Silhouette of a Man

Donald Trump was knackered. But he couldn’t fall asleep.

He hadn’t been able to sleep since about late January, to be honest, but this night was a particularly difficult night.

Rather the writhe around in bed, he decided to get up and go for a wander around the White House. He loved the White House. His favourite bit was probably how white it was. Even at night. ‘No matter how much it tries,’ he thought. ‘The black night just can’t take over the beautifully white old White House.’

Donald was always surprised how quiet the White House was at night. He missed all the noise. ‘It’s just not as fun with no one to shout over,’ he thought. But he still managed to find his own fun during his blurry late-night adventures.

More often than not he’d head to the corridor filled with portraits of every former President of the United States of America. He loved sticking two fingers up at Abraham Lincoln and kissing Richard Nixon. Some nights he’d build a little wall of pillows in front of Obama’s painting and giggle as he nibbled on a burrito.

On this night, though, he just stuck to the classic move of poking his penis out of his dressing gown and screamed the Star-Spangled Banner. As he reached the final line, he heard a cough from behind him. Donald turned – his swinging ballbag shrivelling from the movement – and froze as he saw what looked like himself staring back at him.

Donald instinctively spat at the intruder, convinced it was a previously unnoticed mirror. He rubbed his exhausted eyes as the globule of phlegm didn’t hit glass, but instead connected with the forehead of a very real, albeit waxy-looking, Trump.

“Who are you?!” barked Donald.

The waxy-looking Trump nodded in the direction of Donald’s own portrait on the wall, revealing nothing but a silhouette of a man in a glassless frame.

“What the…?” tried Donald, as the painting of himself grabbed his shoulders. “Get off me! You’re not real!”

The painting dragged Donald towards the frame as he continued to scream. “Let go of me, you fraud! You alien! You may look like me, but you’re no President dammit! Get off me!”

Ignoring every word, the painting picked Donald up and slotted him in to the gaping hole of the portrait.

“You can’t do this!” yelled Donald. “The people voted!”

The painting slid the glass back on to the frame, silencing Donald Trump, before turning its back and walking out of the White House.

Donald Trump looked at his new, painted surroundings, rubbed his eyes for a final time and fell asleep.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Seb Baird: “I’d like a story about Donald Trump wandering around the White House at night where he encounters a surprising character.”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

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Moody Michael

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Lyndsey Tullett: “I owe Michael a present. He’s moody and has long hair.”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

The Cheese Man

Larry never felt like he belonged anywhere. Anywhere except his cheese van.

He loved that van, almost as much as he loved cheese.

He’d developed quite a reputation in his hometown of Somerset for, not only the range of cheese his van offered, but his quite remarkable sense of smell. In his latest press release, he boasted the ability to recognise over 1,700 cheeses by scent alone and claimed to be able to detect goat’s milk up to 500 yards away.

Camemwhere? Over there! His van’s sign read. A piece of Brie? Come here and see! This is a van owned by the Cheese Man!

Larry was mightily proud of his cheese van, but after several failed marriages, countless fizzled-out friendships and a decline in sales, he wanted to know why he shared his van only with himself.

“You’re boring,” said his mum.

“Excuse me?” asked Larry, confused.

“Oh come on dear, don’t be so naive. All you do it talk about bloody cheese. Whether it’s the history of Cheddar or the latest stuff they’ve discovered in Sardinia, you never stop banging on about it. Yeah, cheese is nice, but people don’t want to be talking about the difference between shorthorn cow’s milk and Nigerian dwarf goat’s milk. It’s dull. And sure your nose is impressive, but you’re verging on arrogance now. Anyone could smell cheese that far off with a honker the size of yours! And don’t even get me started on your stench! You bloody stink of the stuff. The second you came in here I got a whiff of Stilton. When did you last eat Stilton? It’s as if you’ve got some in your pockets. Wait. You’ve got some in your pockets…haven’t you? Jesus Christ, Larry. The trouser pockets? You better take a serious look at yourself son, you’re nearly 40. If you’re not careful, you’ll never find people to be around.”

Larry thought for a moment.

“Shut up, mum.”

And with another relationship destroyed, Larry went walking. And thinking. And walking. And crying. And walking. Until he found himself in France.

