Day 243: A physical description of an eccentric relative

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Classically, the eccentric is a hermit. They live alone, in their odd little laboratory or hovel with a shock of white hair surrounding their wrinkled face. They stare out at the world through tiny windows to match their tiny sunken eyes. They are stick thin, probably from walking their particularly tiny dog and eating like a bird on a diet. They obsess and they fuss over something in particular, usually something scientific or engineerlike.

My Aunt Erica though… Thirty years old and as round as she is tall, she constantly grins and beams at the crowds of people in West Chipping as she makes her way through the town. Her brown hair with its gentle wave flows behind her as she  winds through the streets on her unicycle. I think the weight probably helps her to balance, but then again, I have no idea. She blows kisses to everything she passes, be it alive, dead or inanimate object, and wears that consistent smile showing as many of her teeth as can escape at a time. Not a wrinkle in sight, either. It’s as if she read the description and decided to be a crossbow bolt through its heart. Unsurprising, seeing as she carries a functioning crossbow with her. She says its for the Rapture.

To be honest, she’s a bit weird. But you’ve got to love her.

So, 400 days to go including today, as long as I’ve got my counting right. I’ve had my minor issues, but I’m still getting there. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 242: She was a fat woman whose eating habits were dainty. There was a cheque for $13612 dollars in her purse, not made out to her, but, you know. She was good at figuring these things out. Start with her hair.

Golden ringlets hung lankly around her moonlike face, the housing of a set of thin lips and small, piggy eyes. She reached out with a pudgy hand, sausage fingers grasping for a set of cutlery from the bucket in the centre of the table. She held it, triumphantly, then began to carve her food into smaller and smaller chunks. “A gobbet,” She muttered to herself, “a piece or lump of flesh, food or viscous matter.”

The door to the diner opened and two people walked in. A large man, easily carting around two duffle bags, one black and one grey. Behind him, a diminutive redheaded girl cowered and shuffled through the tables towards her. She eased her bulk from her booth and extended her arms towards the man. “Shark, my boy, how are you?” She flicked a hand dismissively towards the girl. “Have you been playing with your food again?”

He laughed, a belly laugh that rolled around the mostly empty diner. The few remaining patrons didn’t stir, being regulars to this place. They were walking oxymorons, regulars in such a transient spot.But, regulars they were and as such were used to Daisy’s visitors. “Not me, Day. You know I wouldn’t do something like that.”

She tutted. “Yes, the very image of a model criminal. I suppose you want your cheque?”

“At least you know that. $13612, right? Which name did you put it in again? Butch McClean? Carter Harris?”

She laughed, a rich tinkly laugh that was completely at odds with her gluttonous exterior. “No, I went with the old favourite. Topham Hatt. Proceeds to his charitable foundation. All legit, of course.”

“Of course. Now, what should we do with the girl? I’ve got the pickup for Markowitz.”

Daisy looked the redhead up and down. “Ooo, I’ll take her. Don’t you worry, I won’t hurt her. She’ll be waiting for you when you’re back. Now go! Go. Marky doesn’t like being kept waiting now.” Shark gave Daisy a quick hug, looking to all intents and purposes like he’d been possessed by the Devil and forced into the act of intimacy, gave one last look at the redheaded girl, then left. Daisy watched the door, waited for the lights of the Nissan to disappear, then turned to the redhead in a righteous fury. “Right, now he’s gone. Sit your arse at that table and don’t move until I tell you to. You fucking idiot. How did you stumble into this? Four years of work down the drain…”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 241: The last time you cheated

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I stared at the gorgeous creature in front of me. Blonde hair cascaded down her back and she wore the war paint of her kind, red lips and nails.
“Do you have it?” She asked, holding out her hand expectantly. She looked almost bored, as of she were waiting for something to happen out of the ordinary.

“Yes, yes. Sorry. It’s just…” I stammered, guilt forming a dam in my throat against the words.

“What, you’re cheating? Please, people do it all the time. Now, do you have the cash or not?”

My hands were shaking as I drew the envelope from my jacket pocket. I knew it was wrong but this… I hadn’t been happy for a while. I had to do this, just to get over this hurdle. “Here. Everything you asked for.”

“Marvellous. Shall we begin?”

Hours later, then we were done. She left me alone to ponder what I’d done, struggling with myself.

It was for the best.

It’s immoral.

It’s necessary.

No it isn’t. It’s an easier path that comes at a price.

What if SHE finds out?

She’ll only do that if you tell her.

This carried on until I fell into a dark and tangled sleep.

When I woke in the morning, however, I felt better than I had in a long time. I felt free, ready to fight. Finally, not unsure. All thanks to one minor moral inconsistency.

