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Gerald

20 May

I think I said before that Hit and Run is an opening and this is certainly in the same story, but i’m not sure whether it goes before or after. Oh well, enjoy!

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Steam rose from the makeshift kettle.

A special blend of tea that had been stolen from the back of a particularly flash looking Volvo estate a few weeks before had been measured out. As the water was poured, Gerald deeply inhaled the exotic Darjeeling vapours. This was not the kind of smell that he was accustomed to. This was much more like what Gerald thought he deserved. He closed his eyes and imagined an old leather wing-back chair, an open fire and the dusty smell of old books in walnut cabinets.

When he opened his eyes he saw an old wooden bucket, an open toilet and smelt the dusty smell of scrap metal in plastic crates. He sighed wearily, and absent-mindedly stirred his tea leaves. Now if only he could get his paws on some fresh milk.

Paws. Yes, sorry, I may not have mentioned that Gerald was a monkey. Anyway.

He peeled the top of a UHT milk pot back and glared at the contents. The glare was a very well practised one. It was a glare that he gave most of the objects in his possession. None of them were what they should have been. The orange beaker with a smiley sun on the side was not a bone china cup and saucer. The dented aluminium bucket was not a kettle. The PG tips he usually drank was  not proper tea, at least as far as Gerald was concerned. The new tea, however… Ah yes this tea was only used sparingly, one small cup, or orange beaker with a smiley sun on the side, per day.

When Gerald was first let out with the rest of the troop, the cars had fascinated him. He carefully watched his older brothers, sisters and cousins pull aerials, window wipers and bits of trim off the cars, pull them to pieces and then discard them, only to do it all again the next time. Gerald had always known he was different. The wanton destruction that he saw on a daily basis disturbed him, and he seldom joined and even then only to keep up appearances.

He first became fascinated by a telescopic aerial from an Austin Allegro. Whilst the rest of the troop joyfully leapt on the car, Gerald took his new prize off to a quiet corner. The simple sliding mechanism captivated his imagination. He saw instantly how it was done, and other ways that it could be used. When he proudly showed this to his family later that day, they had pulled it away from him and bent it, then thrown it away. Gerald was heartbroken.

From then on, he had made plans. Slowly, slowly it had all come together and the other members of the family had fallen into line once they’d seen the material benefits of following his orders. Of course, not all of them had been willing to do as they’re told, it’s not really in the monkey mentality, but we’ll come to that later.

With a telescope, cobbled together from a couple of magnifying glasses and an old exhaust pipe, he had started analysing the cars driving into his section of the safari park. He had made copious notes on what types of cars came through, the occupants and their likely cargo. He had found week-enders in shiny new estates were the best targets. Anyone on holiday longer would have left their best loot in the hotel or camp-site. It really was amazing how much there was to be had whilst his tightly drilled units distracted the googly-eyed visitors.

He took a first sip of the piping hot tea, and had a brilliant idea.

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Hit & Run

7 Apr

A story I’ve had in my head for a while, and this is one of the openings I’ve written for it… Hope you enjoy!

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“Daddy! Look at the funny monkey!”

The little girl pointed through the window at a small monkey doing what looked suspiciously like the Twist.

“Daddy! Daddy, look at the funny monkey! He’s dancing Daddy! Look!”

The little girl was now squashing her face up against the glass, which no doubt actually impeded her view but gave an excellent impression to her Daddy about just how exciting it all was. Daddy looked up from his brochure.

“It says here,” He read “That Rhesus monkeys are diurnal and mainly herbivorous”

The little girl slowly turned towards her Daddy, smearing the breath marks she’d made on the glass with her cheek. He continued.

“That means that they sleep at night and eat vege- Oh, look. That one really is dancing” He had glanced up to see what now looked, rather appropriately, like the Monkey. He reached for his phone to video it.

The dancing Rhesus monkey saw the frantic pocket action and knew what it meant. Once that phone was in his hand, nothing else in the world could distract the big, dumb human from it. Imperceptibly, at least to big, dumb humans, the rhesus monkey gestured and winked to a hidden unit in the bushes.

“Quickly, Daddy!” The little girl cried, “You’re missing it again!”

Daddy was trying to retrieve his phone, but the seat belt, and his belly, was slowing him down. If they had been more observant, they would have noticed the dancing monkey was not paying full attention to his moves, but rather his eyes darted around and under the car.

“Where’s the camera on this damn thing?” The little girl spun around, reached around the seat and plucked the phone out of his hand.

“Honestly, I don’t know why we have to carry around all this gubbins. I remember when a phone was for phoning-”

“Ssh!” The little girl hissed. She had unlocked the phone, found the camera, switched to HD video mode almost as soon as her Daddy had started talking.

The red light on the phone was noticed instantly. The monkey stopped dancing. He was not going to become the latest internet star, despite his dreams. His orders were to attract and hold the attention of the targets. Naturally, he had danced. However, he was also under strict orders not to be videoed putting on too good a show so he wouldn’t attract undue attention. So, he had to bury his ambitions, and work for the greater good. When the red light came on, he sighed inwardly, dropped to his haunches and started picking his nose.

“DADDY! Look at the funny monkey now!” The girl was laughing harder than ever. Daddy looked unimpressed, and dropped his eyes back to the brochure. The little girl happily videoed the funny monkey, while the funny monkey died a little inside.

The big, dumb humans were completely oblivious to the crack unit of six camouflaged monkeys that had slipped under the car from the other side. In precisely twenty-five seconds, the last monkey was counted out from under the car and was beating a tactical retreat back to the bushes, their mission complete, and the vital component captured.

