Michael Fitzalan in shirt, Hermes tie and jacket.


Christmas Kerfuffle – A seasonal short story.

Bill Kermode enjoyed living in the quiet backwater that was Furzedown, a south London suburb. Every street made an effort with their Christmas decorations and most of the residents were  friendly and if not, they did not seem too mad but you could never be so sure with Care in the Community. There was the odd eccentric as in any community and then those on their mobility scooters. There was one ahead on that Christmas Eve when he was walking back from the cafe on Tooting Common.

It was a wine-red cart that looked like a cross between Noddy’s car and a Vespa scooter. There was a wire basket at the front, crammed with bags. She must be getting ready for Christmas the lovely, old dear.  She was riding on the road and Bill, being a considerate chap slowed his pace so she would not have to stop for him at the  zebra crossing that was just before the roundabout. She whizzed past, clasping the handlebars as her wiry, stainless steel hair was brushed by the wind and she skidded to a screeching halt behind a car that wanted to drive through the roundabout. Having to wait for all the traffic on Thrale Road to go past, ‘priority a droite’, the driver was too slow to move for the lovely old lady.

Pressing her horn savagely she glared at the lights of the car head. The sound was an electric buzzer, an entry-phone announcement that pedestrians could hear but not cars. After all those scooters were designed for pavements.

Pausing at the pedestrian crossing, no other cars were visible, he suddenly had a south Londoner’s urge to help the situation.

“He has to let the traffic through on his right,” explained Bill kindly.

Immediately, she turned towards him, a sour expression painted on her face, just above her double-chin.

“You mind your own business, I.m in a hurry,” she grumbled loudly, staring it at him with blazing eyes.

“You mind your own business by not hooting your horn,” he replied, feeling pleased with his retort.  He wanted to add the words: ‘ you old crone’.

He had been feeling Christmasy but the exchange left him denuded as a person, frustrated and disappointed.

“Why?” he wondered in a whispering voice as she shot off, not waiting for the cars on her right, “are people all so impatient.”

Confidently, he crossed the zebra crossing, the road was clear.

“Christmas will come in time and we will celebrate. You will finish your journey before it’s too late,” he mumbled to himself under his breath, pleased  with his little ditty.

Who was he kidding?

Sadly, he lived in the seething city, there was no comfort and joy in the sprawling streets, the soaring skyscrapers and the terrible traffic.  Goodwill to all men finished at the south-circular road, the periphery, he had not found his sanctuary.







Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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