Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Excercise 1 - first sentence, keep writing to the end ...

The first sentence is in blue - I was also given a business card.
She stopped running  and watched the bus pull away from her. She panted. There was no way she’d be back in time to cover it up now…

Approaching slowly from the other direction was a little old lady, almost impossilbly bent over her shopping trolley, which served as both zimmer frame and shopping basket.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle stop. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle … The inexorable, slow progress made X feel even more frustrated.

“Jesus! She should’ve left last week if she was hoping to catch that bus! Now we’ve both bloody missed it!” X let her irritation screw up her face. She was still panting lightly after charging down the street, straight across the road at the bottom without even a glance to the left to check the traffic flow. No time! A perky blonde in a little fiat yelped as she swerved past her too surprised to honk  her chirpy little horn.

“Fuck her!”

X clattered on across the cobbles, praying to the god of all bus drivers…

“Please, please please let there be a passenger counting out £2.85 in pennies or some old fart whining about the recent bus fare increase. Please, please, just this one time and I’ll never ask … Oh Fuck it!”…

The determined pensioner arrived at the stop and began a complicated ‘turn around, sit down’ manouever, she let out a little ‘oof’ as she lowered her bony charity shop tweed clad bottom toward the plastic bench.

X tries to avoid her eye she needs to calm down and think. She desperately doesn’t want to chat to the crumbly old lady. Despite herself though she is intrigued by the old lady’s fussing and fiddling about inside her shopping trolley. On closer inspection she realises that the standard navy canvas box on wheels has been customised

The old dear has tricked out her trolley with raffia bows and a bizarre collectin of badges from the 80’s. X smiles to herself as she spots a large red badge with S.S.D.D. in white across the middle.

“Yup!” she thinks, “That about covers it, although to be fair, for her it was more like S.D.D.S.

The old lady catches her smile and takes her chance.
“Would you like a bourbon? Only I’ve run out of my usual.”

In the wake of orchestrating the biggest cock-up of her life before leaving the house this morning, X feels that a bourbon doesn’t quite cover it, but she smiles, takes the biscuit and sits down next to the old dear – to wait for the next bus.

The bus that will deliver her home in time to face the music, the bus that will drop her at the end of the road  - literally and metaphorically …

“Do you know, when I was your age I had red hair and a 22”waist?” The old lady was off on an old lady rant about back in the day. X settles down into her own thoughts – releasing a series of random ‘hmms’, ‘ooohs’ and ‘yes, of courses’ triggered by the cadre of the woman’s voice, meanwhile X needs a plan.

She scans for options.
Option one. Don’t get off the bus and never ever go home again. This isn’t practical but not impossible. She could carry on to the big hotel just outside the city and from there start a new life, reinvent herself. The main issue as far as she can tell is that her doubt that a £25.54p bank balance would be enough to get her a cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake let alone a hotel room.

Ok. Option Two. She calls her best friend, confesses all and throws herself on her mercy and asks to stay for a few days until she can sort herself out. The one glaring problem with this is then she would know…

Option three. Call him, send him on a wild goose chase, get home before him, hide the evidence. Now you’re thinking girl.

The little old lady has moved on from her youth and is happily chatting on about her local bingo club. X throws in a few non-committal ‘hmms’ and sends a text.

{L. need woodfiller for windowsill. Pls get on way home @B&Q. X}

Ting!Ting! Oh shit! That was quick… She checks her phone.
{X – can’t today got footie. Remember!}

X squeaks in disbelieving relief and changes her allegiance to the omnipotent god of sport. He won’t be back, not til after 9pm. She smiles at the old lady and rewards her companion in strife with a genuine question.
“So how long have you lived around here then?”

As X turns the key in the lock she feels the fear creep back in tiny, vertebrae jumping increments. What if L has dropped in to pick up his kit, before heading to the match?

She flings the keys into the dish and flicks on the light, all automatic reflex actions, guaranteed to release calm, 'I'm home' endorphins, but something is off.  There’s no coats on the rack, no shoes piled in an annoying heap next to the shoe rack... As x steps into the living room it hits her – it’s all gone, all of it.

No shabby furniture, no bloody annoying discarded computer mags, shaming, empty squares of dust on the walls and the ugly, reproduction mantelpiece is swept clean of trophies and accumulated crap except for one Polaroid and one business card - blue tacked to the wall where her mirror used to hang.

    Len Swift, PhD  
    Radioscope International

X dials the number on the card and asks for L by name. The secretary, his secretary, tells her ever so sweetly that he isn’t due until next Monday. Does she want to leave a message?

Ting! Ting!

[X. Found the polaroids of you and J – Classy… Btw I gave notice on the flat 6 weeks ago. Toodles  Lx}

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