Archive for the ‘black ops’ Category

The Complete Works, (so far!)

Hey there, and many thanks for stopping by. On this site you’ll find a collection of my short stories and screenplays for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave feedback both good and bad – as Plato once said –  the worst thing is to just be ignored!

Even better however, would be if you could find your way to actually purchasing one of my published books using the links below, that way I may continue to dodge bullets and bailiffs with your help. All books are available online, in all reputable books stores, E-books… and no doubt soon, all local Charity Shops.

Hope you find something here to enjoy….

Best Wishes,

Mike   x


“SPRINGBOARDS”         – A further collection of original short stories, short scripts and feature screenplays.



“BUM NOTES”          – A collection of eighteen original and diverse short stories:



“DIFFERENT STATES”           – One Man, One Credit Card, One Continent… No Plan. A travelogue from East to West Coast USA.



“MOLEHOLE”            – Essays on the Human Condition. The story of one man’s dark and lonely three year journey so far up his own ass that he arrived out his mouth to recount the tale to a deaf world.  (Not suitable for minors or miners.)


Thanks awfully x


Pushing Milgram’s Button 


Porton Down Military Research Installation. Wiltshire. March 1953.

My hand hovered over the button, tracing a circle over the smooth polished plastic as if I was trying to excite a large nipple. I applied a gentle pressure to the button feeling the give as soft as wiping a butterfly’s wing.

It was round, red and set in the centre of the master keyboard, my first thought was what a cliché! Who had decided that all dangerous buttons should be round and red? It’s as if the cartoons we saw as children still informed our serious adult decisions, even in a sphere as sombre and humourless as the British Military.

A gruff, impatient voice barked at me over the tannoy system:

‘Are you gonna press it or just romance it, son?’

I looked up from my chair at the white walls of the medical facility. It was like looking at the inside of a plastic beaker, featureless and uniform. Against the blandness of the magnolia walls the only thing standing out was this damn red button. In front of the chair on which I sat was the console containing knobs and wheels, and at its heart – the button. Above this was a large two-way mirror looking through to the adjoining operating room in which I saw a man tied to an electric chair.

I could see him, but thankfully he couldn’t see me. My eyes were drawn to some writing in the bottom left corner of the mirror: ‘Armalite 3’. Very, very bulletproof. I was guessing the man tied to the chair in the other room wasn’t. He was restrained by a set of wrought iron manacles tied to everything but his right hand from which a loose chain hung. He was sitting quite motionless but with eyes that looked directly into mine from a battered and bloodied face. The aluminium bowl on his head fit snugly round his forehead and I could see a glimpse of wet sponge poking out from just above his left temple to help the electricity conduct straight to the brain, causing minimum suffering when the button was finally pressed. His eyes burned into me through the two-way mirror, it was unnerving in the extreme and I could bare it no longer.

‘Sarge, are you sure he can’t see me?’ I addressed my question to the tannoy above the entrance door. The speaker crackled into life.

‘Can I see you? No. He can’t see you either. Over.’

‘It’s just, he seems… to be staring straight at me. Over…’

The voice came back, angry now.

‘Son, just press the goddamn button. I’ve got lunch. Don’t make me wait, it’s turkey today.’

This was the moment I thought I’d been waiting for. But now, sat here in judgment like King Solomon I wasn’t sure I could actually follow through. My mind seemed blank with rage, but one thought kept pulling at my coat tails demanding to be heard: Where did forgiveness figure in all this? Surely forgiveness was the most noble of all human emotions? Besides, there was something decidedly gutless about pressing the button out of sight, so clinically  and cold. Could I honestly run into that room and stab him face to face? Could I cope with feeling his head loll on my shoulder as he fell forward, the dying breath leaving him, eyes turning milky as I watched?

Who was I kidding? Definitely not. But perhaps it’s like being a carnivore. If I chose to eat meat in the form of a colourfully packaged hamburger, so surely I should have the honesty to slaughter the cow too? It’s only fair and honest. I reminded myself that what sat before me through the glass was no more than an animal. A wolf in human clothing. No, he was worse than an animal, he had a choice and free will to rise above his carnality, an animal has only instinct.

‘I’m giving you a direct order, son. Press it.’ Harsher this time.

