by James

Bill Tubbs, clad safely in a thick towelling dressing gown, pranced from his front door, down his path and out into the street, for no good reason at all. To be honest, Bill himself was growing tired of these random incidents that seemed to have no rhyme or reason to them that he could fathom. It was almost as if the world were a stage, and he were minor player dancing to the whim of some cosmic conductor.

So lost was Bill in thought that he failed to see the tram.

Here’s the thing with trams – they’re pretty silent, so they ding a cheery little bell to let you know they are approaching. Here I am, they ting, I’m tram! Here I come, do you want to be friends?

This tram did not ring her bell to warn that she was approaching. Later that day, back at the yard, she would agree with all who told her that there was nothing she could have done. The fool had come out of nowhere, almost as though he were a shoehorned plot twist. It wasn’t her fault.

But it was. She had seen him. She was as fed up as everyone else. It was a new year, a time of rejuvenation, not a time for yet another rambling plot culminating in gratuitous unsexy nudity.

The trailing cord of Bill Tubbs’ dressing gown caught under a wheel. Bill Tubbs was propelled forward by the impact, but his dressing gown remained in situ, hanging there for a moment like some ghostly echo. Bill Tubbs – nude again – sailed through the air, and landed, face first in the middle of the cycle lane. The impact killed him instantly. Thanks to a manhole cover - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLOODY CYCLE LANE – Bill’s shattered corpse was bundled into a huddle of pale white limbs, buttocks pointed proudly skyward in a manner that was decidedly comic, to everybody except the rapidly approaching delivery cyclist for a nearby fine glassware and teabag emporium.

The front wheel slipped snuggly between both buttocks. Bystanders winced. The tram dinged her bell in horror. The cyclist went over his handlebars. This poor chap was all lycra-ed up, correctly attired with a helmet and all the necessary lights. He was the kind of cyclist who obeyed red lights, and didn’t ride like a dick, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Karma is a car driver, who pays his sodding road tax, and car insurance.

The tram dinged her bell mournfully. She was saying that she hadn’t meant for all this to happen, she just wanted some good stories, something original, not more of the same that was quick to knock out in twenty minutes. Nobody nearby was fluent in Tramese. All they heard was a mournful ding.

But it was over! Rejoice! Rejoice. No more Bill Tubbs!


The ghost of Bill Tubbs stood. He was wearing the clothes in which he had died, which was nothing.

Bill Tubbs: nude for all eternity. He felt a great sense of joy. The possibilities were endless.