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Post by Graham on Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:16 pm

Out of my archive I have pulled these four pieces. My question is: which one is worth developing for this exercise? Please don't waste any time commenting on them individually. Just a straight vote will do. There are hundreds more, all hand written, from my period in the Write Here, Write Now group. They were the result of freewrites in class done in ten to twenty minutes each. Normally I would rewrite as I transcribe to Word but these have had no more than a Word spelling and grammar check.

Dear Mr Cratchit,

Words 375

I hope this finds you as happy and content as it leaves me, in the bosom of my family, a dog belching at my feet and Mrs Scrooge, bless her, heaving another barrel of porter up from the basement. It has been a marvellous year, has it not? Thanks to your wizardry with our finance, Scrooge and Cratchit are riding high in the market. Yes, never were purveyors of snuff and gentlemen’s trifles so highly prized. Indeed, we owe this success to your resourceful discovery of this new powder from the Americas of all places. I must admit I was sceptical but having once essayed it, I was completely won over. And it is all the more, as you say, agreeable when ingested via a five guinea note. On the business of the trifles as we may describe them I am as you realise seriously indebted to you for the introduction to that delightful young trifle who goes by the sobriquet Amanda. As you rightly remind me in your festive missive, discretion among gentlemen is paramount in this area. I would caution only for the future that you refrain from references to ‘that tidy little bit’ in correspondence that the saintly Mrs Scrooge might light upon. As you know she has the heart of an angel but also a full set of sharp kitchen knives.

In view of your tact and resourcefulness I have no hesitation in acceding for your request to be accredited full partner.

Perhaps you would care to visit tomorrow when I can express my gratitude personally. If you could possibly come in via the scullery and take no notice of the protective wrapping on the floor. Just a precaution we took when slaughtering the pig. And alone would be wisest. No need to inform Mrs Cratchit. We’ll have a high old time. Perhaps we could fit a little business in as well.

If you would be so good to bring the address of your American contact and, oh yes, those what do you call daguerreotypes of me and the boisterous young Amanda. You don’t have copies do you? Probably just as well.

I look forward to concluding our business on a high note.

I remain your esteemed partner,

E Scrooge esq.

Quomodocumque (warning: sweary word)

Words 236

Foxfire Four was madder than a wet hen dipped in treacle and pumped through the wrong end of his Granny’s mangle.

‘Control, why am I sitting here freezing my arse off in the middle of nowhere with an educationally subnormal orang-outang for company?’

BD’s voice cut in
‘Hey, enough o’ the monkey’
‘Shut up and eat your banana’

The voice of control took over and smoothed out the ruffled airwaves.

‘Gentlemen, you are here on company business and being paid handsomely for it.’

It was the voice of his first secondary school teacher, all understanding and toleration but with the backup of twelve inches of Loch Gilly leather inside her desk.

‘Yes ma’am,’ Foxfire responded, ‘but ...’

Control took over before he could butter his but.

‘Just relax and report what you see. Further instructions will follow when necessary.’

The pair settled inside the observation post for another night of contained animosity. Having walked six wheady miles through taig-infested bog to get here they were both hairy at the heel. Observation posts were never luxurious but this one at the edge of a block of flats was one of the worst. It was deserted, and dim lights picked out silent stairways. The last thing they heard was a local accent saying a word they didn’t recognize that made them turn and try to squeeze triggers even as they knew it was too late.

‘Quomodocumque, cunts’ it  said.

The Old Fellow

Words 320

The old fellow was still grumbling even with the bag on his head. Codfish gave him another bump.

‘Shut up you old git or I’ll shut you up for good. Right Jace,’ he turned to me, ‘keep him quiet while we do the job,’ and with that he lifted the pump action and signalled to Nuts and Bigboy out the window.

When they were gone I could hear the old man wheezing. His dry raspy cough went on and on. I thought Jesus, no one can cough that long and survive. Reluctantly I pulled the sack off. The face was bruised, and blood welled from the grey stubble covering his scalp.

He gulped in air till I thought he’d explode and then started looking at me. His mouth opened a couple of times before the words came out.

‘Did you draw that son?’ he asked nodding at a crude stick figure engaged in even cruder activities with what might have been a stick dog. Good grief, he was within an inch of losing his life and he wants to know if I drew something on the wall. The knock on the head must have done something to him.

‘Did you?’ he demanded ‘Did you?’ He was really working himself up. ‘Did you draw it?’

The effect was so strange as if he was my Dad and he’d caught me out. I humoured him, no harm in that.

‘No, I didn’t draw that man on the wall, Dad.’

His face went slack and only mumbles came out, tears forming in his eyes. I leaned forward to listen.

‘Only,’ he was saying, ‘I had great hopes for you, maybe art school.’

That made me redden. It was too much like my own past. Art school. Yes, it could have been but here I was in a dingy basement nursemaiding a demented old codger that I might have to nut at a moment’s notice.

Torturer Third Class

Words 285

The sidehill gouger is a terrible tool We use it on recalcitrant papists and nonconforming fools alike. But possibly my favourite is the jackalope, six foot of sharpened steel, a barrel projector and this foul disembowelling rod. Oh, they think twice when I switch this on. Do I enjoy my work? Enjoy is not quite the right word. Thrill to the thought of it every morning more like. Oh yes, I am immensely proud of the service I provide for his majesty. Torturer third class, quite a promotion from groom of the stools, and that’s not the stools you sit on. His majesty was most particular about who should assist him in his privy functions. I believe I was chosen for my delicate touch. Oh, and perhaps the innocence in my eyes. Yes, I was young and foolish. But he recognized my true potential after that incident with the cocker spaniel. I’ll never know how it got in there, but it will find its bollocks a lot more difficult to lick now if it can find them at all that is.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the new instrument the argopelter they call it. We place the malfeasant in it so. If you would be so kind as to accommodate yourself around these sharp pointy bits. There, my colleague will assist as forcefully as need be. We lock you in so. I turn the handle so. Now, now enough of that caterwauling. We have no interest in your confession. Your estates? Ho, ho. They are gone to his mistress I believe. Oh yes, look, a joy to the heart. Actually, I see that is your heart. Yes definitely taxes well spent. I’m hoping for promotion to chancellor of the exchequer since you ask.


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Post by lin on Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:56 pm

I vote for 'The Old Fellow'


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Post by Graham on Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:33 pm

Thanks Lin. They are all very slight and present problems over and above mere editing. Old fellow is probably the only one that would do. I've decided to go with something else entirely - a short story I'd started. I thought it was too long but Eimar's example on Tuesday impressed on me the potential in only presenting part of a story.


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Post by Susieflooks on Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:46 pm

I vote for Mr. Crachit - I do like the reworking of an old story!


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