Posts Tagged With: short story

Pure Ecstasy:A Science Fiction Short Story

I thought this post had best have a nice picture at the top. It's tangentially linked to the story

I thought this post had best have a nice picture at the top. It’s tangentially linked to the story

I wrote a short story for the Wells Literature Festival competition. Chances are I’ll never hear back so in the interests of getting my work recognised to some small degree I’m posting it here. I fear some of the important points of the narrative may have been lost when I had to mercilessly cut the word count to less than 2000. Similarly, some points may have been under-explained. Let’s hope not though. I present to you ‘Pure Ecstasy’.

“Do you believe that happiness can exist without suffering, A-Mov?” Alma asked as she slumped across the table, staring at the tissue box on her desk, contemplating why she had allowed it to remain when she no longer sneezed.

Continue reading

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jim’s Short Stories Number Two:I drink therefore I am

Originally posted on 6.07.11

This one is first and foremost a comedy.

“No!” Leroy replied for the fifth time.
“But we’re 18 years old and it’s a Friday night! We should be out getting drunk.” Jack protested.
“We’re at college. We should be revising for the exams we have in three weeks, but since I haven’t the perseverance to do that I’d rather rescue the people in Auschwitz.” Leroy said as he clicked on one man then right-clicked on another.
“It’s like bleedin’ Auschwitz in here!” Jack laughed.
Leroy paused the game and turned to face Jack for the first time since the debate began and lowered his brow. “You do realise Auschwitz was a concentration camp in World War Two and not a German teen drama?
“Then what comparison could you possibly make between their struggle and this evening?” Leroy retorted.
“Well they weren’t allowed to drink either!”
“Or live.” A silence fell upon the room. Jack looked at his hands. Jack’s mind was drawn to thoughts of the attractive girl in his Human Biology class naked. Leroy’s mind was drawn to the Holocaust. He had to break the silence so he could think of something nicer than genocide.
“Why are we friends, Jack?” Leroy said slowly.
Jack had also thought about this before, they called each other best friends and they probably were, although they were so very different.

