Thursday, 30 April 2009

A Polished Professional – WAG 10 Entry

I read the instructions for this Writing Adventure Group challenge when I picked up my email at a coffee shop on the motorway. I was driving back from visiting my parents by the seaside and my brain raced with ideas when I got back in the car. By the time I reached the next service station I had to stop and scribble down this piece. I have placed the instructions at the end of the post.

A Polished Professional

Darren loved to polish the glasses. It was so satisfying to see them shine in the light. That was the main reason that he worked in the bar although, of course, there was always Cheryl. Sparkling Cheryl in her white starched blouse with the top button almost popping under the strain and her black pencil skirt with the slit up her left thigh. It was enough to put any red-blooded male off his work.

He glanced towards her by the table in the corner as he carefully took a large wine glass from the dishwasher and checked it for chips against the light. Then with a flick of his wrist he tossed the corner of the cloth into the glass and twisted it in his right hand to polish it inside and out like a true professional. Finally holding it by the stem in his left hand he raised it to his eyes and turned it slowly to check for smears. At that moment his spied Cheryl wiggling back to the bar with her swinging hips and bouncing breasts.

His mouth dropped and his heart raced.
If only he had the courage to ask her.

Instructions for WAG #10: The Professional

As we go through our days, we’re surrounded by people doing everyday jobs: the guy that reads the gas meter, cashiers, bank tellers, security guards, doctors, circus clowns… This week, your assignment is to observe someone doing a job (their profession should be one you don’t know that much about). Describe him/her and also what they’re doing, why they’re doing it (as best you can tell), and how. Feel free to use your imagination, but don’t forget the concrete observation! Special thanks to Lulu for this week’s topic idea!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Entry for Writing Adventure Group - WAG 9

This is my second submission for the Writing Adventure Group and at first I thought it would be a real challenge. But I jotted down a few ‘what ifs’ and came up with this scenario. I spent about five minutes scribbling it down in pencil (which is how I write) and another ten or so typing and editing. I have put the instructions for the theme at the end of the post.

Forbidden Fruit

The sun bounced off its shiny reddish green skin and caught Emma’s eye as she drew back the bedroom curtains. She stared and squinted until she could just make out its vivid hues and the two dark green leaves jutting from its crown.

It was at that moment that she knew she just had to have it.

She struggled to get the ladder out of the garage. Why did Jim always insist on putting things up so high and out of reach. Eventually she managed to prop it up against the tree. Gingerly she reached up and stepped on the first rung. It twisted under her weight as the left leg sunk into the soft ground but she ignored it. Taking a deep breath she placed one foot over another and pulled herself cautiously up into the tree’s canopy.

She felt the morning sun on her back when she eventually reached the top and stretched up to grasp it in her right hand. It felt hard and cold, almost unappealing. As though it didn't want to be plucked. She slowly closed her fingers around its smooth skin and tugged. The branch bent and bounced back when the stalk suddenly snapped. She'd got it.

The prize in her hand she quickly clambered down and ran to the kitchen. It wobbled when she placed it on the kitchen work surface like one of those Russian dolls to finish upright on its tail. Then taking Jim’s eight inch kitchen knife she neatly split it from top to bottom so the two halves rolled in unison on the granite top to expose their hidden flesh. She felt a twinge of excitement just like Eve must have done in the Garden of Eden.

As she looked down at her prize she noticed that the right hand half had a small brown spot on its fleshy part. She bent down and then quickly jerked back in revulsion as a grub poked its head out of the otherwise unblemished apple.

Instructions for WAG #9 – Warning!

Last week the topic was to make something ugly sound beautiful, so this time let’s do the opposite! Choose an unfamiliar object (in other words, one you have no history with) that strikes you as beautiful, appealing, or somehow desirable etc… some ideas might be: a child, a sunset, an attractive shop window, a scenic view, a piece of art, an appetising meal in a restaurant… and write about it in such as way as to make it unappealing or even disgusting, frightening or repulsive to your reader. If you did last week’s topic as well (Rose Coloured Glasses) I’d be very interested to know which of these was harder for you!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Woman on the Phone

I watched this woman as she made a difficult phone call on the train back from London. If I used her as a character, her favourite food would be fish and chips eaten out of newspaper and she would probably drive an small elderly Peugeot.

The Phone Call

She was in a deep and intense conversation on her mobile. She held the phone tight to her left ear and was nervously chewing at the nail on her right forefinger. Things really didn’t look good. She looked serious as though something was very very wrong. Now and then she rubbed her face with the flat of her right hand and bit her nail again. She fought back the tears because she didn’t want to be upset in front of all the other passengers.

It was hard to guess what she was like or why she was travelling. Her handbag was on the seat beside her. But there were no carrier bags, no brief case and no laptop. Unusual for a late afternoon train from London. Her white blouse was slightly stained and she wore grey slacks and brown suede boots with chunky two-inch heels. Not exactly a snappy dresser. On top she had a thin coat in a chequered pattern of cream and chocolate brown. The cuffs were slightly frayed. A bleached blonde with three inch roots, she sat with her long legs outstretched so they almost reached the seat opposite.

Her phone conversation hotted up as she got very heated and intense. Her head hung down. She scratched her forehead and ran her fingers back though her hair, almost in despair. Suddenly in anger she took the phone from her ear and stared at it in disbelief. A black hole - bloody trains!