Interview Practice

30 Mar

“So to get started, please tell us why you’d like this role”

“Well, for a start the office is quite close to where I live so commuting wouldn’t be a pain in the arse.”

The interviewer nodded and took some notes. The candidate continued.

“Also, the main reason I’d like this role is because I have rent and bills to pay, and by doing this job, you’d give me money.”

“Mmh-hmm” The interviewer quickly finished scrawling, looked up and smiled. “Excellent point. Next question, what qualities do you think you can bring to this role?”

The candidate rolled his eyes, and leaned back in his chair.

“Er, well, I suppose the main quality I’d bring would be that I’d do the job really well. I’ve looked over the job description and it looks like a piece of piss to be honest. Also, relating back to the last question, if I didn’t do the job, you’d stop giving me money.”

“Ah-ha, thank you. I’ll hand you over to my colleague for the next question.” The colleague looked up from her notes, her eyes were bored and lifeless.

“How would you help build and maintain our corporate ethos?” She said icily.

The candidate once again looked annoyed.

“Oh for goodness sa-… OK, fine. Um, I would make sure I worked hard, and I wouldn’t do anything really stupid in the office, unless of course the manager wasn’t looking. I also wouldn’t slag off the company in earshot of anyone important. I also wouldn’t do any of those things that the company says you shouldn’t.”

The interviewer and the colleague looked at each other and nodded. It was the interviewer’s turn again.

“OK, and finally what are your views on diversity?”

“Diversity?” The candidate looked confused. “How hard can it be? I’m not racist, sexist, ageist, religionist, obesist, disabilitist and don’t care who puts what part of themselves into anyone else and no one else should either. I can’t say I ever spare a thought for diversity, people are just people. What a stupid question.”

The interviewer stopped scribbling and looked up.

“Lovely, that’s all for now. unless you have any questions?”

“Yes, when do I start?”

Distraction

16 Mar

Ed was very excited about his latest writing efforts. In fact, he was so excited about it he had printed it out and was taking it out for a walk. Well not exactly out for a walk, but sitting indoors typing didn’t do it justice and felt going to sit outside, basking in the sunshine and watching people go by would inspire him even further. He was even going to write with a pencil. That’s how serious he was. An honest-to-god, sharpen-with-a-penknife pencil.

It was as he stood outside his front door, dithering about which direction to head for maximum inspiration his old friend Dave snapped him out of his reverie.

“Alright ma-ate?”

“Yeh, yeh alright. Hi.” Replied Ed meekly. Being snapped out of his reverie was something that Ed was going to have to take time to get over. He liked Dave. He liked Dave a great deal, but this was precisely the wrong moment for him to turn up out of the blue. Turning up out of the blue was something that Dave did. He was one of those people who goes off the radar for weeks or months at a time, and then turns up as if everything were normal, apparently unaware that explanation was needed. Ed could see him every day for a week, and then not see him for three or four. It was just something he accepted.

By the expectant way Dave was looking at him, Ed felt it was his turn to talk. He didn’t know what to say.

“Um.” He tried. Yes, that would do. It was the best he could muster at such short notice.

“Mate, I was just coming to see you. We don’t see each other enough.”

“Oh.” It occurred to Ed he was outside for a reason, but couldn’t recall it. He looked back at his house.

“Don’t you ever think after all we’ve been though, we should see each other more?”

“Erm, ok. I was just, um…” Ed looked up and down the street. Perhaps the answer would be obvious if he looked around a bit. His brain was racing, though it was more in a manner of a dog chasing it’s tail than a sprint.

“Think about what we’ve been through together. School, uni, gender reassignment, unconscious summer holidays in Portugal.” Dave smiled a devious smile at Ed, who knew the part about gender reassignment had been a test to see if he was listening. He had certainly been hearing, but listening would have been a strong word for it. Dave continued regardless.

“And all this time with me living so far away, you know? Well, guess what?” He asked expectantly.

“I er- I’m not… Hmm?” Ed was taking a surprisingly long time to get a grip.

He really had been, for a very short time, in ‘the zone’. You’ve heard a lot about the zone, but you’ve probably never quite been in it like Ed was. Unfortunately, a characteristic of the zone was an utter inability to comprehend it, even when you were in it. The zone was like a helicopter. Getting in one could be tricky and once you were in you never wanted to come out, but anyone who said they really knew how one worked was a liar.

“Come on man!” Cried Dave at last, “This was supposed to be big! I was supposed to come along, get a big embrace, then I was going to reminisce briefly, then you’d say how brilliant it would if I moved in around the corner. I was going to tell you I was doing that tomorrow, then we’d go ‘yeh!’ and get to the pub, chuckling like idiots.”

Ed attempted to put a few of these things together.

“Ok, right. So you’re-”

“I’m bloody moving in round the corner aren’t I?!”

Ed finally shook off the last of the zone. He was in the moment, fully engaged and ready to go to the pub chuckling like an idiot. It was just then when Dave changed tack.

“So what’s that then?” Dave asked, pointing at the sheaf of paper under Ed’s arm. Ed was now so soon out of the zone that when asked about his work, he seemed surprised there was something nestling under his arm and almost dropped it.

“Oh, that’s er- my manuscript” Ed wasn’t sure why he had decided to use the word manuscript. He wasn’t precisely sure what exactly the ‘manu’ part of it meant, and why it would make a difference. Up to that point, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever actually said the word aloud before. It wasn’t even a script.

It was turning out to be an odd day for Ed.