Monday, 27 October 2014
Ever had that scenario where the whole of Amazon and Goodreads seems to have read a totally different book to you? Well it just happened to me.
Don't get me wrong, this book isn't terrible, I just don't get all the hype! I had high expectations considering the fact that it's considered a classic and has also been made into a major blockbuster movie. But for me I couldn't really get into it. And when I did get into it, the book was almost over.
It's well written and I love the narration and I can appreciate that the book is allegorical for the anti American dream and all that. But it didn't rock my world, the way it seems to have rocked the world of a lots of most people out there in AmazonWorld and GoodreadsWorld.
It doesn't go into my top ten but it doesn't go into my bottom ten either. I can appreciate the style of writing but that's as far as it goes for me. I loved Scott F Fitzgerald's collection of stories, The Popular Girl, but this one wasn't as enjoyable.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
One 5 year old boy (preferably with an an uncanny psychic ability.)
One alcoholic and slightly unhinged father.
A haunted house with lots of creepy corridors.
One dead lady in a bath tub.
A glass of wine of your choice.
Mix together all your ingredients until you create a vintage Stephen King novel that will give you lots of thrills and the inevitable crazy nightmares.
Drink the wine!
I have always been a big fan of Stephen King and have read quite a few of his books over the years but his old ones are the best if you ask me. I don't know how I have missed reading the Shining, but it's superb. Classic King. The movie was great. The book is greater.
Friday, 10 October 2014
Mum was told the police were dealing with something urgent, she didn't realise it was her daughter they were dealing with.
On January 21st 2008, Jessica Knight, a 14 year old schoolgirl, was stabbed twenty times and left for dead in a frenzied attack in Astley Park in Chorley, Lancashire. Found by a passing cyclist she was rushed to hospital and spent over three hours in theatre with medics desperately trying to save her life. Her mother reported her missing at 9pm only to be told that police were busy dealing with something urgent. Little did she know at the time that the urgent matter they were dealing with was her own daughter.
Jessica spent six weeks in a coma and woke up one day after a visit by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. As a result of the attack Jessica sustained stab wounds to her bowel, chest and neck, narrowly missing a vital artery. She also suffered a fractured eye socket and a stroke which affected the left side of her body. She was finally released from hospital in May 2008 after multiple operations and an intense period of rehabilitation.
In December 2008 Kristofer Beddar, an unemployed French national was given a life sentence for attempted murder. On the evening of the attack he drank half a bottle of whisky after being losing his job as a trainee baker at Tesco.
Jessica, now 21, is making a concerted effort to move on with her life and is thankful for the magnificent support she received from friends and family. One of her biggest supports was her Grandmother, Pat Walmsley who maintained a bedside vigil throughout the height of her ordeal.
Thankfully Jessica doesn't remember anything about that cold evening in 2008. But over the years she had to battle against the odds, a fight that that included severe nerve pain as well as increasing worries about her future. She also became frustrated at not being able to complete her GCSE's and often felt like she was a step behind her fellow pupils.
She feels that as a result of what happened she had to grown up quickly and now has a new perspective on life and how quickly it can be taken away from you in an instant of madness. The subject of knife crime is close to her heart and she is hoping to do whatever she and her family can to raise awareness. Although hearing about knife crime and watching it on television often brings memories flooding back.
Jessica is now determined to rebuild a life for herself and dreams of having a career in graphic design. She doesn't believe in looking backwards and as far as she is concerned the man who attacked her doesn't exist. He means nothing to her and that's how she is determined to live her life. Although she is not looking forward to the day when he is released.
Jessica also has some important advice for other victims of knife crime. She says that 'victims should not go through it alone'. And that, 'it is important that they talk to somebody that they trust, whether it's a friend or a member of the family who can help them through the darkest times.'
Jessica has certainly taken the road less travelled but hopefully now she is coming out on the other side.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
'I'm afraid they are not very good swimmers.'
My English teacher once told me that the secret to writing was to understand that all words dress differently and that to be able to use them properly you have to see what they are really wearing.
I don't know what I was waiting for but I think I was expecting the doctor to come out with words like hypogonadism or flagellum or oligozoospermia. The kinds of words that wear bullet proof vests and night vision goggles and carry M14 sniper rifles. But he used different words. Words that wore Bermuda shorts and Converse trainers.
Apparently my sperm are trying to win an egg and spoon race with a pair of chopsticks. Apparently my sperm are jumping out of aeroplanes with umbrellas instead of parachutes.
Throughout the consultation my wife sat next to me with a look on her face that I know well.
It is a little known known fact that cows have four parts to their stomach to enable them to digest grass. They are called the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum and the abomasum. Similarly my wife is the only woman in human history that has a secret place somewhere between her mouth and her brain, a place where she is able to store her words until absolutely necessary. Words that you would cross the road to avoid. Words that wear shoulder pads and helmets.
(C) Ally Atherton
Written for this week's Sunday Photo Fiction.
Please take a look and join in if you love writing.
As usual I'd really appreciate any comments or feedback.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Last night my wife was unborn.
And you can't bury the unborn just like you can't brush your teeth in your sleep no matter how many times you go to bed clutching your toothbrush. And I know there isn't a therapist in the world I can convince that my wife and my entire non existent family have disappeared into a hole in my bedroom wall.
