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?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

THE LONG WHITE CAR (a.k.a. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan - The Man's Story)

            I can't kneel down, I can't stand over, I can't do anything. I've medicated her and laid her out on the gurney but now I have to keep to the side and just watch for further developments.

            I wouldn't say I'm useless here, if she starts to suddenly writhe about I have the straps, the drugs, the training. Except she isn't, she's just laying there humming. She occasionally raises her knees but then she lowers them before it becomes a problem. I'd say that she's thinking but doesn't seem lucid.

            I'm not happy to restrain her like the other raving lunatics; she's no harm to anything. I've met women before who seem lost; many, many women, the kind of women who strut around like aching swans. This woman aches but her pain isn't pride.

            Her humming lilts in tired, half-remembered ways and the tune is gradually paring down between her lips.

            'What song is that?' I say.

            She looks at me with droopy eyes. She brightens up and offers me a perfect curve of a smile, one she must have been practising for years now. I smile back.

            She is a very pretty woman. Blonde, big green eyes, petite. She's regained some of the colour in her cheeks but I don't think it'll be enough. Every time I pass through the psychiatric ward of the hospital all I ever see are pale stretched faces. All I ever hear is discordant humming, unmistakeably discordant, not like the raspy sweetness of the songs she's trying to sing. I think they're nursery rhymes.

            I wonder what they told the husband, the kids. They probably never saw the signs or even properly heard this humming; it's not in the nature of a traditional family to notice the mother wilting. That's what I've found in suburban neighbourhoods like this. And yet the only other time I had a mental case in this ambulance was in September 1962 and that guy was a madman. He was thrashing about when we found him, almost killed a few other members of his commune apparently. They loved him like a brother and yet he still went rabid. From the way he was growling I suppose he thought he was a mountain lion.

            Meanwhile this little lady here is perfectly still. I can't even hear her humming anymore. Her skin has turned a whiter shade. She's looking out of the window.

            I approach and stand over her. I kneel down.

            'Mrs Jordan,' I say. 'I want you to take deep breaths.'

            I can hear a flurry of words buzzing in her throat.

            'Mrs Jordan.'

            She turns to me. 'Paris,' she sighs, adopting a crooked smile. It seems natural, less pretty more beautiful.

            I mirror it. 'Of course.'

            The back doors open and the ramp is pulled down.

            'Welcome to Paris,' I say.

            The ambulance fills with white coats but I lead the way.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

JACK MANAGEMENT (a.k.a. Battle of the Narrators - Rather Short)

            Jack Management shot his previous narrator. No-one knows exactly why.

            He was...I’m Jack Management: hat collector, certified gun owner, pedant for hire.

            Jack seemed...People constantly ask how I got the surname. I married my job, got divorced, kept the name. Jack is cool but Management gives me purpose. It’s all you can take from an abstract concept but management took my middle name in return. It’s only fair.

            Jack...was brave. Is brave. Handsome too. Not ruggedly handsome, not quite yet. The beard’s still growing out. I have a boyish complexion.

            Jack! I don’t do third person omniscient. I only use it when it counts which is to say let it happen. I have a story to tell so I put it how I put it.

            Jack was filled with anger and frustration at not succeeding in his chosen career. A pedant for hire wasn’t really relevant to anything, let alone trustworthy.

            Nice try, kid. Anyone ever tell you, you use the wrong tense?

            His mere presence was offensive, detrimental to the problems he sought to solve.

            Just checking my gun, Mr Verbose. Fully loaded.

            Jack collected hats because his hairline was receding. He spent most of his morning’s looking petrified.

            Warning, kid.

            Jack also couldn’t...

            BAM. Yeah, yeah. Narration is really tough.

THE MANNINGS IN THE BATHROOM (a.k.a. Goodness, I am Getting Rather Prolific, Aren't I?)

        Mr Manning carefully took down and folded up the plastic shower curtain. He slipped two rings onto each finger of his left hand. He turned to Mrs Manning on the toilet.
        She squeezed her knees together until they turned a patchy red. She rubbed them gently.
        'The kids are coming at five.' Mr Manning said.
        Mrs Manning breathed out through the side of her mouth.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

LITTLE WINE GLASS (a.k.a. Can I Write a Believable Woman? Can I Make Strawberries Scary? Umm....)



