Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 12 Oct, 2009 12:12AM
Yep, I'm back on the musical writing front again. This is the second piece for my new steampunk musical thing...
A kitchen- Woman sits at a table, looks fed up.
Pounding percussion and piano; muted guitar
I am an android
A robotic humanoid
I compute, but I feel
I’m science fiction but I’m real
And I can’t find any motives
My eyes are watering
I’m updated, quarterly
I have skin, but I’m made of cogs
I think of love yet work on logs
And I can’t get anywhere
But my husband says I’m fine
I’m just the progress of the time
That I’m beyond human wear and tear
He has me commit the foulest deeds
Just to satisfy his needs
He better pray I don’t become self aware
I am an android
A robotic humanoid
I’m a woman of electronics
With a strange urge to fight the communists
I can’t hide forever
If my husband ever gets caught
Without a moment’s thought
They’ll put him away without care
For stealing robotics is treason
No matter what the reason
Lest they become self aware
And oh, how the wind
Stirs my iron wrought heart
And oh how they sun
Sends shivers through every joint and every part
But oh how the air
Oh how the air,
Oh how the air
Makes me feel self aware.
I am an android
A robotic humanoid
My hair if soft, long and gold
Yet I must do what I’m told
Or else suffer his temperament
I live in a world of hate, lies and fascists
For some reason I must fight the communists
But at least now, I’m self aware
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 29 Sep, 2009 09:57PM
This is the first song in my new overly cheesy, overly gay, overly dirty musical. The story. A man loses his wife in childbirth and is left to raise his son on his own. However this is fiction, and this is steampunk! So he builds a robotic wife in order to 'give his son a mother' though really to satisfy his needs... The authorities catch wind of a possibility and begin investigating. This is because the robots are being created for the government for one purpose. To fight the dirty communists! And any other robots in the country are prohibited!
Life into Machines
Opening- a robot factory, lots of machinery: cogs, tools, bolts, arms etc. Man sitting at a station fiddling with pieces whilst a chorus mills about him.
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
The best paid and the easiest of labour
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Garnering promotions from the favour
I was born in a little town
Where the rain came falling down
My mother was a whore in poor side
My father was a watchmaker
Didn’t have the time to take her
From the brothel to make her his bride
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Don’t stay our hands keep right on working
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Don’t stop until our backs start hurtin’
I met this pretty girl
The fairest in the world
I took a mind with her I would wed
We found a little chapel
We didn’t want the hassle
And I took her home and took her to my bed
Her belly it did fill
So I applied my skills
To try and bring some money and some worth
I joined the android foundry
But my ill luck came back to me
When my lovely wife died in childbirth
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Bringing in new life in electronics
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Making strides in the field of robotics
So I had myself a son
But I could only save one
And had to live with one but not the other
I feared a dreadful fear
That in his early years
My son would grow up without a mother
So I found the right components
As in robotics I’m the exponent
And I made a choice to rectify his life
In his life to sow the seeds
And maybe to satisfy needs
I set to work and built myself a wife
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Building arms and legs and building bodies
Life into machines
We’re putting life into machines
Building us an army to fight the commies!
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 22 Jul, 2009 02:06AM
This is a part of the main story I have written that I thought would work well (check my alliteration!) as a stand alone piece. Warning: Unsavoury language...
The blasted fucking library! This the Librarian thought as he pushed, nay, shoved and pleaded the book into it’s shelf at the end of the day once everyone had left Jesus suffering fuck. There were times, when even the humblest of library employees despised the dark and heavy surroundings they placed themselves in every day. But this was different, working alone amongst the greatest writers the world had ever seen with little sleep was too great a task for him. There were too many books. Just too many books, and they all had voices. All of them! They all cried for his attention. Dickens in his Victorian English, Fleming in his droning tedium, Dumas in his examinations of aristocracy, Adams in his wry wit, and Plath in her general female inclined drivel- but he tried to ignore her, as most should. If she didn’t want to be subjugated and abused she shouldn’t have married someone from Yorkshire. But the voices were too many, they wrestled inside his frail mind trying to gain supremacy. They used his head as a playground, a forum for their juvenile wants.
"Read me!" Dickens cried.
"No, read me!" Shouted Dumas.
"No, me!" Droned Fleming.
"Read the Bell Jar!" Screeched Plath.
"NO! Shut up all of you!" He grabbed his head in utter chaos, screaming and crying. "Leave me alone!"
"Read us!" They chorused.
"Enough!" He blared. Sweeping his hands about him as if he were a teacher calling for silence. He tried to calm himself by playing Suzanne in his head, over and over. He staggered to one of the tables amidst the shelves and let his head drop to its surface. There he made a vow! A solemn oath. Every book in this library had to be read. All of them. Even the feminists, even Dan Brown, even that dusty old copy of Crime and Punishment that he’d previously never found the time for, all of them. Dostoyevsky, I’m yours!
That moment when the body and mind simply can’t go on anymore. He had achieved it. So he fell into a heavy but troubled sleep, twitching on the table he had chosen as his bed for the night. The veil of darkness came upon him as he was plagued by visions of the future and premonitions of his death, ideals that he wouldn’t remember when he woke up. Just fleeting glimpses of catastrophe and tragedy.
He awoke in an unfamiliar wing of the library. He was sure this wasn’t where he had slumped a few hours ago, but how could he be sure given how tired he was? It was dark. It was more than dark it was black. It was like a gothic sketch- all in pastel and chalk of varying shades of gray. The walls shimmered and the shelves wavered as if they were unsteady in a gentle wind. He stepped up to the shelves and gazed at a red leather bound volume and scanned its clear spine. Then he saw an elusive title: Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! No author. He could have screamed, he switched his view to the next book. Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! His eyes widened in shock now he quickly scanned the whole shelf Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! One after the other, the entire shelf. All the same. He clawed desperately at their pristine spines. But he couldn’t grasp at the volumes, instead the shelf and its books rippled in his hands like a vast curtain or sheet. Like a giant canvas painted with an artwork meant only to frustrate and bewilder.
He gave up, exasperated, gasping for breath. His hands clutching his chest as if he was trying to grasp at the air within his lungs. He was panicking, he began to stumble down the hall. Staggering through the mist of charcoal dust into an open hall, more unfamiliarity bombarded him as his ears were attacked by a horrid tapping. He allowed his mind to clear slightly and looked about him. He double-taked and took an involuntary step back. The room was lit by candles hanging from vast gothic chandeliers, the tapping resounded from two rows of aged typewriters. Tap, tap, tap the said, again and again like a great percussion about the room. Sat at these typewriters were two equal lines of dwarfs, except these were different. Their heads, were abnormally sized and sat awkwardly atop their heads. But there they were, midget forms of the writers that haunted him every day. In the background Plath and Brown worked furiously along with the rest of his demons. But towards him were the unknown writers that he had only recently began to discover. He reeled back in horror. There was Bunting, and Pearson and then a gaggle of writers he did not know (or was yet to discover). He had almost had enough when he saw her. Within their midst, marching back and forth between the two rows was the Grey Lady. Watching over her presumed flock imperially.
Now he had had enough. He was about to turn when he saw a pile of leather covers, without their bindings and fillings. Laying their like slices of bread waiting to be fulfilled. His eyes widened once more, they all read: Dostoyevsky, I’m yours! All of them, and the pages? They were being typed by the crowd of ungainly midgets. He craned his neck to see the text from the doorway, and found it the model of repetition. The pages just read etc. over and over again. All of them.
On every page as the clacking percussion continued. The word he hated so much. Etc? Et cetera! How hard was it really to write that out, it was so much more elegant and useful than that abhorrent abbreviation. He was losing it, his composure and his mind. Again he found himself screaming. But only five words came out.
"MARY ANN IS A BITCH" He moaned. In unison all the heads turned at once, rhythmically and without so much as a twitch from any other part of the bodies. The colossal heads simply moved together at once all to gaze in his direction.
"Mary Ann is a bitch?" he said quietly to himself, wondering what was going on as an horrendous feeling of dread came over him. The dwarfs all stopped typing and arose from their seats. "Mary Ann is a bitch." They moved towards him, slowly and without pause. "Mary Ann is a bitch…?" He said weakly as he stumbled backwards landing awkwardly and crawling slowly backwards. It was difficult, as if something was clawing him back and slowing his movements, everything was tiring and laborious. The Dwarfs grew closer and the chanting started.
"Read us. Read us. Read us. Read us. Read us." It continued without pause, and in terror he screamed as they loomed over him. Eyes sharp with malice.
"Mary Ann is a bitch!" He adopted the foetal position with his arms held over his head to protect it from what, in his dread, he imagined would be inevitable blows and death.
"Mary Ann is a bitch!"
"Mary Ann is a bitch."
"Mary Ann is a bitch…"
"Mary Ann is a bitch." He whimpered and sobbed, shaking in his position.
"Read us. Read us. Read us. Read us. Read us. Read us! READ US!"
"MARY ANN IS A BITCH!" He cried, lashing out with feet and hands. Eyes closed and expecting the worst. "MARY ANN IS A BITCH! MARY ANN IS A BITCH! MARY ANN IS A BITCH!" When he opened his eyes and calmed a new face loomed over him, the Grey Lady. Smiling her wicked, dusty smile. "Mary Ann is a bitch?"
"Mr Librarian Man." She whispered harshly. "Mr Librarian Man?"
"Mr Librarian Man?" A sweet voice whispered, accompanied by a short but hard tugging on a sleeve to wake him. The Librarian groggily raised his head from its resting place on the desk and was harshly met by a ray of sunlight and a child’s face, barely visible through the sleep in his eyes. "Mr Librarian Man, could you help me?"
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 21 Jul, 2009 02:27PM
This is the first/last (I haven't decided yet) chapter of a little project I have of a short story I'm writing.
It was his birthday! So naturally, being a fellow with few friends, there had to be a party. Emaline had gathered all of her friends to come and wish him a happy birthday in between questioning whispers about who the hell he was, then they proceeded to drink. Then drink, and drink a bit more. But he couldn’t, he had an inability to achieve inebriation amongst such sobering company. Emaline had left him with a smile, then gone to mingle with her friends at HIS party! He had to sit down somewhere.
"Well here is a surprise, there is a party in his name and so we find William sitting on his own." A horrendously accented voice spoke down to him. He looked heaven bound and in his way he found the unfamiliar figure of Constance looking down at him, with an unfamiliar glass grasped in both her hands- as if she was holding on for dear life. A cheer of absent friends! resounded around the room; there weren’t any absent friends. He didn’t have any friends, they probably mocking that fact. "To absent friends, not that we‘re missing anything but he is." He briefly and weakly offered his glass to the toast as precariously Constance sat, careful not to disturb the liquid in her hands.
"You always were clumsy…" He jibed playfully.
"You always were socially retarded." She smiled, as they sat apart from the gathering. He mouthed the word touché with a mocking defeatist look. "A lot of friends you have here."
"They’re Em’s, she found I didn’t have anyone to invite so invited her friends. It’s her party really." He winked tiredly.
"Don’t wink at me." She giggled. "You look ridiculous."
"I was just proving I could, really."
"Yeah… You always were pretty shit at it." She said awkwardly.
"I learned!" He said brightly, as if it was an intensely important thing prompting a slight tap of glasses between them- she still held her glass with two hands as she did so. "So, no Christopher?"
"Um, no. He’s not your friend so he didn’t want to come. But then, these people aren’t either so maybe he should’ve…"
"Nice. Thanks." He grimaced. "How are you two?"
"We’re okay, thanks. The holiday was a blip, but we’re okay."
"Oh?" he goaded.
"He tried to ‘sex me up’ as he tried to put it." She smiled her smile, they both laughed. "Yeah, it was odd."
"Where’d you go?"
"Torquay…" She trailed off.
"And you refused him? He sounds like the born romantic." He offered a consoling smile between chuckles.
"He was not best pleased." She smiled.
"Well if there’s ever a place to be ‘sexed up’ it’s Torquay, so I’m not surprised."
He looked at her as a silence formed, she brushed some curled brown hair from her face. She smiled a sheepish smile at him, she sort of smile he had missed- her scarlet lips curling into a crescent accentuated by her pale skin. Her skin continued to her breast where it was hastily covered by a slender black dress and a light blue cardigan. Her hands. She had pianists fingers, that’s what he always used to tell her, long and slender. Soft. Now wrapped around a shaking glass. She was nervous. He drew closer, so he could smell her typically French perfume. He had always loved her scent, the way it was only apparent when close to her and the way it always meandered around his senses- leaving him helplessly devoted.
"I read your article…" She said at length, "it was beautiful."
"So are you." He breathed. Almost together they burst out laughing.
"I knew you’d say that." She grinned, biting her bottom lip somewhat.
"Honestly, Constance, your vanity is appalling!"
"My vanity!" She exclaimed. "Maybe you’re just predictable." She dug a joking elbow into his ribs, still careful not to disturb her drink.
"I suppose this is where I say something incredibly charming and sweep you off your feet. Then we run away from this wretched party together?" He probed.
"I’m not that drunk yet…" She giggled, averting her gaze.
"I wasn’t aware you were drunk, I’ve never seen you drunk."
"You’ve never seen me drink." She shot her chestnut eyes at him. No matter her mood, her eyes were always bright and full of life. Full of the Parisian culture she was born from. "Two years is too long, Will…" She spoke earnestly now.
"Or not long enough." He said jokingly. At this she put down her glass and cuffed him playfully.
"You’re in trouble, you know that?"
"Oh I do. Don’t hurt me." He said weakly, mockingly.
"Seriously," Her face was deadly serious now. "I’m going to beat the shit out of you."
"Maybe we should take this outside then?" He suggested, still laughing slightly from the way she butchered the word shit: sheet.
There was silence. Not an awkward silence. A comfortable silence. Constance was trying her best to seem completely sober, she disguised her stagger by holding on tightly to William’s arm. O’ the irony! He thought. Her heeled shoes made it increasingly difficult for her to stay upright, and she was intent on taking him down with her. But a captain should always go down with the ship, right?
