November 15, 2008

An old homework I forgot to upload!

I'm not hugely fond of this. It was fun doing it though!

The door was begging, enticing. At the softest touch it swung open and a cacophony of smug, happy voices flew out. They were too content, each man and woman revelling in each other’s company and conversation. What could they have to talk about? What nonsense was passing from lips to ears, filling their brains with cotton wool? A waste of precious time.

There was a warm glow, and the stench of old beer and chip fat was sickening. It was not too late to turn back, to push through the doors and run back to the safety of the car. The knife was there. It needed to be checked, sharpened, checked again. Would it do the job? It was so effortless last time. It slipped in and out of her flesh so quickly, and so cleanly. She barely felt a thing.

But no. It was good to be here. They would all see, all remember. They could tell the detectives who was in the pub that night, at 7.03pm. And besides, a drink or two would help to fortify and calm nerves. Walking up to the bar, the floor was sticky with spilled pints, and each footstep could be heard peeling from the floor in quick succession. The bar was crowded, full of jostling men ordering three pints at a time with a wine spritzer for their girlfriends. There was no room, hands everywhere waving five-pound notes and huge backs and shoulders keeping the other predators away from the watering hole. A space.

A space! Quick! Move into the hole! Under that arm and dodging that elbow, sweaty backs and shoulders all around. Move into the hole, and emerge into the daylight, victorious, two pounds fifty in hand outstretched. But the barmaid was stupid and slow. Not seeing the most important outstretched hand, the one who had defeated all the others, who had arrived here by process of natural selection. She passed out pint after pint, here and there a vodka coke, a shot or two for the more fool-hardy. A shout, a wave, a loud complaint, but still the barmaid rattled on like clockwork, not noticing or caring. Finally, she noticed.

“Waddya want?”

“A pint of Strongbow please”

And off she went. Her little cogs turning, ticking over as she reached for a glass and filled it to the brim, little bubbles flowing over the edge and covering back of her hand in a sugary film as she placed in on the counter.

“Two pound twenty”

The coins were handed over, reluctantly. Just thirty pence change and the ordeal would be over. There would be a quiet corner somewhere where thinking could be done, and planning. The little barmaid trotted over to the till, deposited the two pounds fifty, and closed it again. She looked up, and took the next order from vulture in front of her, waggling his five pound note.

“Excuse me, the change? I need 30p change”

“Yes, yes, gimme a minute will yer?”

She pulled three pints, measured out the wine spritzer, took the five pound note, opened the till, took out 10p change and handed it back to the ogre with the pints.

“Hey! Excuse me! My change?”

“Alright alright, keep yer socks on!”

She spun around, and took the order from the next waiting hand. It wasn’t difficult. All she had to do was take a little notice. She should know who she was dealing with, she should know better. Oh if only. Just a little prick, a little blood and she would understand. But the knife was in the car, waiting for another job, now was not the time. But then there was the gun. It felt cold and smooth, its ridges perfectly place, mathematically designed. It commanded respect, demanded attention.

I pulled myself onto the counter, one knee up and then feet, placed firmly and surely. Standing up above the crowd I could feel the cool air against my face and could breath again. I pulled out the gun and held it in an outstretched hand, pointing towards the barmaid. The gaggle of men went quiet, the women at their tables suddenly hushed. Everyone was watching, waiting.

“I require thirty pence in change”

The barmaid moved toward the till, her eyes beginning to tear and her hands shaking.

Now they understood me. Now they know who I am.


A little more than before

I've added a little more to this experiment I was working on. It's starting to move in a different direction which I'm not sure I like yet. The two sections we fuelled by two different states of mind but both are a play on my worst character traits (caricatured of course!). It's getting a look darker.. and more weird. Probably because I've been reading Gunter Grass this week. What do you think?

I arrange my fruit bowl. I shift the clementines, rotate the peaches and shuffle the plums into their place. There is never a banana, they rot the fruit around them. The fruit is round, plump, ready to be picked. It is my own little garden. A garden in a bowl. If I arrange my fruit bowl just-so, my friends will like me. They’ll come into my kitchen and they’ll see it, sitting there, reassuring, radiating vitamins and shine. They’ll think, ‘Now that’s a nice fruit bowl’ and wonder why they don’t have one like it. I’ll know I am better than them, for now.

My shoes are too shiny. Against the shawn, moist grass they are stark, and ill-fitting. I twist my ankle, turning up my heel. No, that hasn’t helped at all. I take a step, sinking my heel into the freshly-cut forest, wondering if I should step a little lighter so that little creatures won’t be crushed. Turning away from the white glare, I hope I haven’t startled any passer-bys. The cars drive on. Luckily, there hasn’t been an accident.

I don't want to talk to you. Your little voice is squirming, an eel, it slithers out of your mouth and lays itself upon my lap expectantly. A little green-eyed monster, its eyes fixated on its target. It begs the affirmation and affection which it knows it will receive. I'm not going to do that today. I pat the little monster on the head curtly, and with an expressionless face I guide it back to you, holding it up to your ear as it wriggles inside. Your eyes widen. That was a suprise! I draw air into my lungs, cool and clean, and hold it there for a second or two.

I like it when you dance for me, obediently. Normally, I have no say and you may move as you please. I like it that way. But tonight I want you to dance for me. I want them all to see you twirl yourself around my little finger, and shimmy your way under my thumb. Wrapped around my hand I am content. I tighten and open my fist, testing the strength of the bonds. They will suffice and so will you.


October 20, 2008

From the perspective of a Lemon Meringue Pie

I had been sitting there all morning, watching each of their chubby little faces press up against the glass of the display unit. The croissants sold like hotcakes, and the hotcakes sold even quicker, but no one could stomach such a light, luscious, tangy creation like myself so early in the morning. The steam from the coffee maker hung low in the air, and idle chit-chat wafted around the room. Little old men sat munching on toast, their dark yellow teeth displaying waiting crumbs which their tongues would discover later that morning.

The cafe was small and cramped, ten tables jammed together with barely room to move between them. It wouldn’t be long before a humongous cake-devouring child would waddle in the shop, have one banoffee pie too many, and balloon to the size of the room, squashing little old men and their little old wives into the walls, and pinning his well-meaning mother against her chair.

But not today, today was unusually quiet. Janet, the owner of ‘Janet’s Cafe’ looked pale as she stood behind the counter ferociously drying glasses with a pink tea-towel and running her accounts through her head for the umpteenth time that morning.

The door was pushed open, ringing a little ornate bell which Janet’s father had installed the day before the cafe’s grand opening. Suddenly the room was filled with noise as two girls burst in, jabbering between themselves. Coming up to the counter, the taller of the two bent down and examined each of the cakes, her eyes narrowing at the carrot cake but widening at the prospect of the triple chocolate fudge. Finally she saw me, selected me, and paid for me – two pounds fifty. Down came Janet’s silver cake slice and I was lifted on to a plate. Just a squirt of whipped cream and a few slivers of lemon peel and I was ready for my debut.

The girls had already taken their seats at the little table in the far corner. They were swirling tea bags in tea pots, clinking spoons against china and slushing milk from dainty milk jugs. Janet brought me to the table and presented me in front of the girls in all my glory. The taller girl had dark brown hair and small unnerving eyes. She looked down at me, scrutinising my ever so slightly browned meringue. Was I overcooked? Or even, god forbid, a little burnt? She picked up her dessert fork, twirled it around menacingly, and plunged in into my middle.


A re–write of last week's work

Having finished the lemon meringue pie, Jo was licking her plate clean, tracing her finger through the remnants of yellow cream and sucking it from her fingertip. She had wondered whether she could warrant eating desert, considering the kit-kat she conceded to this morning, but resigned herself to an extra-long run tomorrow, when it would be bitterly cold and all the more suitable as punishment. She looked across the table at Katie, who was busy trying to hide her disgust as Jo ran her finger across her plate for the tenth time. Noticing Jo’s gaze, she turned away, pretending to study the little painted flowers on the teapot in front of her. It was Jo’s favourite cafe, not only because the cakes were so moist, but you got to drink from the sort of pretty little teacups which her mother never let her play with as a child. Satisfied that every last calorie had been accounted for, Jo looked up, and spat a little as she spoke. Her words poured out in quick succession:

“So at first I said to him, ‘Well there’s no way that’s going to happen’, but then he was saying ‘Uhh, yeah there is’ so I just told him to fuck off”.

Katie hadn’t heard Jo. She was desperately trying to find and excuse to leave, having already listened to this nonsense for an hour and a half. Jo would know she didn’t have anything on this afternoon, because she already told her that this morning on the phone. It was going to have to be an emergency. Maybe her house had burnt down? No, too obvious. And besides, it would be a nightmare trying to create the evidence next time Jo came round.

She picked up a half-empty sugar packet from the table and absent-mindedly rolled it around in her fingers. Small granules of sugar tumbled on to the table, and she stopped to brush them away with her napkin. Katie had known Jo for years, ever since Alice in Wonderland (Jo, of course, was Alice and Katie the Doormouse), but she had never really liked her. She was smart, ruthless and subsequently successful, which was hard to stomach when you had been stuck playing ‘Villager #3’ in the Christmas panto last year.

“Right?”, quipped Jo expectantly.

“Oh yeah, Totally.”

It couldn’t have been that Jo was actually a better actor than her. No, definitely not. She was just very good at networking, making new contacts. And besides, she was sure than Jo had been sleeping with their drama teacher, Mr. Andrews, right before the auditions last month.

Jo stirred another brown sugar cube into her already sickly sweet tea. “Yeah. There wasn’t much else I could do, you know?” she said confidently, never once looking at Katie.

“Yeah, well...”. Katie’s monotone response would have demonstrated to most people that they were being incredibly dull. But not Jo. Jo was always sure that Katie was hanging on her every word.

“Well what? Well what Kates?”, Jo demanded.

Katie didn’t have a clue. Well what? Well, you’ve been jabbering at me for the last hour and a half and you haven’t even asked me what happened with Sam yesterday. This was typical of Jo, being so wrapped up in her own silly little problems that she never even bothered to ask ‘How’s it going Kates?’ or ‘What have you been up to Kates?’. She hated being called ‘Kates’.

“Well.. nothing”, Katie lied, “Don’t worry about it”. She fumbled for a second, before concluding, “I was just going to say.. well, maybe you could have tried talking to him about it... you know...”

“Talking to him?” Scoffed Jo, “No, he was being just, so unreasonable. I mean, what do you do in that sort of situation?”

“Well you don’t tell him to fuck-off for starters”. Katie hadn’t intended to snap at Jo, but she suspected that her sympathy had been perpetuating this ridiculous conversation, and it was by time that Jo put a sock in it.

Katie pulled her bag from the chair next her on to her lap, and began fumbling for her mobile. By the time Jo had begun defending herself, Katie was already absorbed in reading the three text messages Sam had left her. The first apologised for shouting at her, the second retracted the apology, and the third apologised for being so terrible at apologising. It was actually quite endearing.

“Right, ok. Whatever Jo. Do what you want. It’s your life. Honestly, I don’t give a damn”. Katie got up, wrapped her extra long and therefore terribly arty scarf around her neck three times, put four pounds fifty on the table and wound her way between the cafe tables to the door.

“What?” Jo slammed down her teacup, spilling sweet brown liquid into the saucer, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”.


October 09, 2008

A little something I'm working on…

Very much a work in progress. It's something I'm writing at the minute in an attempt to tap into this funny little character trait I have. I'm caricaturing it to explore that bit of my personality.. As always, comments appreciated. I'll try and add a bit more to it each week:

I arrange my fruit bowl. I shift the clementines, rotate the peaches and shuffle the plums into their place. There is never a banana, they rot the fruit around them; it’s out of my control. The fruit is round, plump, ready to be picked. It is my own little garden. A garden in a bowl. A garden which is always plentiful and giving in a time of need. If I arrange my fruit bowl just-so, my friends will like me. They’ll come into my kitchen and they’ll see it, sitting there, reassuring in its voluptuousness, radiating vitamins and shine. They’ll think, ‘Now that’s a nice fruit bowl’ and wonder why they don’t have one like it. I’ll know I am better than them, for now.

