Danny’s Story: The Car Ride

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It’s a standing joke in my family. Mmm, I should explain really. You see, I have very vivid dreams. Don’t know why, just do.

I live my life just the same as everyone else I reckon. Usual things: get up, take a shower, get ready for work, have breakfast, travel to work, work, have lunch,  work,  travel home, go out  on my bike (sometimes), have dinner, watch TV (footie is my favourite), go to bed. Nothing unusual, right? But wow, what happens once that light has gone out and I’m well in the land of nod, beggars belief. And I have no control over it.

Some say that food has a direct connection to what you dream about, but I’m not so sure. I mean how can chicken tikka masala have any influence on a dream about being chased by tigers, or eating cheese last thing before bedtime equates to a dream about dancing with the Royal Ballet in Swan Lake. Really?

Having said that, I can completely see how my choice of snack before bedtime a few years ago, led to a particularly wacky dream, and one which my family love resurrecting at every conceivable social gathering. Yes, this dream is available for weddings, engagements, bahmitvahs and christenings! It comes out, at my expense, everywhere.

I’d gone to bed at much the same time as usual. It was a school night, so the time was reasonable. I double checked that my school uniform was where I usually put it after school, and that the clean shirt – ironed by my lovely mum –  was hanging neatly on the front of my wardrobe. My school tie was draped around the hook. I was ready for tomorrow, and just one quick repositioning of a few bits and bobs on my desk, meant that I was ready for sleep.

My light went out, and I shuffled about in my bed for what could only have been a few minutes, and then I was off into my dream world and on a car journey like no other…… the car, my dad’s old blue Renault Laguna – a beast in its time – sped away at top speed. I didn’t know what was going on, but was ecstatic to be along for the ride. The car motored along the dual carriageway, heading I know not where. We passed a service station on the left and a hotel not much further along. The radio was blaring, and at first I didn’t register what it was that was playing. I didn’t care. I was on the joy ride of my life.

‘Woo woo,’ I screamed, ‘let’s go! Overtake him, put your foot down. Yeeaaah!’

We went on like this for some time, dodging in and out of the traffic, adrenaline pumping through my veins, and then, almost as quickly as the adventure kicked off, it slowed down. The music on the radio was strangely familiar to me, but it wasn’t one of my favourite songs by The Who, or even one of those irritating Disney songs, no, it was something far more bizarre than that. I glanced across from the passenger seat and, much to my surprise, when I looked over at the driver, and then to the back seat, I realised that the song blaring from the radio was a theme tune from my childhood. I had been kidnapped. Bananas in Pyjamas had kidnapped me and sped me away.

Yes folks, BANANAS IN PYJAMAS.

Lesson learned: NEVER again will I eat banana bread before going to bed.

http://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

Many many thanks Andrew for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I feel really thrilled that you considered my stories worthy of it. Apologies for taking a while to post and reply, and I have set up a page on my blog with the answers to the questions posed by Andrew. I am currently working on my selection of nominees and will post them soon along with some questions of my very own!

Thanks again Andrew, and I’ll carry on regularly checking out your blog.

******Dear followers take a look at Andrew’s blog: https://www.andrewmferrell.wordpress.com

Sam’s Story: The Lorry

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I leave my house at the same time every day. I drive the same route, passing by the same shops, garages, takeaways, and often see the same cars pass me and the same people are in them. The same faces look out of the steamed-up windows of the same buses that, like me, do the same journey.

It takes approximately 15 minutes for me to drive to work, door to door. I’ve seen the seasons change, and have often been in awe of the beauty of the landscape that I drive through every day. I never take it for granted. On this particular day, late winter, it was cold, cold and damp. I had to put my fog lights on and drove at a steady speed as seeing too far ahead was proving difficult in places. The topography of my route meant that at times the road was clear ahead and at times not as I journeyed into little valley’s and back out again every few seconds. I’m was sure that I could see tail lights ahead, but they just seemed to disappear and reappear within moments. And yes, I’m sure, certain that there was a man in the distance…yes, he was there sauntering along on the side of the road, hands in his jean pockets, black jumper on, but hardly anything else. Really? And then he’s gone again, as are the tail lights.

