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Writer's Corner - June 2008


hombre_hompson
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This month's word is: Green

The rules.

1. One thousand words or less. More barely any.

2. The deadline for posting your stories and poems is the end of June, on the dot.

3. The deadline for your votes is 9am on the 5th of July.

4. Criticisms are welcome, but please keep it in the nature of the corner.

5. Have a go - you don't have to use the word, it's just a guideline.

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I think it's an -awful- choice of word but weirdly I'm having more ideas about this than any other so far, so maybe it's -brilliant-

Is Danster going to make the usual first post?!

edit: No he's not, cus I'm going to get there first, huzzah.

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Insecurigrass

Green is the colour of my insecurity as it grows in the back garden of my mind, pushing up in the spring time of new relationships. I cut it back regularly of course, sometimes with more efficiency than others. Occasionally strimming the edge, raking aside cuttings and leaving only the green stripes of perfect reason. Right now I've let it grow, the chloroplasts are soaking up the sunny rays of jealousy, pride and fear and loss, the rainbow of greens that make up my insecurity. There are even embellishing weeds, bursts of incredulous circumstance that add to the fantasy of my insecurity. And my insecurity is focused around you and where you are and what you are doing and who you are doing it with and why you are doing it with them and if they're making you laugh more than I do and if you catch their smile in the hazy afternoon sun and think that you'd be having more fun with them. You've gone away this summer and left me to tend to the rapidly encroaching insecurigrass in my head and I don't feel like I'm ready to cope with it. We've only been seeing each other for two months and there are still the doubts and worries and the not one hundred percent trust that dogs many relationships. Was it my imagination or did your face go funny when I asked if you'd like me to go, that pause around the borders of an answer you wouldn't give, waiting for me to fill in the gap with a hasty retreat into, “No, they're your friends, it's fine, I understand. ” But I don't understand. Why would you pause like that unless you had something to hide? Something skulking in the corners of your psyche. Maybe you and Paul nearly got something going one time. Maybe you're going off me, it's happened before. I've used that same pause myself, a pause that starts at a floor marked “bored” and finishes in the basement with another girlfriend and another song, hoping it will last longer this time. The grass is always greener on the other side. Green is coincidentally the colour of the van you left in, smiling awkwardly as two boys climbed in after you and I bet you wish that they climbed in you, don't you? You fucking whore. This isn't me. These thoughts that come and stain my jeans, green insecurity that won't wash out. I don't think you're a whore at all, I'm just scared. You said you'd write to me but it's been a week now and surely you could have stopped off at an internet cafe on your road trip? Took a postcard and penned a letter? Maybe you're dead, lying in a ditch with the van upturned and they won't find you for days. Your family will have to come and identify your body and I will only be half welcome at the funeral, awkwardly standing there next to previous, longer term boyfriends and I won't know what to say. You can't be dead. It would have been on the news. You're probably just having a ball, being busy, doing normal things. But it's raining now and any attempts to cut the grass are just creating a darker, mulchy green and then the cord is cut on the mower and I can only watch as the insecurigrass growth accelerates. Why do you even want to be with me in the first place? Your last boyfriends have all been athletes, big burling guys the magazines would call “real men.” I'm faintly bookish and nine times out of ten if you come to my room and touch my chair it'll be warm from me having spent too much time on the internet. Am I just your sympathy fuck? The guy you tell your girlfriends you took pity on, I can see you now, in a bar, “He was just too dismal to say no to, couldn't fuck either.” And can't I fuck? You never seem so into it when we do, like you'd rather be somewhere else. You always say it's ok, but you would, wouldn't you? I'm the guy you can't say “no” to. But I can read between your every sigh at my insecurity and I can see it's not long till you leave me now, why haven't you sent me a letter? So far I've wrote seven hundred and twenty two words wondering where you are and what you're doing and you can't even manage a postcard. I know you said you wanted to get away from it all so weren't taking your phone but you could have used a phone box, you could have called just to say hello and then I wouldn't have to be writing this. The longer it grows, the harder it is to cut and I can feel myself lying in it now, wallowing in dark, mulshy and itching grass that rises up around me, filling my head with hateful images and they are all of you. And aren't you and I supposed to ride around on clouds and fill each other with hope and dreams? But this is me and it's my problem and it's why you'll leave me but I know enough to never show you this. By the time you've come back I'll have organised my thoughts and put the cuttings in the compost bin, out of sight and out of my mind for a while, before they come back as compost and fertilize fresh insecurigrass. It will nurture fresh seeds in different situations and maybe next time I won't be able to find my way out, I'll suffocate in insecurity and choke our relationship, but for now I'm cutting grass.