My shoes are too shiny. Against the shawn, dewy grass they are stark, and ill-fitting. I twist my ankle, turning up my heel. No, that hasn’t helped at all. I take a step, sinking my heel into the freshly-cut forest, wondering if I should step a little lighter so that little creatures won’t be crushed. Turning away from the white glare, I hope I haven’t startled any passer-bys. The cars drive on. Luckily, there hasn’t been an accident.


Creative Writing Week 1 – dialogue to prose

I realised that my dialogue came too close to mentioning the secret we were supposed to be writing about so I re-wrote the dialogue to be a bit more ‘subtle’. Comments would be much appreciated, particularly any pertaining to how easy the dialogue is to follow, and whether I've got too many or too few speech indicators (i.e Jo said, etc). Here goes!

Having finished the lemon meringue pie, Jo was licking her plate clean, tracing her finger through the remnants of yellow cream and sucking it from her fingertip. She had wondered whether she could warrant eating desert, considering the kit-kat she conceded to this morning, but resigned herself to an extra-long run tomorrow, when it would be bitterly cold and all the more suitable as punishment. She looked across the table at Katie, who was busy trying to hide her disgust as Jo ran her finger across her plate for the tenth time. Noticing Jo’s gaze, she turned away, pretending to study the little painted flowers on the teapot in front of her. It was Jo’s favourite cafe, not only because the cakes were so moist, but you got to drink from the sort of pretty little teacups which her mother never let her play with as a child. Satisfied that every last calorie had been accounted for, Jo looked up, and spat a little as she spoke,

“So at first I said to him, ‘Well There’s no way that’s going to happen’, but then he was saying ‘Uhh, yeah there is’ so I just told him to fuck off”. Katie hadn’t heard Jo, but didn’t want her to realise that she had been trying to find and excuse to leave, having already listened to this nonsense for an hour and a half. She sighed,

“Right”

“I mean, you see what I’m getting at, right?”

“ Yeah”

“Right?”

“Oh yeah, Totally.”

Jo would know that she didn’t have anything on this afternoon, because she already told her that this morning on the phone. So it was going to have to be an emergency. Maybe her house had burnt down? No, too obvious. And besides, it would be a nightmare trying to create the evidence next time Jo came round.

“Yeah. There wasn’t much else I could do, you know?” Jo said, stirring another brown sugar cube into her already sickly sweet tea.

“Yeah, well...”

“Well what?”

Katie didn’t have a clue. Well what? Well, you’ve been jabbering at me for the last hour and a half and you haven’t even asked me what happened with Sam yesterday.

“Well.. nothing”, Katie lied, “Don’t worry about it”

Now Jo knew something was up. Katie was one of those annoying girls who never said what was bothering her. Her favourite phrase was ‘I’m fine’.

“No come on, what? What were you going to say?”

Katie considered feigning a celebrity sighting, (‘Oh my god, look over there! It’s Jude Law!), but then thought this was possibly a little immature, and besides, Jo would probably only be distracted for a second or two. She fumbled for a second, before concluding, “I was just going to say.. well, maybe you could have tried talking to him about it... you know...”

“Talking to him?” Scoffed Jo, “No, he was being just, so unreasonable. I mean, what do you do in that sort of situation?”

“Well you don’t tell him to fuck-off for starters”. Katie hadn’t intended to snap at Jo, but perhaps if she stopped being sympathetic Jo would lay off for a little while. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect.

“Uhh.. yes you do! He was totally going off on one. If I just sat there, taking all this shit from him...”

“Well that’s not what I said was it”

“Yeah it was”

“No, it wasn’t. I said you should have tried talking to him”. Katie wondered how much longer this could go on for. She pulled her bag from the chair next her on to her lap, and began fumbling for her mobile.

“Yeah, well, and then I said that wasn’t going to work, right?”. Jo was looking expectantly at Katie, but Katie was already absorbed in reading the three text messages Sam had just left her. The first apologised for shouting at her, the second retracted the apology, and the third apologised for being so terrible at apologising.

“Right, ok. Whatever Jo. Do what you want. It’s your life. Honestly, I don’t give a damn”

“What?” Jo slammed down her teacup, spilling sweet brown liquid into the saucer, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”.


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