Guest Writer Spot

This week, it gives me great pleasure to welcome my brilliant student, Jason Moody to my Guest Writer Spot. You may be familiar with his name; he often takes part in my weekly writing challenges and entertains us with his witty limericks and stories. Here’s a little bit about him in his own words:

‘I’m a happily married, ex-Londoner now living in Oxfordshire. When I’m not dog walking or binge-watching TV shows, I like to cram in as much writing as time will allow.

‘I’ve always had a passion for telling stories, and with Esther’s help, I’m learning the craft. Like every wannabe writer, I hope to be published one day, and to that end I am busying myself with two novels.’

Poppy Winters

By

Jason Moody

Jasper Brown, by his own admission, was a fairly ordinary bloke. He had a good job that he would best describe as ok. His circle of friends was an eclectic bunch of people, who were nothing out of the ordinary.  Jasper knew what he liked, and seldom got it. He was happy with this.

He had a normal upbringing, in a normal part of London. He attended school, got good grades and performed his paper round with due diligence.

He attended college where he studied art for three years before deciding:

“I don’t much care for art. It’s all useless anyway.”

At college, he made new ordinary friends, and failed twice to woo Jessica Jackson.

University was a blur. It came and went, much like his virginity. And much like his virginity, he was rather glad when it was all done with.

He moved back in with Mum and Dad, and set about getting himself a job to repay his impressive student loan.

He was, growing up, a relatively normal bloke.

All this would change the very second he met Poppy Winters. This happened at precisely 7:34am.

It was a Tuesday.

Jasper once again revealed his tonsils to those stood under the dilapidated bus shelter. He’d estimated that in the two hundred yards between his house and the bus stop, he had yawned eight times.

The usual gang was here, huddled unnecessarily under the shelter. The middle aged woman, with the tight fitting dress who wore more make-up on her teeth than her lips. Next to her, a plump man in his fifties shuffled from side to side. Jasper predicted that the man had probably not seen his feet since the eighties.

There were two young friends from the girls’ school in town. They happily giggled and chatted, filling the air with enormous amounts of bullshit.

Finally, there was the hipper than hip teenage boy. Cap perched upon his head so precariously, that to fart would dislodge it. His jeans were halfway down his legs, which resembled those of a chicken.

All human life was here, under the shelter. Jasper squeezed between the man and the two girls from the girls’ school in town. Great, he thought, this morning’s delight was an essay on how unbelievably fit Darren Thomas was, and why one of the girls’ Mums was such an uppity bitch.

Jasper suddenly reminded himself of the day ahead. It was his performance review today. The new manager had set about assessing everyone, much to everyone’s annoyance. Most came out of their meetings with the consensus that she was a right cow.

The bus crawled to a stop. A rugby scrum appeared from nowhere. It had always annoyed Jasper that the concept of queuing in London was evidently alien. He stepped aboard, flashed his pass to the driver who clearly couldn’t care less, and made his way down the bus. He was about level with the centre doors when he spied a seat. His heart sank. There was a reason it was free. The man sitting next to the window had all the markings of a tramp.

Forty seven minutes later, he had arrived at his stop. In the scramble to get off the now packed bus, he narrowly avoided having face time with a man’s armpit, and alighted the bus.

The pavement was filled with people, all going in the same direction. It was like salmon swimming upstream.  He focused on the floor, and started putting one foot in front of the other.

He soon realised why shoe gazing was not a great idea.

He saw stars for all but a second. This was replaced by a thumping ache on his forehead. He rubbed his head with great speed, trying not to ruin his hair. He was ready to pepper the morning air with a delicate bouquet of f-words, when he looked up.

She was giggling. Giggling? The very person whose forehead he’d just met was stood giggling in the middle of the street.

“Nice to meet you,” she said through giggles. “I usually go with a handshake, but hey.”

Jasper managed a smile, still rubbing his head, his vision now restored. He looked at her, really looked at her. He’d never seen anyone like her. Her hair was as red as a fresh tomato, her fringe almost covering her eyebrows. Her hair was long, straight and incredibly shiny. She was like a walking advert: her red lips contrasted against her pale skin; her eyes were brown; she had a red coat on, with a bright blue skirt popping out at the bottom; her tights were striped and her shoes were fifties glam.

She was beautiful.

“How’s your head?” he asked.

She pointed to her forehead. “Oh this? It’s fine. Nothing in there anyway,” she smirked.

They had bumped heads, exchanged little pleasantries and nothing more. Jasper’s heart fluttered, his pulse quickened and his hands became clammy. In that very moment, she had taken his heart, put it in a box and sealed it in a cave in the Gobi desert.

He smiled and stepped to his left, as did she. He tried the right, so did she. This was going to get awkward.

“Shall we dance?” she giggled. Her laugh was like a melody you couldn’t quite place.

The very next thing Jasper was aware of was that he was hand in hand with the girl; they were dancing. It was a sort of waltz. Music filled the air, but he had no idea where it could possibly come from. He looked around; he could see nothing but light, fluffy cloud.