There’s a flat, straight bit not so far from my office and I can see an enormous lorry ahead of me. I think very little of it as I’d been distracted by a song in the radio. I indicate right and I soon arrive at my destination. My day pans out in much the same way as usual. When I get home that evening, we have macaroni cheese for dinner. Delicious.

I leave my house at the same time the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, but on this day something strikes me like a hand across my face. The radio reports of a missing man. He’s been gone for 3 days, and was last seen wearing jeans and a black jumper, and very little else. He was last seen heading out toward the country road, my country road that I travel on everyday.

What am I supposed to do? Is it him, the man I thought I saw? Surely not, maybe so. What am I meant to do.

http://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

After much delay, I am absolutely delighted to accept the Liebster Award presented to me from Feleciadawn. I can only apologise for taking suuuuuuch a long time to post about this and to thank her. It’s so refreshing to be given one of these and I’m thrilled.

Feleciadawn, I have set up a page with all of my answers to your questions. I am currently formulating my list of nominees and will post them soon along with some questions of my very own!

*****Anyone following my blog please take time to have a look at hers: http://www.feleciadawn.wordpress.com

Donna’s Story: The Girl on the Bus

We got the same bus everyday. I didn’t pay much attention to her at first, only noticing her heels clack clack clacking as she walked up the aisle. I’d look up and inwardly tut, and then I’d bury my head back in whatever book I happened to be reading. She’d sit in the same seat every day…..even if someone was already sitting there. And that was how my fascination with her began.

On this particular day the bus was more crowded than usual, but I had been fortunate enough to find a seat. The bus stopped and started at all the usual places, and people got on and off at all the usual places. The book I was reading wasn’t of much interest to me, and I became distracted by a commotion a few rows in front of me.

‘Just get up will you. Just get up. I sit there everyday. Everyone knows it. And if you knew who I was then you wouldn’t have sat there. You wouldn’t have dared.’ She paused. ‘Or maybe you would, because I’m sure you’d be my stalker. We people all have one you know.’

There was no flicker of irony in her statement, just pure commitment to what she had said. Most people looked over at her, and most turned away desperately not wanting to catch her eye. I did the same, but strained my hearing in an attempt to catch everything that was being said.

‘I forgive you for sitting there, but you really should be careful, very very careful. I need my privacy just as much as you do. Just because I’m out there in the public eye doesn’t mean that I’m available to you when ever you want. Oh no no, it doesn’t work like that. We all need our privacy.’

After an initially vociferous attempt to hold on to his seat, the guy rose realising that he was completely out of his depth. She lowered herself into the seat, adjusted her scarf and reached into her bag pulling out a collection of celebrity magazines.

‘You see, there’s my friend Katie. We spend a lot of time together. Oh Kerry, what on earth are you up to now? She’s always up to something that one. So she decided on that dress even though I’d told her not to wear it; I won’t waste my breath next time.’

She wasn’t talking to anyone in particular, but the altercation with the man in her seat had opened up the floodgates and we were now being given access to some strange world that she was imagining herself to be in. She was wittering on about clothes, and facials, and her favourite restaurants, which were always bursting with paparazzi. She was fond of a cosmopolitan, and NEVER touched chocolate. The seats around her were emptying out, but she was oblivious to it. I stayed where I was, fascinated, but feeling sort of sorry for her. I felt that although I didn’t know her, she had been part of my daily life for a long while now. I contemplated talking to her, but chickened out. I wasn’t really sure how to approach her.

And then, just as I’d made my mind up to say something, she just got up, walked to the front of the bus, thanked the driver as she always did, and exited through the front doors.

The bus was awash with suppressed laughs, the raising of eyebrows, a few tuts here and there, and a variety of comments which suggested that people were interested in her, me being one of them.

Our fellow bus rider had become exactly what she said she was: a celebrity, and I looked forward to the next instalment in the morning.

http://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

Si’s Story: The Beach

We go to the beach most evenings. Lucky there really, to live so close.

