I (sometimes) call myself Mr. Pondersome. I'm a rather wordy, weirdy person. I say hullo a lot. I write a lot more. While you're here, why not give some of it a read?

Friday, 25 May 2012

"A CRACK IN A PATH" CHAPTER 6: A TWISTED KEY - PART 2 (a.k.a. More Honouring of Prior Commitments)

Chapter 6 – A Twisted Key (Path B)

            Bloody cheap...bags! Urgh. Two of the handles snapped off a yard back. Makes sense. Ah well, at least nothing burst out. Then again, that box of cereal is burrowing a hole through the bottom. I can feel its corner pressing against my middle finger. Itchy.

            I thrust the bags down on the doorstep; dig a hand into the denim pit that is my right pocket. The wallet always makes for a tight squeeze. I can just feel the bottom half of the key though. Ouch! Fucking sharp prong!

            I slip my hand out. Has it drawn blood? Not yet. Feel a cut though. Either way, it’s still effective. I dig deeper.

            Mum’s visiting Edith again. It’s good that she’s there for the woman but it doesn’t help that she’s always toddling off to the hospital on Tuesdays. I hate shopping on my own. I never know what impulse buys to follow through with, how to rationally resist a 2-for-1 deal. The budget’s too lenient.

            Take today, for example. I got the beans, the cereal, the sugar and the salad, and I still had a fiver. If there’s ever any change left over, do what you think is wisest, Mum always says. I saw a deal on hand cream. Our usual brand is all runny and sticky, so I chucked this new stuff into the trolley. Now I’m questioning just how wise it was to even bother.

            I yank the keys out, flick through them to the right one. It’s looking a little worse for wear, a bit flimsy at the middle. Are the spares still in the top drawer in the dining room? Among all the other shit Dad insisted on burrowing away.

            I reach for the lock, hear mumbling in the distance. I turn back, catch a shimmer of reflector coat yellow. The police. Two officers: a man and a woman. I drop the keys, shuffle back down the garden path.

            They’re stood beside a lamppost, tying something onto it. The woman is pulling the tie from behind and the man has his hands out, like he’s measuring how level the sign is. The sign?

            I wait a moment as the man steps forward, watch the woman hurry after him. I give them two yards or so before I make a move.

            Sometimes I hate instinct. Strike that, I hate instinct most of the time. I hate how it makes every step a nervous little itch. I hate how that itch sharpens into a scratch. And I really fucking hate how that scratch makes you want to stop. But you can’t.

I can’t. The lamppost is barely inches away. The sign flashes from the corner. It’s laminated. Why does that bother me?

            I shut my eyes as I move around it. I daren’t look at a single word, not until I see it all there together. My eye lids soften. Maybe it isn’t what I’m thinking. This is all ridiculous. I just need to look and see that...



MISSING

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?



            Of course, I have. Of course, I fucking have.

            His face is all fuzzy round the edges. His hair is shaved close to the skull. A cigarette sags in his crooked mouth. His eyes are half shut in a dozy expression. His eyes...

            I step back. No. I’m not looking anymore. I won’t read on. I don’t care what his name was, who it is that’s looking for him or even since when. I’m not responsible. It was an accident. It was an accident. It wasn’t me.

            I tilt my head up slightly. Those officers are looking back now. The woman seems to be stopping, maybe even suspecting. Recognising me. I turn my back on them: the shimmering poster, the shining people. They won’t remember me if I leave them all behind.

            I’m heading up the pavement, moving round the corner. The hem of my coat slaps the gate. I tug it close. Nobody knows. Nobody would remember me, because it’s me.

            I walk into the door. I spin around; snatch the keys from the stone. I cling to the right one, eyes staring back at the poster from over next door’s hedge. I jab the key into the lock. It bangs against the door frame. I glance at it, try again. Are those two sets of footsteps? Bang. Try again. If only I could see past that...

            BANG! Clatter.

            I turn back. The key is in the lock. The top bits still on the key ring. An inch apart.

            Shit. Shit, shit, shitty shit! I bang on the door. I raise my fist again.

            Mum. She won’t be back for another hour yet. I let it drop.

            Maybe if I... Okay, well, how about... Fucking fingernails! Why don’t they have any grip? Shit.

            I sigh, scoop up the bags. Well then. The back door. There’s no other way.

            I glance up the pavement. The police have gone. The poster’s still there. I turn, head in the opposite direction. The long way round.

Once again, please feel free to tell me what you think. The background info should be sufficient but if you do have any further questions or comments then please post them below.

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

"A CRACK IN A PATH" CHAPTER 6: A TWISTED KEY - PART 1 (a.k.a. A Promise Honoured)

Hullo all,

Now this will need some explaining.
As part of my final Major Project (that's the Creative Writing degree's equivalent to a dissertation), I had to write 11,000 words of a novel. My idea was an ambitious one: to write a novel of two parallel narratives, both featuring the same main character. I called it "A Crack in a Path", the story of an angry young man named David Rivers who gets embroiled in two sides of a local crime.
After creating a mutual introduction to set up David's character and the titular fulcrum of the story, I separated the narratives into Path A and Path B.
In Path A, David discovers the handbag of an elderly neighbour and in an act of kindness goes to her house to return it to her. When he arrives he discovers the house broken into and the old woman dead. After calling the police, he starts to obsess over her death and eventually aims to discover just who did it, for himself. In short, David becomes a very amateur but rather observant sleuth.
In Path B, David comes across a local thief down by the local canal and accidentally gets into a fight with him. In the heat of the moment, David pushes the young hoodlum into the water only to discover that he cannot swim. Still in a state of shock, David watches helplessly as the thief drowns. Returning home, he swiftly sinks into a guilt-ridden depression. In short, David becomes an accidental murderer and extremely-paranoid fugitive.
Although I have long since finished with the Major Project, I have carried on with the novel; writing two new chapters, under the same title of "Chapter 6: A Twisted Key". For your reading pleasure, here they are in their current drafted form. Well, here's the Path A chapter anyway; the Path B version will get its own post following this one. Nevertheless, enjoy...


Chapter 6 – A Twisted Key (PATH A)


            I’m just glad the bus shelter’s back up. Whilst this spot’s been ‘undergoing reconstruction’, I’ve had to use that weedy little temporary stop sign, a yard or so down the hill. Months, it’s been. Three or four fucking rainy months. It’s pissing it down today too but at least I’m covered.

            The tatty old ‘bag for life’ rustles against the hem of my coat. Shopping on my own. Again. Why they decided to hold the funeral this late is beyond me. Took the old woman’s daughter long enough to get her shit together. What is it with gap years and Africa? Wouldn’t it be more productive to keep to the West? Maybe even find a fucking job. Christ knows.

            I suppose I shouldn’t mouth off. Nasty business, wills and wakes. I even got an invite. Turned it down, of course. It’s an open casket.

            Where’s this fucking bus? The hems of my jeans are soaked through. This was only supposed to be a quick trip. Eggs, cereal, a few cans of beans. I shouldn’t even be out here. The doctor said plenty of rest. Then again, that was a week or so ago.

            ‘84 – BLACKLOCK PARK’. Thank fuck.

            I climb up and mumble, “Hopper Road, please.”

            Is this driver a man or a woman? Can’t tell with the short spiky hair, the scowl. High cheekbones, mind. I drop the money onto the little counter. He/she swipes it and grunts. Too guttural to be a woman.

I shuffle forward; plonk down on a side seat. Look at the grimy corners on that far window. Bloody disgusting. Pity the rain’s on the outside.

            “Sorry.” A feminine voice, out of breath.

My eyes flick back to front of the bus. I catch the outline of a woman’s profile. Young. Thin. Short black hair. Oh shit. It’s her. I pull out my phone, stare hard at it.

            She’s swung onto the seat next to me. The bus is in motion. Can’t escape now.

            She goes first. “Hello again.”

            I suppose I have to look up. “Hi.”

            “Out for a spot of shopping?” She nods at the bag.

            “Yup.”

            “Where?”

            “Err, White Glade Mall. On Hopper Road.”

            “Oh. Well, I’m just heading into town for the day.”

            “Oh.” Should really add something else here. “Cool.” I wince. What am I? Some kind of bloody hipster?

            She turns to gaze out of the window too. The rain drops are pelting now. I hate it when there’s no particular rhythm.

Just look at her. I bet she thinks she looks very bohemian in that green woollen beret. I quite like the toggle coat though. Makes her look a little awkward, the way it’s not fully closed. Either way, red looks surprisingly good on her. The less said about her gay little umbrella, the better.

Her head snaps back towards me. “By the way, I don’t suppose you still have those earrings? Sorry about before. I wasn’t having a very good day, I’m afraid.”

“Um,” I start digging around in my coat pockets. “I think they’re...”

“Don’t worry if they’re not on you. My boyfriend’s bought a new pair already.”

“No, no. I’m sure they’re...” I yank them out. “Here! Oh.” The metal frames have completely bent out of shape now. I really should have taken them out sooner.