Besides, after today I wouldn’t have to sit another maths test. I’ll not need someone to give me the answers again.

That makes it okay, right?

A twist that I hope caught some of you out. I’d like to apologise for any issues with this post, it’s been written using my teeny tiny phone buttons in the car park of a service station. Tomorrow, business as usual.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 240: Write a scene in which a woman is fired after only a week on the job. Just a week earlier, the same person who is now firing her was very persuasive in convincing her to take the job.

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“Lisa, look, this isn’t coming from me. It’s from the higher-ups. Something about restructuring, or downsizing.” Glynn slid his hand over his slicked back hair, looking ruefully at the papers in front of him. “They told me I had to cut four people from the department, you see. As the newest and least experienced, I’m sorry but, I’ve just got to let you go.”

Lisa stared at him intently, waiting just long enough for it to become uncomfortable before she said, “Are you for real?”

“Look, I need to say again. This wasn’t my decision.”

“Don’t hide behind that excuse. Why did you tell me to go for this job, if you knew that the company was going to be downsizing?”

“I didn’t know! Honestly!” He was putting on an honest face, but Lisa could see the smirk hiding behind his grey eyes. “Look, all I said was that you’d be a great fit for the company and that there were positions opening up. I was all for you working here.”

“To get me fired.” There was something about Glynn that was bugging her, something familiar. “Why did you do this? I changed everything for this. I moved halfway across the country to rent a flat in a shitty suburb that consists of one small room and a kitchen you couldn’t swing a mouse in, let alone a cat. I broke up with my partner who thought I’d gone mad to go chasing a job here…”

“Yes, Jason Todd. Does he still play rugby?” Glynn asked, those little grey eyes turning to steel and the smirk finally emerging onto his pudgy face.

“He hasn’t played since college… Jesus Christ, Strasbourg?” Lisa’s hand flew to her mouth, attempting and failing to cover the shock that coursed through her body.

“It’s Michaels now. Turns out that there is somebody who could love me. Even though you told me nobody ever would.” He stood up slowly, easing himself from his chair as if he was attached with velcro. “That’s right, ’tis I!” A flourish to his captive audience. “Glynn Strasbourg, loner. Glynn Strasbourg, geek. Glynn Strasbourg, recipient of every cruel name under the sun but now, now, I am getting my revenge.” He cackled. He actually cackled.

Lisa grabbed her bag and headed for the door. She had to get away. To head back home. See if Jason would have her back. She turned and looked at the fat little man behind her. “You’re a right dick, you know that?” She whirled away and through the door, leaving Glynn laughing in his office, raucous and deep echoing through the halls.

What would she do now?

Oh dear, what’s next for our protagonist? Will she head home and try to fix all of those smouldering bridges? Or does she anchor in and work in the new life she’s got? Who knows? We may come back to her later.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 239: Write from the point of view of a nurse who hates the patient that she is charged with helping

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Mr Aristocles. He turned eighty just the other week and as such decided that the whole ward was free reign. Of course, because he’s eighty, it’s not exactly like I can slap him when he says some sexist comment, or pinches someone’s bum on their way past. He talks down to me and, let’s face it, I run the show here.

I can only imagine what the others think of him, if he manages to rattle even me. Especially when the other girls call me the “Hospital’s Thatcher”. I choose to take it as a compliment. That woman was certainly something to behold.

Anyway, I was doing my rounds of patients today and Aristocles takes it too far. He pinched my butt. Now, don’t get me wrong,  I work out for this ass, as well as spending twelve hours on my feet every time I’m in this hellhole, but that doesn’t mean some geriatric just gets to touch it because he’s old. I whirled on him, about to give him a piece of my mind.

Then he just looked lost and old. And alone. That’s the thing that really gets to me, when they look alone. I can deal with the sickness, I can deal with the age.I can’t deal with the fact that they keep looking to the door for someone coming to visit. Half the time, there’s nobody coming except possibly one money grabbing kid or grandkid. The rest are too busy deciding what to do with Granddad’s money.

I tutted and walked out the room. Kira and Misha were at the nurses’ station, so I dove straight into conversation with them. They’d been discussing their worst patients.

“I had one guy, right, who decided that aliens were coming out of his nipples. Now, I get it that it’s wrong to laugh but… Aliens from your nipples? That’s just be painful. Oh, hey Shaz.”

“Hey Kira. How’s the board looking?”

She shrugged. “You know how it is. Long periods of inactivity coupled to brief periods of excitement. Aristocles’ winning though. All he needs for the full run is to have a full breakdown or a heart attack. Extra points if he dies.”

“Well, I’d rather he didn’t. He may be a dirty old pervert but he’s still human. As you should know, Kira.” Kira at least had the decency to look sheepish. Misha looked about ready to bolt.

