Short story 1

“Well, you seem to have done quite well this last year.” The middle-aged man from the BBC personnel department leant back in his chair. He glanced lovingly at the briar pipe on the corner of his desk. He found it a bore to have to give annual interviews to young employees.

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Short story 3

“Well if they are going to start bombing around here, don’t you think it would be a good idea to rent a cottage in the country, like Devon?”said Maggie. Her sister Nell nodded her approval, so they set off; Maggie, Nell and their two children Mary and George for a small wooden cottage in Dawlish Warren.

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Short story 4

Two young boys rolled on the tarmac of the school playground, hitting each other viciously. George ended up on top and he continued to punch the other boy’s face, who could do nothing about it, being restrained by George’s weight. It was very unfair.

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Short story 6

Miss Hall, the English mistress, got the good readers in the class to stand up and read aloud some ‘Just So Stories’. “Now I know you don’t expect to get homework until you go up to a senior school, but I would like you all to write me a Just So Story at home tonight, and we will read them all out tomorrow.”

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Short story 7

George was now 14. He was not only good at art; he had a good voice, so he was in the school choir.

There was a festival of local choirs coming up at the town hall. Their choir practiced very hard after school every day, and they were building high hopes.

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Short story 8

The band became very popular, doing a lot of local gigs. However the drummer and the Base player were stolen away by another band from the next town. They would have to get two new players. They did; both from South Africa.

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Short story 9

The music master, Mr Jones, brought in one of the new portable wind-up gramophones, and played the children a 78rpm recording of Aire on a G String.
George loved it.
“Sir. Can we sing it?”

“No. It’s for string players.”

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Short story 10

George hoped it would rain. Morning break was coming up and if it rained, they would not all have to go out to play in the playground. The playground was noisy and he did not know anyone.

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Short story 11

“Waiter! Waiter! What soup is this?”

“It’s bean soup sir.”

“I don’t want to know what it’s been. I want to know what it is!”

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Short story 12

“I don’t like European art. It doesn’t dance,” said Kin “I like bright patterns; colourful masks, and bright flags that blow in the wind, pictures and objects that cheer you up.”

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Short story 13

George had been sent home from school as he was not well. He sat drawing. His mother’s friends had come round for a cup of tea. They chatted. It happened most afternoons. The house was changed from day to day,  but today it was their house’s turn.

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Short story 14

Kin was very concerned. The news from Somalia was ever more depressing.

“Now I have got some A levels, thanks to your teaching, I think I am going to get some training as a medical auxiliary. I need to do something worthwhile with my life.”

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Short story 15

George bumped into Sue whilst shopping.

“I’ve told Victor about your paintings, and he would like to see some.”

“What! The chap who owns Gallery One.”

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Short story 16

Dick had more degrees than a thermometer. His father had been a doctor in a poor part of London, and he had not always charged for his services. Consequently the family had been poor all his childhood. Although sympathetic to his father’s position he was not going to live like that now he was master of his own fate.

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Short story 17

Bernie met Dick at one of George’s dinner parties.

He appeared as a revelation to Bernie. “How does he get such a beautiful girlfriend?” he said, staying on after the dinner, “Let’s face it, he’s fat and has what can’t be called a handsome face.”

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Short story 18

The weather forecast said winds 4 to 5 going up to 6 in the Thames area in the late afternoon.

“We’ll be there by then. Let’s go.” said George to his mate, Jim.” She’s a good boat and will do 9 knots, if we put up enough sail.”

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Short story 19

Next to the entrance to Highgate underground station is a pathway leading down steps to a secret wilderness in the middle of North London between two tunnels,. Tucked in it is an old disused railway station.

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Short story 20

George was visiting and playing chess with Victor in his house behind George Street in Hastings. The front door bell rang. As the house stood back off the road and was difficult to get to, it had to be someone who really wanted to see Victor, and as he was about to win he got up and answered the door.

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Short story 21

John had read the whole of Proust and announced it was boring. That was not the only thing he had read. In fact he was probably the best read character in Hampstead. His full time occupation was reading, with breaks to prop up the bar in several local pubs; the Roebuck, the Magdella and the George, at various times in the day and the week.

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Short story 22

Caroline was beautiful and intelligent. Her husband Karl, was a giant. People said that he was proof that Homo Sapien had interbred with homo Neanderthalis, His bald head sloped backwards and he had immense strength. His wrists were as thick as most people’s thighs. Nearly every evening he frequented the pubs of Hampstead where he cadged drinks off acquaintances.

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Short story 23

Michael de Boise was a very good chess player. He had just beaten his girlfriend, Jane, when George arrived. Jane shared a flat with George’s friend Pamela, on the edge of Parliament Hill.

“Do you play? How about a game?” said Michael as he set out the pieces. Much to both their surprise, George beat him.

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Thank you, Keith Beal