A Quiet Night Out


(c) P.M. Kroonenberg

Detective Inspector Kay loved stake-outs. Those long, quiet nights sitting in his squad car, eating Ben & Jerry’s. Usually the most exciting thing that happened was a dog barking or a suspicious car pulling up outside the house in question. This night was shaping up to be another good one. He’d brought his dinner (chicken and chips, no ketchup) and he had a couple of tubs of Cherry Garcia in his ice box on the back seat for after.

Staring out over the black water, gently lapping at the sides of the canal, a sudden movement caught his eye. Kay sat up straighter, slowly chewing his chips, his eyes now trained on the curve of the canal, partly hidden from view by an overhanging willow tree. Yes, there is was again. It was a light – a lantern probably. Slowly, the barge he had been waiting for but not expecting slid out from under the willow tree, heading for the lock.

“Blast,” Kay muttered. That was the end of his quiet evening in the car. He should radio for backup now, get other cars in, then there would be floodlights, shouting, gun-waving, the arrest, the paper work. The detective cast a regretful glance over his shoulder at the icebox. No Ben & Jerry’s tonight.

His hand hovered over the radio for a moment. Then he turned around instead, reached inside the ice box and grabbed a tub of ice cream. As quietly as he could, he opened the car door and took up position by the side of the canal. He could see the barge and his mark clearly now by the light of the moon. Kay took aim and with a mighty throw launched the tub at the man in the barge. It hit him square in the forehead and he dropped into the water like a sack of potatoes.

Detective Inspector Kay dusted himself off and watched approvingly as the barge drifted off course and ran aground in the reeds. It would keep till morning. He got back into his car and reached for his second tub of Cherry Garcia. As he tucked in with great relish, he decided it had been worth the sacrifice.




I think she was about to set off a bomb.

I was watching her through the peep holes that I had cut into the two a’s in ‘Daily Mail’. Don’t give me that look, that’s official MI5 endorsed spy craft. Anyway, she was looking all casual, as if she was just another student earning a few extra pounds propping up a sign to some place that sold some stuff. But I could see from the intensity with which she considered her phone that she was not just checking for messages or looking up train times. I could see her thumb tremble, hovering over the OK button. She was completely immersed in a moment, a decision.

Time stretched unbearably.

My leg was starting to itch. My elbows hurt.

Then she looked up, her eyes sharp.

I lowered my guard and my paper, my mouth shaping a silent ‘No!’ as her thumb finally made its choice.

Click here to see the prompt for this story.

Off site: publication news

2009_08_11_4601OzMRBlackKiteTwo of my poems, one of which has previously appeared on my blog and a Previously Unseen Poem about wings, have been published in the 4th Paper Swans iPamphlet, out today! You can download this excellent magazine for free here. Issue 4 is at the bottom – but why limit yourself? The back issues are full of interesting and inspiring poetry and flash fiction too.

While I’m being a Paper Swans fan girl, one of my poems also appears in their National Poetry Day slide show.

Birth Nostalgia

My son was in hospital for a few nights recently. It was the same hospital where I had both the kids and I found myself feeling curiously nostalgic, especially as my daughter’s 2nd birthday was imminent.

Fond Memories of Pain

It was horrendous
And the pain overwhelming
And I thought many times:
Does the gain really weigh up
Against this agony?

Then why do I feel nostalgia
As I squeak along the floor of this corridor?
This corner, this lift,
Where I was doubled over lowing
Like a cow as you pushed lower
To make a swift entrance into the here and now.

The sign that says “Delivery Suite”
Fills me with a warm sweet glow
Of love and remembered love:
This is where you meet a whole new person
Who is you and him but not you or him at all.

Who cares about pain when after all
That straining and pushing and the swearing,
The blame: “Never touch me again!”
You get to hold that feather-weight
And watch a soul unfold?

She meets the sea

She meets the sea

The creeping fingers of a nearly-spent wave
advance on your tiny frame.
Digging your toes into the sand,
you stand breathless
as the spray splashes up
into your beaming face.
We drift left with the waves,
foam floats on your tidal bath-
You are fearless
A glob of snot hangs from your nose,
but there is no time for tissues
when the sea is towering and crashing,
soaking you to the skin.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014

Not so secret racism

Sometimes certain political parties dare to darken my door with election leaflets. This is what I would say to them if I wasn’t afraid they’d come back later with more friends/big dogs/guns.


I am still different


My form may conform
to the local norm
as I open the door to your leaflets
that spew forth your bile
against others and strangers,
that warn of the dangers
of letting us in.
I know that within
I’m what you think is so vile
so I smile.

You see,

With malicious glee
I do all those things you’d expect from me.

I take your jobs
and I live in your houses
I sit in your queue for your A&E
I use your library,
Take up space on your bus
I even vote for my local MP

I say “We”.

I watch your news

I stand in your queues
My car appears in your Google Street Views.

I’m using your water
I’m breathing your air
Flush my wee through your sewers
Your pipes are clogged with my hair

best of all:

I made children
bilingual half breeds
growing like weeds
spreading my seeds
my foreign ideas
shooting roots over years
until decades from now
you will look around
and find Britain has changed
is no longer the same
because I changed my name
and staked a claim
on your country, your land.

I’m sure you’ll understand
I’m sure you’ll forgive
You’ll live and let live
Because you don’t need to fight
someone like me, you’d say –
I am okay, I can stay:

I am white.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014


You can hear me read this at Stephanie Arsoska’s Virtual Open Mic Night.