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Mikiatures 40 - Words
December 07, 2011 11:03 PM PST
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It all began on Facebook, of course, when a bored young lady challenged her fellow writing friends to come up with a story that was just six words long. Why six? Don’t shoot the messenger! As somebody who until that moment had never written a six-word sentence – let alone a six-word story (what with all those dashes and brackets for irritating yet important afterthoughts) –, Mick’s initial reaction had been to admit defeat gracefully: You win. I lose. So what?

            Needless to say, however, Mick ended up succumbing to the challenge, and even went so far as to record his first Mikicast and post it on YouTube (where it languishes to this day – but that’s another story). Anyway, Mick’s Sikicast went something like this:


six silly six-word stories in sixty-six seconds


Once upon a time I cried.


-Marry me!

-Piss off!

-Fair enough.


Woke up . . . got up . . . threw up.


-Was it you?

-Yes it was.


-Hey, mind the gap!

-What gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


Here lies Mike Church. Silly sod.


If you enjoyed this Mikiature, please show your appreciation by donating six cents to a worthy cause or tramp.

Mikiatures 39 - Here There And Everywhere
December 07, 2011 10:59 PM PST
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Here There And Everywhere

There was only one thing that annoyed Mick more than drivers who didn't indicate: drivers who did indicate, but then didn't do what they indicated. As he chugged along behind the clapped-out Renault that had been threatening to turn right into the embankment for the past 500 yards or so, Mick asked himself, What was it with drivers that upset him so?

            Mick’s students, for instance, invariably promised to hand in their compositions by Friday, but they rarely kept their word. Did this worry him? Hardly. When not on the road, Mick was an incredibly empathetic human being; whatever that meant. He understood that his students had terribly stressful lives, what with all those midweek pub crawls, work lunches and yoga sessions. Indeed, he was secretly pleased that he didn’t have to spend all weekend poring over 20 compositions entitled “What I done past weekend”.

There was only one possible conclusion, though Mick was damned if he knew what it was. Awakening from his reveries, Mick checked his rearview mirror and cursed the young lady who had been flashing her lights at him since he cut her up at the roundabout. Perhaps he ought to turn off his emergency lights?

Mikiatures 38 - The Ties That Bind
December 07, 2011 10:57 PM PST
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The Ties That Bind

‘One of my students said she’d never heard of “identifying relative clauses”.’

            ‘Oh? Who was that?’

            ‘You know, the one who’s going out with the butcher’s assistant.’

            ‘You mean the bald bloke who works down at B and M?’

            ‘Isn’t that the supermarket where you give classes, Mick?’

            ‘No, that’s M and B. B and M is where Jill works.’


            ‘Yeah, Jill. You know, the new girl with the big, er . . .’

            ‘Big what, Dick?’

            ‘Never mind. Did any of you lot see that documentary last night?’

            ‘Which one?’

            ‘The one about those poor wildebeest that kept getting attacked by cheetahs.’

            ‘Tell me about it.’

            ‘Well, apparently—’

            ‘We’ve seen it, Dick! Every documentary these days is about some poor animal or other that gets ripped to shreds by lions or tigers.’

            ‘Well, these were cheetahs.’

            ‘Or cheetahs. So what’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison?’

            ‘You can’t wash your face in a buffalo?’

            ‘Ha ha ha. Well, according to Wiki—’

            ‘Oh Lord! Is that the time? I’d better be going.’

            ‘Hey, remember that time you missed your bus and ended up hitching a lift home with that farmer?’

            ‘Which farmer?’ . . .

Mikiatures 37 - Nothing But The Same Old Story
December 07, 2011 10:56 PM PST
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Nothing But The Same Old Story

‘Once upon a time, there was a ham sandwich. One day he–’

            ‘A ham sandwich, Daddy?’

            ‘That's right, darling.’

            ‘Not a princess?’

            ‘No. I'm tired of stories about princesses. Aren't you?’


            ‘Well, anyway, one day the ham sandwich was walk–’

            ‘What was his name?’

            ‘What was whose name, darling?’

            ‘The ham sandwich.’

            ‘Is it important?’

            ‘Of course it is, Daddy! You’re always saying how lucky you are they didn’t call you Rupert.’

            ‘Or Montgomery.’


            ‘Well what?’

            ‘His name, Daddy!’



            ‘Yes, Hammy. And one day Hammy was walking through–’

            ‘Can ham sandwiches walk, Daddy?’

