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Writer's Corner - July/August/September/October 2020


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm going to @ all the old gang in a moment!  Sorry if I've missed anyone - it's funny in my head there were only ever about 3 people doing it but there were loads - Dansters thread compilation thread from 2012 made this easier, sorry if I've missed anyone.

 

@dainty @vamecum @Sarah Sundae   @Swallow @the anti-lfj @toythatkills @Rev @RL666 @InsideOutBoy @Jab  @Lorfarius@Untogether @chris on the moon @holly @Rowan Morrison @Delargey @GODSTEETH @Monkeyboy @Sonic.Mirrorz @GViper @Fry Crayola @Faerie @Danster @Rob Rule @metallicfrodo @hombre_hompson @c-cat114 @Wolfshoes @Argh @ann coulter @John0

    @ZOK @donpeartree@Timmo@stan@sir stiff_one@murray@Qazimod @rumblecat

 

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HOLIDAY

 

Pressure. Pat my thigh again, flick a spare finger to my pocket to touch the ridge of my passport. Tap left, phone, keys... where are my keys? Oh yeah zipped up, in the flight bag. Don’t need them. I smile. Pressure notched, ratcheted up. Another click. Pat my thigh. finger on passport. I try to breathe, suitcases gone, tickets, tickets, where are the tickets? On my phone (tap left pocket), but where are the paper tickets? Put down the bag, unzip, see keys. See? Paper folder, tickets. Pat my thigh. Shuffle forward a few steps. Time, what's the time? Lots of time. Plenty of time. Tickets? Too much time.

 

Shuffle forward, tap thigh, finger passport. Glance at queue, push the bag with my foot. Time? Two hours still, plenty of time. Too much time. Pat my thigh. Another click, another turn of the wheel, another step on the ratchet, squeeze. Pat my thigh, finger passport, tickets on phone, keys in bag - see? - pat thigh again. Shuffle forward. A scream.

Not for me, not for me, please not for me. Commotion, heads turning. Finger passport, nonchalant glance. It’s the toilet, yup it’s to do with the toilet. A break is all. That’s all I wanted, a break. Get away from it all. Pat thigh, finger passport. Another long stretch and a short sharp, tightening click. Just a break away from the grime and all the people – the difficult, troubling people.

 

Loud voices, now. Lots of heads turning to look. Gawping, the man in front of me is craning his neck, stretching it like a tortoise stretching out of his t-shirt, trying to see anything. Click. Pat thigh, finger passport. Shuffle forward, not far though, too many people looking towards the toilets. Come on come on. Another scream, muttering, someone shouts. Pat thigh, passport finger, click another turn of the wheel, another notch of the belt, squeezing the air from my neck. Click.

 

I dare another glance, everyone else is, if I don’t they’d think... Click. Police, or airport security maybe, a woman on the floor crying, female officer leaning over, hand on her shoulder. I turn away again. Pat thigh, finger pisspot. Keys? Did I leave them? No they’re in the bag, check bag, paper tickets too, See? See? Muttering from behind. Pat thigh. Fingering pisspot bastard. Do I look flustered? Did they see with the cameras? Pat urinal. White porcelain with a splash of colour; red. Click.

 

Okay that’s too tight now, my lungs cry out for air, squeezing. Tight, like I’ve ate too much again, belt digging into flabby middle. Pat thigh, passport stroke, phone buzzing. My phone is buzzing! Is it ringing?

 

I stare at it aghast. No number. The pain in my chest increasing, I want to throw it away, just throw it. But I swipe up.

 

- Hello?

- Hello. (a woman, who is this?)

- Hi?  

- I’m calling you because you’ve been involved in an… (spam – fucking spam)

 

I hang up, fumble, drop the phone. Clattering. CLICK! Sweating, Sorry! Sorry, why am I apologising to them? Strange looks, furtive glances, don’t make eye contact, strange difficult people. Recover phone, check screen, no damage.

 

- No damage! (why am I talking to them, like they care – the old woman smiles painfully)

 

The man looks at me. Click, I can’t breathe, he’s properly looking at me. Click. He sees me for what I am. Click.

 

- What? (too aggressive! simmer down)

- The fuck (what? Did the just say?)

 

He steps away, why is he stepping away? Pat thigh, click, look at bag, click, white with red. Red splashes on the bag. Deep dark, crimson splashes, going brown at the edges. My Legs. Smeared, blood smeared.

 

- Hey! Hey over here

- It’s not what (am I really trying to reason with him?)

 

Glance up, pat thigh. Man is calling waving, others turning staring.

 

- What! (scared now, he steps away, others turning, staring).

 

Click, click click click click!

 

Can’t breathe, pat thigh, the drain in the urinal was washing. The water turned the blood pink. Maybe be easier if I just lie down. He was moaning, but his head was shaped funny, misshaped, an angle to the skull. I sag to my knees in the circle of people. shouts, yells even. Blood on the tiles, blood on me! Blood on me! Pounding footsteps, wrack through my brain. I just needed a break. Just needed to get away. But he laughed and I. Click. He laughed.

 

Get my passport, I grasp it tight, slowly lie backward. The ceiling is full of lights and vents. I stroke the cover, can feel the chip and the fake mottled, leather, cover. Stroke, finger, blood caked hands. There was blood on the bag. Why didn’t I see it? Why… and my jeans too. Oh yeah, see? Do you see now? Do you see what you get? Now? See.

 

Click.

 

 

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The walls were wet. The underground cave @Danster had chosen for this meeting was certainly secluded, certainly the type of place you wouldn’t find someone not supposed to be there but certainly not…comfortable.