The kids love to run across the sand, wrapped up in fur-lined boots, scarves, bobble hats and elasticated gloves that feed through the arms of their coats. My daughter chases the tide in and out squealing when the foamy water catches up with her and touches the tip of her boots. Her rosy cheeks and wide smile are a pleasure to behold as she looks up at me waiting for me to wave at her. I do.

‘Watch out Syd, look behind you, look, now Syd, now.’

She turns around and almost goes flying, but manages to steady herself just in time.

‘Fucks sake,’ I say under my breath, ‘that was close. Good girl Syd, good girl.’

The number of times I’ve walked home with one or both of them soaking wet after a stumble in the sand. Today would not be a good day for that as Sare had expressly asked me to keep a close eye on them.

My boy is a different kettle of fish to his sister; he’s not content with chasing the tide, he’s squatted down in the sand digging up something or other that has caught his eye, throwing out the bits that he’s not interested in and piling up the treasures that mean something in his little mind.

‘Alright Vin?’ He doesn’t answer.

‘Vinnie!’ He looks up. ‘Alright?’ He nods, then looks down and gets on with his stuff. He rocks.

I look out at the sea, rub my hands, shrug my shoulders and answer my phone which has just started ringing. I walk a few steps this way and that, chatting to my mate, keeping an eye on the kids, having a laugh. There’s very few people about, just the usual characters walking their dogs. Syd is still chasing the tide, and Vinnie has decided to throw his treasures into the sea.

‘Hold on mate’, I say into the phone. ‘Vin, Vinnie, watch what you’re doing, watch Syd. Vin, Vinnie….’, he looks up, ‘Watch where you’re throwing things, you’re gonna hit your sister. Watch where you’re throwing things or we’ll have to go home.’

‘Sorry about that mate,’ I say into my phone, ‘Vinnie’s randomly throwing things, and missed Syd by about an inch. I think I need to teach him a bit about space and distance. Hahaha.’

I bend over and pick up a bit of old drift wood and lob it over my shoulder.

‘Jeeeeeeez, what the hell….’, I turn sharply and see some guy lying on the sand about fifteen feet away from me, the lump of wood lying beside him.

‘Shit. Vinnie…..what did I tell you about throwing stuff!’

‘Sorry daddy’, came his little voice, ‘sorry daddy.’

I looked at my son, looked at the guy, waved my apologies, and realised that I’d stitched my son up: he was getting any amount of sweets that he wanted tonight.

https://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

Regular Feature: Bespoke Storytelling

I’m rather hoping to commit to a weekly Bespoke Storytelling Service, probably appearing on a Saturday or a Sunday. Throughout my week I will choose a story, perhaps sparked by something a colleague has said, or a comment that my husband has made, and write it up. I am also spreading the word that if someone would like their story written up I will take that on as part of the bespoke story service. This is how 3 of the stories that already appear on my blog (‘A true story or a mere fabrication’, ‘The Anti Mugging’, and ‘Olivia’s Story: the WC’) came about.

I hope you all like the idea, and carry on reading. Thanks to anyone who has read, liked, followed or commented on my blog so far.

Please spread the word!

https://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

Olivia’s Story: The WC

The hotel was lovely, and the breakfast promised to be even better.

We all made our way down to the dining room, and were greeted by the Maitre d’ who checked our room number and showed us to our table. As we followed, our eyes feasted on the expanse of be-linened table, decked with all manner of deliciousness. This was always the best thing about staying at a hotel, and none of us could wait to get stuck in.

We all did the polite sitting-at-the-table thing, fiddling with knives and forks, each of us waiting for one of us to say “let’s go then.” We were aware that we had to wait for our brother, a student at the local university,  but temptation was getting the better of us and mum soon gave us the ok.

‘Just need to pop to the loo Mum. Did you see where it was?’

Mum looked around, half distracted by the sight of one of the food baskets being replenished with fresh croissants, and pastries galore.

‘Um, yes, um, yes over there, look Liv, sign on the door, over there.’

Off I went, off she went, and my younger sister wasn’t far behind either. To be honest I didn’t really pay much attention, but headed in the direction of the door with the sign on it.

It took a little push to get the door to open, and it was pitch black inside; foolishly I let the door close behind me. I felt around for the light switch. Nothing. I staggered around with my arms out in front of me, hopeful that I would discover a cubicle if not a light switch. The darkness was only punctuated by the ever growing number of expletives that were falling out of my mouth.