Found a lonely little wine glass already washed on the drying up rack. Colin?


            She walked into the kitchen, ducking past a half-opened cupboard door. She reached inside and pulled out the one remaining bowl, the chipped bowl. She filled it to the brim with cornflakes. She filled it with milk and the cornflakes went everywhere. She yawned and knelt down.

            She picked up half the cornflakes and tipped them into the bin. The bin was overflowing with party hats. She moved her attention onto the drying up rack and saw the little wine glass. It was immaculate, the only thing that had actually been cleaned.

            She looked to the other side of the kitchen, the rest of the wine glasses were either tipped over or smashed on the floor. She yawned again.

            She grabbed a spoon and took her cereal through to the living room.




Little wine glass again?


            She stuck her nose into the glass. Her right nostril was bunged up but she got more than a hint of strawberry.

            She turned it over in her hands. There were lipstick marks on the base, thin warm pink lipstick marks. She didn't touch them. Trailing her fingers across the neck she turned the glass right side up again. She flicked the rim twice. It wasn't cracked.

            She laid it down on the rack again and backed away. She remembered her sister waiting outside and ran off to get changed.




But why would Colin break in?


            She tightened the belt across her dressing gown. The little wine glass was back on the rack again.

            The lipstick was gone from the base. Her fingerprints were gone too. When she washed the dishes yesterday, she had moved it onto the counter. She had forgotten about it.

            It was warm and still smelled distinctly of strawberry.

            She went over to the drinks cabinet. The strawberry wine was still half full, it's lid tightly screwed on. She pulled out her phone and scrolled down to Colin's number. Her thumb rested on the call button. She eventually tucked it back into her pocket.

            She stared at the little wine glass. Carrying it over to the fridge she filled it with milk and drank from it. She took it through to the living room with her and left it there.




Maybe it's the neighbours.


            As soon as she saw the glass, she grabbed it and examined it. It was just as clean as ever. The smell of strawberry was now overpowering.

            She stomped over to the drinks cabinet and pushed it right to the back. She pulled out the strawberry wine and poured its contents down the sink. She turned on the taps and looked out of the window.

            Across the way she saw the older of the Watson boys pulling the curtain across. They were filming their videos again. She didn't like the younger Watson, Don. She thought his jokes were creepy. He kept telling them at her New Year's party. He kept talking about feminism in relation to lipstick lesbianism.

            She pulled the wine glass out of the water slowly and glanced at it. She stared at her neighbours' window.




Locked the windows too, just in case.


            She walked past the little wine glass without looking. She could smell the strawberry from outside the kitchen.

            She checked the lock on both windows. They were firm. She unlocked the back door and stepped out onto the fire escape. She tightened the belt on her dressing gown, sniffed and walked back inside.

            She picked up the glass and threw it down onto the back alley. It shattered so loudly that the Watson boys sat up in their chairs. She smiled at them.

            She returned to the living room to call the police.




I'm moving out.


            The glass was still gone. No other little wine glasses had appeared on the drying rack overnight. She yawned and stretched.

            She pulled out the chipped bowl again and filled it with cornflakes. She pulled out the milk. There was nothing else inside the fridge.

            She ran her hands across the top and bottom of each shelf. There was nothing tucked away or covered up.

            She glanced at the milk bottle. It was half empty. She had bought it just the other day. She raised it up and looked at its bottom. There were lipstick marks: very thin and warm pink. She dropped it on the floor.

            Milk soaked into her slippers. She didn't react. A minute later, she waded out of the kitchen to call her sister.

            An hour later her sister came to pick her up. She didn't mop up the milk. It stank of strawberries.

Monday, 5 August 2013

POURING MILK IN THE DARK (a.k.a. The Inner-Poet Wakes up a Bit)

I'm little by little
inclined towards tea
but my flimsy tongue
needs something paler
to freeze
my buzz.

The bulb, freshly blown,
has scared me to the fridge
but the light inside
is kind enough
to showcase
the milk.

I guide it, drag it out,
slap mugs across the handles,
pull out the biggest,
fill it up with
a broken

And little by little
it sprinkles, trickles, leaks
and pisses me off
with more sticky germs
to wipe

I pull out a funnel
and drain the scratched plastic
and down the mug
in three steady

I'll sort it out,
I'll buy some more,
don't you worry.