 Danster sat waiting. He opened the last window on his 2015 Lego chocolate advent calendar. He was a diligent man and liked to save his treats. He’d been waiting 12 months since Christmas 2015 to finally enjoy the 25th of December. Having devoured the treat, he placed the cardboard and plastic packing above his head. It served as a festive drip protector. Of course they would be late. Why wouldn’t they be? They weren’t the ones recently humiliated with a no feedback, default win entry into Writers’ Corner.  He knew he had to call this meeting. He saw Cloney appearing through the shadows, lantern in hand. The shadows on the wall reminded him of bouncing genitalia he’d known in his youth.

“Danster why am I even here? I entered once in 2005”

“Perfect ratio. One entry. One win. You’re unique Cloney I know you don’t respect the game but you played it and won”.

@Jolly appeared behind him. “Danster lad if this was about last month’s competition that no one joined I’m….I’m sorry.”

Danster and Jolly were The Sixes. Though the amount of entries Danster had written basically made The Six more closely approximate zero, they were the closest things to leaders this rag tag bunch of scribes had. No one ever came close to the amount of words spilled in the name of creative writing on an obscure video game forum. @hombre_hompson came next, The Four, and @toythatkills came last, The Five.

Danster rose, balancing the calendar on his head.

 “Double six, 5, 4 and 1.0 – we must make a decision. It was three years since our last contest in 2012 so I thought I could……I thought….”

The rest of the group looked at each other nervously. Had he lost it? Through thick and thin they had seen him post and post and post. He’d even created an e-book and a really rather detailed statistical analysis of the winners and losers. This was a man by the book, for the book, of the book.

 Cloney took a piss off a ledge.

 “I thought after a three year holiday, it was time, that I could bring it back – I thought some nerd wish fulfilment would pull us back into the glory years….no one else posted.

“Sorry Danster, you know how it is.” Jolly said this knowing full well he was a six without anything like the entry count of Danster. Jolly was a man for who life had always come easy.

 “Well. Toythatkills? Hombre?”

 “….”

Danster paced. He’d done it before and he could do it again. He could declare a holiday. But for how long this time? Two further years? Four? For all time? What was a holiday for if not to return from? He felt both the calendar, and time slipping from him.  The calendar clattered to the floor as a dark figure appeared at the entrance to the cave. He brought the rising tide with him, the waves louder now.

“ @APM….The 3. We did not invite you, you do not qualify”       

 "I am not to be invited, nor courted like some medieval French Prince or Princess. I am skulking behind you all, a reminder that should you slip, should you fall or one day my writing astound that I will be obliged to join you and there will be nothing you can do to stop it, you think declaring a holiday will stop me but the time will come, when pestilence rains upon the earth and all men and women are locked in caves very much like these, when the world feels lost…

 “Could you….just stop for a second? I can hear you haven’t used a full stop for at least 3 lines and its making me feel out of breath’ said toythatkills.

“Quite so – the point is Danster, call all the holiday you want, I will resume control and I will yank you back from that holiday like an emergency call, late at night, to tell you that your beloved Uncle has passed in a terrible jet skiing accident”.

 Danster considered this. He was old now, tired. He’d fought hard for years to keep the group together, keep people writing. What harm would it do to surrender control now? To relinquish some of that terrifying responsibility. Maybe one day this APM would be a seven. He could see that.

 “As you will APM. I declare a Writer’s Corner holiday until the conditions you just monologued at us are met’.

“See you in the pub” shouted Clooney, some way down the path away from the cave now.

Danster, toythatkills, Jolly and Hombre, the stalwarts and chosen few picked up their lanterns and headed to the exit.  “What will you do when he returns?” asked Jolly to Danster.

“Of course I will write, I will write as if there is no tomorrow, which by his description, sounds like there may not be.”
 

 

 

 

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Ahah thanks @Danster - I hope you don't mind a few well intended jibes - I bought your book on Amazon to say sorry. I've read and re-read your entry and I like it, but is it supposed to be obvious what is actually happening, or is that more up in the air? It feels a bit like an AI or someone dealing with intense anxiety, but I hoped I hadn't missed something obvious with the 'click'.

 

It was satisfying that my writing and grammar has improved to the extent that when I said 'you haven't used a full stop for 6 lines' I actually had used two and had to go back to edit them out, which would not have happened circa 2005.

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32 minutes ago, johnj said:

Ahah thanks @Danster - I hope you don't mind a few well intended jibes - I bought your book on Amazon to say sorry. I've read and re-read your entry and I like it, but is it supposed to be obvious what is actually happening, or is that more up in the air? It feels a bit like an AI or someone dealing with intense anxiety, but I hoped I hadn't missed something obvious with the 'click'.

 

It was satisfying that my writing and grammar has improved to the extent that when I said 'you haven't used a full stop for 6 lines' I actually had used two and had to go back to edit them out, which would not have happened circa 2005.

 

Heh, not at all, :) 

 

Thanks for buying my book, it sorely needed an editor who could tell me what to cut and what was missing (shout out to @Argh for helping with grammar and spellings though!), but overall I was pretty pleased with it. I must read it again actually, been a while.

 

The story is meant to be a messed up internal monologue.

Spoiler

Not to go too deep into it, as it is only a short piece but... Basically our narrator has just beaten somebody half to death, in a toilet, in an airport before they go and queue up for security. Why? we don't know really, something to do with being laughed at. But their panic manifests itself as an OCD-like preoccupation with their essentials (keys, wallet, phone - pat) and a tightening of their own physical body - like a ratchet strap being tightened.

 

The "click" was the character's panic ratcheting up like:

 

https://youtu.be/0r16xOkVJZQ?t=381

 

 

 

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