Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Chuck Wendig's challenge this week - to write a story involving travel of some sort.
My story is about travelling into your neighbours yard.

Football Friends

Tadgh and Peadar were playing football in the street outside their home. They had spent all morning kicking the ball off the high garden wall of Mr O’Shaughnessy who was according to Conor, their older brother ‘at least one hundred years old’. Their mother had warned them not to bother him because he was old and cranky and ‘she wasn’t going over there asking like a beggar for some lost ball’. It was hot and sunny and their sport was kicking up dust flurries off the street.

Tadgh the younger brother kicked hit the wall at midpoint, it bounced back and Peadar catching it on return ‘gave it wellie’ and sent it sailing over the wall. ‘Conor’s going to kill us’ Tadgh’s lower lip was already trembling and his eyes were welling up. ‘Shut up’ Peadar snapped ‘don’t be such a baby’.

Peadar chewed his thumbnail and drew blood. His finger stung and he felt close to tears. Conor would be mad as anything when he missed his prized ball signed by Colm Cooper ‘The Gooch’. It wasn’t even supposed to be used as a ball.‘We’ll have to go over and see if we can find it. Come on’ but Tadgh held back. ‘I don’t think Mum would want us going over there. She said she wouldn’t be bothering Mr O’Shaughnessy. And you know that’s cause she’s scared of him.’ Tadgh pulled back to his own side of the street and stood up on the footpath. The extra few inches almost brought him eye to eye with Peadar. ‘Come on’ Peadar insisted, not wanting to travel into Mr O’Shaughnessy garden all by himself. ‘If something does happen I’ll need a witness! You can stay about ten feet behind me. Any how if he’s as old as Mum says he’ll never catch me or you neither.’Tadgh didn’t answer just nodded his head and wiped his running nose on his sleeve. ‘You go first and I’ll follow. ‘

Peadar crossed the street, the midday sun created dark shadows under the sycamore tree next to Mr.O’Shaughnessys gate. The old iron gate was cold to touch. Peadar pushed it open and the hinges tore and snarled so loud Peadar felt sure his mother would hear. He glanced back at his own back garden just to make sure she wasn’t flying out her own front gate at that very moment. Tadgh was making very slow progress down the footpath on the opposite side of the street. Peadar followed the drive up to the old mans house as it snaked through several large sycamores. His footsteps echoed against the tarmac and Tadghs footsteps echoed as well so it sounded like an army was trailing him. A blackbird flew out of one of the lower shrubs; Peadar gasped and only barely managed not to scream. His nerves were on edge and he could feel his palms sweat. The sweat was making his thumb sting.

The front of the house was shaded by the trees but in the centre of the lawn was an old man sitting on a sun lounger. He was holding the football in his hands and looked as if he was reading the inscription on it. He was wearing red tartan slippers with worn out soles. He had a walking stick lying next to him on the lounger. It was a funny looking stick because instead of a rubber stopper on the end it had a tiny slipper about the size of Tadghs fist. Peadar glanced back and Tadgh was standing just behind the blackbirds shrub. Just out of sight of the old man.

‘Hello. I was wondering who was playing such fine football off my wall all morning’ Mr. O’Shaughnessy looked at Peadar over his reading glasses. ‘So which one of Lily McDavitts boys are you?’
Peadar chewed at his bleeding thumb, unsure what to do next. The old man sat there watching him like he had all the time in the world. Peadar knew it was only a matter of minutes before his Mom noticed they were gone from the street out side his home and she would come looking for them. Taking a big breath he said ‘I’m Peadar, the middle one, Conor is the oldest and that’s his ball you’ve got there.’
Peadar waited then afraid he had said too much. ‘And who is that young gentleman behind the bushes’ he said raising his eyebrows. ‘That’s Tadgh, he’s the baby’.

This is a fine ball. I can just make out the signature. I don’t suppose Conor knows you have it? The old man stopped and waited.
'No he doesn’t and he’d kill us in he finds out.’ Peadar was afraid the old man was going to tell on them. His anxiety was making him sweat again.
'I’ll tell you what Peadar, let you take this ball back home. And why don’t you and your brother come here and play ball. I’ve a whole collection of them in that shed and you could play on the lawn over there. And besides you wouldn’t be wreaking my head ricocheting the ball off the wall all day for the rest of the summer. What do you think of that?,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Descriptive piece.

