My own interpetation of a barbershop from growing up in an area populated with numerous folk from Caribbean islands in particulat Jamaica. This still needs to be neatened up in places but I want to post a snapshot of what goes down in barbershops.
Champy turned up the volume as the smooth voice hummed through the speakers, Hutton nodded along to drums as Rupert Theo blessed the microphone. The customers were in for a treat but they didn’t know it yet. What the Night Redeems by Rupert Theo was the biggest record the country had ever seen. Jamaica was officially recognised a home to music, reggae music. Champy had been around long enough to understand what this particularly meant to the people of Jamaica.
“Now dat is moozic!” Champy bellowed “All ah dat boogo boogo raas cyaan touch dis ‘ere!”
“Champy, turn it down nuh!” Eric raised his voice over the song, “Mi sick ah ‘earin’ dis ‘ere choon pon ah soun’ system.”
Champy ignored Eric’s plea and turned it up some more, he shuffled back over to his chair and danced behind it. Samuel watched in the mirror as Champy performed a version of some eighties dance. Eric watched on unimpressed at his boss’ dance moves.
“Champy yuh to big fi dance like Michael Jackson nuh!” Eric laughed.
“Dis nah Michael Jackson, dis Champy!” He exclaimed.
The customers erupted with laughter as Champy began ducking and jumping to the beat, old man Hutton struggled up from his seat and encouraged Champy to continue. Eric stood back in amazement as Champy worked up a sweat. The loud noise casued Mr Sherman from the insurance broker next door to come in and see what was going on.
“Champy, turn down dis raas noise, mi ‘ave customer in ah my office.”
“Nah suh, mi gettin’ right in ah mi groove nuh.”
“Champy, every raas day you ah groove. W’appen to yuh?”
“Mid life crisis” Eric thought out loud.
The cassette tape peeled out of the tape deck stopping the song. The shop groaned in unison and Champy fell in to his seat visibly exhausted. He picked up a towel and wiped his forehead dry. Kevin wandered over to stereo and ejected the cassette.
“Kevin, where di raas, yuh buy dat cassette?” Champy asked.
“ Shirleen ah ‘ave a ‘ole ‘eap” his baritone voice vibrated through the shop. “She recard dem from one cassette to di nex’ an’ sell dem fi five dolla’.”
“Raas, Shirleen always affi mek prafit fram some scheme” Champy sighed.
“Champy, nex’ time mi ah step foot in ah dis place, it ah be far a trim! Nat to ‘ear yuh blootclart naise, ya simmi!” Mr Sherman resembled a school teacher when he pointed his finger.
“Sekkle, Shermy di party done.”
Mr. Sherman slammed the shop door closed and returned to his office. Eric returned his focus to Samuel’s hair. The shop encountered a brief moment of silence until the door swung open and a tall man walked in whistling What the Night Redeems. Everyone stopped and stared at him until he stopped whistling and took a seat next to Hutton. Champy signalled the tall man to his seat and prepared to cut his hair.
“Di problem I ‘ave wit’ dat recard is dat it meks Jamaica look like paradise” Eric spoke.
“Fa real” Samuel agreed.
“So, wha’ di problem?” Champy asked covering the tall man with a sheet.
“Dis place is nat a paradise” Eric moaned.
“Dem mek videos dat play pon di telly dat show Ocho Rios and Negril and dem people deh tink all ah Jamaica look like dat” Samuel spoke.
“Exactly!” Eric’s comment was met with nods from Kevin and a teenager in dark sunglasses.
“But why is dat a problem? It means mar people ah come to Jamaica” Hutton proclaimed “Mar tarism is mar money for di nation.”
“Oo gets dat money?” Eric spun round pointing his clippers at Hutton, “You? Certainly nat me, nat mi bredrin Sammy ere ar my yout’ Lewis.” The teenager in sunglasses nodded at the sound of his name. “Di people don’t see a cent fram dese tarists ar di five star ‘otel dem ah sleep in ta raas!”
“It’s nat up to dem fi feed di people, dem need fi feed demselves.” Champy chimed in “das the tarism business, it ah work fi dem. Ya tink mi like seein’ Marley wid ‘im dreads ar di Jacksons an’ dere afros. Nah suh, dat ah mek it ah tren’ wid di yout’ dem an’ none ah come cut dem ‘air” Champy argued.
“True” Eric agreed turning to Samuel’s hair.
“But it nah do nutten fi you Champy” the tall man said.
“How yuh mean?”
“Well dem likkle tarist video nah mek tarist come ‘ere. Dere nuh beach round ‘ere suh. Dem stay well aweh fram towns like dis, dey only wan’ di beach an’ di fry fish wit festival.”
“Raas me ‘ungry” Hutton moaned.
“But it’s far di bigga pickcha nah. Right now we need di Island fi look good to di res’ af di worl’. We cyaan show pure gunman in ah di gully, lickin’ aff shats at di police. Dem tarists nah feel safe in ah dat.”
“But di gunman ah come ah barbershap fi ‘im trim” Kevin spoke winding the tape back in to the cassette.
“Nat fram you!” Eric joked causing the shop to burst in to hysterics. Kevin kissed his teeth and continued with the cassette.
“Nah ‘im mek a good point still” Samuel spoke “Ah big video in ah dis place ah mek you ah rich man Champy. Someone like Sweet Tooth ar Starr Man ah-”
“Mi nah wan eny af dat raas naise in ah my establishment!” Champy boomed “Dem man ah tink dey are mafia gangman. Dat nah do nutten far me ar Jamaica.”
“Wha’? Dem man ah revolutionise di music in ah Jamaica, yuh tink di yout’ dem wan fi ‘ere What di raas night redeem? Nah suh dem wan some choon dey can relate to” Eric moaned.
“Far real” Samuel agreed.
Greg J Allman
Snapshots of a Meltdown.