"What was that name you always had for me?" She broke the silence, looking up at him expectantly. He stopped them, to answer the question and to be able to stare down into her eyes.
"Name?" he questioned.
"Yeah, y’know, you always used to call me something."
"Constant… Constant Constance." he smiled at the memory. She mirrored his reaction.
"That’s it." She beamed. There was a moment, a brief moment, where they both disappeared back into memories. Where they walked through the same park, laid on the same grass and shared the same feelings. For the briefest of moments. Then, they were back. She buried her head into his chest, embracing more the memory than the figure that stood before her. "I’ve missed you." Came the muffled sound of her voice. "You know that right?"
"I didn’t." He whispered.
"Well, now you do." She began to sob, and he tightened his grip. A moment. Another moment, that’s all it was. "I better go." She said, pulling away and turning before he could speak. She slowly stepped away, as if waiting for the words to form for him.
"You love him?" He called after her.
"Yes…" She said without turning. She became aware of him though, the heavy sound of his footfalls on the cobbles. His stressed and laboured breathing.
"And you’re happy?" He was closer now.
"Y-yes. I’m happy." This was said with equal uncertainty to her first answer, tears were forming in her eyes that she tried to wipe away. But William caught her wrist and spun her to him. Forcing her to look into his eyes, the dark pits that had no discerning border between iris and pupil. How many times had she been lost in those eyes? She didn’t know. "Very happy…" She tried to say with more authority and certainty. But her heart was leading her mind in another direction, his soft grip on her wrist had prompted her to have a soft grip of his face. She carefully traced his jaw line, feeling the soft waves of hair upon it.
"So you’re happy?" He said, unsteadily.
"Yes. Very." She was adamant.
"Good." He said, looking down into her eyes. Have you ever seen two eyes so shiny? he thought. He moved his hand from her wrist to her waist, carefully creasing the material in his hands. Her marvelled at the softness of her touch as she caressed his cheek. "I’m happy for you." The last of his words had trailed off and she grasped at them and pulled them back for him. He pulled her closer and she gripped harder. The means were pulling slowly to an inevitable end. He had known the moment he looked up at her from his bench that he still loved her, the she remained in his verse and verbs and consonants, she remained in the words he spoke every day. His constant Constance. It seemed like the clichéd moment of staring into each other’s eyes lasted forever, both of them willing the other to move.
She lost patience, she moved closer and wrapped her arms about his neck and in slow deliberate movements moved towards him. Avoiding his gaze playfully, a smile spread across her face. She was fifteen again, for a moment. Their faces circled about each others, but at length she closed on him. Parting her lips to kiss him. It did not linger, it was not full of passion. It wasn’t a kiss like you see at the end of those darn awful romantic comedies, for one thing it wasn’t raining. It was tender. Yes, he thought, tender. As soon as it began it was over, not before the normal clichéd eternity passed. Her lips stuck slightly, allowing the moment to persist for a few moments. He moved to speak but she placed a finger on his lips to pray silence.
"I don’t think we’re quite suited for happy endings…" She smiled apologetically. "Not anymore." She kissed him sweetly on the cheek and then left his grasp. "I’ll see you in two years, I guess"
"I hope not." He smiled awkwardly.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 18 Jun, 2009 02:44AM
This is my (possibly) final installment in the set of The Fencer and The Dater, I'm not entirely convinced by this one as I feel it may have gotten a bit too dark but see what you think...
He didn’t know how much time had passed. He seemed to lose track of it so quickly and so easily when he was with her, the biting cold of their first date had changed to a beautiful summer. He knew it was summer, he knew it because she was happier- she was summery and in the cool sun she became resplendent. Her jeans were replaced by flowery dresses, her red hair replaced with a strawberry blonde that suited her and her eyes were now covered with a fine pair of transitions. There was something about the summer that made her all the more beautiful to him. It had seemed that months had past, to his best guess at least, so many bouts. So many thrusts and ripostes in and out of the fencing circuit so many jabs, he still hadn’t lost and he knew- deep down- that it was her. Her that gave him the strength to constantly repeat the same actions that he always had. Riposte, thrust, repeat. He was still Robert Donat, he still parried like Walter Abel, but a change had come. He smiled. He took an odd joy in knowing that after every fight she would be waiting. It was an odd thing, this… love. So many times he would be alone in his room, and he would think of her. Listening to his show tunes he would think of her. Occasionally his parents would check that he wasn’t interfering with himself, but he rarely noticed his mother look at him from the doorway- concerned.
But she was concerned, she worried in a way only someone born in the 60s could. "I’ve seen things" she’d say "terrible things, and I never want you to see anything like it!" Then she would cradle him in her arms, and she’d cry. She’d cry because she knew he would never fit in, and he would see those things no matter how much she protected him. But he had gotten older, and on one certain night when he was due to his first party she could only stand at his door and weep silently. She thought he sat at his window through loneliness and was in fact pleased he was socialising (and glad to be rid of him for a night) but in truth he waited at that window, occasionally in the middle of the night Ruby would knock quietly and rest in his arms whilst he gently whispered lyrics to her.
The party was not so much a party as a gathering of very drunk teenagers hell bent on reproduction, loud music and the destruction of the English language via sustained and unrelenting idiocy. Not Richard’s crowd (if he could actually be included in any crowd). Ruby left him quickly to mill with her friends and dance and sing, with only a quick caress and an ‘enjoy yourself, please’ but after a few tedious comments about retardation and someone making a rather uncomplimentary comment about his moleskine notepad, a notepad he was very proud of, he found himself perched upon the wall outside the host‘s house- looking down the road into the night.
It was a beautiful notepad really. Beautifully bound, with a grainy paper that was simply too pretty to write on at times. But Ruby loved it. She would, in the early hours of the morning, read in the moonlight everything that he had said, and she would smile. What a smile. She flashed him a sheepish smile as she found him sitting on the wall outside. She immediately sat beside him and accepted his embrace.
"I’m sorry," she said "You’re hating this aren’t you?"
He motioned for his pocket but she stopped him. "No, I want to hear your voice, I want you to be honest."
He just nodded, unwilling to lend his voice anymore that night.
"I’m sorry, I never should have made you come."
Don’t be sorry, I am, it’s my fault I’m so socially retarded- not yours.
"Doesn’t it seem most precarious?" He squeezed her shoulders, knowing the words meant nothing to her. But she kissed him then, tenderly she pressed her lips against his.
I love you
"If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true?"
She flicked him a nervous smile.
"Are you going to come back in?" She asked, quickly her smile turned to a frown as he shook his head. She took his hand. "I worry sometimes… I worry that you’re not happy with me… Not here, not when we’re around anyone. You seem embarrassed of me…"
Now he craved to tell her that he was only embarrassed of his predicament, to set her mind at ease. Instead he ringed his clammy hands and stared at a moth circling a lamp light above him. He thought carefully as her eyes grew more despondent. "Do you love me, Richard?" He wanted to nod, but knew it would be too impersonal. He had to say it, freely, without the influence of song.
He thought it again:
I love you!
"I want to be haunted by the ghost." She looked down, a tear falling from her eye. He stroked her hair carefully in an effort to console and comfort her.
I need you to know that no one has meant more to me than you, no one.
"Who would wish for the winter blow, or the green leaves to fall around. And who would wish for a far better love? Than Brown Adam the smith…" She tried to feign a smile.
"Maybe you should go home?" She suggested softly. "You don’t want to be here…" But he did, every moment he spent at that damned hormone hole was a moment he spent with or around her and that was worth the uncomfortable swirling of his stomach and the nervous disposition her friends left him with. He leant, carefully, to kiss her. To kiss lips that had grown so familiar to him over the months they had been together. But her lips felt cold now, the kiss was loose and frigid. She returned to the party.
He took out his notepad and wrote God, I love her.
"God, I love her." he said, reading aloud.
He did, he barely believed it himself, but he had spoken a sentence. Not lyrics. A real sentence. He almost leapt up in excitement. He ran into the house. He searched for Ruby.
"Have you seen Ruby?" He asked, to anyone who would turn to him. As much trying out this idea of speaking that was so new to him as well as searching. "Ruby? Anyone?" Someone said they’d seen her go upstairs. So he rushed up the steps, taking them three at a time. Like a man possessed he sought her. He burst through a door to two elderly people stating at a TV set. They smiled uniformly and in unison. The host’s parents.
He calmed himself and pushed open the other door upstairs, then he saw her. Laying on the bed and half covered in sheep patterned sheets but it wasn’t entirely her he was interested in, but the muscular fellow who laid on top of her: thrusting, riposting, lunging, repeating. Fencing in the most unusual manner.
He could have wailed there and then.
He could have broken down.
He left the party entirely, he didn’t care about his new found voice. He just wanted to go home. He forgot about the summer and the moth. He forgot about the party and the hormones and the music. All he could see was her, in that position. No more than ten minutes after talking to her, she had found someone new and why not? He probably spoke perfectly well, he probably used retard in its American noun form but she wouldn’t mind that. In truth, Richard was probably the only person who cared about that anymore. But that night he didn’t care about anything. He only rued the fact that there was no traffic to hurl himself in front of. He strolled home, barely moving at times. Simply moved to tears by his grief and anger.
Why must this weather persist, can’t it rain to reflect my solemnity? Like the movies? Then she’ll come back to me!
"If only summer rain would fall upon the houses and the boulevards…" And there it was, he had lost his voice again. All he could say was that he loved her, the one thing he needed to say, but it came too late.
The he remembered.
He remember the fencing match, the win. He remembered her smiling, shining face as she congratulated him. He remembered his pounding heartbeat as he fell for her in that moment. He remembered the bus, the driver who so berated him, the film, her hand squeezing his in the queue, the kiss by the bus shelters, the constant night visits, the sex, the invitation, his mother’s worried face, the party, the talk they had and then thrust, riposte, repeat.
I though she loved me, I though I could trust her.
"How does it feel to realise, you’re all alone behind your eyes? Seems to me if you can’t trust- you can’t be trusted…" The he wept, like his mother had. Tears flowing from his already sore eyes. He had kissed her in a style Clark Gable would have admired but it wasn’t enough and now she was grunting, and thrusting with some other fellow whilst Richard wept.
"I have lost so many friends" He said. "I’m a loser, I’m not what I appear to be and there‘ll be no brown eyes waiting for me."
If he’d known that that kiss would have been his last with her he might have savoured it more. He dialled her number on his phone but still he wept.
I saw you, I’m sorry, it was my fault: Goodbye.
He spoke only to her answering machine:
"Remember this evening when I said goodbye you, remember how I told you I’d come back for you one day? And as the sunset came to meet the evening on the hill: I told you I’d always love you I always did I always will. Fare thee well, gone away. There’s nothing left to say. ‘Cept to say adieu to your eyes as blue as the water in the bay…" He hung up, unable to bear the sound of his own voice. He rued his affliction, and his stupidity. He went over all that he could’ve done in his head but it always turned out the same way.
He took out his, much mocked, notepad. And simply wrote: Tell Ruby I love her, because I couldn’t. Ripping the sheet from the book he placed it in his jacket pocket and waited. Again the world was a stage and again a theatrical fire had been set alight in the forest of his heart.
He sang: "I will leave behind all of my clothes, I wore when I was with you, all I need's my railroad boots and my leather jacket. As i say goodbye to Ruby's arms." A single tear appeared in his eye. "I'll never kiss your lips again or break your heart, as i say goodbye, i'll say goodbye, say goodbye to Ruby's arms." He took his deserved bow, he basked in the adoration and applause about him. Then with a heavy heart he stepped off the pavement and left the stage. Stepping off into two strong headlights. The car didn’t stop.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 19 May, 2009 01:43AM
This is my attempted follow up to The Fencer though I have not had time to check it over so I doubt I have carried the idea off as well as I felt I did before. It was also difficult not to get anyone murdered in this one (though it has potential to appear in any other chapter I do to this story).
The wind was biting, the shoes were uncomfortable and the beginnings of a large and unwelcome spot were quietly mocking him- staring up at him from the very edge of his nose and vision. But Richard didn’t care one iota for he, the most unlikely and ill-equipped person to do so, had a date. Not only that but it was with a seriously beautiful girl called ruby, whose name so reflected her personality. She was shining. She smiled, she giggled and she allowed herself to be radiant (around him at least). No longer did he presume that he would have to marry a disgusting and curiously salivating girl who lived on an estate and grew sea monkeys; for fun! Nor would he have to work at the local Tescos as a trolley boy who was paid less than everyone else because he couldn’t "speak proper" despite working much harder than all the invalid and uneducated fools about him. No, his life had taken a new path as he finally met someone who understood what he was saying- and it was a girl! What’s more today nothing could go wrong, as armed with his fancy no… Wait! Something’s missing… He felt his pockets frantically and to dismay found that he had forgotten the most important thing! His notebook. The one thing that would ensure that he would be understood by everyone was missing. His mind raced, to and fro and too frantically. He must have looked like he was watching a game of tennis in the road as his eyes moved frantically in dismay, and as his bus pulled up in front of him.
The driver looked at his solemn form suspiciously, wondering whether he’d have another epileptic freaking out on his bus, Richard looked up sadly at the driver having decided that not talking at all to her was much better than being late (when in reality the bus he was catching would place him in the city half an hour early) he thought:
A single ticket to the city centre, please?
"What’s a pound of flesh among friends?" Suddenly the malady and his gaucheness exploded within his mind, like a vial of ink with in clear water- suddenly shattered only to corrupt the sparkling water about it and suddenly he was lost within the embarrassment of his disability.
"Excuse me?" The driver responded moodily.
I’m sorry, I have this thing, I don’t know what came over me. Nevermind. Single ticket to the city centre, please?
"She’s got a ticket to ride…" He began to trail off as the driver’s already dour face screwed up in frustration.
"You, some sort of retard or summing?" He almost belched out with a globule of phlegm. He thoughtfully scratched his arse as Richard lost all hope. He craved, he yearned to turn violently on the man and declare proudly that retard was a verb and by using it in such a context he was not only being offensive but also destroying the English language like so many others in this forsaken country. But without his notepad he was at a loss to do so, and things he wrote down never came out as poetically as he thought them anyhow. "Look, I can’t be arsed to deal with some spaz like you. Just get on."