Lyssa. The girl that arrived into my universe wearing a bomber jacket and a pair of monkey boots. The girl that once told me that success has eight legs and a hairy belly and that all you have to do is decide whether to be scared of it or to smash it over the head with a rolled up newspaper. I know she would have put up a fight if she hadn't been sleeping. I'll give the bastards that much. Either they were doing me a favour or they knew what was good for them. But they got her in the end like they got the rest of my family.
I'd swap places with Ebenezer Scrooge any day. What I would do to wake up every six months with The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come's decapitated head floating over my headboard. I'd settle for a poltergeist in training. I'd sleep with an incubus. Anything but Dark Entry Yard.
It appears on my bedroom wall every six months, in the middle of the night, whether I like it or not and I don't. I then have one minute to chose a blood relative and if I don't make my mind up quickly I lose them all. My whole family. So over the years I have had to draw up a list of every member of my family in order of preference depending on who I want to become unborn first.
Uncle Bill had the unfortunate honour of going first. Which was sadly ironic because the poor guy had never come first at anything in his whole life. But his name just popped into my head. Uncle Bill. A guy that had one foot in 1977 and the other in Ladbrokes. A guy of few words and even fewer redeeming qualities. He would have bet on the outcome of a full frontal lobotomy if somebody had let him. He was an easy pick but my choices would get more difficult.
My cousin Marlowe was next. I hadn't seen him since he was ten and I remembered him being all lugholes and teeth, but when they dragged him away he was a big pile of tattoos and triceps. He didn't go quietly and I can still hear him screaming now if I close my eyes. Most of them scream. The screaming kills me. And the screams drown out the sounds of the hooves and the teeth and the breaking flesh.
Then the hole closes for another six months.The hole in my bedroom wall that leads to Dark Entry Yard. A hole that Enid Blyton would have been proud of if she had been given a personality transplant. If she had ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed and decided to give the Secret Seven a suitcase full of AK-47 assault rifles.
(C) Ally Atherton
Written for the Light & Shade Challenge. Why not take a look and join in? They have reached their sixmonthanniversary and it's a great challenge for any writers.
As usual I'd appreciate any comments and feedback.
Saturday, 27 September 2014
'Open with care. Each packet contains one instant woman who will fall in love with you immediately. Guaranteed to satisfy all your Earthly needs. Just add 500 mls of water. Use by April 2014.'
MY HANDS were shaking as I tore open the packet and poured the contents into the jug.
So it was a few months out of date? What was the worst that could happen? A speech impediment? A limp? A penis?
I added the water and stirred. Nothing happened at first, then it started to fizzle and I detected a hint of vanilla in the air. Vanilla mixed with wild roses and bubblegum. I closed my eyes and inhaled the aroma and then there she was, sat on my kitchen counter in a pair of hot pants and a crop top.
'Howdy lover,' she said.
She was perfect. Two eyes, a nose and a mouth and everything else was where it should have been. And she was all mine. To satisfy all my needs forever.
But I really wished I had taken notice of the expiry date.
She smiled at me. Beautiful and thankfully Penisless. But I would have to wait, I had to get her through kindergarten first.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
I really wanted a Snickers but the love of my life was too much of an opportunity to miss, so I put the coin in the slot and pressed the button.
I don't know what I was expecting. I was on a deserted platform in the middle of the Scottish Highlands and hundreds of miles away from home. I turned towards the strange little vending machine and searched for the returned coins button and that's when I felt a small tug on my sleeve.
A girl of about 10 was stuck to me like a barnacle.
'Is it you?' she said.
'I beg your pardon.'
She seemed to be highly amused and excited about something.
'Which button did you press?' she said.
'That one,' I said, pointing at the love of my life button, 'But I have a feeling it's not you.'
'Of course not silly,' she said, 'because you're my new Dad.'
She pointed up at the new dad button and then at me. I hadn't seen that one and was sure it wasn't there when I looked the first time.
'I'm not your Dad.'
'Yes you are. I pressed the button and then you came.'
'Don't be ridiculous,' I said, 'I've been here all along. It's you that just appeared out of nowhere.'
'No. You're here because I pressed the new dad button.'
'And I asked for a lover, not a daughter.'
''It works every time,' she said.
'Where's your mum?' I asked.
'Haven't got one.'
'Then who are you with?'
'You,' she said.
She had Sarah's blonde hair. And the more I looked there were other similarities. Her stubby nose. Her pale features. And freckles. I was being ridiculous but the resemblance was uncanny.
'Why do you keep looking around?' she said.
'In case the love of my life makes an appearance.'
'You didn't ask for a lover,' said the girl.
'Yes I did. I want my money back.'
She laughed. A familiar laugh that took me back eight years.
'No you didn't. You pressed the Love of your life button.'
She had a point but it was screwing with my head. When Sarah died it wasn't just a wife I lost but our hopes and dreams for the future. And we hoped to have children.
I looked straight at the kid and I saw Sarah looking back at me.
'This is ridiculous,' I said.
She walked back over to the machine, placing another coin in the slot.
'Don't press that button,' I said.
I had seen that button from the beginning but hadn't had the nerve to press it. It was a word that filled me with dread and excitement in equal measures.
'No. Please don't press it. It's not right.'
She pressed it and we both held our breath. And waited.
(C) Ally Atherton
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction