All 1 entries tagged Short Stories
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January 25, 2011
This weeks ICW task is a short narrative from the 'other' perspective. The original perspective was lifted from Rebecca Payne's blog. How's that for intertextuality?
Annette seemed bent on bleeding the last watery saps of our anaemic conversations and taking them with tea. The Yoga class had been physically unbearable; my hips aching and my back involuntarily twitching throughout the lotus-to-half-moon-sunshine move that was supposed to engage my brain, soul and pelvic floor muscles in one invasive movement, but which actually consisted of me squirming around on a bed-mat like an armless prostitute trying to hold out a hand for payment, and even the simple moves were wracked with the guilt of trying to suppress and quietly filter digestive wind. Despite this, Annette’s conversation represented a new low. A patchwork of pointless memories and comments on our surroundings, she managed to bridge the gap between directionless and inarticulate. I could only pray that she would have no access to a conversational-source like television or, worse, the internet during our arduous rendezvous, as I assumed these would provide her with inexhaustible observational material and ultimately drive me to suicide.
Coming through her own front door she tripped on the mat. Attempting to impress upon her the importance of my schedule, and beginning to suffer from the effects of a caffeine and Ritalin binge I had engaged in in order to stick to this schedule, I talked quickly; pre-empting her, knocking off the last few words, literally talking over her until she stopped. Somehow, she kept on trying to talk, inanely, until I had swallowed her entire conversational repertoire and effectively communicated the fact that I was not much of a listener.
But instead of encouraging me to leave, she just went quiet. This left me standing, rattling away like an engine, talking about things I really didn’t give a damn about like schools, the Middle East and Yoghurt. I began to wonder whether she was in some way deficient when she got down on her knees and began staring into the fireplace, mumbling ‘my father... twisted ... to start ... to firestarters. hmm. lovely.’ Terrified that her new fireplace, which even I could tell was a cheap electric without a chimney and necessitated no firestarters, was resurfacing repressed memories of father-daughter fire abuse, and worried that I was about to be their first victim since some techno-induced spate in the early nineties (when at least most houses actually had chimneys), I turned my attention to the carpet. ‘Is this new, Annette?’, I said, my eyes wide with terror.
“What Jean? Sorry? No, no that came with the house.” She trailed back-off into what I could only imagine was a reverie about a Ceilidh in a barn that she had doused with petrol and lit with the cigarette-lighter from her arsonist Dad’s Ford Escort.
“It’s so plush, Annette.”
Come back to me Annette, you were boring before but now you’re too much to handle.
Annette mumbled something about Peppermints and wandered out to the kitchen. I remained standing.