My boys. Oh, my boys. You used to fill me with such pride. Watching you play rain, sun, mud .. Whatever the conditions you always used to shine. You were so good. You used to be so great. What happened to you, my boys?
The joy on your faces to represent your country used to make me smile with you. I was proud to know you, prouder still to watch you reign over the green. Batting, bowling, fielding, simply being there. Knowing you were glad to play our country’s game for us filled me with such pride that I felt a part and parcel of it too. When I watched you, I used to feel the pride of England.
What made you change? What went wrong? Can’t you tell me?
Oh, my boys. Standing proud in helmet, pads and gloves, wielding the bat like a warrior wields his sword. Or standing equally proud, ready for the pounce in your trainers and caps, prepared to dive to the ground in defence of team and country. And always that glint in your eyes that told us all you loved what you did, and were more than happy to represent your country doing it. That furrow in your brow as you concentrated to secure the win. That torrent of sweat as you ran your heart out for that one more point.
Now, your faces show me naught but shame. That glint in your eye has become nothing but the empty echo of defeat. What happened to your fight? Where is your drive? Why did you let this happen?
Once upon a time, not so long ago in fact, I delighted myself with the knowledge I would stay up through the night to watch you play, to watch you shine. The Ashes were yours. That was what I felt in my heart and soul. I was going to watch you live, even if it meant staying up from midnight all through the night with work first thing the next day. I didn’t care: you were my boys and I wouldn’t miss you for the world. I was going to purchase your shirt, the ball, the bat. I wanted to be just like you. Standing proud on the green, a mere patch of grass to your field of emerald, but feeling the pride you evidently felt once.
The Ashes were a bust. You let us all down. Yourselves, your country … me. Oh, my boys. What happened to you? Loss after loss, that gleam in your eyes, that determination in your brow, turned sour and you gave up. It should have pushed you on, gave you the drive to do better next time. But no. You threw in the towel. You saw the black abyss of defeat ahead of you and forgot how to fight. Or maybe you still knew, but you lost the will to try. Why? What made you give in so easy?
I thought that would be it for you. I thought you had blown out your candles forever. But then around came 20/20 and I felt you had a shot. A different team, a different manager, but still my boys. My beautiful Englishmen in their shirts of vermillion. I watched you with a flutter in my heart. The trepidation of your final battle. This would make you or break you.
Oh, my boys.
The facts fell on my mind like a flood after a drought. Too much, too fast. Your victors were the Dutch. They had not beaten you in five years. They had even lost their last game with a record low. They had almost lost their place in the tournament and still they beat you to the ground. 88 all out. We had lost to the worst team in the tournament.
I wonder if you can ever recover from this. I hope you can. I still long for that gleam to return. I want to once more see the light in your eyes that tells us you are strong, proud, and most of all, that you can win. The grass may stain your skin, but so long as that smile plays upon your lips we cannot be defeated. Even if we lose, we are not defeated so long as you retain that pride that you once knew so well.
I believe in you. I don’t know what’s happened to drag you through the brambles to his position of shame, but I believe you can come back from this. Right now you are an embarrassment. I feel ashamed to watch you play. But I remember that feeling of joy I used to get when you stepped onto the green, and I know I can feel it again.
My boys. Oh, my boys. Don’t give up. Cricket is our game. It is ours. We can bring this back.
I believe in you, England.
There is a panda in the world that has been to more places around the globe these last ten years than many people will travel to in a lifetime. He has been to Lanzarote, Malaga, Tenerife, Grenada, Barbados, Miami, Menorca, Italy, Austria, Croatia, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and last (but in no way least) Wales. This panda is named Chi-Chi, though admittedly inappropriately. ‘Chi-chi’ literally translates from Chinese as ‘mischievous little girl’, and was the name of London Zoo’s star attraction, one of the first ever Giant Pandas to be situated there. Originating from Sichuan, China, Chi Chi, too, travelled the world. From China, to Moscow, to Berlin, to Frankfurt, to Copenhagen, to London where she remained for the rest of her days. So, though named after a famous female panda, this panda has still lived a life akin to that of his ancestor, and has a rather different reason for being an attraction: he is stuffed.
Picture this: a rocking chair, upholstered in rough, dark brown fabric, yellow and pale green vines hand-stitched into the fibres; an elderly face, beaming down, eyes full of secrets – secrets that hid in the box in her hands; and a girl of 10, sitting down in that favourite rocking chair, mouth agape in anticipation as she is handed the box her grandmother holds. She opens it, reaches in, and what she pulls out is a brand new, startlingly pristine, panda bear. That girl was me, and as I sit here and think back to that Christmas, he sits on my pillow and stares with scuffed, glass eyes in interest, almost knowing this piece is for him. From the very first day we set eyes on each other and I had rescued him from the embarrassment of being named Bryma by my grandparents, we were destined to be friends. And more than this, Chi-Chi has been my rock when times have been tough.
The first time I had a panic attack. The room was black. I thought I heard something and I couldn’t say what it was. That unnerved me. I started hearing other things, my hearing now very sensitive. Then I heard things that weren’t there. I started seeing things that weren’t real. I had a phobia of the dark, you see. Even putting the light on didn’t help at this point: all I knew was that the shadows would get me if I didn’t block my door against them. I felt in that moment like I was going to die. Then I found my panda bear, clutched him to me, and he was the solid ground that got me through to a point where I could breathe again. Such a small thing, fabric and stuffing, but those little beady eyes that locked on mine, and those squashy arms that curled around me were enough to keep me sane for just that little bit longer.
Some may say I love my teddy too much. But for me he’s like a best friend: I can tell him secrets and he won’t tell anyone else; he won’t judge me; I can hug him whenever I want; he never holds a grudge. To some it doesn’t make sense, no. But I can thank my grandparents for giving him to me on Christmas in 2004 as they gave me the one, material, constant that stayed with me through childhood, pain, adventure, loneliness. From the age of 10, right up until University. From the day I folded myself into that rocking chair, to the day I sat down at my computer and wrote about it. Chi-Chi is more than an object. He is family.
Those post comes to you courtesy of today’s Daily Prompt.
- Thirteen Time Zones Away and Still Side by Side | Kosher Adobo
- Neurosis From A to Z | The Jittery Goat
- From My Heart, with Love | From Hiding to Blogging
- Born to be With You – Bess you is my woman now. (Daily Prompt) | Roving Bess
- Bitten by the Love Bug!! [Wish Come True] | She Writes
- Daily Prompt: Born To be With You -Psychology Behind Choosing To Like People We Met | Journeyman
- EMILY AND JUSTIN: THE PROPOSAL | She Writes
- Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
- Born To Be With You | The Magic Black Book
- DP Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | Sabethville
- Born to be With You | Faith, Life and Compassion
- Be the Edward to my Vivian | Expressions
- Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
About a Panda | jigokucho
- Drama queen | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Layers | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Love, Life and Loss | MC’s Whispers
- My Soul Mate: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- I’m On Riot ! | Life Confusions
- Yearning for The One : a misguided human quest? Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- She Loves Me | My Author-itis
- The one I love… | Life Sans God
- Born To Be With You (Daily Prompt) | Wordy Wings
- Recharging the Cell Phone | The Zombies Ate My Brains
- people let me tell you about my best friend | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
- Born To Be With You | The Giardino Journey
- Opposites Attract! | meanderedwanderings
- An ode to a soul mate who doesn’t exist | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
- He is the soul-mate because…. | The Gilded Lotus
- Cradle « Averil Dean
- My Sun, My Life | Flowers and Breezes
- In Step with an Angel | Speculative Paradigm Shifts
- The Rainbow Of My Life | The Insight of a young soul
- Welcome Back! | Views Splash!
- Born to be with You: Daily Post | Destino
- This Kid I Know: Michelle | Never Stationary
- How To Be A Best Friend | Never Stationary
- Zip you lips because loose lips sink ships | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
- “Give her the truth serum, NOW!” | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
- Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | My Atheist Blog
- Soul Mates | Kate Murray
- Born to be with you | Asianchemnerd
- Let Me Tell You a Secret | Out From Under the Umbrella
- Every Fiber of my Being | The Ravenously Disappearing Woman
Fate. The all-powerful higher being that lords over us lesser mortals. Or so some might like to believe. Fate apparently predetermines events in our lives. Outcomes will have been set way before we’ve made a decision, and said decision was already made for us by some higher power. We have no control. Fate controls us. We are Fate’s bitch.
Not bloody likely.
Fate is a manipulative ass that takes away any smidge of independence and self-assertion we have. If we are to believe that things happen for a reason then that means everything we do, and everything that happens to us, was pre-chosen by some twat in a fez and tweed blazer sitting on a beanbag in the clouds. He sits with his cup of Twinings, places his pince-nez more securely on his nose and kicks of his suede loafers. Then he opens up his iControl app, and logs into his FacePalm account: Username, FateDawg27; Password, Irulebitches. Then he chooses what cruel punishment to dole to the unworthy and what unexpected joy to bestow upon the equally undeserving. Breaking up relationships cos its ‘not meant to be’ and promoting the sexist pig from IT #YOLO.
I deleted him as a friend and blocked him from my account. I tried reporting him as Spam but he managed to convince the owners of FacePalm that I was destined to do so and they had been rightly chosen to ignore me. Fate has no say in my life. I do what I want and if things happen to me it’s for a logical reason, not a philosophical one. So I didn’t get the guy – I probably didn’t make him happy. So I didn’t get the job – there was another candidate with better credentials. So I got a cold the day I was ‘destined’ to be killed in a car crash – I didn’t take care of myself and got infected with a hideous flu and wouldn’t have known I would be killed by a car, and if I had have gotten myself killed that day it was either my fault for not paying attention or the driver for being a general twat. Fate did not decide any of it. It is all about the real world. Capability. Suitability. Common Sense.
I think maybe some people mistake Fate with Faith. Believing things happen for a reason. Some may say Fate makes things happen, when really they just have faith that it happened a certain way. They believe Fate will set them on the path they were chosen for, when really they simply have faith that things will turn out for the best. I personally believe the line between Fate and Faith is a thin one. Like, spider-thread thin. Fate is the notion that something happens for a reason. Faith is the belief that things will happen as they should. Same thing, right? And maybe that’s why I also don’t have faith in anything. I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe that good things will happen if I just believe. For me it’s all brain, no heart.
But on that subject, what is a ‘heart’? I believe Ulquiorra Cifer and Orihime Inoue settle that one quite well. I feel like the human embodiment of Ulquiorra here. The way he sees it is exactly how I feel. Plus, that voice is damn sexy.
But taking it a step further, Fate can be synonymous with Excuse. So you didn’t get that job? Oh well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Or perhaps it was, if you’d have actually tried harder to attain it. So your girlfriend dumped you? It probably wasn’t meant to be. Or maybe it was, if you’d have figured out why it wasn’t working and even attempted to correct it. I feel that sometimes people blame Fate for things that go wrong, when they could have actually changed the outcome for themselves. They just don’t want to admit that they could have changed it. They get a notification pop up on their screen: FateDawg27 has invited you to an event – #JimFromCustoms gets fired today. Why? Cos I said so bitches #swag. What do they do? Accept it. They don’t think, ‘Hmm this dude is really whack, I should ignore him and do my work instead of logging into FacePalm at my desk’. No, they shrug their shoulders and continue their game of Floppy Bird.
Things happen as we make them. If we have the capability to do it, it can be done. We have the ability to change. Didn’t get the job? Find out why. Do something about it. Got rejected? Find out why. Do something about it. Avoided the stampede of android elephants because you were delayed at the pharmacy? Find out why. Do something about it. What made you unsuitable for the job? Why didn’t the girl grab you like a tramp in a sandwich? What took so long at the pharmacy that you had to wait 30 minutes for a simple prescription?
We can change. Don’t sit back and let FateDawg27 dictate your life. Deny his friend request. Delete your account. Go outside and breathe. The world is yours. Your life is in your hands. Do whatever the hell you want and have a blast doing it. Some ponce with a funny hat and posh tea has no right to tell you how to live your life, and if you really think about it, he has no power to do so either. He’s just a middle-aged idiot with a permanent butt-print in his beanbag and too much time on his hands. You control you. So what are you going to do about it?
- THE JOYS OF SPINSTERHOOD aka The Spinsterhood of the Travelling Bridesmaid | She Writes
- SOCIETY’S CREATION: BEAUTY STANDARDS | She Writes
- Impressions of poverty | AS I PLEASE
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera- Why we don’t achieve our goals | Journeyman
- It’s Your Choice | Musings | WANGSGARD
- Is it a destiny I control or fate or a bit of both? | Purplesus’ Blog
- Daily Prompt…. Que Sera Sera? | The Ambitious Drifter
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
- We are what we are | Attempted Human Relations and Self
- “Que Sera Sera” – A poem | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
- Taking Control – Character’s Choices Shape Stories, Not Fate | My Little Avalon
- Invictus? I think not…. | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
- destiny | yi-ching lin photography
- Life of Positivity | Views Splash!
- DP Daily Prompt: Qeu Sera Sera | Sabethville
- on a scale from walking | y
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera « cognitive reflection
- Destiny | swiggityswag
- [M.M.X.I.V. 85] מה יהיה יהיה (post is in English) | Never A Worry
- Anthem of the oppressed | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Danube | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Who protects me? | wisskko’s blog
- In Search of the Star: A Filipino Catholic from Saudi Meets an American Jew from Bosotn | Kosher Adobo
- Daily prompt: Que sera sera | I really just pretend to know stuff
- This Too Shall End | Losing It
- Daily Prompt: Que Pawera Pawera | Love your dog
- Que Sera Sera? | Hope* the happy hugger
- Zig-Zag « Averil Dean
- Fate had naff-all to do with that. And OMG but T2 was freaking awesome… | thoughtsofrkh
- Zombie Planes and Fate: Driving My Life with Purpose « psychologistmimi
Fate, Faith and Excuses (Or the Man With the Funny Hat) | jigokucho
- Choose, but Choose Wisely | Green Embers
- I Had BEST See A Return On My Investment!!!! | Because It Calms My Nerves:
- Finding No Such As ‘Fate’ | Awake & Dreaming
- Daily Prompt: Fate vs. Free Will | Raevenly Writes
- “Kay who, who?” | Relax
- We do have choice | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
- Call it what you will | From One Crazy Life To Another
- Whatever Will Be | Flowers and Breezes
- Fate, Destiny, Kismet – Love, Sex & Poetry (Daily Prompt – Que Sera Sera) | Linda Long Writes!
- of nasty things, like sex and masturbation | Anawnimiss
- God And Fish and The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
- Fate or Destiny? | The Land Slide Photography
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera | Basically Beyond Basic
- What ever wil be will be (if we will it to be) | Move Away From Here
- Whatever will be will be | Willow’s Corner
- Old Soul: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- Fated for Happiness | snapshotsofawanderingheart
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera | Ramblings of A Nonsensical Nerd
- What Will be, Will be? | Cheri Speak
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera « Mama Bear Musings
- Waiting for the rain | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
- Fate Chance Luck | Real Life Co.
- “Just Do It” But Hope for A Little Bit of Luck | Parents Are People Too
- Un Poco (a little) | djgarcia94
- Daily Prompt: Que Sera Sera | My Atheist Blog
- DAILY PROMPT: Que Sera Sera, Siempre por Siempre | Fit 4 Life, LLC
- I Control My Life | Knowledge Addiction
- This Post Comes with a Warning Label . . . | janeyinmersin
- the way you do the things you do | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
This is the second part of the Meanwhile in A&E series in which we meet main character number two, Kieran Shrubb. Again, the style of this has been very carefully calculated and I hope it has paid off. As this was already in the works when I posted the first of the series, it came quicker than I imagine the next two will. Characters #3 and #4 are sculpted in my imagination. Now I just need to mould the clay that is the English language. For now, here is Chapter Two. For Chapter One, click on the doobly-doo.
Tears swallowed up his sapphire eyes. Through the wringer once again. Knees gave out and down, down he went. Dead weight on the bedroom floor. Another day, another torment. Breathing for him had now become a chore. He couldn’t remember how long for. It felt like forever. It was probably more like a few weeks. Like that mattered. Weeks, days, hours; they seemed to run for an eternity. As if to prove his point the clock went tick, tick, in the silence.
He sobbed without crying. Hard, wracking sobs that made the very bone structure of his face ache, but without the warm relief of tears to follow. Fingers intertwined in his own hair, hoping somehow that if he pulled out a clump or two, the darkness would creep out of the roots and he would be okay. Bald, but okay. His vocal chords strained in their attempt to scream in silence. The breath ripped through his chest in a whisper.
Alas, a tear! A single droplet squeezed from the duct as eyelids kaleidoscoped the world into violet, marigold, chartreuse. His fingers creaked in their sockets as he grasped again at the follicles. Another cold scream stifled. The ribs on his left side went numb with the effort.
And then nothing.
The sobbing stopped. The pulling stopped. The screaming stopped. All that was left was a tingling in his fingertips and a hollowness that echoed his muted cries about his chest. His hands drifted from his head like lead weights. His movements were sluggish, yet he felt that his body was heavy. His eyes never moved; they were empty now; they stared at nothing; they noticed nothing. After the commotion in his mind, the world now seemed too quiet. It hurt his head. He didn’t care.
Twisting sideways, he let his head fall onto the edge of his mattress. His hands sat limp in his lap. How much time had passed? He really couldn’t tell. Every time it felt like an age. He began to sink down, down into the confines of his solitude. He left his bedroom behind, and fell away into nothing.
How much more of this could he take? Could he survive the next beating? Would he snap at the next verbal abuse? Could he deal with his parents screaming? Could he deal with his own? Or maybe he would crumble into dust of his own volition. Maybe one day he would simply let it all slip away and become nought but ash. Another day like today and it might just come to it.
His ankle itched.
A jean-leg rolled up, a sock pulled down, and there they were. Countless pink lines turning flesh into geometrical perfection. They cried out for more. A hand gliding to a wallet; fingers pushed into the tear in its material; a tiny slice of metal slipped from its interior. The silence didn’t hurt him now. Instead, it shrouded him. It kept him safe from prying eyes though no apparent change had yet occurred. His door was locked: here he was safe. His pale, bony fingers twirled the blade, twice the size of his bloodied thumbnail, around in the light. A flash of white struck off the metal into his eyes. It seemed to rouse him. Fingertips brushed across the corner of the implement, thinnest edge caressing the skin, a gentle push to slip metal into flesh and then, then, peace.
Shuttered eyelids made a mosaic of his vision. Stain-glass windows of his paradise. It hurt, but he didn’t care. The pain did not bother him now, it would only be a bother later when he caught it with a foot, or let the cat get too curious. For now, the only thing that mattered was the glorious pleasure of the act. Lashes fluttered open. Single bead of red sliding over ivory. He wiped it clear before it stained the carpet.
It was the precision of the thing that he craved. At a time when his mind was far from ordered, this simple act of concentration, mapping out the next contour on the map of his flesh, scaled his thoughts to a skeleton crew. No longer did the screaming drown his ears. No longer was he dying inside. The slice of metal drawn across the skin to paint another crimson line for his masterpiece kept him sane. It cleared his mind. And of course, the sweet relief of pain was a bonus. He hated the punches thrown at him from the enemy. He loathed the back-hand swiped from the mother and the glass shattered by the father. But this, this was different. This was the one thing he controlled. Pain ruled his life, but he could at least rule over pain when locked behind the doors of his solitude. Here, he was the master.
The silence hurt his head. Adrenaline had left him piled on the bedroom floor. Pleasure had abandoned him in place of familiar Hopelessness. How much longer could he take this? His eyes stung. Saltwater accumulated at the corner of his lashes. Finally he could cry. How much time had passed? It could have been only minutes. It felt like longer. He began to weep, and the clock went tick, tick, in the silence.
It’s that time again. That’s right: Monday. Blerghh, right? Well why not join the party and stick your music player on shuffle in the sake of entertainment? This week I find myself delving deep into the profound lyricism of my answers and make some interesting discoveries about myself and society. It’s an existential world we live in.
Here’s a reminder how it works:
Each week I will post 3 new questions so…
(1) Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle
(2) Say the questions aloud and press play
(3) Use the song title as your answers
(4) NO CHEATING
Title your post “Steve’s Music Mix – …” and link back to this week’s page.
Where did you come from? Bullet With Butterfly Wings – Smashing Pumpkins
The world is a vampire sent to drai-ai-ain […] Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.
I used to be a rat in a cage. Wherever I came from I was trapped, probably against my will. And I’m still there, only now I’m angry. Getting all philosophical here I could suggest that the world, being the vampire that it is, has had me trapped all this time. Only now I know I’m trapped by it and am angry that it is draining the life out of me. In the words of the Pumpkins, “I still believe that I cannot be saved.” I came from a world where hope was lost, and it does not appear to have returned.
The music video for this track is also extremely fitting. If you can spare a few minutes of your busy day as slave to society, check it out. One of the most fitting videos I’ve had in the Music Mix to date.
Was it all worth it? The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson
I have met some beautiful people in this messed up world that we’re all trapped in. The world may have been sent to drain us, but along the way I’ve met some wonderfully beautiful people: my best friends, some amazing bands, some incredible bloggers, M24 …
But I suppose we should take a deeper look at some of the lyrics:
The beautiful people, the beautiful people,
It’s all relative to the size of your steeple.
You can’t see the forest for the trees.
You can’t smell your own shit on your knees
There’s no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker
That’s in your way.
So beauty is really just superficial. The people we think are beautiful aren’t at all what we think they are. So long as they have a big steeple, we say they’re the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. We’re all in the shit, proverbial or otherwise, and we’re lost in the very world we’re trapped in. Don’t trust anyone. In this vampiric world, you can’t afford to discriminate: hate every motherfucker that’s in your way. It’s the only way to survive.
Where are you going? The World We Knew – Daughtry
I didn’t see a change
But I know it’s not the same.
I’d bring it back if I could
But I know I’m not that clever.
Life’s so short
And it goes by fast
And we can’t get it back.
The world we knew,
It was so simple then.
Me and you,
Thought it would never end.
Oh what I wouldn’t do
To get back to
The world we knew.
I think this pretty much explains itself. Especially in the context of the other songs. It is incredibly fitting. Where am I going? I’m going forward to the past. I would do just about anything to get back to the world we knew before it turned into a vampire and was sent to drain us. I want to go back to the simple days with the beautiful people I’ve met. But I’m not that clever. Despite all my rage, I really am still just a rat in a cage. We’re kneeling in our own shit, blinded by artificiality, wishing we could go back to easier times. But we can’t. Despite all my rage, I can’t see the wood for the trees, but oh what I wouldn’t do to get back to the world we knew …
This was pretty dark this week, but shuffle doesn’t lie. There is a reason it spat these songs out at me in this order today. The world we knew before it went to shit was simpler and better than the one we live in now. It was worth being trapped by society to meet some beautiful people, but really in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t worth it at all because you can never really know someone. We’re all superficial, material creatures who do what we can to survive. And it wasn’t worth it because look where it’s got us: we’re angry, we’re lost, and we’re kneeling in our own excrement while we wish for days gone by. We can’t bring it back, and we know it. We would do anything to get back to the world we knew, but we’re not that clever so here we stay, trapped like rats in a cage, and ever-increasingly frustrated about it.
After a prompt for an online novella submission on the Modern World I chose to begin a new YA fiction novella. It is unlike anything I’ve tried before. I may post only the first few pieces to this as, should I get into the flow of it and finish it, I may choose to enter it into this competition. The style is completely different to my usual patterns, and I’ve tried studying other writers and emulating their styles. This first chapter on Damien Lethe was heavily influenced by a chapter in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. This is the first in a series of chapters surrounding my four main characters.
Bluebottle fuckers buzzing in his eyes. Treachery. Poison in his bloodstream. Their tiny feet of wire scuttled across his skin, made it crawl. This one looked at him. Eyes of jelly glittering in their deceitful sockets. The wings so thin like tissue paper lined with deep blue veins and peppered with cocaine. The little shits were stealing from his stash. They would be punished for their crimes against him. Nobody stole from Damien Lethe. Skinny fingers flexing in their joints, crack, ready for the pounce. It could not get away from him, would not if it was the last thing he did. He watched the wings vibrate in their trepidation. He followed the rapid flickering with his eyes. They hummed a mocking thrum in his brain while fingers outstretched and pointed sharp like daggers began to slice the air like butter on a hot day. The week old dust particles scattered before his swipe as the fly, twice the size of his yellowing thumbnail, attempted to take flight. Damien was too quick. He never lost a fight with anyone who messed with his medicine. Milliseconds to react and his forearms tensed and the tendons in his hands protruded with the strain. Then snap. Palm met palm and his prey was mincemeat. Blood and entrails spilled into his lifeline, a short journey. The shattered wing twitched a final time and then death took it. A deadly quiet descended on the room. Damien wiped his hand on his shirt and set up another line of the white powder; the colour of innocence, of snow, of magic.
Arch of the back. Hands braced at work. Brows furrowed in concentration. Emptying of the lungs and then, then, peace. Wind chimes of his solitude ringing out in the wave that went rolling through him. Morrissey crooned on the turntable: “Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head”. Eyelids fluttered to a close and he sunk back into nothing. This was his happy place. A smile played at his lips while fireworks behind his lids welcomed him home. His white embracing paradise.
When that Friday had started, he had £52.20 in his pocket. Then he met with Joey Stadeley. This left him with £2.20 in his pocket. He planned to head straight home and barricade himself back behind the grit encrusted walls of his self-destruction. But then he got hungry. He had cans upon cans of soup and all the bread and salsa dip he could want at home, but the thing was he didn’t want them. Besides, he would never make it through the weekend’s drug supply without them. So he went to McDonald’s. A special offer cheeseburger meal later, he went home with 21 pence to his name. That didn’t bother him. He wouldn’t need cash where he was going. 14 minutes and 1.1 miles brought him to his Barely Yellow front door. The cheeseburger was gone already. So were the fries. At least his coke was still cold. Damien sucked at the blue-striped straw and locked the door with his free hand. And then he began to systematically reconstruct the barricade.
First the glass cabinet, lengthwise on its side. On top of this, the television cabinet, solid oak, but still light enough for his sole pair of arms to lift. And then the television itself. X-Box on the left, Blue-ray player on the right. And then the sofa; polished black leather, ripped at almost every seam, but heavy. This went in front of the cabinet, the seats touching the smeary glass doors. The set was completed by what he liked to call his Medicine Table. Otherwise known as his Cocaine Table. Then he began to stock. Damien made trip after trip with load after load of supplies: Doritos, salsa dip, Hovis Best of Both, Coca Cola, Budweiser, baked beans, SuperNoodles (these he ate dry from the packet), cream crackers, and Kellog’s Crunchy Nut because the trouble was, they tasted too good. These were all piled into the television cabinet for ease of access.
With all the essential components in place, Damien vaulted the back of the couch, plastic zip-locks in hand, and settled in for the weekend. FIFA, Game of Thrones and line after meticulous line of his wonder drug. It hadn’t taken him long to return to the place of stoned contentment. This was how he planned to stay until Monday morning, when he would deconstruct his barricade, venture out of doors against his migraine’s better judgement for a packet of chewing gum and Joey Stadeley’s next weed instalment. Damien liked to take it easier on weekdays. But for now, he was content to pass the weekend in sparkling white bliss. So here he lay, the sounds of his destruction melting away as he floated into the warm embrace of his ashen coloured lover. And on crooned Morrissey: “Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head”.
That’s what I fear – the click-over. By that I mean the day the first number of my age clicks over and suddenly there’s this sinking feeling. It only happens every ten years so it makes it more gut-wrenching when it does.
I never understood why my Mum and Dad made a fuss about turning 40, or 50. At least I didn’t until I turned 20. I obviously didn’t remember the first time the number clicked over to a 1. And anyway, it wouldn’t have felt so bad because it was a celebration of having double figures in your age. But where I never cared for 18, and don’t care for 21, my 20th birthday filled my with an unidentifiable sense of dread. The idea of becoming an ‘adult’ at 18 did nothing for my mental feels. Just as now, thinking about the milestone of 21, I have no reaction. It was the action of that first number clicking over that made my blood run cold.
Imagine one of those old-fashioned clocks. The ones where the numbers are on shutters and they slowly turn as the time goes on. The minute ones are constantly going, but the hour only clicks over every 60 minutes. It draws out it’s click-over for so long you almost forget to notice it. But then when it does go it makes it that much more noticeable. That’s the part of aging that gets me.
Not the grey hair – well, not yet anyway – and not the wrinkles. That happens to us all and I have plenty of time to get accustomed to the idea that one day I might look more like a mouldy raisin than a human. It’s that fear of knowing that in ten years time, after I have stopped noticing that first number, it will click over and I’ll feel those ten years catch up on me in one rush. I suppose when I really think about it it’s not just the click-over that I fear. It’s the knowing I could lose my memory, my eyesight, my legs. I don’t want to be dependent on someone else. I felt bad when M24 spent £1.69 on a pot of tea for me, so the idea of being in debt to someone for taking care of me 24/7 is horrible.
But for now, I am not at that stage. I still have full control of my motor functions and over my mind. I am young and healthy and should be making the most of it while I can. And for the next few years I imagine I’ll be able to get through without too much preoccupation over aging. It will be my 30th birthday that will get me. The moment that Number 2 shutter finally ticks over and becomes a 3. The ominous feeling of something dark looming overhead that won’t reveal itself until the day, and when it does it’ll knock the proverbial wind out of me.
Right this moment the only thing about getting older I’m letting myself worry about is what I’m going to do after I leave uni. House, bills, job, driving … complete independence. It’s a scary thought. I like living alone right now. But I don’t have a job – I don’t need one. I’m living in a shared house run by a student accommodation business – it’s not a house with a mortgage or a flat with regular (high) bills. I can’t drive, but I don’t currently need to – I’m terrified to try. Once I can get over that, and make it out the other side alive perhaps the future won’t look so bleak.
But for now, let’s just think about the immediate future. That’s the only thing I care about. The next year will be big for me: my final year at uni and with it the dissertation, moving house again and meeting more new people, finding out if I can make a go of it with M24. A lot of big things and I can’t afford to focus on the far future with this so close. Perhaps after I’ll be able to worry, but for right this moment all I care about is if I can get my essays in on time and when I’ll get to go to Newquay with M24.
- Secrets of the universe | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Child’s play 🙂 | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Coffee-drinking on a bench, in a Sunny Morning | НЕКОИ МАЛИ НЕШТА ПИСАТЕЛСКИ
- Age is relative… | Hope* the happy hugger
- Forever Old | Musings | WANGSGARD
- Forever Young | Knowledge Addiction
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
- The Daily Prompt & Being First | The Jittery Goat
- Young at Heart | Kate Murray
- HIGH HOPES | Seif Salama Karem
- Seconds | INKLINGS
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
The Click-Over | jigokucho
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | Awl and Scribe
- “Young at Heart” | Relax
- Aging With Grace | The Giardino Journey
- Daily Post: Young at heart | Love your dog
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | Life is not for everyone.
- DP Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | Sabethville
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart: When I am an old woman I shall wear purple | Healthy Harriet
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | littlegirlstory
- Aging is Seen Clearest, in the Mirror! | meanderedwanderings
- Young At Heart Forever? | Awake & Dreaming
- “Emotionally Subnormal”: Comic Book Culture and its Intended Audience | A Wiser Fella Than Myself Once Said…
- Young At Heart | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
- Daily Prompt: Young at heart. | A cup of noodle soup
- Daily Prompt: Young At Heart | wisskko’s blog
- Daily Prompt: Young at Hearts- psychology and phylosophy behind getting old | Journeyman
- Staying Young… | Haiku By Ku
- How To Be Young Again | The Moon Head