Day 288: Write a scene that begins: “Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that.”

 

Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that. When he called me here, to Vidaros, I never even began to think that he would have changed so much.

He met me on the runway, all smiles and the Joe I’d met at university all those years ago. He wrapped his arms around me in a bear hug, then kissed me on both cheeks.

“You’ve been spending too much time with all those Europeans.” I said, jokingly wiping my face. “You were never one for contact before.”

“Yes, well. People change, Eddie.” He grinned. “Now, come on. Time for you to see why I’ve called you here.” We walked toward a jeep by the side of the runway, all decked out in military green with a gunner on the back. “Don’t mind Aldo. He’s not one for talking much.”

“Okay, but why do you need a tail gunner?”

“We’ve had some issues with the wildlife.” He cut off, quickly, then told Aldo to be prepared.

I’ve never seen anyone drive like that. It was like he needed to be at the place he was going twenty minutes ago, or he was going to be shot. Running a gauntlet, but why? “Do you have to go so quickly?” i asked, but he never replied. He just sat, grimly staring ahead, a stark change from the man I’d met at the runway.

It was all explained later, when we got to The Forge.

Just a short one today. Need to get back into the swing of things (and catch up) but this is, in my head, the beginning of a classic adventure. Find the artifact, save the world. Etcetera. 

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 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 215: Describe your favourite part of a man’s body using only verbs

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Gnashing, grinding,
Chomping and chewing,
Licking, smacking,
Sucking and slurping,
Clicking, clacking,
Clucking and ticking,
Munching, biting,
Grawping and griping.

“Phil, can you please not narrate while I eat? It’s kinda weird.”

“Sorry. Pass the ketchup?”

So, this was definitely one of the more difficult challenges that was cropping up. And at some point I have to do the same for my favourite part of a woman’s body! 

On a different note, I have now completed a third of my challenges! Just 427 days to go!

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 179: Your favourite recipe

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There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

It’s not very fulfilling, when it’s put like that. Bread and water claiming to be a hearty meal, as opposed to the veritable feast that should flesh out such a story. Those words hang heavy and pregnant on the page, filling our heads with questions. Who is this boy, where are these woods?

What happened?

Read on and perhaps you shall be enlightened.

***

Michael Williams is seventeen years old today. He is slowly turning into the man he is supposed to become, but not yet. No, at the moment Michael is still a boy, all arms and legs and teenage angst. He is walking down the busy road, traffic flashing by but ignored by young Mr Williams who is far too engrossed in the tinny music that streams into his ears from his mobile phone. His hair is shaggy and long, with a fringe that covers his eyes to the point that he can barely see, but that is how he likes it and he won’t be talked out of it by his mother.

He swings his head from side to side, passionately playing an air guitar as he shambles back towards the school. He has survived the morning, with its oppressive maths classes and its faux hierarchy of cool people and geniuses, before getting his brief escape to the shops at lunchtime. Michael just floats through it all, oblivious to all the teenage bullshit, or so he thinks.

He’s heading out to the clearing tonight, with Charlie, Mira and Oscar. They’d already been a tight-knit group of outsiders when he’d moved to St Augustine’s and they’d welcomed him. He guessed that they’d just seen a fellow outcast who had something to give.

They meet up a couple of times a week. Charlie’s a bit older, so he’ll get some booze in and they can chill at his place. Perhaps they’ll go for a drive in Mira’s car, play some video games. Then on special nights, they’ll go out to the clearing. They’ll set some stuff on fire and Oscar brings the burgers. Michael has never tasted anything so good, all he wants is to eat another one of those burgers.

The memory of that taste gets him through the rest of the day. That and the anticipation for tonight. Watching Mira dance in the firelight, feeling the buzz as the beers flow. He slouches home when he’s finally released from the social prison and waits. He watches the sun get lower in the sky and as it ducks below the horizon that ten year old, canary yellow VW Polo pulls up outside and the horn sounds twice. He grabs a scarf from the hook behind the door. A shame that the only one he owns was knitted by his grandmother in the more shocking shades from the rainbow. He considers leaving it behind, but is now most of the way out the door.

‘I love you, Sweetie!’ His mother shouts as the door closes and he hurries to the car. The night has fallen quickly and the temperature with it. Mira is waiting with the door open and he hustles inside, smiling in response to her grin as she sees the scarf.

They drive to the woods, a little over the speed limit but it’s all about the thrill. Besides, even if they got pulled over Mira would just smile and the police would let them move on. They get to the woods in no time at all and the Polo sneaks in to nestle  against Charlie’s pick-up. Why Charlie had a pick-up was a question that Michael had never learned the answer to, but he was happy to go along with it all the while he was still accepted by these people.

The growing firelight throws shadows amongst the trees, illuminating the hidden pathways that lead to the clearing. The woods may not be large, but they are dense in their rank and file, great boughs spreading above them with the final leaves of autumn clinging on for dear life. Mira takes his hand in her own soft palm and leads him through to where Oscar and Charlie are waiting, the smell of burgers floating toward them on the slight breeze.

Michael is thrown a bottle of Budweiser and cracks it open with a hiss. Screw top bottles were a great invention he thought, as he let the night sweep him up. It passes in a blur. Music, dancing, even kisses from Mira and Oscar, both of them laughing as Michael blushes. They eat the burgers off the small barbecue, dance some more, drink, drink and drink until they fall to the ground in a pile.

Mira’s lips moved close to Michael’s ear, close enough that he could feel her breath against it. The slightest kiss grazes his cheek, then she spoke.

‘You like the burgers, then?’ She said as her hand moved onto his chest, slender fingers deftly unbuttoning his shirt. He nods, thinking it an odd question but letting that thought disappear as she rolls on top of him, straddling him. He is getting excited, completely ignoring the movements of everything else, the firelight, the heat from the flames, Oscar and Charlie moving for what he assumes is another beer. All he can focus on is her eyes, boring deep into his. She straightens up, lifting her head to the clear night sky. ‘Do you want to know how they’re made?’

The knife flashes gold in the firelight and abruptly descends.

***

The only sign that Michael Williams had even gone into those woods was a garish scarf lying near the remains of a bonfire. The newspapers ran the story every year after that, always with the same headline.

There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

All this writing is making me hungry…

The Idiot in Tin Foil