First instalment in a small flash fiction series I’m working on. Snapshots of a Meltdown focuses on one character as bizarre things continue to happen to resulting in his abnormal behaviour. Give it a read sure!
My name? Jeez I think I’ve been asked that question ten times today. What’s with the sudden interest of my name? It’s not like this is a regular thing for me. It’s a one off, one time isolated incident. In some respects I can understand why that makes it more shockin. Those that know me, know I’m a patient, easy-goin gent. Those that really know me know this was a long time comin. Dominic always said I’m ‘one red wire snip away from exploding’ but what does he know? I’ve been sat in that room for the past two hours bored out of my skull. I’m sure that kid probably has his own overly dramatized version of events that could be made in to a three part mini-series. It’s not like what happened was even that bad, if anythin he should’ve seen it comin. Anyway you be the judge coz I’m tired of defendin myself.
So I’m walkin down the high street, loads of people are out coz the sun’s out and automatically that draws an extra thirty per cent of people out of hibernation. I get a phone call, instead of checkin the screen like I usually do I just answer you know. So I’m like ‘Hello’ and they’re like ‘Hi, I’m callin’ from some place you’ve never heard of to offer you some things you have no interest in, but first can I start by asking your name?’ (First time). ‘I’m just headin back in to work now so it’s not a good time’ and he responds in that stupid voice ‘No worries, I can give you a call back after work if that’s ok’ and like an idiot I say ‘sure thing’ and give him an actual suitable time to call me back. So I hang up annoyed at myself and that idiot who just called me, but coz I’m headin to the deli it’s not so bad. I reserved an order for my favourite sandwich, roast beef, red onion, pickles, lettuce, mayo and mustard. I reserve it every Thursday when they make roast beef and every Thursday the same woman answers the phone and asks me the same question. ‘Deli’sDeli how can I help?’… ‘Sure, what kind of bread?’… ‘Your name?’ (Second time)… ‘Ok it’ll be ready in ten minutes’. It’s never ready in ten minutes, I fall for it every time and then I end up being bumped around by these wankers in suits who are obviously managers in their office and treat their employees like shit therefore they treat everyone else the same way.
Anyway so I’m slipping my phone back into my trouser pocket when a street fund raiser just appears in front of me. He literally appeared out of nowhere, I swear, I would’ve noticed his stupid bright yellow jacket and hat. ‘Can I spare a second of your time?’ He asks in that ridiculous happy go lucky voice. I do the honourable thing and just act like he isn’t there you know, so I try and walk around him. But the little snake just shuffles in to my way. ‘Look you’ve stopped now so you may as well just hear me out. My name’s Toby, what’s yours? (Third time). ‘ I don’t have time for this I need to get my lunch and get back to work, sorry” I apologised out of kindness, fact of the matter is I had nothin to apologise for. I didn’t do anything wrong. ‘Did you know that over eighty five per cent of children in third world countries will never be able to say that sentence?’ Jesus Christ! ‘Why? They learnin another language?’ I joke back ‘No! Because they don’t have the resources to ever be as lucky as you’ he says like he’s about to cry. ‘Don’t you care at all?’ He asks visibly hurt by this. ‘Not really’ I respond again trying to walk around him, then that’s when it all kicked off. I tried to walk away but he stopped me by putting his hand on my chest then saying ‘How could you be so heartless? You’re nothin but a stuck up suit.”
Now in my book that’s an insult that warrants a complaint. So I start making a load of noise about supervisors and not being spoken to that way and eventually this short haired woman comes over to diffuse the situation. ‘Is everything ok sir?’ She asks me softly. ‘No, this little turd insulted me and continually gets in my way when I try to leave’ I complain hoping that she’s smart enough to just let me go and decide it’s not worth it. So much for my faith in humanity, if she was smart I wouldn’t be sitting here. ‘Can I just ask, what’s your name sir?’ (Fourth time) she offers a hand for me to shake. I look at it and think better of it, that’s how they rope you in. She withdraws ‘I’m sure Toby here was just letting his passion get the better off him’ she smiled; she had a cute smile to be fair. ‘What passion’s that? Gettin punched in the face for talkin to much?’ I react angrily. ‘Now there’s no need to threaten violence we only want to make people aware of our mission to help those less fortunate’ she spoke placing a hand on my arm. The bullshit meter was off the scale at this point, all that crap about helpin people was a load of arse. ‘The only help you want is the nine pound per hour you get for pissin people like me off. This twat couldn’t care if a kid in Africa eats a ham sandwich or not, he’s doin this coz his mum and dad don’t want him sleepin and wankin his days away.’ She was stunned when I said that, the look on her face was priceless. ‘Who do you think you are?’ Toby questioned. ‘Whatever’ I muttered finally getting around the two do-gooders and headin towards a roast beef haven until the little shit stain stuck his foot out and tripped me on the floor. Like literally on the dirty gum stained pavement, a charity worker.
So obviously my reaction was well deserved and instinctive. Sure he probably told the police that I tripped on the pavement while trying to storm off, and she would’ve agreed. I had no witnesses to back me up of course, but I was provoked. I don’t usually condone violence but every now and then it’s the only solution. I bet you he won’t be so pushy for starving children in Africa now. Of course the other do-gooders came swarmin in and it just turned in to melee. Eventually the police and an ambulance showed up, which was the last thing I needed coz it definitely meant I wasn’t gettin my sandwich. Also everyone who just happened to be walkin by all of a sudden was a witness, they didn’t want anythin to do with it before the police arrived, but now there’s a chance they could be on the news they’re all involved. The police put me aside round the corner; a six foot northern mammoth of man was questioning me, ‘What’s your name lad?’ (Fifth time) I spilled my guts giving him detail after detail and all he said was ‘Ok, wait here’ as if I was gonna hot foot it away. I’d done nothin wrong. A paramedic came to me while they were loading Toby in the ambulance. ‘Is everything ok with you?’ she asked. I ignored her trying to see if Toby was still breathin, ‘Can you hear me sir? Nod your head if you can hear me’ I nodded hopin it would shut her up. ‘Great do you wanna tell me your name? (Sixth time) I shook my head. She examined my wrist where there was a small cut. I didn’t notice to be honest but it must of happened when I was tripped. The giant officer came back with another cop and they loaded me in the back of a police car for ‘more routine questioning.’
