writing challenge 18 – the one with pouring my art out in it

this is the tag team tale that mr browne (not this one) over at pouring my art out is so kindly co-writing – he’s the guy in green; essentially what makes it look like a proper christmas tree rather than just a box of baubles

for the history of this groundbreaking venture please see here, here and here, but not [blatantly steal sean fallon‘s joke] here

i shall endeavour to add my bit in the next couple of days


My pulse quickened when I saw her…..it wasn’t her beauty – like the hair upon her head, she didn’t have any – although the limp was pronounced but not eye-catching; her squint was noticeable but not headache-inducing; whilst the teeth that protruded from her cheeks left one a little startled, the drool appeared to have a note of charm to it, as did the mole…….what in fact made the pulse quicken was the fact that she stood over me holding a scalpel and a ball-peen hammer. I was strapped to a wooden chair that was uncomfortable (probably the least of my problems at this stage) and smelt like piss and unanswered questions.

‘What ish your name?’ She slurred at me, spraying my face with spit.

‘Ziggy Stardust,’ I said, sputum dripping down my cheek.

She raised the hammer and I must say, it was in a really rather threatening fashion; I made a mental note to informal the faculty first thing in the morning that I thought this sort of behaviour was in no way in-keeping with that expected of a university lecturer, and that some mention of these unorthodox teaching practises should at least be alluded to in the otherwise faultless prospectus.

But that was for tomorrow…..my present predicament banished all such thoughts from my mind, and I maintained only a minute awareness of the warm fluid collecting in my crotch, and that I had now possibly become a part of the assault on the olfactory system of the next poor victim…..I shall do my best to answer her questions…….

‘Let’sh shee how funny you are with a broken wrisht!’

‘Wait! Pleashe!’ I have a horrible habit of mimicry; say something else, dammit, and she may not notice! ‘I’m sorry; I panicked; the scalpel and hammer combination shat me up proper big styley; when questioned under stress my default answer has always been Ziggy Stardust, ever since I was a boy and discovered that David Bowie was my spirit animal.’

She lowered the hammer to her side and placed the scalpel into the pocket of the leather jacket she was wearing, ‘What?’

‘It was when I was young. I had been bad and my foster father had locked me in the attic and there in the darkness I heard the sound, an amazing sound.’

Someone called from the assembled class who sat below the stage we were stood on, ‘What sound?’

I smiled, ‘At first it was a guitar and then his voice called out like an angel’s.’

‘What did he say?’ Asked a girl on the front row with a side-ponytail.

‘He said, “Wham bam – thank you ma’am!” and there he was, large as life, dressed in a silver space age suit like he had just been beamed down from planet funk.’

‘Did he say anything?’ Asked an old man who was inexplicably sat next to side-ponytail girl and had his gnarled hand on her upper thigh.

‘Of course, he said that I should stop being so bad, then I wouldn’t keep getting locked in the attic; I mean, what was the poor man supposed to do when you wouldn’t say what you were doing……..what are you doing……’

‘What are you doing?’ My eyes flickered open, and I very nearly passed out again; the hammer had been lowered – but the look of threat and violence still shone in the woman’s eyes – and my wrists were still pleasantly rounded; the shape to which I’d become so accustomed.

‘I’m sorry….I fainted…..I went to my safe place and met my spirit animal-’

‘Shhut up!’


We were still in the lecture hall; the doors were no doubt locked and I was more than aware of the room’s sound-proof qualities; I wouldn’t be discovered any time soon. My eyes settled on the white board, where the quote from today’s lecture still reminded the world of what we knew and what position we held: “For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.”

I hoped I was not to be questioned on this…..I had been extremely busy blogging…..

My mind raced with all the reasons I could muster for my being in this place and in this accursed position, powerless against this upstanding member of the local community; I could think of nothing; I hadn’t offended her in any way I knew; I’d never snickered behind her back; I was a very competent student; David Bowie was with me, but was of very little help.

Her next question muddied the waters even further.

‘Have you ever been to Dishneyland?’

I struggled to adjust my thinking to this strange question.

She continued with a cat-like grin on her unusual and captivating features. ‘All the anshwersh are to be found there. You know that don’t you?’

I stammered out the first answer that popped into my mind.

‘I love the Haunted Mansion.’ I said it with all the conviction I could muster.

‘Of coursh you do!’ she screamed, spraying me with spittle.

I struggled, and thought I felt the tape holding me begin to slip; I wasn’t overly pleased at the copious amounts of sweat dripping from my pores, but if it served a purpose such as this I could overlook it.

My mind then began to try to recall all the attractions I knew from Disneyland, and to imagine how they were able to answer all questions; at this moment in time I was praying that all questions consisted of, ‘What’s the thing with the mountain in space called?’ I held out little hope. Oh! ‘Mad Tea Party’! That seemed apt….

‘What are you shmiling at?!’ she shouted.

‘I have an itch.’

She slapped me hard across the face, ‘Better?’

I mumbled incoherently that the itch was on the other side of my face. She was unconcerned and started pacing…..then she said, ‘I shpeak of courshe metaphorically with regardsh to finding all anshwersh in Dishneyland; for it ish jusht the one that will conshern you. I have taken the liberty of injecting under your shkin a minute capshule of shyanide, and shhould you continue to try to free your handsh or do anything elshe that I find unhelpful, then I shhall not heshitate to break it and bury you in a shhallow grave in the deshert with nothing to accompany you to the afterlife but a shenshe of shhame at where I’ve insherted your shevered arm! Do I make myshelf clear?’

I stared into her ferocious eyes and nodded.

She continued; ‘We’re going to take a trip.’

Please Lord, I found myself thinking, I hope that means she is getting ready to dose me with some good, old-fashioned LSD. Or better yet, a class field trip to Disneyland.

But no, there was no easy way out of this strange situation.

She reached into the pocket of her leather coat, the one she had returned the scalpel to, and pulled out a gold pocket watch on a long, slender chain. She began to slowly swing the watch back and forth in front of my face while she told me to relax over and over in what I assume she took to be a smooth, seductive voice. It would have been more relaxing if her voice hadn’t sounded like the scalpel shaving pieces of granite off a cliffside. And truth to tell, it sounded more like she was saying ‘relash, relash’, which combined with the continuous spray of spittle and grating voice made me feel as I was getting a rather mixed message.

“Do you grade on a curve?” I found myself muttering, just as my mind drifted off into

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  1. It is growing… like a three-eyed fish in a green-glowing pond just outside the fence of the leaky nuclear power plant…

  2. I loved that Sacha…I need to read it again when no one is around to distract me. Ziggy Stardust is my spirit animal too.



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