She watched the screen intently waiting for a bar or two. Impatiently she hit redial, put the phone to her ear and then down again. No connection. Leaning back in her seat with a big sign she stared at the phone again and rubbed the little screen with her left thumb. Suddenly she breathed a sigh of relief and hit redial again. Still nothing. She mouthed a word, ‘Shit.’

She stared in space for ten seconds deep in thought, looked at her watch and poked the key in anger. Fixing her eyes on the screen, shook her head in disbelief and tried once more. It connected and she relaxed and studied the nails on her right hand as she waited for him to answer. After all it had to be a ‘him’.

Eventually he did and she fiddled with one of the buttons on her coat as she nervously continued the conversation where they’d left off. She was oblivious to the countryside flashing by the window and the sun painting its orange and purple hues as it sunk behind the hills. She became more relaxed and moved her handbag slightly on the seat beside her before she wiped off an imaginary mark with her right hand. Almost as though she was stroking it in consolation.

After another minute of intense conversation she smiled and the little dimples in her cheeks lit up like beacons of hope. She flicked out her tongue and licked her lips in anticipation.

Two minutes later she blew a kiss into the phone and said ‘love you.’ She hit the red button put the phone on her lap and relaxed back into her seat. Putting her head back she closed her eyes and smiled in relief.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Entry for WAG 8. Writing Adventure Group

This is my first submission for the Writing Adventure Group. I have put the instructions for the challenge at the end of the post.

Beautiful Brock

Edward was almost sick when he first saw it. The sight unnerved him and squashed the thought of breakfast after his daily walk through the woods. Brock was dead. How could anything so beautiful now look so disgusting? He must have been caught by a speeding car as he tried to cross the road. What a waste!

The next day it was even worse, but Edward was captivated. The crows had taken the eyes and magpies had torn at the innards. At least poor Brock had given a few feathered friends a hearty feast.

On the third day he was covered in flies and bluebottles. The noise and smell of death hung in the breeze as they crawled on the rotting flesh and buzzed in the air around him. He almost seemed alive again.

A week later poor Brock was empty. He’d fed a few birds, and been recycled into maggots and worms. They in turn had fed more badgers and would help the set survive the winter. Now what remained would put a smile on the faces of the children at the local school.

Edward picked up what was left of poor Brock – some bleached bones and a dried and wizen pelt in almost perfect condition. He popped him into the canvas bag that he’d brought especially from home. Later that day he would go into town and take it to the taxidermist who would resurrect him as he once was. Handsome Brock, a proud teenage badger.

Instructions for WAG #8 – Rose Coloured Glasses

Go out and choose an unfamiliar object (in other words, one you have no history with) that strikes you as ugly, repulsive, annoying, etc. Some ideas might be: a wad of squashed gum on the pavement, a dead squirrel on the side of the road, an ugly sign, a loud construction site, a tacky sculpture in a charity shop. Write about it in such as way as to make it appealing to your reader. Really sell it! Use whatever words you want and cheat as much as you want, but do your best!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Nixy's Writing Adventure Group. Looks like fun!!

Just signed up to Nixy Valentine's Writing Adventure Group. This week's task is called "Rose Colored Glasses" and I shall have a stab at it.

Have a look at Nixy's Blog for the rules.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Rose's Story

I wrote this monologue last week and it will be performed tomorrow night as part of a series of pieces by a local drama group. The other monologues are from playwrights like Chekhov, so I’m in good company.

ROSE: I blame cook, you know. If she’d not told me about the ink cap mushroom I’d never be in this place. It must have been about ten years ago, you must remember that very long hot summer? [pause] I’d have been about fifteen and just started work in the kitchen at the café. And as the weather got hotter and hotter, father’s temper got worse and worse. It got to the point where we all dreaded him coming off shift from the station. For Mum and us kids he was like a living nightmare.

Well it just happened that I was walking home one Friday evening when I saw them. The dark ink dripping from their gills in the early evening light. They were by the hedge in the field where the brewery kept the shire horses. Now I couldn’t just walk past. They seemed to beckon me. I stooped down and took them along with a few field mushroom that were growing near the old oak. Well what did you expect me to? Walk on by. [pause] We all really enjoyed the mushroom soup on Saturday evening. Afterwards father had a large brandy as usual while the rest of us washed up. Now cook was right, they are completely harmless unless you have alcohol.

The doctor didn’t know what to do. First came the flushes, then the tingling fingers, the headaches and the violent vomiting. He died in agony a week later. [pause] Life never felt so good. Now we were free from his tyranny and abuse. Until then I never realised that death could bring such happiness. And do you know what happened next? No you don’t. This is your first visit. Well you’ll never believe my luck – come Christmas they moved me to wait on. That’s when I knew that I’d been chosen.

Some of the old men who came to the café for tea were just like him – coarse and aggressive. I really felt for their kids and I knew what I had to do. A couple of weeks later I started baking on Sunday morning. Rocks cakes in two batches, one for us and one for them with a special ingredient that I got from the rat catcher. I chose them one at a time and gave them my special treats over a few weeks. It felt good to see them get weaker and weaker until they never came back for tea again. [pause] Each death made the world a happier place and I would have kept going if they hadn’t caught up with me. [pause] I never had a trial. The café hushed it up as it would be bad for business. I ended up locked in this place with all the men in white coats. And do you know what they said about me? [pause] They said, that I couldn’t live without the smell of death.

(500 words)