At the police station they sat me in an interrogation room, the room was freezin, I sat with my jacket on and arms folded. It was about thirty minutes before anyone came in the room. This woman dressed in a grey business suit walked through the door and briefly introduced herself and the fella flankin her. Her name was DCI Richards or Roberts I can’t remember. ‘Can you confirm for the tape your name please?’ (Seventh time) ‘Great, has anyone offered you drink? Tea? Coffee?’ she asked, ‘I’m fine.’ The man stood against the wall facin me, he was doin his best bad cop impression and was just fixated on me. I wasn’t intimidated or anythin it was just weird. ‘Ok so this incident, tell us from the beginning what happened’ her voice was high and chipper, but I had the feelin like her partner behind her she could be a mean bitch if she wanted. I gave her my version of events which was the true version of events. ‘Just to let you know, we’ve had a slightly alternative version from Toby’ she said. ‘Well he’s lyin, I’m not hiding my part in all this, I did what I did and I’ll happily do it again if I had to’ I said. Her partner spoke up sayin ‘Do you know what remorse is?’ What a stupid question, I hate when people ask questions that everyone knows the answers to but they ask anyway in a poor attempt to make themselves seem smart. It was probably the wrong time and place to act like a smartass but why not I thought to myself. ‘No, can you explain this concept to me? It sounds very enrichin and may change my life’ I gave him a smile after to let him know I was only kiddin about but he didn’t take to kindly to it. DCI Richards or Roberts left the room and he followed slowly behind givin me the evils. They came back twenty minutes later and put me in another room. I saw two other officers take a dirty homeless man in there afterwards; they came out holdin their noses and laughin. Great fellas. The room they put me in was just by the exit of the station. I’m pretty certain I could’ve left if I wanted to but I didn’t want a nationwide manhunt being sent out for me. After about ten minutes sitting there I was already fallin asleep, people were walkin back and forth but none of them stopped to talk to me. I saw DCI Richards or Roberts partner leading the short haired do-gooder out. He was all smiles with her and made a point to show that to me. She caught my eye and quickly turned away. She probably just sold me up the river to save her nine pound per hour job and the little wanker she supervises. After two hours passed I was asleep on the seat, it wasn’t comfortable but I was so tired I would’ve fallen asleep anywhere. Plus the room was quiet warm, unlike that interrogation room. A man in a pink shirt woke me up, since when do cops where pink shirts to work? You couldn’t take him seriously as a policeman, I couldn’t. ‘You alright in ere mate?’ He asked soundin like he was fresh off a market stall. ‘Yeah I’m fine just waitin for them to get back to me’ I responded. ‘You in for that incident down on the igh street?’ ‘That’s the one I replied’ clicking my fingers and pointin at him. ‘What’s your name?’ (Eighth time) ‘Yeah mate you can go. I thought ‘arry told ya, the kid’s supervisor vouched for your story and e aint pressin charges so you can go.’ I sat dumbfounded.
It must have been around two hours I sat in the same spot and no-one told me I was free to go. I didn’t even call my job or anythin. They just let me sit there like I was in detention or somethin. ‘Yeah sorry bout that mate, go to the desk and get your stuff. He held the door open for me to walk out, he smelt like he poured an entire bottle of cologne on himself five minutes ago. Unless he’s an undercover agent he’s a serious cliché. There was a line at the desk, but I finally got to the front after the guy in front of me finished discussin last night’s game with the cop behind the desk. ‘Name?’ (Ninth time) he spoke without looking at me. I got all my stuff back in one of those see through plastic bags. It was dark outside now, I checked my phone no missed calls. Ironically I’d lived in London all my life but never been to this police station in this area. So I had no idea which way I needed to go. I just started walkin in the direction I saw a bus, to me that signifies a main road somewhere and that’s all I needed. My phone vibrated in my pocket, I was so tired that I just answered it. I figured it would be my job, or Dominic or maybe my mum or somethin. ‘Hello’ I mumble without checking the screen, the next thing I hear is ‘Hi I’m callin’ from some place you’ve never heard of to offer you some things you have no interest in, but first can I start by asking your name?’ (Tenth time) Jesus Christ.
Greg J Allman
This is an extract from a short I’m currently working on. Don’t let the dialogue throw you off in any sense it’s written in Jamaican patois.
Thelma clambered in to her kitchen dumping the grocery bags on the floor. She didn’t allow the Fran and those at the culinary event to destroy her passion for cooking. Her faith in her own ability took a knock however. She packed away her shopping and decided to work on dinner. She took out two chicken breasts and began seasoning them. She didn’t have an exact idea of what she was going to make but most nights she never did. She just let her inspirations take over. Ryan came in to the kitchen with music blaring from his headphones. He was dripping in sweat from his daily run.
“Wh’appen mummy?” He kissed her forehead.
“’ow yuh do?”
“Recard time nuh. Mi gan Olympics nex’ year.” He laughed.
Thelma opened a cupboard and began studying the different dry rubs she had available. She snatched a few off the shelf and shut the door. Ryan was leaning on the counter watching his mother closely.
“What?” She asked.
“Why yuh nah enter far di cookin’ ting dis year?”
“Ahh Ryan, mi nah wan’ ‘ear ‘bout dis again.”
“Why? You is ah excellent chef.”
“Ryan, stap it nuh.”
“Di kitchen is yare element. It’s where yuh belang mummy” he cried.
