent. Oddly – because it is not that attractive a place what with Hitler trying to bomb it flat during the war – Dover, the next town along the coast from us has a magnificent castle (check it out on Google).

      9. Wow, I will check them both out. Frankly, I want to go for all the photographic opportunity, but it seems I won’t have to go much further than your back yard to see something fabulous. Can the garden not face North because the sun is bad?

    1. Got spot – I nicked it (subliminally) from the Python’s who were the masters of anticlimax. By the way have you ever watched the old 6 part series written by Terry Jones and Michael Palin called ‘Ripping Yarns’ if not I strongly recommend you do for it is British off the wall comedy at its very best.

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