the friendly writers group
... is a retired industrial chemist who specialised for almost 40 years in the health and safety arena both in the UK and, as an auditor, in various overseas countries.
By his own admission he was never much cop at essays at school but learned to write decent prose in industry.
He began writing short imaginative pieces in the 1990s, for the most part based on Biblical events. Other work was intended to be parables relating to Christian living, vaguely resembling Bunyan’s 'A Pilgrim’s Progress'. He wrote his childhood memories of the 1940s and 1950s, copies of which have been lodged with Saffron Walden Museum and the Essex Historical Society. Originally these were targeted for a readership of two - his grandsons!
Since joining Harlow Writers’ Workshop he has broadened his writing horizons, learning to do better. Some of his work forms part of the latest HWW anthology Finding Our Voice. Other items have been published, one in a compilation, and a couple of others in the Christian Writers’ magazine, Areopagus. His greatest writing pleasure derives from digging bits out of his memory archives or dabbling on the edges of sci-fi, his favourite fictional genre.
Mike is a strong believer that one should read aloud everything one has written, and put as much feeling into it as the work demands.
Mike enjoys photography, is a member of the Harlow Seniors’ Photographic Group (hspg.smugmug.com). and is active in several volunteer church activities, such as Street Pastors. He leads a small Christian congregation in Harlow.
My mates are all young, I’m the youngest. I only had my bar mitzvah fifteen moons ago. They say we’re men now, but we’re only kids really. We hang about together and all tend to lark about in a crowd.
“No, I don’t want to go and see this crucifixion.”
“Come on. We’re all going.”
“No. I saw that bandit nailed up a few weeks back and it turned my guts. Ever since then I keep thinking I can hear him scream. I’ve seen his horrible face in my dreams.”
“Dreams can’t hurt you. Come on, you wimp. Are you a part of this gang or not?”
“But why do we all have to go and watch it?”
“The elders say it ain’t enough for justice to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”
“Oh, all right. I’m coming. What’s he supposed to have done, anyway?”
“He blasphemed. He said he was God’s son.”
“But that’s not a crime under Roman rules.”
“No, but it is to the rabbis. Execution was their idea. They insisted on it.”
“Surely the governor didn’t have to do it just ‘cause they said so?”
“He tried to refuse but then they said that he claimed to be the king of Israel. That changed the governor’s mind.”
“But we haven’t had a king for centuries.”
“I know, but these days we do have to call Caesar our king, don’t we.”
“But the rabbis don’t!”
“They did this morning. “We have no king but Caesar,” they swore. We was in the crowd when they said it.”
“That’s ruddy hypocritical!”
“Maybe, but it’s got them what they wanted, didn’t it? Anyway he’ll be dead by tomorrow.”
So here I am tagging along.
“Let’s go and bait him. Let’s go and have a laugh.”
I feel a bit uneasy but I’m going along with them anyway.
“Hey! You up there! If you really worked miracles and reckon you’re God’s son, let’s see you prove it. Free yourself. Come down here.”
I‘m not going join in with that. I’m just standing here gawping at him, nailed hand and foot and roped to the wood. I’m looking at his head, all bruised and bloodied. Oh, no, he’s opening his eyes. He’s looking straight at me.
“I know this guy. I’ve met him.”
“You haven’t, have you?”
“I have. I told you about that rabbi who came through our village once. I told you he came over to me and asked me what I’d like him to do for me. I told you I thought that was flipping obvious, I said, “I’m blind, ain’t I? I just wanna see.”
“You’ve never told us it was him.”
“No, well …. I’ve only just made the connection. Anyway, he said, “you’ve got it,” and like I told you, I felt his fingers touch my eyes. And the first thing I saw was his face.”
“It was all kind and friendly then. But look at now, it‘s in a bloody mess. And look at his right hand. It’s dripping blood where that huge spike has been hammered right through it.”
“Well, what do you expect at a crucifixion? Here, you’re not crying, are you?”
“Can’t help it. Tears are just coming to my eyes. That was the hand that he touched me with when he made me see.”
“Well, he ain’t going to do that anymore, is he?”
“I dunno. I have the weirdest feeling that we haven’t heard the last of him.”