Thelma stopped what she was doing, her head sunk. Ryan’s words had touched a nerve deep inside her. Ryan walked over and placed a poster for the event beside her.
“Get dat ting away fram me” she moaned.
“Dat ooman ‘as ruined everyting. Dem judges nah see pas’ ‘er breas’ and smile.”
Ryan laughed at his mother’s comment. “Look dem ‘ave new judges dis year.” He slid the poster closer to her. Thelma glanced over the poster; she noticed the red lettering stating ‘New Judging Panel’. Her stomach tensed, a new judging panel meant that she really did have a clear chance of winning.
“Mi see yuh face light up!” Ryan beamed.
“It ah good chance, I mus’ say.” Thelma read over the poster.
“Doi people dem will be shocked to see you return.”
Thelma walked away from the poster and stared out the window. The people she thought to herself. The people will cause her the biggest problem of all. Her actions at the previous event still haven’t been forgotten. She hears them whispering to each other in the market. Fran was loved by everyone in the town; she couldn’t make an enemy of these people even if she tried. Thelma put herself on the opposing side to Fran. The new judges would’ve heard about the history between the two, if Fran’s able to sway their vote with her personality and popularity; Thelma wouldn’t stand a chance. She knew she had to stop Fran in her tracks. Fran was calculated enough to use every tactic possible to win, Thelma could not let that happen.
“I gonna enter this time roun’” she proclaimed bringing a smile to her son’s face. “But it ‘ave to be a joint effart wid me an’ you.”
“Anyting I can do, I will.” Ryan spoke up. This was music to Thelma’s ears.
“Good, I ‘ave ah job far you.”
“What kin’ ah job?”
“You need to go an spy pon Fran. Fin’ out wha’ she cookin’ far dis year’s event.”
“What? ‘ow mi ah do dat?”
“It nah simple. She ah recognise me as your son. She see mi dere at di event standin’ wid you.” Ryan edged to the doorway.
“Mummy, I will ‘elp any way I can, but mi can’t spy on Fran. ‘ow will I even get in to her ‘ouse?”
“I know, it was ah silly idea. Gwan fi shower I will call you when dinner is ready.” Thelma spoke absently. Ryan tapped the wall and headed upstairs leaving Thelma staring blankly at out of the window.
Ryan sat across his mother at the dinner table; neither spoke a word. Ryan kept looking up at his mother to catch her eye. He cleared his throat a few more times than he needed to, but that still wasn’t enough to spark a conversation. He played with the food on his place, humming random tunes and whistling. Thelma didn’t bat an eyelid. Years of raising a child alone provided her with the ability to have a heart of stone when necessary. It seems that this was one of those times. Ryan knew exactly what his mother was doing. But unlike her he doesn’t have a heart of stone; in fact he has a need to please. No one knows this better than Thelma. She got up from the table and washed her plate in the sink. The silence was eating away at Ryan one bite at a time. He stared at his mother before dropping his head in his hands.
“Sam ‘ave ah outfit mi can borrow” Ryan blurted out. Fran didn’t respond. “’im say it ah belang to ‘im farda but ‘im nah use it.”
“You wan’ mi to pick it up?”
“Why nat? Yuh say yuh wan’ mi to spy dis is di bes’ way.”
“Yuh nah wan’ to. Mi nah wan’ yuh to do it” Thelma spoke washing the contents of the sink. Ryan laughed aloud causing Thelma to finally look at him.
“You nah wan’ mi to do dis cah mi nah wan’ to. ‘ow many times yuh make me gwan church” Ryan laughed. “You ah chat-” he was cut off by a stern glare from his mother. That same stare that leads in to her losing her temper, Ryan has seen it one too many times.
“Look, I will go an’ get it tomorrow. Den we can ‘atch a plan.”
“No” Thelma replied.
“Mummy, mi sarry far nat agreeing straight away. I jus’ tink we need a plan firs’” Ryan’s fist inadvertently slammed the table. Thelma raised her eyebrows; she never accepted disrespect in any form. But she loved to see her son show passion.
“No” she repeated. “Gwan get it now.” Ryan leapt up from his seat and headed out the door. Thelma watched on through the window as Ryan jogged up the pathway. She made sure she was out of sight before cutting a smile.
Greg J Allman
This is a public service announcement to the gamers of the world. Beware! GTA V is upon us and there is no turning back!
Greg J Allman.
“It’s clear where you’re priorities lie Kyle, I’ve had enough.”
“Sandra please, just let me explain.”
“Explain what Kyle that you’re a thoughtless, mindless pig of a man!”
“Well yeah, but I love you.”
“Well it’s too late for that now, goodbye Kyle. Try not to waste life playing these games forever.” Sandra slammed the front door. He sure was going to miss her. He sat on the top step and listened as the car sped off. This had been what he’d been crying out for all day. Now that he had it, he wished he could trade it in.
Kyle was a sensible man; nine times out of ten he did the right thing. He treated his girlfriend well and they’d had a loving relationship for over two years now. But he had a weakness, just like every man. Kyle did his utmost to fight against it. But tonight he was surrendering to its ultimate power. He couldn’t fight it anymore. Nor did he want to.
“Well you don’t have a fever” Sandra placed her palm on his forehead.
“It’s my stomach. I’m sure it was that place last night.” Kyle moaned.
“Gary gave it rave reviews babe, it couldn’t have been there.”
“Oh yeah Gary knows all, all bow down to Gary.”
“Kyle stop. You sound like a petulant child” her voice was firm.
“I’m actually a very sick child, who would like to be excused from tonight’s dinner party.”
“But it’s my birthday Ky, I really want you to be there” Sandra cried.
“And I will be, after the dinner party. I’ll be accompanyin’ my princess to the ball” Kyle smiled. His cheek always served him well with Sandra.
“Hmm, you better not be pullin’ a fast one on me Kyle” she warned.
“I’m not” he surrendered his hands.
“My colleagues were lookin’ forward to meetin’ you at this.”
“Tell them I will see them at the after party. Champagne’s on me.”
Kyle got out of the bed and took a hold of Sandra. Tonight was her special night. Her 21st birthday, and she wanted to make sure the proceedings went off without a hitch. Kyle knew how important tonight was to her. It was all she spoke about when they went out for dinner the night before. Kyle was never fond of Lebanese and that was confirmed when he woke up with the toilet for company this morning. Sandra’s supervisor and all round creep Gary had suggested. Kyle had met him once before, although he claimed to be married no-one had ever met his wife. Plus he was a very tactile person, especially at social events. He’s the balding man in a silk white shirt at parties casually resting his palm on someone half his age’s waist.
“You promise you’re comin’ out after.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world babe. You know that” Kyle reassured her.
“Ok, make sure you take some medicine before you leave. You’re shirt’s ironed, so is the suit” Sandra pointed over at his wardrobe.
“Make sure you do that top button up as well. I don’t wanna see you lookin’ like you’ve come out the office” Sandra moaned.
“No babe, course not.”
“Ok, oh yeah, shoes not trainers I know what you’re like and.”
“Darlin’ get a move on, you’re gonna keep everyone waitin’” Kyle interrupted.
Sandra smiled before becoming teary eyed. “I love you so much Kyle.”
“I love you to babe. Now go on, knock ‘em dead.”
Sandra skipped out of the room and hustled down the stairs. Kyle waited by his bedroom door until he heard the front door close. He hurried to his window and saw Sandra get in Gary’s car with a load of her colleagues and speed off.
Kyle leapt in to the air with admiration and joy. Tonight hadn’t only been an important night for Sandra; it was an important night for Kyle too. He thought he carried his plan out perfectly faking a sickness from last night’s restaurant but it only kept Sandra at his side all day. Until now. Kyle’s day officially started at 9:05AM when the postman delivered a package for him. He wasted little time opening it and unveiling its contents. GTA V. He had marked this day on his calendar for months, and finally at 18:57 he was able to get the game underway. All night his imagination ran wild over all the in game action he would be experiencing. Parachuting out of aeroplanes, robbing banks and stealing cars, nothing and no-one was going to put a stop to this, he had waited too long. He switched on his XBOX and slotted the game in the disc tray. Kyle could feel his blood pumping under his skin. His mobile vibrated on his bed, he checked the screen. Sandra sent him a smiley face message. He threw his phone back on the bed. His screen lit up showing the opening credits to the game. Kyle selected which character he wanted to start with. It was a tossup between Michael the middle aged gangster going through a mid life crisis or Franklin, the gangbanger. He went with Michael. The opening credits to Michael’s scenario began, Kyle’s eyes were glued to the television, he reached over for his remote and cranked up the volume. His mobile vibrated, he felt around his bed before putting his hand on it. Another message, this time asking where he is, he messaged back in bed with a thousand kisses. He was sick of the interruptions; he was missing important plot points to the game.
Finally the actual game play started he was in the middle of a bank robbery with Michael’s character. His hands were shaking in excitement; the realism of the world created in this game was astonishing. Kyle had never seen anything like it. This was better than any birthday dinner, even better than sex with the woman he loved. Nothing beat GTA V on a quiet evening in. Kyle became so lost in the game that he didn’t hear the tyres screeching outside his home, or the front door opening and slamming shut. He didn’t hear the footsteps hurrying up the stairs and he certainly didn’t hear his bedroom door open.
“What on Earth are you playin’ at?”
“Huh” Kyle dropped the controller in shock.
“You said you were sick, you lyin’ bastard!” Sandra screamed.
“No, I am really. I just thought”
“Oh save it Kyle.” She reached over to the bed and picked up her phone. “I left it here” she said holding it up.
“Babe, I’ll get dressed I’ll come to dinner” Kyle moaned.
“No Kyle, just leave me alone.”
Footsteps thundered on the stairs and Gary emerged at the doorway.
“Ay up Kyle! Heard you weren’t feelin’ too clever.”
“Oh he’s fine, he just wanted to stay in and play his video games. Instead of celebrating my 21st. What a man eh” Sandra’s words cut him deep.
“Video games? How old are you now mate?” Gary asked.
Kyle let out a sigh “Gary can you leave us please.”
Gary tapped his watch at Sandra angering Kyle even more.
“Gary please, get out.”
“Ok, calm down Kylie boy.”
“Don’t speak to Gary that way” Sandra defended him. “Anyway we’re leavin’ now. Don’t bother turnin’ up later.” Sandra followed Gary down the stairs. Kyle stood at the top of the stairs in his pyjama bottoms.
“Sandra please, just wait.”
Gary disappeared out the front door. Sandra stood on the door step and looked back at Gary. Her mascara was running from the tears.
“It’s clear where you’re priorities lie Kyle, I’ve had enough.”
“Sandra please, just let me explain.”
“Explain what Kyle that you’re a thoughtless, mindless pig of a man!”
“Well yeah, but I love you.”
“Well it’s too late for that now, goodbye Kyle. Try not to waste life playing these games forever.”
The tall gentleman stood loomed over the half naked unconscious body. He decided against touching him, the smell of alcohol percolated through every one of his pores. Marjorie scuttled back on to the deck with a jug of water.
“Shall I drip some on him or pour it all Thomas?”
“Pour it all Marjorie; we want to wake him up.”
“Here you do it, I left my wine inside.”
Marjorie handed Thomas the jug and disappeared back in to party. Thomas let out a sigh before emptying the jug on the man’s face. He dropped the jug on him too for good measure. He peered back in to the party through the window, a crowd had gathered now thanks to Marjorie’s rambling.
The man finally awoke, grunting, coughing and spluttering his insides over the decking area.