My voice responded automatically, as flighty as a winged sparrow, desperate.

‘I’m not sure I can, Sarge, I need to gather my thoughts…’

The tannoy distorted to white noise as the shouting reverberated off the shiny walls.

‘You said you wanted this? Stop wasting our fucking time and do it’.

‘I need time, sir. I need to build up to it.’ My voice became strangled by emotion, ‘It’s in cold blood..!’

The door below the tannoy was thrown open and all two hundred pounds of Sergeant Gregory Fitzpatrick charged into the room like it was Dunkirk all over again, guns blazing. He was dripping in sweat and medals. He stamped his polished boot down hard on the floor like a terrifying baby.

‘Now listen here you wormy piece of maggoty shit. For Christ sake, MAN UP will you?’

‘I’m not a soldier. I haven’t been trained to kill like you. This is a big deal to me…’

He leaned in so close to the side of my face that I could see the individual blackheads on his nose tremble with each syllable uttered.

 ‘And what he did to your sister wasn’t a big deal?’

This hit the right nerve in me and I turned my face full to his, our noses striking like the first blow of a death-duel. Fitzpatrick seemed pleased his bullet had hit home.

‘What kind of man are you?’ he sneered.

My hand moved to the button but in doing so I involuntarily looked up straight into the eyes of the prisoner tied to the chair in the adjoining room.

My hand lost its will to power, and limped flaccid back down to the desk where it flapped like a fish in a keep net, gasping for breath.

Fitzpatrick was all up in my face again, but the moment had passed. He resigned himself to a sign off.

‘You’re goddamn pussy. I knew it’.

I rested my hand back on the wooden chair arm.

‘Look, I know what you’re trying to do, but you can’t goad me into killing a man’.

This reignited the powder keg.

‘You don’t know shit. I shouldn’t have to goad you, you should be WANTING to do it. He raped your sister for crying out loud! What else does he need to do man, to get your blood up?’

I thought about her, how she must’ve waited at the bus stop for my car that night. Wondering why I was late. When his car pulled up she must’ve been thankful. I imagined the brief conversation that must’ve taken place between them, what he said, how he’d said it. Then the journey, trusting, grateful, how relieved she would’ve been to be out of the rain and warm inside his car. Then, how his tone would have changed… her disbelief turning to sudden fear as the reality dawned. And then later, in that dark lay-by, the sense of detachment she must’ve felt as he tore at her delicate clothing with his dirty fingernails. His foul breath upon her, all fillings and abscesses. The large sphinx tattoo she’d said he had on his left arm as he’d pinned her down on the passenger seat and violated her.

‘DO IT…’, the sergeant’s voice mixing with his.

‘Do it. Press the button’.

Yes! No… things would never be the same again. I would be a murderer for all time. No, even worse, I’d be an executioner. As I’d first sat down, the surgeon had told me that a man’s beard still grew for up to a day after he’d died. It’s as if the body takes a while to catch up with the news. I tried to remember my shave that morning, thought about staring into my eyes, alive, so alive with rage at this man. When she’d knocked on my door, eyes all bruised, lips broken and bloody I’d have killed him there and then if he’d been in the room. They’d have called it a crime of passion. But now, here in this antiseptic theatre so cold and calculating I wasn’t sure I had righteous rage on my side anymore.

But oh the reasons we find with ourselves to justify the unacceptable. I thought again of her, of a time before he’d touched her. I recalled a day we’d taken a few years ago out of the bombed out city to pick strawberries in Kent. Happier times. I remembered the feel of each small fruit in my hand as I shook the soil from the foliage and put it carefully into the green plastic trays. She was next to me, picking too, but pausing every now and again to sneak another plump berry. She turned to me in that yellow flowered dress she always wore when she was excited. The smell of fruit hung heavily around us, and we with not a care in the world. She turned to me, her hands stained red with strawberry juice and held them up to her face… screaming. Uncontrollable screaming…

The sound of rotor blades ripped the air causing the loose paper in Fitzpatrick’s clipboard to spill onto the floor. He yelled at the soldier standing guard by the door who’d been watching the helicopter land through the open window with troops deploying out of its tail gate.

‘Private! Shut that fucking window immediately. In the name of god, they’ll ruin everything.’

I watched the soldier slam shut the window, not enjoying the sudden silence that returned hermetically to the room.

Fitzpatrick let me have it with both barrels, ‘Are you not even listening to me, boy?’

My eyes turned again to the man behind the two-way mirror. I studied each contour of his evil twisted face, the haughty eyes, the cruel curl to the bloodied lips. He seemed to be mocking me, even now. My head was consumed with thoughts of this man and my sister together. How she must have tried to resist his superior force. How it must’ve hurt. I tried to steamroll this thought to the sidelines of my mind. Could I forgive him though? I was brought up a Catholic, filled with guilt for things I had no part in thousands of years ago. But for all that, the central pillar of Christianity was to love, and forgive. Surely my conditioning would mean I have to find it in my heart to forgive?

‘Please…’ I implored the human being behind the military uniform. I could feel my eyes well up. This seemed to have a profound affect on Fitzpatrick and when he next spoke his voice was mellow, almost paternal.

‘Tristan, you know I’m only doing this because I’m a friend of the family, so to speak. Do you know the risks I’ve taken in having him brought here, nobbled off the street in broad daylight, and so close to the base? Look at him, look how much we’ve ruffed him up. You’ve got to finish what you started now. Remember, it was you that came to me whining about needing justice in the first place.’

This caught me off guard and I thought back. It seemed so long ago now. I couldn’t seem to remember anything before this room, that was why they called it red mist, I suppose. In fact, ever since the rape I’d just been living on a kind of nervous energy, totally single-minded and blinkered, to the exclusion of all other desires. The one desire that remained, that carried me through the pain was the need for… for…

Like a powerful alignment of the planets and stars, all my cluttered thoughts lined-up as one behind the single idea that came back to me now as clear as crystal.


‘DO IT’. This time the voice came from inside myself. A bubbling tar pit deep inside me, belching up a sulphurous bubble to burst by my ear drum.

‘Do it’

In unison they came, inside and out, Fitzpatrick was pointing at the button.

‘Do it NOW’.

My stream of thought becoming a single waterfall crushing all else. ‘If I didn’t do it now I’d always be afraid from this day going forward. I’d always be smiling sickly at strangers for fear of their strength, and there’d be nothing I could do about it, because when I’d had my chance to stand up and be a man… I’d shit it.’

‘Do it’. The voices were coming from everywhere.

‘Ok… I will fucking do it…’ The anger, the fear, the hate, it burst through my pipes, rupturing into my brain.

I looked straight into the eyes of that bastard, straight into his very soul. I wanted him to see me when I pressed it. I wanted him to know it was me behind the glass. Look at me. LOOK AT ME GODDAMN IT!

My right hand slammed down on the button, my palm hitting dead centre.

Nothing happened.

I wiped my spittle-coated lips and pressed again. But this time I noticed a red stain smeared on my hand. I studied it, seeing the fine lines on my palm standing out against the red background like a Japanese print. So red. Red like strawberries? I wiped my lips again. No, it was unmistakably blood. I tried to raise my left hand but it seemed glued to the arm of the chair. I followed the line of the hand past my wrist and up to the bare arm where I could see the tattoo of a large sphinx twisting out of sight under the sleeve of my shirt.

My heart beat so loudly in my ears that I barely heard Fitzpatrick as he ordered the soldiers into the room whilst continuing to speak into a small tape recorder.

‘Record notes. Serum version 6 has proved successful. Repeat… prisoner test positive. Serum 6 is a go.’

I looked up again into the mirror and now saw Fitzpatrick standing behind me,  the two soldiers set to work releasing me from the electric chair I was strapped to. They untied the manacle on my left hand and unhooked the chain on my right that had allowed me just enough movement to reach the button. I understood now.

Fitzpatrick looked at his watch. ‘Lunchtime. I’ll leave you privates to mop up. When you’re done take this piece of shit back to his cell.’

‘Hey Sarge, what he do anyway?’ asked the shorter of the two guards untying my leg manacles.

Fitzpatrick retrieved his clip-board from under his arm and flicked through a few rice-paper pages.

‘Rape. And not only that, he raped his own sister, can you imagine..?’