Monday, 23 April 2018

Round 17.


Gwelvin Stokes lives by the river, his name is on the gate.

The house is wooden and he built it himself; some of the left over timber remains stacked in the yard at the side.

There is a small lane between the house and the river and here Jamie is standing on the riverbank.

Jamie is Gwelvins’s son, and he is looking at the ice that has formed on the edge of the river; the temperature is low and although the sky is blue and the sun is shining, everything is slowly freezing.

The ice reminds Jamie of a book he once read which begins with a description of the day a father took his son to see ice for the first time.

The book is A Hundred Years of Solitude, and today Jamie is also alone.

He is looking at the ice, but he is thinking about Jenny; is she his girlfriend or just a friend who is a girl?

Jamie and Jenny.

Is that ok?

He is thinking about this too.

Jamie is alone because Gwelvin is not at home; he is sitting in a coffee house in the distant city. He is drinking hot chocolate and thawing out after a cold walk from the railway station; his gloves sit on the table beside him and he is learning how to fold an origami bird.

The origami bird is a Crane, and Gwelvin is trying to teach his hands to be automatic; this is the fourth origami crane he has folded since he started drinking the hot chocolate.

His memory of the technique, which he read on the internet, is not perfect; at least one of the four origami cranes looks like a sausage.

The others look like salami.

When he has a perfect origami crane he will put it in an envelope and send it to his niece Charlie.

Charlie doesn’t know that her uncle is folding an origami Crane, and she wont see it for several weeks as the post will take a long time to reach her; she is living in Kuwait.

Right now she is lying on a yoga mat in the centre of the Wellness Gym where she works; she is staring at the ceiling wondering what she is doing here. It is not like this every day but today she is feeling a little homesick; she is thinking about her mum.

Her mum is thinking about supper.

She is sitting in a traffic jam on the edge of the city where Gwelvin is folding the origami crane, although she is unaware of this.

She is thinking about supper but she is also thinking about cigarettes and why exactly she made it her New Year’s Resolution to stop smoking; it’s the sixth of January.

When she gets home, after she has had her supper, she will take the decorations down from the Christmas tree and store them away in the suitcase where they will spend the rest of the year.

The suitcase belonged to her father and she never decorates the Christmas tree without thinking of him.

His name was Ronnie.

Ronnie worked in a clothing factory; he was the shop floor manager until his lungs gave out after a lifetime of smoking.

Maybe this is why his daughter has decided to stop smoking.

For supper she will have a kipper.

Ronnie’s favourite food was a kipper.

Ronnie’s wife, Madge, hated kippers; she prefers chocolate ├ęclairs.

She is sitting in the day room of the sheltered housing where she lives; she is thinking about her daughter who has just said goodbye and is now sitting in a traffic jam trying not to smoke.

She is looking at the chocolate ├ęclair that her daughter left on the table for her.

Should she eat it now or save it for when Jenny comes with the tea at six o’clock?

She likes Jenny; she has only been working at the care home since November but she is so full of life and energy everyone says that she has changed the place for the better.

Even the grumpy ones have noticed.

But right now Jenny is crying.

She is sitting in a corner of the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil and she is crying.

She has something to tell Jamie.

She doesn’t know how.

Jamie is unaware of this.

He is watching the river slowly freezing over outside his dad’s house.

His dad is Gwelvin Stokes.

Gwelvin Stokes lives by the river. His name is on the gate.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Round 16.


That was not the MOST disgusting thing I have ever eaten but it was close.

It has now settled, deeply – though not deeply enough – in a pool of grease, slowly fermenting in the pit of my stomach.

No amount of fizzy water seems to be helping, and I have drunk two bottles.

I might explode from the bubbles.

I need coffee.

A walk.

Fresh air.

Maybe I will need to sleep the damm thing off, though I could just throw up.

It WILL be quicker.

Not the most disgusting.

But close.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Round 15.


Rosie works in the local supermarket.

The supermarket isn’t far from where she lives so she uses her bike and cycles to work. She leaves it in the bike rack, which is next to the super market trolley rank.

She doesn’t lock it.

Rosie is young, young enough to not yet know what she wants to do with her life – she works in the supermarket by day, at night she dances at the local gym.

Jim, her boyfriend, moved out last year; he sells cheese in the local market so she still sees him.

They are not friends anymore.

Right now Rosie is alone, she is quite happy with that  - as Jim was a pain in the arse most of the time.

And he stank of blue cheese.

Some of the cheese Jim sells comes from the local farm where Fred lives with a lot of sheep.

The cheese is sheep’s cheese.

Fred learnt how to make cheese in his twenties, when he lived for a while on the Island of Haiti.

He has an adopted daughter who lives in the city; she has a child of her own now even though she herself is one.

Her mother helps out.

Fred never sees either.

He sees Rosie a lot, because the supermarket sells some of his cheese too; he is in the supermarket at the moment.

He is standing at the back near the sausages - negotiating a sale with the Dairy Purchaser.

He can see Rosie’s reflection in the security mirror hanging in the aisle over the bananas.

The Dairy Purchaser, D.P. for short, is Derek.

Derek Peters.

His initials are a coincidence.

By another coincidence he is married to Fred’s sister Jackie who runs the canoe concession in the summer.

In the winter she works at the Post Office.

The Post office is opposite the supermarket.

Standing by the doorway of the post office, Isabel lights a cigarette.

Isabella, her full name, promised to give up smoking but her boyfriend Johnny skipped town last week without saying goodbye and she’s feeling angry.

She thinks the cigarette will calm her.

She tried vapour sticks for a bit but she found the whole thing too complicated, she prefers to roll her own.

She inhales deeply and looks up; her eyes are brown.

She sees Rosie’s bike outside the supermarket, and  - maybe because she is angry, maybe because Johnny was such and idiot or maybe just because her period is about to start – she steps across the road, takes the bike and rides home.

She didn’t think twice.

It would be nice if Rosie discovered this at the same time that Fred concluded his negotiations with D.P. and was then able to offer Rosie a lift home.

Fred has a van.

The van smells of sheep and not a little of cheese, which would probably be enough for Rosie to forget any romantic thoughts she might have had, or Fred tried to encourage, but none of this happens.

When Rosie steps outside and discovers that her bike has been stolen Fred is still deep in detail concerning litres of milk and whether it is pasteurised or not.

Rosie laughs.

And walks home.

yeah, yeah, i know - the ed.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Round 14.


She is driving a white Audi compact, which is just as well as she is in a traffic jam crawling up the exit ramp from the motorway.

She decides this is a good moment to add some mascara before she reaches work and leans forward and uses the rear view mirror.

In front of her, driving an ageing Renault, Terry is listening to Bruce Springsteen’s River album. It’s an old album, but Terry realises that he doesn’t know half of the songs it contains.

In a moment he will sing along.

He looks up to his rear view mirror and sees the woman in the white Audi trying to apply mascara, not crash and not block progress on the exit ramp. It is not easy for her to do these three things at once and Terry wonders at the way her mouth seems to be working independently from the rest of her body.

He looks ahead.

There is a woman in a green Ford; he can see her face in her rear view mirror.

She is smoking.

She shouldn’t be, her face no longer looks able to cope with the poison.

As if sensing this she takes a final, obsessive drag and drops the remains of the fag onto the hard shoulder, changes gear and edges forward.

She is not only worrying about her health; she is late for the meeting that will decide much of her future.

There is a new director at the office and he has decided it is time to make changes.

She wonders why it is always the men that have this role.

The director’s name is Jason and every time she hears it she thinks of the Argonauts.

Jason and the Argonauts; it was the name of a film she saw when she was nine years old.

She thinks about it now as she edges up the exit ramp.

What was it all about?

Something about going to the end of the world?

At this moment Jason is sitting in a blue Mercedes.

He too is edging his way up the exit ramp.

He too is late for the meeting that is meant to implement the decisions he has already made.

He is imagining that his car is fitted with some sort of destructive ray with which he can zap the cars in front of him to another dimension.

Jason is fairly childish for his age and job title, though that could be changed to Trouble Shooter.

For much of his waking time he thinks he is a character in his own fantasy; for much of his sleeping time he dreams that fantasy.

He is un-married.

Right now he is imagining the destructive zapping of the car immediately in front of him.

The driver is married.

She is applying mascara.

She is blocking his exit ramp.

She is driving a white Audi compact.

happy easter - the ed.

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