Tag Archive: first draft

I want to go to this imaginary place because its the reason I love post-apocalyptic, armageddon-style films, despite the recent glut.

Notwithstanding the obvious hideousness going on, death, disease, pain, desperation, loss, misery etc etc; there’s a sense that I am alive (being the main character in the film) and I am lucky and I can do whatever I want: raid the shops, drink myself bandy, drive aRolls Royce, tattoo my face and run naked through the streets (watching out for the lions and vampires and zombies obviously).

I can make up my own rules, gather a huge arsenal of weapons, invite people I like to join me and kill people who disagree or look at me funny.

I think it’ll be a great place to live.

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Thick and ugly

Thick and ugly, she’d told him, that was the last thing she’d said in fact before she walked out, slamming the door, never to return. Since that day he’d not been to work, not been to the shops once, ordering all his food in, the vast majority of it take-away. He’d ordered a load of booze in too and managed to get through 48 bottles of strong German lager, two dozen bottles of wine and half a dozen bottles of whiskey; this in only three weeks.

He knew he had to clean up, buck up and get outside, but he just couldn’t. He didn’t see the point until he could persuade her to come back.

He had pissed off all his friends in the first two weeks, constantly crying and talking at them about his lost love. George, his closest and longest serving friend, could probably be won over but he couldn’t be bothered frankly.

Like all the others, he’d become more and more disgruntled over the last 5 and half months of his now non-existent relationship. They said he’d forgotten about his friends; that he needed to slow down a bit and that he was a selfish prick (that was Dave, always a bit extreme) also, unanimously, that he would regret it if he moved in with her after only 2 and a half weeks. He ignored all their advice and complaints and refused to admit even now, that they had been anywhere near correct in their analysis and entreaties.

So now he had no friends, no girlfriend and no job pretty soon unless he managed to get to work next week and catch up with the huge backlog that had accrued and also manage to explain his absence and the stream of insults he’d left on his manager’s phone. He knew too that he was way way past his overdraft limit and was maxed out on all 3 credit cards

So it was a slightly shittier Monday than usual. He dragged himself out of bed because he couldn’t sleep, even though it was only 5.30 in the morning,  and was weighing up, for the tenth time since waking 10 minutes ago, whether or not he should try ringing her again. After all, he hadn’t phoned her at all today and it was at least 12 hours since he left the last message and probably 36 hours since he’d actually spoken to her and been reminded about his thickness and ugliness and also been informed ( something she’d apparently forgotten to mention as she rushed out of the door three weeks ago) that he was pathetically endowed and shit in bed.

He nodded to himself as he came to a decision, standing up and walking towards the phone – she would have had a chance to calm down now wouldn’t she?

The Japesters

That morning Horace was feeling particularly pleased with himself. He looked at his watch again, only a few minutes to go before his sister Prudence’s alarm woke her, which should mean only a few more seconds after that, before he heard the screaming.

This time it was the best he’d ever conceived of, had to be. She’d done so well last time, he had to admit, her planning was exemplary, even getting Nanny involved so he was convinced that she was away that night, at the Penshursts. So when she leapt out from under his bed in the middle of the night dressed as a witch, warts and huge pointy noise included, he’d been completely unprepared. She’d known it was his worst fear, that he’d had many nightmares about witches stealing into his room at night. As a result, he’d wet the bed and his sister had earned the praise of both parents for such a wonderfully executed jape. It was embarrassing to be so caught out like that, but he had to admit it was very well done; especially the part about Violet Penshurst’s dog dying and her needing to be consoled. It impressed him.

He didn’t want to react too quickly; she’d be looking out for something. He needed to bide his time. For the next 6 or 7 weeks he did nothing but plan and carry n with his usual routine, going to school, playing with Edgar on the beach and tending to his beetle collection. She played her part well in all of this, pretending not to care as the days stretched into weeks. It was only by chance that he overheard her talking to Mama as he arrived late for breakfast one morning – then he knew it was starting to get to her.

‘He must be planning something stupendous Mama. Do you know? You do don’t you?’

Mama had said nothing of course, she knew nothing of his plans, but had she known, she wouldn’t have broken the code. Prudence knew, they’d both been taught this from an early age – never interfere with a jape. Say nothing,  even afterwards, not revealing a single thing about how it had worked, the planning or any other details – you never knew when you might need to use some of that information in the future.

Both of them knew Mama and Papa wouldn’t crack, but they tried, of course they tried, it would have been disappointing to their parents if they hadn’t. Perhaps a seemingly innocent question:

‘Have you seen Prudence, I’ve got a present for her’ was his most recent failed attempt.

As far as he knew they had never cracked.

Just then the alarm went off and he listened carefully waiting for his elaborate scheme to unfold. Sure enough, there it was, a high-pitched scream and was that what he thought it was, the sound of little footsteps, running towards her toilet, exclaiming and shrieking all the way as the dog’s mess he’d carefully planted in abundance by the side of her bed squelched through her toes and with each step, smeared and befouled the white shag pile carpet, from her bed all the way to her toilet.

He was by the door now and he could hear Mama and Papa racing up the stairs to bear witness. As they arrived he threw the door open and was ecstatic to find Prudence kneeling at the toilet bowl vomiting, her bare upturned feet still filthy and behind her a trail of brown malodorous footsteps – a complete success.

He would obviously never tell her how he’d managed to ensure that the pooh was so moist, nor would he reveal how he’d contained the smell.

Mama and Papa laughed and pointed at Prudence, they turned to him and the pride on both their faces brought tears to his eyes.

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Shitty, shitty day

His week started with a break in. He woke hearing a noise downstairs, breaking glass. Not one of those moments when you think, it’s probably nothing, just my half-asleep imagination, no it was someone smashing a window downstairs. He got slowly out of bed and crept down the stairs to find two huge men with balaclavas in the kitchen, holding baseball bats. One walked towards him, he said ‘what the fu…’ and then he was hit on the head. When he woke up most of the house had been smashed to pieces and tipped onto the floor, he had no idea why. Must be someone else they were looking for or maybe I’ve pissed someone off and I didn’t know it or maybe that bloke who I shouted ‘ wanker’ at out of the car window yesterday as he cut me up, noted down my registration number, traced my address and sent someone round here to teach me a lesson. He didn’t know. He knew he wouldn’t want to stay there that night though so he got dressed, packed an overnight bag and went to work, phoning his friend James on the way and arranging to go there after work. On the way to work the tube train stopped in a tunnel and stayed there for almost two hours. After about 20 minutes a few people started to get anxious and paranoia infected the carriage he was in. I have to get out of here, screamed a woman with fluffy hair and a huge head. A man next to her eventually grabbed her by the shoulders and told her to calm down at which point she punched him in the face causing his nose to gush onto a bloke next to him who stood up and pushed the large headed woman over. He decided to keep quiet even though he was really pissed off that people couldn’t just wait and not make a fuss. Their making a fuss was making it much worse for him. The announcements of the driver weren’t much help either. Please don’t worry nothings going to happen, he informed them every now and then but the tone of his voice sounded as if he was sitting on a stack of dynamite with a gun at his head as he spoke and each time the click of the speaker announced hi s next words of discomfort, the tension in the carriage rose. The woman next to him grabbed his hand the third time and he didn’t take it away immediately, finding a certain reassurance, despite the pain from her long nails digging into the palms of his hand. Eventually, someone decided to prise the doors open and although he and several others screamed at him not to he managed to do it quite quickly and was out of the train and walking up the line in a few minutes. Then they heard the train coming from the other direction. A few screamed when they heard the screech of brakes and a definite thudding noise. The teenager, who so far had remained silent, surly and entrenched between his tinny headphones, felt the need to look out and comment about the blood and the fact that you could see his head all mashed up. When they got to the next station they were interviewed by the transport police and then allowed to go, he arrived at work, 3 and a half hours late. His manager who was an arsehole at the best of times, walked over to him and simply told him to go home and never come back. He went out of the door and straight to the pub. There he phoned James and told him what had happened. James was quiet for a while then said, look I’m really sorry Gav, but Shirley just phoned. So he couldn’t go there, he couldn’t go home he didn’t want to go to his parents and his other friend Harry, was away travelling for 3 months. He decided that despite the fact that he would shortly have no money having lost his job and that he was already severely overdrawn, tonight he would stay in a swanky hotel. He booked himself into the Hilton in Trafalgar square. Once he got to his room and changed and showered he thought that he would start to put the bad day behind him. Things were looking up and although this was an extravagance, £250 for the night, it was worth it, he was worth it, after the day that he’d had. He knew that this hotel had a rooftop cocktail bar and he’d been meaning to visit for ages. He decided to go there before dinner. It was a beautiful clear crisp spring day and he could see right across London in all directions. Sitting near the edge, with a vodka martini in his hand he felt as if he was in a James bond movie. He noticed a tall blond woman with a tight fitting dress coming towards him and just as his fantasy seemed about to continue he noticed her expression. She looked furious and she was looking at him. She walked up to him and slapped him hard across the face. You fucking bastard, how dare you do that to me. His protestations made no difference and he could only stop her scratching at his face and kicking him in the balls by pushing her away from him. She toppled backwards, over a chair and knocked herself out cold on the floor. What have you done –this from the bar man who was standing over the prostrate body, trying to revive her. He called over his shoulder. Fred, call the police and then take this wanker out. You are banned and if you’re booked into the hotel, consider yourself checked out.

A bit fishy

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 11:  A farmed Loch Duart...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Haddock, cod, salmon and loads of other  fish that I didn’t remember the names of but it didn’t really matter if I remembered really. The point was that I had to live here now, above the bloody fishmongers and although I’d spent most of my life hating fish, the smell of it, the taste and the look and the texture of it, I had to find a way to cope now. After all, I would probably be here for years, maybe for ever, a horrible thought but not so horrible as going back. At least I was safe here and the hideousness of the fish was nothing compared to the hideousness of waking up in the middle of the night thinking I’d heard someone downstairs or being afraid to open the front door just in case it was someone coming to kill me.

