Sunday, May 06, 2007

GBA(s)FC (Growth) Entry #12

My Short Story
by Stray

I poke my tongue into the hole. Wiggle it back and forward, back and forward as sweet salty metal floods my mouth. My jaw muscles ache with oral gymnastics. Just can’t. Quite. Get it out.

I need it to be today. Can’t wait til tomorrow or it will be too late. But it won’t come, here, now, cross legged on the floor mouthing god-songs midst a hundred others, shiny shoed and freshly freckled.

It was 50 pence last time. Three comics and a 5p mix. Sherbert stinging the fresh wound. A tingle so delicious that I bite my lip to bleeding every Sunday morning now. Parables of pain and suffering wetting my appetite for flesh and fizz.

I can feel it loosening. Can draw air through the gap, bubbling through the blood and whistling like a nearly-closed car window. The same one I blame the bruises on.

Sometimes it is good to be known as clumsy. Short and clumsy, me.

Playtime. I crunch confidently, recklessly, into the apple I swapped my crisps for. Juicy pink fluid is flowing down my chin, and I am forcing my bite deeper and deeper, willing the fruit to take hold, to take control. There is no relief. A single strand refuses to relinquish.

Grinning at myself in the grubby tarnished mirror over the miniature sink I lose patience. I taste pencil shavings and the fluffy insides of my pockets on my finger tips, grasping at the tiny target on my lower jaw.

I twist through 180 degrees. It burns and I don’t care. I twist it back, aware of time ticking, of bodies in the corridor, of skip-steps back to classrooms. I count myself down, eyes closed like on the diving board over the big pool. I know I am brave. Brave enough. Braver than them. Pull.

The pain is up and gone so quick I have already forgotten it. The red spat into the sink so loud against my silence that I don’t want to wash it away. With butter fingers I take the tiny prize from my palm and wrap it in cheap yellow tissue. Shove it deep down in my pocket.

The first hand on my back could almost be an accident, but I know. I know. The second is more targeted, perfectly placed between shoulder blades and I stifle a cough and quicken my pace. The third comes at the doorway to the classroom, disguised so adeptly that the teacher shoots me a look. Be More Careful she stares at me. I don’t care. Tomorrow this will be over.

I have made catapults and slingshots. I have thrown snowballs and punches. I have dreamed of superpowers, studied comic strips and I know what works and what doesn’t. I have a plan.

This morning, hard earned, the 50p presses sharply inside my fist. Falls heavy on to the chemist counter. I tiptoe to take the bag slid across the counter. Be Careful he says. But it’s them who should be careful.


Beth said...

I'm completely confused, but in some parts, I felt I understood exactly. Really enjoyed it in an unsettling way.

Ms Melancholy said...

Very dark. I like it.

Pallav said...

ahhh...I get the teeth pulling part, is there a tooth fairy involved?

i'm sorry, I hate it too when people don't get my stories.

Good Luck.


Joni said...

I got it and loved it!

He's using his teeth to finance his revenge.

Very original with very vivid imagery. Magnificent.

Beth said...

How did you all find your way here and yet not to any others?

I'm glad for the comments. I understood about getting money for the tooth, but it was the revenge part, I guess ... at the chemist. And the slaps on the back.

I didn't mean what I said as criticism. I did enjoy it and I did and do find it unsettling.

Ms Melancholy said...

How did you all find your way here and yet not to any others?

Well, I found my way here by scrolling through and reading all the entries, some of which I commented on. I'm wondering quite what you mean by this comment?

S. Kearney said...

This stirred something. Very graphic and realistic, and the choice of words was gripping.

Beth said...

I actually have come back to read this story, then reread it. It's one I still think about and that's why I voted for it.

Anonymous said...

Very deep characterization. That really held me. Very well written.

Anonymous said...

This was lovely. I loved not knowing what exactly was happening for a while there but was pulled along beautifully but the rhythm, the energy in the words, the phrases, the pulse of this.

Very, very nice work.

briliantdonkey said...

Even though I wasn't 'getting it' the first read through I was still interested and entertained. Once I did I realized this was very VERY good. Nice work.


Rick said...

... it's them who should be careful.

Words to live by! Nice story!

briliantdonkey said...

Congratulations on the win! It wasn't my top choice, but definitely got one of my votes. VERY well done.


Stray said...

thank you for saying helpful things!

I am all overwhelmed because I am brand new to writing fiction, but very glad I dipped my toe in the water - and sooooo glad you all were prepared to think enough to 'get it' because I know it required a little jump in places!

Thank you!


The Moon Topples said...

The Jury says...

"Utter joy. I loved the rhythm of this piece, the pulls, the energy in the words, the playfulness. Each time I read this, I enjoyed a new line, a new phrase, a new idea."

Beth said...

The jury summed it up PERFECTLY. Stray, it was SO good. I've read it over and over. I do believe you have a gift, a natural gift. Congratulations on your win!

Dale said...

This is superb.

purplefiona said...

Ow! I scared! what on earth was he/she buying with 50p! Watch out world. Fabulous description. You know, it reminds me of Roald Dahl's first long piece of writing "A Piece of Cake".
I used to love it when my teeth were coming out. Fun!