Hello ladies, gentleman, boys, girls, in-betweens, extras, whatever descriptions you take! (We’re starting knowing how offended people got last year!)
If you didn’t know by now, the December voting is up and ready to rock so head on over with a little click here! December was all about Christmas and family and all that stuff that everybody loves, which leads me into January’s theme and example piece!
I find that after a long few weeks of dealing with Christmas and people and all the pains that come with social situation, I just want to sit back with a few drinks and forget the world exists. Which is why I feel this month’s piece comes across so well! The theme for January is “A drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts…”. As a bonus for this, I’m encouraging drinking! I attempted to write my example piece under the influence of alcohol but unfortunately couldn’t get myself drunk enough to go really crazy! This is also an option for our writers….
Now before I let you read the example piece I feel I need to clear up some things. I am not suggesting you get drunk all the time, please drink responsibly. I am not entirely sure why the example piece goes the way it does, but I feel it’s because I have been binge listening to Last Podcast on the Left. This also has nothing to do with my own father, we are very old British and, although think dark things, end up writing angry letters in our heads and never send them.
ANYWAY! To the example piece!
A drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.
This was the mantra his father had drummed into him since the age of 10. It meant much more to his father than the loosening powers of a Green Fairy or a Scottish Cooper, this was the way of the world. You never know the true face of something until you have spent time with it. It felt somewhat comforting for Tom as he circled his father’s ivory white casket for the hundredth time that morning.
It was not made of ivory – his father was never one for grandeur – but was a simple coffin made from driftwood as requested in his will. They had sat dumbstruck when the family solicitor had announced that the old man had requested a Viking funeral and somewhat relieved when the solicitor informed them that British Waterways legislations meant this would not be possible. Tom, being of his father’s mind, had come up with the alternative of going to the local wharf to collect driftwood. Several hours and half a bottle of Glenmorangie later, Tom looked over the coffin he had made in his workshop with a muted sense of pride. His dad had loved the creations that Tom brought home to him after a weekend in the workshop, making the majority of the furniture that surrounded him in the old man’s house. As was the custom in Tom’s village, the body had been left for the first of three days in the living room of the deceased’s house; allowing the soul to settle into the new dimension accordingly before heading off to purgatory to be allowed into heaven or denounced into hell. It was not custom, however, for someone to stand vigil over the dead…
Tom had spent most of the day working through his dad’s old sporting memorabilia and trying to ignore that the man lay in the next room. He occasionally thought he heard stirring, though put it down to the old house creaking under the constant change of temperature. Box after box, piece by piece, the late senior’s life became as enclosed as his slowly decomposing corpse. The task was taking a lot longer than expected, as each item was picked up and held in a nostalgic daze before being placed reverently into the corresponding box.
“You know your mother was meant to give me that ornament a week before she died.” A voice called out from behind him, making Tom drop the Nigel Mansell ornament; it snapped in two as he dashed to try save it. He turned to see his dad leant against the door, wearing his funeral suit and smiling that half smirk half grimace he had always been admired for.
“You’re dead. You’re on your back in the other room and you’re somehow standing in front of me as if nothing had happened.”
Dad walked across the room and leant down to pick up the broken ornament, causing Tom to flinch. In his childhood, such a breakage would have cost him several lashings of the belt across his outstretched palm. This time, somewhat creepier, he gently placed his hand on his son’s shoulder for support and picked it up.
“I was more of a Coulthard fan than a Mansell fan, but she spent so much time tracking it down and trying to hide it before my birthday. She never got around to giving it to me, bless her heart. I found it the same way you are finding all these little things, before her funeral. What’s that stupid look on your face, boy?” His dad’s face became more stern with the last question.
“I can’t work out which is weirder, if I’m honest.” Tom blurted out, sheepishly.
“Out of what? You’re looking for logic once again in a place it doesn’t exist, lad.”
“You can’t be talking to me right now, you’re dead. It’s got to be a trick of the mind.”
“But I’m touching you…”
“You were always honest with mum. You would have told her if you had known.”
Tom stood and went over to the writing desk and poured a large dram, leaving his dad crouched holding the once great racer in several pieces.
“Tom, there’s something you’ll learn one day that I could never teach you. I’m not going to tell you I love you or that I am proud of your achievements; you know these things without me telling you that. When it comes to that one person who you choose to spend your life with, however, tacit and logic go out the window. Yes, I was always honest with your mother but you’re forgetting the motto…”
Tom turned on his dad, “A drunken man’s thoughts! I remember! What does that have to do with anything?” But as he turned he realised there was no one there to respond. The Mansell ornament lay in pieces on the floor and in the middle of it, a piece of paper. Slowly he stepped over to the piece of paper and picked it up, not knowing what to expect. He finished reading the note and looked up. He was still in his father’s house but it seemed a lot darker now, there was dirt and mould everywhere and a putrid smell hung in the air. He dropped the bottle in his other hand and stepped into the living room to find the rotting wooden frame still on the table.
“And just what is it that you’re meant to be teaching me, father? You tell me that and I’ll let you go!”
The door exploded as the police stormed the house, bodies lining the corridor and seated in various positions around the house; one of the officers doubled over vomiting at the sight and smell of the murder house. News reports suggest a middle aged male was apprehended and later convicted of multiple homicides. When asked for his motive, the guilty pleading suspect responded:
“I was just doing what my Dad would have wanted…”