A Lucky Bag of Booze

One Hundred and EIIIGHTYYYY!!

behindthelibrary

There’s a whole host of ways to get lashed out of it and they’re all a bit different. Here’s a small selection of my personal favourites.

Red Wine

A sophisticated choice for the evening. Not that sophisticated though, it cost four quid in Aldi. Time to relax and pour a nice big glass of.. Hang on, you don’t have a glass because you’re drinking in a field. Oh well, I’ll just drink straight from the.. Wait, you don’t have a corkscrew either. You manage to bash the cork into the bottle with your shoe, cutting yourself in the process. No harm, you can rinse out the wound with the wine. Fuck, that stings. The first delicate sip follows.. Subtle aromas of ethanol, with bits of shoe and a hint of broken glass. Time to go to the nightcl.. Oh, you’re asleep in a ditch. A lingering air of sophistication.. and…

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The Founding of Rome

So there was this guy called Aeneas and he was a Trojan, he was from Troy like. You know the place with the horse and all that? Well he was sitting at home one day and who comes along only Odysseus and all them boys and they started fighting with him, saying they wanted to be Trojans and own Troy or something. But then they calmed down and gave Aeneas and the Trojans a present. It was the big wooden horse, remember? But it wasn’t a present really because inside the horse were all of Odysseus’ friends and they came out and starting fighting with the Trojans. Aeneas was going to stay and fight them but then some dead guy that he used to know suggested he leave and make a new Troy for the Trojans so he did.

He sailed about for a while and saw some cool things like a Cyclops (which I didn’t even believe existed). Then he landed in a place called Carthage in Africa where he met a really good looking chick called Dido (not Eminem’s friend) and she was a Queen and all. They ended up falling in love in some cave (romance was weird back then) because of Aeneas’s mom put a magic spell on Dido to make her love Aeneas. I guess his mom didn’t think he’d find love on his own or whatever. Anyway Aeneas was cool with it for a while but then he was like, “wait I’ve to go find a new place for me Trojans.” So he left and Dido killed herself (tea’s gone cold I’m wondering why…) cus she was totally melodramatic.

So Aeneas sailed over to Italy and fought some of them lads, I think they were Latin back then, and after that he ruled them and his Trojans for a while. This was pretty much the foundation of the Roman empire, ah well, when in Rome, eh? About 400 odd years after that one of Aeneas’ descendants got raped by the god Mars (she must’ve been gorgeous or something) and she gave birth to two young lads called Romulus and Remus. Their maternal granddad didn’t think they should stick around so he brought them for a little spin and left them by the river Tiber to fend for themselves. Obviously they ended up being taken by a wolf and they drank her milk and ate her… stew, or whatever and they grew up fine. I reckon they might not have grown up that fine though, being raised by a wolf.

Either way they were walking around and doing man-wolfish things and they both decided someone need to build a city but neither wanted to do it. Romulus was all like, fuck this, I’ll do it then so he started building a wall on Capitoline Hill (that’s in Rome) and then comes along Remus and he starts laughing at the state of the wall. Sure it was a mess. Romulus was having none of this though so he killed Remus there and then. That’ll teach him for belittling a wolf-man’s wall. So Romulus built the city (not in a day, hahahaha) and imported a load of vagabonds and scallywags to populate it. With no women still he had to resort (as we all must sometimes) to kidnapping and raping some from a neighbouring tribe. Thus Rome was founded. Such a dignified city.

Sink Your Teeth Into This; Not Too Deep, Gently.

This is a small section of my novel that I’d like to share. It’s about three or four chapters into the book and I think it sets the tone and gives a good idea of what my writing is like. I really hope it’s a good read and will get some of you excited to see the finished product. First, a quick synopsis of the first few chapters:

Eddie Andrews is a school teacher who is forced to move to a new town after it is found out that he has been having sexual relations with one of his students. His old friend Richard Stack has managed to get Eddie a job at the school where he works and now Eddie is trying to re-establish a life for himself in this new town. He fears stories of his exploits at his last job will follow him here.

Oh and please excuse the formatting. I’d manually change it if I thought it really mattered.

 

Eddie was in the car with Stack on the way over to John O’Dowd’s house for the poker game; a game which neither of them had really played since college. Eddie was driving.

“Who all’s going to be here, then?” he asked.

Stack shrugged and flicked his cigarette out the window. “Dunno. The usual I guess.”

“Who’s the usual?”

“Lyons, Mulvey, andO’Dowd, of course, and maybe some of their friends.”

