The wreckage lay in the sun. Twisted, charred and burned. Ticking and groaning as it cooled.

In Nevada the choppers scrambled. Men in black racing the locals to the scene.

Perimeter set, the clean up begins.

All of the evidence, both of the small grey bodies, removed.

To Area 51.

(c) Chris Johnson 2018

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Friday evening.

“But mum, it smells!”

“There’s no phone signal!”

I’ve got to walk all the way over there for the loo?”

“What if it rains?”

“What are we supposed to do now the tent’s up?”

“What do you mean we have to cook our own tea?”

“Can we go to the bar?”

 

Saturday morning.

“I didn’t get any sleep.”

“It’s too noisy, I was hearing things all night!”

“My sleeping bag is too uncomfortable.”

“My air bed is too soft!”

Where can I plug in my hair straighteners?”

“What are we supposed to be doing now?”

“Why can’t we just go home?”

 

Saturday afternoon.

“That was awesome!”

“Yeah, who knew how much fun the countryside could be?”

“I didn’t know you could ride a bike Mum!”

“I think the man at the hire shop fancied you Mum!”

“Wait ‘til I post my photos!”

“Let me see the one of the cute lambs again?”

“Can we bar b que for dinner?”

“Can I cook the burgers?”

“I’m going to sleep tonight, I’m tired already!”

 

Sunday morning.

“I’ve never slept so well.”

“It’s so cool to wake up to the birds singing!”

“Wow mum, bacon sarnies!”

“Cool, I love bacon!”

“Is that the fresh bread we bought yesterday?”

“Fab, I’ve never tasted bread that good before!”

“I can’t be bothered to straighten my hair and do my make up.”

“What can we do today?”

“I don’t want to go home yet!”

 

Monday morning.

“I didn’t sleep at all.”

“Me neither, the bed’s too hard.”

“And it’s noisy, I heard cars passing all night.”

“And the smell of exhaust fumes, yeuch!”

“And the duvet kept falling off, I want my sleeping bag.”

“I have to get up sooo early to do my hair and make up. It was much more fun when I didn’t have to bother.”

“And we have to sit in stuffy classrooms all day instead of being outside.”

“I want a tent in the garden.”

“I want to go camping again!”

“Can we, mum, can we? Next weekend maybe?”

 

(c) Chris Johnson 2018

“Paul! It is you?”

I turn and walk, speed up. He taps my shoulder.

“Paul, I know it’s you. Where have you been?”

Prison, but that’s not the point.

“Come on Paul, let’s get a drink?”

I turn again.

“Come on mate?” Less certain.

I walk away, dialling.

“Witness Protection. How can we help?”

“I’m blown!” I reply.

 

(c) Chris Johnson 2018

I was hunting through some old music and lyrics from a band I played in some time ago. I wrote this blues lyric for the lead guitar player who suffered badly with hay fever.

The pollen count is high, and I’m feeling very low
Yeah, the pollen count is high, so I’m feeling very low
My head is dull and aching
Wherever I go

I’m loaded up with drugs, but they aren’t even that much fun
Loaded with lots of drugs, not even that much fun
Still, at least they’re cheap and legal,
I got them from my Mum!

I sneeze, wheeze and sniffle, hate my life when I’m like this
Sneezing, wheezing and sniffing, Man I hate when I’m like this
Wish the pollen count would drop
So I can stop this sniff sniff sniff!

The pollen count is high, and it makes me cross
Yeah, the pollen count is high, man this is so crass
A couple of months and I’ll be better
But then it’ll be Christmas

(C) Chris Johnson 2008

 

The following is a re-post from a closed Blog.

Anyone who has been through formal education into their teens, and definitely anyone who has been through higher education, training in a work environment or any form of leadership training will have undertaken some group work. Often this is dreaded – there’ll be egos to deal with, someone who is quite happy for every one else to work as long as they get a share in the credit and someone who knows best and wants to lead the project, irrespective of what everyone else wants…

But, there are some great works that have come out of collaboration. Think about the great films, TV series and songs that have come out of writing teams. My own experience of co-authoring was very productive, leading to the novella Rose Scar. So, if you choose* to co-author and pool your experience, knowledge and skill.

 

Based on my own experience here are my ten ‘top tips’ for co-authors:

  1. Agree what you are writing (genre, style, length etc.) before agreeing to collaborate. If you don’t agree, don’t collaborate.
  2. Agree the broad outline of the piece before anyone picks up a pen.
  3. Agree up front how credit (whatever form that takes, including payment) will be split. If there are tax implications get this written down and signed.
  4. Agree what name(s) are going on the document, and in what order before anyone writes anything.
  5. Agree the roles of every team member up front.
  6. Agree the minimum contribution necessary to warrant inclusion in the credit.
  7. Agree who should actually do the writing, and hold the draft/proof document safe.
  8. No member of the writing team can also be the proof reader or editor.
  9. Disagreements should be sorted out as soon as possible, and in a professional, adult manner.
  10. If you have a choice and it’s not either fun or in some other way fulfilling, stop and withdraw.

*Items 1 and 10 effectively only work for voluntary collaborations. If you are working on assignment that requires you to collaborate and/or where the parameters are set for you then I’d suggest that 1 becomes ‘Agree the ground rules before starting’ – whether they be these or something else and 10 becomes ‘Agree in advance who the final decision maker is in case of irreconcilable differences. It is essential that this should be someone outside of the team, and preferably not the direct customer for the output.’

© Chris Johnson 2018