“That’s quite alright.” She plucks them from my palm, barely touching the skin. “Thank you very much, anyway.”

She swings her little bag onto her lap and pulls it open with one movement. Just like that. Her fingers must be ridiculously strong. Look at them rummaging around inside. They’re so pale and thin but quick and precise too. I watch her purple painted fingernails shimmer in the murky daylight. Dainty but exact. I think I may have a new fetish. Huh.

They pull out a set of keys. One of them, the longest and sharpest-looking, is bent at the middle. Strange: it looks to be made of a sturdy metal. Nice and thick; probably the heaviest of the lot. And that tip seems deadly, far more jagged than any of the other keys. The fingers clamp shut around them.

“Oh yes. That’s one of my main errands today.” She pulls out the twisted key and looks at it closely. “Off to the locksmith. I honestly don’t know how he managed to break it so quickly.”

“He?”

            “My boyfriend.” She smiles faintly. “He’s usually clumsy. Still, he’s never bent a key before; not since I’ve known him anyway. It’s a shame really. It was new.”

“New?”

“Our first flat key.”

I stare at her, eyebrow twitching.

She gazes back and laughs. “Our first flat.”

I really don’t know what to say. That key is pretty sharp. Could do some damage. Could even stab someone with it. Maybe in the torso.

Except the wound was big. Too big to be done by one little key. And wouldn’t there be dried blood on it? Not if he cleaned it. I dunno: he didn’t look that smart, let alone careful.

“Did he tell you how it broke?”
            She blinks at me, probably surprised to hear a full sentence for the first time. “He got drunk with the lads. Apparently he kept missing the lock, smashing it into the door frame instead.” She chuckles. “It doesn’t surprise me.”

Me neither. I can see him smashing them from between his white-knuckled fingers. Except there’s no thudding sound of metal hitting metal, just a muffled thrust. Maybe a slight squishing sound.

My eyes squint. “Weren’t you in then? At the time?”

“Unfortunately I was out. When I got back he was actually pacing. It took a while to get him to calm down.”  Her thumb gently pushes the key back down into place. “We’ve been using the spare ever since.”

“Since when?”

“Well, it has been a few weeks now. I suppose we’ve just been putting it off.”

A few weeks? More like two.

“My stop.” I reach for the bell. “I’ll, uh, I’ll see you around.”

I feel her eyes stare at me with mild surprise but I’m out of there before she can ask any questions.

That bus was musty. It’s engine was humming too loud. I need space. I need to be able to actually hear myself. Anyway, I can’t be that far from the shopping centre now.

I look up at the bus stop sign. ‘DEMMER LANE’. Shit. That’s a good fifteen minute walk. In the rain. Ah well, at least I have time and fresh air. I yank up my hood. This better be just a hunch.

Monday, 7 May 2012

"One Poppy for all the Daisies" (a.k.a. One More Sneaky Little Poem)

Hullo all,

"One Poppy for all the Daisies" is probably the shortest poem I've ever written and I literally just wrote it. If you're a fan of the Romantic era of poetry but prefer the condensed nature of some contemporary poems then this will probably amuse you.


ONE POPPY FOR ALL THE DAISIES

'Red eye
in a bed
of white.'

Read I, in a bed of white.


Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

"Routine" (a.k.a. A Revamped Poem to Pass the Time...)

Hullo all,

I've suddenly found myself knee-deep in self-pity tonight so I've decided to cheer the hell up by doing something productive instead. So here's another quick-ish poem. It's called "Routine". I think I may have posted a much earlier draft of it on here previously, but I solemnly believe that this version is the superior by far (well, less tacky at the very least).


ROUTINE

I cross that hall.
Enter this room.
Reach for a light.
Scatter the dust.

I tread this board.
Slip on that mat.
Reach for the glass.
Clear out a stain.

I touch your coat.
Slip past my scarf.
Reach for the crease.
Smooth it all out.

I find my feet.
Fall to your floor.
Reach for a sleeve.
Breathe it all in.

The cracks in our ceiling
have met in the middle.


That's a funny thing with poems. I've practically stopped writing them. Oh sure, they come up pretty thick and fast on here but that's because they're normally the shortest and snappiest things I have to hand. I suppose I've just drifted apart from them; like old friends that you only see on certain occasions and yet never really say a proper goodbye to. I'm more about short stories and novels now; I've graduated to the big boy narratives.
In fact, expect to see whole chapters within the next couple of months. Well, maybe don't expect; you know what I'm like, after all. Let's just say I'll try. One chapter from my new, illustrious novel, at the very very very least. Blogger's honour. If there is such a thing...

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome