Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Burnt Child Dreads the Fire (Warning)

It's day two of the whole proverb thing and I thought with Halloween coming up I'd try to write a horror story or at least attempt one. Yellerzine recently invited people to submit to their zine with the theme Tongue-in-Cheek. I'd like to think that I was influenced by that somewhat and the story is only in jest. Any no I did not submit this story I sent them a pleasant poem instead.
 
Graphic content below. If you're of a weak disposition look away now.
 
A Burnt Child Dreads the Fire
Baby Christopher was a right brat. He bit into baby Betty's leg and tried to gouge good little George's eyes out. He even went as far as gluing the dog's tail to the floor and stabbing Uncle Trevor in the back with a Stanley knife. His father, Marty, had tried everything and realised enough was enough. 

One day, when his lovely wife Megan was getting her hair done, Marty had a brainwave: throw baby Christopher into the fire. After all he was a brat and brats had to be taught. Now the aim wasn’t to kill the child only to burn him enough to frighten the devil out of him. After all wasn't it said that a burnt child dreads fire? Before baby Christopher sussed what was going on Marty grabbed the child by his arms and flung him into the roaring fire. Baby Christopher kicked and hissed and tried to get out of the hot coals but Marty held him down with a poker stick. Ignoring his screams, he set his stop watch for ten seconds which he thought was adequate time to turn Christopher into a reformed, well-behaved baby.

As the seconds ticked Marty got thinking. He could turn the whole burning baby thing into a business. Baby Christopher started to wail like a fire engine but Marty did not hear him he was picking out his fleet of blue minivans in his mind. The stop watch buzzed incessantly but Marty was still deep in thought. He saw himself branching out to burning problem teenagers and then adults. The length of burning would certainly have to be longer to burn the more acute problems away.

Baby Christopher roared and kicked violently.  But Marty didn't turn his attention to such things. He wondered about the different fires: gas, coal, wood, turf, and firelogs. What if his clients didn't have a fireplace? Could he supply a portable stove and burn on site? The alarm continued on as Marty sat deep in thought while Christopher lay silent in the fireplace burnt to a crisp.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Narrative Issue

The latest issue of Narrative has just arrived. Check it out here

I enjoyed reading Camille Rankine's poems and Snowy by Rick Bass.

If you want to read the complete pieces of writing you have to become a member. Membership is free.

You can also download the app for Narrative making it handy for reading on the go.

Submission Assault and Where There's Muck There's Money

It's a full out submissions assault. Poetry and art submissions are being sent out and new pieces are  being written for blogs and competitions. Do you know what? Us writers are spoiled rotten when it comes to places to submit to. I don't think we ever had it so good. Also autumn is a great time to submit as a majority of journals have their submissions up and running after the summer holidays. 
 
So that's what I'm doing and I'm reading lots of short stories and poems at the moment. And I've started a new project. It entails cracking open my proverbs book every day and randomly selecting a proverb. Then the challenge is to write something based on the proverb. Anything.
 
So my first proverb is:
 

Where There's Muck There's Money

Did you hear the news?

What news?

The council's saying they lost a large sum of money in a field of muck!

How does one manage that?! How can one lose money in muck? It's the queerest thing I've ever heard.

Well it's mighty strange indeed though the council are looking for people to recover it.

The hell?

It's true. Jimmy found €100,000 after just three hours of digging.

And he got to keep it? The council just gave him the money?

Well he got to keep €10,000 of it.

That's not a bad return. And how much is missing?

They're saying it could be millions. Just think millions.

By god there must be a catch!

No catch. Just turn up and start digging. That's it. I'd do it but...

Who else is at it?

Not many but it's bound to catch on. People will soon be flooding in from all parts of the country to chance their arm, you'll see. But you get in there, you get in there quick. You roll up your sleeves and get cracking.

I certainly will. You know muck doesn't sound half bad, not bad at all.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The House That Fell In Love

The story, The House That Fell In Love by Daniel Vlasaty caught my eye this morning.

Read it here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baptism and A Taste for Winter

Baptism

     I ASKED HOW LONG the immersion would last, though I’d seen it dozens of times.
“No more than three seconds,” my father said. “You’ll be fine.”
In the cold water, his grip on my shoulder was light; he had never touched me so tentatively. I opened my eyes and they burned; I closed them and saw my father standing by the linen closet. “Don’t forget to bring a towel,” he’d said the night before. “Take the softest one we have.” My father, beaten with a belt constantly as a boy, fed bowls of ketchup soup when that was all they had: Where had he learned such gentleness? When he hit me, he sought my permission first: Do you know why I’m doing this?
Out of love, I had learned to say, which was the same as saying, Go ahead.
This love could take your lungs, I thought. Let me up.

A Taste for Winter

   IT ALWAYS BEGINS with the same scene—his long white fingers wrapped around my short black hand. It’s February in Geneva and we’re walking on Cour St-Pierre toward his Great-Aunt Beatrice’s home. Snowflakes fall unhurriedly. They remind me of our long nights in Paris. She is very rich. She will leave me everything when she dies, he says.
Inside Aunt Beatrice’s dark flat, her frail hand clenches the ball of a mahogany walking stick. 
She is seated as she eyes me up and down. They speak in French and I try to intuit their meaning.
Elle m’a donnĂ© dix bons jours. She gives me . . . has given me, ten good days, he says.
Si vous trouvez du miel, mangez-en juste assez. If you find honey, eat just enough, she says.
The room smells of mint tea and wax. I am not asked to sit down.

You can read more excellent short stories here on the Narrative website