Doesn’t Monday come round quickly?! Here’s a new writing challenge for you:
Write a story or poem on any of the following themes:
Last week’s themes were as follows:
Here are your stories and poems:
“Are you English?”
A crackled, Scottish-Swedish accented voice was asking me. I answered with my usual politeness.
“What’s that got to do with you?”
The man asking me was of medium height with blond scraggy beard and even blonder and scraggier hair.
“My name is Rolf,” he said.
“What’s yours?” his throaty voice enquired.
We were standing in the middle of a bright, white and sparkling snow-covered square. I had just completed my first year living in Stockholm. He reminded me of “the Slipper of the yard”.
I answered, “Mind your own business.”
He looked at me, and down the clothes I was wearing, and smiled.
“You must be English, dressed like that,” he said.
I was wearing my jeans with rips and tears down the front and coloured embroidery on the back. My Chelsea cobbler cowboy-boots being far too big and my hair hung down past my shoulders. I realised I was standing out compared to the Swedish men dressed in matching pastel colours and designer labels.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I’m making a documentary for Swedish television,” he said.
I had already guessed as much as Rolf directed a microphone towards me and the man standing behind him pointed a huge camera at me which was resting on his shoulder.
“Can I interview you?” he asked.
“What’s it about?” I said.
“Immigrants,” he answered.
The temperature was twenty-five below.
I said, “Buy me a coffee and cake in the cafe and I might.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Rolf.
We walked over and into the warm and cosy cafe scattered with young beautiful ladies and serious men. We found seats and Rolf ordered.
“Why did you come to Sweden?” he asked.
“I didn’t come here, I ran away from London,” I answered.
We chatted for several hours. It transpired that he had lived in a caravan on the Outer Hebrides for several years, hence the Scottish- English accent I thought.
“Will I get paid for this interview?” I asked him.
“You got coffee and a cake,” he answered.
I was beginning to like this bloke, I thought. The interview was over. He stood up, reached into his pocket and gave me his card.
“Come to my office when you can,” Rolf said grinning again.
I sensed an opportunity, looked at the card headed Swedish channel One then slid it into my pocket, thinking: I will come and see you, Rolf.
I waited a week before taking the tube that stopped near the television building. I got into the tall tower block and found Rolf’s office written on a notice board and took the lift to his floor. A corridor dotted with many office doors and very smart and busy looking people were scurrying around. I felt my clothes shabby, took a deep breath, and walked along the hallway until I found Rolf’s door. He was standing at a desk. He turned and without hesitation said,
“Hello, English, good to see you!”
Now I was really starting to like this bloke.
“Come in and have coffee,” he said offering me a seat.
I sat down while he poured us cups of coffee from a machine and settled into his chair.
“Do you work?” he asked. “Do you play any sports?”
“Yes, I’m a carpenter and I play football.”
“Any good, are you?”
“In London I play senior amateur football.”
Rolf sprang to his feet.
“Fantastic!” he shouted. “Our department has a football team and we need good players to beat that snobby lot from the news department.”
Over the following weeks, I got to know the boys from the documentary department very well through football-games, training, drinks, laughing and revelling. Rolf was always the centre of attention as he ran the team and the department. One of the players informed me Rolf’s wife was the editor of Stockholm’s leading celebrity gossip magazine. During one of the after-match sessions Rolf took me to one side and said,
“I have been asked by my boss to make a documentary about Tibet, I ask you because you have travelled there many times, and I want you to come with me.”
He pointed his thumb at the other players and said,
“This lot are soft and silly; do you want to come along?”
After a year in this expensive city and being completely broke I said, “Yes, if I get paid.”
“I will put you on the pay roll,” said Rolf.
Four weeks later, as I had packed and was about to catch the train to the airport, the phone rang.
“Don’t forget your passport, we fly by Aeroflot over Russia to China then train to Tibet.”
“Why Aeroflot?” I said.
“Because it’s the cheapest,” said Rolf. “We land in Moscow for lunch.”
And that’s exactly what happened. The plane landed and we were shuffled into a hangar and lunch was served on porcelain plates. Finally, we landed in Beijing, and Rolf, the crew and I took taxis to the train station and boarded the train for Tibet. The camera crew looked tired and very out of place while Rolf bobbled around like a ball bouncing from a rubber string. I stayed close to him as he also had the expenses purse. The long train journey with no dining car or snack bar made everybody grumpy and hungry as the countryside flashed past, changing from fields to hills to towering mountains, looking very cold and extremely isolated, but the higher the mountains the more excited Rolf became. The camera crew were crouching into corners tightly packed together.
Eventually the train stopped by a long empty platform. Rolf stood up and opened the carriage door and called,
“Come on! We’re here! Let’s go!”
I jumped out after him and the crew slouched behind. Rolf stood outside the station beside a large battered truck with its driver leaning out, smiling and a cigarette in his mouth.
“This good man is taking us to our accommodation,” announced Rolf and looked very pleased with himself.
We all climbed aboard. The truck rattled, bounced and shook along a dusty remote track. After many bruise-filled miles, and the excuse for a truck, we stopped beside a tatty wooden hut.
“This is it”! cried Rolf with evident triumph.
We jumped down and into the hut. There were benches for beds, a wooden table and an old iron stove.
“Perfect!” announced Rolf.
The crew looked devastated but Rolf completely ignored them and pulled two chairs to the table.
“Sit down, we plan a route!” he said to me, and spread his map across the entire table pushing his finger along lines of mountains.
“We go and film here!”
The next morning, after an uncomfortable night, we set off with the truck driver who kindly gave me a bundle of winter clothes. I put them on over the next hours as we stumbled, climbed up the hills, ravines and into endless terrain stretching out to the edge of the horizon in the completely clear blue sky. No people, no trees, no movement and soon darkness started to creep in. The truck reappeared and took us to another hut. The same routine each day as the mountains grew higher, the vastness endless and the crew grumpier. On the sixth day leaving the hut everything was just white. A thick layer of snow covered the earth from mountain to valley. No colour, no fields just cranky rock and bleakness. Rolf was badgering the crew to film and continue with the expedition but on the morning of the seventh day I woke up early as I heard scuffling sounds from outside the hut. I got out of bed and went outside to see the crew packing their cameras and equipment.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Waiting for the truck, we are going back to Sweden,” they announced without shame, and looking afraid.
Rolf appeared, looked at the scene in front of him and cried,
“Bunch of pussies.”
I took Rolf back into the hut.
“Rolf,” I said, “if they leave there’s no programme!”
“No there won’t be,” said Rolf.
“Will I still get paid?” I said, with fading hope.
Rolf looked down at his feet, the only sound was the sound of absolute silence.
Steve Walsky has written an emotive poem. Please take a look:
Lynn Love has crafted a wonderful piece. You’ll find it on her site:
Silence is everywhere,
Over the hill and under the stair.
You cannot escape it not one bit,
If you try and hide from it, it’s like falling into a never-ending pit.
It’s all around us, huge and strong,
You can break it but not for long.
It tries to cling to you and won’t let go,
Grasping and grabbing you, calling ‘hello.’
If you want to embrace it then go ahead,
Or try to hide from it, under the bed.
Whatever you decide, make the right choice,
It’s all up to you, just pay the price.
Rajiv Chopra entertains us with the next instalment in the Mary Jane series:
Silence reigned in the stillness of the night, as Spiderman and The Joker slowly found their way out of the dungeon. They did not pause to consider, or wonder, at how easy it was for them to escape. Love had died in their hearts, and all that they were conscious of, was a thirst for revenge. Being slighted was not something that they took lightly.
It was this desire that burned in their hearts, and drove their movements. Hate burned deep, its flame roaring and raging. It was this desire that blinded them to the question of why it was so easy for them to escape.
They left the two Hobbits, chained in the dungeon. They had no more use for those two little mongrels, and only felt that they would slow them down. They had played their part, in luring the two girls into their clutches, and then Frodo had betrayed them. Their usefulness was over, and the wrath of Batman and Poison Ivy would be just punishment.
Finally, breaking the silence, The Joker whispered, “Ah, if only I could bear witness to what tortures The Bat will dish out, my day would be complete. And, that Poison Ivy….. ah, she is so very delectable.” A leer crossed his face, and he stood there in the night, thinking of her, and imagining her naked underneath him.
“Leave them,” whispered Spiderman, breaking The Joker’s pleasant reverie. “We have work to do.”
They paused as they felt the fresh air on their faces, and let the silence and stillness of the light soak in. Ah, freedom. What a glorious word, and what a glorious feeling!
They had been in scrapes before, and had escaped many times. Yet, each time they escaped, the marvel of freedom never left them.
In another part of town, two girls left their cozy home. The cool breeze fanned their faces and they drove off at random. Their love for each other was bright and strong, and equally strong was their determination to not let the two men come in the way of their love.
They drove around randomly, aimlessly for an hour, wondering what to do. Instinct drove them, and not knowledge. They had no knowledge that the two men had been imprisoned by The Bat and Poison Ivy, and had escaped. Finally, they stopped, wondering what to do.
“Where would they go?” asked Harley Quinn, musingly.
“If I know Spidey, he would probably go back to the place where these events started. He would go to his favourite pub –the Black Pub, he called it. That is where he would go whenever we would have a fight. He has that sense of tradition about him. He would go to that place. That is where he would have first met The Joker, and this would be a new beginning for him.”
“Let’s go there, then,” said Harley. “Let’s go there and wait for their Majesties. We shall wait upon them, like two dainty maids, and then we would have our fun. Let us then destroy them both, once and for all.”
Unknown to each other, the two pairs headed off in the same direction, to The Black Pub.
Meanwhile, the two Hobbits groaned and moaned and thrashed about in agony. Bitterness welled up inside their throats. Their love for each other had been turned to hate, and all because of a woman. They were beginning to ask themselves if they had been wise, and the realization of their stupidity hit them like a bolt between the eyes. Looking into the other’s eyes, they crawled to each other, and swore eternal fealty to the other, and then fell back like two blubbering masses.
“I love you, Frodo,” said Sam.
“And I you, Sam,” said Frodo.
Two dark shadows filled the doorway, and they saw the burning silhouettes of Batman and Poison Ivy.
“Let’s get you two up,” said The Bat. Deep in the recesses of his mind, ran the thought that this was like a poorly made disaster film that was slowly beginning to spin out of control.