With sore feet, a bruised ego and grumbly tummy, Larry wandered in to the nearest Fromagerie.

It was beautiful. It was wall-to-wall cheese, with some of the finest cow’s milk options in the world. There was Beaufort, Munster-Géromé and Emmental de Savoie. There was Gruyère, Morbier and Brie de Meaux. It was the stuff of dreams. The waft of churned milk hugged Larry like a lifelong friend. He felt calm. He felt at home.

Behind the counter was a man standing roughly six feet tall, four feet wide, with a smile like a hungry shark.

“How can I help?” asked the man, in broken English.

Larry took a whiff and licked his lips. “I’ll have some of the Banon.”

“Sorry, sir” said the man. “We have no Banon. We do not do goat’s cheese.”

“Yes you do,” said Larry, taking a bigger whiff. “I can smell it. Out the back. Far end of the storeroom. Behind the boxes of napkins.”

“My word!” said the man. “That’s my secret stash of goat’s cheese! How could you possibly smell it from there?!”

Larry tapped his nose. “It’s kind of my thing,” boasted Larry.

“Well come with me right away, sir.”

The man led Larry through a door, to the far end of the storeroom, behind the boxes of napkins.

“Here it is,” said the man, nodding at a mountain of goat’s cheese.

Larry drooled as he picked up one of the seemingly endless blocks of Banon.

“Tuck in, sir,” said the man.

Larry sank to his knees without a second’s hesitation. He revelled in the pleasure of finally being in the company of a like-minded soul. He plunged his nose into the pile. He caressed his fingers against the soft-ripened delight. He whispered sweet nothings as he undressed and embraced his new mistress with each of his limbs.

The man smiled as he bent down to help lather Larry’s skin with Banon, before clamping his teeth into his latest victim.

Every munch to his cream-kissed flesh filled Larry with an indescribable joy. But it wasn’t until he made it safely inside the warm, acidy stomach of his consumer, that Larry finally lived happily ever after.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Laurence Davies: “I’d like a story about a man who owns a cheese van and lives happily ever after.”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

30 Years Old

Six years ago a gorgeous girl called Sam
Met a fun young chap by the name of Dan:

He went to Nottingham Trent and was cool and gritty
And had hilarious tales from the fabled Rock City;

He had decent hair and pretty sweet threads
And a badass nickname, the name of Pedz.

He loved football and Halo, he was a hell of a man
The lad from 104: as fit as a boy band.

Now the two fell in love relatively quickly
It’s a pairing that was just meant to be.

But half way through Dan’s 29th year
Everything seemed to step up a gear:

The couple relocated and bought a new home
They got new jobs and Dan proposed!

And as Pedz now enters his third whole decade
It’s safe to say a few other things have changed:

His bones are getting creaky – he’s more likely to get a stitch
So he’s waved goodbye to the old football pitch;

He’s swapped a beer for a whisky and is happy to leave the bar
For a nice comfy sofa and a big fat cigar.

But even when his hair disappears (without the use of clippers)
And he spends all his money on old man slippers,

Happily by his side will be a devoted, happy partner
Now until forever, his loving Mrs Garner.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Sam O’Melia: “It’s my boyfriend’s 30th birthday and I would love a poem. We have just relocated, got new jobs, bought a house and got engaged, all in six months! Something about that?”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

40 Years

On the 8th January 1977
a lucky man called Steve thought
he’d died and gone to heaven,
as he heard the words “I do”
from his young love called Helen.

Yet as she shone in her dress
who would have guessed
that she’d grow to love all things tacky,
and set him countless chores
like a kind of DIY lackey.

Lucky for Steve, he loved DIY!
Yet he wasn’t always great at it,
the clumsy old guy…
Like when he tried to paint the landing
and poured the whole tin on himself.
If you gave that man a drill,
he’d be a danger to his health!

Together they’ve seen it all,
from dawn to nightfall:
There’s been laughter and smiles
and a host of hairstyles.
They’ve got a gorgeous family
in Amy and Nicki
and, leaving the best ’til last,
the handsome chap Archie.

Helen and Steve’s happy journey
is nowhere near its end,
and like a car getting smoother
going up its gears,
so will this couple’s love
just like the first 40 years.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Amy Burkitt: “Looking for a present for Mum and Dad’s 40th Anniversary. Dad loves DIY, Mum likes anything tacky. They love our dog Archie. Maybe more than me and my sister Nicki!”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

A Book a Week

The man read a book a week and was rarely moved.
But this particular book left him in tears.

It was a book unlike any he’d ever read,
for four very simple reasons:

1) It contained words
2) It was overwhelmingly sexually explicit
3) It was an autobiography
4) It was written by his mother

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Dave Slack: No brief was set. Dave donated £10 and left the comment “I read a book a week, so don’t need a story.”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

Squinting into the Horizon

Terence lost his sunglasses. He was fuming.

Not only because he lost his favourite pair of tinted specs, but because he knew how everyone would react. They were so predictable.

“Haha,” they’d say. “Even if you do find them, how will you reach your head to put them on!?” He’d heard the same tired “joke” ever since he got those sunglasses.

“I’m not the first T-Rex to own sunglasses, you know!” he’d yell. “Do you really think I’ve not worked out how to put them on?!”

Sure, it was a struggle – his tiny arms making it almost impossible – but his Dad had spent a whole summer a couple years back teaching Terence to flick them up off the floor with his claws and thrust his face into the flying shades.

However that didn’t matter right now, because he couldn’t find the sodding things. And my word it was a bright day.

Bored of unsuccessfully fumbling around on the ground, he decided to suck up his pride and ask the locals if they’d seen them.

After about 10 minutes of wandering about the uncharacteristically quiet island, squinting as he went, Terence stumbled into something.

“Christ!” came a voice. “Watch where you’re going, mate.”

“Sorry,” said Terence, only just making out the Triceratops. “I can’t see a thing, it’s so brig…wait, what’s a Christ?”

“I don’t know, get off my foot!”

“Sorry. I don’t suppose you’ve seen a pair of sunglasses? They’re my favourite pair and I can’t find them anywhere.”

“No, I can’t help you. Now move – I’ve got to go.” And off the Triceratops jogged.

Blimey, thought Terence, what’s he in a rush for?

“And how would you put them on anyway?!” laughed the Triceratops from afar.

“Piss off!” yelled Terence.

Another 20 minutes of desperate shuffling in the sun went by without a single sighting of his sunglasses or another soul.

“Move it biggun!” came a squeak from below.

“Yeah, move it biggun!” came another squeak.

Terence froze as what felt like a million lizards scampering all over his feet. He hated lizards. But he loved his sunglasses. So instead of running away, he crouched down to the ground. “Have any of you seen some sunglasses on your travels? I’ve lost my favourite pair.”

“Nope,” said one.

“Nope,” said another.

“Nope,” said another.

“How would you even reach to put them on!” said another.

A million laughs trickled into Terence’s frustrated ears before he was all alone again.

“Lost something?” came a distant voice.

“Who said that?” said a startled Terence, unable to spot the voice’s owner.

“Up ‘ere” said the Pterodactyl.

Terence looked up, the brightness of the sky becoming uncomfortably overwhelming. “I can’t find my sunglasses. Have you seen them?”

“Certainly have!”

“Really?!” beamed Terence.

“Nah” laughed the Pterodactyl. “Good luck getting them on your massive head with those shitty little arms! I’m off. And so should you be!”

Terence collapsed on the floor in tears. Why won’t anyone help me, he thought. Am I that horrible? All I want is my sunglasses. Is that too much to ask?

In a blind rage Terence screamed at the top of his lungs and smashed his face on the floor. As he sat back upright he felt something trickle off the top of his head and land on his foot. He squinted down to see his sunglasses. They were on his head the entire time.

To say he blushed is an understatement. But who cares, he thought. I’ve got my sunglasses! He remembered back to that wonderful summer with his Dad and balanced the glasses on his claws, flicked them up to the perfect height and thrusted his face into them. They felt absolutely perfect.

He was delighted. His eyes relaxed into the shades as he took in the ground, the trees, and the gorgeous flowers. He looked out to the horizon and felt calm.

Terence lay on the floor and watched as the bright, burning sky smashed into the island – killing him instantly.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Greg Smart: “A T-Rex who’s lost his sunglasses.”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!