Eddie didn’t respond for a while. He kept his eyes on the road, diming his lights when other cars were coming and keeping his wipers going to allow him to see past the rain.

“I hope this rain clears up,” said Stack. “O’Dowd said he was going to have a barbeque and I haven’t eaten much so I could make room.”

“I don’t think these guys like me,” Eddie said, ignoring Stack’s comment on the rain. “I’ve a feeling they know about Loli.”

Stack rolled his eyes. “Eddie, they’re just a couple of guys asking you around for a game of poker. You should be happy that they even thought of you.”

Eddie rolled his eyes now.

“And besides, how would they know about Lolita? Who would’ve told them?”

“I dunno, maybe that chick, what’s her name?”

Stack looked at him blankly and shook his head slightly.

“You know the one, the one that was at my interview.”

“Oh Julie Lennon?”

“Yes, that one. She’d tell all, I’d say.”

“Well maybe she did. Who cares?”

Eddie looked at him now, shocked. “What the fuck do you mean, ‘who cares?’? Everybody cares about this shit. I’ll be run out of this town too, wait’ll you see.”

“Here,” said Stack. “Take this right. O’Dowd’s house is right at the top of that hill.”

Eddie indicated and pulled the car up the hill to the house. There were small black lamps lining the gravelled driveway and when Eddie stopped in front of the grand house he expected a boy in a suit to come meet him and park his car amongst the Porsches and Lamborghinis. Fortunately there was no vallet nor elaborate expensive cars so he didn’t have to suffer that embarrassment. He parked his small Fiat around the side of the house, the right wheel almost nudging a small dog kennel. The kennel was so small Eddie wondered if it were for a cat or a dog.

Stack grabbed the plastic bag that held their beer from between his feet and pulled himself out of the car and into the rain. Eddie followed. Standing side by side under the cover of the porch they rang the doorbell and waited. John O’Dowd answered, swinging the door open wide and standing back with his free arm outstretched.

“Hello, hello, hello,” he said around the large cigar clenched between his teeth. “Come in, come in, come in.” He had a habit of saying everything three times; something he was completely unaware of. Eddie had met him a few times since he had taken over his job. John had called him frequently asking if there was anything he needed. He was like a mother who was after trusting her child in the hands of another woman for a week.

“Hey, John,” Eddie said.

“O’Dowd,” Stack smiled and then shook his hand and clapped him on the back. “Got any more of those cigars?”

The laughter of the other men came floating out of a room at the back and Eddie steeled himself against joining them.

“Of course there is, Rickie,” John said. “Just go on through the kitchen there. The game room is in the back.” He turned to Eddie. “Here let me take your coat.”

He stood behind him and reached over his shoulder to grab the lapels of his cotton jacket, now bristled with raindrops, and peeled it off his shoulders. Stack didn’t have a jacket so he moved into the game room, leaving John and Eddie alone in the hallway.

“How’re you, Eddie?” John asked after hanging Eddie’s jacket up in the small closet by the door. Eddie’s response was cut short by a loud barking behind him. He turned around to see what he was sure was the smallest dog to have ever lived. The little ball of fluff was holding its ground a foot or two from Eddie, the hackles on its back rising with each bark. It looked determined and unmovable for such a small thing.

“Now, now, Ruby,” John said in tones that said he was sternly disappointment but still couldn’t get over how cute Ruby was. “You play nice with daddy’s guests.”

If Eddie hadn’t known already he’d now known for sure that John O’Dowd was gay. When he had first met the man he had looked him up and down and decided he wasn’t attractive. With his quite large nose and eyes that were both too far apart and too close together at once, John O’Dowd was not particularly a catch. Just because he was gay did not really change Eddie’s view, although he did see him as more available.

The dog did not listen to John O’Dowd’s instructions and continued to bark and warn Eddie. Eddie, being the animal lover that he was, assured John that it was okay; he could handle Ruby.

“I don’t know, said John, bending down to the dog and making kissy faces. “She’s a feisty wee thing. Aren’t you? Aren’t you? Yes you are.”

Ruby growled up at her master, who back away from her, and watched Eddie closely as he bent down on his haunches and tried to soothe the dog with cooing noises; he oohed and aahed at her while he slowly, inch by inch, reached his hand out to her, with the aim of setting it gently on her nose and then up her face where it would rest on her head and she’d then know he was no threat to her. He had done this countless times before, most memorably with his sister’s Rottweiler who would not let anyone approach it until Eddie came along. Because of that Eddie now thought he was an expert at soothing angry dogs, as if he understood exactly what they were going through.

“Sshhh, sshhh, it’s all right,” he told Ruby. “No one’s going to hurt you.” They locked eyes. Ruby’s growl was deepening, coming from somewhere inside that tiny body. John O’Dowd stood behind Eddie with his hands clasped together, warily watching this unfold.

“Be careful, Eddie,” he counselled.

“Sshhh, sshhh, sshhh, it’s gonna be all right.”

Ruby growled louder.

Eddie inched closer again.

“O’Dowd!” came Stack’s booming voice from the kitchen. “Your fridge is full. Where’ll I leave these beers?”

Both Eddie and John’s head jerked toward Stack’s voice and when the accompaning head popped out from around the corner Ruby took the opportunity to jump and clamp down her small sharp teeth on Eddie’s forgotten, out-stretched hand. Like needles they sunk into his flesh and gripped.

“Faaack!” Eddie cried out, jerking his hand back, but Ruby came with him, still growling. She started shaking her head which merely caused her behind to waggle. Eddie stood up a bit but sat back down when he realised Ruby was clamped on so hard she rose out of the air with his hand. “Shit. Get the little bitch off me.”

“Oh Ruby, oh Ruby, oh Ruby,” said John standing beside Eddie and frantically hoping from one foot to another and jiggling his hands as though he didn’t know where to put them.

“Hold on, Eddie,” shouted Stack and then disappeared behind the wall again. When he returned he was accompanied by two or three other men, all eager to see what was happening. Mark Lyons was the first one to start laughing when he saw Eddie’s pained face as he struggled to get his hand free of the tiny terror that was Ruby O’Dowd. Stack pushed past the men and ran to Eddie’s side.

“Sit still, ye little wench,” he told Ruby. He had a butter knife in his hand and, grabbing the dog with one arm, he slid it flat into the side of Ruby’s mouth and twisted it gently to pry her teeth out of Eddie’s hand.

Eddie pulled his hand out slowly, it was wet with blood and saliva, the teeth marks were not large but they were many. They ran from the base of his thumb in a semi-circle to the biggest knuckle on his index finger. The dog, having now caused enough of a commotion trotted away once Stack loosened his grip on her, confident she had asserted a dominant role in the house. John O’Dowd pranced after her, calling her name. Parental worry tinged his voice.

“C’mon,” said Stack. “You need to wash that hand quickly.” He led the angry and embarrassed Eddie past the jeering men and into the kitchen. At the sink he pulled the sleeve of Eddie’s arm up and ran his mangled hand under the cold water that looked almost white as it poured from the tap.

Eddie hissed quietly as the water bubbled over his wounds. He was pissed off that Lyons had seen that. He knew the man thought he was a joke already and now he was proven right. There was no coming back from this.

“Get well soon, Andrews,” Lyons shouted in the kitchen door as he as his friends moved back into the game room, all of them chuckling at Lyons supposedly hilarious comment; one of them even high-fived him.

John O’Dowd appeared in the kitchen now after putting the dog outside using the back door. He was slightly wet with rain because he had carried Ruby under his own jacket to her kennel around the side of the house and had stayed with her for a minute to soothe her.

“I am so sorry about that, Eddie,” he said. “Truly, truly, truly. She has never done anything like that before. I don’t know what’s gotten into her.”

“Forget about it, John, really,” Eddie replied. He stood still while Stack took care of him, feeling like what he supposed a child would feel like with one of their parents fretting over them. He had never experienced that so he was forced to assume.

“Got any bandages, O’Dowd?” Stack asked. “And maybe something stronger than beer.” He turned to Eddie. “You’ll need it after a shock like that.”

“It wasn’t a shock,” Eddie defended himself.

“Oh, it wasn’t? You expected the dog to bite you, then? If that’s true you’re stupider than I once thought.”

John O’Dowd came across the kitchen after retrieving some bandages from a press in his pantry. His house seemed to be full of little presses designed to hold specific things. In Eddie’s own house he just threw his belongings wherever was closest. This often caused confusion when he was looking for something and he was now considering John’s method of storage. Stack made him hold the end of the bandage to his wrist while he wound the rest of it around the wound and around his wrist. Once he deemed it tight enough he got a piece of sticky tape and secured the cloth.

“Flex your hand and see how that feels,” Stack said. Eddie did so, winching a little with the pain. He nodded that it was alright. “Good.”

John handed Eddie a tumbler with an inch of whiskey sitting in the bottom and indicated he drink it. “Drink it all at once.” Eddie did so, his face contorting once more. He shuddered and handed the class back to John.

“Cheers,” he said. They stood in the kitchen for a moment. None of them knew what to do next. “Where’s the beer then? We gonna play this game?” Eddie asked.

“Yes, yes, yes. The game,” said John O’Dowd. “Boys?” he called into the game room.

“Yeah?” came back Lyons voice.

“You all ready to start?”

“Whenever Mr Andrews feels up to it.” The men in the room burst out laughing again. Eddie was fuming now and his clenched fist was causing red flowers to bloom on his white bandage.

“Never mind them, Eddie,” Stack said. He opened the freezer where he had stashed the cans and pulled two off the ring of six and handed one to Eddie, who rolled it across his forehead. “C’mon.” He nudged him gently in the back and started walking toward the room. Eddie followed him. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Smoke danced from the tip and mingled with the clouds of cigar smoke that streamed from the heads of the men sitting at the round green felted table. Eddie knew three of them; Mark Lyons, the big construction teacher, sat beside his buddy and father of Barry Mulvey, Martin Mulvey and beside Martin was Robert Mahon. Mahon was a chunky man who owned a local newsagents in the town. He was also Lyons’ assistant coach for the under seventeen’s football team.

When Eddie entered the room they all called out congratulations to him and clapped a bit. Eddie just held up his bandaged hand and smiled. He could think of nothing clever to say and the men seemed disappointed. They turned back to the table and their beers.

 

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– Dean

A short story of mine from about two years ago.

I was supposed to meet My Betty just outside the bar off Henry Street. My Betty I called her, because she was mine. Beautiful and seductive, I saw her walking towards me. She had that certain sway in her hips that put a step back in a man’s stride. I stood back a little in the alley way, not just to get out of the rain. It was dark; the luminous glow from the street light showing only the lower half of my face and the tendrils of smoke dancing away from the end of my cigarette. I had moved into the alley-way so My Betty wouldn’t see me. I would have the edge over her here. Boy, how she got my heart pounding, the closer she got, the sound of her heels as they made that hollow empty sound across the hard even emptier concrete seemed to tie with the short quick beats of my heart. Not in sync, but in time. Like a perfect harmony it went on for what seemed hours. I could almost hear the saxophone joining in; almost hear old Louie playing a flirtatious little jazz lick over the steady beat My Betty and I were creating. Joyous, although I knew it would end sorrowful. I knew what tonight would bring.

She was getting closer. I had to make my move soon. I drew in the last smoke from my cigarette and extinguished it on the heel of my shoe. My Betty would complain about me doing that, if she knew. She wouldn’t know though. She wouldn’t know much after tonight. It was a damn shame she had to go off to that gum-shoe Robertson or none of this would have had to happen. I couldn’t have her knowing what I did. My Betty… My Betty… I ran her name over and over in my head for days until now. All those sleepless nights; I’d lie awake, smoking one too many cigarettes, worrying. When a man’s got something on his mind, it takes a hold of him. It eats into him. Well Old Tony finally got his wish, he knew I was no good and he was right. I’m just a down and out. I’m just a poor old fool with nothing to his name but the iron on his hip. I used to think that’s all a man really needs. Something to use to get me through the day, to take care of yet another problem. Well, just one more time; I told myself. I got to be hard-boiled one last time.

“Johnny?” I could hear My Betty calling me. That sweet melodious voice. She called again but I couldn’t call back to her. I could hear her coming closer to the alley-way now. I steeled myself. I could remember when I found out what she knew. We were after making love all night. She was sleeping soundly beside me, I watched her, I watched the slow relaxing movements of her chest as she breathed. While running the tips of my fingers up and down her bare arm, her skin so smooth, I spotted a small notebook on the ground near the end of the bed. I knew I shouldn’t read it, looking back now, Lord I wish I hadn’t. But I did. It was her diary. I opened it somewhere near the middle and the first sentence I read was; “I met Detective Robertson today and I assured him I would be able to handle Johnny. Hell, Johnny even thinks I’m in love with him. Poor fool is head over heels for me. Still, I followed him this evening. Sure as hell he went down to the morgue and I seen what he did down there. I’m to meet with Robertson on Saturday and tell him what I’ve found.”

My Betty. I am so sorry you had to do this to me. It’s hard when you find yourself betrayed like that. Lord, I’d give anything to be able to hate that woman right now but I can’t. I know she’s done me wrong but I just can’t stop loving her. That’s why this will be so hard. I pulled my iron from my hip. Felt the cold trigger with my finger, I could feel the drops of rain on my hand as I held it out. My other hand was dry in my pocket. Odd that I’d focus on something like that at a time like this. The mind does play tricks.

My Betty came into the alley-way. Into my vision, full and beautiful. “Johnny, there you are.” Then she spotted my pistol. “No, Johnny, what are you doing?” she asked and I could hear the panic in her voice. I could see her train of thought. I could see her mind trying to figure out how I found out, where had she gone wrong?

“I’m sorry Baby, but you done me wrong.” I said.

 

I pulled the trigger three times. Three times, in time with my heart beat. I knew that song, that song that was My Betty and me, was to end on a sorrowful note. Three sorrowful notes.

“You done me wrong, Baby.” I said again.

Short Story: Done Me Wrong

Think It Human: Quirky Dramas Are So In

This may sound strange but sometime I have the luck of dreaming ideas. Or maybe it’s more like turning my dreams into ideas. If I wake up in the night from a dream I’ll usually sleepily write down the main points of it. I’ve given up just trying to remember. Well, I’ve worked someone of them into my writing, though the one I had recently wasn’t about writing.

I dreamt of an idea for a play. Now I don’t claim to be a playwright or even a fan but this idea seems pretty good to me, if done well. In the dream I was at a play, sitting up front and this thing’s got my complete and undivided attention because half the cast are puppets. I’m talking the size of you and me puppets, like crash test dummies or manikins. No faces or anything. They were interacting with the human cast so perfectly, their gestures were human. Their voices must’ve came from someone backstage but even they seemed to emit from the puppets head. After I while you forget their not real and you fall into the story but it’s still surreal, there’s something wrong.

I have no story written for this play nor have a clue how to go about writing the script but I have ideas on the moods and the seriousness of it. It wouldn’t be slapstick or foolish. It would have to be a serious drama, well maybe not totally serious. Quirky dramas are in these days. Something like that. It’s bouncing around inside my head anyway and I hope to make something of it. Please don’t steal my idea, I know it’s amazing but I’ll published it now. I own it right? 😛

Just need to get myself some master puppeteers now. I’m sure there’s loads of them.

 

 

Writing Promts vs. Blank Screens

I know that I want to write. I know that. That’s what keeps me at it, through the blocks and the doubts and the frustration that goes a long with anything. If I didn’t know for sure that I wanted this I would’ve given up a long time ago. I may not write every day, or even every week (I never was very prolific) but I desire to write every day, seven days a week. After finishing and (mistakenly) self-publishing my first novella I was 25,000 words into a new novel and doubting if I had the smarts or enthusiasm or the skill to continue on with it. I put my pen away for quite sometime, claiming hiatus from the game. But still ideas pushed their way into my head constantly and almost absent-mindedly I would jot them down in my phone and relay them into my notebook, thinking nothing of them. After a while I started paying more attention to them, seeing the beginnings of stories or certain ways I could tighten up the plot-line for my new project, which I had lost all faith in at this stage. I began gathering threads of details and adding them to existing loose string hanging from my proverbial jumper. Whole new stories exploded in my mind and my notebook got bigger and bigger. But still I didn’t write a word of prose.

I would sit in front of my computer with the document ‘First Draft – Eddie’ (abandoned project) open and wrack my brain for where to go. I had dug myself into a hole plot wise and wasn’t sure how to get out. Then I discovered writing prompts and their use. For those not familiar with them, writing prompts are sentences or sometimes just single words that are used to begin the writing process. For example, you take the word ‘Ice’ and start writing whatever comes into your head. A blank page is pretty scary and sometimes it’s hard to start but with prompts I found an easy way to begin and once I began I couldn’t stop.

I’m now working on several different projects including the abandoned one which I have kneaded and kicked and beaten into a shape that works for me. I’m still taking notes on another short story/novella that I intend to start writing for NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org) and another short story that’s almost completed for entry into Poddle’s ‘Small Lives’ competition (http://poddlepublications.com/submitstuff).

So in all I thank the breaking of my writer’s block to writing prompts and maybe just a little of not worrying about the significance and quality of the writing. I’m glad to be back working. It feels good and that shows in my words. I think.

Thanks for reading,

-Dean

 

P.S. Welcome to my new blog. Old blog: http://firstdrafter.blogspot.ie/?spref=fb