“Well.”He replied. “Because in primary school we were both goody-goodies, at the start of secondary school I protected you from bullies and near the end of secondary school you protected bullies from me.”
Jack’s moral compass was strangely aligned. He was a bit of a womaniser, and he talked back a lot to his teachers and yet in secondary school he had tried to end every instance of bullying he saw, violently. He took being a prefect seriously. Leroy would often have to stop him before he beat anyone up. Leroy could not understand Jack’s resentment for bullies, to his knowledge Jack had never been bullied himself. Leroy had come to the conclusion that Jack did it to impress girls, this was the reason he did a lot of things.
“Yes. I suppose you’re right.” Said Leroy, pondering their exploits.
Leroy was still well behaved, he had always handed all his homework in on time and he had never had a detention. He was also rather intelligent, having gotten all As in his GCSEs except in, of course, Graphics. Jack was not still well-behaved, but he was nearly as intelligent as his friend. Jack was one of those teenagers who was able to argue with teachers, get drunk at 13, have sex at 15, hand all his coursework in late, do little revision and then still do well in his exams.
The power went out in Leroy’s house.
“There. Even your house wants you to come with me.” Said Jack.
“Fine!” Sighed Leroy, defeated.
“There there. Come on now.” Said Jack with the air relief worker guiding a victim to the first aid tents. “Let the Jews save themselves.”
Leroy scowled at this. He had never approved of Jack’s approach to dark humour.
They arrived at the local night club ‘J’adore’. Understandably Leroy did not approve of the name. He was dreading entering it. Fortunately for Leroy at this nightclub the bar and the dance-floor were in separate rooms rather than being right next to each other. This pleased him. He could hear the unoriginal pounding of the music from his barstool. He didn’t like it. He thought of all the fools crammed close together in that room, jumping up and down sweating like pigs.(An expression he’d never understood) There were a few things ‘young people’ did that Leroy wouldn’t admit he would also like to do. Getting a girlfriend, getting drunk (but probably only once) and having sex were the only three that he could think of. It occurred to him that all three of these might happen to him that night, though this idea didn’t appeal to him because he didn’t think he would ever be one for hooking up with a girl in a bar or for having a one-night stand.
They ordered their drinks. Jack ordered a shot of vodka, Leroy ordered a piña colada.
“Why are you ordering that?! Exclaimed Jack, aghast.
“If I’m going to drink alcohol it may as well be something that tastes nice.” Replied Leroy, annoyed.
The two sat for half an hour doing little. Jack had drank three vodkas and wasn’t feeling tipsy yet. He could handle his drink. Leroy was drinking very slowly, he was only half way through his first drink.
“Well this is shit.” Jack interrupted suddenly. “Come with me.” Leroy followed him begrudgingly. For the last twenty five minutes Jack had been watching a woman across the bar while pretending to listen to Leroy talk about the global economic crisis or some shit like that. She was rather plain but she was with a friend who was clearly dressed for the occasion. Her friend’s vibrant tank top contrasted to her green cardigan. Like Leroy she had done little with her drink, a screaming orgasm. When Leroy realised Jack’s intention was to chat people up he tried to walk away. Jack grabbed his arm and took him to the girls.
“Well hello there.” Said Jack in a manner that could make even death threats sound charming. “I’m Jack, this is Leroy.”
Leroy waved timidly from behind Jack. “Hello.” He said as his voice cracked.
The girl with the tank top was loud and excitable. “I’m Rachel and this is Susan!” Susan waved and smiled, embarrassed. Leroy smiled back coyly then tried to cover it up by putting his hand to mouth.
“This club sucks. Don’t you think?” Rachel asked Jack. She already fancied him, he was not unattractive and he really was quite charming.
“I agree. Perhaps we should reconvene?” Jack propositioned.
“Can’t I’m afraid. I have to stay with Susan. I begged her to come out tonight, she only came because a power cut stopped her revising. She’s such a stick in the mud, you’d think she’d be desperate to do something like this.” Rachel then whispered, though not very discreetly into Jack’s ear and pointed at Susan. “Virgin.” Then she laughed. Leroy’s face lit up, Susan seemed to be just like him, she even had a promiscuous best friend.
“Not going to finish your drink, Sue?” Jack said. She recoiled at being talked to. Also she didn’t like being called Sue, Susan made her sound more mature.
“Er, no. Rachel bought it for me, I don’t really drink.”
“So you don’t really want a screaming orgasm then? Oh well, there’s always next time, Leroy.” Jack said cruelly, he could never resist an opportunity to make a joke about that drink, particularly at someone’s expense.
“Shut up, Jack!” Leroy said defensively, as he laughed weakly. Leroy rarely swore, he thought it would have much more of an effect if he rarely did it, meaning he could end an entire conversation with an F-bomb. If people swear in every sentence the point of the words being tabooed is completely removed.
Jack laughed. “It’s a shame really. You too seem like you’d really get along. You could talk about Philosophy and English and stuff.” Susan became interested in Leroy. She did like Philosophy and English, and, at times, she also liked stuff.
“Let’s have a toast! That’s sophisticated enough for you two.” Jack proposed as he lifted his glass. Rachel did the same. Leroy and Susan reluctantly followed.
“To love at first sight!” They all took a swig from their drinks, some more willingly than others. Leroy spluttered as he realised what Jack had said.

Leroy awoke to find himself in a bed he had never seen before. “Oh dear.” He thought to himself. He looked at the floor, his trousers were lying in a bundle next to a used condom. His worries were confirmed. He’d got drunk and then gone to bed with someone. He didn’t even know where he got the condom from, he certainly didn’t carry them around with him. Of course! Jack must have given it to him. “The bastard!” He thought to himself. “Why didn’t he try to stop me?” Leroy already knew the answer. Fearing the worst Leroy turned his head to see who he was lying next to. It was Susan. Well, that was some consolation. Maybe they’d get together again sometime. He noticed that she looked very pretty when asleep. His heart stopped as he realised there was someone else in the bed. It was Rachel. Now Leroy wasn’t sure what to think, on one hand he’d possibly contracted an STD(s) and/or made two young women pregnant, on the other he’d been a threesome, which meant he must be rather sexy or at least very, very charming. Before he could decide whether to bury his head in his hands in grief or put his arms behind his head in victory he noticed a fourth person in the bed. At the end of the bed, with a cruel smile on his sleeping face and a lump sticking up in his duvet was Jack.
“Fuck.” Said Leroy.

Now play this song:

There we have a nice story about promiscuity. Be warned.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jim’s Short Stories Number One:Checking Out

Originally posted on 04.07.11

For a change in style I’m going to write a few short stories, though you will undoubtedly see a lot of what I usually do within the story-telling. First up is a romance story of sorts, apologies to anyone who has had no choice but to work in a Supermarket.

Lucas sighed. He felt demeaned. “How could one such as myself now be working in a supermarket?” he thought to himself as he scanned a Bag O’ Bagels©. Lucas often thought things in his head as if he was a character in a Jane Austen novel, with plenty of ‘one such as myself’s and ‘most irregular’s. He didn’t speak like this, that would require him to carefully plan every sentence, which he did but that was usually to prevent himself from sounding too pompous, rather than to do the opposite. As he watched the man in the suit place his ‘Brannigan’s Finest’© Coq Au Vin on the conveyor belt he thought “I’m 20 years old. I should be at university right now, rather than working on a checkout in Brannigan’s.How did it come to this?” He knew how. Despite doing very well in both his GCSEs and A-Levels Lucas’s teenage mind had let him down. Not every teenager will go through a rebellious phase but Lucas did, and at the worst possible time, when independence was on the horizon. When he finished his A-Levels Lucas was given the money his parents and grandparents had saved up for him over his life, but instead of doing what the rational Lucas of a few months before would have done and putting it towards going to university he decided to buy a three-thousand pound car and rent a modern flat. He regretted his decision a few months later once the liberating feeling of independence had left him, he regretted it when his other friends told him stories of the fascinating things they’d learnt doing History and Science Degrees and he really regretted it when he failed to find any work that made use of his skills and he had to work at a Supermarket. The only thing he could say to make him feel better was that at least he didn’t work in McDonald’s. Ironically that probably pays more. Lucas was probably too cynical about his job, many people have to start their working lives in a shop so it was hardly shameful, the main reason it annoyed him was because he knew he could instead be at University enjoying himself. **
“Do you have a honey card?” He asked the suited man. The words burned his mouth. The man didn’t have a Honey Card of course, people rarely do. He was young and successful, as if he would be seen doing such cheap things as saving money. No-one could blame him of course, it takes about five-thousand bags of Bag O’ Bagels© to earn enough honey points to buy one grape.
Lucas’s job was incredibly dull. He used to do what everyone fears the checkout people do, he would make assumptions about people based on the items they were buying. Every time someone bought something from the ‘free-from’ range he wondered if they actually had an allergy or if there was just a new fad that claimed wheat or nuts were bad for you. When he saw a woman buy The Sun ‘newspaper’ he scowled, firstly because he was helping the distribution of garbage but secondly because this woman was buying it. The poor mother of two did not deserve this, she was merely buying it to make use of the holiday vouchers, she was just as embarrassed about having to buy it as Lucas was about having to sell it. After a month at the shop Lucas stopped doing this as he realised it was filling him with contempt for everyone. He then tried to use maths to make his shift more entertaining. He didn’t use the till for calculations but did them in his head instead. He stopped doing this after he realised he had short-changed a small, kind old lady for ten pounds who had put five in the Save the Children charity pot and then offered him a tip of seven. He refused the tip, as he was required to do, though he felt evil every time he remembered the event, so from then on he always used the till for adding up the money. While waiting for someone to come to his till, extremely bored, Lucas’s eye fell upon one of his co-workers. She had in her hand a John Bellamy novel. *** Lucas thought Bellamy was brilliant, however most people his age had never heard of him, he was a comedian in the late-80s and early-90s, but he later became a novelist. His witty satire and his clever understanding of the flaws in humanity meant that Lucas held a very high opinion of him. Lucas didn’t interact with his co-workers much, he had just assumed any young person working at a supermarket must be unintelligent or happy to not succeed in life. This view was probably fueled by the anger he had with himself. It did not occur to him that they may be in just the same position as him. He assumed his co-workers were dolts and yet here was one of them, a woman of the same age as him reading something by the person he viewed as the greatest writer of the 21st Century. He then looked at the woman herself. She probably wouldn’t stand out in a crowd but she was not unattractive, at least to Lucas. Lucas’s eyes scanned her appearance, she was in her Brannigan’s uniform but she wasn’t wearing any of the optional accessories that Lucas saw on so many of his other co-workers. She had no visible tattoos, she had no visible piercings, she wasn’t wearing any make-up and her underwear was not visible. These things all appealed to Lucas. He supposed that she was not what most people would call particularly ’sexy’. She had a very nice face he thought, a very, very nice face. Her shift started, she put her book into her shoulder bag and went to the till, where a pregnant teenager was waiting with a copy of Heat Magazine, a bottle of vodka and a fake I.D. The woman saw this and sighed. Lucas’s eyes lit up, this mystery girl had just sighed in distaste at the site of Heat magazine. At this moment Lucas determined that he might be in love.
Lucas found out, by looking at the shift list, that her name was Joanna. For the next few weeks he had something new to do to in his dull shifts. He watched her, and noticed every time she subtly scowled at someone buying The Daily Star or smiled at someone buying the Guardian. He saw her embarrassment as she scanned an ‘Adult’ magazine. He too felt embarrassed every time he had to do this. Entering his login number to allow the purchasing of mature items made him feel like he approved of this man who was presumably a sick bastard buying something containing pictures of presumably demeaned women. Lucas also knew that it is very easy to find that kind of thing on the internet for free. One need only search for a woman’s name on Google Images with the Safe Search turned off to find nudity. Not that he approved of this of course. He discovered this all too late when he was trying to show his grandmother how to use Google. He demonstrated by searching for her first name. Poor Muriel…
In his weeks of observing Joanna, Lucas had talked to her very few times and none of these times were what one could call chatting. The closest thing to a proper conversation they had was when they were waiting for beverages at the drinks machine. He had said to her “I noticed you were reading a Bellamy book there. What did you think of him?” She told him that she thought it was very good, that was it. His drink was ready and he left. He was elated. He had spoken to her, she now knew he liked Bellamy’s work. He went home satisfied that day, though he knew he could have said a lot more. As he walked away Joanna smiled.
Joanna Scowled at the mirror. She was in her house wearing her Brannigan’s uniform. The cotton t-shirt that was supposed to be her size was a rather close fit. It hugged her bosom in a way that always made her feel awkward. The trousers were the same. Much like Lucas, outside of work Joanna would wear relatively baggy clothes. Though both were strongly against the modern views of fashion they were both self-conscious about their curves. Lucas because he was slightly chubby around his belly and Joanna because she was unsure whether her waist to rear to chest ratio was normal. Joanna had nothing to fear, it was to her advantage that she didn’t stand out, and, though she didn’t realise it, Lucas found her perfectly beautiful. She looked at the Brannigan’s logo near her left shoulder and was hit with a pang of embarrassment. She was more fortunate than some of her friends at least, some of the shops they worked at gave out uniforms with the logo emblazoned right across the chest. This meant that customers were actively encouraged to admire the endowments of the staff. If for example, you found yourself lying on the floor after being knocked unconscious by some tinned sweetcorn you need only look at the bosoms of one of the helpful staff to remind yourself of where you are. Joanna thought about this every morning she had work, though today she was in a good mood. The day before she had Googled Lucas and was delighted to discover that he had a blog. For most people Lucas’s blog seemed like mere ranting from a young man complaining for the sake of complaining, but for Joanna they were like the words of a prophet. She agreed with everything he said and this made him all the more attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and when Joanna’s eyes looked at Lucas they saw an Adonis. Joanna was oblivious to the fact that Lucas had the same feelings for her, she had not noticed that he watched her, and he had not noticed that she watched him. Her attraction started when she noticed him listening to a podcast on his Ipod. She also enjoyed this particular podcast and her interest in him was piqued. Unfortunately it seemed as if they were both just doomed to dream, as they rarely approached one another.
A bald man with a pot belly and a wife-beater vest was at Lucas’s till. When Lucas asked the question of whether the man had a honey card he replied with “Nah. I could care less about them.”
Lucas muttered under his breath “Couldn’t care less”. The man erupted, as bald men in wife-beater vests so often do, and proceeded to shout profanity at Lucas. “What the fook did you just say about me!?”
Lucas was taken aback. Here he was, correcting people as he so often did, and this scary man had picked up on it, violently.
He realised there was no point in lying so he timidly told the man that he was merely correcting him. The man didn’t believe him. He felt that, as arseholes so often do, that this person was insulting him. He lifted his meaty fist. ‘The boss’ who was standing nearby rushed over. Years of working in retail had taught him that following the ancient rule of ‘the customer is always right’ is always the best thing to do, even if it does make you a conniving, greedy snake.
“I’m terribly sorry, Sir.” He said to the man who no-one would ever consider knighting. “I can see that my employee has done something to upset you. Please accept my condolences and this £10 Brannigan’s Voucher.” Despite the current state of affairs Lucas still found time to realise how inappropriate a choice of words ‘condolences’ was for this occasion. So did Joanna, who was watching from a nearby till, a look of fear in her eyes for Lucas and his lovely face. The man gruffly lowered his fist, snatched the voucher and walked away with an eight-pack of lager under his arm. His five year old son for whom hair was also absent put his middle finger up at Lucas before walking away with his father giggling. Before the Boss could say anything to Lucas he took off his baggy Brannigan’s shirt**** and placed it in the Boss’s hands, he walked away.  The automatic doors opened as if they were bowing to him. Of course one can not just resign by hanging up their uniform and walking out, he would be back in five minutes to complete a resignation form and to give back the trousers but nevertheless it was an inspiring image, the oppressed worker ‘sticking it to the man’ and walking off into the horizon. He looked at Joanna and smiled, she smiled back. He made a mental note to finally Facebook her later…
*In this story ‘Brannigan’s’ is a supermarket much like Sainsbury’s.
**By which I mean enjoying learning about the literary greats, rather than enjoying getting drunk every weekend.
***Not a real novelist.
****The men that aren’t overly fit get baggy clothes since man boobs don’t sell cheesecake.

Wasn’t that lovely? I thought it was.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at