This weeks challenge on Chuck Wendigs site was to write about 'Death'. However I just couldn't face the bleakness of it. So I am publishing a piece I did for my writing class. Challenge 'Write the detail of something commonplace uncommonly well'
Why don't you give it a try.

Peter entered the kitchen closing the door behind him with an
inelegant back kick. He was shivering slightly in the chilly air his bare
feet slapping against the cold tiled floor. He casually dropped the morning
paper on the kitchen table as he dodged passed, swinging his hips 'like a
girl'. On the counter top he spied a loaf of 'Pat the baker's' Pats Pan
heedlessly left lying on its side, the last two slices spilling out of the
gaudy yellow wrapper. He took them and leaning across the cooker dropped
them in the toaster. With a smooth downwards movement he clicked the knob
to the 'on' position. The element inside began to glow a rich red and the
wonderful smell of toasting bread began to fill the air. Peter dusted the
crumbs off his hand in a quick slicing motion scattering them across the
counter, cooker and on to the floor. This slicing motion developed into
a few karate chops and suddenly he was kung-fu fighting imaginary aliens
up and down the kitchen floor his bare feet oblivious to the cold.

Very black smoke smelling of trouble started to fill the kitchen, 'Ah no'
Peter gasped out of breath from killing aliens. Bounding to the counter
Peter smacked the cancel switch on the toaster. It was a small red
triangle on the top of the toaster and it didn't respond the first two
times. Two rather sad looking pieces of toast emerged from the machine.
Peter was disappointed; they didn't look very appetising at all. His
stomach rumbled, a loud gurgling sound that started somewhere near his
toes. Peter rubbed his belly up and down, the soft fabric of his pyjamas
moving over his skin warming him. His toes began to complain about
standing on the cold floor strewn with crumbs so he shifted from foot to
foot as he rubbed first one foot and then the other against his pyjama
pants to warm them while at the same time getting rid of the grimy feel of
the crumbs stuck to them. The toast did not smell good. But it was the
last of the bread and he would have to eat it. Taking a knife from the
drawer he began scraping off the burnt edges with great vigour, but he
wasn't happy with the result so he cut off the bits he didn't like the look
of letting them land in a pile at the bottom of the sink in the middle of
the halo of black dust which extended up the sides of the sink and onto the
counter top. He took a plate out of the wall cupboard and dropped the odd
shaped pieces of toast on it. He carefully placed it on the table. He got
a clean knife from the drawer and the butter from the fridge and put them
on the table also. He pulled out a chair and sat down curling his legs
around the limbs of the chair so his feet were finally free of the frosty
tiles. Carefully he set about buttering his toast. His tongue stuck out
as he concentrated, his black hair falling forward shading his face. He
worked methodically right to left, right to left, spreading great big
knife-fuls of butter on to the toast. Mounds of melting butter squelching
along in front of his knife. He took another lump of butter to cover out
along the edges and buttered his index finger and thumb too. He licked his
fingers and his knife clean, wiped it on his sleeve and popped it back in
the drawer. As good as new!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Light Up.

So I've been off line for a bit!

Sorry to anyone who has been checking in.

I was musing and muttering to myself and generally mumbling out loud.
Well you know what that gets you?
Strange looks from people who pull their collars up against the winter
chill beaming at them from crazed eyes.
My eyes.
Strangers who cross the street and travel down unfamiliar alleys just to
avoid you and your incoherent babble.

Well that was me and my babble and crazed eyes for a while.

You see life intruded on . . . life. So much so that I decided to give up

Yeargh! Bad decision.

I felt I had nothing to say and nothing to share and nothing meaningful
would ever emerge from that soft fleshy blob in my skull.

But then a miracle happened.

A Road to Damascus Epiphany almost (OK not as important as Pauls but very
important to me).

I took a day off work (the paid kind) and visited my sister who is also a
writer in her heart and we started talking about all manner of things.

Then she said – pay attention now. My wise sister said 'Whenever I hear
someone talking about writing on the radio or TV I light up'

And that was it. Because there in those 3 little words she had summed me
up too.

I light up

When I hear a radio discussion with an author.

When I hear books reviewed.

When my friend rings and says lets get together and do some writing.

I light up.

So folks what do you say? Lets do some writing. It's good for the
writerly soul.