“Well, we just thought it would lighten the mood around here.”

“He’s still a person. Even if…” The alarms began to wail on the desk behind her, hungry children clamouring for feeding. Their ma turned around and checked all the blinking lights, before she realised. “Shit. Henri’s having a heart attack.” She pointed towards the other two. “Go get the kit. Now!”

Her words were obeyed instantly, even as she disappeared toward the door. She might hate Aristocles’ guts, but she wasn’t going to let him die. Not without a fight.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 238: Share that embarrassing story your relatives always tell about you.

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I had, as a child, a tendency to fall asleep in my dinner. Nobody was entirely sure why, the main theories involved the act of chewing being rhythmic enough to send me right away to cloud cuckoo land.

Now, there isn’t one specific incident of this. Oh no, this was a regular event. I’m talking, nearly every mealtime. My favourite time, according to the family, was when the dish involved was nice and saucy, something like chilli or a nice spaghetti bolognese.

Forkful goes in, then chew, chew, chewwww… Face first into the bowl.

I was a goddamn cool kid.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten over this and can pay attention for an entire meal now. A whole drink however… That’s a little more tricky.

Just a short one to finish today, but we’re back on track. I’m not kidding either, my family love telling people this story. Along with showing photos of me as a kid, with adorable curly blonde hair. 

Heaven only knows what happened to me. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 237: You’re the White House head chef, preparing a state dinner for the president of India. What do you serve, and how does it turn out?

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This is the story about how I got fired from the White House. Now, I know, you’re not supposed to ruin the ending of a story before you start, but I just wanted to let you know. I fucked up. I fucked up bad.

So it started with the chicken… I thought it was a great idea but the Indian Prem was less of a fan…

***

“Mr Corman, I told you. I need these 150 portions ready for 1900. Now, I know you were in the Army and as such struggle with numbers occasionally, but I’m sure you can manage that. Get a move on!”

“Yes, Chef!” Jem shouted back at me, bustling through with the chicken pieces. I could hear Rita wittering behind me, fussing as she always chose to do.

“What is it, Ri?”

“Well, Chef, are you sure this is a good idea?” She always bit her thumb when she was nervous and by this point I was worried she’d chew it down to the bone.

“Of course it is! Fusion dishes are the way forward. Now, be a good girl and get on with the soup.” She turned around and I patter her on the ass as she walked away. What, I’m the head chef, I can get away with that kind of thing here. Here in my stomping ground, I am the king.

So, it all seemed to be going fine. Then, I stood at the head of the table as the servers brought the food out. The presidents were chatting away, all smiles and laughs, with two gorgeous women either side. The first ladies of their respective countries, one had to assume. Damn, I have got to get into politics! Well, maybe not after this fiasco…

So, the servers bring out the dishes and there I am, every eye in the room staring at me. “Mr President, Mr President, Madams First Lady, allow me to present a fusion dish, joining the blessed histories of our two nations. Before you, you will find curried chicken in a crisp breadcrumb coating. I call it… Gandheep Fried Chicken.” I grinned our towards the crowd who had a variety of facial expressions. None of them seemed to be happy though…

***

As it turns out, the Indian president is vegetarian. I really should have known that. Plus the attack on their cultural heritage. I thought it was a bit of fun, but they didn’t see it the same.

All of this, plus the sexual harassment suit from Rita? Yeah, I was out of a job.

So that’s how I ended up here, in Bernie’s kitchen. Now this, this is a whole other story…

A combination of long days and late nights has conspired against me, leaving me again postless yesterday. However, as is my want, I will be attempting to do two. If I don’t get the second one out, I’ve fallen asleep. 

S’all good!

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 236: Just when I thought I knew what she’d say next…

She didn’t say anything. I was convinced she was going to scream and to cry, just like she had every other time we’d had this argument. We’d hurl insults back and forth at each other like hot potatoes. She’d throw something at me, a book or a plate or on one memorable occasion, a chair. I’d storm off and that’s how we survived. It’s what we did every time.

But not this time.

“You’re just like your mother.” That’s what got her so riled up. She hates being compared to her mother. A long, convoluted family history involving her parents split. All of the siblings had dealt with it a different way. The eldest had turned to the wine, the youngest dived into the military and she, the middle child, had chosen to run away. She’d gone to university on the other side of the country, then spent a few years the other side of the world. Where she’d met me.

The room fell silent after I made that comment, as if even the electrical hum realised what a mistake I had just made. But sh e said nothing. Not a damn word. She just turned around, grabbed her cup of tea,then walked out.