Richard, resigned to having to lose a battle of wits with a man who possessed none, slumped towards the back of the bus and contented himself at looking out the window and pretending everyone else was mute, so that he- even in speaking only in lyrics- was a God among them. He whispered quietly to himself:
"I’m going down to Rose Marie’s, she never does me wrong. She gives it to me plain as day and then gives it to me for a song." Allowing himself the luxury of a smile, he still fretted over how he was going to orchestrate the day. He had envisioned that he would sweep her off her feet with the romance of his silence, but now that he had nothing to write on or indeed with he was lost. How could he possibly talk to her like this? Talk to her without being able to string together a sentence. She understood him somewhat before, but could she do it for a whole day? He didn’t know, he just rested his head on the coarse material of the seat and let thoughts of her swim about gaily within his fragile mind.
He’s liked girls before obviously. But he’d never had the courage to say anything, he couldn’t say anything. No one ever understood his rambling lyrical nature. There was that pretty American girl from the Tescos down the road, she worked behind the till and always scratched the outer corner of her left eye; it annoyed him. There was also the blonde girl from a year or so before, she always smiled at him but he knew if she ever heard him speak the smile would quickly disappear. Then there was the girl he fell in love with under a desk. In an IT lesson that had quickly turned to chaos in the presence of a supply teacher. Richard had retreated beneath his desk for safety from the potatoes that flew across the classroom and was amazed to find that someone else was joining him. Her breasts were everywhere. To say she had developed early would be unfair on the definition of development, she had developed long before development had been able to stop her. She smiled a doleful smile at him. A smile of mutual awkwardness and social ineptitude: He couldn’t speak around people, she could be seen past her ridiculous bosom. She had kissed him in such a swift motion that what he was thinking remained that. What he was thinking. He was left speechless by how quickly she had moved (aided and abetted by the weight she was carrying, no doubt) no longer did he think riposte, thrust, repeat, riposte, thrust, repeat but instead blurted out:
"I’dliketobeundertheseainanoctupus’sgardenintheshade!" It fired out, nothing could stop it. It flushed out of his system and for a moment he was purged of all ridiculousness. But that had quickly returned and the room had quickly been sorted out and the breasts and the girl were quickly forgotten about. But the kiss lingered, remaining his first and only.
The bus tossed on it’s unstable axis and took Richard with it. He was still whispering nervously to himself:
"You have been waiting all your life, you use your patience to stay fine. Time moves on as you prepare to tell yourself be reasonable." This warranted a shushing noise behind him, which caused him to promptly stop the whispering and replace it with gentle breathing as her let himself sleep. His dreams were simple. He dreamt over and over of Ruby, dreaming of the gym and the match and the finale.
The bus grounded to an abrupt stop, and in an effort to get the ‘retard’ off the bus catapulted him into the aisle. He gave a careful nod to the driver as her leapt from the bus, a driver who only grunted meanly as he quickly shut the doors and sped off. He felt sorry for the driver, much like he did for his helper at school, it wasn’t his fault he was in a dead end job dealing with people like Richard. Richard was sure it wasn’t the driver’s fault that he used words like retard or substituted something for ‘summing’ in fact it was probably people like Richard who brought out such behaviour.
Richard would have liked to say the wait was pleasant, but of course it would have come out as inane lyrical nonsense and of course it wasn’t! The weather remained torrid and Ruby, despite her loveliness, was late- almost to the point that Richard considered leaving. She arrived with a beaming smile yet covered in a large hoodie and coat to ward off the weather. Richard had managed, somehow, to communicate in a series of nods and ‘mmmms’ as she talked sweetly to him about school and fencing and life in general. All this she managed in the time it took to queue for a film at the cinema. The only thing stopping Richard breaking down in frustration at his forced silence was the fact that she softly held his hand, occasionally squeezing it as she giggled. This sent shivers of excitement up his steadily waning spine and into his quickly slumping shoulders. She took her coats off and he couldn’t help but gasp, she had dressed in a turquoise/blue summer top that reflected her green eyes so beautifully and he had to resist the urge to try and recite every cliché he knew to her in an effort to make her swoon. As he reached the front of the queue he found he couldn’t take his eyes off her, so he let her talk and just handed over the appropriate coinage and after an overly soppy film (that she chose) and some overpriced cinema food he found himself in a small café with her. Still he resisted the urge to say anything to her.
"You can talk to me y’know?" She said faintly. "You don’t have to be embarrassed." He smiled at this but still couldn’t quite find the words. She was that sort of girl, at that moment he couldn’t quite think what to say all he could do is stare into her eyes. In fact, he was doing all he could not to leap across the table and kiss her there and then! "So what did you think of the film?" He thought:
It was utter rubbish, I have never seen such poppycock and piffle in my life!
"It’s all good!" She smiled brightly and as he was about to correct what he said to sound less enthusiastic he felt a brush against his leg. It took him a moment to realise that it was her foot carefully caressing his calf. His mind was suddenly driven wild and to explain the incident in his trousers would be crude and unnecessary. Suffice to say something would have to be done with and about it when her got home. "I cried, I always cry at endings."
"Oh my god, I cried too! It was so sad." She looked glum, and whilst he hadn’t in fact cried he continued the idea, and sympathetically he placed his hand across the table upon hers. He worried for a moment what the repercussions of this may be, but he was greeted with another beaming smile and a giggle. He loved it when she giggled. "You’re really nice y’know. You’re so easy to talk to, and so sweet." He foot ventured further up his leg, and he had to shift his position in his awkwardness.
So are you, I’ve never met anyone who has understood me or given my speech such cohesion!
"Give me absolute control over every living soul and lay beside me, baby, that’s an order." He lamented suddenly. But it prompted another giggle from her and he was glad he didn’t continue any further as she may not have appreciated the mention of anal sex as much as she had what he normally said. Then he thought: Even if I’m not getting things out right this time, maybe it’s worth it for that smile? and it was, no matter what he said she would giggle and smile and her foot would brush his leg some more.
I’d like you to know that you’re very beautiful, and so wonderful.
"Like an angel’s haloed brow you reek of purity."
"Well, thank you?" She looked bemused "I think…" Then giggled, relieving any feeling of nervousness about the comment. He was worried what she thought, whether the novelty and charm of his malady had now been lost. He was scared she would walk away and never want to see him again despite the toes, now slipped from shoes, that tickled his thigh under the table. Really, he should have been relieved that no one had yet died.
I really want to say it, I really think you’re beautiful
Finally, he said:
"Hey, Helen. Your eyes shine and you’re beautiful. So I just had to come and sing to you and Helen made me feel alive last night just to meet you so this is the best I can bring to you." He smiled at the fact he got a meaning through.
"Well, you do know how to make a girl blush." At this she leant over, and with her hands supporting her on the table, she kissed him lightly. Then as quickly as she had started she finished and lumped back down on the chair, her hair bouncing after her.
She checked her watch and he feared the worst, and sure enough that worse was realised.
"I have to go." She said bluntly, she picked up her jackets and he stood with her and they walked off (neither realising that they hadn’t paid for their drinks) there was silence for a while as she walked with her arms crossed in front of her and looking down and he said everything he could; which was nothing. He just looked at her sadly, presuming something had gone wrong. Was he to gauche? Was he to boring? Had she lost interest?
"This my bus stop…" She stopped and looked up at him as he realised where they were. The bus station. If ever someone deigned to make a stage production of Deliverance then this is where they could find a cast of shifty looking, slightly inbred, morons who wouldn’t look out of place in the army or raping a sheep. "I had a nice time…" She said weakly. He just looked down, unable to meet her gaze and suffer the disappointment of rejection. There are only so many social situations I can fuck up before it becomes protocol for me to kill myself he thought.
"I’m sorry I’ve been off, I haven’t felt well and I thought it would be awful of me to cancel because of it." She continued, smiling as he lifter his gaze to her. It was only in looking up that he saw her lunging, not in her fencing manner but instead at the end of the thrust her lips came upon his. Here he did riposte. Their lips intertwined and her arms wrapped around his neck and the urge to use words like retard and ’summing’ came over him such was her affect on him
"This could be our final dance, this could be our very last chance, Just the sound of your voice wherever I may be changes everything." He said quietly. She giggled. Kissed him again. Then left. Buses. He just stood bemused for a while.
Every now and then he would open his mouth, as if to say something, then close it again. Her kiss lingered on his lips. He began to whisper to himself again, this time it was a jumble within his mind. "She has kisses sweeter than wine…", "Did I tell you you’re wonderful? I miss you, yes I do!" Then it began, it was almost as if he could hear a slight drumming of a high-hat in his mind and then a flowing piano. "I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering whimpering child again. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I. I’ll sing to her, each spring to her and worship the trousers that cling to her. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I. Lost my heart, but what of it? My mistake I agree, she’s a laugh but I like it because the laugh’s on me. A pill she is, and still she is all mine and I’ll keep her until she is: Bewitched, bothered and bewildered like me."
Then the station went dark.
The wan sun shone down on him like a spotlight.
Again the world was a stage and again a theatrical fire had been set alight in the forest of his heart.
He sang: "I will leave behind all of my clothes, I wore when I was with you, all I need's my railroad boots and my leather jacket. As i say goodbye to Ruby's arms." A single tear appeared in his eye. "I'll never kiss your lips again or break your heart, as i say goodbye, i'll say goodbye, say goodbye to Ruby's arms." He took his deserved bow, he basked in the adoration and applause about him. Then with a heavy heart, he left the stage.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 14 May, 2009 12:33AM
William went to bed with a heavy stomach, and awoke with a heavy head. Every movement sent a jolt of pain throughout his body as he carefully dragged his aching body out of bed. He hadn’t even opened his eyes by this point, and when he did he was horrified by what he saw. Looming over him, like a statue, was a darkly swathed and skeletal form robed entirely in black and in its left hand, brandished like a badge of office was a long and withered scythe.
"Hello William…" The figure said in a low and unhealthy voice.
"You’re…" William stammered in shock.
"Death, yes." The reaper said grimly. "And before you ask, yes you did drink that much last night. You’re friend drank more."
"Going to save him for later then? Let him sleep it off a bit more." William mocked, unsure how to face the situation.
"Very humorous." Death said, showing no sign of emotion in his voice.
"I thought so."
"Don’t mock me; it’s not as if it’s easy being the angel of death." He said sadly.
"I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to offend you… Death." William apologised, confused.
"Hm, it’s alright, it’s just been a long night. As you can imagine reaping the souls of the dead can be a stressful and unsatisfying job."
"Yes, it must be. Especially doing it since the dawn of time." William said, irritating the angel of death.
"Don’t remind me. I mean, I never get any praise for what I do. None. Instead children dress up as me in order to frighten each other and they think it’s all very funny, well I don’t. Frankly, it’s all rather depressing." Death slumped into the chair and placed a skeletal hand at his pallid, skeletal forehead removing small patches of emaciated skin as he rubbed his temples. He didn’t quite have a body or face; instead his form was created by the black robe. But he did possess a face and hands of sorts, which were just the base forms of the skeleton but with small scraps of beige skin hanging subtly on to them.
William rubbed his eyes, wondering to himself what on earth was going on. He looked at the distressed form of death in his chair, at his desk. All bone and teeth, He had no eyes and yet William could sense his gaze though it was like the feeling of being watched from somewhere unknown despite the fact that the gaze belonged to the figure in front of him. "People don’t respect me, they either quake in fear or say: ‘hey, death, fancy a game of chess.’ It’s just not funny at all. I’m tired of it all, and ironically I can’t even kill myself!"
William tried to say something, but was cut off by the grim reaper.
"It’s always God this, devil that. They don’t do even anything they sit around bickering with each other, impregnating virgins and torturing the damned. It’s all fun and games to them. It’s people like me that do all the real work."
"People?" William questioned, looking at the inhuman form in front of him.
"You know what I mean." Death said, frustrated.
"Do you know how hard it is to constantly be around death?"
"Can’t say I do… Getting an idea though, seems pretty depressing." William said, subtly referencing to Death’s presence.
"It is!" He lamented, "Do you know how impossible it is to get a girlfriend?"
"A girlfriend?" William stared unconvinced at the deathly figure and sensed a flash of anger in him and returned to humouring him. "I really couldn’t imagine…"
"It’s not possible; no one wants to be with this." Death briefly waved a hand in front of his face, motioning to William to look at it. "But then, you’d know all about being lonely."
"I don’t really think, given what you’ve told me, you’re in the position to mock me." William said, in the midst of thinking of the girl and being entirely frightened.
"And I don’t think it’s your place to tell me what my position is." Death said angrily.
"It seems to me, that you just need a hug." William mocked.
"I can’t even have that, whoever I touch dies!"
"Well that would be a problem…" William rolled his eyes in frustration, he had enough to worry about without having a suicidal angel of death sitting at his desk. "Why exactly are you here?" William finally asked. "What do you want? I don’t have a chessboard I’m afraid."
"Funny…" Death said sarcastically.
"For an angel of death you have an impressive grasp of emotion."
"I know, it’s damn unappealing to people. No girls want to go out with a depressed, skeletal moron who sounds like Darth Vader."
"Oh, lovely reference to Star Wars." William encouraged.
"Thanks, after an eternity of deathly pursuits one can really become rather hip. I’m pretty down with the kid these days."
"Well the reference is a couple of decades late in pop culture terms, but still modern enough I guess."
"Well better than a Shakespeare reference."
"That wouldn’t have gone down well, no, you’re correct." William said, beginning to enjoy goading him.
"Now he was a boring man to reap, he had me speaking in rhyme for almost fifty years." Death complained.
"Yes it was." Death said, "Thank you for your time, but now I need to do something…" William looked at the figure bemused, gently Death placed a finger on William’s arm.