“By here sir, are you alright?” Thomas asked.
The man nodded while sitting up. “The hell am I?”
“This is the Annual Gardener’s Gala.”
“Ok” he responded flatly. “I’ll be leavin’ now anyway. Cheers guv’” He quickly rose to his feet and fell back on himself just as fast. Thomas stepped closer attempting to assist the man to his feet. He reciprocated by throwing up over his best Savile Row suit. “Oh for God’s sake!” He shrieked. “Marjorie, I need a towel right this second!” He headed back inside. “How the hell did he get on board in the first place?” A voice asked from inside the party.
Good question the man thought to himself. He didn’t remember being invited to a gardener’s do. The last thing he remembered was that restaurant in Notting Hill. That’s where it all started.
The waitress guided him over to a small corner table next to the stairs. He ordered a straight brandy to cool his nerves. This was his first time doing something like this since he was about 20, 21. He hadn’t told anyone about this seeing as everyone has such mixed reviews on online dating. Though from the number of profiles he’d viewed it seemed everyone in London was taking part. He stayed up until the late hours of Saturday night typing out a template to message to each woman he found attractive. By Sunday afternoon he mustered up the courage to send the template out. His first response came a few hours later from Yvonne, a black social worker from Lambeth. The second was from Rachel, a redhead who works in sales. More and more responses came in over the next few days allowing him to make a choice on who he would agree to meet. He settled on Jeanette a Greek woman who was a few years younger than him. They agreed to meet in Notting Hill seeing as it wasn’t much of a commute for either of them. He set the date for a Friday evening.
He checked his watch again. He checked the messages back and forth on his phone. He was certain he got the time, date and restaurant right. Where the hell was she? The waitress had been over numerous times asking him if he was ready to order. He was on his third brandy now. 45 minutes had passed and not a sign of Jeanette. Maybe she got cold feet, or maybe she came in and saw him but didn’t like what she saw. He had on dark jeans, grey boots, a white t-shirt and his dark grey blazer. His hair was a bit shaggy and he hadn’t shaved since Tuesday. But most girls like the rugged look he told himself. He ordered one more brandy and decided to wait 15 more minutes. He messaged Jeanette on the website asking where she was tonight, and if he’d mixed up the dates. Although he was certain he had not. The waitress came over once more giving him a look of pity and asked him if there’s anything else she can help him with. He swallowed his pride, paid the bill and decided not to let this ruin his evening. There were a ton of bars, clubs and pubs in Notting Hill alone. The city was his oyster.
His first stop was a pub called The Elgin. Ok decor and an ok crowd. He decided to be a bit adventurous tonight and order rum instead of his preferred brandy. He mixed it with lemonade and sipped it slowly. He scrutinised the groups and couples around him, cutting a lonesome figure at the bar he continued fraternising with his drink. The pub was thinning out; the groups began moving on to some of the local nightclubs. He didn’t much fancy a nightclub in Notting Hill. From what remembered of his younger days the clubs in the West End were ten times better. He downed his second rum and ventured off in to the night. He sat downstairs on the bus near a group of guys and girls. They were discussing some house party they ditched in favour of a club. He leaned in to join their conversation but thought better of it. Besides he was disrupted when he looked out the window and thought he saw Jeanette. He checked the website on his phone again to see if she replied but she didn’t. By the time he looked up the group had gotten off leaving him downstairs with an old woman with shopping bags. He avoided eye contact in case she wanted to discuss politics or whatever old people talk about on buses.
Finally he hit the West End and the streets were buzzing. Girls here, there and everywhere. Asian girls, white girls, black girls, skinny girls and fat girls. He fancied his chances of pulling tonight. He followed a group of blondes in to a bar on a side street. The bouncer led them down some stairs in to a dark room with purple lights. The girls headed to a table while he walked to the bar. This time he ordered a brandy, he wanted to keep a cool head. He sipped it keeping an eye on the group of girls. Surely one of them was single and enjoyed the company of rugged men. He moved from the bar and stood near their table hoping to be involved in some of their conversation.
“Excuse me? Hi.” One of the blondes said.
“Hi” he responded.
“Are you with those guys over there?” She pointed to two men in shirts sitting at the bar.
“No, no I’m not.”
“Oh, never mind.”
She turned back to her friends and continued talking and giggling about the two men at the bar.
He ordered another brandy and downed it. He went to the bathroom and splashed his face. His eyes were bloodshot, plus there was a mysterious stain on his t-shirt. He checked the website on his phone, still no message from Jeanette. He headed back in to the purple haze and stood by the blonde table again.
“Anyone order a rugged man?” He slurred.
“Yeah she did” Blonde number 1.
“No! It was her” Blonde number 2.
“She likes ‘em ‘airy!” Blonde number 3.
“I do not!” Blonde number 4.
“Go on, ‘e ain’t ‘alf bad!” Blonde number 5.
“No thanks!” Blonde number 6.
“D’ya come wiv a receipt? Just in case I get a be’er offer” Blonde number 7.
“I don’t remember there being so many of you” He mumbled rubbing his head. His stomach rumbled sending a warm yet chilling message up his throat and out through his mouth. He covered their entire table with vomit. Some of it rebounded off pitchers and glasses over their outfits. Horrified shrieks rang out causing bouncers to come storming over. He was on his knees trying to use the table to balance himself. Two bouncers grabbed his arms and stood him up.
“Come on ladies, you won’t be sorry” he spat out.
“Come on mate, let’s get you some air.”
He was led out through the back and dumped in an alley way next to some bins. He was certain on the way out he saw Jeanette ordering a drink at the bar.