He was dancing, on a cloud, with a beautiful stranger. He couldn’t see his legs below the knee, and he couldn’t feel any sensation of having solid ground underneath him. Was this a dream? He looked up, and while he twirled this way and that, he could only see an endless blue sky. It was magical. It was breathtaking. It was ridiculous.

“What the hell is going on?” he shouted. He had no idea why.

“We’re dancing. Fun, isn’t it?” came her reply.

She looked like she hadn’t a care in the world. Every second was a joy. Her face lit up with her broad smile, her teeth as straight as tombstones and as white as pure snow.

“Err,” he started. “We’re dancing? On a cloud? Is this a dream?”

The girl arched her head back and let loose an infectious, almost childlike laugh. It was blissful.

Jasper allowed himself to relax a little. Granted, the situation, if not a dream, was odd, but he was having far too much fun to care right now. He kicked at the cloud below him; it slowly rose to meet him, and then evaporated into nothing.

The girl laughed again. Jasper drank it in. He was certain that at any second he would awake, and find himself dribbling on his pillow.

“No silly. This is very real. You are here with me, and we are very much dancing…on a cloud.” Her face suddenly wore an expression of immense joy.” I love this song!”

With that, the music changed to an up tempo, Latino tune. Jasper had never heard it before, but he instantly loved it. The girl moved in a little closer and grabbed his waist. He did likewise. Whoever she was, wherever she was from, she sure could dance.

She let go of his hand and began to erupt into a succession of fantastical dance moves. Jasper swayed this way and that, like an embarrassed uncle at a wedding. She was mesmerising.

All the while, as she moved about the cloud, her gaze was fixed upon Jasper. If only he had the right things to say. If only he could be as cool as her. If only.

Only moments earlier, he was quite happily miserable, on his way to work. He once again tried to take stock of his situation. He was on a cloud, yes, on a cloud, and he was dancing with a beautiful, if slightly bonkers stranger.

 On a cloud.

It was at this point that he could suddenly feel the wind, howling in his ears. He could barely open his eyes, he was moving so fast. He had now left the dreamlike tranquillity of the cloud and was now hurtling back to Earth at a rate of knots. Every part of his body felt like it was being torn from him. He wriggled to face the earth. It was getting ever closer at an alarming rate. He could now just about make out the high street he was on only minutes before. What a way to die, he thought to himself. He had so much he wanted to do. He had so many unanswered questions. He decided to give voice to one.

“I’ll never get to see what happens at the end of Lost,” he screamed.

Of all the things.

He closed his eyes and decided just to wait for the inevitable. Death was coming.

With that he stumbled forward, and opened his eyes. He was on the same stretch of pavement, in the same upstream struggle. He looked about, to see if anyone else had just witnessed his fall from the clouds. He figured that because nobody even looked at him, they hadn’t. He did figure that this was, however, London.

He collected himself, and sighed. What a beautiful dream, he thought.

Arriving at his place of work some five minutes later, he nodded at Sharon behind reception. He took the lift to the fourth floor and walked to his desk, removed his coat, shoved his bag under his desk and turned on his pc.

Suddenly heard his name and he knew the voice. He didn’t want to. He was all too aware what it meant. He breathed out. Got up and turned in the direction of the voice. It was Alison Mead, the new boss, the biggest bitch in all of South London.

He smiled and walked over to meet her on the only bit of open floor available.

“Hi, Jasper,” she said, not even looking at him. “Change of plan, if you could come with me.”

He followed her to the staff canteen. They entered. Alison moved to one side, a chair screeched and a red headed, beautiful lady stood before him. Her fringe covered her eyebrows, her smile was warm and inviting, and her eyes were brown. She wore stripy tights.

Alison gestured behind her. “This is Poppy Winters. Poppy, this is Jasper, if you could show her the ropes, sweetheart. Thanks.”

Alison turned to Poppy. “I’ll leave you with Jasper.”

Alison smiled and left the room. Poppy looked at Jasper and winked.

“Hello, Jasper.”

 ***

If you’d like your writing to be featured in my Guest Writer Spot, please contact me here or by e-mail: esthernewton@virginmedia.com. I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines.

***

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19 Responses to Guest Writer Spot

  1. I loved the title it pulled me into the story and I found it witty and engaging, would love to read more of Jason’s work.

  2. T. says:

    Amazing! I kept reading to the end!

  3. Jason Moody says:

    Why thank you, Maria That’s very kind. Esther, your kind words flatter me. Thank you! This has made my week. I can go on holiday very happy! 😉 All thanks to a brilliant teacher! 😉

  4. EDC Writing says:

    I’m intrigued…by the writing, the story, your style, how much you had and how much taught by Esther, for example the tendency to use short sentences?

    • Jason Moody says:

      Thanks for reading. I trust it wasn’t too painful.
      Regards my ‘style’. Firstly, I’m flattered you might think I have one, thank you. Regards the short sentences, it’s not a conscious thing. Good, or otherwise, I’ve always done it I guess. Esther has taught me so much on the fiction side. It’s easy to learn when it’s fun and you have the right teacher.

  5. gjsimmonds says:

    I love a happy ending.

  6. Jason Moody says:

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.

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