            ‘Not usually, darling, but this one was special.’

            ‘Why doesn't Mummy make me ham sandwiches that walk?’

            ‘Because then you wouldn't eat them, would you?’

            ‘This is a silly story, Daddy.’

            ‘Life is silly, darling.’

            ‘Don't you know any normal stories, Daddy?’

            ‘You mean stories about princesses, frogs and all that nonsense?’



            ‘So what happened to Hammy, Daddy?’


            ‘The ham sandwich. Remember?’

            ‘Ah, yes, Hammy! A tree attacked him while he was walking through the wood.’

            ‘A tree?’

            ‘Yes, a tree. He was ’ambushed. Hambushed! Get it?’

            ‘Ha, ha, ha. Goodnight, Daddy.’

            ‘Ham, ham, ham. Goodnight, darling.’

Mikiatures 36 - Real Good Looking Boy
December 07, 2011 10:54 PM PST
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Real Good Looking Boy

Mick switched the light on and stood in the doorway, looking at his beautiful little boy. Joe didn’t stir. He slept on; and, most likely, dreamed on, too. Whatever Joe was dreaming about, he was clearly enjoying his time in slumberland.

            “He’s a good-looking kid – doesn’t take after you at all,” was the general verdict. Mick was perfectly happy to go along with public opinion, even if comments such as “He’s got his great-grandfather’s eyes” were somewhat over the top in his opinion.

            “Smart young lad, too, isn’t he?” Well, what did they expect? “Reminds me of his grandfather,” someone once added, to which Mick had replied, “Oh, I didn’t realise you’ve met my father?”.

            Mick stood there, lost in his own dreams and meditating on those questions that every father asks himself at some point: “Will my child succeed where I have failed?”, “Am I preparing him well for the real world?” and “Is that the time? I’d better get dressed”.

“Come on, darling, time for school,” said Mick, stealing a kiss on Joe’s cheek before he came round.

            “Daddy, don’t forget I need money for my driving lessons,” said Joe, leaping out of bed and into the shower.

Mikiatures 35 - Lumberjack Song
December 07, 2011 10:52 PM PST
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Lumberjack Song

Diploma in English Language Teaching to Anyone, July 2011

Module One, Paper 1, Task 2

The painful truth is this: regardless of teacher, method, resources or techniques, a good student will always learn and a bad student never will.

How do you cope with being a redundant piece of furniture in the classroom?

Examiners’ Report

Once again, a large percentage of candidates happily admitted that they are “a complete waste of space” and “totally superfluous to the learning process”. Many proceeded to belt out their sob-sob stories of “I never wanted to do this, anyway”, “I should have listened to my evil stepmother”, “I wanted to be a lumberjack”, and so on.

It had been hoped that candidates would argue that there is a place for the teacher in the language classroom – in the corner, on the floor, at the back, under the desk, etc. – and that they have a vital role to play: stimulating interest, organising practice, presenting language, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Several candidates did in fact take this line, while one bright spark passed automatically on account of her including the phrases “source of knowledge”, “font of wisdom” and “facilitator of information” in her opening sentence.

Mikiatures 34 - What Have I Done To Deserve This?
December 07, 2011 10:50 PM PST
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What Have I Done To Deserve This?

‘Can I help you?’

            ‘No, thanks. I'm just looking.’

            ‘What are you looking for?’

            ‘Oh, nothing in particular.’

            ‘I see.’

            ‘You don't mind my looking, do you?’

            ‘Feel free.’

            ‘Thank you.’

            ‘The shirts and tops are here; the shorts and trousers are over there; and the jerseys and jackets are around the corner. Just shout if you need any help.’

            ‘Thank you.’

            ‘By the way, we’ve got a three-for-two offer on ties and scarves.’

            ‘Yes, I saw.’

            ‘Miserable weather, eh? Good for business, mind. That's a lovely shirt.’


            ‘I said, That's a lovely shirt.’

            ‘Yes, it is.’

            ‘Would you like to try it on?’

            ‘Not now, thanks.’

            ‘What size were you looking for?’

            ‘I wasn't.’

            ‘I'd say you're a large. Shall I measure you?’

            ‘Maybe later.’

            ‘You're not from here, are you?’




            ‘I’ve got a cousin in England.’



            ‘That’s Scotland.’

            ‘Yeah. We’re thinking of going to London in August. Do you know any good family hotels? We’re not looking for anything fancy; just somewhere to kip for the night, basically. Those shirts might be a bit tight.’

