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Tram Shorts 2

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Love always seemed to pass him going the other way!

If he was just getting out of a relationship then his perfect girl would be “I’ve just met someone”, if he was diving headlong into yet another disastrous relationship then it would be him using those very words.

Iain sighed as the tram rumbled its way through the West End heading onto Princess Street.

He had walked up to the West End stop from The Mad Hatter’s pub, yet another site to put on his map of “places to be Stood Up”. The damp had made the decision to take the tram for him, no point in being anymore miserable.

Swaying slightly as it rounded the corner of Shandwick Place, the bars on either side of the street bright and welcoming, filled with, what seemed to Iain to be, happy couples laughing and chatting, getting to know each other. Not breaking up, not receiving text messages explaining how “things just wouldn’t work out” and definitely no sad blokes standing outside waiting for something that would never come.

The lad in the doorway shuffled slightly holding his bike against the motion of the tram as it slowed for the next stop, someone else for whom the wet streets had made a decision.

The doors slid open letting the light from the tram spill out onto the Princess Street stop and letting the cold air spill into the cabin.

With his back to the window Iain twisted slightly in his seat to look at the stop, his eyes fell upon a happy couple sitting on the bench, sharing a kiss. He started to turn away, but his eyes caught the outline of a woman standing at the corner of the shelter, he studied her for a moment.

She was almost studiously staring away from the happy couple, her hair tied high and tight in a bun, bag hanging from her shoulder and thick coat wrapped around her, she appeared to be making every effort to ignore the bubble of happiness emitted by the couple on the bench.

The door alarm sounded as the tram prepared to move off, taking it’s passengers on the next leg of their journey and their final stop.

The woman’s head turned, but not to look at the couple or the departing tram, she stared down at her boots, deep in contemplation, thought Iain.

Someone else going “the other way” he sighed.

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Tram Shorts 1

Margo’s foot tapped restlessly as she hugged her long coat around herself to keep out the damp Edinburgh night.

“Where was that damned Tram?”

Standing at the corner of the tram stop she stared studiously up the length of Princess Street towards Calton Hill waiting for the lights of the tram to appear as it turned the corner out of St Andrews Square.

“Come on, come on, come on” she muttered to herself.

The woman on the benches behind her giggled as her swain whispered sweet nothings in her ear, Margo shuddered irrationally at the sound, willing the tram to appear by the power of thought alone.

The high pitched pips from the tram that had pulled into the other side of the platform only moments before punctuated the moment, as it closed it’s doors, the background hum increased as it pulled off heading in the direction that Margo wished her tram would appear from.

The departing trams red tail lights receded down the track, heading into the cold wind that blew through the  stop, causing Margo to scrunch down into the warmth of her coat and look down at her boots, the leather darkened by the rain that had been soaking the city all day.

How she longed to get into the warmth of her flat and kick off her sodden boots.

A shuffle of shoes on the pavement brought her head up, the lovers had stood up and were moving to the edge of the platform.

Margo’s head flicked round to look back down the street to where a long snaking set of lights curved onto Princess Street, passing the red lights of the tram that had just left the stop, and started their steady progress towards her.

Moving her feet a bit she straightened up, shaking off the damp that had gathered in what had felt like an interminable wait, she could now hear the trams hum as it approached, figures were visible, standing up getting ready to disembark after the short journey from St Andrews Square.

The tram slid into the stop, its doors opening and spilling both light and customers onto the wet concrete before allowing Margo and the lovers into it’s warm embrace.

In a matter of moments the doors shut with their customary pips and the tram moved off, disappearing into the night.

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End of Year

Sitting at his desk in his chamber The Scribe watched the sway of the candle flame, his eyes had settled on the light in its sconce some time ago as he mused over the happenings of the last year.
There had been quite a few changes, some big, some small and some still to come in the approaching year. The trophies hanging on his wall were testament to some of the bigger physical changes, going from the occasional fitness session to a concentrated training regime culminating in being able to run in 10 and 21k events without coming last.
He had travelled to locations that he had only dreamed of visiting previously and now looked forward to returning, so he could add more to the scribblings he had started there. There was the possibility of yet more new locations to visit in the coming year that could lead The Scribe and his characters into yet more adventures.
But still he was dissatisfied with his characters progress through the year, even now he could feel them inside him, jostling to get out and onto the pages. In his mind he had them in so many different scenarios that he was at a loss how to join it all together. He had the main structure of a story, but every day brought so many new twists and plot changes for the characters that he was at a loss to keep track of them.
He had however, found new ways to make his note taking easier, whether it was sat at his desk in work or stood at a bar in some exotic location, he could collect his thoughts and ideas in one place where he could bring them all together later. His old faithful blue notebook would still accompany him on his travels, its pages already heavy with plot ideas and character situations, inspired by the locations The Scribe had visited (mostly bars!). He also felt it added a certain aura of mystery to him as he sat at a bar dashing down the latest observation. But then to everyone else he probably looked like someone writing in a notebook and not worthy of a second glance, it certainly had not gained him any free drinks!
He chuckled to himself as the next thought came to him; maybe he was in a mid-life crisis, but he had studied for and passed the motorbike theory test, taking the opportunity to sit the exam while on a brief visit to London. It had been the morning after the departments annual “cultural” visit to the capital, during which a large dose of culture had been ‘absorbed’. He had been amazingly clear headed and a short 40 minutes had seen him answer 50 multiple choice questions followed by 14 videos to identify the “hazards” within them.
The candle flame guttered as it fought to find more fuel from the depleting wax reserves, stirring The Scribe from his revere and sending him off to brew another coffee.

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So this is Christmas

After the activity of the past few months things have slowed down for the Scribe and he is having trouble setting his mind to putting pen to paper.
After a bit of a false start on the ‘Witches Cauldron’ project, he wants to develop his latest character “Erin” a con-artist and front for an underworld syndicate run by the head honcho Lachlan in Edinburgh. He uses the “Witches Cauldron” as an ‘entertainment’ venue for “clients” of the syndicate with the understanding that he and the syndicate do not carry out any nefarious activities on the premises.
However the understanding has not stopped another member of the syndicate trying to grab ‘a bit of the action’ inside ‘the cauldron’ unfortunately this has landed both Erin and the potential usurper in hot water with Maggie, the manager of the club and her two “bouncers” William and Angus.

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What could have been in Rome:

She waited for him to emerge from the bar toilets, it had been a fun night and ‘The Public House’ had been kicking, everyone getting into the swing of things. She had been working behind the bar, mixing cocktails and pouring beers trying to keep up with the customers requests until she caught a glimpse of his smile at the end of the bar.

He had been talking to his friend and they were obviously sharing a joke as he turned to catch her eye, unlike the other customers he was not waving or calling to get her attention, he just gave a smile and a friendly nod when he knew she had seen him.

It had taken her a few minutes to finish off the rounds that she had been preparing before she could get down to his end of the bar, dodging one or two customers who should have really come first.

“Hey” he greeted as if he was surprised to see her so soon, “you are quick” his bright blue eyes shone in the light of the bar, almost drowning her in their intensity. For the rest of the evening he had been the perfect gent, a breath of fresh air compared with some of the other customers.

He and his friend had engaged with the staff and some of the clientele, making light of silly things, the smiling and laughing were infectious spreading to all those around them, making the time fly.

She almost felt a thrill when she would turn around and catch him glancing her way, not in a weird possessive way, but because he had been looking her way.

The arms of the clock had now crept towards 2 o’clock in the morning most of the customers had left for home or the nearest night club. She had done her glass collecting rounds making sure to brush past him and catch a whiff of his aftershave, a woody scent mixed with a lighter fruiter note, masculine but fun at the same time.

But now she wanted to take him in her arms. Show him that his respect had not been missed and those pleasing glances had been appreciated.

She wanted to know what he was thinking, was he honest, was he relaxed would they enjoy a night of passion?

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When in Rome

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‘Rome is full of tourists’ thought the Scribe as he emerged from the Metro, and to all appearances he was right, crowds bustled around the Piazza dodging cars, scooters and locals alike.

He followed the flow towards the Fontana di Trevi, doing the “tourist bit” just for a short while.

Using his height, he caught a couple of shots of the fountain over the heads of the crowds who vied for a position at the edge of the water.

Time for a drink.

Making a rapid exit from the tiny square he took the path of least resistance, or at least the one with the fewest tourists. It did not take long for the backpacks and selfie sticks to disappear and be replaced by shoulder bags and umbrellas.

As he made his way up the street a sign hiding behind the folded material of a weather worn table umbrella caught his eye.

On a greying blackboard someone had tried to freshen up the lettering and now the bright white chalk proclaimed “The Public House”.

Just inside the double doors with their flaking paint the entrance to the bar stood open, loud Italian voices spilled out onto the pavement as he took the steps up into the dull interior.