for hosting Friday Fictioneers Challenge every week
The Start of Something
I gave my number to a stranger at a bus stop. Then his bus came, and he was gone, and Waterloo Bridge never again looked as beautiful as it did that perfect afternoon.
When I got home, all of my six cats had to be persuaded down from my overcrowded bookshelves. I loved their dainty hesitancy in descent, so Fonteyn-esque.
When Mr Bus Stop sent me a photo of his huge TV and his six-pack of Bud and his chunky shag-pile rugs which turned out to be three enormous dogs, I pinged back a link to Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract.
As soon as I could make a call, I phoned Saffy to say I’d arrived in beautiful Cyprus. Penthouse suite, marble furniture, chilled champagne stuffed in a bucketload of ice. The aroma of kleftiko floating from a trolley, steered into my suite by a tanned and handsome young waiter.
Saffy wasn’t interested.
She said if I hadn’t yet again decided to help myself to jewellery for sale in several London stores, I actually could have been in Cyprus – instead of jail. Of course, she then quoted my ex. Her boring father. “If you do the crime, you do the time.”
Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Friday Fictioneers Challenge every week
This week thanks also to Rochelle who has shared with us this great photograph
First came a sound like a gunshot, then the restaurant’s exquisitely-decorated ceiling cracked and the entire place filled with smoke and shadows and screams. I trembled more than usual, unable to make out who was now beside me. I yelled “Don’t bother with me, I’m an old man” but no sound came.
I realised one of the shadows was supporting my frail body. “Remember what you used to tell me,” it said. “How you were brave because Grandma loved you. How Grandma protected you when the bombs kept dropping.”
I’d survived once again. This time my saviour was my daughter.
I love you – though you are wrong. They’re definitely not stratocumulus clouds, but I get that you have to keep up your reputation as an argumentative bloody know all. After our parents brought you home and shattered my peaceful world, Dad’s mantra was “Your brother can start a fight in an empty room.” Bro, shut up already! I do know I’m talking present tense. Like Dylan wrote, tomorrow’s a long time. Fact is, it’s going to be the twelfth of never before I can talk about you in past tense.
Okay, Mylie’s my kid but to me her painting ain’t all that, know what I mean? I wish she’d paint flowers and trees and pretty stuff like the others but she doesn’t, she paints human skeletons mostly. What’s all that about? Honestly, what can I do though? She lost her job at the bakery because all she done all day was twist the dough into skeletons though on the upside they was very – I want to say lifelike, but that’s ridiculous. The doctor says it’s all good, just leave her to it. Easy for him. She’s not his kid.
Soon after this picture came into my inbox yesterday, I watched a production of “Half a Sixpence” on Sky Arts. The sheer joy on the faces of the cast as the audience applauded their wonderful performances was a sharp reminder of dark theatres and empty auditoriums and actors with no boards available for them to tread. Since they must rank among the best of teamworkers, I was certain the three in the picture were actors. The fourth in the title is me. So I wrote this story.
I love this picture because a casual glance suggests three people sharing the carriage of a festive tree.
The Lead is gently intoning “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” while Second Lead is tapdancing. Look at the angle of the foot! Best of all, Red Coat is reprising “Hold it flash bang wallop” – ready to stop the show when it reopens, please God.
These people adapt like no others. Today they share the hauling of a tree but come tomorrow they’ll cover us in spangled stardust once again. Don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.
Interestingly, while the heart may be a lonely hunter it’s also a darned good healer. Only the other night I was brushing on an extra coat of midnight black mascara when I realised I hadn’t thought about you in years.
The me who’d stalked you on Facebook was gone.
Now tonight you show up, typically unannounced, and on Christmas Eve. Saying she’s finally left you. I know I prepared myriad responses for that unlikely news flash but I can’t remember why and anyhow you simply don’t fit anymore. You’ve lost out to hot cheese toasties and sherry and watching Elf.
I have velvet plush on my bed and myriad aromatic unguents beside my bathtub. My occasional swains call my place a mistress’s lair. Maybe it’s the lowered blinds, the silk ropes, the jewelled tassels and sweet, sticky relaxation ready to be served in delicate purple goblets.
What outside space?
I smell weakness in the women’s need to be dependent on someone else for their happiness. I sense their fear of my mysterious oasis.
4.Distance from town
If the money’s right, you’ll find I’m just one barefaced lie away.
Having completed a book that’s taken me far too long, I’ve put it away until the New Year.
The experience has taught me I am definitely a sprinter writer not a marathon runner and finally I realised I was missing writing lyrics and poetry and short fiction, having got into a depressing dip of no inspiration. But then, thanks to Friday Fictioneers and Claire Fuller’s wonderful picture, I found myself itching to get writing, resulting in the pairing of a Wensleydale workshop with an American genius.
No disrespect to the rest of the cast and crew
but when Andy Kaufman wrote himself out of Taxi
it was a great pity, because Andy set the screen on fire
Trouble was, Andy didn't much like scripts
He preferred bongos and wrestling women
His Mighty Mouse was mighty funny
His Elvis impression was the very best
Even Elvis thought so
Andy Kaufman was a gentle presence juxtaposed with the outrageous
He was edginess inside an old man's blazer
He lives on through YouTube clips, illuminated by something magical, mysterious
and a notion that he might be watching us