All stories

Polly Amorous

by Dan

Cap’n Bradleigh Salterton of the Seahorse was looking for love. The pirate had not had a girlfriend since his tryst with female pirate Fakebeard had produced too many uncontrollable offspring.

To help him in his quest he’d bought a new parrot, who fancied herself on a television dating show, insisting on being introduced as “your host Miss Cilla Black”.

The matchmaking Macaw put Captain Salterton through interminable chat-up line training until, instead of issuing commands, he’d address his first mate , Israel Bones with lines like “Well number two, I’d love to let you open my chest and see my buried treasure!” or “If you pick me, I’ll definitely put the ARRRR back into romance!”. Bones hoped that his captain hadn’t taken a sudden shine to him.

Her teachings worked though and now whenever the buccaneer went ashore, he was mobbed by ardent young women desperate to hear his tales of derring-do. “Well captain Salterton” theyed coo, “I know you like parrots and I’m not averse to the odd cockatoo, so if you pick me I’ll prove Toucan play at that game!” But while his vanity was buoyed, if he was completely honest this was not what he wanted.

Fakebeard ruminated that any girls stupid enough to want him were welcome to him and wondered why it was always her turn to do parents evening? But against her better judgement his new status impressed her and momentarily she remembered first seeing him and thinking that if you wore an eye patch and squinted he could almost pass for Johnny Depp. She was disappointed in herself but felt a booty call calling.

Blackbeard, Eggbeard and Bluebeard meanwhile had grown jealous and resolved to capture the parrot that had made Salterton the “Heart-throb-of-Havana”.

That night, under cover of darkness the three bearded buccaneers arrived astern of the Seahorse in a dinghy. They were armed with a map to Miss Cilla Black’s perch. They scaled the side and climbed aboard. Blackbeard then performed his party trick, of setting fire to his beard, to appear more frightening, whereupon Salterton’s timid crew dispersed like mist on an autumn morning towards the lifeboats.

Oh Bluebeard! His parents had told him the importance to pirates of concentrating on geography in school but still he held the map a) upside down and b) back to front! With the fiery Blackbeard beside him he broke down the door to the wrong cabin and the burst into Salterton’s boudoir just as he and Fakebeard were indulging in a game involving some petticoats and a cat-o-nine-tails. A sight that once spied, could never be unspied. Blackbeard turned in furious embarrassment but his smoking beard set fire to curtains and a fire broke out.

The pirates including Salterton who was still in petticoats, made it to the dinghy just in time.

In the neighbouring cabin Miss Cilla Black had heard the bumpy goings on next door and was happily toasting her latest success with a small sherry.

“Lets see how our Bradleigh and our Fakebeard Gorron!” she cried, but these were her last words before the stricken ship descended to Davy Jones’s Locker.

Unlike Salterton’s other parrots she did not die in vain however, because, as they watched the Seahorse sink, for the first time in years, Bradleigh and Fakebeard were holding hands.

Jeremy's girls

by Jenny

Jeremy’s polyamory would have been easier to handle if it hadn’t been for the fact that his bedroom door was broken, concealing nothing from the rest of the household.

Jessica, we knew, liked it rough. She was very vocal and had an array of obscene nicknames for Jeremy which he didn’t seem to mind. Kathy cried afterwards. A lot. Ruth only stayed once. She had given him something that caused a rash and a slow burning sensation on his down there and we didn’t see her again.

Each girl was completely different from the next. Jessica had brown hair and freckles, Kathy was blonde and plump. Nicky was a redhead and Susannah had shaved her head and eyebrows along with the rest of her bodily hair. She had tattoos in surprising places.

We had seen (and heard) a variety of wildly differing women disappearing behind Jeremy’s beaded curtain, emerging lovestruck and giggling and besotted.

The only thing these girls had in common was the fact that they had no idea about one another whatsoever.

“But I thought polyamory meant that everyone involved was also polyamorous.” I said to Stephanie, our other housemate. She nodded.

“Yeah, Jeremy’s a pig. He says he’s getting experience so he can write about it in his book.”

Stephanie had lived with Jeremy for several years. She seemed to block him out

“He’s writing a book?”

“Oh yes. He’s been working on it for as long as I’ve known him. He says it’s his life’s work.”

Stephanie rolled her eyes.

Book or no book, I had already sat through too many moony coffees with the Jessicas and Nickys and Ruths to think that what he was doing was ok. They were daft about him and, despite myself, I felt sorry for them.

And so, when Jeremy left his phone unlocked on the kitchen unit it was too good an opportunity to miss. I drafted the message and hit send before I could talk myself out of it. There, it was done. Now all I could do was wait.

Nicky arrived first and went straight up to Jeremy’s room. He wasn’t actually due back for another half an hour, but I was glad it was Nicky. She liked to sprawl naked on the bed and wait for him in exotic poses. When I showed Jessica in, the screams started.

But by the time the others showed up the screaming was mostly over and the girls’ rage was beginning to direct itself towards their shared enemy, the bead-wearing, long-haired, oh-so-sensitive Jeremy, rather than each other.

Jeremy would come home to face a nest of irate women in his seedy boudoir. I was practically rubbing my hands with anticipation

At the sound of running water and the clatter of feet on tiles, I peered out of my own room to see the women grioped together, giggling. One, I couldnt quite see which, was carrying Jeremy’s hard drive into the bathroom. The hard drive with his life’s writing on. Had he been as careless with his computer as with his phone?!

And above the unmistakable hissing and fizzing of electrical equipment dunked in water I heard Jeremy’s key turn in the lock.


by Russ

‘I have three girlfriends,’ Owen said to me proudly as he focussed his attention trying to reattach the broken door of his favourite fire engine. ‘Aoife, Samera, and Jenny.’

