Fiction: The Bathroom Floor

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Fiction: The Bathroom Floor

Eva got off the bus and waved to Ally and Kyle as it sped away. It had been a weird morning. A session of English and a session of Psychology, followed by coming out to two friends in the front seat of a 168. Eva had only known them for a few months. The confession sat weirdly in the pit of her stomach, but Kyle was gay and Ally bisexual, so it’s not like she was the only queer on the bus.

Eva trekked up the hill towards her house and let herself in. Her phone buzzed.

So are you seeing anyone at the moment? – Ally

Eva blinked at the screen and put it back in her pocket, then washed the dishes left on the side from breakfast. She plodded up the stairs, put her bag in her room and walked into the bathroom and locked the door.

She took her phone out of her pocket, bit her tongue and wrote:

No. I’m not dating anyone.

Eva lay down on the floor next to the bathtub and traced the outline of the wooden panelling. Her phone buzzed again. She counted to ten.

I was, uh, wondering if you might like to go out with me? – Ally

Eva plopped her phone down in the middle of her chest and stared at the ceiling.

She was 17. She’d been kissed once during a game of spin the bottle, but no-one had ever paid her any real attention before. The ceiling was white, but had a couple of marks where her sister had swatted a moth, but wasn’t tall enough to clean up the mess.

Ally was nice. And she was cute. Eva was attracted to her, but as she lay on the bathroom floor she realised that her whole body felt numb.

Finally, Eva took a long, tight breath. Then shot back:

Yeah! Okay 🙂

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Poem: Penny For Your Thoughts?

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Poem: Penny For Your Thoughts?

I remember the day,
Not the exact date,
But the moment
When the penny finally dropped.

It was another lazy afternoon,
Just me and you,
Walking for hours, talking for miles.

And then you said,
“I like these random conversations,”
And paused, still in motion,
As the tiny metallic object fell
And rolled around your skull.

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Poem: Astrophile

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Poem: Astrophile

Alone, Artemis stood by the road,
Lingering in the caress of exhaust fumes.

It was a night fletched with leaves of amber and honey
That danced in the spotlights of street lamps,
Cut off from Orion by mist.

She watched a dog
Attempting to rest its hind-quarters on the cold tarmac.
It stared into the fluorescent lights of the take-away,
Waiting for its master to return,
Tail between legs; a quivering loyalty.

She didn’t shoot the dog.

 

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Tip Tuesday: How to be Smooth as Fudge

smooth as fudge
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How to be Smooth as Fudge

(Flirting tips for awkward folks.)

Up until fairly recently, I was completely incapable of flirting. When I was 19, I signaled to a person that I liked them by pufferfish kissing them, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs style. Then, just in case they didn’t get the message, the next time I saw them I kissed them on the lips and before running off to catch my bus. Fortunately, they found it cute, but in hindsight, if they hadn’t felt the same way, that would have been the creepiest thing I have ever done. However, since then I like to think I’ve got a handle on things. I’m still mahoosively awkward sometimes, but I’ve developed techniques to help keep me smooth as fudge, bae.

1.

I’m so awkward, I don’t even know how to flirt! How would you let someone know that you like them?

smooth as fudge

Address the above to the person that you like. Then not so subtly do what they suggest. If they’re as awkward as you, and so don’t flirt either, look up tips online, and act these out. The beauty of this is, that if they start to get uncomfortable, you can laugh it off as “practicing”, apologise, and then distract them with a question about what they’ve been watching/reading lately.

2.

Are you multiple sea creatures with tentacles, cuz girl, you octopi my thoughts.

smooth as fudge

Go ahead and learn some crazy pick-up lines, the weirder the better. You want them to be so strange, that no-one in their right mind will think you’re using them unironically. That way, whether the person likes you or not, you’ll get a laugh. Laughter is infectious, so even if you don’t get the girl/boy/other, you’ll feel better, and you’ll gain a reputation as a bit of a comedian. Who doesn’t want that?

3.