I’m still waiting for her to come back.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 235: You track down an old boyfriend/girlfriend

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My hand froze in place on its way up to the knocker, the siren song of the brass drawing me in. I had to do it, I just had to get it off my chest. It had taken me weeks to track her down, going through her sister, her mum and her old saxophone teacher to get to her.

16 Phantasm Place. I’d been parked outside for an hour, listening to the  wind in the trees. I knew she was in, I could see the lights going on and off as she moved to the various rooms. I could imagine her now, her red hair flowing out behind her as she fussed her way through dinner.

Still, I was here now. I had to do this, or I’d never be able to live with myself.I grabbed it off the passenger seat, then got out into the night. Eventually, I got to the door I felt the brass, chill in the evening air, and hit it against the door three times.

She answered. After all these years, she doesn’t look any different, flowing red hair and legs up to her breasts. “Charles?”

“Hi Gemma. Look, I’ve been doing some thinking…” That was as far as I got.

“You can’t be here.” She looked around furtively, shouting something into the house, before slipping through the door onto the porch. She was radiant. An English rose, as ever. “Look, Charles, we broke up a long time ago.”

“I know. I just wanted…”

“Charles,” she said, reaching towards my face with her left hand. A gold wedding band gleaming in the soft glow from the porch light, “I’m married now. You can’t be here, not here on my porch!” Her fingers, still as soft as when she left, stroked my cheek. “You haven’t changed, have you? I waited for you, I thought you’d come after me and then you didn’t. I actually bothered to move on and you didn’t come for me.”

“I thought…”

“Yeah well, you thought wrong.” She flicked her hair back, what she always did when she was pissed off with me. “Now, my husband is waiting for me in there. We’re about to sit down, share a couple of glasses of wine then go to bed. And I…” She choked. “I will be thinking about you the entire time, you bastard.”

“Look, Gemma, I’m…”

“No. I have waited such a long time for you to sweep me off my feet and now you’re actually here and I finally get to tell you…” She paused, looking ruefully at the house behind her, before carrying on. “I get to tell you no.”

With that parting shot, she turned and went back into the house, leaving me stood on the front step looking like an idiot. I couldn’t believe she’d done that.

Clearly she didn’t want her signed Michael Jackson CD back.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 234: Your worst experience in a bar

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“And now, allow me to introduce Captain Randolph Arcturus Heracles Pettyfer Cain and his consort, Cassandra Ophelia O’Reilly!” The Master of Ceremonies announced, a quizzical look passing across his bushy eyebrows. Cain smirked to himself as he sauntered past in the full dress uniform of the Space Marine Corps. Cassie, clad in a long red ball gown that clung to her slender figure, swept past Cain, leading him to the dance floor excitedly.

“The names again? Can we not go out as us sometime?” Cain said nothing, just bowed to her as was the custom before a dance. “Max, why don’t we do this more often?” She asked as they began a slow waltz. “I mean, remember our first date? You took me to that bar on Alabama One, we had a few drinks…” Cain panicked. He didn’t have the foggiest, remembering only asking her. “Then of course, you punched the barman.” That he remembered. “You hit the other guy too, Rourke? Roper?”

“Royle. I remember that bit.” Cain had always had a problem with Oscar Royle, captain of the Madame Butterfly. A bear of a man, grizzled and hairy, whose dealings were as dirty as his thick black beard. He was one of those men who was always shouting, a booming Yorkshire accent that crashed into the ears of the people listening to him, which of course was everybody in an eight mile radius. He was never still, pacing and fidgeting with a thick cigar in his mouth, blowing heavy clouds of smoke into the faces of the people around him, towering over very nearly everyone. This was the kind of person that offended Cain. A man with no sense of honour or personal space, a disgusting creature who would sell you out as soon as look at you. All he cared about was getting paid, usually an extortionate rate for dodgy work.

On this day though, Royle had been shouting about a recent smuggling job that had gone south. “The Madame took a hit, so I’ve got Macuza working to get the thing moving. We’ve got the Reds coming up the hill towards us, so all the boys have the long guns out and ready to go. Then Paolo takes a hit between the eyes and goes down like the sack of shit he is. By this time the engines are roaring, the rest of us are piling into the cargo hold and Macuza’s got us in the air while the Banuans are feeding on Paolo. I tell you-”

Cain pulled his fist back, kissing his smarting knuckles. Royle looked up at him from the floor, waiting for his men to move to help him up, dragging him out of the heap on the floor. “You left a man to die.”

“What’s it to you?” That’s where his memory finished.

Cain looked at Cassie in her red dress and said, “I still don’t know what happened in Alabama One.” He lifted her arm above her head as she twirled around hypnotically. “Want to give me an insight?”

“It was bad. I wouldn’t recommend going back…”

And there we have it! Officially caught up. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil