Tag Archives: Creative Writing

A Money Hole, Stupid

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* For a brief explanation of this weird project please click here.

What do you think it is?

Uhhh….a money hole.

A money hole? That’s stupid.

You’re stupid, stupid.

I’m not stupid, stupid. You’re a stupid stupid face.

……..No I’m not.

 

Let’s get a stick.

Where?

From a tree dummy.

Stop being mean to me!

Okay, I’m sorry. Go get a stick.

What’s the magic word?

 

Thank you.

If you find any money then it’s mine since I was the one who said it was a money hole.

That’s not how it works.

How does it works then?

I keep the money because I found it. You get the stick.

If you find money and don’t give it to me I’m telling.

 

I think I feel something!

Lemme see!

No!

Hey! I’m telling! Let me see!

You’re too little, stupid face.

Shut up! I wish you were dead.

 

Hey, come back. I’m sorry. Tyler I’m sorry.

No you’re not. You’re a big fat stupid meanie.

If you stop crying and don’t say anything to mom, I’ll give you half.

Half of what?

Half of all the money we find.

Promise?

 

Okay, I think I hooked something! It’s probably a tweny or fifty!!

Quickly quickly pull it out!!

Oh….

What is that?

I don’t know, it’s…it smells like…ewwwwww!

That’s it! I’m telling! Mom!!!

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A Bit of the Ol’ Feng Shoo-ee, like

The fuckin' hoose.

The fuckin’ hoose.

* Warning, written entirely in Scots.  For a brief explanation of this project please click here.

Me and big Debs pure hud it out the other day. Jesus man. Like throwin’ fuckin fire baws at wan another. I hud tae get hur telt tae calm doon else some cunt wid ring the polis, then that’d be me, parole gubbed and an away fir the wee man’s Christmas again. Anyway, the dippit wee coo was tryin’ tae tell me that the hoose needed fixin’, and than everyhin was aw in the wrang order an that. I takes this as a personal dig like, given that this cunt wis the cunt that hoisted aw the fuckin’ furniture in.

‘We need a change’ she says, ‘Ah’ve been thinkin’ that we’ve goat fuck all ay that Feng shoo-ee like,’ she says.

Well, Christ in a fuckin’ Cosworth. Feng Shoo-ee she says!? We live in fuckin’ Kirky, nae Bay-jing like.

I says, ‘You’re fuckin’ wrang love, take a wee peep in the bin, I had Feng Shoo-ee fried rice a couple a nights ago! Fuckin’ magic by the way!’

She goes, ‘Ho you! That’s fuckin’ racist, and goes well against ma new frame ah mind by the way. I’m a changed woman.’

Fuckin’ changed woman she says?! She thinks I think she doesnae take a pish in the shower. I know hur inside fuckin’ oot. And she’s packed full a shite.

‘Whit fuckin’ programs have you bin watchin’? Givin’ it aww that fuckin’ feng shoo-ee shite.’

‘Actually ah went tae see a spiritualist yesterday, and he telt that ma chi was aw gammy an aff tae fuck, an that it was probably on account ay the sofa bein’ in the rang place or sumthin.’

Ah wis fuckin’ speechless. Ah just, ah didnae know wit tae say. Here’s me just tryin’ tae watch a bit a Jeremy Kyle and she’s tellin’ me I need swap the TV wi the fridge and drag the fuckin’ bed oot ontae the landin’. No chance.

‘So who was this fuckin’ spiritualist then?’

‘You don’t know him.’

‘How don’t ah know him?’

‘Coz he’s a pal ah Leslie-Ann’s.’

‘Leslie-Ann aye? You ridin’ him?’

‘Ah um tae fuck ya cheeky basturt!’

‘Awright awright! Sorry love, just, I wis just fuckin’ askin’! Awright? So, where am I stickin’ the fuckin’ couch then?’

She looked aroon the room and I knew she hadnae a fuckin’ clue whit she was bangin’ oan about. You kin fuck off wi your fuckin’ chinky feng shoo-ee shite. This is fuckin’ Scotland. In this country the couch faces the telly, and everyhin’ else just gets fuckin’ dumped somewhere aroon it.

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The Tree

The Tree

Myself, and The Tree and the deeds to The Tree.

* For an explanation as to what this project is all about please click here.

I bought The Tree in May of 1959. A Wednesday it was. I recall there being an oppressive, sweltering heat pressing down from above, but it was soothed, consoled, by a delicate ocean breeze that smelled so faintly of a final moment in bloom. It was the perfect weather to cut the ceremonial red tape of a successful agriculture transaction.

The Tree in question was my first, and indeed my last, business venture. I’d been on the market for one like it for several months. I’d been a perfect horticultural pervert about the whole affair. I’d peer through hedges, scale fences under moonlight, consult district planning records and frequent the ghostly corridors of the grand Central library, searching earnestly for the barky creature I so desired.

I came within a half whisker of finding what I needed on several occasions. I would locate a handsome tree, thoroughly scrutinize its potential under the cloak of night, and deem it a good tree. But the problem came when I would attempt to badger the owner into parting with the frivolously bushy accessory to their land.

‘I’m not going to do anything seedy with it,’ I would say, ‘If you’d be so gracious as to allow me that pun.’

That was my line. It would never fail to arouse at least a residual snigger, or a short, nodding nose breath. However they would then stare at me with arms tightly locked and a hard-boiled look of suspicion etched all over their faces. And then they would inevitably ask:

‘Why?’

Of course I couldn’t possibly divulge. They wouldn’t sell me their tree if they knew its darkest secrets. No, no. I would explain that I simply really liked trees, but that I lived in a condo. I would then lie and say that I’d tried discharging my sapling lust with a bonsai tree, but that it was far too small to climb. I never did think of a bonsai tree pun.

The lady that eventually sold me The Tree was an old crow who was more than a tad senile. And in truth, I wondered if I might be guilty of committing a lewd act of shady commerce on her. She explained that she was very fond of The Tree indeed, but that it had cats in it. She said that I was more than welcome to buy the tree for $30 if I took the cats away. We spat the viscous bond of American agreement onto our palms and duly sealed the deal.

Two blissful weeks after this transaction the old lady died of time, and The Tree, allegedly part of the property on which it sat, was taken from me and given to the unsuspecting mailman referenced in her will. I tried to make a terrible stink, but was swiftly informed that a verbal agreement and a spit-moistened handshake between two parties is not recognized as contractually binding in the state of California, and particularly not when one or both of the parties are certified as mentally handicapped. And just like that, my days as a rag and bone and tree man were brought to an abrupt yet poignant conclusion.

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Research – Warm-up

 

Research

 

* For an explanation of this project click here

‘Huh, I feel like I’m being interviewed on television,’ he said, sinking back in the chair. He allowed his shoulders to kneed around the back of the chair for a comfortable space. ‘So what exactly are you going to ask me Julie?’

I smiled at him. He glanced at the notebook in my hands, and then shuffled his shoulders around again against the back of the chair. He crossed his legs, and then uncrossed them again. I glanced at the question written at the top of the otherwise blank page. I dragged a finger down the page, over the lines. I watched his fingers drumming nervously on the padded arms of the chair.

I leant over to the tape deck beside the fireplace and pressed the red record button. I relaxed back in my chair.

‘This is Julie Roth, interviewing Douglas….’

‘O’Hara’ said Doug.

‘Douglas O’Hara. Okay Doug, we’ll start with your earliest childhood memory. Can you tell me about that?’ I said.

Doug looked up to the light and narrowed his eyes to slits. I’d started to notice that people looked to light bulbs for answers deep in their past. Perhaps there was something about the bright light that could expose these dormant memories from the dark corners in which they sat. Doug seemed to squish his face up, even clasp his jaw little, and I could tell that the exertion the recollection of this memory was taking was pushing Doug somewhere he hadn’t been for a while.

