short stories

The Graveyard Game

Fearless Francis hides among the dead

A graveyard does not scare Fearless Francis Tucked in between a tenement building and Saint Mary’s Chapel Priests House in Abercromby Street was an old graveyard. It had been many a long year since its last occupant was laid to rest there and finally it ended up as a football pitch for Saint Mary’s Primary School. Now, even that school has gone, famous for having its playground on the roof, where children were forced to play in all sorts of weather at break time.

The Phantom Jobby Flinger

Fearless Francis fights Captain Pasquale

Fighting 200 Spanish soldiers - and Smelly Nellie Francis had just come back from the Saturday Matinee at the Olympia cinema in Bridgeton Cross. The film was The Sign of Zorro, starring Guy Williams. This was new to Francis, and his fertile imagination lost no time in creating scenarios that would help him play out his fantasies. And now as Fearless Francis, he was fighting for his life against overwhelming odds.

Gunfight on the Auchenshuggle Express

Fearless Francis nearly has a shootout on a tram!

There’s a mean looking hombre riding the number 9… The number 9 to Auchenshuggle tramcar trundled its way slowly along Argyle Street. The beam from Its cyclops headlamp made the wet cobblestones glisten and shimmer in the twilight of the winter’s evening. The rain had just stopped and the streets of Glasgow seemed to have been scrubbed clean with the fresh rainwater. Francis knelt on the long seat of the tram and looked out the window.

Martian Invasion of Cubie St

Fearless Francis fights aliens up a close

Our hero encounters a spaceship disguised as a shop. To a seven-year-old boy, the world was an exciting place. In his world, he was a super hero, afraid of nothing. Francis pored over his Superman and Batman comics (bought for 9 old pennies from a shop in Orr Street), his young mind soaking in all the fantastic stories that helped feed his wild imagination. One day, the wee boy’s granny sent him off to Paterson’s Dairy for a packet of Red Label Brooke Bond tea.

My Wee Angel

I was convinced that I was being followed….

The stranger was just a few steps behind me… I often walk the streets of Glasgow at night, and never felt any fear. I reasoned that if I worry about being attacked, my fear and timidity would be apparent and then I would attract the very undesirable attention that I am trying to avoid. Besides, I’m a tough lady and handy with the pointed end of my umbrella. So, head held high, and striding quickly along the Gallowgate, I headed for home, tired and alone.

Burying Fergus

A holy man comes to Cathures

St Mungo comes to Cathures (Glasgow) Old hospitals are dismal places and Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary is no exception. Although there’s a modern extension next to it, the old Victorian building is still extensively used. I was visiting a friend who was in a ward in the old wing. I had no intention of hanging around the corridors of this old hospital. I shudder to think what tales would unfold about this place, and was vaguely aware that there were many souls wandering aimlessly here.

The Clock Stopped

We struggled to free the women...

Templeton Carpet Factory near Glasgow Green I like walking through Glasgow Green. Even as a lad, I’d walk down here. Sometimes my mother would send me out with my little sister in the pram and I was told to take her for some fresh air. It didn’t do my image any good – a wee boy pushing his sister about in a pram, but I ignored the other boys’ sneers and made the best of it.

Pew Punch-Up

Push them back against the wall!

Glasgow Cathedral survives the Reformation - just Although I was born in Glasgow and lived there most of my early life, I had never set foot inside the Cathedral until about two years ago. I’ve visited this great building on a few occasions since then. Today I was inside the main hall, all spartan with the only colours being provided by the glass windows and faded flags. The interior colours were mostly light grey, dark grey and black.

Dodging the Turnips

Amateur night in a Glasgow music hall

Photographs by Wishart Frankfield (1999-2002) Amateur night in a Glasgow music hall “You’ve got to ‘ave a bit of fun you know, life’s all fun!” I’m surprised I’ve never been knocked down by a car or a bus – my head is always in the clouds, visualising, daydreaming, thinking up plots for stories. However, I never imagined being run over by a tramcar! The last time I saw a tramcar on a Glasgow street was in 1962.

7 Blythswood Square

Was her lover's cocoa laced with arsenic?

The infamous Madeleine Smith case It was a nice warm day in Glasgow and I was out and about taking digital photographs outside the house at Number 7 Blythswood Square. Looking at the old building, it was hard to believe that of its many occupants over the years, one the most infamous being a young society lady in Victorian times who was accused of poisoning her lover. After tinkering with the led display on my camera, I looked up and became aware that everything was becoming darker.