September 8, 2014
A #200v200 story for the Pixies song ‘Gigantic’
You know, a lot of people are talkin’ shit about you? Doubtin’ you. Yeah, they’re looking at you, sizin’ you up and they’re sayin’ you won’t make it in this game. They’re callin’ up their friends, tellin’ anyone who’ll listen that you’re not gonna cut it. They don’t think you’ve any business bein’ out there. They say you’re weak. They say you can’t be trusted – that you’ve lost your nerve. They’re laughin’ at you. You’re a fucking laughing stock.
Well? Are they right? Are you a joke? Are you weak? No. Sorry? What was that? No! Oh, sorry was that some… flea or a tiny little mouse I heard speaking there? Is there a talking mouse in the room? NO! That’s better. You’re the best there’s ever been. There’s no-one better than you. You’re a colossus. You’re fucking gigantic. Am I right? Yeah! Who’s better than you? No-one’s better than me! What are you?! I’m a colossus! Say it like you mean it! I’m fucking GIGANTIC! Now grab your fucking lollypop and let’s prove those assholes wrong! YEAH! Let’s get out there and help those fucking kids get across that fucking road without getting hit by any fucking cars. ARRRRRGHGGHG!!
September 8, 2014
Another #200v200 submission.
Cousin Eoin is the gold standard. To whom everyone and everything within my family is held up. Especially me. I’ve never met Eoin. He’s my second or third cousin who lives on the other (better) side of town. I’ve never seen a photo of him or spoken to him on the phone. He “doesn’t bother with Facebook or any of that nonsense”. There is a remote but very real possibility that Eoin doesn’t actually exist. He may just be a figment of my mother’s imagination. The son she always wanted. A lady-charming, go-getting, money-earning, child-siring, birthday-remembering, celebrity-knowing stick she dreamt up one day to beat me with.
I went to visit her the other day. I had to take two buses to get there (not that this effort would be acknowledged). I found her standing in the front room, just staring out the window. I asked if she wanted tea. She didn’t reply. She didn’t even turn to look at me. I found the newspaper in the kitchen. South Dublin Man Jailed For Child Sex Offences. So now we know two things for sure. One; Eoin does indeed exist. And two; I’m looking pretty fucking awesome all of a sudden.
July 15, 2014
This week’s entry for #200v200 is for the title ‘Hurricane’.
It was official now. The TV news had announced that the hurricane was the most devastating storm to hit the coast ever. Not that any TVs in the town still worked. The electricity masts were obliterated early on in the onslaught. But they didn’t need TVs. The world’s press had converged on their doorstep. Reporters and journalists could tell them personally how badly fucked up their town was.
At first it was kind of funny. The storm being given her name was a little thrilling. She was a local celebrity in the days leading up. Down at the shops, as they stocked up on supplies, her neighbours and friends would crack jokes and comically shake their fists.
“What are you doing to us, Hurrricane Wendy!? You’ll be the death of us all,” they’d yell at her with playful grins. But then, eventually, the storm arrived. And it was worse than expected – much, much worse. The humour and good nature was soon washed away.
Down at the shelter, where several dozen families pieced together their shattered lives, where the 82 dead were mourned. Wendy was starting to feel uncomfortable. She could feel people looking at her – muttering and shaking their heads.
July 7, 2014
This week’s #200v200 title is borrowed from the Blockheads track ‘Poor Joey’.
“What did you call me?” He wasn’t angry. He was hurt. Gavin scrabbled around internally for an explanation that he could feasibly sell. But if such an explanation did indeed exist, the time to pitch it had passed.
Joey McCann was, in socio-economic terms anyway, just like everyone else. Middle-class. Professional parents. Two cars. Joey Quigley however, with his DIY haircut, knock-off trainers and vague look of undernourishment, stuck out from the beginning. No-one could remember who said it first, but ‘Poor Joey’ was simple, succinct and funny (in that edgy way that appeals to teenage boys).
Joey Quigley wasn’t unpopular. In fact, everyone seemed to like him. Of course, he knew that his classmates were better off than he was – that much was obvious – but he had always felt that they didn’t care, that they liked him for who he was, not for how much his father earned.
In five years, no-one had ever slipped up, forgotten themselves and said it to his face. Until now. Gavin would have given anything to take that moment back. But words, once uttered, can’t be unsaid.
June 27, 2014
Latest installment of the 200v200 series. This week’s title comes from a Buzzcocks album on my iTunes. It’s ‘NO REPLY’.
It was six months to the day since he had sent the letter. The longest Reggie had ever taken to reply was three weeks. And that was because of a local postal strike. There was definitely something up.
The boat was hellish. Steerage was all Will could possibly afford. Three weeks of damp, dark discomfort. And worry – three horrible weeks of sickening worry. What horror had befallen Reggie? Three weeks of terrible possibilities.
The bumpiest of bumpy prop-planes, the dodgiest of dodgy taxi drivers and the smelliest of smelly mules later – finally Will stood before the decaying mountainside shack. He knocked. No answer. He pushed lightly on the door and it creaked open, showering the hovel in sunlight. An old man sat slumped over an ancient looking chessboard.