‘I was about three, or four maybe-‘

‘Which was it Doug? Three or four?’

‘Eh, three.’

‘You’re sure?’ I said.

‘Yes.’

‘Okay, so what happened Doug? Don’t worry, you’re doing great.’

I gave him a quick smile to reassure him. He was still rolling his shoulders around, doing things with his legs, desperate to find the seated equivalent of crossing his arms.

‘I remember being outside, sitting the empty driveway, in fall.’

‘Whose driveway?’

‘Our driveway.’

‘How did you know it was fall?’

‘There were leaves everywhere. Brown, orange, fall leaves.’

He leant forward and took a drink of water. I could see him shaking a little. He sat back in his chair and looked again to the light.

‘And who was there with you Doug?’

Doug kept looking to the light. He squinted at it again before pinching his nose and ruffling his brow.

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Doug, who was there with you?’

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Try harder.’

‘I, I…don’t….I can’t remember who was there, I can’t. But, but there was, someone.’

I looked down to my notebook and quickly scribbled my thoughts. I kept my exterior completely stoic, but inside I beamed.

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Daily Warm-Ups – A Mouthful of Banana

This is the first in a lengthy series of creative writing pieces based on photographs of dead people. I have been known to frequent estate sales and purchase neglected photographs of the recently department. They’re very good mental stimulants for my writing, and I love the idea of a memory that was saved from the abyss, and interpreted without prejudice or any sense of context beyond its own borders.

I know that it’s weird, but to me there is something endearing about giving fresh life to an expired thought.

Bill and Carson

‘Bill,’ said Carson as he peeked his head around the door, ‘is now a good time to chat?’

Bill looked up from the piece of paper on his desk and turned to Carson, who was now standing in the open doorway. He’d been staring at the same sentence for the last two minutes, and the same piece of paper for the last ten. His eyes gave a clumsy flutter, as if his eyelashes were sweeping the text away. He nodded to the old man in the doorway, and smiled.

Carson walked through the office, taking in all of the jumbled piles of paper and scattered half-thoughts that decorated the surfaces. Bill carefully slipped the piece of paper into his drawer and snapped it shut. Carson gestured to the empty seat across from Bill’s seat. Bill smiled and shook his head.

‘Uh, okay. Bill, this uhm,’ started Carson, shuffling awkwardly from side to side as he looked at the piece of paper in his hand, ‘this uh, request, you made for changes in office policy. You obviously understand that this is grossly unacceptable right? I mean, you understand that right?’

Bill smiled and leant back in his chair. Carson looked to the door. He fumbled again with the paper. He moved towards the desk.

‘Listen, is everything okay at home Bill? I mean, I don’t mean to pry, but you can tell me. I’ve known you for, God, going on eleven years. This,’ he said, holding up the piece of paper in his hand, ‘this isn’t you Bill. You’re a good man. Is Marcy okay? And what about little Lewis? Is everything okay at home?’

Bill held his stare as he leant back further into his chair. He slowly put his hands behind his head, and raised his bare feet up and rested them on his desk between a pile of documents and coffee cup filled with rum. Carson let out an awkward cough. He ruffled the paper and looked back towards the door. Harold, the aging security guard peeked his head around. Below the desk Carson held out his hand to halt Harold from coming any further.

‘Bill,’ he said as he took a deep breath and puffed out his chest, ‘you’re my friend and all, we go back, but we’re gonna have to suspend you with immediate effect. Like, immediate effect. Do you understand?’

Bill’s smile came apart and his teeth appeared, glinting between his lips. He leant forward in his chair and opened his desk drawer. Next to the piece of paper was a banana left over from his lunch. He grabbed the banana, closed the drawer and reclined back again. He peeled it and took two large bites, devouring the entire fruit, leaving only the little heel and the flaccid yellow skin. He tossed the peel onto the desk between them.

‘Go fuck yourself Carson’ said Bill, with a mouthful of banana.

