Stepping on the creaky boards, a million memories came flooding back. The space has barely changed in twenty years. She noticed the new paint in places. The stage was in a halfway state, vaguely resembling the set from the prior set. She had acted the words of a dozen notable playwrights on this stage from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Brecht. She had played everything from Lucy in Cosi to a gender-swapped Hamlet. That was many years ago though. The face of a younger woman adorned the posters that hung all around the foyer. Her hair had begun to grey, and wrinkles had formed at the corners of her eye. Whereas she had once played the role of ingenue Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, she now feared that the role of Lady Bracknell was not far off.

‘Hasn’t changed a bit, has it?’ a voice came from backstage.


The Third Elf

Sitting at a crowded intersection where Glittergold Ave and Dathos St meet, there is a small building. The building is about five floors and on each floor, there are twelve small offices. If one were to wander down the right-hand side hallway of the second floor, they would eventually find themselves standing in front of a door. This door would have inscribed on its frosted glass window the following epitaph.

Althis Sarren: Private Investigator

Behind that door, one might discover a lean and sickly-looking elf in an oversized suit. He would probably be smoking his pipe of tobacco, scanning over some photograph or obscure legal document. The particular legal document that he was perusing at this moment was noteworthy. Its noteworthiness came from the red typeface at the top of the document that read simply: Eviction.


New Years Eve

10 …

Stacy was alone, again, on New Year’s Eve.

9 …

Well, not alone, as such. She’d actually attended quite a sizeable house party.

8 …

She was alone romantically. There are two times that being single is brought into full view. One is Valentines Day. The other is midnight on New Year’s Eve.

7 …

Were there eligible men at this party? Well, that would depend on your definition of eligible. There were certainly single men. They just weren’t what she was looking for.

6 …

There was Dave the accountant, who could put anyone to sleep when they asked him what he did for a living. There was Stan, who was mildly creepy and had already tried it on with the host’s girlfriend, as well as other not so single individuals.

5 …

There were others but just like Dave and Stan, they weren’t exactly prime partner material. So, Stacy supposed that being single was preferable to being dismal in a relationship with the Daves or Stans of the world.



Chris Mackenzie looked out at the still waters of the Loch. He probably wasn’t the first person to stand on its edge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famed Loch Ness Monster. He was different though. He had history on his side. His great-grandfather had reported seeing the monster. He was one of the first. The fact that he had only mentioned it after the famous ‘surgeon’s photograph’ made it questionable. Chris believed his great-grandfather though and he’d travelled to Scotland to prove something.

He’s a fool. Full of high-minded ideas about his ancestry.


The Holiday

Ronan looked over the bright blue bubbling sea. He looked above to the cloudless blue sky with its taunting yellow sun shining down on the earth below. The day was a balmy thirty-degree day on the east coast of Australia. Down below he heard the frolicking laughs of young kids and their nagging of their parents filling the pool area. He stood on his balcony, noting the slight breeze. This was a perfectly lovely day, he told himself as he tried desperately to believe it. He felt the cool tiles of the balcony against his bare feet and decided it was time to head inside.


La Belle et La Bête

Bête stepped out onto the balcony that overlooked the verdant grounds. The cold wind bit at the matted fur that covered her hands. She placed her clawed nails on the cold stone of the balcony and tapped them melodically. She looked at the world below. The overgrown, dilapidated ruin that had once been her family’s estate. Then, on the edge of her vision, something brown crept into the lush greens of her garden. A creature had appeared in her family home. A trespasser.

Time is running out. This could be our chance.


The Spy Who Audited Me

From the desk of Hugh Williams – Head of Finance at MI6

Costing of last mission – to be raised with Mallory:

  1. Q Branch
    • Exploding pen – £62
    • Cufflinks, filled with nerve gas – £131.20
    • Aston Martin V8 Vantage, plus accessories and weapons – £246,996
    • Walther PPK, with biometric scanner in handle (plus ammunition) – £623.10
    • Holsters (shoulder and leg) – £116
  2. Damages to country infrastructure
    • Soviet-era tank, hijacked and driven through downtown Kiev – £38,605.80
    • 18 civilian vehicles, insurance payouts – £160,564.90
    • 3 local police cars, insurance payouts – £33, 812.90
    • Damage to local roads – £6,4001,948.25
    • Damage to private property – £39,385,814.30
  3. JB, personal expenses
    • Salary – £1,538
    • Flights – £382.20
    • Equipment (see Q Branch a-e, shipping and handling costs) – £672.80
    • Expenses
      • 3 tailor made suits – £11,666.70
      • Rolex watch – £27,170
      • Firearm licence (domestic) – £62
      • Hotel Room, five nights (+ lost deposit) – £3,171.45
      • Meal costs – £2,500
      • Casino money (to infiltrate criminal organisation) – £9,156,946.40
      • Healthcare plan (venereal diseases) – £256.30
    •  Drinks
      • 7 Vodka Martinis, shaken, not stirred – £140
      • 6 Heinekens – £8
      • 3 shots of vodka – £21
  4. Total costings – £113,073,209.30