Posts Tagged ‘story’

Who is She?

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

This week I went to the Bay Horse pub in the Northern Quarter. I was with Sir Pubert Gladstone (He requested a pseudonym, so he got one.) who informed me of a ‘lady in a glass box’ located downstairs in the basement. I went to investigate and sure enough, there she was. A blonde, sunglasses-wearing lady staring at a bird in a cage. Who is she? And what was she doing in the basement of a fairly average pub? This lovely lady and a bit of Nick Cave and the Black Seeds have prompted the following story.

Lucy and the Bird

Lucy’s limbs flail as she dances in the corner of the Bay Horse basement to the music that only she can hear. She dances alone in an almost empty room, everyone else settled in booths sipping whisky and beer, conversation underway. She has been here before. Every night, in fact, for what feels like forever. Next to her a bird sits silently and motionless in a silver cage, watching the scene unfold. Only its eyes flick back and forth, back and forth as the clientele pass. Few people notice the bird and those who do are disappointed by it. A dry martini sits untasted on a small mantle next to a half-melted candle and a stack of Jim Beam coasters. Lucy has the same drink every night but never takes a sip. The owners don’t ask what she would like; they simply nod at her and pour. Her blank face shows no response, she simply treats the small glass as a fee for being there.

Lucy is given a wide berth as she dances, her eyes covered in dark, rounded sunglasses. Her peroxide blonde wig is dry and frizzy; fibrous strands pickup static charge as her hands brush past it. Her legs are encased in criss-cross stockings; shoeless, she dances unflinching as her feet stick to years of sticky alcohol accretion.

Upstairs the bell rings for last drinks and the small crowd finish the last drops of precious liquid, pull on jackets and leave. Lucy continues to dance in her corner, bar staff collecting empties and placing chairs on tables around her. A quick mop just for the sake of it, the final glasses washed and put away for tomorrow. The doors are locked and the lights turned off, leaving Lucy and the bird together in the darkness of the Bay Horse basement.

Lady at the Bay Horse

Lady at the Bay Horse

Wednesday Write-In #81: Spring Fever

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

This is my second attempt at Cake.ShortandSweet Wednesday Write-In. This week’s words were: drawn; sitting comfortably; sag; hiss; Ship-shape. I was instantly drawn to the word ‘hiss’ for reasons you will soon discover if you choose to read on.

Spring Fever (Or When Geese Attack)

Even the most pessimistic Mancunians can’t deny the approach of spring in the city. “It has been the wettest winter on record,” they complain. “Last summer was the best we’ve had in years. That won’t happen again.”

Perhaps it is thanks to the endless winter drizzle and the increasing hours of sunshine that is exciting the daffodils, plum trees and cherry blossom. Crocus flowers are being drawn up from their muddy winter hideaways to add splatterings of lilac to dormant parks and roadside garden beds. Those browny-green twigs you have ignored during the winter months are suddenly bursting into joyful colour – electric green leaf shoots and look-at-me flowers. Nature is coming to life again and it wants to show off.

The birds are back in town, too. Petit sparrows, wagtails and tits dart about claiming territories and socialising. The larger breeds fly in with their heads in the air, cruising down the ship canal and sitting comfortably like bored teenagers by the water’s edge. With each movement they call to their friends – “I’m going over here now.” “Hey guys, I’m bored.” “Sweet, that kid’s got bread!”

Everyone is feeling good about the change of seasons and the approaching warmer weather. However, while sunshine and pretty flowers are good for the soul and breaking the communal SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), no one thinks about what the arrival of peak spring really means.

Canada Geese. One of the most temperamental creatures in existence, I once saw them described as ‘friendly’ in an Illustrated Guide to Birds (the cutesie drawing of the goose even had it smiling.). Dear Author, clearly you have never encountered these malicious fiends in the middle of their mating season. It is obvious you have never had to walk along narrow canal-side pathways with water on one side and a Canadian Goose on the other. They see you coming with nowhere to escape. They move into action, positioning themselves directly in your desired pathway, calling to their friends to come and join in the fun. You reduce speed to a slow but steady pace, not wanting to appear threatening but hoping your larger body mass and intellectual superiority will encourage them to leave you alone.

No chance. Get within a foot of these beasts and they’re off – craning their necks like pissed-off cobras, puffing out their wings and stamping about in circles. You’re in their zone and they’re letting you know. But the worst part is still to come – now they are beginning to hiss. Opening up those supposedly smiling beaks into a ferocious snarl, the sound of a thousand poisonous snakes hits your ears and you know it is on. They attack, stabbing and jabbing and aiming for your knees with their knife-blade mandibles. Don’t put out your hand to stop them or they snap your fingers off. Just run. Your only option to escape this death trap is to get up on your tip-toes, flail your arms in the air and squeal like a small child, running as far and as quickly as possible. Do not look back. Do not make eye contact. Just get the hell out.

And when you can finally stop and catch your breath, your heart pumping with the adrenaline of primal fear, you will be hit with the realisation that someone may have seen that. It is guaranteed that someone probably did and you may feel ashamed about appearing inferior to a goose. But sleep easy knowing that one day that person laughing at your misfortune will experience this torture themselves and will scream an even girly-er scream than you.

Spring has sprung, my friends. The geese are coming.

What’s Up With Real Estate Agents?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

I am currently experiencing the joy that is ‘dealing with Real Estate agents’ as I have to move out of my apartment next week. When I first moved to Manchester I went into many different Real Estate offices in the hope that at least one of them would be willing to help me find an apartment. It was during this time that I discovered just how alien Real Estate agents are and how good they are at giving you completely blank looks when you suggest you might like to rent an apartment from them. When you look at properties online and press the ‘Request More Information” button (a button that to me says ‘Here is your opportunity to sell me your product. Go crazy! Sell! SELL!), you never hear back and when you call to ask about a property they don’t seem interested in talking about it. I’m not entirely sure why Real Estate agents exist in the rental world because they certainly don’t participate in the process apart from when they make you pay administrative fees.

I am in the middle of organising a new rental contract with a new agency which has been GREAT FUN. Not. This morning I had to go in to the office and hand in paper work and no one knew anything about who I was, why I was there or what I could possibly want from them. This joyful encounter inspired me to write a little story about how much I love Real Estate agents.
*I would like to state that there are nice, normal and approachable real estate agents in this world and I am making some very large generalisations in both my comments above and in the following story. However, I’d say the proportion of weird to normal would be 90%-10%.

 

What is Wrong with Real Estate Agents?

Advertisements for one and two bedroom apartments with river views and stunning wood laminate floors hang in the window. Like personal ads, the photographs depict mutton dressed as lamb – carefully angled shots of the kitchen/dining area from seven years ago when the apartment was first furnished, plus a picture of the exterior of the building and a view from a window. Images are for illustration purposes only and may not depict actual residence. Viewings a must.

You push open the door and enter the shiny floored office. People in shiny suits with shiny hair lounging on shiny vinyl seats look up at you as you step inside. Their desks are positioned sporadically across the office – there is no central point of contact and you look around trying to work out where to go. The shiny faces give you a once over – She’s a renter. Their dull and disinterested eyes turn away, leaving you to hang by the front door in awkward silence. No one welcomes you or acknowledges your presence. Your existence within the room is unnecessary, unwanted and almost confusing.

You pick the person sitting closest to the door – he is the youngest in the team, the new whizz kid who is still growing into his pin stripes. “Hi!” you say with positive intentions of bringing him business. “Yes?” is his response. As you sell your reason for being to him, explaining your need for an apartment and asking if the agency can help, he leans back in his comfortable chair, crosses his legs and looks back blankly. “Have you searched on the internet?” he asks. “We advertise all of our rentals on Rightmove. It’s best if you just look on there.”

In other words, piss off. We don’t want your type in here – when you’re ready to buy a property and act like an adult in the real estate market, let us know. Mark who deals with rentals isn’t in the office today and to be honest, the rest of us don’t care about those properties so we don’t care about you either. Therefore, if you would like to take your subordinate self out of our space, that would be great. Yeah, sure, leave us your details. In three months time when you’ve found somewhere to rent through alternative means we’ll start spamming you with emails detailing our available properties and claiming that we tailored it to suit your requirements. Now please just go – the work experience kid has returned with our Starbucks lattés.

You bustle yourself out onto the busy street outside, your jacket still undone, your bags slung hurriedly over your arm. Walking down the street it dawns on you that a fifteen year old in a polyester suit has just out-cooled you and you are still homeless. Two shops down you see another window patterned with For Sale/Lease advertisements. You peak through the glass and try to guess how many jars of gel the guy perched on the edge of his desk, trouser legs raised to reveal pointy-toed leather shoes with a slight heel, used in his hair that morning. He makes eye contact with you and frowns. Time to go home and search on Gumtree.

Wednesday Write-In

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Every Wednesday I receive an email from a writers’ group called CAKE with a list of words to use as inspiration for a piece of writing. The idea is to write something (whether it be fiction, non-fiction, poetry or just a ramble) using one or more of the words provided. Then you should share it with the CAKE network for feedback and just to prove to yourself that you have actually done some writing today.

I have been meaning to participate but my lack of direction and efficiency has meant that I have always thought of an excuse not to. Not today. Today’s words were tide : short-sighted : reflective :apocalypse : gloom. I started writing about an old man sitting by a window, looking outside at the gloomy Manchester drizzle. But this then turned into a children’s story about a boy called Sam. Here is my story. *Please remember that this was written in a short period of time with zero editing. It will not be award winning.

Sam’s Glasses

 

Sam’s mum made him wear glasses. They will help you see things that are far away, she had said.

Sam didn’t like his glasses – they hurt behind his ears and fell down his nose whenever he tied his shoes or looked at ants on the ground.

Children at school teased him. His mum said he should explain that he was short-sighted, but that didn’t help. They just called him “Short-Eyed-Sam.”

Sam liked to take his glasses off and see the world through his own eyes. He would see colourful shapes and blurry forms that no one else could.