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I think it's an -awful- choice of word but weirdly I'm having more ideas about this than any other so far, so maybe it's -brilliant-

After the broad scope of last months word I wanted to choose something that appeared quite constraining, but actually has many meanings and uses once you dig into it.

I hope people won't have problems with it.

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I think it's quite a good choice of word in that, as stated, it seems quite limiting initially but can be interpreted quite broadly.

I've had a few ideas and hope to have something up in the next few days. I had to twist my own arm to stop myself from doing an Incredible Hulk slash fiction.

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Trompe l’oiel

Skeleton under sunglasses. Should shave. There’s grey sprouting in with the darker whiskers and a fresh face it might draw attention from my tallow skin elsewhere. My body’s all marked with a filigree of bloodlines I have a blueprint knowledge upstairs behind the UV filters of how to find and coax forth. Faded flowers sprouting from a messy bed of ink I halfremember asking for and, feeding and entwining top and bottom one the other up through soil and blood a dependency, picked up this morning to go. Sometimes up and sometimes down. Caught me on a bad day thankyou, desperate hand it over here’s the money I just need a shot to get me through. Shot. The steering column’s shot I think and I’m shaking left to right, carving slalom over the sun caked valley macadam, past patrol car. Please pull me over. Can’t turn the keys to shut the petrolfire off when I pull up beside the dry palms - past the gate no mail, hot quiet and the stucco-reflected cicada chirps welcome me back homesafe: nobody to look at me then – indoor blue shadowed me don’t look at me now. I remember Intersecting lanes of Interstate on the way back: skinshrouded blue lines on my arms gripping white knuckle the wheel by way of quiet response (don’t remember them being so obvious, the bones and the marks, maybe it’s the sunlight or the streetlight, it’s green, go) and in the hallway frescofabric by the mirror I can see lines underlying the superficial garden scene, not like outside, there’s genuine, note perfect symmetry in the fresco and I’m a shakysmudged malformation palsyrocking on my heels awed before it.

I’m scared and my feet are cold. I have to stand on the compacted grout between the tiles to keep bloodflowing. Look down and check it’s all at the rightangle, arrange my hips so left foot perpendicular to right, lines where they should be. Don’t shudder, you’ll ruin it. There’s some shedded hair deep down there I notice, trapping dirt in drifts beside my tiny faraway feet. The sunlight coming aglance through the doorwindow panels makes the whole place look like a bit of a dust mote Pompeii sometimes - with stumbling, irregular foot (and sometimes elbows-knees-and-penancepressed-face, “I’m sorry, I’ll quit please I can do this you know I can do this, I can play I swear please, please don’t go without me”) tracks run through it all sometimes. There’s some on the lamps and the table too, there’s some of it on me I suppose I’m still enough to settle, I should ask her to run a vaccum over the hallway, get rid of it all.

Shake;

Does she still come around?

Shakeagain; you ruined it.

Look the parallel lines leading from behind the cracked terracotta and lavender-growing foreground pots of the tapestry past tessellated, woven plantations, irrigation there I guess and you can almost see the heathaze and upforward it all flows and rushes to a cleanclear fountain. No moss on the fountainhead, water free of pennies. No wishes yet then, but there’s still time you know there is. Gravel uncrunched, a sanctuary on furlough but you can sow your memories – you know you inherited the whole sunny plot, gifted. The opportunity, it came easy.

The path to walk forks at the end by the hedges where you can’t see and you can turn whichever way you like. Make amends. Make a wish get back. He should pick up the phone, write it down while it’s fresh. He

The meat it feeds on

had been jealous of them from the start. It was since inception their baby; W. level-headed, could separate the business from the magic, magic from the balancebook; D. longterm relationship and S. so subdued.

Sticky clubs to unprompted bookings, those in turn to venues, proper PAs, echo halls, stadium. Roadtrip to overnight jets. They’d all been permeable to temptation but for every bleary-eyed morning slur into a dictaphone ensemble, he carried ten, fifteen solo backstage blackouts. Their accumulation had bowed him so that by the eventual dismissal time and agreed last night on the boards he was accustomed to shunning the spotlight, little tower of pills and ashes skirting the curtainfrills– a strobe-animated cadaver jerked up for amicable display to the throng, a wilting counterpart to the three luminous giants you came to see. A warning and

Say yes, at least say hello

a burst of energy, catalytic clarity. Move! Rush up the stone spiral stairs to the studio, twoatatime quicksmart, grab guitar, rush down again. The stack is still in the livingroom, easy to wheel outside on the casters. I unclip the brakes, open the sliding terrace doors, push it out rumbling over the tiles to where the midday sun can worm the grille, warm the cones. Find my cables, fit the jack, flick the switches, the preamp sunned, a reptile ready to hum, to hiss to strike, turn the dials, stomp the pedal, shoulder the strap;

Fingers all aflame I can see it racing in hotorange forks from my elbow crook and I want to, I can dance on the fretboard. I can I know I can but his fingers don’t work… my fingers don’t work and the note returned by the bushes and the drygrasses, its hundredwavefold offspring, offbeat radii vibrating their way back through the deadening heat and tang of pool chlorine, smog and mimosa back to him standing there is detuned, a burst of static and distortion out of key with the air that bore it. Strum again, scrape the strings stop shaking. Wait for another, a better reply but it’s all wrong and I can’t do it I’m sorry I can’t do it but still the sun is nice and it’s hot in my skin and I can hear the trees out here. I’m tired, that’s it. That’s why, that’s all.

It’s wearing off. Go back inside.

Leave the harmonies to the dogs and to the dust.

I'm not too keen on the middle bit, but it's such a overdone idea that I don't feel too bad about doing it such a horrible disservice. In the process of getting the beginning and end vaguely how I wanted them I somehow managed to accidentally pare the whole thing down to exactly a thousand words, so it felt like I'd be running against serendipity if I messed with it any further.

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Is Danster going to make the usual first post?!

edit: No he's not, cus I'm going to get there first, huzzah.

Bah! Not this month, oh well... next time Gadget... next time.

Green

The wind blows more dust into the young man’s face, causing a repeat of the stinging arc of pain to radiate through the sliced cut ripped from ear-to-ear. He shifts slightly on the pebbled dirt beneath him, trying to find purchase for his broken limbs to lie. Carefully though, he doesn’t want a repeat of that painful roll to this place of relative safety.

His rifle is still steaming - the smell of burnt cordite hanging around - he can’t reach it. He hasn’t tried, it’d be pointless. Another gripping, ripping grunt slaps through his chest. Small, shallow gasps are all he can manage; small, shallow puffs of dusty Afghan air. He feels blank, his head lolls.

Snap awake. There’s somebody approaching him. His mind starts to tick quicker as even now, with half his fluids leaked to the hungry, dry earth, adrenaline still attempts to rescue him. The person approaching is not British; they are carrying an AK.

It’s still sunny, he notices with a rue smile. His view, though obscured by the rock on which his head rests, is mostly of sky. He tries to dig into the ground without moving; the sharpened rocks pinch his skin.

The man is closer, scanning, looking aware but not yet realising the young man’s presence. Then he turns, and sees, and raises his rifle. The young man’s breath becomes even more laboured, he realises that his end is almost certainly nigh. Flashes of memory puncture his mind.

He remembers that time when he was made a fool of, giving that girl a letter of love, what an idiot, his friend’s laughter echo over the short interceding years. His denial.

What an idiot, he thinks as the Taliban man clicks his weapon to single-shot and walks closer. Yet more pain flashes through his punctured ruin as the man kicks him onto his back.

He remembers a stupid row with his mum, how he wishes that he was back in her arms.

Now all he can see is sky and all he can feel is the sharp crack of his broken bones bashing together. It rattles his brain and wells his eyes. He can taste salt again.

That car he saw crash, he can see the driver again, bloody and bruised ranting about whores. He can smell the fumes the air tainted with rubber and metal. The confusion and sirens ringing the air.

He hears talking, laughter; crying? He imagines the thousand-yard stares of his old compatriots, ignoring each other as they swiftly tramp back to where they know they can be protected. Not one of them vocalising, but all of them wondering, why a fresh-faced new guy had to bite it on his first patrol.

The rifle pokes at his face, jabbing, hitting him, stunning his teeth, jarring his senses. The barrel explodes in a flash and he’s gone.

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Bah! Not too keen on mine this month, but I'm running out of time to get it done (I'm on my holibobs next week). Nothing wrong with the word, just not sure I've managed to pull it off. I'll stick it on anyway...

Red. Red. Red. Red. Green.

Breathe in. Increase heart rate. Release adrenaline. Right foot down.

I've tried to describe this experience to my better half, but I've never managed to capture the division. The separation of the conscious part of my brain from the instinctive, and the marriage of the instinct to the basic functioning of my body.

Raise right foot. Left foot down. Breathe out. Start sweating. Right arm forward. Right arm back. Dilate pupils. Right foot down, Breathe in.

The best I’ve managed to come up with, is that as soon as the race starts, my body continues unmanned forwards at an incredible speed, whilst my thought process gradually plays catch up. Like I’m a few meters behind the actual action. But I’m still in control.

Left hand right hand grip wheel. Raise right foot. Breathe out. Twist right shoulder left shoulder right. Clench jaw. Twist right shoulder left shoulder left. Blink.

It's taken years for me to get to this stage, where I can consciously think about the process without breaking it.

Twist right shoulder left shoulder left.

In the past, I’d notice that this was happening and immediately find myself back in the seat, totally under control. Only when I’m in charge do I make mistakes. It’s thinking too much about what I’m doing that things about errors.

Twist right shoulder left shoulder right. Breathe in. Move left index finger right. Move left middle finger right. Clench left hand.

I’ve wondered if the other drivers ever feel like this. Like I’m cheating. I’m not driving now. I’m a passenger along for the ride whilst a machine takes control of the wheel. A machine designed with only the goals of victory and survival in mind. And in that order too.

Turn head left. Focus eyes. Breathe out. Brace for impact. Left foot down.

It seems like my entire career is based on a fallacy. The idea that I can actually perform the targets I achieve. That these results are mine. I have no idea what I’m doing.

Breathe in. Close eyes. Increase adrenaline. Hold breath.

I couldn’t explain it.

Push left hand right hand forwards. Steady body. Remove colour from vision.

I couldn’t show you.

Increase heart rate. Clot left arm wound. Clot right temple wound. Remove sensation from right arm.

I can only do.

Breathe out. Decrease heart rate.

I don’t think I’d notice if something went wrong. I’d continue thinking elsewhere, whilst my body fought for it’s life. My mind would be useless.

Fight for consciousness. Remove unnecessary body functions. Focus on heart. Focus on lungs.

I’d watch while my being ebbed away.

Shut down.

What a way to go.

I can't even drive by the way, but I've become obsessed with GRID!

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There's so much more I wanted to cram into this piece. Once I had the idea, it opened up to me. As it is, it's nowhere near as deep as I'd like it to be. There simply wasn't enough room to fit in all the atmosphere (which was mostly trimmed to get my wordcount under the limit), plot and charecterisation. It would have been nice to throw a decent ending in there, too.

I suppose it's a tribute to Who Censored Roger Rabbit. I could have made up characters for it, but I thought it would be much more fun - and more immediate to the reader - if I used established characters instead. Hopefully that doesn't leave it reeking of bad fan fiction.

Checking Brains out of the Land of Play bang-up. Cop with the keys is a donkey; so’s the fat police chief behind the desk on the way out. Long grey ears. Constant grin around those big buck teeth. Reminds me of Shrek.

I hate Shrek.

Gal walks in as we walk out. Lips flashing red like patrol car lights. Blonde hair down to an ass that sways. I cop her lapel badge as we pass: Laurel Lovelace, attorney at law. “Honey, it ain’t a real jail,” I whisper in her ear.

“Buddy,” she says as she breezes past. “I ain’t a real lawyer.”

Par for the course for the puppets. Only the ones with connections can afford the real deal like me.

*

The Tracy family paid off the stutterer’s bonds, but we all knew he wasn’t guilty, sure as we know Tin-Tin and some bush-eyed creep named the Hood were found with their throats and wires slit on a beach on the family island. I wasn’t there that day but I saw the scene days later. No chalk outlines, no sign of blood. Just sand and sandhoppers, burrowing and jumping in the tropical sun. I wasn’t paid for no investigation; just get Brains out, the old astronaut told me. He’s innocent. Seeing him with my own eyes, bumbling about, stammering, half-blind behind crazy powder-blue-rimmed glasses, well . . . you might expect a feeb like that to be some kind of mass murderer if you hadn’t seen him in the wood. Like that movie with the guy, Keyser Sozé. It’s different when you see him, when you know what you’re looking for. It wasn’t him.

Tin-Tin and the Hood weren’t the only corpses, either.

*

They found Kermit with his brains blown out all over the theatre floor. This was one crime scene I did see - Brains ain’t the only one with connections – and it wasn’t pretty. Plenty of Muppets standing around crying, telling themselves it ain’t happening. Piggy, the corpse’s dame, sat bawling, trotters covered in dried blood like the sticky mess around the frog’s head. She always seemed loud on the TV, but here she was and not a peep. Somehow crying without making a sound. Chubby and kinda sexy, for a puppet pig. Weird, but true.

Newshounds take loads of shots, flashbulbs going off like gunfire. Theatre looks kinda smoky once they’re done, like this is a dream. Can’t be real, not a famous guy like this. He’s no two-bit marionette. I can see tomorrow’s headlines in forty-point print. This is a red ball.

Once the photography’s over and the paramedics have taken the corpse, Piggy comes over while I’m having a smoke, mascara running into ink blot messes beneath her eyes, dabbing tears away dainty-like with a silk handkerchief monogrammed with the letter P. “You find the bastard who did this to my Kermy,” she says, not a quaver in her voice, one no-nonsense puppet. “I’ll pay anything, but you find him.”

I say “Sure.” I’ve done it a lot during this killing spree. I’m a good dick, I’m in demand, and I ain’t crooked. I might be the last one left in this crazy, messed up world. I ain’t prejudiced against the puppets. I mean, people say they run Hollywood, but good for them. After spending four centuries with human fists up their asses, they’re entitled to a little money. They probably bought the studios with the reparations JMH gave ‘em way back when. Cash well deserved.

*

We got a suspect. We got three, but I’ve thrown two away. The comedian bear, never good enough for his boss, always trying to please him. I saw him in the box, sweating beneath his fur. “When is a door not a door?” he says, bad jokes under pressure , but I can see he’s hurting. He’s clean. “When it’s ajar,” I mutter, leaving homicide for the wavering summer streets. “Wacca-wacca-wacca,” I hear as I go. The last laugh of a broken man.

Gonzo, well, he and I go way back, ever since the narcotics raid on the Electric Mayhem when the cops found Janice clawing her eyes out while the brown dog licked her puss. What a mess. Gonzo would have come to me if he’d done it, looking for protection. No, he’s safe, which leaves the little guy, the corpse’s nephew.

I find him downtown in the Lillypad. All kinds of amphibians there catching flies, drinking suds. Robin’s on his fifth of the night, so the bartender says.

“You think it’s easy being green?” The kid shakes his fist, rod dangling from it like some kind of stalactite. “Living in his shadow? Nobody remembers me. I was supposed to be the cute one, the one everyone loved. And you know what happened?”

I shake my head. He’s pumped up, ready to spill.

“Fucking Elmo.” He spits, long tongue flicking gobs of saliva onto the bar floor. “They could have made Tickle-Me-Robin and everyone would have . . . everyone . . .”

He’s got motive in spades, but what about the others? Tin-Tin, Big Bird, Howdy Doody mown down in a home for old puppets. I check the papers every morning and they keep dying. It’s a spree, an epidemic, and it’s international. Some limey puppet named Gordon, stabbed in the bath ‘til the water ran red with his stuffing. Nothing like it since Mr. Punch haunted Whitechapel, only this time no-one’s finding freaking sausages at the crime scenes.

Dead puppets everywhere. And this kid, this tadpole doesn’t have the means to get around the globe that fast. He’s just a bit player in an inspirational, celebrational group of comedy players.

He gives me a name: Matt Fraggle, uncle of Gobo. He’s got the means, he gets about. Tracking him down . . . that’s going to be tough.

Someone out there’s killing puppets, and I’m gonna find him.

I leave the bar and the sky breaks into sweet summer rain.

One line I really wanted to use but couldn't fit in was a tribute to Garth Ennis's Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe: "I heard they found Oscar the Grouch dead in a dumpster." In fact that, and Robin's paraphrased line about being green were the entire foundation of the story.

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Based on an idea a friend once told me as I couldnt come up with a concept that worked this month (mostly due to Civ Rev)

Arthur’s camera supply store was a little run down on the outside and like most shops on the side streets near the new shopping mall few people came in to do business. Arthur liked it that way and had made special efforts to be as uncompetitive as possible. His prices were high, products were archaic and featured no high end or digital equipment. He didn’t even stock batteries. The shop window was untidy and unflattering and on a street where people seldom just walked down there was little pop in business. Some have discussed how he remained in business but most don’t notice the store’s even there.

Four people regulary paid visits to the store and only one was interested in photography. He was an old man and set in his ways, didn’t like fancy and didn’t like new. Arthur did his best to discourage him but every week, some times three or four times a week, the old man came in to talk or buy something.

His interest laid in the other three people, two of which often comes in together. The third, Mr Bolton always strode in a few minutes after. Like clockwork each week they came, and Arthur always had the three coloured envelopes ready for them to choose from. One Red, one Amber and one Green. Arthur smiled when the two came in and welcomed them like he did no one else.

Daniel and Crain they called themselves. It wasn’t their real names. Daniel was a television buff in his off time and liked using the phrase ‘Daniel says hello’ which is apparently from some obscure cable show. Crain he didn’t know about. Maybe he liked Fraiser or was into construction. They were arguing as always in the playfull way they do. Never shop talk always trivial things. This time it was which of the latest batch of superhero movies was the better one until they got to the counter with the envelopes on.

“Mr Bolton hasn’t been in yet?” Crain asked.

Arthur shook his head.

“Think he’s alright,” Daniel queried. “He always goes for the red envelope. Gonna get to him sooner or later.”

“I find amber is my limit,” Crain says picking up the green one moments before Daniel did.

Looking annoyed, Daniel went to pick up the amber then stop and looked up at Arthur.

“Might go for the red one this week. Give old Mr Bolton a break if he comes in.”

“He won’t like that,” Crain commented. “He always goes for the red.”

“Yeah but that’s because we always choose the easy ones first, or Mr Bolton thinks we’re not up to it.”

“Why d’you always call him Mr Bolton and not just Bol…”

Daniel stopped him.

“Arthur you tell him.”

Arthur told him. There used to be a fourth card. Crain took a while to get what that meant.

“I think we should do him a favour. I’ll take red, you take Amber,” Daniel suggested. “Let him have a green card for once.”

The left, happy about their good deed.

A man arrived five minutes later, well dressed, short hair, sunglasses, looking like a man out of resevior dogs. He approached the counter with an odd grin on his face which turned to horror when he saw the card on the single envelope on the table, the green one.

“What the fuck is this?”

* * *

Crain opened the amber envelope and read the file. A lawyer had turned against his old client and turned states evidence. Put in the witness protection program along with his wife and two children he’s due to testify in the next week. Traditional methods of problem solving had not worked a note at the end comments.

It didn’t take him long to locate the man. He had contacts his clients obviously hadn’t. Tragically shortly afterwards there was a gas leak in the safe house the lawyer was staying in. Police attributed his child playing with the gas cooker and they had all died in the incident.

* * *

A Police officer had died in the line of duty. His fellow precinct officers are determined to bring down the crime ring responsible. This is not allowed to happen. No details on the perpetrators are indicated so protecting them without an extensive investigation to who they were would take to much work. Without them, framing an innocent party would be tricky and even if he could pull it off, the innocents maybe the or at least a client. Going after the police seemed to be the only option open to him.

Explosives were placed in the precinct and he waited until most of the officers were in before setting it off. Framing an old antagonist for the job seemed to be the way to go, and dozens of dead officers would be a good distraction from just the one.

The frame didn’t work. Federal agents cottoned on to who really brought the explosives and Mr Bolton was killed in the ensuing gun fight.

Stupid Green Envelope was his last thoughts as he lost consciousness for the last time.

* * *

Daniel came in on his own the next week purposely getting there in front of his friend to talk to Arthur privately.

There were two envelopes on the counter next to each other, Green and Red. There was no space for a third.

“Red envelopes the easiest?”

Arthur nodded.

“For how long?”

Since always Arthur told him.

“Bolton was a wuss?”

Another nod.

“Don’t tell Crain,” Daniel requested picking up the red envelope.

Arthur reminded him that he never told him about the red card. He wouldn’t tell Crain.

Crain came in half hour later, seeing his friend had left him the green envelope. He smiled and went on his way. An easy week for a change.

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If I get a vote even though I didn't contribute this month then it's for Campfire_Burning.

Film Noir hardboiled detective meets Muppets. Awesome. Awesome to the max.

I'm late. So this is just for fun:

/:func.restore. J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428

Please Wait...

...

6 Resolvable Fragments Found

/: func.upload.spkwrt.begin

Begin Playback?/:Y

Fragment1:Timestamp[09.46.11.04.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

‘... least in terms of composition it’s very simple. Two diametrically opposed planes, each one constituting half of the known Universe and converging around a central point: the figure of an endlessly walking man, hunched and garbed in frightful black combat gear, face covered with an inscrutable gas mask. The figure will sometimes wonder about himself, is he the interpolation between the two planes, the result of the interference of Upper [note.lang.semantic.analysis: capitalisation assumed] upon Lower [note.lang.semantic.analysis: capitalisation assumed] and vice versa. All he knows is the figure’s name. It is his name: J-[note.rank.error:clearance not granted. further: placeholder name: Smith]. Talking of himself in the third person allows him to gain some objectivity over his present situation. Although it irritates him that he should strive for such meagre ways of escape. He should be stronger. He gives up for a little while. I stop talking for a little while.’

Fragment2:Timestamp[22.12.52.04.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

‘If you’ve been listening for this long then you are probably the one who will find me when I finally keel over and die a worn out husk. If I make it back to somewhere even remotely civilised my first actions will be to find myself a nice cold beer, something to eat, anything to eat and to erase these recordings. [note.silence: 4Min 26.245Sec] I seem to be passing through one of my more lucid moments. It’s highly unfortunate that the amph has such a pronounced effect on my mind. It turns the body into a ceaseless machine, lets me walk for 30 hours or so at a time but it seems to mangle my thought processes to a degree that leaves me in a state of enthusiastic, but massively melancholic, religious fervour. The ground and the sky become all existence, all of it focused on me. It’s so egocentric, and self aggrandising [note.irresolvable.static: 2.369Sec] sickens me. I only have a few ampoules of the stuff left. If I ever hope to make it out of this wasteland I will have to use them.’

Fragment3:Timestamp[06.46.31.06.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

‘The Lower insists upon pushing itself against Him [note:phonic.analysis.intonation&pitch: capitalisation assumed & continued]. Red, sandblasted and featureless the Lower pushes upon Him with a force that is both equal and opposite to the force he exerts upon it. He surmises that His purpose is one of separation, keeping that which is Lower from pushing itself into the space of that which is Higher and stopping the two from annihilating the other. Each step He takes serves this purpose. The Upper exists above, and is creamy white and decorated with two dim sources of light that never move. These are the Eyes of the Upper that always look down on [smith] and watch over Him, ensuring that He is ceaseless in His appointed task. The Creator has a duty to preserve that which He creates.’

Fragment4:Timestamp[12.59.11.06.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

‘It seems to be getting worse. I can feel my morale breaking down with each painful step. I’m not even certain I’m heading in the right way. The suns never go down; this planet is tidally locked to the binary star system it orbits. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to sleep. I’ve thrown away most of my equipment, my rifle and gas mask. The come down between dosing myself up is getting worse. If anything, I think the negative effects are beginning to outweigh the positives, then again, bar my increasingly restless sleep, it’s the only real form of escape that I have. It always feels like a dream afterwards. A hazy recollection that, unless I consciously attempt to hold it in my head, fades all too easily. When I’m not using the amph I find myself thinking more and more of my friends and family. Almost everyone I genuinely care about turned up to see me off on the night I was shipped out. One of my closest friends A-[note.rank.error:clearance not granted. further: placeholder name: Jones] spent hours trying to convince me that I was making a mistake. “It won’t bring her back” was the last thing [Jones] said to me. I never bothered to reply. [note.silence: 22Min 51.395Sec] I’m getting tired. It’s only the afternoon but I need to sleep. I wish it would get dark.’

Fragment5:Timestamp[05.32.46.07.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

‘It seems that He is not omniscient. Certain aspects of His own creation have been occluded to Him. As He matures into full Godhood with each repulsive step, further nascent memories are revealed to His ever expanding intellect. Just as the Universe is split in two so too is it’s Deity. His other half resides in the milky whiteness of the Upper. It is Her eyes that watch over Him in His ceaseless task because She knows if He were to fail it would mean annihilation not just for the Universe but for Him and Her too. They support one another, one with the endless physical trudge of boot against ground, the other with the constant emotional and moral support of a loving gaze. Her beautiful green eyes are what save Him.’

Fragment6:Timestamp[17.23.37.07.08.14]J/HEN.L/Cpl(NCO)09428/Playback Begin

[note.descriptive: intermittent coughing throughout duration of fragment] One of the gas weapons must have deployed nearby. Probably a forgotten dreadmine or screamer. It doesn’t matter. The sky is slowly getting thicker and it’s becoming harder to breathe. I threw my gas mask away but it’s academic now. The stuff can get through your skin even when you are wearing one. I might have dragged things out a little longer. I love you Mum, Dad. [Jones] I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to say goodbye properly. S-[note.rank.error:clearance not granted. further: placeholder name: Jane] I love you and I miss you. I’m stopping the recording now... [note.silence: 6Min 11.445Sec] The sky really has turned a beautiful shade of green.'

Playback Complete

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Sorry I didn't post any comments this month been having a few issues at home which don't need going into here but please accept my apologies. I will get around to reading all of the stories here and posting some comments at some point in the near future.

Looking forward to the new word.

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I wouldn't worry too much about that. Alarming lack of voters and entries this month.

And after reading your piece, I'd really like to see more from your head. I love reading piece after piece from entrants until you get a real taste for their style.

We all get no votes sometimes. Except for Hombre. :D

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