Friday, 7 March 2014

Dark Fiction - Viewpoint

Viewpoint

By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash 

(Something a bit different this week. Read only the bold text, ignoring the italics, then when you get to the end, start again at the beginning and read through it again, but only reading the italics the second time.)

Mike watched the tip of the hoodie as it crested above the pot noodle stand. His heart lumped a couple of times as it missed a few beats. Not another one he thought. Jason browsed the garishly coloured snacks on the shelves, shaking his head at the additives and sugar each contained. If his body was a temple, he certainly wasn’t going to be filling it with prostitutes. He edged along the counter to the panic button. At a snails pace, he pushed his hand below the lip of the surface, his finger trembling as it just touched the garish red plastic. He paused his aisle roaming and smiled. It didn’t sound right but he could use that for his art project. He ran a finger along the bottles, their shiny plastic reflecting the lights into tiny UFO trails. He looked out through the building length window. The only other inhabitant of the petrol station was an elderly man struggling to get the petrol cap off his ageing Rover. He would be next to worthless if anything kicked off. Damn it. It was always the way. He shivered and wrapped his grey jacket around him more tightly. He was glad it had a hood, this chill or bug or whatever it might be was really getting to him. He caught a sight of the attendant through the cans of Pringles. Six times the place had been turned over this year and it always happened when it was dead. Well, Mike thought, no doubt the little shits keep watch and choose their moment. He was looking through the window with a far away glaze to his eyes. Jason thanked his lucky stars that he didn’t have to work a job like that. He knew he would probably start hacking into his wrists with that razor again. Thankfully, that was a long time ago. He wouldn’t get like that again. Mike glanced back to ascertain where the roaming youth was now and jolted as he found himself looking into the depths of the hood. The boy’s mouth was drawn in an ugly grimace, the edges drawing up into his cheeks in a way that made Mike think of the Batman villain Joker. He decided to give up his hunt for something to eat and just pick up a packet of cigarettes instead. He moved to the counter and waited, the attendant still miles away. Jason wondered whether to cough. His phone vibrated in his pocket. He frowned, knowing it would be Teresa. She never got the hint. He placed one hand on the counter and pushed his other into his pocket. The boy stood on the other side of the counter, one hand upon the counter, the other hidden in his left hoodie pocket. Mike’s eyes stared at the covered hand, watching for any tell-tale sign of a sharp edge. The boy spoke. Adrenaline shot through Mike’s veins, a slight convulsion rippling through his organs and setting him trembling. He pushed the button. The attendant turned. Mike asked for a packet of Marlboro. The attendant flinched, and the world got a whole lot louder.

THE END


18 comments:

  1. I really like the concept of this. I just wonder if there could have been more resonances shared by the two texts (the same word etc) just because when you read the boy's narrative, you're trying to recall which point in the man's narrative this parallels in time because even though the reader is enjoined to read each one separate from the other, as you're reading the boy's, the eyes are flicking up to the man's above just to pinpoint & co-ordinate them? Still, I really enjoyed this

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    1. Thanks and yes there could have been a better conjoining between the two narratives. It does go against what the eye wants to do somewhat:).

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  2. I enjoyed reading this, for me it actually made reading fun! I detest reading unless I really have to... but your short quirky stories I find a joy. I am actually looking forward to reading...ha a first! I loved the clever way you set this out, it helped to keep my interest.... the plot was good, full of detail and flowed real easy too. Another GREAT story... waiting for more!! Look what you have done!! :)

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    1. Thank you Jacquie, I'm glad you enjoy what you see :).

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  3. A great idea and a narrative which reminds me of my 2 years service of working nights at a BP petrol station

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    1. Oh I didn't know you did that. I hope yours wasn't robbed or anything while you were there?

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  4. It's such a shame that Mike is so suspicious but I suppose it's understandable. Hopefully they'll be able to clear things up! I loved the line "If his body was a temple, he certainly wasn’t going to be filling it with prostitutes" too - masterful!

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    1. Thanks Icy. I find if I am lost for a quip or light hearted line, gutter humour usually helps :).

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  5. This is a very interesting experiment, Casey, and could be a promising early draft. Right now the bold part is hard to follow as there's clearly basic narrative in-between its paragraphs that we don't know about. I also couldn't miss the acronym "UFO" being so close to the start of the third bold part, though that colored the rest of the reading in a fun way that you might have wanted. With everything in one big text lump, you're goading us to glimpse what we're not supposed to.

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    1. Yes agree with the thing being awkward to read but then most people read so mindlessly I could say that it was a wanky way of adding tension to the story lol. That hadn't occurred to me though so I can't claim that. I just thought it was an experiment worth doing :).

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  6. Quite an interesting way to present a story. The contrast worked well. Nice one!

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    1. Thanks Clara. As others have said, it's a mixed bag when it comes to reading it but just something I wanted to do :).

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  7. Nice! I liked the pov from both the characters, I guess the moral here is you can't tell a book by its cover, and how one experience in life can lead you to cast everyone in the same colour. Nice tension and nice build up in both pieces.

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    1. Thanks Helen. I thought I might have skimped on the story a bit just to get the format how i wanted so I am glad it didn't come through as too half-arsed lol.

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  8. A nicely penned narrative Casey. Unusual and interesting. :)

    After reading the instructions in the intro, I had to force my eyes not to read the in-between italics as I went. The story is intriguing in itself, and although I thought it would probably be two different perspectives of the same situation it didn't detract from the tension.

    It's a shame that because of a thuggish minority all young people are tarred with the same brush.

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    1. Thanks Steve :). I thought the story was the kind that might benefit most from the odd format, even though a lot of stories could probably be sliced apart in that way if it was desired.

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  9. Good one! I used to teach at a school where about a third of the students (I was told) had criminal records. I learned it wasn't the surly, creepy ones you had to worry about stealing things from you. It was the friendly, cheerful ones.

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    1. I can imagine lol. On the other hand, most of the people who were the usual culprits at my old schools got away with all sorts, and the ones who never put a foot wrong might make one mistake and get come down on like a tonne of bricks. No justice.

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