Day 289: What did you wear to prom? How did you get your outfit and what happened to it?

Do you know what really sucks? Spending decent money on a dinner jacket. You’d think that you could get one relatively cheaply, but Mum insisted. “You’ve got to look your best,” she tells me. “You never know who you might meet.” Well, she certainly got that one right. Only instead of her pretty vision of me meeting her future daughter-in-law, I met the Outcasts.

I also managed to antagonise them enough that I’m writing this from a small crawlspace in one of the old IT classrooms, covered in dust and cobwebs. It’s all getting torn down, so at least it’s gonna be an effort to find me. I can hear them occasionally, the gentle thud of a combat boot on broken tile. It’s not a good noise.

I can’t believe that four hours ago, Stacy was passing me a drink and now I’m here, without a dirnk and with a murderous gang of thugs trying to find me so that they can, and I quote, “Rip your fucking heart out and feed it to you.” I was tempted to tell them that ripping my heart out would leave me dead and unable to eat, but my legs decided that that wasn’t the time for sassy comments and was, in fact, time for running. Far.

Did you realise that a dinner jacket isn’t great to run in? The trousers didn’t help, being slightly too tight, but they ripped shortly after I started fleeing down the corridor. That made life far easier. In that I had a greater range of movement, but less so as I’d be mortally embarrassed should I come across anyone I know.

Still, you win some, you lose some.

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 130: Make a case for your favourite fruit

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Hear me out on this one guys, but you’ve got to try it. Pomegranate. It is the future man. I read in a book once that if everybody had pomegranates for breakfast, the crime rate would decrease significantly.

Why, I hear you ask?

Because the criminals are so busy eating a pomegranate!

Also, think about the juice. Best juice I ever tasted was pomegranate. I remember it well. I was five years old (early starter, probably due to the pomegranates) and Dad had taken me to the supermarket. We were in the juice aisle and I picked up a carton and refused to let go. The only way to get what you want, I want to point out.

He tried to get me to put it back.

I refused.

He tried to make me give it to him to put back.

No way, Jose. I know your game. ]He wheedled, he pleaded, he coaxed and he begged but in the end he gave up and just bought the carton of juice. He also bought a pomegranate there and then.

I’ve never looked back.

The possibilities are endless. Imagine the scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba talks about the shrimp? It’s like that, but it’s the greatest fruit in the world.

Besides, I saw in an article that they promote healthy brain work and an elegant nature. Clumsy people? Eat pomegranates.

Mic drop.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 124: Write a love letter to a person you dislike.

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Dear Maria,

I would like you to know that I am not writing this letter because I wish to, but because my hormones refuse to let me stop thinking until I have crafted this letter. Of course, with my perfectionist nature, I am troubled with the task of making this a wondrous piece of writing that will set the stars ablaze in the future, while in my heart a war rages between my disgust and my love.

Maria, every time I see you my heart begins to war with itself. In my head I find you repellent, a cooper’s daughter who is clumsy, rude and downright abominable in her manner of speaking. Yet my heart fills with love, churning as a stomach is wont to do following a night of drinking. I should, nay, I must find you repellent as a man of my standing, but I appear to desire that I would have you in ways other than your position as a servant.

Maria, why do you vex me so? I am committed to my work and yet you insist on stealing, unannounced and unwelcome into my thoughts. I have a taste for blondes and yet your hair is brown. I like eyes in which I can see everything on the surface and yet your blue eyes pull me in. Even your voice, coarse and harsh, cuts through to my ears as if it were the finest melody.

Maria, I wish to meet with you. I wish to find out who I should follow, my heart or my head. Should I find your company as repellent as indeed I should, then consider this our final correspondence. However, should my heart prove to be correct and your flaws turn out to be virtues, then I beg of you to keep this letter and the many that will follow.

Meet me by Hangman’s Tree at midnight, three days hence.

I will be waiting.

Yours,

Ernest Cartwright, heir elect to the Duchy of Caporstun

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 122: What a character wearing something red is thinking

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Welcome to the world. You’ve heard the expression about wearing your heart on your sleeve? Well, a government study back in the fifties showed that sixty percent of crimes are committed on the grounds of misread emotions. This set the brains at the top thinking about how we could fix this.

It took them fifty years, but they came up with The Suit. Mandatory dress, issued at birth and grafted to the surface of the body. It works alongside a chip implanted in the amygdala, reading your emotions and projecting them outwards. It doesn’t matter if you wear clothes, even if you cover anything, it projects from the eyes. Everything you wear shows your emotions in glorious technicolor.

So, somebody’s feeling down? They’re blue. Envious is green. Pride is purple. It ranges across the whole spectrum, but me? Right now?

I’m in red. Everybody knows that anger is red.

That bastard. After everything I’ve done for him and he pulls off a stunt like this? I watched it happen. I’d been feeling on edge all day, colours running up and down my arms as my emotions tried to assert themselves when I’d seen him walk out of my flat.

The flat that I shared with Laura. He had absolutely no reason to be there at five, but I was supposed to be at work until half past. There he goes, strutting away with a radiant yellow glow.

I watched the red flow up my arm, coupled with heat. I wasn’t going to stand for this. That bastard wasn’t going to make me a cuckold. My whole body turned a savage, deep red, so much so that I was sure I was radiating heat.

I stormed up the stairs, smashing through the thin wooden door. ‘Laura!’ I screamed. I heard the shower running, her laughing to herself. Probably about her tryst with Oscar. ‘Laura!’ I saw the hammer lying on the side. I’d been fixing the pipework and she’s been screwing Oscar.

It appeared in my red hand. I don’t know how and I didn’t care. I burst through the bathroom door.

She looked at me and screamed, white teeth in her golden face as the hammer came down. The bright orange of panic flashed from her fingertips but never covered her completely. The hammer put a stop to that.

I hit and I hit and I just wouldn’t stop. Again and again, the hammer rising and falling like a cleaver in the hands of a butcher. But with every motion, a small piece of sky blue broke against the red. Calm, starting in my fingertips and moving, swing by swing, up my body.

The water crashed down around her unrecognisable gold and orange body, deafening me as I stared at my blue and red hands.

Blue because of the suit and the calm that had arrived.

Red because of the blood. Laura’s blood.

Then the emptiness kicked in. The blue faded to a deep, lonely black.

I was alone.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 93: An e-mail you inadvertently sent to someone who wasn’t supposed to see it.

Gazza, 

Sorry to do this to you but I need to raise a complaint. You’re the right person to talk to about HR stuff, right? But man, Beezo in corporate is busting my ass over the Herman complaint. I mean, he’s been riding me all week over it. How was I supposed to now that Herman Alice was me missing the comma? And then she walked in, she’s got a beard and got upset when I called her Sir? How was anyone supposed to deal with that?

Anyway Gaz, I need you to get me out of this. You know, like I helped you out after your hungover accident on Christmas party day? And when I came and paid your bail?

So yeah, get me out of this man!

Also, don’t forget about poker night. Can’t believe you blew us off for Amy in accounting last time. Still, if you do, bring the tape this time!

Harry Stevens

Assistant Director of Public Relations

 

Dear Harry and Gareth,

Harry, I don’t believe you intended to include me in this email, but thanks for bringing this to light. As you can imagine, with some of the allegations in the previous email, you are both hereby suspended pending review. I would also like to tell you, Harry, that I have not been ‘busting your ass’ over the Herman complaint. I have been ‘busting your ass’ because you are lazy, irresponsible and rude.

Gareth, I thought you were better than this. Unfortunately, this proves me wrong. I have forwarded this issue on to Human resources and recommended to Miss Wheeler in accounting that she cut ties with you.

Both of you will have a meeting with Mr Hammond at three o’clock tomorrow. I suggest that you get an early night and plan your defence.

Kind regards,

Benjamin ‘Beezo’ Barton

 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

 

Day 85: Write, in ridiculous detail, directions on how to get to your house.

You want to get to my house? That’s fairly simple, as long as you’re switched on. Now, are you sitting comfortably?

Your journey begins at quarter past four in the morning. You may only reach the house on a day when sunrise falls exactly at quarter past four. AM. If you’re in a land where sunrise is in the PM, you’ve definitely taken a wrong turn somewhere. You must be up, out of bed and ready to go, watching for the first rays of sun to come towards you from the horizon. When that first ray breaks upon your body and your shadow first touches the ground, your journey can begin.

First, take a right. Walk fourteen paces. Turn around, back the way you came. Jump, twice. Jump high, knees tucked fully into the chest. Now, take the piece of chalk from your pocket. What do you mean you forgot the chalk? Go back. Try again.

You’ve taken the right, walked the paces, jumped… Now, you’ve got your chalk this time? Good. Draw a circle around your feet, no bigger than your shoulders. Place your hands on either side of your feet and say ‘Dos riga maltimun.’ If nothing happens, your pronunciation is most likely off. Correctly, it is ‘doze (as in toes) reegah (regal without the l) moltimoon. This should open the portal to Firredack.

Are you through? Are you there? If not, repeat the first few steps. I know, it’s irritating, but you’ll get there eventually. Think of the portal as step one. If you manage that one, you’ve reached what I like to call a save. Like in the video games, this is where you’ll come back to if you get a step wrong.

Not if you die though. Nothing fixes that. Sorry.

But anyway, you should see a statue on a hill in the distance. A tall figure of a striding man, reaching for the heavens. You should see the sun glinting off of part of his body. Walk towards that. Don’t stop walking, not if your legs get tired, not if you get tired. You do not need to eat. You do not need to sleep. You just need to walk until you reach the statue. Stopping leaves you vulnerable. The Ostrich Riders will be coming.

Don’t believe me? Stop and turn around. But don’t blame me if you can’t reach the house.

Let’s assume you’ve listened and are still coming. The glint is closer now, you’ve reached the statue and you’ll find a small door. It looks as though nothing could fit through it, barely the size of your hand. Place your palm to the door and tell it a secret. The statue should scoop you up in his hands and jump, a journey to the clouds.

Now, welcome to Cloud Nine. This is where most people really get stuck. You can only walk on the thunder clouds. Only the thunder clouds. Ominous rumblings are good. I don’t care how strong the white clouds look, no. Just don’t. If you do, you’re back on Earth. And it starts all over again.

Now, you’re still here. You’ve survived the Ostrich Riders, the clouds. You should be coming to the Fountain now. A shimmering azure pool, with a twisting waterspout in the centre. I really hope you can swim, because the spout brings you to the Garden. So, start swimming. And then spinning. And spinning. And flying. Keep your arms tucked in tight, and I’d advise keeping your mouth shut. The water tastes horrendous.

So, you’ve risen through the spout and should be deposited at the gates. Wrought iron, with big scary spikes on the top and there should be a sign on it.

It should say this.

Why would I have made it so difficult to get to where I live if I wanted to be visited all the time?

GO AWAY.

Yours sincerely,

Lagos Marinos von Sortos, Baron of the Aerial Estate

The Idiot in Tin Foil