Toilet roll Grated Bum

The meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

When I started in the second chance contest at the beginning of January, I honestly never expected to last more than a week, let alone end up going through to the main contest. Then, I never expected to last more than a week in the main contest. The next steps of reaching top 20, possibly the only non US person in the top 18, top 10 and finally, top 8, were all amazing.

I have really enjoyed my time as a contestant in this season of therealljidol. I have met some lovely, encouraging people and think it is wonderful and am thankful that everyone’s voting support for my writing has grown tremendously, from my first entry in the second chance contest, as an unknown, to this week, when I think I have gained my most points and highest position.

I have managed to keep every ‘sudden death write off’ day clear, since January 1st - ‘Just in case’ - but I knew last week when the closing date was announced, that ending up in the write off this week would be a problem, as a relative would be staying with me for a couple of days.

However, today’s arrangements with my relative ended up being cancelled. At 3am, as I woke up from an hour of sleep last night, I started being sick and I developed a very unpleasant stomach upset. As I have an ileo-anal pouch and no bowel at all, what would for others be a twenty-four hour bug, usually makes me really ill for five to ten days and I’m already fed up of travelling between the bathroom and the bedroom!

I am due to go away in sixteen days time, and feel it’s now quite important for me to work on getting some rest, getting better from this stomach bug, and being well enough to travel.

This will be the first holiday I’ve had in a couple of years, and it was booked in November. I’m heading to the Isle of Iona, on the Scottish Hebrides for Easter week (19th-27th April). It’s the place I wrote about in my ‘Happy Place’ entry. Again, I never expected to be still in the contest sixteen days before my holiday and now realise that if I by some miracle I had been lucky enough to still be in the contest in a couple of weeks time, I would have had to sacrifice before I set off, as the island is one of the last places on earth to not have any mobile signal or internet connection – which is also one of the reasons I go; to get away from technology for a week.

So… I have unfortunately had to make the very hard decision to sacrifice my place in the sudden death write off and let Sonreir go through to the next round. By sacrificing, I can get the rest I need, and Sonreir will be able to avoid going through the process of voting day, plus I think I also get to have the last position on the jury!

There is still a little voice in my head, that keeps telling me I was brought up not to quit, but when I add up the number of times I’ve quit something in my life, I can still count them on one hand! I know that I will probably have a ‘What if?’ moment in a few days time, but right now the thought of resting and getting better, gives me more brain relief than carrying on does.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the previous contestants and my LJ friends for all your comments and votes - I’ve really appreciated them.

And lastly, I wish the final six contestants all the best of luck. I’ll be happy with whoever wins. You are all fantastic writers, and I’m really pleased to have got to know you and to have played along with you this season.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Carol xx
Tags:
Blue Red

Voting

Well... there is two and a half hours of voting time left for this weeks therealljidol! The contest is now down to the Top 8, and all the votes are really close. 

My entry is here if you care to vote for it, and the link to the voting poll and all other stories is both here and at the bottom of my entry page.

Thank you xx
Writing

Keep It Safe

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The stark white light shone brightly into her eyes, blinding her, as she reclined on the black leather dentist chair.

With dental instruments inches from her mouth, his thunderous fake sinister German accent filled the room. “Is it safe?”

Her spontaneous laughter nearly caused her to choke on her own saliva. “Yes, it’s safe. It’s very safe. So safe you wouldn’t believe it.”

“Is it safe?” he repeated straight faced.

“No. No, it’s not safe. It’s very dangerous. Be careful”

A smile crept into the corner of one side of his mouth.

********************

Dentist James Smith (Jr) and Mrs. Edna Thompsett had conducted the same repartee at every one of her yearly check-ups since James had started at his father’s practice as a newly qualified dentist in November 1976.

As his very first patient on that frosty Monday Morning, Mrs. Edna Thompsett, had noticed that the new dentist – a young, handsome, Laurence Olivier lookalike – was anxious and so decided to break the ice and try to make him smile. As he hovered with his implements tentatively near her face, she suddenly, in a booming fake German accent shouted, “Is it safe?”

Startled, James looked at Mrs Edna Thompsett with a questioning expression.

On Saturday night he had attended the local screening of the brand-new psychological thriller, ‘Marathon Man’ staring Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman. The building had been packed. Mrs. Edna Thompsett had obviously been there too.

