I was lying on my back - hands tucked neatly behind my head - and staring at the ceiling, where the Visigoths who had decorated the hotel room had utterly neglected to place a slow-moving fan.
Sometimes, a protagonist just can't get an even break.
I mean, I could feel it in my bones. I was about to be summoned on an adventure that would utterly and irrevocably alter my view of the world and some curtain-obsessed motherfucker had robbed my inner Coppola of a suitable opening frame.
Sure, there were nice curtains in the room. Very nice curtains indeed. In fact, they were some of the most beautiful motherfucking curtains I'd ever seen in my life. To wipe one's dick on those particular curtains would be an act of eroticism unto itself.
Not that I make a habit of such revolting and inelegant behaviour, but I'm trying to establish a tone here. I'm trying to impress upon you that I, your narrator, am a bad-ass, take-no-prisoners type who knows more than his fair share of Anglo-Saxon curses and has no problem using them - quim, for example - provided there are no children or easily offended members of the Religious Right present.
This is one of the reasons why I am not going to describe the curtains to you. That and they have absolutely no bearing on what was to happen to me. They have simply been mentioned to add colour to the opening passages. Blue, as it happens, but that's all you're getting.
Okay, there may have been some embroidered edging.
My name is Jonas McCloud, which I think is a fine, fine name for a narrator to bear. It speaks of family history, of cultural upbringing, of class. And Jonas, well, Jonas is a name that both inspires the requisite amount of respect from librarians and city council planners and is easily shouted in moments of passion.
'Oh, Jonas!' you might begin, 'Harder, harder, you outwardly gruff but inwardly decent stud you!'
It's perfect, isn't it? It also contains, in its second syllable, the possibility that despite my leading man cheekbones, I was teased mercilessly as a child. With youth's natural predilection for discovering rhymes, it is a wonder that the world is not overrun by poets.
The hotel room's telephone rang with an insistent buzz that no doubt engenders in you, the reader, as much narrative relief now as it did confusion and apprehension for me then.
No one knew I was there.
I had recently liberated myself from a rather tricky situation involving four Puerto Rican 'ladies of the evening', an Israeli agent named Goff and the original manuscript for Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar and I was dog-tired.
Oh, I didn't mention the dog, did I?
During the course of my previous adventure, I had been molested by a large over-sexed bloodhound and it had left emotional scars that I was conveniently hiding behind my macho fašade, yet which were sure to make lasting relationships difficult. I find it difficult to talk about, but surprisingly easy to type.
All and all, I wasn't looking forward to the conversation I knew I was about to have.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Head By Marc Heeley
The words that break free from a head, that's trapped inside a box on top of a wardrobe.
Feeling the words, the ones that fall on the skin, breathing down your neck and asking to be seen.
Odourless saliva soaked speech, without colour also. You know it's there.
The head no longer wants the words, they've been ejected.
The head now makes no sound, the words clatter against
Fiction - The Prodigal Son By Joe Hakim
stuck in my room again/ looking up at the blinds/ gaffa-taped shut, keep out the light/ single beam escapes through a gap/ one piece of light concentrating on the wall/ imagine it to be hot like a laser/ imagine the smoke rising up like a spirit/ but it's not there, not there at all/ it's only in my head/ only in my head
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Surfers on the Sofa By Gemma Durham
How hot is Hull? With it's seductive, cosmopolitan avenues, the chip spice, the late
taxi's always on the way. Ask someone from down south to sit on your sofa and you'd
think they would have a date in the ocean with a surfer.
Awards for the friendliest university, and a special up and coming indie rock scene that has hottened hull to the top.
Learning to speak Hull has
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Walking Into Doors By Nick Boldock
She squinted into the mirror and looked at the bruise around her eye. Already it was turning a sickening shade of purple. It throbbed when she prodded away at it. The thick laceration in her bottom lip was stinging as well, as she dabbed at it with a wedge of TCP-soaked cotton wool. She knew she ought to be more careful. Less clumsy, less thoughtless.
He'd say he was sorry,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Graveyard Shift By Rich Mills
The taxi office is beige with nicotine and age.
Battling with the Sandman, my weapons of choice, cigarettes and coffee, dispensed from the
whirring-gurgling coffee machine. Of things I've done for money this is the lowest.
Six calls all night, only TV to numb the brain. Cups, and corners filled with cigarette butts.
I wait for the dawn.
Then my replacement comes on,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Big Slaughter By Kate Askin
As Big Slaughter housemate 'Little Wee' Jim gave a final tug on the
garrotte round the neck of the only other remaining contestant, he knew he had won...he knew...
He knew by the sound of that last gurgle...It came from the throat of six-feet-six
Thai hermaphrodite Om Lui (whose height was enhanced by foot-long calf extensions, no less).
He knew, by the last desperate,
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Debit Column By Patrick Henry
Raymond, abrasively-witty, biography-reviewing journalist, worked during endless pub-going; volumes under arm; notes mental or
beer-mat-jottings; from Five AM. around Smithfield Market, through mid-day Fleet Street, Soho; to evening Chelsea, exhausting his trail home.
Early hours meant snatched sleep and eating; columns grittily-written: cold turkey! Five A.M. his taxi
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The 1st One Hundred Words Are The Hardest By Rich Mills
He'd started that first sentence many times, deleting it and starting over again.
The cursor blinked in the corner of the screen, taunting him, daring him to write something.
He stared at, became hypnotized by it. Time ticked by, blink, blink, blink.
His mind was just blank, blank, blank.
Then in a sudden rush to fill the white expanse with black he started banging away at
Fiction - End Of The Line By Nick Quantrill
This is how it happened...
I was driving down Lowgate. There's got to be a better way than this, I thought to myself. But then I saw her, clinging to a lamppost, holding her hand out as her friend tried to stop her from falling over. I indicated and pulled over; she would do nicely. Her friend bundled her into my car.
No respect for anything, least of all herself, I thought
Fiction - Another Brick In The Wall, Another Man In The Crowd By Steve Rudd
'It doesn't look any different on this side,' the disembodied voice yelled over the void.
'I never said that it would look any different. But I bet it feels different,' ventured an old man's voice on the Eastern side of the wall.
'Not really,' the disembodied voice declared. 'At least not from where I'm standing.'
To some people, the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall signified freedom
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 2 By Frank Beill
It was too late in the day to visit Tweed Street school - the children and their teachers would be long gone by now. This left only the address I'd been given for George. Hessle Road was not a long walk from Princes Avenue but a tram ride was quicker or to be precise two tram rides were: one into the city centre and one back out again to get me to my destination.
All the old reactions
Fiction - The Service By Joe Hakim
I'm a professional. I get the job done.
It's already getting dark as I arrive at the station. I make my way past the perimeter fence and park my car in the shelter. So begins the process of shedding everything that makes me who I am, in order to become somebody else.
You can never tell what kind of night it's going to be, so even now after all this time the anticipatory adrenalin
Fiction - The Emporium of Illusions By Andy Bilton
I cannot decide which foam bath to put in to the tub. Mood, I feel, is an important player in a first date situation and I do not want to fold at the first hand by getting in to the wrong one before tonight's encounter.
So do I pour in some of the Marks & Spencers 'Tranquility' that has an unnerving resemblance to Rowntree's Lime Jelly and 'treat myself to an indulgent bathing
Fiction - The Horrible Death of Tony Clare: Retribution and Revolt By Sean Davey
Tony Clare, British Premier, bringer of war, pestilence, famine and social impotence, died today. Killed by an unknown man. A man driven not by his hatred for the Prime Minister, but by his own need to right the wrongs that Tony Clare's society was responsible for.
A society which neglected its own people, raped the land, taxed the workers and killed the innocent.
Fiction - Dig Your Own Hole By Joe Hakim
Things were going well. We were on schedule and under budget, Chris Chambers, so my boss was chuffed to bits. "It's going to be a good year," he said slapping me on the back, a huge shit-eating grin plastered across his face. As he looked around the building site, he tipped back his hard-hat and his chest expanded like a proud father watching at his children running around.
Fiction - Load the Cards By Sean Davey
Loading up the cards and I start thinking. I think about casino's, and all that is.
Imagine a building dear reader, where degenerate, and often eccentric behaviour is not only the norm. its positively encouraged. Heavy drinking and gambling is as much a part of the punters mind as work, or going for a meal. Its just what they do to get their kicks.