Without his glasses, his backyard would turn into an adventure land with green spindles and mumbopikes, flying jiggernots, and the endless cavern where the three-nosed humbert lived.

One day before school, Sam stopped to inspect a beetle outside his classroom and his glasses fell off. As he stood up, he felt the metal frames crunch under his foot – his glasses were broken.

His teacher called everyone inside and Sam sat down at his desk. As he looked around the room, Sam started to smile. Gone were the Times Tables charts, spelling books and school projects. The walls of the classroom stretched and expanded, towering blue, yellow and red poles sprouted high into the air and a big black screen hovered in the air infront.

Rows of robots with flashing lights and buttons churned and whirred as a giant orange flower walked and talked back and forth far off in the distance. From above hung lime green vines filled with exotic three-armed creatures, the more daring of them sneaking a wave at Sam from high above.

The giant walking-talking flower invited Sam to come forward, beckoning him with a floppy petal and a large smile. Sam skipped past the robots, pushing the buttons of a few as he passed and laughing at the yellow bellied shoddies and flapjaws.

When he reached the front, Sam danced and sang with joy – this was the best day at school ever. The robots clapped at the end of his performance and Sam felt like the King of the Schoolroom Jungle.

The giant walking-talking flower held out a set of silver Super Space Goggles which Sam placed on his face. As the world around him became clear again and his teacher’s concerned face peered back at him, Sam found himself back in his classroom.

Sam walked back to his desk, sad that his adventure was over. But as he sat at the back of the classroom Sam lifted his glasses on and off his nose, shifting between a maths lesson and watching a giant walking-talking flower.

I Hereby Declare…

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I’m umming, I’m ahhing, so I am publicly announcing that I, Jessica Odette Davies, am going on a camp. And not just any old camp – Camp NaNoWriMo. This is WORSE than most camps. Sure, I won’t have to sleep in the mud and I get to use my own toilet, but by declaring today that I am signing up, I am committing to writing another 50,000 words in 30 days. Yikes.

For those of you who remember, last November I tackled the 50,000 word challenge and survived! I did it! I wrote the words! I have done ZILCH with those words since, but they continue to haunt me from my desktop. So why not write more? My last attempt saw me write about my life à Paris, this time I am going to attempt fiction. I have never been good at fiction, and I don’t see why I will start being good at it now. But by gosh, I am going to try!

Now the only problem is finding a subject. I have an idea but I fear it to too based on reality and therefore my story will turn into my usual non-fiction, reflective narrative. I want to avoid this. I want to write something completely new, completely different, completely weird. So I am now presenting you with a challenge – 7 days to provide me with a topic for my story. Anything. Except no love-sick vampires or high school boys flying around on brooms while wearing thick-rimmed glasses. That is your mission – you MUST accept it.

Check In

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I am ten days into my write-50,000-words-in-a-month, NaNoWriMo, attempt. I am having very mixed feelings about the whole thing as I am enjoying the discipline of writing 2000 words a day but, being me, am disconcerted by the quality of what I am writing. There is the constant concern niggling at the back of my head of whether or not any one is going to want to read what I put together and whether or not this is just a big waste of time. I realise that this is in no way the final copy and whatever I write now will be changed, re-worked and edited into something that is completely different to its current form, however I wouldn’t mind having a small feeling of confidence that the ideas I am getting out have the potential to be published.

I have had much support from various people around me saying I just need to keep pumping out the words and see what I end up with in the end. Anyway, today I reached 20,000 words which surprises and excites me. It has been really good to sit and write every day and I hope I can continue this after the month is over. I hope to reach the half way mark by Saturday – that will give me a real reason to celebrate!

Writing Assignment

Monday, November 7th, 2011

I have learnt my lesson to never again request writing topic ideas on Facebook. The suggestions returned were “Kittens” and “Mittens”. Good on ya, James and Ben, but here we go. A story about kittens and mittens.

“Meow!” said the little kitten, “I am so cute and fluffy!”
“SQUASHED!” yelled the evil mitten that had been sneaking up on the fluffy kitten for the past five minutes, and then crushed the kitten’s bones and destroyed all of its vital organs.
“We are the winners!” laughed the clan of mittens, cheering for their mitten leader who had finally destroyed that stupid kitten.
“Not for long!” replied the even eviler group of kittens who pounced from behind and tore those mittens to shreds, dragging their never ending woollen threads throughout the house until all that remained was a sea of wool. And in that wool the kittens did play, dancing and prancing and squealing with laughter every time they remembered how they had killed those useless handsocks.

THE END.

Well That Was Easy…

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

An hour and 15 minutes later and I am done. I have written 2010 words – that’s a whole 343 words more than required. I will probably keep writing as it has just started raining and I should make the most of the bad weather. It is far too hard to write when the sun is shining. It’s a relief to see that it is achievable (even if the words that I wrote where mostly ramble, blabber and rubbish.)

Ideas Please

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Hello.

I want to write a story and I sat looking at a blank page for about an hour yesterday and nothing came. So I need you to give me an idea/topic/first line/last line/something to get me started. Excellent. Thank you.

Bye.