            ‘Sorry, I don’t know London that well. Well, thanks. Bye.’

            ‘Lovely parks, they say.’ . . .

Mikiatures 33 - Bright Side Of The Road
December 07, 2011 10:48 PM PST
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Bright Side Of The Road

‘Excuse me? Which way to the university, please?’

            ‘On foot or by car?’

            ‘By car,’ said Mick, pulling on his handbrake.

            ‘Which university do you want?’

            ‘There’s more than one?!’

            Mick feigned surprise even though 25 years of living in the Basque Country had taught him that nothing here was remotely surprising; as illustrated by the fact that, no matter which place you were looking for, there was always at least one other place with the same name.

            ‘We’ve got three.’

            ‘Three?! Er, Reibar University?’

            ‘Do you want the Polytechnic, the Business School or the Science Park?’

            ‘The Business School, please.’

            Mick resisted the temptation to point out to his new friend that Reibar, in common with every other city in the land, had one university divided into various faculties.

            ‘Over there,’ replied the man, pointing to a modern grey building.

            ‘Oh!’ said Mick, wondering how he’d missed the massive “Hey, four eyes, we’re over here!” sign.

            ‘So either you drive five hundred yards up to the next roundabout, turn around, come back down the same way, and turn right into the university . . . or you park here like everyone else and cross the road. Up to you.’

Mikiatures 32 - Free Fallin'
December 07, 2011 10:46 PM PST
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Free Fallin’

‘What day is it today, anyone?’


            ‘Freeday, Vanesa?’

            ‘Yes, Freeday.’

            ‘If it's a free day, why are you here?’

            ‘Sorry, sorry?’

            ‘I said, If it's a free day, why are you here?’

            ‘Because we class on Freeday, no?’

            ‘FRIday, Vanesa, FRIday.’

            ‘Ah, yes.’

            ‘Can you say it?’


            ‘I’m waiting.’


            ‘Can you say FRIday, Vanesa?’


            ‘Good. What does "FREE day" mean?’

            ‘What mean "FREE day"?’

            ‘Yes, what mean "FREE day"?’

            ‘Today Freeday, no?’

            ‘FRIday, Vanesa, FRIday.’

            ‘Ah, yes, FRIday. Sorry.’

            ‘No need to apologise, Vanesa. Just remember next time, OK?’

            ‘Remember what?’

            ‘Ha ha ha. OK, what about FREE? That’s got different meanings, hasn’t it, Pablo?


            ‘And what are they?’

            ‘I don’t know.’

            ‘OK, let’s bring in the big guns. Go on then, Nelson, give us your best shot.’


            ‘Different meanings of FREE, please?’

            ‘If something is free, you mustn’t pay for it.’

            ‘Don’t have to.’


            ‘Nothing, Nelson. Very good. Carry on, please.’

            ‘And if somebody is free, they have no chains. “Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement”.’

            ‘Well, I wouldn’t go that far, Nelson. Er, sit down please, Donna. It’s not breaktime yet.’ . . .

Mikiatures 31 - Go Your Own Way
December 07, 2011 10:43 PM PST
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Go Your Own Way

‘I’ve peeled the potatoes. Shall I put them in the oven?’

            ‘What do you think? Do you notice a difference?’

            ‘Yes, much better, darling. I said, Shall I put the potatoes in the oven?’

            ‘We need to get more bleach. My back’s killing me.’

            ‘I thought I could do some red peppers to go with the pork.’

            ‘Those tiles up there were filthy. I’ve done what I can, but we can’t go on like this.’

            ‘No, we can’t. Why don’t you give it a rest?’

            ‘Did you put the potatoes in the oven, darling?’

            ‘That’s what I came to ask you.’

            ‘Can you fetch me the vacuum cleaner?’ . . .



            ‘Well what? Pass me that cloth, will you?’

            ‘What about the potatoes?’

            ‘Are they already done?’

            ‘I haven’t even put them in the oven!’

            ‘Well, what are you waiting for? How’s it looking?’

            ‘You missed a bit in the corner.’


            ‘I was joking, darling. OK, I’d better get on.’

            ‘Can you get me a stool?’

            ‘In a minute. First, I’m going to put the potatoes in.’

            ‘Did you remember Mum’s coming today?’

            ‘How can I remember if you never told me?’

            ‘Hurry up with that stool, darling.’

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