‘For fucks sake, where’s the switch. It’s a disgrace that there’s no bloody automatic light in here. How sodding stupid.’

It was starting to feel like ages. I was desperate for one of those croissants, not to mention desperate for the reason I’d come in here! I’d lost my sense of direction, so trying to find the door through which I’d entered was yet another, virtually impossible feat.

And then, as if by magic, the light came on. Two people stood in the doorway. One familiar (my mother) and the other not.

‘Bloody hell Liv, what on earth have you been up to.’

Yes, breakfast time was nearing its end……and I had spent most of it in the stock room.

https://www.anniewat.wordpress.com

Polite Company

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

He pushed back on the rear feet of the dining table chair.

‘Well’, he said, ‘It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know. I could have predicted that happening.’

‘Oh shut up Ru, you’re such a fucking know it all. And just for the record, for once, you had no way of predicting that.’

Camilla got up from the table and headed toward the patio doors. In the distance she could just make out the brake lights of  his car as they drove out into the night.

The evening had started in good humour; drinks and chat on the lawn before a light, but delicious, supper and the usual debates that the old university friends always found themselves involved in. They always tried to meet at least once a year, and nothing much ever seemed to change.

Jamie had arrived last, and with his latest girlfriend in tow. Partners weren’t invited to these annual gatherings and, much to the annoyance of the others, Jamie had decided to change the rules. Eyebrows were raised, facetious comments were delivered – just out of earshot of the guest of course – and as people became more intoxicated, the conversation became debate, and the debate became more contentious.

There was nothing unusual about this of course, but this time, at this supper, something had changed.

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The Anti Mugging

The party was good enough to stay at until past 2am. Then I sloped off without anyone seeing me leave. I’d niftily managed to hook up a can of beer as I moved through the kitchen on my way to the back door.

The air felt cold against the few bits of exposed skin of my face, and as I pushed the buds into my ears I already knew exactly what I wanted to listen to. I never had any intention of waiting for the two night buses that it would take to get me home, and the standing joke amongst my friends was that I always insisted on walking from parties to home late at night. Normally I’d have a fight on my hands as everyone would try to persuade me to go with them, but tonight, no-one saw me leave.

The streets were dark and almost silent. You know what I mean, that sort-of-silent that is almost, but not quite; there’s no-one there to make a sound, but the streets have a eerie way of producing their own voice. This is a voice that I don’t much like, it unnerves me, and my earbuds help drown it out.

This was a time for me to think. Yeah ok, loud music and thinking might not be something that adults can understand, but most teenagers that I know can only think with loud music playing! Anyway, I enjoyed the time alone, in my own world.

I’d crossed the main road and had begun winding my way through the residential streets that were so familiar to me. And then they appeared. From nowhere. Three boys, bandannered and hoodied and offering trouble.

‘Fam, what’ve you got for us?’

‘I’ve not got much.’

‘What’ve you got. Food? An eighth?’

‘Nah, man, I’ve got nothing.’

The speaker sucked his teeth, looked away and said:

‘You got no phone?’

I put my hand in my pocket and handed it to him. He looked at it, looked up at my face, sucked his teeth again, and shook his head:

‘What’s that piece of shit? You expecting me to take that?’

They walked off handing it back to me, and were gone as quickly as they had appeared.

I had been anti-mugged. My muggers had rejected my bashed up phone.

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A true story or a mere fabrication…..

He entered the room, straight from our toasty bed, hair all askew, eyes rubbed within an inch of their lives, long johns pulled awkwardly to one side so that the crotch is no longer in line with the crotch.

“I’ve just had a dream about pickling apples for old people. The doctor gave me the apples in one of those string nets and I had to pickle them.”

“Oooo, how exciting for you,” said I, “one of those orange net things that oranges come in?”

“No, it was cream coloured.”

“Oh I see. Why were you pickling them?”

“So that the old people could balance their arms on them. Like a pulley system. To counter-balance their arms.”

“Oh, I see, right.”

“Tea?”

That was how my day began……

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