He suspected that replying to her sudden outburst of a question, would be seen as most unprofessional, especially as the film contained frightening and threatening dental content. But as he looked at the older lady with a huge grin on her face, reclined on his brand-new black leather chair, he relaxed, smiled back at her and replied “Yes, it’s safe. It’s very safe. So safe you wouldn’t believe it!”

And so it began.

James had honestly thought that it would be a one-off event with Mrs. Edna Thompsett, but as the quote was repeated at her next yearly check-up, and the next, and the next, the phrase’s wit did start to lose its appeal for him. However, it regained its humour after about seven years, when the dental practice nurses started placing bets on how long after reclining in the chair, Mrs Edna Thompsett would ask James “Is it safe?” Of course, realising early on that it was always the dental instruments hovering that triggered the question, he won the bet every time.

The first and only time he didn’t win was in 1989. Raising his instruments knowingly at his guessed time of four minutes and fifty seconds, Mrs Edna Thompsett remained silent. He hovered, and waited, and waited, and hovered and then noticed a tear pooling in her eye. His enquiry was soft and gentle.

“Are you okay, Mrs. Thompsett?”

He heard a sniffle. “Yes, I’m okay, thank you. Just got something in my eye.”

“Are you sure?” He passed her a tissue and could tell she was trying hard not to cry.

Uncontrollably, the tears suddenly flowed. “It’s just that my husband, passed away nine months ago and I’ve still not quite come to terms with it yet.”

“Would you prefer to come back another day for your check up?”

“Not really, my dear. It’s okay. To be honest, it wouldn’t make any difference, would it, if we did it now, next week, or in three month’s time. I say that we just get on with it, now that I’m here.”

As she wiped her eyes with the tissue, James realised how much he missed the happy, jolly, boisterous, Mrs. Edna Thompsett, who was always full of fun, laughter and life.

He decided, at that moment, unprofessionally, to say the one thing he hoped would make her smile.

“Is it safe?” he asked tentatively, in a fake sinister German accent, as he hovered in front of her face with his dentistry instruments

Her face crinkled as she smiled slightly.

“Yes, it’s safe. It’s very safe. So safe you wouldn’t believe it”

“Is it safe?” he repeated straight-faced.

“No. No, it’s not safe. It’s very dangerous. Be careful”

Mrs Edna Thompsett laughed gently as the handsome middle-aged Laurence Olivier lookalike, then attempted an award-winning evil glare.

James realised how nice it was to hear her laugh again, even if only slightly.

********************

5th September 2018. Dentist James Smith’s last day at work. Tomorrow his new life began with his wife of forty years, in his new home, three hundred miles away. He planned to relax and enjoy his retirement by the sea, but before he left, there was one last and perhaps most important patient to visit. Dear Mrs. Edna Thompsett, now aged 104. His very first patient in 1976, who had always enquired and taken an interest in his family and had listened to stories of his children’s years at school, college, work, and their marriages. Now his children all had children of their own. His youngest grandchild had just started teething.

Mrs. Edna Thompsett’s own teeth had gone long ago. As the years passed, she became, at first, one of his ‘denture, home-care’ patients, eventually, becoming his only ‘denture, care-home’ patient.

In her arm chair at Sunnville Care Home, Mrs. Edna Thompsett sat and stared out of the window. There wasn’t much else to do. The daises on the lawn outside looked lovely, she wanted to make a daisy chain for her mother, but couldn’t understand why the nurses in this hospital kept telling her she wasn’t allowed to play outside on the lawn, even just for a few minutes, or even why they always kept the front doors locked. She concluded that she must be ill, she ached a bit, but felt quite well. And obviously her illness, whatever it was, must be very contagious, - because however much she begged the nurses to let her see her mother, they never allowed her mother into the hospital to visit her.

A young nurse gently touched her arm.

“You have a visitor, my dear.”

Focusing her eyes slowly back into the room, she couldn’t believe her luck! Laurence Olivier, her favourite actor of all time, was stood there right in front of her! Oh, how kind it was of him to take time away from filming to visit her! What would her mother and all her school friends say when they heard that Laurence Olivier had visited her while she was so ill in hospital! They would all be so jealous.

“Is it safe?” James asked Mrs. Edna Thompsett in his fake sinister German accent.

The nurse pulled a face, quickly questioning herself as to whether it had been a good idea after all, to let this gentleman in. She didn’t want her elderly patient to become frightened.

Sat in her armchair, Mrs. Edna Thompsett suddenly guffawed loudly like a young girl.

“Yes, it’s safe. It’s very safe. So safe you wouldn’t believe it”

“Is it safe?” he repeated straight-faced.

“No. No, it’s not safe. It’s very dangerous. Be careful”

A wide smile swept across his face.

As he left forty-five minutes later, the nurse mentioned to James that, although she had no idea what the beginning of their conversation was about, she had been very surprised and pleased that Edna, who had not spoken in months, had remembered, answered, and laughed – at whatever it was – he had said to her.

“It’s just a few lines from her favourite film. It’s a 1970’s secret agent suspense thriller where a German war criminal dentist tortures an innocent man by drilling into his teeth without an anaesthetic!”

“Aughhh… Sounds Dreadful!” the nurse replied in disgust “That would have put me off visiting the dentist for life!”

“I think the film put many, many people off visiting the dentist!” He smiled. “But not dear Mrs. Edna Thompsett. This lovely lady and I, have been through forty-two years together, and now that I have managed to make her laugh and ‘keep it safe’ one last time, I can retire to the coast a very happy man.


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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 18  - Keep It Safe

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other great entries here


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Although this story is fictional
The idea is inspired by my mom who, in 1976, did actually ask her brand-new, young, dentist on his very first morning - "Is It Safe?"



I have posted a 2 minute clip from the 1976 film 'Marathon Man' in the comments
but it comes with a huge warning not to watch past the first 25 seconds
if you have any sort of teeth or dentist phobia!
Tags:
Writing

“Must Try Harder!”

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I was born at the latter end of the baby boom in 1964.

By the time I started at Infant and Junior school, the tiny, stone-built, Victorian village school, originally built to hold two hundred and forty pupils in two classes of fifteen pupils per year, had exploded to an exceedingly cramped six hundred pupils with three classes of forty pupils per year.

The school’s solution was to install multiple temporary outdoor Portable-style classrooms which had to be placed in the only available space, the playground.

By comparison, the extremely large comprehensive school I attended, was purposely built in 1963 to accommodate the demands of the baby boom. It provided education to over two thousand five hundred pupils in fifteen classes of forty three pupils per year.

I was always in the highest of the fifteen classes. I was good at maths and science and, at a time when it was still compulsory for girls to be taught Baby care, Housewifery skills, typing, and needlework, I was the first girl ever to be allowed to study Chemistry, Biology, and Physics as optional subjects.

But English was by far my worse subject. I just didn’t understand it! I felt as if somewhere in my early days of infant school I had missed out on the early building blocks of how English grammar and punctuation worked!

Whenever it came to end of term reports, I would get A’s in Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics and ‘E’ in English, along with the all too common phrase, ‘Must try harder’. But, as I didn’t actually understand what I was supposed to be doing, and nobody told me what I was doing wrong or how to correct my mistakes, how could I possibly know what to do, to try harder?

The day I discovered, aged thirty-three years old, that I, and thousands of other people born in 1964, had been part of a national experiment, I was angry, but not totally surprised.

It was actually my best friend who found out. He decided to return to education as a mature student with the intention of qualifying to teach English in secondary schools. His university interviewers asked him his birth year and looked at each other knowingly when he told them 1964. They informed him about an experiment the Department of Education had decided to run on all pupils born in that year. They wanted to know what the future would hold, for the children as adults, if they were not taught any English grammar and punctuation at all!

Now I understood why I had always had problems with my English!

With this knowledge, I decided to retake my exit level English exam at night school. I proudly left my first lesson knowing all about nouns, proper nouns, adjectives, adverbs and much more. The second lesson introduced me to punctuation, including commas, periods, and quotation marks and after the third lesson, I had a list of notes with definitions to words like: onomatopoeia, simile, homophone and first person.

My night school course was a revelation and I learned more English structure in those first three lessons than I had ever learned in the whole of my school life!

After being directed to a livejournal fan fiction group in 2007, I quietly read and commented on other people’s stories and, after five years, I finally wrote a fan fiction story.

A livejournal friend suggested I enter LJ idol in 2014 and, for eight weeks, I wrote factual essays and humorous traveller’s tales. Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I felt I needed to leave the contest to spend as much time with her as possible. I will always remember the kindness, friendship, love and support I received from members of the group at that time.

Still having only written six short fictional stories since leaving school in 1980, for some bizarre reason, in late 2015, I got really excited when I saw a poster pinned on the local noticeboard about a new monthly writer’s group at the village library.

I was nervous at the first meeting, believing they were all going to be brilliant writers who would look down their noses at me for not knowing punctuation. Of the six people at that first meeting, two were indeed scary intellectuals, three seemed quite normal and one gentleman, claimed he was only there to support his wife and put the kettle on.

Attending the writing group is the best thing I have done in years. The seven of us who were at that first meeting are all now firm friends. The intellectuals are no longer scary, none of us are ‘normal’ and the gentleman now writes, too. They have been encouraging and honest about my work, which I appreciate especially when it comes to grammar and punctuation, as I still believe that most people in the world know far more than I ever will!

This Christmas, kehlen, whose writing I greatly admired when I was in Ljidol in 2014, sent me an invitation to therealljidol second chance. Having decided to enter, I set myself the challenge of writing a short fictional story for each round rather than writing about myself.

Having been set the challenge of creating five pieces for week 17, I decided to have an attempt at different styles and themes for each one of them. Therefore, it seemed right for this prompt to be a factual piece of writing.

As a procrastinator, sitting down to write is not something that comes naturally to me, but in these last few months, I have found that setting time aside each day to write is really pleasurable and I am enjoying the results of my productivity.

I continue to have many insecurities about my writing. I still see myself as a relatively new writer. I find it hard to accept that it is okay to write in first person, after years of being told by teachers that, “Writing ‘I’ in a story, is lazy writing!” I naturally have ongoing problems with grammar and punctuation and don’t have the confidence to post anything online without getting it proofread first.

I have discovered my love of writing late in life, but now have a real passion for the everyday structure of working hard to get a piece completed, and will hopefully carry on for many days, weeks and months to come.


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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 17 (5 of 5) -
"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life"


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Tags:
Iona Beach

North beach, Isle of Iona, Hebrides.

.

Traigh-an-t-suidhe (Scottish Gaelic) - The beach of the seat (English)

Warm summer days roll away
Tides turn
Time has no place here
Remote
Serene
Pure white sand
Aqua sea
Gentle waves
Small soft voices of nature
The peaceful sound of silence.

Traigh-an-t-suidhe
My happy place
Spiritual home
Sacred
Holy
Where heaven and earth collide
I am present
Calm
Content
Complete.



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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 17 (4 of 5) - My Happy Place


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Traigh-an-t-suidhe

Tags:
Writing

The Guest Speaker

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“Detritus.”

Lucy Jennings let the word excitedly roll off her tongue in a voice that could have easily passed on a phone line for Cruella Da Vil.

“I’m sorry? What did you just say?” The older lady in the hand-knitted fluffy pink mohair jumper sat opposite her asked, her face scrunched in disgust.

“DETRITUS,” she repeated, slightly louder.

“As in dirt and rubbish and stuff?”

Lucy laughed, “Exactly!”

The elderly woman wearing a knitted brown wool beret, sat next to Lucy, slowly leaned as far away as possible from her.

Lucy was used to people behaving as if she was contagious or something.

“What kind of stuff exactly?” The woman in a pristine white blouse with frilly collar enquired.

“Well.” Lucy smiled politely. “Basically, anything and everything from prehistoric times to now, that people have ever dropped down a hole, poured into a drain or flushed from a toilet.”

Pink fluffy jumper lady’s face turned a shade of green.

“It can range from dinosaur to modern excrement,” Lucy enthused. “via stone age axe heads, Roman coins, and Tudor rubbish. Then there’s all manner of Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian stuff, old first and second world war discarded bullets, and more recently, we acquired a dried piece of the ‘Whitechapel fatberg’ which contains things such as solidified fat, modern wet wipes, condoms, and disposable nappies.”

“Oh dear!” the lady in the maroon cardigan to her right exclaimed, politely placing her plate containing a slice of homemade Victoria sponge on the coffee table as if it were suddenly poison. “Well!… erm… that’s… errrr… different, isn’t it?”

“Well yes, it certainly is, but I do enjoy my job very much.”

