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At the last Portsmouth Hub night I was so pleased to meet up with the very talented Jon Everitt. He describes himself as an 'unrealist' abroad and from the wonderful picture above you can see why.

I was delighted to be given the chance to allow my imagination to run away like wide stallions and I show below my take on the whale, the men and the red balloon. Do let me know what you think.

WHALE OF A TIME by Rick Haynes

“This whale has a problem.”

“Yes Ford, he’s alive and breathing out of water.”

“No. Not that you idiot. Can’t you see the state of his teeth and gums? His breath stinks worse than yours Arthur.”

“But you asked me to take his pulse, so how could I see his gums at the same time? After all, he’s rather large, even for a whale.”

“Saints preserve me. I know. That’s why you’re sitting comfortably on a chair suspended from a giant red balloon. Think of me for a change. I’m balancing precariously on a step ladder.”

“Ford! I can’t detect any pulse. He’s not dead is he?”

“If only you had brains my little nit-wit. Kick him in the side and if he moves, well you’ll know the answer, won’t you?” Ford sniggered quietly at the thought.

A rumbling like a steam train emerging from a tunnel came from within the open mouth of the mighty whale, echoing as it grew ever louder. A slow swish of the gigantic tail almost blew the tethered balloon away from the grey flanks. Arthur screamed as he desperately fought to stay attached.

“Help! Help me Ford; I fear the whale is going to burst.”

I doubt that, Ford thought, but something is going to happen and I’m sure that it will be unpleasant.

As if on cue the mighty jaws opened wider than an earthquake, the air rush almost knocking Ford off his perch. Dropping the single herring he had used to originally tempt the whale into opening his mouth he clung on desperately, but his tenuous hold proved fruitless as a mass of dead fish, rotting krill and putrescent squid engulfed Ford.

“Save yourself Arthur,” Ford’s words drifted away as the Earth rushed towards him.

A dark eye, murky like a tempest bore into Arthur, yet he waited patiently for the whale to fully turn its head. He really wanted to release the balloon and drift silently away but curiosity overruled his fear.

Nose to nose with the huge mammal he needed an answer.

“Why?” he asked.

“Revenge,” retorted the whale, “the last time this happened my ancestor believed he was meeting a friend but then he crashed into Planet Earth.”

Arthur remembered the old book about hitchhikers, the galaxy and a whale in freefall. He shuddered.

“What about me?” he asked softly.

“I’ve burst your bubble, and it’s a long way down.”



I see green slime in a bowl of thick tomato soup. A large spoon is held aloft in a tendril like arm of a hideous beast. I count eight more feelers but guess others are hidden within the coagulating syrup. One yellow eye follows my every movement and my body shudders uncontrollably; I know fear.

My soul is as dark as my surroundings but I have vowed to change. Is this creature my nemesis? Or is my green monster simply a figment of my overactive mind?

Unable to think rationally my brain urges me to run but I need a distraction. Perhaps the beast would like something sweet so I place a sugar lump as close as I dare.

The spoon looms closer as the beast rises way above me, the reek overpowering. I feel a thud in my temple and fall into the abyss.

I will no longer play evil tricks on innocent children, for all their fears are now, deservedly mine as I enter hell.

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