Monday, 27 July 2009

Wordzzle #73

As usual for rules and so forth visit
This week I’ve tried to write a serious one as well as the usual fluff. Hope you enjoy them:

The Main: riverboat, procrastinaton, drank, demons, invisible, candle, enough, film stars, summer job, computer

For the mini: general demeanor, surprisingly, masked man, reach, standards


Song To Catch A Thief (a sort-of sea-shanty)

It’s surprisingly tricky to get what you need
When you’re young and ambitious, with children to feed
If you haven’t got standards, you’ll soon lose your job
And there’ll be nothing else for it, but to go out and rob

Oh who was that masked man, the mild-mannered cleaner?
He had us all fooled with his general demeanour
When we finally catch him we’ll have lessons to teach
And we’ll bring him quite quickly to the gallows reach


Closeness In Distance

The thing that came back to Lucy that spring was no longer her husband. It looked like him, walked and talked like him: sometimes it even smiled like him. But something had been lost along the way, taken away by whatever demons he was fighting.

Most nights she would lie awake next to the stranger that had returned home until the early hours, reading endless books by candle light in the hope of finding an answer. Every book had a different theory, leaving her feeling more confused and isolated than ever. For his part he showed little interest in her, answering her questions with a distance that had never been in his voice before; like some vital part of his personality had been left behind in the killing fields, like she had somehow become invisible to him.

And of course the Army were no help. They came, they spoke in conciliatory tones about shock and about treatment and offered counselling, but he just sat out on the porch and drank all day. Even this was better than the way he threw himself under cover whenever a car backfired.

Sometimes, in her darkest moments, she found herself wishing that he had come back in a body bag – at least that way she would have been able to mourn and move on.

As the spring turned to summer she began to feel stifled by the regime at the base and packed up their few belongings into the trailer. He followed her around like a man in a coma, helping where he could but mostly getting in the way. The last thing she did before locking up was to turn on the old computer and send emails to the few remaining friends that army life hadn’t taken away. Then they were gone, taking a steady pace out into the countryside.

Her father was waiting by the old riverboat when she arrived, his smile as warm and welcoming as the reflections of the sun in the water. He held her close for as long as she would let him before allowing her to pull away. The old man greeted her husband next, extending his hand and pumping the younger man’s arm enthusiastically, casting only the briefest of concerned glances at his daughter as he stepped backwards, allowing Lucy to watch him as he silently assessed the space between her and her husband

‘Haven’t seen you up here since your mother passed’ the old man stated with no hint of bitterness. Nevertheless Lucy was ashamed and put her head down. Her father chuckled, ‘Still, you chose a good time of the year to come out here Roy: fishing’s never been better’ Lucy looked back at her husband for any sign of a reaction, realising that she had barely been able to use his name since he came back, but if he had any interest in the fish then he wasn’t showing it.

She took a summer job looking after the trailer park just up the road. The work was a relief from her routine of tip-toeing around the house, taking her mind away from the endless buzzing of her thoughts. Mostly Roy just sat on the water’s edge watching the sun go up and down whilst her father cleaned the boat, made meals and fished in the pure blue waters. Sometimes she would spend the evenings climbing into the mountains, trying to tire herself out enough to sleep, knowing full well that all of this was just procrastination from her problems.

‘Give him time’ her father would say to her most evenings as he sat out on the stern of the boat, ‘He’s still in there somewhere’ and he would chew the end of his cigarette and toss it into the water the way he had always done.

And then one day the birds came. They crested through the skies with military precision, diving into the cool waters and coming repeatedly back to the surface until they had enough fish to feed the five thousand, their wings catching the light and shimmering with energy.

It was a perfect day with no clouds, a cool breeze just taking the edge of the heat, and as Lucy stood by the water’s edge and watched the birds preening like film stars in front of a camera she realised that she was no longer alone. Something about the sight had finally roused Roy from his seat, brought him down to the water until his toes were washed clean by the tide. As she turned to face him the sun caught his eyes and he shielded them from the glare with a lazy salute.

No words were exchanged, but she found herself reaching towards him and placing an arm on his shoulder. For once he didn’t flinch from her touch: instead he turned away from the view just for the briefest of moments and smiled bright enough to shame the sun.

They stood there together that way for a long time, watching as the birds came and went and for the first time in months Lucy allowed herself to feel hope.

The Mega

Protesting Too Much…

The masked man clung to the shadows as he scaled the sheer cliff of the wall, clinging to the bricks like a limpet.

The night was silent aside from the occasional sound of a siren in the streets below, making him pause and shrink into the shadows, trying to become invisible until they had gone. If he was seen here he would certainly be arrested before he had chance to complete his mission.

Finally he reached the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the one where the Royals appear from time to time to demonstrate the skills they’ve learned in waving school, clambered over the rail and fell straight into Marilyn Monroe.

A second glance was sufficient to tell him that this was not the long-deceased starlet: for one thing as far as he could remember she hadn’t been six foot five and built like a builder and for another he was pretty sure that she’d had significantly less facial hair.

There was a moment of silence as the masked man, who was dressed as Batman under his heavy coat, and the builder-dressed-as-Marilyn regarded each other…and then Batman noticed the others.

There were, at a quick count, three Devils and several assorted Demons, a couple of Elvises (inevitably), a man who seemed to be dressed as a chicken, Marilyn, himself and two Michael Jacksons looking embarrassed by the rear parapet.

The Batman took a long look at the small gathering of film stars and minor celebrities and decided he’d seen enough, ‘What the hell are you lot doing here?’ he said

Marilyn drew himself up to his full size, his general demeanour announcing to anyone who wanted to know that he had every right to be here, dressed in drag or otherwise, ‘Friends Of The Earth’ he announced, ‘Who are you?’

Batman tried to reach the same height and stance and failed spectacularly to do either, ‘Father’s For Justice’ he responded, ‘Campaigning for better rights of access to my kids’

Marilyn shook his head, nearly causing one of his false breasts to pop out of his bra and catch on fire from the candle in the hand of the Elvis next to him, ‘Well you’ll have to campaign elsewhere: we’ve already got Animal Rights, Friends Of The Earth, Free Tibet and Amnesty International up here’ Batman silently acknowledged the wave from Michael Jackson #1 at the mention of Amnesty, but returned to his original antagonist, determined to maintain his standards

‘Well’ Batman replied, ‘I’m not going anywhere until the camera crew from the BBC arrives’

‘Been and gone mate’ Elvis #4 replied with just the slightest hint of a Newcastle accent, ‘They interviewed Chicken man there and two of the Animal Rights Elvises and buggered off’ Elvis #4 shrugged, ‘I think there was a Tube strike to report on or something’

Batman cursed loudly at his surprisingly bad timing. He had to admit that the hour or so of procrastination at the pub whilst he drank a bit of the old Dutch courage had probably cost him his headline, but it was too late to do anything about it now.

‘You guys really should check your flags’ a new voice announced. As one costumed avenger they all turned to the window and set eyes on Terry, the bored looking Security Guard. Terry, who had often had cause to resent his decision to take a summer job rather than go on the riverboat holiday with his University mates offered them a friendly smile and gestured towards them with a small flask of coffee

‘Sorry?’ said the Newcastle Elvis

‘The Royals are out mate’ Terry replied, pointing to the half-mast flag, ‘not a soul at home apart from us guards and a few kitchen staff’

‘Well we’re not going anywhere’ Batman replied, his voice suggesting that he was about ready to call it a day.

Terry sucked air through his teeth, ‘Well…’ he paused, ‘Thing is: we’ve got this old computer see, still got tape rolls and takes about half an hour to load anything more complicated than Space Invaders…and if you guys stay I’ll have to call the police and log it on the computer…whereas if you were all to scarper within the next five minutes then we can just forget this ever happened’ He smiled again and let them see the night stick and can of pepper spray on his belt, ‘I’ll just leave you alone to think about it shall I?’

Terry vanished and there was a moment of embarrassed silence whilst the protestors thought about the warmth of their beds and about how bloody stupid they all felt.

Finally the chicken man shrugged and stood up, ‘I don’t know about you guys’ he said, ‘but I could murder a curry’


Argent said...

All beautifully crafted! I REALLY liked the 10-worder though, the pacing was just excellent.

Raven said...

All wonderful. I loved the poem and thought you couldn't best it until I read the 10-word, which I think is the seed of a beautiful novel. Beautifully written. I enjoyed the third too, but the 10-word was truly magnificent. You are such a good writer!

the watercats said...

..AAhhh.. you always get me laughing!... and sometimes a bit teary with your writing, and how you can write a song out of the words...(clever bleeda!)
Great stuff again Pixie dude!