Karen said I was being melodramatic, well, dear, you wouldn’t say that now would you, if you could say anything, you might be saying,  yes dear, I’m so sorry you’re right, I am scared, in fact more scared than you and can we go now, get away, like you suggested.

Didn’t get a chance though did she, poor cow. Borrowed my car, without asking, serves her right, obviously didn’t check it, not that she would have known how, or what to look for and then bingo, up in smoke.

Funny in a way but not really, she was harmless, if a little irritating. Didn’t deserve that did she, still, rather her than me frankly. It might sound harsh but who didn’t think like that, really, deep down, who didn’t want someone else to die rather then them.

Parents maybe, wouldn’t know, never been one or wanted to be one, all those snotty nosed little brats running around in the school near the old place was enough to put me off for life

Frankly what I want, what I really want, is to just be left alone. Not sure I would have chosen this dead end seaside resort in a flat smelling of fish day and night, but that’s why I left it to the experts. It might be a little bit unpleasant but frankly, not as unpleasant as getting your throat cut, like Greaves, or having your cock cut off and stuffed down your throat like Harrington.

No, in comparison a little whiffy fish seemed OK. Lately though, I’ve been feeling  a bit like I used to, back before I got involved in all this bullshit and had a normal life,  socialised a bit, had a laugh, spoke to people  without having to hide anything, well not too much anyway.

I fancied, yesterday when I woke up, I fancied a bit of a chin wag, with an old friend, someone like Graham Jenkins, good old Jenksie. Whatever happened to him? No idea, no idea about any of that lot. Once I joined the firm I left it all behind, they insisted and I was happy to, at first anyway, seemed totally worth it. The thrill of not being able to tell anyone. All a bit childish and like boys playing at war but so fucking what, that’s what I thought, so fucking what,  why not have a bit of a thrill.  If only I’d known.

Inspired by: http://www.writingforward.com/exercises/fiction-writing-exercises/fiction-writing-exercises-step-out-of-your-shoes

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A spoon’s tale

I’m not like some of these others. They’ve only been around since the move and the refit and the upgrade and the general decision to get rid of most of the reliable old faithful and replace them with these shiny new little bastards. I’m sure it’s just as bad in the other rooms, but I can only speak for the kitchen, well mainly. Obviously I get around, bedroom, front room, most mornings, with his nibs coffee. Still have that to look forward to I guess. He seems a creature of habit, maybe it was her idea, all this new stuff, new plates, never seen anything like these freaks, they’re not even round and they’re certainly not white. All sorts of bizarre colours and no respect for their elders.

I heard that octagonal side plate the other day, talking about Winston, my old pal, from  the bone china set, been around longer than I have, in the family, the old parents, presumed dead now. We never see them anyway. Anyway, where was I, oh yeah, that little octagonal shit, calling Winston granddad and threatening to smash him, push him off the shelf – it’s a disgrace. I’m expecting the same from these stainless steel upstarts, whole load of them next to me now as we wait, cringing for the timer to kick in and blast us with water, at 4.30 in the morning of all times – just because its cheaper. What about us and our sleep.

In the old days, when we were washed by hand, OK, it was a bit rough, being scrubbed with a brush or even a scouring pad if you were unlucky, but at least it was always at a decent hour. The only time I can remember having to wake up this time was when he came home late one night, coughing and slurring his speech and staggering around and deciding he wanted a cup of coffee, he needed it, that’s for sure and he needed me, his old faithful silver spoon, to stir it and make that sugar melt and I was happy to do it. It didn’t feel abusive like this does. It felt like stepping up to the plate, or the cup, obviously, but you know what, I felt proud. If you’re treated right you don’t mind a bit of hardship from time to time, makes you feel like you’re special and well thought of and indispensible and all that.

So now, here we all are, jammed in the rack with a load of cheap shiny angular cutlery, woken up early or actually, I wake up before the machine now, anticipation; getting old I guess. Problem is I don’t get to bed any earlier. He still has his late night cup of cocoa and I still have to stir it, always the hardest of jobs too, getting all the lumps out. I cant manage it so well now though, what with all these early mornings, don’t have the energy. I noticed he’s been complaining a bit to her, saying it’s all lumpy, did you heat the milk up, did you stir it first or enough? Won’t be long until he works it out; I’m knackered, not fit for this modern world. Get one of the youngsters in, they burn out quick, they’ll be out in the next refit but they’re cheap, so it doesn’t matter.

I don’t mind too much, I guess I’m banking on a display cabinet. In the old days I would have felt useless and bored and redundant, but now it feels like a nice way to have a rest and it also means that I won’t have to go in that bloody machine any more. I remember when they got it. He said to her, don’t put the old cutlery and china in there will you, oh no she says, but within a couple of days we were all chucked in with everything else.

My shine’s gone and so have at least 6 of the old plates, couldn’t stand it, shattered, all the heat, it gets so hot in here. I want to get up on that shelf over the fireplace with his coins. Feels proper somehow and I’m hopeful. He seems like the sort to keep an old favourite like me even when I’ve outlived my usefulness in this modern world.

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