Hey the weather is nice today, by the way I like you, don’t you think that cloud looks like a lion?

smooth as fudge

Honestly, the best way of finding out if someone likes you, is to tell them how you feel. But of course, this can be terrifying. The trick is to keep it casual, to remind yourself that it’s really no big deal. My favourite way of doing this is to sandwich the words into an ordinary sentence (see above). It makes it seem like you’re just dropping a random fact into conversation. And when they inevitably respond with, “What did you say?!” you can say it again. It’s always easier the second time, because the words are already out there. Stay calm, and ask how they feel. If they feel the same, well then it’s time to get excited! And if they don’t, tell them it’s okay. Because it is okay. Sometimes people won’t like you back, but there will always be someone else.

Lines and techniques aside, however, the main reason I’m able to talk to people now, is because I’ve learnt how to be comfortable with who I am. I’ve learnt that being a nerd is amazing, that needing to be alone is perfectly fine, and that you can get away with doing all kinds of weird stuff (meowing, putting glitter on your flatmate’s nose, lying under the coffee table to think etc. etc.) in the right context. All you have to do is be brave, and remember that, love is not everything in life.

Mort out. xx

smooth as fudge

Coming Up: March 23rd-29th

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Coming up

Story Time: Moving Day

Moving Day, E.M. Harding
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Moving Day

Franco was a perfect male specimen. He was tall, but not too tall, had broad powerful shoulders, and sported a surprisingly elegant neck for a gent. Despite this, he didn’t make his sexual debut until the age of 8. His mother informed him that, back in the homeland, most men his age already had children. Franco just scoffed. It wasn’t his fault. The other chaps were always getting in the way, and he wasn’t very good at necking. Then Kanna arrived. She was sweet, and nice enough to slip behind the acacias, where no-one could see them. He wasn’t going to waste such an opportunity. The lady made his heart feel three-feet big.

“A creature of habit.” That’s what the help called him. But so what? So what if he enjoyed the little things in life; taking long walks, freshly prepared meals, and his newly scheduled romps before bath time? Franco was living the good life, and he knew it. Some of the others hated living behind fences, and being herded into their little wooden huts at night. His mother – who remembered the homeland well – strongly advocated the benefits of sleeping under the stars, but Franco liked the warmth of his hut and the soft floor. The bathroom facilities did leave something to be desired; he often had to spend a night with a room full of his own “offerings”, but they were always gone by the next evening. The help were very good that way. Honestly though, he could find no real reason to complain to the manager. He had warmth, he had food, and he had Kanna. What more could a man ask for?

Franco had 11 years of complete serenity, before the evening when everything changed. It began in the most bizarre of ways. A short, sharp pain in his bottom, that’s all. It wasn’t too bad. The pain dulled quite quickly, and for a while he felt fine. He continued to munch his supper. Gradually, however, everything started to get a bit blurry. Everything felt heavy too, even the air. Franco felt like his lungs were heaving in mud. It was rather disquieting, and he did in fact feel like he should be panicking. He just couldn’t. He wondered whether there was something wrong with the central heating, and went to call the manager. It was then he found that he had too many legs. There were too many legs, far too many. What kind of animal had four whole legs? Franco took a tumble and narrowly avoided bashing his skull against the wall. He tried to pick himself up off the floor, but found it was useless, and for some peculiar reason he didn’t really care. He let out a sigh of utter contentment and slipped into unconsciousness.

Waking up was not quite so fun. After all, he didn’t remember being blind before. And he was sure he used to be able to feel things. Didn’t he remember the pain of falling, of his knees buckling one after the other? For a moment he pondered whether or not he might be dead, then quickly came to his senses because you didn’t wake up dead, and he definitely remembered falling asleep. Besides, Kanna wanted to try behind the juicy looking sycamore next, and there was no way he was dying before he’d done that. He decided to try moving his legs about a bit. He heard something go bang, so it must have worked, but then why couldn’t he feel or see? Just breath, he told himself. Don’t panic!

He lay there for what felt like a month, but he couldn’t be sure. If he had been able to see a clock, he would have known it was only 30 minutes. The numbness began to wear off. A heavy weight eased away from his torso and Franco thrashed his legs around further. He could sense a presence in the room with him, several even, and it wasn’t very nice. Polite people announced themselves, introduced themselves. Even the help had names. No-one spoke to him now, and no-one tried to help him up.

There was something wrapped up in his legs too, some strange vine that burnt his skin when he wriggled. He tripped up onto his feet and his head nearly hit the floor with the effort. A vine around his neck choked him as it forced him up straight, and then all of the vines began to pull and tug and pinch, forcing him to move. There was yelling. Shouts of help speak, “This way!” “Watch yourself!” “Mind his head!” None of it was directed at him. They seemed to be shoving him into what he was sure should have been the wall of his home, but instead of slamming into wood, he stumbled up onto a cold echoing floor and something icy brushed against his side. He shuddered and his leg twitched out. Someone screeched. “Did he hit you?!” “No, I’m fine!” “Don’t scare me like that!” There was one final heave on the vines and Franco lurched forward. He jumped at the loud metallic bang that came from behind him.

It was all very odd, and very strange, but Franco still felt drowsy. He wanted to take another nap, but a sudden surge of motion put all thoughts of sleep out of his mind. He was standing still, but he could feel the wind rushing past his ears.

“Okay, what in the Savannah’s name is going on?” he coughed.

But no-one answered, because no-one spoke giraffe.

Moving Day, EM Harding

Project Summer: Writing and Romance

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I’ve managed to cut through another four chapters this week. I know that’s not much, but I’ve been genuinely busy rather than procrastinating. I’m not finding it too difficult, but about a chapter in I stop just loosely editing and start tweaking tiny things, pulling threads that I don’t need to yet, and praying silently the whole thing doesn’t just unravel.

I am having slight trouble with the pacing, particularly in regards to the small little romance bit that goes on between bloody murders. Back in my teen days, I read an awful lot of trash literature where, from the moment you read the blurb, you knew X and Y were going to be madly in love by the end of 250 pages. They’d start off with some fleeting looks, casual flirting, a lingering hug and then one of them would get a little drunk or a little sad or a little brave and come out with a grand confession of undying affection. It always struck me as just plain weird. After all, in real life nobody keeps the perfect speech up their sleeve. Instead, we launch ourselves at each other, send a quick text or just kind of fall together. We are gangly, awkward ape things that just can’t quite figure out how to do anything better than slam and “I love you” together.

So what kind of pacing should romance have? Obviously in real life, it just happens. One moment you’re two separate individuals, the next you’re together. Personally, dating seems to become a thing of the past. When you ask someone out these days it’s either for a quickie or a committment and books seem much the same. Of course my shelf of trash is still full of long drawn out romances, but as soon as that couple dates they are “going to be together forever.” It’s absurd!

I’ve always been a realist when it comes to relationships, both fictional and otherwise. People get bored, they move on, things go wrong. I’ve formed the opinion that the most romantic kind of love, from the outside, appears to be unbearably awkward, but from the inside, it just feels safe. It doesn’t matter how it came to start, whether it was pufferfish kisses or texts filled with the words “nim nim nim,” it matters that no matter how much of a monkey you make out of yourself, the other person will just shrug, hug and then make “Oo-ah-ahs” right back at you.

So this is what I’ve been trying to do for Carson, who is even less of a romantic than me (most of the time I’m surprised he’s not yelling about contracting “cooties.”) As I read through, I keep trying to tweak the relationship between him and his love interest so that when the get together it will make more sense. I keep forgetting that golden rule; love does not make sense. Especially to a man who gets more excited over the morning news and cereal than going out for diner with a beautiful woman. I think it’s time I left the long-winded drum-rolls to those that know what it’s like to be so taken with a man’s beauty that they’re “unable to breathe.” I’m quite happy with my natural in and out of oxygen. Who’s with me?