Day 186: That person your mother always warned you about


pexels-photo-26298.jpg“I told you that boy was trouble.”

She wasn’t wrong. She’d been telling me that Duncan was trouble ever since the first day I’d brought him back to the house. It was a Tuesday, as I well knew. I’d walked out of the practice room and there he’d been. Duncan.

“Ey, kid. Can I talk to you?” He’d said. I’d told him no, he’d started talking anyway and we’d been inseparable since. He’d come back to mine for dinner that evening, all polite smiles and genuflection. I still don’t know how he ended up returning with me, but he had. It had just happened.

It had started well. Mother was just happy that I’d made an honest-to-god, real friend rather than somebody online. Then I’d left them alone for a moment while I used the bathroom.

I came back out and everything had changed.

She’d turned cold and hostile towards Duncan, who was sitting patiently awaiting my return. It wasn’t the same after that.

Mum would tell me every time I saw Duncan. “I tell you, that boy is trouble.” I thought nothing of it, it was just Mum being paranoid and ridiculous. I’d even told Duncan, who had smiled sadly.

“Once, perhaps, I could have been trouble. Now? I am nothing.” He hissed. For the first time, I started thinking that perhaps Mother does know best…

Just a short and confusing one for everybody tonight. What on earth is Duncan and what did he do? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 175: Write from this quote from Claude Levi-Strauss, “I am the place in which something has occurred.”

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I am the place in which something has occurred.

The tiniest seed of an idea has taken to the fertile soil of my mind. It is one of many cast, though most land amongst the rocks and stones and sand. This one, however, lands in the patch of healthy soil. It is not too acidic or alkaline, no poison coursing through it. Everything is just right.

It sends roots out through the crevasses and pathways of my brain, exploring the mysteries and seeking out the waters of nourishment that lie within. The idea is fed, then it twists and turns to gain a more solid grounding. It will take more than a couple of whiskies, or the following hangover, to dislodge this idea.

The plant is bursting from the shell of the little seed now, pushing the initial kernel our until the pressure is too much and the green begins to show. Slowly, it works its way to the surface, no longer hidden inside but showing its face to the world through word and deed. Phrases amongst friends, such as ‘I’ve had this idea…’ and ‘What do you think of this?’, become common in their usage as the plant decides on its ability to survive. It checks all incoming attacks and remains resilient.

The plant has broken through the surface now and is crying out to the sun. The rays of the sun, unconscious of the little plant thirsting below, feed it nonetheless. All that information, flowing from sources like the internet, the media, conversations on the bus all hammering down and nurturing that seed into the flower, the bush, the tree that it can be.

My idea stands in all its splendour, stretching high into the sky, out into the world. This is the thing that has occurred.

I am the place in with something has occurred.

You are also the place in which something has occurred. What is your thing that has occurred?

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 174: Write a letter from the point of view of a drug addict



You’ve gotta help me man, I’m struggling here. I just need a little bit more, just a top up. I know you can get it for me.

The police got Digger. That’s my supply down the toilet and I’m spiralling with it man, I’m chasing the spiral, round and round, all the way down to the U-bend and out and away.

Jimmy, you and me, we’re mates! You can set me up, just for a little while. I know you said you’d never deal to friends and that the best you could do is put me on to the next best person and Digger, yeah, he sorted me out for a long time but then he got busted with Blackout and…

Shit, I’m rambling again. Jim, just a short term thing, just until I find another person who can get me what I need.

Jimmy, Jimjam, Jimeroo… I need your help.

I’ll meet you at the usual spot, the usual time. Just… Get me some Blackout man.

I’m dying here.


The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 167: Arsenic


The kettle erupted steam on the counter beside Sharon Walker as she placed the teabags into two mugs on the side. Her Cath Kidston mug, pink polka dots on a white background, standing next to Malcolm’s mug painted to look like R2-D2.

First, the teabags. Then goes the sugar, two teaspoons into R2-D2, none for herself. She’d always said it was for her health, avoiding sugar. After that comes the water, then the milk.

She picks up the two mugs and makes her way to the carpeted stairs. Taking them carefully, one at a time, to get to the bedroom. She looked at the pitiful shape waiting on the bed.

God, she wished the arsenic would kill him quicker.

Very short one today. I thought I’d try for a proper flash fiction, just 100 words. 

I may have gone a little over. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil


Day 165: Write a single paragraph that conveys a lot about a character’s life. Think about how this can be achieved with voice and rhythm and repetition.


Stand by your beds, hands off rocks and on with socks, it’s time to go, slacker. That’ll force me from this prison of comfort. I need my drill sergeant back, he wouldn’t be letting me waste away in this place. Wish I could clear the cotton wool from my ears. Like the damn stuff’s alive, burrowing and chasing and… I gotta get it out. Wish I could move my hands, or get off this bed. Something’s going on out there. I can sense it.

Just a short one today as I’ve got to be up in… Just under five and a half hours. I think I’ve managed to convey something about the guys life. What do you think happened/is happening to my character? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 159: Something you’ve always regretted saying

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“I need your help.”

“Look, it’s different from last time. This time, I’m working on something big. I just need some capital to get me going.”

“All I need is a ride to the station, then I’m all good.”

It’s all he’d ever say, again and again. Didn’t matter what it was, he could never manage it on his own. He couldn’t make plans, all he could do is cause trouble for everybody else. But not everybody else, he’d worked his way through them long ago.

No, the only person he was badgering now was me. All because I made the mistake, long ago, of saying ‘Okay, sure.’

I mean, don’t get me wrong. He’s not a bad guy. He’s just a moron who needs to learn when to quit. His big ideas rarely pan out and even if they do… It tends to go sideways. He’s always been dependant on others and now he’s trying to stand on his own he’s finding that the muscles have wasted away.

Which leaves me stuck with him.

Hold on, that’s the phone. Doesn’t the idiot know that it’s midnight? Last time, I ignored it for three calls. I think he must have thought I was asleep because he stopped trying to call after number three.

Fuck it. I’m leaving it to ring. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed. Good night. What could happen to him?

A little bit of an intro. Personally, I’ve got a lot of things that I regret saying, but most of them were relatively private. Just a short one today. Need to get some sleep!

The Idiot in Tin Foil


Day 154: The next sound you hear and what caused it


‘Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? If you can hear this, I’ve found the source. Or I’m dead. But probably the source. It wasn’t just an irritation, you see. Not just a random oscillation in our ear, not saturation feedback. It’s a signal. They’re calling to us and we have to answer. The key is the person. Find the list. Find them all. Follow my signal. Find me. This is Montana Parker, signing off. Hello? Hello…?’

The message kept going, always accompanied by that tinny whine. Always on the edge of hearing, screeching for notice like a child tugging at a sleeve.A needle being inserted slowly to your ear canal. Aggravating and insistent. Hannigan remembered the first time he’d heard the sound. Eight years old, watching the screens when it had started, prodding and poking him to get his attention. He’d called to his mother, who was busy strolling amongst the perfume stands, far too busy to pay attention to her son.

The noise had never gone away. He’d spoken to doctors, shamans, even random people on the corner of the street preaching hellfire and damnation, but nobody had been able to help. The doctors had considered tinnitus, prescribing counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. None of that worked.

The shamans talked about trepanning, releasing the spirits that were plaguing him. Drilling into his skull, if you can believe it. He let them, but it didn’t help.

The preachers were a last resort and were about as much use as you could imagine.

But then he heard Montana Parker’s first message. His call to arms, to all those who felt the noise.

He wasn’t alone any more.

So I, quite often, hear a high pitched whining or whistling noise, usually around technology. Anybody else experience this? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil


Day 151: Your worst experience in gym class

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My palms are sweaty. Which is only going to help so much… I hate this part.

The rope.

I’m staring at it and from here it looks like it stretches to Heaven itself.

Even if it did, I wouldn’t be getting up it. Sign me up for Hell. At least it’s got a highway and I can drive there.

‘Okay, second team. Ready at the ropes.’ I’m in third team. Apprehensive. Always was better with my words than with my muscles. Chalk’s on my palms now. Magnesium carbonate. Designed to get a better grip. Helps with climbing.

Sweats just making it run off though, like it’s trying to escape. It doesn’t want to see what’s going to happen.

‘Third team, time to go. Get a good grip. Michaels, you are to get off the floor this time!’ That’s me. Never even got off the floor.

I’ve got the rope between my hands. Rough, scratchy against my skin. Fingers are better for typing, not this useless physical. I don’t want to be here. I can feel my skin shredding already.

There it was. The whistle. Straight through my head. Stabbing my brain. Raise my hands up, gripping tight. Screw my eyes shut, start pulling. I can feel the strain in my muscles, biceps are burning. Pull, Richard, pull. Then you can go shower, get yourself sorted. Pull. You’re doing it, you’re doing it, that’s it!

Wait, what’s that sound? So focused on the rope.

Is that… laughter?

Open my eyes and there they are. Everybody, pointing and laughing. Even Fat Michael, out of breath is descending and laughing with those stupid belly laughs. Pointing.

At me. Just like everyone else.

I’m sat on the floor with my hands clasped to the rope above me. ‘Son, you’re the only person I’ve ever met who finished lower on the rope than he started. Hit the showers!’

I can feel the tears starting in my eyes, the burning. I can’t take it. I run, run run run. Got to get away.

Raise your hands if you weren’t good at sports? Yeah, that’s me. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil



Day 149: The oldest item in your possession


Grandfather’s watch. It sits on his old desk, a brass ship in a sea of mahogany, but it’s mine. I know it is, because he sat me down in the cracked leather of the armchair and said ‘Timothy, one day this’ll be yours. But you gotta be careful, eh lad. It’ll get the better of you, unless you catch it quick.’

I didn’t know what he meant back then. Now I do.

Now I know the power of that goddamn watch.

Just a short one today. A snapshot of a much larger story. Things are a little hectic and my brain is full of empty space where I need ideas for a political satire story. Any ideas you’ve got for that, I’m all ears.

The Idiot in Tin Foil 

Day 148: Describe a room in your house


I’ve never trusted the cellar.

Hunkered down in the dark, it’s like it’s waiting for something. It exudes hostility, letting a little more of its anger out every time anyone dares to cross its borders. It is the place of forgotten things, odd things, shoes without a partner and the like. The leftovers and the unwanted, all of them doomed to rot in the cellar.

It’s simultaneously too hot and too cold, the walls slick with the humidity as a soul-chilling breeze flows through. The lights are effectively useless, doomed to flicker like candles and throw vile shadows that spread throughout the moisture on those painted bricks.

Dad kept the guns down there. ‘Safest place for them.’

I wasn’t so sure. The evil in that room was sure to spread, especially to tools such as those. I refused to even cross the threshold into that place. Somebody else always had to go instead.

It is an evil room. Something is waiting for me inside it, a beast that snores with a low hum. Disguised by the washing machine, but I know it’s there, hiding in the shadows on the wall, the moisture in the air, the chill on the wind.

The monster is hiding in the basement. Waiting…

So, let’s go off book. I recently stayed at a lovely little house in France, but there was the stereotypical creepy staircase with a wooden door at the bottom. The door had a key on a bit of string attached to the handle, but on the inside. Naturally, this conjured up all sorts of images (despite the obvious reason) and that is partly where today’s story comes from. Enjoy!

The Idiot in Tin Foil