All Stories, Literally Reruns

literally Reruns – Table by the Window by James McEwan

This week Leila has dusted off a story by a loyal friend of the site. James has been with us from the beginning – long may it continue:

Highly imaginative pieces are difficult to loop a leash on and lead out of the wood, quietly–even when it is understood that they have a date with the Sunday spotlight. You see, a highly imaginative story, like this one centered around a Goth princess, has to stay true to its unique personality. So I’ll be leading a highly imaginative story down the path and it will make suggestions —for instance, Table by the Window , today’s presentation, thought I might enjoy eating various insects, toadstools and droppings that lay on the ground. In fact it double- and triple- and quadruple -dared me to do stuff like that all the way to the spotlight. Fortunately for me, I know that it’s just the story being true to its nature and I never take such suggestions seriously or personally.

Q: Both Abigail and Preston are winning characters. Were either difficult to create?

Q: There were some truly memorable moments, including the description of the one girl whose reaction was so severe that she urinated on herself. Is Abigail a shock-junkie who needs to create increasingly greater reactions, or is this just a byproduct of her larger nature?

Leila Allison

***

Table By the Window

James’ responses:

Q: Both Abigail and Preston are winning characters. Were either difficult to create?

My inspiration for this weird story came from a question of how we experience time.  In the Sci-Fi series Dr Who, “The Doctor” is a Time Lord who travels in his TARDIS through time from one location to another. Whether his destination is in the past or in the future, the environment physically exists. He is constrained by the progression and development of the Universe, so an implication may be that time is relative for the duration of that period.

What would happen if he could travel faster than time?

My story is about the distortion of time, where it is impossible – like a disturbing dream – to make sense of any chronological order of events. Where the beginning is at the end and everything in between is a muddle and the environment is pure imagination.

The characters just popped up out of nowhere. I chose twins, Abigail and Preston, that have suffered a traumatic event from which they have become lost in a fluid dimension where their existence is a distortion of time. I considered that nothing would really matter to them and they could create and destroy at will.

Although they appear as adults, I trap them as children living in imaginary worlds. Perhaps as a reflection of my confusion as a child where responsibility for the impact of events around me had no meaning.

Abigail can be anyone she wants and dresses up as a Gothic Princess or a restaurant manageress. Preston is a psychopath and goes along with his sister’s fantasies, after all it is only a game.

Q: There were some memorable moments, including the description of the one girl whose reaction was so severe that she urinated on herself. Is Abigail a shock-junkie who needs to create increasingly greater reactions, or is this just a byproduct of her larger nature?

In a restaurant where they served a buffet, some mice were running around under the tables. My daughter burst out laughing. Unfortunately, a young girl at another table became hysterical – I am not sure if she wet herself.

It is not her intention to shock, Abigail’s pleasure comes from the mischievous deception that is self-imposed by her guests. For example, she disguises the contents of the meals as recognisable dishes and her diners delight in the culinary skill that provides exquisite combinations of tastes. This amuses her. She seeks their admiration, and she despises them. After all, if people knew what was in the cottage pies; it would shock them – she knows, and it delights her like a schadenfreude effect. they must never know.

However, it is the hypocrisy of the lawyers who demand a mock cannibal meal that gives her feelings of power – she is the one mocking them – and they praise her., until Preston spoils the illusion. Preston takes delight in undermining Abigail, like kicking over the tower of bricks she has painstakingly built.

3 thoughts on “literally Reruns – Table by the Window by James McEwan”

  1. Oh for Christ’s sake! *Replies not effing repairs. *Done not gone.
    Going back to bed until April.
    LA
    (Not supposed to ‘s the Lord’s name. If He’s got a problem with that He knows where to find me. In bed. Till April.)

    Like

  2. Hi Leila,
    My usual admiration on your choice and your questions.
    Excellent on both counts.

    James,
    This is one of those stories that I remember as soon as I see it.
    It is so interesting reading your take on it which includes your own memories which include, a bit of Dr Who and your daughters ‘wicked’ sense of humour which is relative against someone who gets upset.
    All of that adds to what is a very inventive and thought provoking story.

    All the very best folks.
    Hugh

    Like

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