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The Bernstein’s Wedding

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 3.05.31 PM

Explanation

* You can click on the images to enlarge them.

Page 1 jpeg

Page 2 jpeg

Page 3 jpeg

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The Hotel

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Anyone that is familiar with my writing habits will know that I often write for writing’s sake. I hope that you enjoy reading it this much as I enjoyed writing it.    

*

          There was a time, I wouldn’t like to say ‘long ago’, but long enough ago that it could merit that sentiment in the heart of a story teller, that the Tigh-na-Ghuna Hotel was indistinguishable from all others in the Highlands. Black Watch tartan carpets coated the ground, their lines and weaves worn by years of trodden sodden soles that had leisurely strolled the arid and craggy landscape. Brass chandeliers hung from the ceiling, painting long garish shadows on the eerily placid expressions of the big game animals that hung as trophies from the wall. Those shadows would sway and twist in the draft that perpetually blew through the hotel, treating corridors as tunnels, and the bulbs as flames.

The warm red wallpaper was interrupted by dense molded frames wrapped in light gold metal, housing dark portraits of brooding lairds and lawmakers, and lush Gaelic landscapes that would lay themselves bare for watercolored compliments. Every piece of russet hardwood was marked with the concaved brass handles and fixtures describe everything they saw with form skewed and details bent, but all with a buffered golden layer of tone, like the sickly nostalgic memories of a glorifying old yarn spinner. And each room had an intricately layered scent as if its walls were assembled from the seasoned oak of retired malt barrels, dried and aged in the brined sea breeze of the north Atlantic.

In truth, I’m glorifying it because I love to write like my lover’s breath is blowing against my neck, swaying the tiny hairs like rushes in the autumn breeze. There really was nothing particularly remarkable about it. It was just like every other hotel in the area. That was of course until Wendy took over.

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Los Angeles (a la Woody Allen)

Inspired by this:

* Note: This is not how I actually feel about Los Angeles. I’m just having fun.

*

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. Its languidly inefficient layout was a metaphor for every desperate, directionless souls that found themselves being tempted to the rocks of failure by the bright white siren on the hill known, as ‘Hollywood’.

Nah, ‘Siren’, I don’t know. It sounds too, eh, too, Hans Christian Anderson or something. Try again.

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. The blue sky hung like a dust clad drape, and the lines of the city wheezed out in every direction, bringing with them an airborne virus of arrogance and vanity that infected every pore it touched. From the lavish sands of Hermosa Beach to most cavernous bowels of Skid Row, it writhed and spluttered on a deathbed fashioned by the hand it used to relentlessly pleasure itself.

That’s so grim. It’s not that bad. I mean, the weather’s incredible. Try again.

He loathed Los Angeles. He’d watch them all drown, one by one, in the oil-swirled gutter that once reflected their talentless-yet-realtively-good-looking faces among the few bright stars that hung in the dense charcoal sky.

No, no. It’s not their fault. I mean, everyone has the right to chase a dream. I mean, why not?

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. It was where the American dream washed up onto the shore. Sure there were good bits, the odd message in a bottle, or a license plate from another country, but for the most part the sand was awash with condoms and syringes, spat out by the never ending tide that barely keeps the place from a foamy stagnation.

Jeez, where did that come from? Too gross. No, no, you’re not representing your true feelings. You’re saying what they want you to say. No, no, focus more. Okay-

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. It was the junkyard where every dream that had ever been in a head on collision with reality was towed, stripped and used for bit parts, before being scrapped, and then dumped in the landfill known as the service industry.

I mean, you work in the service industry. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s not over yet.

Chapter One. He loathed Los Angeles. So often prefaced by the word “Fuckin’”, it’s frequently ranked among the most unpopular cities in an increasingly unpopular America. The badly designed packaging for the worst product you’ve ever bought, every single aspect of Los Angeles and the people that dwell in it are geared towards inducing a state of revulsion normally reserved for rapists, pedophiles and rapist pedophiles.

*

Again, I’m just having fun. Don’t lose your mind. I actually rather like this city, but I can certainly see why many don’t.

*

The video below is Los Angeles without its make-up on. It’s a very different city from the one in the movies.

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The Election – Part Two

Click here for part one.

*

A lot of the states had put their numbers in by the time the second old man came in. The restaurant had spilled over and there were more people sitting at the bar now. Some were watching the results intently. Others were just checking in and out between lulls in conversation, like it was a tennis match or something. I had stuff to do and couldn’t quite get away with just watching TV anymore, but I was doing that between lulls in work and conversation with the cocktail waitress, make no mistake.

I saw the old man sit down, easing himself onto the stool like an old man. He was more well to do than the alcoholic looking one at the other end. He was wearing a suit. But he had an edge rougher than time. He took his old hat off and sat it on the bar. He raised his finger in the air to me. I walked down.

“Could I have a double Southern Comfort, neat please?” he asked, with a voice like oiled boat rope.

“Certainly” I said, pulling the bottle and subtly looking for a state name. Louisiana. I looked to the screen on the FOX TV. There were numbers streaming across the bottom. Names of candidates I’d never heard of, states I only thought about every four years, and percentage predictions that presumably meant something. I saw the map on the bottom and noticed that the state I believed to be Louisiana was red.

“Hey!” shouted someone from behind me. I didn’t need to turn around to know that it wasn’t either of the young Asian couple. “Where’s that whiskey from?”

The old well to do man looked down at the old raggedy man. He raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

“It’s from Louisiana sir.”

“Republican!” shouted the old boy, pointing his old finger on his bandaged hand.

The old well to do man smiled and gently shook his head. He watched me pour the whiskey into the little glass. He took hold of it with his old creased hand, and turned to the old raggedy guy.

“And you’ll be a Democrat then?” he asked, throwing the whiskey down his tough throat, and bringing his eyes back to the old raggedy boy’s.

“Yes I am! And fuckin’ proud of it!”

I saw some people jump a little and look around for the person that dropped the big ‘F Bomb’. I took a step back. It had nothing to do with me. But I promised myself that anytime I was called upon I would offer them a whiskey that would antagonize the situation. It was already more interesting that the tedious shit on the TVs.

“I thought so,” he said under his breath, looking up to the screen.

“What was that?” shouted the shaggy old boy.

“I said I thought so,” said the old well to do boy as he turned to me, pointing to the empty glass and signaling for me to hit him again with a nod, “I knew it as soon as I came in. I could smell you. Goddamn hippy throwback. How’re you paying for those drinks eh? I’ll tell you how, out of my taxes is how you’re paying for them. So I’ll have another, on me!”

I poured him another whiskey, put the cap on and stood back again. I could feel the tension in the air. People at the bar had stopped watching the TVs. The conversations had dropped to whispers. Everyone was waiting for the old Democrat guy to say something. He just stared at CNN, watching the information pass him by. I reached for the Laphroig.

“You wouldn’t know the first thing about it!” shouted the old shaggy boy, holding his glass as I poured in the whiskey.

“Oh is that right?” shouted the other.

“Yeah it is!” he said, slamming that old wrapped up fist on the bar and throwing the drink back. “You’re too busy fuckin’ polishin’ your house of pearls and your fuckin’ caviar speedboat and your tiny little golden children to know about the real world! This America that you all talk about is a shit bag of lies! You want to stamp on everyone that isn’t white and rich! You’re fascist bastards!”

I felt myself going all wide-eyed. The people at the bar had all but stopped paying attention to the scores on the TV and were all watching the old men arguing. Looking round I could roughly tell who was siding with who. There was a nice little mix of Republicans and Democrats in the bar. I found myself wishing that they’d held one of the debates like this.

“Fascist?!” said the old well to do boy, snapping his fingers at me and the bottle of Southern Comfort. He took the bottle and poured his own. “Oh, I like that. Coming from a communist, drunk, in a bar. The staggering, slurring epitome of the last four years. Fascist he calls me? Listen, when you start contributing something to society other than a picture of failure, then we’ll talk politics. Why don’t you leave us to enjoy a Republican victory in peace huh?”

The people started muttering. I sensed that he’d suddenly divided opinion at the bar. They both had empty glasses and I didn’t know which to fill first. I picked up the bottles and made sure I was holding the Laphroig in the left and the SoCo in the right. The old men were staring at one another down the bar, with everyone in between leaning back. I collected each of their glasses and sat them in front of me. I poured them together. I slid them back along the bartop to the old men.

“And another thing-“

“I’ve heard enough out of-“

“You shut up sickle boy!”

“How about I come over there you elitist-“

The old men had both lifted themselves out of their chairs and had started to walk towards each other. They’d puffed their chests out and squared up, yelling at one another behind the impartial observers to all of this. I put the bottles down. I thought I might have to break up an old man fight.

Suddenly, just as the raggedy old man reached for the other old boy’s tie, the young Asian couple that had since moved to the dining area started clapping and cheering. The noise at the bar quickly disappeared as the restaurant started to cheer and groan. Everyone stopped watching the old guys and became fixated on the TV network of their choice. But by then it didn’t matter.

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TOP 4 REASONS WHY I HATE LISTS

The #list is still #trending. This must cease! And here are my top four reasons why:

1. You’re all doing them



Everyone is making lists in lieu of structured, narrative driven content. It seems that absolutely everything must be in list form or no one will read it. Cracked seem to be the first super blog to base almost all of its content off of its ability to organize things, but so many other media outlets have been tempted by the once-modest, now-contemptuous ‘list’. I’ve caught the column sections of every major news outlet dropping their narrative arcs in favor of spiking you repeatedly with information.

I’ve decided that if I can find a few more articles that share our bitter tone I’ll make a list of the top [however many people have already had this hack idea] lists that detail why lists lack originality.

I could probably create a list ranking the many fragrant pieces of irony that are housed within this list.

2. These lists feed people’s inability to concentrate



Putting these Lunchable sized pieces of information into a bullet point format with a photo break every second sentence is like allowing an extremely fat person to rest on the hood of every car he passes on his long jog towards a safe blood pressure.

We’re reading, but reading extremely badly.

This form is ruining our ability to digest simple narrative structures. You can scroll down the page, look at the headings, look at the pictures, get the outline and move on, learning almost nothing in the process. In fact you probably pushed out the last of the French vocabulary you learned at school and replaced it with the opinion of some twat that a dog is better than a cat.

3. They’re desperate



They are. The casual list is currently the cheapest form of blog writing (and that sentence really carries weight) and it pains me to see online publications that I used to avidly follow resort to pandering Top Ten lists that beg for social interaction and grovel at your top ten toes for ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’.

I recently found myself reading a top one hundred list of books that you should have read before you die. It made me sad to know that most of the people reading that list, and almost certainly myself included, wouldn’t get to read all of those books before death allowed its spiders to weave cobwebs on their lives. It made me think that someone should probably restructure each of those iconic novels into a three point, 500-word list.


4. They always get so much weaker towards the end




By the time our blogger gets to about number seven on the list his gusto is almost shot and he’s left deflated, stumbling roughly towards the end, before retiring in a saggy heap a few points short of an acceptably round number.

*

“The Top Nine Household items one can use to hit a nail into the wall if one has misplaced his hammer?” asked the editor, raising a brow to the timid young contributor.

“I couldn’t think of anymore,” he replied, shuffling in his spot, “I already did book, shoe, stone. I even put Bible in there, but technically that’s just a thick book.”

They stood in silence for a moment, their eyes glancing around the office for inspiration.

“Force?” said the editor, squinting at a ‘Phantom Menace‘ mug on a nearby desk.

“Is ‘Force’ a household item?”

The editor stared deep into his thoughts for a moment. He started nodding earnestly as he handed the slim list back to the young contributor.

“Force is definitely something that is used my house.”

*

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