The elderly lady wearing an expensive pearl necklace to her left, who had been quiet so far, stated with a sarcastic tone. “Well, I’m sure you do, my dear. It sounds every bit a delightful job!”

“And you say people actually come to see your exhibition of erm… detritus,” The white bloused woman enquired.

“Oh yes.” Lucy said enthusiastically. “Our ‘City Now, City Future’ exhibition is very popular. The fact that it explores urban changes in London and around the world fascinates people, and our chunk of the ‘Whitechapel fatberg’ is by far our most viewed item.”

The lady in the pearl necklace laughed “I’m sure a detritus exhibition is a very pleasant way to pass half an hour,” adding sarcastically under her breath, “if all the shops were shut, it was pouring with rain, a typhoon had blown away every possible form of shelter and there was absolutely nowhere else to go!”

Everyone laughed at her comment.

Brown beret woman thought quietly for a second. “If someone handed me a suitcase and said ‘here’s a million pound in cash, which is yours right now if you visit the ‘City now City future’ exhibition,’ I’d go along and take a look.”

“I think I’d need more like four million!” Maroon cardigan lady added, shaking her head.

“Ladies!” The woman in the white blouse said politely but firmly, as she checked her watch. “May I suggest that we finish this meeting very shortly, as those of us who are members of village bowling team have a very important quarter final match this afternoon, which is due to start in thirty five minutes.”

Everyone present muttered and nodded in agreement.

She continued, “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Miss Lucy Jennings for coming along as our guest speaker this afternoon. It’s been delightful having you come and chat to us and tell us about your job as one of the curators of The Museum of London and explain all about the interesting and different… ermm… detritus you’ve dealt with in your exhibition. Thank you very much, Lucy.”

Everyone in the room clapped politely.

Lucy narrowed her eyes. “… I’m Sorry! But I’m a bit confused. I thought you had invited me all the way up here, from London to the North of England today, to talk to you about fatbergs, and to help you understand what they are, what serious problems they cause, and to inform you of how to get rid of them. I haven't had a chance yet to discuss them with you at all! Do any of you actually understand exactly what a fatberg is? How big they can possibly grow? What huge problems they cause? Or how you would go about getting rid of one?”

“I’m not really sure I want to know any more details to be honest,” Pink fluffy jumper lady replied already forcefully stuffing Lucy’s handout sheets roughly into her handbag. “I mean, it was absolutely delightful, having to here to speak to us, but really, your topic of discussion is all very horrid and dirty and smelly isn’t it? I don’t mean to be rude to you, my dear, or anything, but, to be honest, I don’t really feel as if I want to be talking about the disgusting stuff you deal with any longer than I just had to! It turns my stomach just thinking about it!”

“But...” Lucy tried to add.

“... Oh my dear,” The pearl necklace woman told her “It looks like there has been an awful mistake. I’m afraid that it was Mrs Price from our neighbouring village who arranged and paid for your visit to our meeting. She told us that you would be 'interesting and relevant', but I’m afraid that seems not to be the case!”

“But...” Lucy tried again.

The woman in the white blouse glared at Lucy and tapped her watch impatiently to remind her it was time for them all to leave the building.

Lucy shook her head in amazement as all the other ladies in the room fell silent for the close of the meeting, and realised there was absolutely no point at all in trying to continue her conversation.

The white bloused woman coughed, “I’d like to thank you all for coming to today’s meeting. As chairwoman, of the environmental committee of the Parish Council for the village of Daleworth, I’d like to officially close this meeting. We will next meet two months from today, same time, same place. At the next meeting we will continue our discussion about the ongoing smells and drainage problems the Daleworth residents have kept PERSISTENTLY complaining to us about. That is, of course as long as the date of the meeting doesn’t clash with the date of the bowling team league grand final match. If it does, then I think we are all in agreement that the game is far more important than a silly old boring environmental meeting isn’t it?”

She over-dramatically pretended to yawn. The other ladies giggled.

"… Meeting adjourned.”

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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 17 (3 of 5) - Fatberg


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Tags:
Writing

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

.

As departmental head, he keeps a close eye on all his employees. He knows everything about their activities at work and knows exactly who takes their breaks, and when. He has full access to all their computers and monitors their usage closely. It’s just something he has always done, as part of his job, to make sure no important government secrets are given away.

Recently, he has taken to watching his new secretary and does it quite often.

He can’t help but observe her during the day, as she carries out her duties. He scrutinizes every tiny detail about her, is fascinated by her laugh, finds irresistible that broad beaming smile she gives to those she likes as well as the slightly smaller lopsided one she presents to those of whom she doesn’t. He has a weakness for the way she raises her eyebrow when she is questioning his order and is even attracted to the strange way she contorts his face when she gets angry with him.

Naturally, he has bugged all his employees’ homes. He loves to watch them at night and obviously considers this the most enjoyable perk of his job.

But in the last month he has really got to know his secretary’s routine and knows exactly the best time to watch. He has become acquainted with every smooth curve of her elegant naked body, appreciates every silent aspect of her slender figure shown off to perfection by the lamplight in her room. Is aware of the mole above her left knee, the tiny birthmark on her right shoulder blade and even the faded appendix scar that no-one else knows about.

He is thrilled and excited by her.

And aroused by the fact that neither she, nor any of his employees, have any idea they are being watched.


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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 17 (2 of 5) - Vigilance


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Tags:
Writing

He lives in hope.

.

“Truth, dare, kiss, or promise, Zac?” she asks me.

“Oh Kiss,” I answer excited. Any opportunity to kiss Lily and I’m right there! “No doubt about it. Definitely kiss!”

She sighs. “Oh Zac! You are so predictable! You always pick kiss!”

“I know Lily,” I sigh wistfully, “but I live in hope that one day you’ll let me kiss you.”

She smiles at me angelically. “You know what, Zac, I might actually let you kiss me later if you go and make me a drink of hot chocolate.”

I hurry into the kitchen, fling open the cupboard door and grab the ingredients. I love Lily. I’d do absolutely anything for her. She is just the prettiest girl in the whole wide world, and if making her a hot chocolate puts me in with a higher chance of getting a kiss, then that’s absolutely fine by me!

She adds sweetly from the dining room, “And don’t forget I want cream and marshmallows on top as well, will you.”

A few minutes later, I present her with her lovingly prepared drink.

“Do I get my kiss now, Lily?”

“I only said ‘might’ Zac!” She teases. “No, for this round, I want you to flick through your Dad’s old vinyl LPs and kiss the sixth women you come across.”

I sigh “That’s boring! All I ever do whenever we play this game, is either kiss strange women on various record covers or ugly women on the TV screen! I think I should be allowed to kiss a person who is actually alive, and one who is sat not far away from me right now!”

Lily stands up quickly and paces across the dining room once before her face lights up. “Ah-ha!” She smiles. “I have it! As you are fed up with kissing the women I usually arrange for you to kiss, the only other person who sat down near to you, is Michael! Yes that’s it! I want you to go into the front room and kiss Michael!”

“What!… Yuck!… No!...” There is no way I am kissing my older brother! That’s horrid! Absolutely not! Michael is definitely not the person I had in mind! “I don’t want to kiss him!”

“Zac,” she says, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth “I know you don’t want to do it, but, to be in with a chance of kissing me, you have to go and kiss Michael first. And if you don’t kiss him, your forfeit will be to take off all your clothes and walk naked to the newsagents shop at the end of the road and buy a pint of milk.”

I contemplate my options. Kissing Michael or naked shopping? Both sound extremely humiliating and neither involve me kissing Lily! I sigh and figure that kissing Michael is the lesser of the two evils. As I hurry out of the room, Lily follows and waits in the doorway.

I run up to my older brother who is sitting watching TV, as fast as I can, kiss him on his lips and run away. Michael is taken by surprise and automatically reacts by trying to swipe me across the head. It’s a close shave, but I successfully manage to avoid his attack. Lily laughs as I hastily scamper past her.

“Right, Zac it’s my turn to choose,” she informs me as she walks back into the dining room. “You have to ask me whether I want Truth, dare, kiss, or promise now.”

I’ve got a strong feeling she’s conned me somehow. “What happened to my kiss?”

“You just had your turn. You kissed Michael. You’ll have to wait until it’s your turn again.”

“This game just isn’t fair!” I tell her grumpily. If there’s one thing I hate it’s getting conned! “I don’t want to play any more!”

“Look, just ask me, Zac!” she replies sounding bored.

Suddenly a brilliant idea suddenly comes into my head. One so fantastic Lily will have to kiss me. It can’t fail! “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss or Kiss, Lily?” I laugh triumphantly.

“You know that’s not the name of the game, Zac” she sighs, “and if you don’t ask me properly, I shall go home. I’m starting to get quite bored with you now.”

“Oh, don’t go.” I beg. I hate the sound of my voice when I’m begging, it squeaks in all sorts of unusual and uncontrollable directions, but if me begging her to stay is what she wants to hear, then so be it! “I’ll ask you properly Lily, honest! - Truth, dare, kiss, or promise?”

She smiles sweetly, “Dare!”

SHE IS JUST NOT BEING FAIR!! SHE SHOULD HAVE SAID KISS AND THEN SHE SHOULD HAVE KISSED ME!

“Don’t pull a face like that at me, Zac!”

I pout, “Well! You're not supposed to pick dare. You’re supposed to pick kiss!”

“No, I’m not. I can pick whichever one I want to pick!”

I sulk. “I don’t want to play this game anymore!”

“Just pick a dare for me,” she sighs.

I realise I’m not getting anywhere with the ‘kissing Lily’ part of this game and today’s probably not going to be my lucky day.

I give her ‘Dare’ a bit of thought and knowing how close, a few moments earlier, Michael had been to hitting me, and knowing how much I hate him most of the time, I decide it would be great fun to annoy him further.

“Okay, Lily” I reply giggling, “I dare you to go and tell Michael that you really, really, really, really, really really, fancy him and you want him to be your boyfriend.”

Lily nearly chokes on her hot chocolate and flushes with embarrassment. She talks slowly and gently to me as if I’m some sort of idiot. “You don’t really want me say that to him, do you, Zac? That probably wouldn’t be a very wise thing for me to do. I know I tease and torment you all the time, but you really are my best friend in the whole wide world and to be honest, saying that to Michael really wouldn’t be fair to you at all. Why don’t I give you another a minute or two to think of a different dare for me to do while I drink my hot chocolate?”

I can’t believe my luck! I can suddenly see another chance to kiss her. Oh I can’t believe how cunning and clever I am. I am so pleased with myself for coming up with such a brilliant plan “You’ll have to pay a forfeit of kissing me naked if you don’t.” I grin.

She looks intently at me before shaking her head slowly in disbelief. Putting down her drink on the dining table, she turns and slowly walks out of the room.

OH BLAST! Lily is actually going to go ahead with the dare instead of kissing me!

DAMN! Why did I stupidly suggest the naked bit? I shouldn’t have suggested the naked bit! Why did I try to push the game that bit further? She might have actually kissed me if I’d not asked her to take her clothes off! I am such a stupid, stupid, stupid idiot sometimes!

Following her into the living room, I watch from the doorway as Lily slowly and deliberately approaches Michael. She speaks to him in a hushed whisper, and my brother blushes slightly before he replies.

Then Michael takes her in his arms and kisses her in the way that only I, myself, should be allowed to kiss her, and not only that, but she seems to be kissing him just as much.

Damn! Not only have I lost the SILLY kissing game, but I’ve lost Lily as well.

“STUPID, STUPID, STUPID KISSING GAME!” I curse, as I kick the door frame hard, and stomp back into the dining room on my own.

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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 17 (1 of 5) - Salad Days


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Tags:
Writing

The Dinner Date

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I’ve had a suspicion that he’s been seeing someone. He thinks I haven’t noticed the subtle changes, but when you’ve known someone for as long as I have, you can’t help but spot them – the recent haircut, dressing smarter, showering more often.

I shouldn’t have looked at his phone, I know, but just couldn’t help it; I needed to know if I was right. His unlock code was easy to work out, he’s not a difficult man to understand. My second attempt cracked it – his birth year.

Wednesday 17th March 10.29am
Thank you for a delightful evening last night. We’ll have to do it again soon.
Love Sarah x


Sarah...

So... that’s what she’s called.

Sarah...

Her name mulls around in my mind for a while.

So much for his ‘Going out for a few drinks with his pals’ last night.

I notice his reply.

Wednesday 17th March 10.38am
Why don’t you come round for dinner on Saturday night at 7pm? Lou’s away on a girl’s night out with her friend Steph. She’ll not be back until the morning. I’ll return the favour by cooking dinner.
Love Jack x


He’ll cook dinner! Ha! He never cooks anything and he’s certainly never cooked anything for me. I make all his meals, have done for years. The only ‘cooking’ he ever does, involves popping one of the frozen meals that I prepared beforehand, in the microwave.

So she’s coming to dinner, is she? Looks like I’ll just have to ‘accidentally’ catch them together!

Grabbing my handbag at the usual time on Saturday evening, I remind him not to forget to pop his dinner in the microwave later. Kissing him goodnight, he instructs me to have a great time and to be good.

I drive around aimlessly for a while instead of going over to Steph’s place, arriving home around eight thirty. An hour and a half should be long enough for them to have got settled and relaxed.

There’s an unfamiliar red car in our drive. I quietly open the front door of the house and silently tiptoe down the hall. There is laughter from within the dining room. I open the door suddenly and startle them. Half-expecting to find a young, leggy, brassy blonde, I am shocked instead to see an older lady who bears an uncanny resemblance to my mother, who passed away more than a decade ago, sitting across the dining table from him, sipping red wine by candlelight.

“Oh, Lou, I wasn’t expecting you!” he says in shock, nearly spilling his own wine. “I thought you were out this evening!”

My eyes flick instantly and uncontrollably between the older woman at the table and the picture of my mother on the mantelpiece. To be honest, I am quite taken aback by the striking similarity.

“Sorry, I just had to pop back for a cardigan” I lie. “It’s cold out tonight.” I smile at the two of them “Are you going to introduce me to your friend?”

They both blush like teenagers. He stands up and walks towards me. He’s looking younger and happier than he’s looked in years, but looks scared and guilty at being found out. “Lou, I’m really sorry, I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I just didn’t quite know how to. This is Sarah.”

I hold my hand out in greeting towards her and smile, “It’s lovely to meet you, Sarah.” Shyly and politely, she shakes my hand and replies that it is lovely to meet me, too. I can see why he likes her. She’s pretty and elegant, just as my mother was. I kiss her on her slightly rouge-powdered cheek and tell her that she must be doing something right, as I’ve not seen my father this happy in years.

He has been lonely and sad since my mother died and I’m delighted he’s finally found someone to have dinner with. I suspect, meeting Sarah might be the best thing that has happened to him in a very long time.

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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 16 - Inkling


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Tags: ,
Writing

Maybe today

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I know I almost see him every day, as I work outside in my garden, but I can never be sure. He forever skits about in my peripheral vision. An indistinguishable swish of brown that moves around swiftly in the corner of my eye, flitting incessantly. However in the millisecond it takes to look at him, to focus on him, he manages to skitter away and disappear behind a tree or hedge.

I often try to catch sight of him while I am indoors as I hide behind my net curtains. I leave him food on the ground in front of my window, which he seems to enjoy. Blurred by the material, I squint hard to unsuccessfully bring the image of him into focus as he frenziedly feeds. Yet move the barrier between us a fraction to get that clearer glimpse and he vanishes.

Occasionally on frosty winter evenings I sit quietly in the silence of my darkened room, the net curtains drawn back. He seems to like the shelter my ancient house provides. There are various old dark cavities and crevices in the crumbling brickwork and I often seen him arrive just after dusk to settle down for the night. However, due to evening shadows and my senior eyes, he is just brown body against brown brick, indistinct, never quite in focus.

I’m jealous of anyone who claims to have seen him clearly, although I tend not to believe the ones who tell me they have seen him ‘hundreds of times.’

I would be delighted just to see him the once in detail.

I realise that many people consider him dull and insignificant, common even, but he is beautiful and special to me. He’s more than just a welcome visitor on the periphery of my otherwise busy life and means so much more to me than just another tick off my list. From the day I first saw his picture in my childhood bird book, I fell in love with his tiny, fat brown body, and unmistakable upward pointing tail. He is the reason I became a bird watcher.

I long to view him in sharp focus, to be able to recognise him. I yearn to become someone who can claim to say, ‘Yes, without a doubt, I have seen a Eurasian Wren.'

Fingers crossed, maybe today will be my lucky day.

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This is my entry for therealljidol

Week 15 -
periphery

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The Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
is a very small bird, and the only member of the wren family
Troglodytidae found in Eurasia and Africa.


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