Wishes (Part Five)

[For the rest of this story, as well as my other flash fiction series, click here]

I have the same dream every single night. I’m playing korfball, and playing well. I fake out defenders, score with most of my shots and collect the rebounds of the few that don’t go in.

The opposition are powerless to stop me. ‘I am taking them apart,’ I think, before I begin to do just that. Defenders slip and their legs snap like dry twigs, shots cannon into heads that roll and clutter the pitch and still the match goes on. The floor becomes a sea of body parts, twitching and crunching beneath my feet as I dazzle the remaining players with my skill.

Eventually it’s down to two-a-side, as me and Vix take on two faceless defenders. The match’s result is beyond doubt but we keep pushing as the commentator says one more goal will make the scorer the best player ever. We work a neat one-two and as soon as Vix shoots I know it’s not going in. I’m quick to react though, and charge towards the korf to gather the rebound. As I thought, the ball bounces back off the rim and arcs away. Vix and her defender are underneath it; ‘I’ve got it,’ she yells but she doesn’t seem to have the upper hand. It’s down to me to save this. I stride forward and leap up, sailing over the ladies at the base of the korf. I catch the ball, land, set myself and place it expertly in the basket as the commentator and the crowd go wild.

Ecstatic, I turn to find Vix, but I can’t see her. Her defender is there, ashen-faced and staring at my feet. What is she staring at? I look down. Vix’s lifeless eyes gaze up from her broken body, crushed beneath me.

I wake up, drenched in sweat. Vix sleeps soundly beside me – I reassure myself her chest is moving slowly with her breathing. I pull on a pair of shorts, socks, trainers, an old top. Head out for a run in the cold October air. Championship game in five weeks.

Hot Stuff? No Thanks

[This is a real problem I deal with on a daily basis. I’d like to dedicate this piece to anyone else out there who’s suffering with this discrimination.]

In these modern times
of multi-tasking convenience
it’s only right to combine
purposes for a meeting.

A lunch must be working,
a break calls for coffee,
pop round for a chat
and a tea’s in the offing.

Think then of the plight
of one, like this writer,
who between tea and coffee
would rather have neither.

Hosts seem offended,
strangers disapprove
“If he doesn’t like hot drinks
just have him removed!”

Is it such a big crime
I’ll have water or juice,
assuming the latter
I even can choose?

“I’m just not prepared,
I thought you’d want one!”
It’s not a big deal,
that’s not why I’ve come.

The meeting or chat
is the reason I’m here,
if you can’t offer drinks
I don’t care, so don’t fear

While my uncommon tastes
may single me out
I’m glad of this fact:
my dependency’s nowt

I’ve never run gasping
into any room
requiring caffeine
like the alternative’s doom

So while addicts submit
to their chai latte owners
I’ll shun all advances and remain as a loner.

Guns, Hoes, B!tches [100 words]

[Thanks to the brilliant Jane Basil’s recent lesson on writing silliness just because it’s still writing something. Here’s my own, just for you Jane!]

Yo bitches be yappin and trippin

Chasin me but all they seen is that green

Mean and lean they be after me

Ain’t the life I asked for me

Go back to your hoes and your big cribs

‘stead of chasin me like you after my ribs

Fight or flight, neither endin well

So I play cool, keep low

Never looking fly

Or I’ll be lookin to die

Deez bitches all up on me, and if they ain’t, the guns follow

Being hunted like their prey,

prayin God be looking out for me

Damn life hard when you’re a pheasant.

[P.S. yeah the photo’s not relevant but you didn’t know that when you clicked on it!]

The Game Changer

It was a fair fight until then, until the bomb.

The two sides traded blows, the sparring tongues of lovers.
Playful exchanges like scraps between brothers.
Never saw it coming; no guard posted for sight of the horizon.
Who would expect an advance so brazen? Sudden

time

slowed

Eyes widened, as it dropped

The infamous L-bomb
that changed the game beyond all expectation
The fling: flung
and in its place:

“I love you,” she said
and his defences crumbled like bombed bricks.

Colleague_2.3

[find the previous instalments, and my other flash fic series, here]

Kerry wakes slowly, eyes blinking in the dim light…

Senses…
drift…
The bed is hard, the air stale…

This isn’t right.

Kerry wakes quickly, lungs gulping in the thick air.

Where is she?
Her head pounds.
What happened?
She can’t…

She raises herself unsteadily onto her elbows. She’s not on a bed at all, but a hard floor – concrete? She can see only a few yards, and there’s nothing in sight.

“Hello?” she croaks. Her throat burns and there’s a bitter, chemical taste on her tongue.

A shuffling to her left and out of the darkness a man appears, his suit crumpled and his eyes wild.

“There’s no way out,” he whispers. Kerry vaguely recognises him from work, though not her office, but his name eludes her.

“Where am I?” Kerry asks. The man slumps onto the floor in front of her.

“It’s some sort of silo,” he says, absent-mindedly brushing dirt from his shoulder. “I’ve been here two days now.”

A burst of recollection – a flash of red light – hits Kerry. It’s her last memory before now – she’d been at the office…

Recall floods back: those whirring red eyes.

“Tom.” Half under her breath, but the man turns to her.

“Is that the man that brought you here? The hunched one with the sharp suit?”

The description fit, though Kerry had no memory of how she got here.

“Sounds like Tom,” she replies. “He’s a cyborg.”

The man scoffs, then falls quiet.

“Are you serious?” he asks after a while.

“Definitely,” Kerry says. “He has laser eyes.”

The man’s short laugh is again dubious. “I don’t remember what happened,” he says, “but I know that man brought you here, cyborgs don’t exist and there’s no way out.”

Kerry considers this; silence seems to expand to fill the space between and around them.

“You look familiar,” she says eventually. “Do you work on the second floor?”

“Fourth,” he replies. Kerry doesn’t know anyone on fourth, so why does she feel like she’s spent time in his presence? He turns to peer into the darkness and his profile strikes Kerry. He was in the periphery of her first work memory: a girl turning to talk to this man while Kyle and her locked eyes on the morning of their first day.

“We started together. June of last year.”

“That’s right,” he says slowly and begins fumbling for her name, “Kir…”

“Kerry”, she says, then takes a punt at his. “John?”

“Anthony.” His voice sounds hurt. She shrugs. Manners don’t seem important right now.

“How did Tom get me in here if there’s no way out?”

“There is a door, but it’s thick and bolted from the outside. It’s over there.” Anthony points to Kerry’s right.

She gets to her feet and walks over slowly. Her legs feel like lead. The outline of the door appears, flush against the curved wall of the silo. She reaches out to touch the cold metal. A dull grinding noise starts from outside, her head whips round and her eyes find Anthony’s.

“Come here,” she mouths. He climbs to his feet. The grinding stops. Kerry turns to the door just as it swings open.

Wishes (Part Four)

[Part Three here]

I feel calm as I pull the top over my head for the first time. It was only a month ago that I trialled for Birmingham City and made their development squad, and yet now I’m preparing for my first team debut in Croydon, against the league leaders Trojans. Things have happened in a blur but when I think of the work I’ve been putting in – the gym sessions, practising every day outside of training, my new diet – it doesn’t seem unreasonable that I’ve made it here. I’ve earned it.

I walk out of the changing room just as Vix emerges from the women’s across the way, and we enter the hall hand in hand. The small crowd has been bolstered by several of our old teammates, here to see me and Vix represent BCKC together. Her rise has been just as rapid as mine – she started coming to the gym with me when we began dating and it’s done wonders for her game.

People are talking about us as a new korfball power couple and as the match begins we justify that tag, combining for the first six goals. We know each other’s movement perfectly and wow the crowd, and the opposition, with a flurry of no-look passes we’d practised the week before. After one such display in the second half, Tony, the England international marking me, calls a substitution for himself and stalks off into the changing rooms. His replacement doesn’t fair much better and BCKC run out 26-14 winners.

Vix is the toast of the team after nine goals, including four penalties. It’s unheard of for such a new player to take penalties, but we practise all the time and Vix has yet to miss one in a month of training; she buried her four confidently. Tony seeks me out after the match, coming into the men’s away team dressing room, and informs me of his retirement. Being run ragged by my no-look passes was the final straw, apparently. He tells me I’m the future of the sport, and that he expects several of his international teammates to make way as well for ‘the new wave of talent’. I shake his hand and say it was a honour to play him. He asks about a cut just below my knuckles, which I’ve had for months now. ‘A hiking accident, I think,’ I tell him, and can’t remember myself. He laughs and tells me not to risk damaging my ‘golden hands’ as he walks out.

While Vix and I enjoy the limelight, I know that the real key to the victory was our teammate Charlie, an England star who kept Trojans’ best defensive players occupied while ‘the power couple’ worked our magic. I haven’t had a chance to congratulate him on a job well done but spot him just outside the venue, heading to the pub with a few Trojans players he knows from the international team.

“Charlie!” I call, just as they’re crossing the road. Everyone turns, still walking, and several recognise me and gesture I should join them. I jog to catch up as the horn blares, and a lorry slams into the group right in front of my eyes.

[to be continued]

[I’d like to dedicate this post to my sister Emily, who requested I resurrect this story when I met up with her last week, and who is still confused as to why the leprechaun bit Harry]

Experiment Two: The Answers

[First post in a week and only the second in eleven days, but I’m back now with plenty of ideas! I am off on holiday next week sometime as well though, ah summer…]

I would never want to accuse any of my readers of ruining the fun, but the excellent guesswork of Summit Abrams (whose fantastic blog is currently under reconstruction, so follow it now and await the grand (re)opening) on The Machine more or less wrapped up my ‘guess the ideas’ game! As he correctly commented, the work was influenced by Mario Savio’s ‘bodies upon the gears’ speech from 1964. And yes, I did hear it first through Linkin Park’s incredible song Wretches and Kings (though it’s also been sampled in plenty of other songs). Here’s the process, anyway:

The first two verses were my own writing, inspired by and loosely referencing the speech, but the second verse ends with a direct quote ‘and you’ve got to make it stop’ to set up the third, which is composed entirely of lines from Savio’s famous address.

Having written each verse, I then reordered the lines within them to create shapes, as I felt this gave a more mechanical look and artificial feel. This involved rewriting one or two of my own lines to improve the fit but I tried to stay true to my first draft and see if I could still make any sense within the altered order. I did intentionally quote plenty of the last clause of the speech ‘[the machine] will be prevented from working at all!’ so it would end up being the poem’s closing line.

The picture accompanying the piece is apparently of one of his speeches, though it’s hard to tell; the one accompanying this post is definitely of him.

Thanks again to Summit for his astute observations, and I hope whoever read it enjoyed it because it sure was fun to write!