as in not mr gordon or those fleeting moments of inspiration that pass through your mind and you never write down but fiction of 1,000 words or less.
the commonly held general 'rules' are :
there must be a story, i.e. something has to happen
character is paramount
there is a setting, i.e. the story takes place somewhere
for the purposes of this blog these precepts can be ignored. the only rule is the 1,000 word limit. post your work, your comments and see what... occurs. that aside a funny thing happened on my way to the zoo.
to kick off i submit the following, first draft, needs work, comments/criticism appreciated.
House at the end of the street
The acacia trees remind me of home. I was stunned the first time I saw them, that they could even grow here. I thought the cold but then I realised it’s arid enough, arid of people. My girl tells me she moved here when she was five, innit geezer. She’s been partying for the last two years, mash up, and this country’s still so dry there should be a health warning attached. The first time that I met her I didn’t understand a word that she said.
That all changed one night. We were sat on the floor at Bim’s house and she was talking about how much she liked Bim’s yard and the batik’s on the wall and I was understanding one word in seven and there was a bottle of whiskey and some coke and Bim was drinking vodka and the music was I don’t know, from Senegal and a track by M.I.A. I recognised and I was thinking why Acton and the room wobbled slightly and she started to make sense. We should steal the acacia trees. Here was the plan, we set fire to the boarded up house at the end of the street and while everyone’s in the road watching it burn we dig them up. She had some meths in the car and a few firelighters.
Except for one or two details it was a good plan. Bim got up, collapsed on the sofa and stared at the wall. I thought about the earth surrounding my parents’ home village. When it rained it was as red and vivid as paint and as it dried fat beetles that looked like they’d been made out of tar crawled on the roads and like a pile of rusted paperclips the winding gear on the horizon sank into the wind and the red earth and I remember reading in one of my school books about sickle cell and thinking the dust in the dry season was like disfigured blood and my girl stood up and staggered outside to her car.
Ras, are you gonna fuckin gouch there or what. Her exact words, sounding like she was speaking into a jar. I followed her out and looked back through the open front door. Looking out through a doorway gives a sense of the world in a box, looking in, it’s like cutting out a piece from a photograph. Cutting up a piece from a photograph. Taking a photograph and then cutting it up. Something hit the back of my head.
Nah man, you drive. Her face crept into my field of vision. I’m mashed, you drive. Do me that favour can’t ya. What’re ya lookin at anyway, the car’s… turn around, the car’s stood behind ya. Stop chattin man. And her face crept back, leaving the keys in my hand.
I wondered if I was drunk. I’d been drunk once at a beer hall and kissed someone and pushed my hand between their thighs and woken up to a beating. I sat beneath the acacia tree the whole day and wouldn’t speak to anyone. My mother threw water over me and my father scolded her for wasting it, so she threw water over him and they argued and went inside and stopped arguing. I thought then there weren’t enough brothers and sisters.
She vomited. That was the first time I wondered if I’d fallen in love with her. How different the world would have been if I’d been a boy. Would my father have been so ashamed of me? Would the war not have happened? Would the night stop? She put her hand on my shoulder and vomited again in the gutter. Then she laughed. Her teeth are too white to laugh but she laughed and I opened the car for her and turned the key.
The acacia trees seemed larger in the half light. We sat at the end of the road looking at them, waiting. For the stub end of the moon to be flicked across the street and my girl looked happy twiddling with her cigarette lighter. She asked me what did the earth smell like after it rained. I don’t remember. I remember the bus lurching through ruts on its way past my home and wondering why everything happened, who the soldiers were fighting? I remember the first time I saw her. She shrugged and we sat there listening to the bird song, watching the acacia trees and she twiddled with her lighter, flipping the lid back, holding the flame in front of her face, and I kissed her and she didn’t say anything but stared at the police car pulling up and the police officers getting out.

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