‘I see,’ I said. ‘And what makes them your girlfriends?’

He looked up at me as if I were a corrupted hard-drive.

‘Because we said, Mummy.’

It’s amazing how the scowl of a five-year-old can put you in your place. I kept my serenity.

‘I mean, what is it you like about them?’

‘Oh, they’re all very different. Aoife teaches me Cat's Cradle, and Samera knows all about dinosaurs.’

‘Important stuff. What about Jenny?’

‘Jenny smells like ice-cream,’ he smiled.

I couldn’t argue with that.

‘And, do they all know about each other?’

He actually put his fire engine down at this point, so he could turn and consider the full scale of my stupidity. I felt the slow burn of his judgement as he furrowed his brow in vexation.

‘Of course they do. We’re all at the same school. Silly Mummy.’

I bit my tongue.

‘I mean, do they all know you have three girlfriends? Does Jenny know that Aoife and Samera are your girlfriends too?’

‘Yes, Mummy. They’re best friends.’

‘So you all play together at playtime?’

‘No, at playtime I play football.’

‘And the girls don’t play with you?’

‘Samera does sometimes,’ then he thought. ‘Aoife did once, but she got hit in the face with the ball. That was funny.’


‘She wasn’t really hurt, Mummy!’

‘So they don’t mind sharing you?’

‘Why would they mind?’

‘What about when you want to get married? You can’t marry them all?’

‘That’s OK. I can’t marry Jenny, because she’s going to Oxford, and Samera wants to live in Italy and you know I don’t like pizza.’

This had never been mentioned before.

‘So I’m going to marry Aoife.’

The kid seemed to have it all worked out.

‘Then Jenny is going to live us when she gets back, so she can be our lawyer.’

I didn’t have any further questions.

‘And we’re going to have two dogs, a cat, three rabbits, a chicken, and an alligator.’

‘An alligator?’

‘Samera says we have to have an alligator, as it’s really just a small dinosaur so it will remind us of her.’

‘I see.’

A door clicked open at the back of the house.

‘Hi guys, I’m home!’ a voice called.

‘Quick, that’s your dad. You should be in bed, get all your cars put away so he can take you up.’

‘Dad!’ Owen shouted into the air as he stood up, completely ignoring the toys. The man came bounding into the room, draped his coat over the sofa and picked up our son.

‘It’s past your bedtime, mate!’ he smiled as he hugged the boy he now held in his arms. ‘Shall I take you up?’

Owen nodded. My husband leant down and dipped the boy aside so he could kiss me, then the two disappeared upstairs, leaving me to start dropping tiny emergency vehicles into the plastic box they called home.

He’s a pretty good dad, I thought to myself, but he doesn’t know anything about Cat's Cradle, or dinosaurs, and he definitely doesn’t smell like ice-cream.

For the best

by James

It really was for the best - for him, for Karen. For the kids. All of them flown the nest, of course, but still with their chirping beaks in Daddy’s wallet – oh Daddy, I simply must have the new Gucci, oh Daddy, my hard drive has once again become corrupted.

What good could a protracted divorce achieve? Acrimony, alimony, and the pouring of the family treasure into the fleece lined pockets of vulture lawyers and attorneys…and…things.

Avery paused – where had his train thought disappeared? His was the slow burn kind of intelligence, not hot on the nitty gritty of the world – that was Karen’s department. Family money, now that was his speciality, more specifically, keeping it in the family. Keeping the house too, that both of them loved. Suppose they did divorce and Karen got the house? Oh, the horror of it. Where would he keep his hand stitched Italian leather wing back chair that had been a mere snip at eighteen thousand pounds?

No. It would not happen. It would not. He took a deep breath and from his suit jacket pocket took his scrap of paper. On it he had written polyamory, Latin for many loves. Those Latins, they were clever. Give anything a name and it sounded better.

Avery shouted up the stairs. ‘Honey! I’m early. We need a little talk…’

He was halfway up the stairs when his wife appeared at the top. She spoke breathlessly. ‘Oh, darling. I didn’t expect you…I was taking a nap.’

Avery wrinkled his forehead. It was half past ten in the morning. When he had left Karen had been up and dressed but now she was gathering a dressing gown about herself.

‘Did you have a nightmare?’ Avery said. ‘Your face is flushed.’

A look came to his wife’s face. It was one he recognised, from all the times he had practised it in the mirror. And then a sudden smile broke on Karen’s face. ‘Not a nightmare, no. I was thinking about us, on our wedding night, and so…’

And so, she came down the stairs, took him by his hand and led him to the sweaty bed where she rode him to the finish line. Perhaps the phase of post coital bliss wasn’t the moment to mention Shauna and Rachel, both of whom he did love with a burning passion, but once Avery had set his mind to something…

Karen repeated the word slowly. ‘Polyamory…?’

Avery chuckled. ‘It’s not pigeon fancying. It’s Latin, for many loves.’

Karen said, ‘I know what it means.’ She slipped from the bed. She donned her robe. ‘I have to tell you, it’s a weight off my mind, and no mistake.’ She moved to the massive antique wardrobe that dominated the room. She knocked on the door. ‘Brad, you can come out now…’

A large, muscular fellow appeared, bundle of clothes clutched at groin level. He smiled sheepishly at Avery as he fled the room.

‘Brad called unexpectedly,’ Karen said. She moved to the wardrobe with the broken door and knocked. ‘Johnny, on the other hand, he was my ten o’clock.’ A skinny fellow emerged from this wardrobe. He did not meet Avery’s eye as he fled.

‘Now then, darling,’ Karen said. ‘Polyamory. It sounds such a wonderful idea…’