That night was still. I heard the silence of all those lost souls. I considered myself being one. I dismissed the idea very quickly and drank another gin. Straight gin was allegedly, the drink of alcoholics. Specifics for some reason outweighed quantity. The gin wasn’t really a choice, it was simply what was there.
She knew why he hung himself.
Holly had just returned home when she heard her her mother’s screams. She ran upstairs and into her brother’s room.
I wish my older self could go back and speak to me as a kid. Don’t we all? What to say though? I suppose some people would think about what wisdom and advice they could pass on. How many would be able to tell about specific people or situations to avoid? This would all make their younger self happier and more comfortable. A warming hug from a ‘Drop Dead Fred’ scene.
I’ve decided this week to write about pride.
Not ‘In the Name of Love’ even though that is a cracking song. Not as in the film about the Gay Pride / Miner Strike match up even though that was a cracking film. And not as in loads of big pussies, even though they are braw beasties!
Pride commeth before a fall. That’s a phrase about a disappointed lady called ‘A Fall’ and the problems she had with her husband Pride.
Yep more nonsense before I get to a point.
I’m a very proud person but in a shit sort of way. Not asking for help, cutting my nose off to spite my face and stubbornness are the realistic terms for my pride!
For example I’ll never ask for assistance when I need it, I would rather say ‘This is pish’ and give up. Writing is a bit different as I have other folks to state that…So, so many!!
To explain my stupidity I would like to share this. I had the best time of my life in 2000 when we were in Toronto, I tip my hat to Canada, I loved the place. We tried so many different things. The Swiss restaurant was excellent. I thought it would have been three courses of Toblerone, nougat and almonds but I had a lovely fruity and mildly spiced chicken type dish.
One night we ended up in a traditional Chinese Restaurant. I am a rather adventurous person when it comes to food so when I saw ‘chilled chicken wings with shredded jellyfish’ I wanted to give it a go. I probably should have twigged when the waiter asked me:
“You handle this?”
My pride (stupidity) kicked in!
“Of course I can handle this! I’ve ate Pot Noodles and Crispy Pancakes which just goes to prove that God doesn’t think we should bother with anything tasty…I’m fine…Go for it auld stockin’!”
So the waiter brought my food and he was sniggering…I should’ve sussed.
So I began to eat. I turned green. Ironically this was the same colour as the jellyfish. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be that colour but it didn’t matter whether it was fresh or on the turn…It couldn’t have tasted any worse. But did I leave it? Nope, although at one point, I did think I would spew. I chewed and swallowed, heaved and retched but I finished it.
When the waiter returned I saw his face fall. I puffed out my chest and my greenness changed to a more acceptable yellow.
“Did you enjoy?”
“Well I could have done with a little more jellyfish.”
“You want more?”
“Sorry auld champion but your establishment had its chance to impress…Just bring us a bog standard Chow Mein and we’ll say no more about it!”
The point to this is Pride!! And swallowing it!
The reason that I am mentioning this is due to feedback we gave to a writer. They took it, didn’t go in the cream puff and decided whether or not our comments helped. That is the thing, don’t spit out the dummy if anyone says that something is wrong. Look at it and THINK!
I’ve mentioned before when I have a story in mind, it’s so strong in my head, I can’t understand how anyone doesn’t get it. (My story this week was an example of this. )
But when it is pointed out, don’t be like me and eat the fecking jellyfish, consider changing it to something more palatable.
I am shit at metaphors but hope you all get the point!
OK on to this weeks stories!
As always our initial comments follow.
We had two new folks this week, (I’ll need to ask our resident statistician exactly how many authors we have.) one third timer, an old campaigner and me.
Our first new person began the week. We extend the usual welcome and plea for more stories!
Ellen Kibbe had her wonderfully titled short ‘A Cosmopolitan Epiphany Regarding a Certain Cecil ‘ published on Monday.
‘What a weird wee piece, I liked it.’
‘I enjoyed the ride and found the ending quite sad.’
‘This had a charm to it.’
An old hand graced Tuesday. The talented and quirky Mr Adam Kluger had his story, ‘High And Low‘ next up.
‘A longer story than Adam normally sends us but he skilfully kept the pace and the points relevant.’
‘Strange but quite compelling.’
‘Some great lines and interesting characters.’
We had a third time published author on Wednesday. Julie Howard was our key-stone of the week with ‘Hunger‘
‘The flow was good and the prose most enjoyable.’
‘Concise and well put together.’
‘A good self-help / self discovery type story.’
Tabitha Sterling was our last new author of the week. The same welcome applies to Tabitha, we hope both these writers have a lot of fun with the site. On Thursday her short story ‘Plague Song‘ was showcased.
‘The back story fuelled the understandable bitterness between them.’
‘Excellent writing with an interesting choice of main characters.’
‘You are left with a tiny doubt at the end about whether or not the murder was due to the ‘illness’ or their strengthening resentment.’
And on Friday, well I put together my usual happy little tale. ‘In Five Years Time‘.
This was first shown to the other editors the middle of last year and it had been refused due to the ending. It took me around eight months to work through the issues that they had raised. I thank them all as always for making me a better writer and not being so focused in what I know compared to what I have written!
So week 108 is done and dusted.
I am going to access some jellyfish and completely ignore it.
…Pot Noodles and Crispy Pancakes, they are a different matter!
Banner Image: jellyfish Salad – By Bình Giang (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In the kitchen of a cottage nestled among oak trees they waited – for neighbour, for colleague; for broken doors and strangers with zip-lock bags. Jay was long gone, whipping across fields, toward the blockhouse he’d carved with nails and fire. He crawled into peace and wished he could stay, wished he could curl up on the soft, wet earth and sleep. But if he did they would find him, find him without looking and he wasn’t ready for that medicine, for any medicine – just now his liberty was a sickness he refused to cure. He dug up his plane ticket, kicked things quiet and headed toward the airport.
“You should’ve just popped in, Mathis,” Mrs. Kelly says opening the door. “You know we’re waiting for you. Come, come.”
“I never like to presume, Mrs. Kelly,” Mathis says entering the small home. “It’s nice to see you again.”
Nietzsche’s cutting quote, “If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you,” is by now a redundancy. And so, when I became a San Francisco probation officer, I prepared myself to keep company with the abyss. But I had not quite realized how extensive the abyss was. I saw it in the eyes of the senior probation officers, so exhausted by massive caseloads that they were counting the months to retirement. I saw it in the faces of deputy jailors, disaffected shift workers who were all but deaf to the human clamor of the cell ranges. And, of course, I saw it in my clientele: hollow-cheeked crack heads, asocial gang bangers, vagrants with thousand mile stares. But at least the abyss could be mellow where probationers were concerned. It was mellow in the case of Joseph Shepherd, a middle-age drug peddler on probation for choking his girlfriend. Entering my office for his intake interview, he glanced at the tower of case files on my desk and chuckled. “I know you have it rough,” he remarked in a voice that could be poured over waffles. “So I plan to make it easy on you, sir.” He smiled with the insular charm of a sociopath then shook my hand with a python grip. He seemed to be a man of elemental strength—a brawn with a life of its own—yet his broad open face and puppy dog eyes set me completely at ease.