“Are you… Reggie?” Will croaked. The old man looked up and squinted.
“I am. Who are you?”
“William. What the fuck is taking you so long? I was worried.”
“Keen, aren’t ya?” Reggie smirked. “Well, your timing is impeccable. Knight to Queen four.” He creakily moved the piece.
“Now, was that so hard? Let’s try and keep the pace up a bit, OK?”
Will shook his head and headed home.
June 16, 2014
I was away on my holidays last week and so missed a week of #200v200. So here’s week four’s attempt. The title was ‘Porno’.
‘Disgusting,’ she kept repeating. She paced back and forth brandishing the magazine in her fist, seemingly reaching for another adjective but always simply settling for a new adverb instead. ‘Utterly disgusting!’
‘Completely disgusting.’ He felt he should join in, show support for his wife. ‘I mean these things are… degrading…?’ He glanced over as if to confirm whether this was the correct word. He got the nod. ‘Completely and utterly degrading to women. You do know that, don’t you?’ The little crimson-faced boy nodded, slumped on the edge of his bed.
‘Yes, Dad. Sorry, Dad.’
‘It’s your mother you need to be apologising to. And… all the other women in the world. Isn’t that right, love?’
‘Sorry, Mum. Sorry… all the women in the world.’
‘Disgusting,’ he tutted, flicking through, making a big show of acting like the pages were made of physically tangible filth. ‘Would burning it be too much? Should we burn it, love?’
‘Eh, you can burn it… if you like, love.’
‘Right!’ He proclaimed, marching out.
The little boy looked up at his mother. She offered a conciliatory smile as she kneeled down and produced a fiver.
‘I’m so sorry. Thank you. Mummy really appreciated that.’
June 1, 2014
For this week (week 3), the #200v200 title was ‘Flawless’. Below is my attempt…
Flair. Scissor. Circle. Effortlessly out of the Kehrswing. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m going to have to give him a ten. I really think this is ten material. Him and the horse. The horse and him. They’re one. There’s no doubt about it. We’re in ten country here. Not on the border. Slap bang in the middle of ten country.
Nine point four. That’s the highest I’ve ever given. I saw a guy give a ten once, but that routine was nothing compared to this. Oh my goodness. Look at that Wendeswing! I have to give this guy a ten.
That judge who gave that ten. He was a laughing stock after that. No one took him seriously. You can’t give just out tens. We might as well pack up and go home if we’re just doling out the tens. But this is a ten. Isn’t it? I mean, if it isn’t I don’t know what is.
Please fuck up. Please don’t make me give you a ten. I can’t. Oh, fuck! Perfect dismount. They’re looking at you. Do something. You have to do something.It was flawless. But I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t.
May 20, 2014
It’s week two of #200v200. The title is ‘Bird Mad Girl’. Below is my submission…
If she had been sober, I don’t think she would have been able to do it. If she had all of her mental and physical facilities working to their full, uninhibited capacity, I don’t think she would have made it that far. Yet somehow, blind drunk, barely able to stand, she snuck past security and then scaled the eight foot high fence, without killing herself.
Karen liked birds, sure. She certainly didn’t dislike them. But I don’t think she ever really thought that much about them. Why on earth had she ended up here?
The gates were already open by the time Karen was first spotted by a keeper. It was a Summer Saturday so the zoo was already pretty full.
“Hey! Hey! You! Get out of there!” the keeper screamed. Karen lay dazed in the centre of the main aviary, caked in mud and lined with discarded plumage from above. She looked like she’d been tarred and feathered. “What are you doing in there?!”
“I’m mad for the birds, so I am,” she slurred. “I’m… bird mad, me.” Bird Mad Girl, the internet quickly dubbed her. Bird Mad Girl, she would forever be known as from here on in.
May 12, 2014
Starting this week and hopefully every week from now on, myself and @Kneelsea are randomly picking a title and challenging ourselves to simply write 200 words on that title. We’re calling it #200v200. It’s just a little exercise to keep ourselves writing. This week’s title is ‘Accidents and Compliments’ (a Soulwax track taken from a random iPod library flick). Below is my entry. 200 words on the button. Feel free to join in!
Jenny absolutely hated when she got put on shift with Gerry.
“He’s harmless,” she would begin every rant with. “But, oh God, he’s just so annoying.” Every one of Jenny’s friends knew about Gerry. Frankly, they were getting tired of hearing about him. Every conversation would invariably drift back to Gerry; how so infuriatingly nice he was, how uncomfortable he makes her feel, the way he always just… watches her drive.
“Nothing,” he replies. “You’re such an excellent driver. It’s just a pleasure to watch you work. So commanding, yet so unassuming. That’s a tough balance to strike.” But it wasn’t just her driving he admired. He loved how she dressed. “Most people can’t pull off green. But you… you look great in it. It’s definitely your colour. Although I’d imagine every colour is your colour.” He loved how she treated her patients. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a neater bandage. I don’t know how you do it. And with himself swearing and cursing at you? Amazing. You’re a marvel.”
Jenny had been waiting three months for her transfer to come through and, although Gerry had often complimented her on her patience, it was starting to wear thin.