William awoke with a start, launching upright in his bed and then clutching his head in agony. Realising that the pain he had dreamt was lovely compared to the pain that gripped him now. "What a weird dream, I shouldn’t drink ever again." He sighed to himself, putting a hand over his eyes to try and relieve some of the pain. "Jesus Christ." He cursed, opening an eye and looking down the bed just to make sure He wasn’t sitting at the foot of it, wanting a chat.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 14 May, 2009 12:31AM
It took William Hayle some time to organise his room, he did not have much to unpack but his anal nature meant that everything had to have a place and it was finding these areas that took up most of that time. He didn’t, after all, want his dorm to end up as it had before he returned to Happelingham. He found his room to be fairly large for him, like most it had a fairly large bookshelf and a small television that he supposed were for studying. A stout desk lay at the far end of the room and a double bed to the right of the door, all fairly generic to William. He had however requested that a piano be put into his room, which had been done to his surprise and he placed an open book of music on the stand in order to try and make the room look somewhat sophisticated and next to the piano he placed his violin, otherwise his belongings were spread across the room. CDs and books on shelves and his clothes in the wooden wardrobe in the corner, the room had a very old fashioned feel to it- especially with the wallpaper that William could only describe as vomit coloured; happily he eventually saw that the rest of the rooms had been similarly and hideously decorated.
After the hours of deliberation as to the location of his belongings, he felt like a walk. By this time the dimly lit day had become a fairly bitter evening, but still William gazed at the tapestry of stars above him- marvelling as his breath misted above him as he breathed. Unfortunately, as most people know, when one is looking up then where one is walking is rarely visible unfortunate also, was William’s lack of awareness and so he didn’t realise he was about to step into the busy high street until he heard a voice that, little did he know, would change everything.
"Stop!" Came the accented shout, and William snapped out of his reverie and turned to see a heavily dressed girl running towards him. But as she ran at him, she slipped on a handily placed frozen puddle and fell straight into William, throwing both of them into one of the many mounds of snow that were piled at the side of the footpath. In catching her William had managed to end up in quite a tangle, as they both lay in the snow they found themselves in a kind of embrace. His hands were placed on her sides whilst hers were wrapped around him where she had attempted to stop herself falling.
Presently she looked up at him, and her gaze met his as they both recovered from the shock of their fall and as her friends collapsed in laughter the just looked at each other and William took a breath as he looked into her stunning green eyes, of such a green that made his heart skip, a green that ebbed and flowed from pale to darkness. Her soft, scarlet lips were curved in an embarrassed and uncertain smile and her supple pale skin became rosier at her cheeks as they both began to laugh at the situation, her curled brown hair gently swayed above him as neither of them seemed to make any effort to get up. She reached for a red beret that had fallen from her head as she fell and as she reached William couldn’t help but notice her chest and in attempting to avert his gaze he looked away until he was looking straight up and saw the familiar face of Christopher Rundell above him.
"William Hayle, you dog!" The Australian shouted crudely.
"Oh God…" William said under his breath, which caused the girl to give him a surprised look. He carefully helped her up, and turned to look at Christopher who spoke to him through a poorly groomed beard as William brushed snow off the girl’s back and off himself.
"That’s right Will, come home and get some, eh?!" Christopher chuckled. He was every inch a rugby player, and even now in the evening he wore the school’s rugby jersey over his finely toned form. His dark hair was rough and unkempt in a similar manner to his beard.
"Don’t be crude, Creedence." He replied and turned to the girl. "Are you okay?" He asked sympathetically.
"Uh… Yeah I think so, thanks." She said, brushing the rest of the snow off her red coat and sending a sharp dagger filled look at her giggling friends. "I think I better be off, my friends are… annoying… Thanks for catching me, I guess."
"No problem… Thanks for trying to stop me… walking into traffic." He smiled. Trying to take in every moment of her presence around him, all the while Christopher was fighting back laughter.
"That’s okay, well… It’s been uh… surreal meeting you. Goodbye" She smiled and awkwardly waved at him. He tired to wave back but by the time he had recovered his breath and his heart had restarted she had rejoined her friends and sped off, to the sound of their hysterical giggles. William just stood, motionless, for a moment as if time had stopped all around him. It was if he had stepped into an old film, in which he had just met the girl whom he would ride into the sunset with at the end of the movie and he the found himself wishing that his life could be crammed into ninety minutes so he could reach that moment with her all the faster. As it was he didn’t even know her name.
Christopher had been talking the whole time, as at present laid a blow on William’s arm to snap him out of his reverie.
"Come on man, stop staring, she’s gone." He chortled whilst slapping William’s back.
"Who is she?" William whispered, almost to himself. "Tell me who she is…"
"I don’t know, mate." Christopher replied "Haven’t seen her before."
"You must do…" He looked at his friend pleadingly.
"She’s probably on holiday here, mate, you heard her- she was clearly foreign."
"I need to find her." William said, not really realising how weird he was sounding to his Australian companion.
"Just let it go man, she’s just a girl." Christopher consoled. "Would you like me to hit it out of you?"
"What?" William snapped out of it.
"I mean it, I could hit you so fucking hard that your mum would feel it in her womb…" He smiled, "It’d be sure to knock this sudden homosexuality out of you."
"My Mum’s dead!"
"Surely that makes the blow all the more impressive?" Christopher laughed, unbridled by William’s comment. "Come on, this is the first time I’ve seen you in years and I find you under some girl that you’re now obsessed with. So instead of being gay, come and get a drink!" He moaned, thumping William hard on the shoulder.
"You’re a crude fellow, Creedence, a very crude fellow." William relented, and embraced the huge man.
It was not that William disliked alcohol; indeed he quite enjoyed the taste of a fine beer or a sweet wine as much as most others, and it was not that he didn’t like pubs; their atmosphere actually appealed to him- something that would not be beneficial in later life. Neither was it that he did not, on occasion, enjoy the Australian’s company for, despite his regularly disgusting mannerisms. But he did not enjoy being in the company of a large group of people, all consuming alcohol and speaking in what mixed together became an intense, inaudible hum. Like they were communicating in some sort of hive mind complex, whenever William entered a public house a fight would inevitably break out- and he knew that with Christopher with him that that likelihood had raised something rotten.
To William’s surprise the night continued without incident though Christopher almost caused uproar when he attempted to talk to every woman at the bar, despite an awful lot of them being almost twice his age. William attempted to talk civilly to the muscled fellow, and Christopher shrugged off William’s questions of the girl he had met and tried his best to divert his attention from her by talking of what had happened in the years since William had last been in Happelingham. Most of which he already knew due to his correspondence with his sister, and then it came William’s turn to explain himself.
"He’s dying?!" Christopher exclaimed, taken aback.
"Cancer…" William lamented looking sadly into his glass. "He sent me a letter, requesting I return to Happelingham."
"For Jennifer?" Christopher now looked concerned.
"I think it’s more for him, there are a lot of things to sort out and I haven’t seen the old fellow in six years."
William sighed and looked around the room, seeing everyone moving about care free and he couldn’t help but think of a week or so before and then how quickly life can slip away. It all seemed like life was just an extraordinarily long game of poker, and in losing even a single hand one can find themselves in sheer misfortune, whether it be depression at losing or simply losing all of your chips and just acquiring a tumour. William wasn’t sure where tumours fitted into a game of cards, but the metaphor was always a loose one.
"I feel like William Bloom…" William said at length.
"Who?" Christopher questioned, his rudimentary rugby mind unable to think back far enough to books he had been lent by William.
"Big Fish… I mean I’ve finally come home for good, and yet I know all I can do wait for Alfred’s death."
Alfred Rigby was William and Jennifer’s adoptive father, an elderly kindly gentleman who devoted his time between two things. Writing and William’s sister, he doted on her with gifts and money and love. To William he gave a scholarship to one of the best public schools in England, but William wasn’t one to complain. He had always been grey haired since William had first seen him seventeen years previous, he was earnest and kind and despite his greying temples and dimming glass-aided vision he had always had an odd amount of energy and now all William could imagine him doing was sitting in his chair and reading waiting for his impending death.
"How’re you going to tell Jennifer?" Christopher interrupted.
"I doubt it’s my place, I think that’s up to Alfred." William said sadly, "After all she didn’t take too kindly to me telling her about our real father and the money he had left us."
"Looks like you’re in a bit of a mess, mate." Christopher gently chuckled.
"Yeah, good to be home." William returned the laugh.
"What about the girl?" Christopher asked, they had since stopped drinking and their beers were slowly growing warm as the night drew on.
"I got the impression you changed the subject before…"
"Yeah, well it’s less depressing than talking about your Alfred." Christopher said "So what’s the big deal with her?"
"I just feel that I need to find her." William again looked solemn.
"Well she was hot." Christopher beamed, William seeing how lecherous his face had become and new exactly what he was thinking. In all honesty William had similar thoughts; he couldn’t help thinking of her kissing him her green eyes staring deeply into his, with love and passion. He grasped at visions of her from his limited meeting, reaching deep inside his thoughts to gaze into her beautiful green eyes for as long as he can, before the image faded. He went through the scene in his head over and over, even as he spoke to Christopher. How tenderly he had held her as they fell together, how striking her beauty had been to him the first time he truly looked at her, how soft her coat had felt in his hands as he held her, how her clothes had creased in his soft grip, and how heavily her heart had beat within her breast as if it were attacking his which had seemed to simply stop in the moment.
If he’d realised how excited his heart was to be near another at last, he may have been more worried by it’s shyness and it’s stoppage as it was he passed it off as some undeveloped form of love. As he thought of her his heart would jump, when he thought of her cooing at his imaginary kisses and he felt an unfamiliar feeling in both his heart and stomach as if butterflies were flitting around his abdomen and his heart was being lightly stung by bees- butterflies and killer bees he mused. This he blamed on the alcohol.
"It’s more than that…" William said
His heart leaping once more as the image was conjured again.
"I felt something different."
"As well as something familiar, eh?" Christopher rudely commented.
"No." William gave him a harsh look.
"So you didn’t give her a bit of a poke?" Christopher genuinely looked shocked. "I’ll be honest, mate, you seemed quite unsure if yourself in that situation."
"Well I wasn’t sure." William looked out of the window into the wintery evening outside, snow gathered around the edges of the small glass squares. "It’s not everyday a girl falls on me."
"Let me ask you a serious question Will, as a friend, joking aside- how much experience do you have with women?" Christopher looked at his friend gravely. "I mean, you went to a boarding school girls there must have been gagging for it?! Or did you go to one of those all boy schools? Y’know, the ones that breed a certain type of upper class homosexuality?"
"There weren’t that many girls at all actually, in the school or with me." William responded, ignoring Christopher’s lewd suggestions. "And what’s the difference between regular and upper class homosexuality anyway?"
"Well upper class homosexuality generally involves digestives…" Christopher scoffed, as if it was an obvious and well known fact. "Will, you have to get out there. Forget this girl, find some others and have a bit of a ruck."
It became clear to William that his friend was beginning to get drunk, he could tell quite easily by the fact that he was now injecting rugby terminology into the conversation in lieu of regular language.
"I’m not interested in sex." William replied soberly.
"No, because you haven’t had a proper relationship!" Christopher now raised his voice. "You’ve been cooped up in that fucking public school of yours with a bunch of fellas and queers!"
"I figure I should point out that not everything revolves around sex and rugby, Creedence."
"It really does, mate." He smiled, drunkenly.
"It doesn’t, and you are really becoming quite drunk and thus incapable of conversation."
"Whereas you’re sober."
"Yes." William said "I remain in sense."
"Well, then may you lead the forces of sobriety in rebellion against my drunken and jovial ways. Christ, lighten up. The reason you’re sober is because your conversation is so damn sobering. You probably haven’t even drunk enough in your life to get anywhere near drunk!"
"Hey!" William interjected harshly. "I was damn tipsy once."
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 14 May, 2009 12:30AM
This is the beginning to an old novella, that has since ceased to be a project, initially called 'edit' it re-shaped into BUTTERFLIES AND KILLER BEES.
William Hayle tied the dusty rope around a hook in the ceiling. He would be the first to admit that his mind wasn’t entirely on the task at hand but at this moment he couldn’t help but think how untidy his room had become over the past few months. Papers littered his dorm, sheets of music and pages of writing and poor sketches laid spread across his floor like the fine layer of snow outside. He felt the cold bite into his exposed arms raising goose bumps from his skin as he tied a loop into the rope and pulled on it slightly to check its stability and placed a chair beneath it.
Mr Hayle stepped lightly across his room and swept up his papers, and pushed them into his dresser- shutting the door quickly before anything can fall out. Paying more attention to that than the cricket bat lying on the floor that he proceeded to stub his toe on it as he turned.
"Bugger!" he exclaimed as he sat down on his bed and clutched his bare foot. "This is ridiculous." He got up gently and shook his foot about a bit to attempt to get rid of the pain, unaware the he looked like he was rather uselessly dancing a jig. He hopped over to the chair and lifted himself on top of it and placed the hoop around his neck, rueing the fact the he didn’t have an audience so he could feel like a criminal of old, like Guy Fawkes, hanging for whatever grievances he had caused. He breathed heavily and tilted his head back, a serene look came upon him- a look which suited him- and he again drew a breath. He began to gently rock the chair which caused the bottom of his jeans to crumple with the movement, and his Bellowhead T-shirt swayed and rose with his heavy breathing as he increased the intensity of his swaying causing the chair to creak and cracks to form in its legs. He began to get frustrated and suddenly as he was about to become impatient the chair gave way and for a millisecond he found himself suspended but only for a fifth of a moment before the was a loud crack and he fell, and he fell hard. Amidst cracks and creaks and many other noises occurring as he fell he heard a crunch, and felt a tremendous pain pushing its way up his leg from his right ankle.
"Jesus suffering fuck!" He cried, clasping his ankle and rocking back and forth within the ruins of his chair and the plastering from the ceiling that was lying around him. He felt his ankle gently to check if he’d broken it, but after examining it satisfied himself it was just turned slightly. He stood up and staggered as he put weight on his foot, the noose still dangling from his neck with a plaster covered hook swaying with his careful movements. "Christ… That hurt my toe." He whispered to himself in between grimaces.
He carefully removed the rope from around his neck, annoyed that he hadn’t considered the ceiling as well as the rope in his assessment of things that could break. He sat down on his bed, his shirt soaked with sweat and his forehead covered with beads of perspiration. It was then that a knock came at the door and Katherine poked her head in and surveyed the room.
"Not again William?" She sighed. "What made you do it this time?" she asked as she went and sat next to him on the bed, her blues eyes radiating kindness towards him and her cherry lips curled in a worried smile.
"I’m going home." He replied.
There is a lot to be said for the English schooling system, especially in the private sector. Children are encouraged from a young age to make friends and create relationships with others, and nothing encourages this more than herding young adolescent and pubescent boys and girls together in the confined environment of a classroom. Thousands of foul minds interacting with thousands others, thousands of wandering eyes meeting thousands others, thousands of hands rubbing together in subtle frustration with thousands of other hands and thousands of heads filling with morbid and suicidal nonsense: and that is something society does not want to see.
It was thus, only common sense that William Hayle be sent into the public school domain. He wasn’t really much to behold, puberty had been more savage to his mind than his skin and he found that his complexion was slightly paler in comparison to others. Pale or not, his complexion was clear enough not to betray the hormonal and mental war that was occurring within the battlefield of his body. His eyes were of a deep brown, so much so that in less than natural light it was hard to distinguish between the iris and pupil. His hair was unruly and messy like most boys his age, and a slight tint of red would occasionally flash its way across his locks like a wave in the sea. He was generally considered an attractive fellow, if not at all an astounding specimen of natural engineering nor was he the peek of human fitness and achievement. His quick mind, slick tongue and general odd odour were attributes no different to those of other teenagers but whilst most teenagers would let off steam through drugs or the premature consumption of alcohol William would take more drastic steps to release frustration in the form of intense self mutilation. But then, everyone has different ways to destroy and abuse their bodies.
It was December when William arrived back in Happelingham for the first time since he was seven. But he found it had not changed since, its streets were still narrow and cobbled, and its building’s still regimented and uniformed like soldiers. Line after line of houses different shapes and sizes, different eras: Victorian and post modern, but all standing harmoniously in their respective streets. Happelingham was a close community, everyone seemed to know everyone in some way and gossip spread through the town quickly and mercilessly, like most small towns it delighted in its opportunities to bring its people together so every year it held a folk music festival complete with jam testing and an annual cricket match between the Happelingham first eleven and a select eleven from the school that was always greeted with great numbers, and William would find that since he had left none of this had changed- in fact all that was different in the town was that for the first time in forty years it had snowed in the small Norfolk town.
It all caused a large amount of excitement in the town, and William had to rather shove his way out of the station grounds as people of all ages engaged in snow related activities- a snow ball fight here, snowmen there and now and then he would step over a poorly made snow angel to the distaste of those who had so feebly made it. He could sense that people were beginning to get caught up in the Christmas vibe, and he couldn’t help but frown at the thought of, what he felt was, such an insignificant holiday. But then William Hayle was quite adverse to any sort of merriment. He stepped carefully down the snow laden street, clutching his coat around him as he walked in a futile attempt to fight the bitter cold that was clutching at him. His feet made a rhythmic thump every time his heavy footfalls hit the ground, one clap after the other as he paced down a fairly lonely street on his way to the school.
The school itself lay at the other side of the town, a good three mile walk, from the station and William found himself feeling quite unfit as he finally arrived on the road that led into the dorms. He had already made sure that a room was ready for him to immediately move into and the key had arrived only the day before he set off for home and as he stepped through the quad he felt a tremendous feeling of familiarity and safety within the walls of Happelingham’s public school. He felt at home within its pillared corridors and felt a familiar closeness as he walked through the courtyard that was ringed with snow topped beech trees, and as he stepped though the doorway into the dormitory wing his thoughts of feeling as if he was home despite a decade long absence from the town were interrupted by a thud, a hard thud that hit him square in the chin. A thud that took the form of a young fellow who was now reeling from his impact, his fair combed hair a flash in William’s eyes and as the two of them recovered he took in the fellow’s appearance. His face was round and slightly chubby, and here and there was a red mark where a bulbous spot had left an unfortunate scar. He was a stout boy, but by no means obese and had what seemed to be a constantly worried look on his face as if he was about to pull a watch from his pocket and lament on being ever so late.
"I’m so sorry, I- I wasn’t paying attention- Damn- I’m sorry." The fellow stammered as he regained his sense and found himself flustered. Picking up some books he dropped as he repeated his apology over and over.
"It’s quite alright." William said with a smirk, picking up one of the young man’s books.
"No really I’m so very sorry." He said, now on his hands and knees and scooping up pages of research. William bent over and picked up the last page that the fellow was about to reach for, who now raised himself back up and rearranged his glasses. "Oh thank you." He said with a smile as William handed him some of his books and papers.
"No problem at all." William said with a kind smile. "I’m William, by the way, William Hayle"
"Oh, Marcus." He said, almost dropping his belongings again as he shifted their weight to one arm in order to shake William’s outstretched hand. "Did you say Hale?" Marcus asked suddenly shocked, his hand slowly dropping to his side as he looked into William’s deep eyes.
"No, I said Hayle. There’s a ‘y’ in it." He said calmly. Causing Marcus to pause for a moment before William began to chuckle. "I do believe, that if you’re who I think you are, that you may know my sister- Mr. Doyle."
"Ah yes, I do. She does the whole silent ‘y’ thing as well. Very humorous…" Marcus said carefully, nodding his head in an exaggerated manned to hide his nerves.
"Yes, she tends to be the humorous one of us." William remarked sarcastically. "I don’t suppose I could ask you where number seven is."
"Well I’m sure you just did." Marcus beamed. "You’ll find it four doors to the left, you’ll see it it’s after six and it has no number."
"After six? Surely I wouldn’t see six if I were going left?"
"The door numbers go from right to left here…"
"Well of course it depends where you’re standing" Marcus chuckled to himself "But you’ll find that this whole town has become rather bizarre lately."
"Hmmmm…" William looked about the school, yet to get past Marcus and actually into the dormitory wing.
"Well I must dash; I expect I shall see you around especially if you’re around Jennifer at all." Marcus said, still flustered.
"Yes I expect so, Good day…" William said now distracted. Not hearing Marcus’ goodbye nor hearing him utter ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!’ Instead he stepped through the door into the sunlit corridor, and suddenly a pleasing warmth hit him.
The pale sunlight that had begun to melt the snow outside, shone feebly through the slits in the walls that passed for windows leaving most of the work to the artificial lighting above. It was a beautiful building- converted from an old cathedral and it had kept most of the architecture, if perhaps adding a few carpets here and there. The light shone beautifully off the one remaining stain glass window, which curiously depicted a black robed skeletal figure that William recognized as Death, and he felt a cold chill run up his spine. Opposite the curious window he found a door with no number and carefully he placed the key in the lock and stepped lightly through the worn doorway, there was a creak as his foot hit the wooden floor and he fumbled in the wan light at the wall to find a light switch, for William- though being a rather eloquent and proper fellow- was to a certain extent: afraid of the dark.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 10 May, 2009 02:13AM
A story I formulated whilst walking home from the city...
"She's a brick and I'm drowning slowly, off the coast I'm headed nowhere, she's a brick and I'm drowning slowly."
There’s a lot to be said for drowning your sorrows. Sitting in some dive of a pub amongst people you neither know or like- drowning slowly in your own regrets whilst she‘s at home smoking home-made cigarettes, one quickly becomes two and inevitably that two is multiplied by itself to become four. The quiet chat about yourself turns into a bawdy shouting match about ‘that fucking bitch you were with a couple of months ago’ The four, perhaps, albeit slowly, becomes six and you quickly become ashamed of the pattern in your life. The sheer math of it all. You wish occasionally that it would end differently, that you would finish with an odd numbered pint of something foul tasting. But it is not to be, and you leave after number six and so begins the long journey home- you‘re not drunk.
You leave your drinking partner, whom you blame for your drinking by the sobriety of his conversation. To begin with it is fine. You listen to music whilst you walk, simply because it is the done thing! Nothing is bothering you, you’ve had a pleasant enough- if fairly expensive- evening but then it happens. You feel the familiar rising pain in your heart that shoots about your chest. The cause? A passing thought about her, that same ‘fucking bitch’ you were talking about earlier. You simply remember a kiss and a smile then suddenly there is an explosion of misery like a plague within your body and mind, but you’re not drunk, the feelings are just there constantly- tormenting you. Then your thoughts shift, to the girl who’s been on your mind, a girl that refuses to vacate those precious recesses of your head but has migrated there to live a hermit-like existence in your thoughts. You used to think logically and cohesively but now all you can think of is how her eyes look despite her glasses, how she somewhat jigs as she plays the fiddle and that one time when she brushed your arm ever so lightly and you had to fight not to show the shivers that were coursing through your body.
Now you’re lost, you walk briskly in the hope that you can make it home before the thoughts escalate as they normally do, it‘s not the drink. Before they push you to things. It’s too late, as you hurtle ever onwards. This girl who you presume may hate you, but who probably likes you more than you care to entertain in thought. Though this is what you’re afraid of (though you’d never admit it). She smiles at you, in your thoughts. You see her most days of the week, and that is the worst part, that you are tormented daily by her ridiculous beauty. Tortured by seeing her with him instead of you, but it‘s not the alcohol making you think like this. It is simply the fact, that when you do see her it is there that she also smiles. Thoughts and memories could never do justice to that smile, you know this and doubtless is the fact that everyone else who can see you smiling so broadly to yourself is aware of it too.
One. One single tear that starts a flood. You weep. You cry and you don’t know what for. You don’t know who for. Whether it’s her, or ’that fucking bitch you were with a couple of months ago‘, or that girl you fell in love with three years ago. You just weep and you don’t care who sees, you‘re not drunk- just troubled, just battling with emotions you don‘t want to feel. Some see you and laugh, mocking your pitiful figure. Not privy to the reason behind your pathetic pain. Whilst others simply smile empathically. You’re disgusted with yourself, to show such emotion to people who don’t know you when you show nothing but silence and disdain to those who do. To show nothing but a nervous and awkward alternative to yourself, a version that can only mumble and stutter and who -when she does bring that smile to bear- is struck dumb at the mere sight of her.
You feel sick, not because of the alcohol milling in your system, you’re sick of this farce. You’re sick of being lied to, you’re sick of being pushed around and people hating you. You’re sick and tired of people belittling and depressing you, simply because they themselves are so insecure of themselves. There is a fine line between your insecurity and your diffidence and you’re treading it. Treading it as you tread the edge of the road, deep down hoping you slip and feel your head crushed beneath the wheels of a passing car. But cars seem to drive somewhat slower at 11.45 and knowing your luck they’d stop first anyway. But, you know, the alcohol isn’t affecting you.
You wrap your coat about you, clutching at your arms slightly. Not because you are cold, but because you’re frightened. Yet, not of the dark beside, behind and before you as you usually are. But afraid of showing anything more of yourself in one night, a prisoner to your emotion and pitiful nature. Disgusted by how your face so ruthlessly betrayed the honesty you had managed to hide for so long. An honesty you wish you had the courage to show her, to let her see that you’re not just that boring guy she meets occasionally in the mornings who might have a crush on her friend, and speaks in a far to low a register. But you abandon any deliberation, in favour of sustained and studied nerves. You know that showing her who you really are would lead to nothing but aversion on her part. Instead you focus on thinking about what to say the next time you see her. You saw her a few hours ago and the next time you’ll see her is in a few days and it is in those days that, in lieu of productive work, you should prepare some clever lines and conversation. Show her you’re not gauche (even though it would be a terrible lie), show her you can smile without the aid of someone hanging off your lips. Without the aid of some medicine.
You finally step down the path to your house, you become aware of your raw eyes and sore feet and again begin to well up. But you control yourself, you swallow your tears which leave a bitterer aftertaste than the mathematical amount of alcohol you had. You don’t want to be home, but there’s nowhere else you can go, You form the equations:
Fragile, troubled mind x 6 pints = Thinking too much
Thinking too much x Being alone = An unspecified Fiddler + ‘That fucking bitch you were with a couple of months ago’ + That girl you fell in love with three years ago = Raw eye, haggard face, deep emotional damage.
Deep emotional damage + Another rejection = Almost certain suicide OR Killing spree: 14 victims with an article printed in the local newspaper with the final line ending: ‘before turning the gun on himself.’
Again you hate the maths involved, you fear the eventual outcome. So you put on your people face, the one you want them to see, the one you show to all three of the girls. You open the door, tears struggling to push through your barricades, you sit in the room and wait for sleep to take you. You’re probably just a bit drunk anyway.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 29 Apr, 2009 09:05PM
Here is another poem/ set of lyrics. Instead of the Waits-like sound I had imagined in Don't Talk to Strangers for this one I imagined more of a musical type of backing. Definitely with heavy folk influences. Imagine a slightly 'Master of the House' type feel. With the way I think there would probably be some fiddles and an accordion involved somewhere! Overall though, I am fairly pleased with the lyrical quality of the piece. Just imagine a dramatic yet jovial melody in the background, otherwise it doesn't really flow all that much.
The story goes as such: A man/boy/fellow of sorts sees a girl he recognises across the room at a function or party. A girl he has liked for a while. Finally - with the help of alcohol- he plucks up the courage to talk to her and tell her how he feels. However, at the last moment he loses heart and leaves. She, having seen him approach, follows and they share a moment in which he see her eyes outright (without the covering of her glasses) for the first time and sees they are beautiful. The next day he laments and regrets at not having seen her since and casually decides to visit upon her during the night, as you do, to satisfy his insecure nature and to ascertain her feelings towards him. He creeps into her room - again with liquid courage- and wakes her. They kiss and he again adoringly stares into her eyes. (HOW CHEESY) What happens next is left to ambiguity and the consideration of your imaginations. Whether I get that story across is unlikely, but keep it in mind.
Remember, folky showtune!
Those Brown Eyes
Across a crowded room
Through the smoky atmosphere and the horrid smell and taste of stale perfume
In the corner with a cough and a flicker of a smile
I see one pair of eyes that I recognise.
With liquid courage in my throat
I step towards her humbly as my ugly, possessive nature does denote
With an ailing heart away I veer
Standing outside my heart a-beat with fear
Out of the corner of my eyes I see
A striking pair staring back at me
With no perception of the time
And with no words but steady rhyme
Lodged in my mouth
And wait for a sure and simple sign.
That she may be mine
And with quivering nerves I gaze
My broken heart increasing its sad pace
As I gently reach to take the glasses from her face
With a hollow gasp I stand a man surprised
As I stare into those brown eyes
Through the dirty old town
Wearing the passion for this woman like a bloody, thorny crown
In the streets I ponder and regret
Meeting this girl I could never get!
So with idiocy in my mind
I make a mind to call on her before the passing of this night
Quietly I sneak, through her window as she sleeps
And for being a fool a part of me weeps
And I tote a heavy flask with me
I take a sip and raise her from her sleep
My heart begins to race
As I peer at her sad face
Slumbering slightly still
And wait for a sure and simple sign
That she may be mine
And exultantly I see
That the feelings are returned times two score and three
As the raises her head and lays a kiss on me
As I look upon her beauty something dies
As I stare into those brown eyes
A kind of shock wrestles my insides
As I stare into those pretty brown eyes
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 27 Apr, 2009 01:49AM
WARNING: LITTLE OR NO ADULT CONTENT: In response to Georgie's warnings of adult content in her story (I was disappointed to find there was little) I make this warning, this story has no sex and very little crass or explicit language. If you find this lack of smut and debauchery offensive, please don't continue to read. Thank you.
This is a short story that is purely idea driven. I came up with the idea whilst writing a very cheesy dream sequence in a doomed novella a few months ago. I then, with Georgie's encouragement, decided to adapt it into a short story.
Richard was a fencer, a good one at that too. In his mind he thought riposte, thrust, repeat, riposte, thrust, repeat. It was gospel to him. He had spent his youth watching swash-buckling movies, he watched Robert Donat in the Count of Monte Cristo. He saw Walter Abel in the Three Musketeers and all of this had set in his mind the sole ambition to fence. He was good, he knew he was good, everyone knew he was good. There was one problem. No one respected him, he could beat the best and yet they’d show no real recognition. See, Richard was fairly ordinary. Ordinary puberty ravaged face and mind. Ordinary teenage constipation and general bad odour. Ordinary dirty toe nails. In fact he was quite unremarkable in most ways. But when he was thinking riposte, thrust, repeat, riposte, thrust, repeat he was saying something completely different. When he was young, very young, he had had a turn. A turn in his head which resulted in one of the most bizarre disorders his doctors had encountered. He spoke, entirely, in song lyrics. Not just popular songs in his head, mind. But songs he had never heard before. It was baffling.
He learned to live with it, he had to of course. He would stay silent as much as he could only speaking in a series of hand gestures and irritated teenage looks. People generally got the picture. Leave me alone or suffer my wrath made all of fingers and Morrissey lyrics! As a result, Richard was a lonely child. Escaping into his love of fencing and, perhaps somewhat ironically, music. He excelled at school, simply having nothing else to do with his life but study and like some sort of socially retarded hermit he barricaded himself in the confines of his bedroom. A barricade made of show tunes and a variety of hats that led his parents to worry as to his sexuality. No girls, no friends, no social life, lots of musicals, and hats. So many hats!
In reality he had seven hats. One for each day of the week except Wednesday- the reasons for this were unclear, and a spare hat in case one becomes worse for wear- it can then be replaced by the spare and then a new spare is purchased: A Mortarboard for Mondays, a trilby for Tuesdays, a top hat for Thursdays (in his imagination, a favourite amongst the ladies), a fedora for Fridays, a shako for Saturdays and a snood for Sundays. He kept a grape-like purple bowler in reserve. His imagination was rife with the idea that no one would find this odd, after all they were pre occupied with his speech impediment? Surely?
So he lived day to day within his own little world, going to school and having to work with a trainee psycho analyst who had to interpret his lyrics for what he was trying to say. She was never correct, but no matter how much he silently protested (arms and head flailing) she never cared. He would have been sad about that, but he was aware he was the booby prize amongst these people. He had no doubt that when she was asked, no, informed that she would be helping him she let out a long sigh, resigned to her fate like some sort of battery animal. He didn’t mind, he actually felt sorry for her. She was young probably just turned twenty, her ponytail bounced merrily down the corridors in completely contradicting her emotional turmoil. She was pretty, not beautiful, but pretty- defined cheeks, deep emerald eyes, and one of the most melancholy looks you’d ever hope to see masked cunningly by a convincingly realistic smile. She was miserable. A broken off engagement, a dead end job in a school, a lack of income. Could things get any worse? Of course! Frustration thy name is Richard. He felt ever so sorry for her, incorrectly deciphering his lyrical jargon amidst tears of despair. He felt he should say something consoling from time to time. Don’t worry, this is only temporary. You’ll find something better soon. She would reply with a grateful caress and a real smile for once. Instead it came out like vomit as ‘But maybe you ain't never gonna feel this way. You ain't never gonna know me but I know you... Teach you now that, things can only get better.’ A fairly easy thing to interpret, yes? What does he want? the teacher would say. Toilet… I think. She would reply uncertainly.
He didn’t sing that should be made clear. If he did, it would have seemed more normal- to sing lyrics that means you’re only a bit mental. To speak them, however, full blown nutcase!
So things went, he wasn’t depressed, but he was far from fulfilled. He would work, school, and then duel with and beat people who should be his betters. They would shake his hand speak some contrite pleasantries and wait for him to reply in turn with consolations on a well fought duel. He would say nothing and they would walk away as if he some arrogant swine, raised poorly like the youth of today when in reality he was too scared to talk.
It was one such duel that damn near broke him. The confines of the mask make it difficult to see around you, make things stuffy and uncomfortable. The suit is tight, it protects, and doesn’t really give away any form of identity. So as he went through the motions with his final opponent of the night he had no idea who it was or how they’d affect him. Riposte, withdraw, parry, riposte, withdraw, parry lunge. Point. Repeat. It was quick, it was easy except this time there were no pleasantries involved. He won and exasperated went and sat on a bench. Sweating. Sighing. As he was midway through thoughts of a new hat his opponent approached and extended their hand, he shook it without looking too deep within thoughts on headwear. The stranger had a slightly elegant grasp for a fencer and he was surprised when a girl’s voice congratulated him.
"You fence well." Came the soft voice of a beaming young girl. He couldn’t imagine that she was older than him but at the same time she can’t have been much younger. But he had never seen her before in classes so she wasn’t the same age. Immediately he was captivated. Her hair was bright red and bouncy, it looked soft to the touch but he knew that with the products involved in keeping that red and that vibrant it would probably be stiff. But it was beautiful, he could have sat there and described her hair in so many different tones and notes ranging from Buddy Holly to Sondre Lerche. That would be if he had the courage to say anything, lyrical or otherwise. Her hair aside, however striking it was, she was pretty. Naively so. Her face seemed locked in this endless giggle, no sound came, but her constant smile seemed to brighten up the room around him. He smiled. She looked bemused, her chortling face turning somewhat grave in her confusion. She repeated the sentiment. "You were really good" So a conversation tried to play its head in reality.
Thank you, I wasn’t that good… Really… trying to act modest in the face of his picturesque opponent.
"William, it was really nothing." Blurted out as if it were completely normal to say such a thing.
"Uh… My name’s Ruby, not William…" She tried to smile in her confusion, her hand still clasped in his glove.
Sorry, that was just a weird moment for me. My name’s Richard, a pleasure to meet you.
"I was watching with one eye on the other side." He grimaced, knowing exactly what was going on.
"Um… I don’t quite know what you’re talking about…" She looked slightly horrified, slightly curious. The sort of mix you’d see on the faces of those teenagers in the movies, about to check out something sinister. It reminded him of Velma, red haired and pretty. He liked Scooby Doo. Then it dawned on her. Her hand quickly retracted to her side, not in fright, just as a reflex to something odd or new. "You’re the guy who can only speak in lyrics, right?" He winced at the recognition.
I’m sorry, I don’t want to scare you or anything. Y’know you were really great too.
"I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m sorry that I made you cry." He could feel tears forming in his eyes, the one social situation he needed to excel in and he was failing miserably. He stammered his next thought; "Sheila... Take a… Bow…"
"Thank you, I think I get what you’re saying." She now knelt down in front of him, her face at the same level as his and her beautiful giggling smile had returned in force. "You’re trying to say I was okay too?" He nodded vigorously. Finally someone that understands what I’m trying to say, he thought. "Thanks, I wasn’t, but thanks!."
I need to see you again, outside of this environment! I can feel that we have some sort of connection, you’re the first person to get anything I said and I already feel that you’re something more to me than just a peripheral like everyone else. I know it sounds stupid, I know it’s ridiculous. But can’t we go out some time? Go to the cinema? When I don’t have to talk at all, we can just be around each other! God, you’re beautiful.
"I know I stand in line until you think you have the time to spend an evening with me." He almost coughed out, she again showed some befuddled recognition. "You’ve got a tight connection to my heart." He began to show a glimmer of a smile, the lyrics were starting to show some cohesion in getting his message across. "Hey babe, your hair’s alright. Hey babe, let’s go out tonight." Her grin widened "’Cause you say it best, when you say nothing at all. And mama, you’ve been on my mind…"
"You want to go out sometime?" She beamed, realising what she was doing. Understanding. She began to excitedly write on a piece of paper that she had snatched from a notepad on the bench. "Can you write normally?" She inquired with a slight glance, giving a flash of her wild eyes. It both excited and frustrated him to see that look, knowing that there was so much chance for him to fuck things up. He nodded, and that’s how it started. No one had presumed to ask if he could write before, they just thought he was a but mental. They’d refer to him as a retard, despite it being a verb. But he could write. It was the Queen’s English too, perfect for someone his age. "Well drop me a text sometime and we’ll go out this weekend or something." She smiled, giving him a peck on the cheek. He scratched some text onto the sheet and showed it to her. I’ll bring a notepad! It read, she giggled and walked away. Looking back once to give him a quick smile.
He was nervous about it, he went over it as he sat on the bench staring at her elegantly written phone number. She might have been thirteen for all her knew, she might have been a innocent Catholic girl that can only be corrupted by him and some of his involuntarily explicit verses. But he thought she’d probably just giggle at him, showing him a bit of naïve brilliance in her smile. He didn’t care about her age, this was someone that understood him. Someone he could talk to. Any issues could be dealt with later, he- for all intents and purposes- had a date! She was still walking away as he gazed after her then looked back down at the paper.
"She’s fantastic." And then sniggered. Then he started to slowly hum, and closed his eyes as she left and pictured her cheerful face. Then he began to quietly sing to himself. "Her eyes were blue and her hair was brown, and her lips they were soft and red; and I’d never seen a shape like hers and my eyes nearly popped from my head." His singing grew louder, but still to himself. "For I was young and innocent though still even I could see: the way she smiled and winked my way said ‘come take a chance on me’" He stopped, and smiled at the pale miracle in his hands. The whispered, so that he could barely hear himself. Deep in thoughts of her. "This is the story of you red-right-ankle, and how it came to meet your leg and how the muscle, bone and sinews tangled. And how the skin was softly shed. How it whispered ‘oh, adhere to me for we are bound by symmetry and whatever differences our lives have been. We together make a limb.’
Then he stepped into the middle of the gym, everyone had left whilst he had been lost in his reverie. He missed her already. He craved her smile, her enticing eyes, her infectious personality. He let his fingers dance a jig on the keys of his phone, not caring if it was too soon. Then, as lights began to dim, but for a bright light above him he stepped into it. Like the main player stepping into a spot light in the final act of a Broadway musical. He looked up at the light, letting it blind him. Not caring if anyone was left in the gym. He sang. "I will leave behind all of my clothes, I wore when I was with you, all I need's my railroad boots and my leather jacket. As i say goodbye to Ruby's arms." A single tear appeared in his eye. "I'll never kiss your lips again or break your heart, as i say goodbye, i'll say goodbye, say goodbye to Ruby's arms." He didn't know why he sang that song, it just came to him but he took his deserved bow, he basked in the adoration and applause about him. Then with a heavy heart, he left the stage.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 26 Apr, 2009 03:49PM
No! THIS is England- Part 3
This is another of the quite crude, quite poor excuses for writing that I've been posting lately. It's not really meant to be read in any way, it's just... there...
I didn’t love her, that I was certain about. Somewhat. I could have loved her. But I don’t think I did. I was fairly sure I didn’t. I didn’t love her. But as I laid next to her staring humbly into her chestnut eyes, I felt nothing but sheer adoration for her. I softly ran my hand up and down her hip and side making her mew softly and snuggle deeper into my shoulder, I loved her warmth and longed constantly to feel the outline of her kind face digging into my shoulder. It comforted me to have that closeness with someone, for the first time in my life I felt valid to the point that I felt that someone cared for me- and it was her.
I felt her fingertips gently caress my jaw line brushing through the short hair upon it, I had forgotten to shave that morning and though she hated me having a beard but she didn’t say anything. She never did. A spark shot through me as I felt her touch, she was so tender, she was so kind, she was so beautiful. I carefully kissed her forehead as her hand cupped my cheek and suddenly I was pulled into a lingering kiss. I loved her then. As our lips caressed each other and as she softly stroked my neck, I timidly played with her black hair. She sensed my nerves and pulled away so she could talk to me with her eyes. It’s okay she said I love you. Her eyes told me lies but I believed her, for that moment.
She wasn’t all that similar to me. She was troubled. She relied on sex and alcohol and drugs in order to live her life, I lived by spending time with her. I often wonder- when I look back- that if Thatcher hadn’t ruined the youth of a previous era whether or not we’d have met, her and I, and then if I could have felt more secure. Whether I could be without her and not worry. But that wasn’t possible as it was. At the same time our relationship might have gone further if we didn’t live in a society where self harm and suicidal tendencies weren’t regarded as disabilities. There was a time, even in my remembrance, when a depression was a lull in economy or feeling unhappy. Now it has lots of different meanings that someone simply must explore. But this didn’t quite suit me, and whilst I felt comfortable with her as she motioned that we should go to sleep. There was something nagging at me.
Then I knew, when I saw the clock turn to three o’clock it hit me. I was happy. Laying next to this beautiful girl who seemed to care for me. I was happy. It was a horrible feeling- happiness, it was somewhat hollow and empty. Like Bryan Adams’ lyrics. I felt lost, so unaware of how to be happy and yet in being so I was sombre. So seldom had the idea of happiness come to me that now when I had it, it had turned to melancholy.
She slept. I did not. I left in the morning after kissing her. I left with a sore head and little sleep. I left whilst listening to the Pogues. I left after leaving her a note. I left full of hope of something good. That afternoon she told me she thought she was in love with me, a week after she told me she didn’t and loved someone else. I cried. I left. I bought a parrot. I called it Caravaggio. I fed it. Turned on the oven. Stuck my head inside. I didn’t love her.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 25 Apr, 2009 02:06AM
No! THIS is England.
I'd like you all to bear in mind that these two pieces are written very early in the morning (Clearly, I'm not making excuses).
She came from Burlington. Burlington is in South Ontario and has an area of seventy-twp square miles and as of 2006 the population 164, 415. I’d read up about it, I wasn’t obsessive! Just… attentive. By all accounts the people of Burlington were kind of miserable, possibly, I think they were probably feeling the loss of her. I could imagine there’d be a large empty space of missing beauty, talent, sincerity and Canadian-ness. Definitely the Canadian-ness.
It was surreal to meet her, fine she was beautiful- all the clichés I could imagine couldn’t quite do her justice. But she said things like ace and she called me kiddo which made me feel both special and intimidated. She had that affect on me that was unfamiliar- I was, at the time, in the midst of an Oscar Wilde phase. Everyone around me had to be patronised, I was pretentious and everything was trivial, all because I’d read The Picture of Dorian Gray and was a higher breed of human intellect because of it! Somehow my literary choices made my shit smell sweeter and made it classically trained! But around her I was nothing, just a boy who was lucky enough to get picked up by some Canadian Rose. I felt safe, I felt secure and I slept.
This last point was important. Sleep after all, is for the weak! But I was functioning (as I am now) on the bare minimum of sleep. But the calm she instilled in me left me to sleep in peace.
Her brown, somewhat messy hair was a serene sight whether it was sunshine or cloud that covered my world and her kind green eyes soothed my ailing heartbeat. I loved her. She said the same back, but she didn’t mean it. Promises were made and then broken, situations were set up and then made uncomfortable and opportunities to kiss her came and went without incident and I was left wondering. Insecurity then instability then insanity the alliteration was abhorrent to me.
But I am ahead of myself. The simple, clichéd and disgusting fact was that I loved her from the very first moment I met her. A sad fact but unfortunately true and for three months I was close to happy.
I had made mistakes, that much is true. But I didn’t see it coming. She moved on to college and everything changed overnight. We argued, she broke my heart and I sulked and put my Lego away forever. Such loss, much like the feeling of loss I felt when Due South was cancelled and I stopped seeing Benton Fraser every other day. A sort of emptiness like the emptiness I felt in my nostril when the piece of Lego I had pushed up there had been taken out after three hours. It was over. I was finished. There were other men, no other women. It must have been some form of fate, and fate is inexorable. Far too inexorable.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 25 Apr, 2009 01:31AM
No! THIS is England
Based on real events that never actually happened. The names, dates, events and places have all been changed!
Coming to England and a Curious Meeting with a Canadian!
They say, sometimes, that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. This is a lie, an untruth, a fabrication of momentous proportions. Now, I am not expert on the matter. Nor am I all that experienced with women. But I loved… Once… Maybe twice. Certainly once. As a result I feel the phrase should be amended: It is better to forget about love and go play football like the rest of the children on your estate as you can’t afford the pregnancy, son. Obviously this amendment is meant only for Britain and should be adapted to the culture it is being used in. Classically, it would read: Do not love. Blunt perhaps, but it serves its purpose.
I was brought to this country at a young age so that I may have a better living. But I have found nothing but pain. Where once there were anarchists rebelling against the establishment there are not vegetarians with agendas! No longer did people cry Thatcher fucked the kids! Now it was a case of fast food, Barbies and sex corrupting the youth of today. In reality, but for culture, nothing was different. Dylan was wrong, the time they a-aren’t a changing’. England was still shit and it was still raining! Dit hierdie lewe is what they’d say back home. This is life. This is how it is to be. But there is something about his country, something that promotes self deprecation and pessimism. Something so… Gauche.
When the other children were out playing in the sun, I sat indoors entirely bereft of social situations and scanning the T.V. channels in order to expose myself to the wonders of X-Men and Power Rangers, I resigned myself early on to the life of a social pariah. So I created a comfort zone within my bedroom with my books, creating a mental wall of literary energy. Whilst other children went and played football in the park amongst the broken glass, I sat moodily on my bed with my curtains closed reading by torchlight. By choice! Finally, whilst other children satisfied themselves by indulging in sex and drugs I mixed Coco Pops and Ricicles- with equally satisfying results! Others went to parties and I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show every week. Others fooled around with each other and experimented, I started a novel and others fell in love whilst I sat, alone, with no one and nothing to talk to.
This all changed after a series of events:
April 29th 2006
Purchased ‘Songs for Silverman’ by Ben Folds. Cost: £14.99, exorbitant.
Was introduced to a Canadian.
Began having odd feelings for the Canadian.
Stopped mixing cereals.
Got Lego stuck up my nose.
July 18th 2006
Met Canadian for the first time and fell, immediately, in love.
August 16th 2006
Saw Canadian for the last time. Life effectively ended.
Got Lego up my nose AGAIN!
Found the effectiveness of capital letters!
Gave up on my novel
Two years, seven months, twenty-five days and a fair few minutes later. A length of very weak rope, twenty seven aspirin and an astonishing amount of diet coke later. Seven arguments, thirty five hugs, one first kiss, two girlfriends, forty-eight kisses and five orgasms later and it’s still raining. I‘m still in love. We still don’t blame Thatcher for anything (though she’s nearly dead). Vegetarians still have agendas. This is England.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 24 Apr, 2009 08:44PM
I don't do poetry, I never have, and probably won't again. However, this is something maybe somewhat twisted that came out. I imagined it as lyrics, brought about by listening to too much Tom Waits probably, so maybe try and imagine it with some smoky lounge music behind it? Judge lightly, as I said, I don't do poetry.
He ordered a glass of whiskey
In this dive of a bar
But then wrapped his cold, bony hands
Round the neck of the jar
He saw a gaunt man approach him
With a sour look on his face
He just smiled a woeful smile
But disappeared without a trace.
Then the spectral vision persisted,
Greeting him with a callous jibe
It handed him another drink with a twist
That twisted his insides
He saw another man approaching
And felt the cold hard hands of dread
This man had a face as sour as sour
And a cloud hung over his head
And there it started with Percy
Whom he shot through the heart
It was a murder of mercy
For as the man commenced to speak, he’d damn near fallen apart
"Leave me to my drinking, I don’t care about your pathetic life
I don’t care about your cheating wife
I don’t care for sad look in your eyes, born from pain and strife."
"Now you’ve fallen down, why not fall six feet more?
Instead of getting drunk and staggering away you’re in a pool of blood on the floor."
As he regained his senses
Breathing hard to clear his head
He turned to the crowd that was standing around him
And these are the words he said:
"My mother told me not to talk to strangers
And if you follow my mother’s wise advice
You might just last the night"
"On the other hand it might be grand
To blow you all to hell!
To leave you here, with blood soaked tears
With just a glance at where you fell"
A sudden gasp of abhorrence
Followed by a bloodcurdling cry
Then screams and shouts, and stifled moans
As people began to die.
The apparition started cackling
Urging the young man on
He smiled with disbelief through rotting teeth
Until the cold blooded slaughter was done.
Then he richly applauded,
Whilst smiling a wicked smile
"I’ve seen slaughters for thousands of years
But this has been the best for a while."
"Your mother told you not to talk to strangers
Well I urge the same!"
And he offered his hand, covered in red hot sand
And said: "Lucifer is my name."
The man drained the last of his whiskey
And from whence he came he left the same way
The Devil shouted after him "Leave if you like
You’re damned to hell anyway!"
His mother told him not to talk to strangers
But he had ignored her and now many were dead
He reloaded his pistol and suckled it with disgust
And shot himself in the head.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Georgie Ball 22 Apr, 2009 09:32PM
Uploading this one for Geoff, too. For some reason he still can't upload!
Sex, Lies & Tea Cakes
story is based upon a very well informed rumour. It is quite probably true.
Only the names, places and possibly some of the events have been changed…
chewed my tea cake. Masticating with deliberate efficiency (a predilection I
had possessed from my youth) and looking down at the crumbs frolicking in
ignorant bliss within my weak tea. I say weak not because the tea tasted weak
it just seemed the sort of tea that, if under some sort of pressure, would
crack easily. I sat there with only two things on my mind: When am I going
to be allowed to leave? and Why on earth must I meet him on a boat? ‘He’
is one of the most famous writers of my generation; Gregory Sampson; to quote a
comment by a fellow journalist ‘validating gingers for twenty years.’
He had a similarly weak tea, into which he
periodically poured the contents of a whiskey bottle. With every sip he would
pour in more whiskey, and by now I was sure that it was whiskey with some tea
in it rather than the other way round. He saw me watching his wrinkled hand and
offered it to me, complete with whiskey bottle. I refused. He flashed me a
grin, his pale lips hanging languidly around his beige teeth. We had reached a
lull in conversation, and in lieu of such we awkwardly sat sipping tea and
smiling at each other. His smile, however, was more than friendly and less than
inviting and I knew exactly what was on his mind- and was appalled by it. I
hadn’t thought that this great novelist, a man I admired no end was in fact a
lecher of the highest degree!
For the past three hours we had sat
discussing (or rather I had sat listening to him telling) how he was made
redundant from the school he worked at a few years previous- under the pretence
that he had a bad back. To say it was pretence was, in fact, false. He did have
a bad back, but how he got that bad back was the real reason for his redundancy.
I took a bite of my tea cake, chewing
This man made me uncomfortable, deeply
uncomfortable. I had interviewed all manner of people but he was the most
intolerable. So much so that I could completely ignore the gentle rocking of
the boat below me, and instead focus on my sheer revulsion of him. Within his
explanation of his redundancy he had found it necessary to impart to me how he
had, honestly, hurt his back. He told me all their names, their ages, the
positions and what otherwise they had done to each other. It comforted me to
know that he had taken at least two out for dinner before hand, though he
couldn’t quite remember. No matter how much he frightened me, I humoured him.
My admiration for the man didn’t falter, I just didn’t feel that I could show
such admiration too eagerly. Otherwise something within his slightly lifeless,
elderly body might spring to life and I may find myself… entangled- to say the
The simple truth was that I had gained all
information I needed.
I had written it all down neatly, arranged
in a manner of importance. (Done so by my slightly compulsive use of pencil
instead of pen!)
I had finished my tea and cake.
I had even placed my bag on my shoulder.
But I was
being held against my will by my respect of the man, and the fact I was
frightened to get up and leave- thus having him behind me which would be an
unfortunate position for me to be in. So having told me of his lat novel, and
his sexual escapades within his old job, and having revealed a tippling way. He
launched into one more story.
the end of my tenure as the head of English that I met an astonishingly
beautiful girl. She was ever so pretty, she always wore her hair in ribbons and
had this insatiable liking of Belle & Sebastian. I couldn’t stand them, but
for her I sat and listened to it for hours whilst she discussed her dreams with
me. She told me how she wanted to leave school to pursue a career in the
theatre. Bless her, she was only 19, she couldn’t have seen what a foolish
notion this was. I indulged it, however. I encouraged her, applauded her poor
acting and falsely praised her. She was forty-five years my junior but that
didn’t matter, all the time she played for me I would study her figure and the
outlines of her face. So perhaps I cannot be blamed for encouraging her? I
simply didn’t hear what she said, just saw what she did- and that is no crime.
Especially for a man of my age. It was after one such performance that she
ended up in my embrace, her perfect form resting on my lap. We kissed. I’d
elaborate, go into detail. But it’s simple. We kissed. That was it. Of all my
conquests into the female world this was the most worthwhile, and all I did was
kiss her. I drove her home, came back here and masturbated furiously into a tea
his filthy smile as he ended his story lewdly, seemingly masking all the
tenderness behind it. He poured more whiskey into his cup, which was now bereft
of any mention of tea, and quickly drained it. Belched. Got out of his seat to
put back a book he had shown me (a book of photos I don’t care to mention).
Turned round and, with that hideous smile, promptly told me to ’fuck off.’
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 21 Apr, 2009 08:45PM
I feel the cold bite into my cheeks, stinging my skin with its malicious chill.
I had loved to climb since I was a child, and had always dreamed of climbing mountains. From Nevis to Everest. It was all a childish dream but of course it didn’t stop the desire. Those are two dangerous things: a dream and the desire to achieve it. They can lead to all sorts of havoc and ambition, and ambition was something I was adamantly steered from at a younger age. My father always said ambition leads to wanting and wanting leads to art college! He was an odd fellow my old man. However, neither my father’s warnings or my awareness of having such a wild dream could stop me. If something looked inviting to climb, I would climb it- naturally. This ranged from trees, brick walls and hopping fences on the way to the pub when is was older to climbing up Ol’ McGuile- who was a tall fellow when I was a small child! I climbed everything, and inevitably fell.
I have little fear of falling from this hazardous slope, I grab for the next ledge and clasp it with certainty and confidence that befits and expert climber like myself. Despite the slippery nature of the icy outcrop I pull myself up another level quickly and effortlessly, as a man at the peak of his physical fitness this is an easy task!
One fall that threatened to end the dreams it had happened on a Sunday (of course!). My father said it was God’s judgement for continuing with ‘this climbing nonsense’ especially on the Sabbath as my mother cradled my blubbering form in her arms. My father continued his ranting even as my mother shushed him and me as he called for the doctor. I even considered giving up climbing that day, such was the pain and shame I felt. Was it one fall too many?
I again reach for the next ledge without success, my hand slips and I dangle perilously close to my icy demise. I regain my senses, and with a steely determination only known amongst certain cave-dwelling mammals I use all my strength to once again reach for the ledge. Success! My hand grasps steadily at the cold, dusty outcrop and I heave myself up once again and sigh in relief. I look down, and see how far I’ve come in so little time. I smile.
Indeed, after the accident I was far too frightened to climb. I’d look up at trees rather than looking down from them. I would make my own way to the pub whilst my friends leapt fences. I just gave Ol’ McGuile a doleful smile as I passed him. I couldn’t climb, I wouldn’t climb.
The summit is blustery and I feel as if my skin is going to be pulled off such is the chill within it. I look down again and take in my achievement. I smile.
My father was happy when I gave up on my climbing idea, I followed him into accountancy and basked in his adoration. But there was an emptiness in me, and everyday as I came down the ramp that leads to my car I would sigh in my dissatisfaction. That was all until a few months ago, when I found I rediscovered my want for climbing and then found a way to satisfy this.
My imagination dissipates. In reality I am looking down my stairs at the wheelchair at the bottom. In reality I have just spent an hour and a half crawling up my stairs and pretending it’s some sort of mountain. You see, that Sunday and that accident left me without the use of my legs. For some reason, as a grown man, I now feel the need to let my imagination run wild. So I cast off my jacket, and leap from my wheelchair onto the stairs and proceed to crawl. Pathetically I crawl. Invariably I will reach the top, and every time (as I have now) I end up crawling to my room, I heave myself onto my bed, I lay down and I weep. I weep.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Georgie Ball 17 Apr, 2009 11:06PM
Geoff's internet was playing up, so I'm uploading this short story for him!Eden - Geoffrey Bunting
The bright light shone strongly through the conservatory like elegance of the greenhouse. It was a warm day and I felt it, I mopped my brow with the back of my hand and saw how the hairs on it were stuck down with my sweat. It was a leisurely enough visit to the Eden garden centre, all I wanted were some wood chips for my lawn and some garden tools- I had recently moved into a new house and was keen to make renovations to the ailing back garden.
I found what I needed easily enough, if with some discomfort both from the heat and then having to carry it to the shed-like till area. There was a queue. I suppressed my anger, instead I leant my head back and basked in the sun shining through the sky light and then the breeze from the fan in front of me. Feeling the cool artificial breeze run over me, calming my simmering anger. So caught up was I in my reverie that I didn’t notice that I was being called through to the till with an urgent next please!
A young girl stood at the till, looking at me with wide bright eyes as I cumbersomely put my items on the desk in front of her. This made her giggle as I straightened up and gave her a smile. She was a very pretty young lady, her body was supple and slim and her hair hung loosely about her shoulders and by my judgement she was attractive. Even if her uniform was unflattering. She had a strong jaw that met with a slight dimple in her chin and an intoxicating smile, and in all candour if it were another situation I may have had a proper conversation with her. She smiled again as she scanned my items through. I pushed my credit card into her hand and was picking up my items when she laid her hand on my arm.
“I’m sorry, sir” She said the last word very deliberately. “I’m afraid there are insufficient funds.”
“That can’t be right.” I scoffed.
“I’m afraid it is.” She said meekly. “I could remove some items and then apply an order for to your address when funds come through?”
“Hm, yes that sounds fine. Thank you.” I grumbled. She smiled again and skipped back to her till where she proceeded to ask my details and then type them into the computer.
“And your name, sir?” She asked finally.
“Uh… Can we not send it without a name? I am the only occupant at the address.” I asked, trying to keep composure.
“That is most irregular, sir. I’m afraid it’s not possible.” She retained her smile. “I’ll tell you what, you just give me your name and I’ll knock the postage costs off!”
It was a terrible shame, I had begun to like this girl. When she suggested that she could make the special order it felt like a favour, and I considered asking for her phone number so I could ask her out at some point. But that had now changed. She couldn’t know my name and as I leant in to whisper it in her ear- she thought I was being very playful and the elderly couple behind my made a tutting noise in disapproval- she giggled as I whispered my first name into her ear. A giggle that made my heart race with its naivety. I whispered my surname and she recoiled, recognising the name. It was a shame. She was about to pick up her phone in horror to call someone when a garden fork plunged into her chest and she was left breathless as she dropped the receiver.
I let my hands drop from the tool (that I had not yet paid for!) and she fell backwards, still gasping for breath as blood spurted from her wounds. I felt the familiar lust for blood within me and decided that the disapproving elderly couple were next. Before they could regain their sense from the shock of the moment I had, in a single motion, swept a garden edger across both their throats causing them to open and fountain blood as they both turned and fell- convulsing- to the floor. This made the family behind them easy prey as they reeled from the blood in their eyes and on their faces. I was used to the feeling. The father was the first to come to his senses and he received a blow to the head from a hefty shovel and then as he fell to the floor the same shovel was pushed halfway through his neck. An act that was much easier than I remember. It was possible that I had simply grown stronger, or that my murderous rage had given me extra strength. The mother was felled easily with several blows with the same shovel, still dripping with her husband’s blood.
The child was frozen with terror as I approached him. I had abandoned the clumsy shovel for a nicely balanced pick axe, and it was with this and an icy coolness in my rage that I approached the whimpering child. I think he knew, as soon as his father had fallen, that he was not going to be allowed to leave. He stood like a frightened animal, and still stood as the pick impaled him to the shed wall via a route through his nasal cavity. I made it merciful and quick. I was nice like that. I surveyed the room, the havoc I had caused and the blood that stained me and the walls and everything. It wasn’t enough.
I was now faced with a dilemma. Do I try and leave? Careful to conceal the blood on my clothes and face. Or do I continue throughout the shop? The latter was a more pleasing idea to me. I returned to the desk and retrieved some items. I picked up a small axe and a sledgehammer, two contrasting tools in their size and weight but both effective. I walked calmly out the door, giving the child’s blood-matted hair a quick pat as I did. The first person I met was a girl, she looked surprised both before and after I slit open her throat. Basking in the blood that flowed over me, I found myself screaming in bloodlust and ecstasy. A young attendant stepped forward too late to save her, but his bravery was lost on me as I caved his head in- opening his skull like the shell of a horse chestnut. More heads caved as people tried to stop me, like lemmings they ran at me and like game they were felled. I was unstoppable. I was invincible. I was sodden with blood, and loved it!
It was after a last elderly plant tender fell to the ground with a shattered skull that people stopped trying to stop me. They just ran. This was the best part, rooting out the cowards. I had blocked the doors before I killed the girl so they had to be in the greenhouse area. So now I was in my element. To an extent, I admired those who had tried to stop me, and lamented somewhat at their undignified deaths but now it was time for the real butchery to begin.
I left the hammer where it was, it was cumbersome and not suitable for chasing. I instead took my axe and a small trowel and went hunting. I crept, silently, amongst the flower pots and behind some chrysanthemums I found the first. He didn’t see or hear me, and not until I had grabbed him and shoved the trowel through his throat was he aware of my presence. I left the trowel where it was and leapt over the display, the flowers looked ever so pretty. They even looked pretty when I thrust a woman onto the display and slit her throat over them, covering them in blood. An unfamiliar watering for them, but full of useful nutrients! The light outside was getting dimmer, and the artificial lights weren’t helping me at all I thought there could only be a few left and I counted that I had only downed twelve people. Still not enough. I craved more. There was a hint of movement in the corner of my eye. Just a flash. It was enough and in a few swift moments we met face to face, he looked a strong lad. That was until I put an axe through his arm and severed the tendons. He tried to hit me with his other but I was too quick and managed to effect a same fate on the other arm so both hung limply at his side with him screaming in agony. The next stroke fell on his leg, and blood began to spill form his wounds vigorously. He fell to his knees as he lost the use of his leg. I was determined to enjoy this. More so than I had the others. I grabbed his hair and pulled so I could see the look on his face. It was half pleading, half resigned. Tugging hard I hacked through his neck, it took a few strikes to severe it completely. But it came off and I held it aloft, triumphantly. I was now so soaked in blood that my clothes felt heavy and my movements lethargic. I was still sweating, I was panting with fatigue and from excitement. I was done.
That’s when once again I saw movement. A boy was running, intent on breaking through the glass door. I saw, I aimed, I threw. It was faultless, my axe lodging itself in the base of his spine, causing him to fall straight through the glass of the door in a splash of blood. So, in a way, he had achieved his purpose. I walked up to him and he turned his face round to see me, all he saw was my boot plummeting towards his face as I put him out of his misery.
I felt the rage slowly flowing from me, and again felt the cool air as I stepped out of the main door. Leaving behind the carnage I had caused. I suddenly felt regret at having killed the pretty girl from the till, she was beautiful and to kill her was a lamentable act indeed. Somehow, the rest had it coming. I heard a noise behind me causing me to turn quickly without a weapon. It was only a dog chained to a post outside. I knelt and patted it’s head affectionately, aware that I couldn’t simply leave it here. It began to eagerly lick the blood off my hand, evidently enjoying the blood as much as I did. I walked to my car, and he yelped expecting me to return. I started the engine and put on my seatbelt and with calm efficiency reversed hard into the wall. The only sounds I heard were another beautiful yelp to my ears, a crunch and then the radio buzzing into life as I turned it on. Now the dog didn’t need a new home, I however had to move again.
Geoffrey BuntingPosted by Geoffrey Bunting 10 Apr, 2009 12:04PM
The Librarian’s Revenge- Vagabond
He hated books. Hated the very sight of them, the musky smell that so hideously hung in His nostrils, and on very odd occasions in which certain hallucinogens were involved He hated the taste of them. The idea of reading was a joke to Him, what need did He have for books. None. That was for sure. Indeed, He was only sitting in the history section of the library because the library itself had become a sort of sanctuary to Him. A fallout shelter to His thoughts. Protecting Him from their harmful messages and so everyday He would sit in the open history section and watch the passers by, carefully looking for anyone interesting that He could fabricate stories about.
He clasped his worn hands in front of Him, as He leaned forward and sighed. Unkempt, untidy, unschooled, unrighteous the alliteration in His life depressed him. He pushed a strand of His messy hair from His forehead, He looked to the left and right almost with panic in His eyes and settled down for another day of judgement. With His tatty black coat tugged tight around Him He looked straight ahead and saw a pretty blonde girl, and then past her a boy with sandals staring suspiciously at her. A boy who was being nervously eyed by the librarian. To His left He saw a couple huddled in an alcove, He watched the hormone driven theatre for a while as her pale red lips somehow wrapped around a slightly gothic fellow’s black lips. She looked fairly sensible too, dressed in simple every day dress whilst the fellow wore studs and more make up than her. He looked away, however, when her hand ventured to the zip on his trousers. Even He, who hated even the idea of books, knew that that’s not what libraries were for!
But His days were not spent just in silence on His own. No, for as He turned to the left He saw a familiar face. For the library wasn’t just His refuge. The red-headed girl smiled broadly as She walked past Him with an armful of books, He watched after Her as She began to place the books on their respective shelves- He would gasp as She stretched to reach the upper shelve and Her form would meander and tighten in aid of Her reach. He would have offered to help, but for the voices in his Head ordering Him to stay where He was. She, in turn, seemed entirely unaware of His mournful gaze and the activities that were occurring in the restricted area of the library- it certainly wasn’t restricted for that!
He ignored the variety of tones and accents in His mind and focused solely on Her, Her red hair curling from the top of Her pretty head. Her face was so pale and so smooth- so precious. He didn’t notice much else about Her. Not once had His gaze wandered to Her thighs, Her breasts, Her neck or backside. Just Her face. For so long He had stared at those cheeks, wrinkled in Her constant smile. Her bright emerald eyes, her smooth pale brow. That face. She finally noticed Him staring and giggled to Herself.
He was only a vagrant wandered off the streets, but He intrigued her. His wan troubled smile and constant unkempt look both worried and excited Her. She was young and had whims, and to see this possibly dangerous man staring after Her sent dangerous and longing thoughts rushing through Her mind. She stepped over to Him and sat facing Him, looking Him in the eyes and smiling kindly. They never spoke, they didn’t know each other’s names they just co-existed. Sitting together in a history section otherwise inhabited by lustful teenagers and their disapproving elders. They just stared at each other in a kind of mutual curiosity. A curiosity that neither ever wanted to realise or dispel. They were content just to look, and to see and feel that way, She would occasionally get up to do some work but He always remained- seemingly waiting for Her return.
This time was no different, they sat they stared and He hated the books about him. The wan light made diamonds of Her eyes and fine thread of Her scarlet hair that so contrasted with the faded blue surfaces about Her. Kindred spirits within their misery and loneliness.
The voices in His head screamed for attention. The young Mexican fellow beat at the sides of His skull in an effort to distract Him from this girl, but this was a regular occurrence for He had been sitting in this spot for years, had stared after Her for years and had loved Her for years. So much so that He was now used to the Mexican’s lust for attention. She smiled as She saw Him struggling with His thoughts. She stroked His knee in consolation as the wizened Belgian took up the Mexican’s chorus as did the others until the noise was deafening finally causing him to take pause. The young librarian looked worried as He started to break down. She took a risk. She got up and kissed His forehead gently and whispered inaudibly in His ear. Her heart leaped from Her chest repeatedly as She worried about His response. But She could see that the voices had died down and He was calmer for it.
She stepped away to attend to Her work and left Him with the first and only smile He had had in his life thus far. He watched after her, as the sandal clad feet of the boy beat past Him quickly with the young blonde girl gazing after him. He looked about and picked up a book on the Irish potato famine and emigration to America and for the first time in His life enjoyed reading a book. All because of Her. He turned the second page as a loud moan came from the corner and the Librarian jumped up startled. Perhaps books weren’t all bad? He thought, smiling wistfully. He lifted the book to his face as the librarian stormed into the restricted area. They certainly taste better than they used to...