Peter Morford

I’ve always been interested in writing but in my busy working  life there just wasn’t the time.  Now, in retirement, I have no excuse. The act of minor creation is fascinating, especially when working to a cryptic theme set by the month’s chair-person.

I have no ambition to write a 600-page saga.  I prefer the short story and flash fiction range. A number of my flash-fictions have been published in the Shrewsbury Flash Fiction website. There’s no money in it but I write mainly for my own pleasure.  It’s like fishing – some cost, no financial rewards but a good way to enjoy three hours.

 I have entered a number of short story competitions.  Polite “Thanks but no thanks” reaction so far but hope remains.  Self-advice: “Keep trying and be encouraged by the many rejections Ian Rankin received before he sold his first novel.”  It would be nice to find a good home for my short fiction collection. These tales are usually in range of 2500 – 5000 words and have therefore not been offered to competitions where short work is preferred.

    

BWG have taken part on local literary events at Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton. I have enjoyed being the coarse prose-writer among all those gifted poets.

Baxter’s Mission by Peter Morford 

It was 2010 when, in a private room of Kelly’s Bar, two neatly suited, silver-haired veterans were reminiscing about the days before the Good Friday Agreement. They had been on opposite sides then. Now they were friends and, like McGuinness, Paisley and Adams, mellowed with age and new political careers.    

They had discussed the problem at great Irish length. Now, with their bottle almost empty it was time to take action.

“He’s double-crossed us once too often,” said O’Neill.

“So we’re agreed then. It’s GO.”

O’Neill said, “I tell you, we can rely on Seamus O’Connor.Don’t forget – he’s called James Baxter now. He’ll do a clean job.”

“If we can persuade him to do it,”McCormack said.

“He’ll do it for the money we’ll offer him.”

“Is there enough in the kitty?”

“There’s enough even for him,” O’Neill said.

“Then let’s get him on the payroll.”

“I’ll call him in tomorrow, Mr McCormack.”

            They stood up, touched their glasses in a final toast, shook hands and went out into the damp February night.                                   

 

**

Next evening the two men were back in the same bar. “Did you get him, O’Neill?”

“We had a little chat in a nice quiet place. I offered him twenty-five, he wanted fifty. I said we’d let him know.”

“It’s worth the fifty. Send him the message.”

 

**

 

The man who called himself Baxter got a drink at the bar and chose a table with a good view of the door.  He looked at his watch. 6.50 pm.She should be here in ten minutes, he told himself. I must relax like these folks around me, drinking, small-talking and happy enough in their simple way.

He eyed the group of seven men standing by the bar. He guessed they were all under thirty; dark suits, white shirts, matching ties. They were listening to the eighth man; heavy, balding, older, in obvious authority. Sportsmen?  Young doctors?  More likely investment advisers on a course. Baxter saw them as salary-earners, with steady jobs and bonuses, company cars, expense accounts. Or perhaps, just a few men on the margin, rather like himself.  Men who were replaceable, in a sausage machine of training and replacement.  Next month there would be another posse of eager young guys learning how to sell get-rich-quick schemes to suspicious clients. I can do better than that, he thought. I know I can.

Seven o’clock. A waiter said something to the fat man and led the group to the restaurant.A woman who could have been a model came in. This must be her, he thought, but she joined her friends at the other end of the room. 

By ten past he was getting impatient.  Perhaps she hadn’t got the message after all. Twenty past.  Where the hell was she?  He’d finished his drink ten minutes ago...  click here to read all of Baxter's Mission    

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