He cleaned himself off in some public toilets in Soho. The man standing by the urinals didn’t have any weed or pills to help him crank up the night. He found an off licence that was willing to sell him a bottle of vodka although they weren’t supposed to. He necked half of it in minutes. He found a group of lads loitering by a parked car and offered them some vodka. He soon realised there was about 8 of them and the bottle soon finished. They thanked him by patting his back and taking photos with him. One even videoed some of his dance moves. Telling him “I’ll post it on my blog mate. You’re a legend.” He left them to it; he had his own party to attend to. Instead of letting the night be an entire bust he decided to pay a visit to a place one of his work colleagues told him about a while back. A place where you don’t need to message women to arrange a time, date and restaurant, only to be stood up. Just a guaranteed good time, and that’s all he was looking for. He walked down a quiet side street until he came to a door with a man smoking outside. He approached the man but before he could speak the man searched his pockets and patted him down.
“Go on mate” the man pointed him inside.
He went down some stairs where he was met by an older woman with a pink wig.
“Ish dis where I picksh?” He garbled.
“Nah love, you give me 70 quid then you can choose any one of the girls in that room. How does that sound?”
He handed over the cash and the old lady led him through the curtain strings. She stood him in a room where three women were sitting on couches. Two were brunettes and one was blonde. They were all very skinny with bright bras on. He picked the meatier brunette as he had a bad experience with a blonde earlier in the night. The old lady handed the brunette some cash and he was led down the hall in to a bedroom. The bedroom had a mirror on the ceiling and one that covered an entire wall. He watched her get undressed and then lie in the bed. He leaned over to ask her a question.
“Do ya likesh rugged men?”
“Yes” she replied deadpan.
“Goodsh, some women don’t.”
She kissed him on his mouth and began to undress him. Jeanette doesn’t know what she’s missing he thought.
He found himself being shoved out by a 6 foot tree of a man 10 minutes later. His escapade with the brunette didn’t last very long, and the pink haired lady had no interest in his argument about representing value for money. Neither did the tree house. He was tossed back on the street with a bruised face and ego. He was tired now, the night had strung him disappointment after disappointment. He walked past thumping nightclubs and groups of fun loving people screaming at the top of their lungs. This was hell. He made his way down to Trafalgar Square where a few romantic couples sat and canoodled with each other. He went over to the fountain and washed his face. He wet his hair too just to give it a new look, and maybe give himself some better luck. Two community support officers shooed him on. He didn’t put up a fight, he had lost one too many of those tonight. He made it to the millennium bridge unscathed after nearly being hit by a black cab. The bridge was particularly cold, the motion of the ocean mixed with the amount of alcohol in his system made him queasy. He leaned over the barrier and watched the water. The cold blue streams rocked back and forth with every gust of wind. He stumbled on before tumbling over losing his shoe.
“Wheresh it gone?”
Passersby avoided eye contact with him casually but cautiously walking around him. He crawled the floor before seeing something in the water.
“There!” he shouted.
He stripped himself of his clothes and climbed on to the ledge. A Good Samaritan attempted to pull him down but failed. He leapt off the ledge in search of his missing shoe.
He landed with a thud on the deck of a boat. The boat rocked causing some to stumble off balance. The more intoxicated of the guests shouted “Iceberg! Right ahead!” This was met with raucous laughter. Thomas a reluctant partygoer decided to see what caused the thud. He stepped out on to the deck to find a half naked man lying unconscious. He had bruises on his face and torso. Marjorie caught up with him outside and was shocked to see the rugged man lying there.
“What happened to him Thomas?”
“I have no idea Marjorie, I think he’s had one too many though. Go and get a jug of water to wake him. Something tells me he’s not a good swimmer.”
Greg J Allman.
Just an extract of something I’m working on. I’m currently playing around with setting and using a non linear narrative. As always any feedback is great. This is only the beginning but the story would carry on in the same fashion as this.
Greg J Allman.
The smell of stale food and beer nauseated George when he stepped through the door. His arrival had managed to turn a few heads. He had the look of a detective, jaded yet arrogant, he stood in his suit with a hand in his pocket .Even though he was far from being Kojak or Columbo he liked the idea of carrying that demeanour. His foot stuck to the floor, a result of standing in the same spot for too long, he hopped to the side to keep his balance, deciding not to check if there is any damage on his shoe he made his way to the bar. He gave the barman a nod, unbuttoned his blazer and parked himself on a stool not before checking himself in the mirror behind the bar. This used to be a place of solace for him at a rough time, he reflected on this period as walking out of one hell straight in to another. The chubby mess sitting beside him was nursing an empty glass of what appeared to be whiskey; he was breathing heavily making unsavoury pig like noises.
“Would you like another drink Paul?” George asked watching himself in the mirror behind the bar.
“Why else would I be here?”
George signalled two more to the barman who nodded in response. “How you been keeping mate?” George asked Paul.
“Mate” Paul sniggered. “We are not mates.”
The bartender brought over two whiskey doubles; George paid with a note and told the bartender to keep the change.
“You all flash now.” Paul shook his head disapprovingly. Paul picked up his drink and took a long gulp and slammed the glass down on the bar.
“Look I need a favour.”
“Fuck you.” George sat quietly staring at Paul who was looking away.
“I need your help.”
“That’s a one way street for you ain’t it.”
“I know I”
“No you fucking don’t know, I was a mate to you when you were crying your eyes out about how tough life in a big fucking house is. But when I lost everything where were you?”
Paul got up to walk off but George held his arm to make him stay. George’s face was desperate and Paul could sense that it was something serious, plus his equilibrium was off from all the whiskey. Paul sat back down and kept his eyes fixated on George’s untouched glass. George turned his head and realised what he was staring at. He slid the glass over to Paul who wasted no time in disposing of its contents.
“Two more over here mate.” Paul shouted to the barman.
“I don’t want a drink Paul.”
“I know, they’re for me.” Paul knew George owed him and would owe him even more after this conversation, and this time he intended to make sure George paid off his debt.
“Ok fine, anyway I need.”
“How much?” Paul asked.
“I don’t need money.” George’s hands rose in disbelief.
“I can see that.” Paul said pinching George’s blazer. The barman put down two more double whiskeys which Paul grabbed immediately; George paid again and gave the bartender a nod.
“You’re so busy telling me what you need, you haven’t thought about what I need, so how much?” Paul smiled.
“Ten” George’s voice was firm.
“Fine” Paul broke.
“Great.” George sat waiting for Paul to speak again, instead he gestured his hand for George to continue telling him what he needed.
“Right so tomorrow, I need you to come to the fun fair.”
George held Harriet’s hand as they strolled along the grass taking in the fairground’s attractions. This type of thing had never been George’s cup of tea but today he really didn’t have a choice in the matter. Harriet beamed at the rollercoaster swerving and swooping, her excitement was comparable to a child on Christmas morning. She tugged at George’s arm each time she saw something that amazed her, if she carried on at this rate his arm will come right out of its socket. Whilst Harriet’s enthusiasm for the fun fair was visible for all to see, George kept his emotions in check, keeping his eyes covered with his Ray Ban’s. George frowned at the amount of teenagers and young adults who were out; the sunshine always brought people out in their droves. He admired the style of the youth these days as it was more refined and mature unlike a few years ago when everyone wore baggy jeans around their knees. However seventeen year olds wearing cords still made him feel old. Although Harriet was five years younger and not getting any younger herself she was aging slow and gracefully whereas George had recently joined the elite club of men who rely on hair dye to keep them looking young. Old age was definitely catching up with George but he had no intention of being trapped in its net just yet.
“Isn’t this amazing George?”
“It sure is” he flatly responded.
“Oh cheer up grouchy” Harriet smiled squeezing his arm. “You’re at the fun fair the funnest place ever!”
“I guess, plus I do love the candy floss.”
“Yuck, I hate that stuff, but it’s a start.” She threw him a smile to get him in the mood and he reciprocated by sticking out his tongue and laughing.
“Oh this’ll get you in the mood” she pointed towards a Strongman Striker which was surrounded by puny teenagers who were struggling to the ring the bell. “Let’s go, you can show these kids what a real man is, plus I really want a bear!”
“Let’s do the rollercoaster first.”
“Oh is someone nervous?” Harriet teased.
“No, it’s just that you won’t be able to get the bear on there.”
“We’ll worry about that later.”
“Besides you need to build up to the big attractions, duhh.”
Harriet headed on towards the Strongman Striker, George stood with his hands in his pockets. He removed a note from his pocket and glared down at it. The colour immediately left his face.
‘LEAVE THE MONEY UNDER THE SEAT AT THE FRONT OF THE ROLLERCOASTER’
The words were constructed using magazine cut outs. He had put the money in a yellow envelope and was hoping to end this debacle today. He folded it back up and put it back in his pocket and walked towards Harriet.
This is an extract from something I wrote a while ago. It still needs to be worked here and there but I thought I would post up the introduction. The piece is only a short, however I was reading over it and thought I should try and do something with it. It works as a bit of flash fiction also. I’m currently trying to adopt a new style of writing but I like to remain versatile in all aspects of my writing. Let me know what you think of it.
Greg J Allman.
Lunchtimes in the city resembled a parade or carnival, an unattractive dreary spectacle; costumes didn’t contain any character; however the characters in the costumes were some of the nastiest, trickiest droids the big city has ever seen. None more so than Eric Munroe, known as ‘Fast Eric’ in certain circles simply because of the sheer brashness he encompassed and his shrewd mentality to spot when a situation can turn in his favour.
He stood in line at a sandwich bar waiting for his turn, Eric had little to no patience and the ever present office small talk surrounding him did little to ease his mind. All morning he had been dreaming of a turkey, beef and bacon sandwich; garnished with melted cheese, mayonnaise and a drizzle of tobacco. Delicious.
His heart sank every time a slice of beef was selected; he tried his triple threat with chicken once and vowed never to do so again. His body flinched as the lady at the counter hesitantly pointed to the roast beef, the meat slab was getting thinner per customer. If Eric believed in bad luck he would simply blame on that, however he felt that you made your own luck, and his inability to avoid his boss talking his ears off about a French restaurant he went to last night or the charity worker in the street he had to avoid since he’s promised him twice he will save the tigers were major components which caused him to be standing at the back of a hungry line of workers.
Eric’s impatience got the better of him and he decided to take the matter in to his own hands, he swiped his phone out of his pocket and spoke in a frantic tone. “Darlin’, I’m doin’ my best, the line is ridiculously long today” He scoured the line and noticed he grabbed the people’s attention, and decided to up the ante. “The midwife’s there now, what’s wrong? What’s happened? Hello, Carol! Eric screamed down the phone, he gripped his phone, with his steady hand. “Shit” he uttered to himself, the grey haired woman in front of him turned and offered some support “Is it your first child?” she asked.
“Yeah, she wanted me to grab her favourite sandwich before she went in to labour.”
“Aww, listen go ahead of me and get back to your woman” she sympathised.
“Really thank you so much” Eric trotted in front of the woman and gave her a wide smile, his false gratitude made her heart sink. The rest of the line share the old woman’s sympathy and offer up their places, and Eric marched to the front of the line with congratulatory pats on the back.
The manager, who often worked the counter during busy periods, gave him extra meat and gave him the sandwich free of charge, which Eric managed to force a tear out for, he flirted with the idea of telling the manager his son will be named after him for his graciousness, but the ship he already set out to sail was steady and there was no need to rock the boat. As soon as that sandwich was in his hand he disappeared before anyone could bat an eyelid. However he wasn’t at the hospital attending to his heavily pregnant wife, instead he was sat on a park bench ogling female joggers breasts bounce and tucking into his favourite sandwich, the phrase no such thing as a free lunch had been made redundant. Fast Eric had pulled a fast one.