Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Hassle that comes when you don't do the washing-up when I ask

'What would happen if I didn't do the washing up?' He asked.

She scowled into her tea cup, thinking of the mountains of plates he had offered to clean last night. The plates that still lay in drunken piles beside the sink, with crumbs and congealed gravy, limp lettuce and wrinkled potato skins. He had promised.

He asked again. 'What would happen?'

She put down the book, and raised her eyes to his.

'Well,' She said, 'Its not something you can easily predict. Every time is different.

'You probably won't notice anything at first. You'll go about your business, getting ready for the day as if there was nothing wrong. Your morning shower might be a little bit cold, and the temperature dial might become a little unpredictable - veering wildly from bracing mountain stream to molten lava and back again. But that's nothing.

'Your breakfast might be tricky, as any toast you make will burn in that deep-tissue way, so that no amount of scraping will remove the charred bits. The milk will be off and the yogurt too. There will be no bacon and the last egg will fall from the fridge as you open it, leaving a sticky mess on the toes of your socks.

'Slipping on your last clean pair of jeans, you'll notice large hole in the crotch, exposing your fetching Dennis the Menace boxer shorts. You'll search the house for a needly and thread, but both will remain elusive. Finally you will resort to the Bermuda shorts that you bought in Alicante as a bet, the ones that are bright green with cute little pictures on them of pigs mid-coitus.

Walking into town, your new trainers will be inexplicably drawn to dubiously grey puddles and piles of dog mess. A group of beautiful women will walk passed you at exactly the moment when you are scraping said dog mess from your sole with a gnarled old stick. They will laugh and you will pretend not to notice.

You will be splashed by passing cars on three separate occasions and some of the surface water will work its way into your mouth, leaving you with a strange earthy, metallic taste that will not wash away no matter how much juice you drink.

When you arrive in town all the shops will be closed due to a power-failure and you will be accosted by a woman in a red jumper who will persuade you to send £20 a week to a dog sanctuary on the Isle of Skye. (Given that you still smell faintly of dog mess the irony of this enforced charity is almost laughable.)

As you begin you walk home - empty-handed and twenty quid worse-off - the heavens open and within minutes you will be drenched.

Upon rounding the corner to your street, you will be knocked off your feet by an old man on a mobility scooter who will swear at you for being in his way in such colourful language that you won't know whether to be impressed or offended. When he begins to hit you with a walking stick you will realise that the latter is the correct response.

Once home you will find the front door ajar and seven burley men in leather motorcycle jackets in your kitchen. They will be drinking your beer and eating those olives stuffed with chilies that you are so fond of. You know, the ones that you hide in the top cupboard so no one else can have any? You will ask them to leave but they will ignore you, only consenting to go when all the alcohol has been drunk and the olives have been eaten.

They will also - through thick beards and a series of impressive belches - chastise you on your poor house-keeping skills.

Finally, exhausted and confused, you will crawl into bed, only to find that one of your house-guests had mistaken the bedroom for a bathroom. Warm and wet, you sleep fully clothed in the bath, wishing that you had done the washing up when you were asked.'

He blinked.

'I'll get the marigolds.'

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Competition winner

Hi everyone,

I won my first writing competition yesterday! is an American online writing community which lets contributors post their writing online. Other contributors are then free to offer contructive criticism to each other. It's a great idea and every month they have competitions for poetry and short stories. And I won first prize for February! I am one hundred dollars better off. Which is lovely. The poem that won is reproduced below:

The sculptor

I could never sculpt hands.
I can transfigure my chisel
Into a typewriter and speak a personal history,
Sculpt the deep rivulets of emotions
Around the eyes of dictators and devils,
Divas and demigods,
Fashioning life
From bronze and stone.
Or recreate the folds of gowns
That envelope sleeping nymphs,
While patterns, Klimt-like
Wreath the delicate tendrils of their hair.
But if I could emulate the warmth of a handshake,
The articulation of a hand raised and lowered
In debate;
Or capture the vitriol of an obscene gesture...

I cannot conceive the corrugation of weather-worn knuckles
Bleached and tanned by an unforgiving sun.
Or the elegant ebony hand
Whose pale palms serve a contrast of colour
More pleasing than any canvas.

I only wish I could sculpt hands.