A.J. Walker


January 2019

Taking Names

Taking Names

‘That was something beautiful.’ said the stranger, as Sam left the stage.
‘Err, thanks. Like a bit of Phil Collins do you?’
‘Who doesn’t?’ said the man, preening his scarlet jacket. ‘Who you with?’
‘Just waiting for a mate.’
‘No, I mean who’s representing you? You’re recording, right?’
Sam laughed. ‘Hardly, working down a takeaway.’
The man leant forward. ‘You telling me you’re available, that I can sign you up? Because you’ve a talent I can do something with.’
Sam stepped away. ‘I’ll have what you’ve been drinking. You’re seriously off it! It’s just karaoke.’
‘I’ll get you whatever you like. But I’ve got to sign you up. Here’s my card.’ he said, smoothly taking it from behind Sam’s ear.
‘Mr Lyle, what’s the B?’
‘I’m Sam Bailey. You don’t look like a Brian, Brian. ’
‘Who does? I’ll take you to my record shop, show you who I’ve produced. Got the rights to so many people you’ll know. Honest, I guarantee you a hit like this.’ Brian flicked his fingers, producing a smoking cigar from thin air.
‘Hey, we can’t smoke in here!’ Sam said, nervously.
‘You can. You’re a star, Sam. You can do what you want. Need to do something about your name though.’
Sam couldn’t remember leaving the club but found himself in an old fashioned record shop with Brian.
‘Take a look while I think about your name. All these records, all these artists, are mine.’
John Belushi singing “Soul Man” started playing as Sam excitedly flicked through the beautiful vinyl.
‘Yazz “The Only Way is Up” – mum’s got this!”
“Did well, like I told her. She was wrong, of course.”
‘Look, I’ll sign. Bit of a laugh. Even a one hit wonder would be amazing,’ said Sam. He was being swept away by the vinyl euphoria, as he signed the contract. ‘Don’t even care if you’re a rip off merchant.’
‘You’ve got “One Direction”!?’
‘Yep, gave them an extended contract. Nice boys, well some of them. Just started taking them down now one by one. One Direction: indeed.’
‘Well, you’ve got me now, Brian.’
‘Call me Belial or, if you prefer, Lucifer.’ said Belial.

'Flash Master' - Angry Hourglass 64 (April 2015)
Word Count: 360

Sanderson Filibuster’s...

Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium
(somewhere off the beaten track)

‘Build it and they will come.’
‘I’ve heard that.’
‘Received wisdom.’
‘Maybe an old wive’s tale.’
‘A wise old wife.’
‘Or not, I mean come on!’
The silence rang through the store like a truth told in Parliament.
‘So, has there been anyone in today?’
‘Lots. Looks beautiful doesn’t it?’
‘Very Christmassy. I assume that’s what you mean.’
‘Good work from Ethel. I’m minded to give her a Christmas bonus.’
‘Erm… nice idea.’
‘What’s with the “erm”? I mean it is Christmas and she’s done a fab job.’
‘Stop it with the “erms”!’
‘Okay, um…’
‘Now come on, an “um” is the same as an “erm’.’
‘Is it?’
‘Yes, everyone knows that.’
‘Well look, yes, she’s done a fab job, the store looks amazing.’
‘Capital, who says that?’
‘I just did. Stop digressing; the ums?’
‘Okay, my point is the store is busy with people; packed in fact.’
‘Well all these people work here, don’t they?’
‘Yes. Yes indeed.’
‘Spit it out man, what you getting at?’
‘It was the same yesterday. The day before. The week before and the month before.’
‘Let’s cut to the chase. We haven’t had a customer here since June. And she was only her ‘cos she was lost.’
‘I remember, Brenda. Said she loved it. Filled in a form.’
‘Yep, I know. It’s on the top of the pile of customer questionnaires. And the bottom.’
‘Not everyone fills them in.’
‘There hasn’t been anyone else.’
‘It’s been slower than I’d want.’
‘Slower! It’s dead!’
‘Dead. Look, I have two pieces of advice my friend.’
‘Go on.’
‘Make sure your fire insurance is up to date – I know a man with a can.’
‘Oh come on!’
‘You can’t go on like this, it’s not healthy. As “mad as Sanderson Filibuster” is a saying now.’
‘A fire. That’s like giving up.’
‘It IS giving up. But with a money back guarantee. It’s the only option.’
‘I’m not saying yes, but what was the second bit of advice?’
‘You must take out a Contract on the wise old wife who told you “they would come”. Bloody liar.’
‘Ho ho fucking ho!’

'Flash Master' - Angry Hourglass 120 (December 2016)
Word Count: 360