Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Splash by Gordon

Jump she cried. It was a big splash.

Kate yelled out: "My feet are killing me." The high-pitched words echoed across the valley in a rapid reverberation. The rock walls were effusing warmth in the hot afternoon sun as I struggled through the thick undergrowth close to the rock walls. It scratched and prickled my arms. The rocks were sharp and broken and every step had to be taken with care so as to find a foothold. My ankles twisted with every step as I picked my way across the huge boulders that had been tossed and turned in every possible direction along the river bed. I yelled back to Kate: "It's not far." "You must be joking", she yelled back.

As I came around the edge of a large rock protuberance I suddenly saw what we had been searching for all day. It was a stunningly beautiful pool with steep rock walls around almost all of it. The rock walls were straight up, hundreds of metres. I waited for Kate and as she also came clamouring around the projecting rock I could feel the rock starting to give way. Kate leapt to grab hold of me in an embrace but the rock wobbled as though balanced on a knife-edge. She grabbed my hand but my balance was lost. "Jump she cried." It was a moment of panic as I had no idea how deep was the water or how far out the rocks went. There was nothing for it but to leap with what leverage remained on the falling rock. It was like pushing yourself on the down pedal of a bicycle when there was no upswing to follow. I had just enough projection out from the rock to miss the rock wall and hit the water with a large belly flop splash. I sank slowly into the water taking in a big gulp. Kate yelled again: "Are you OK". I could just hear the OK as I came to the waters surface. In that moment Kate also leapt away from the tiny rock ledge as she lost her balance--splash again.

I looked around and there seemed no way out as the water ran under the rocks. We both swam to hold onto some small cracks in the rock wall and thought about how might we be rescued.

Gordon MacAulay
15 March 2011

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Caught in a Lie by Peta

"Officer just ask my wife, she can confirm everything I have told you." He said squeezing my hand till it hurt.

She tried not to react to the pain. The policeman’s icy blue eyes held hers.

‘Yes Sergeant, I can verify what Mike has told you. He was at home with me last night, all night.”

“So Mrs Johnson, who do you think might have taken the car, given there are no signs of breaking and entering?”

“I have no idea. I was not aware the car was missing until you knocked on the door.”

There was a stony silence. Sergeant Manning, at least I think that was his name, looked from Mike to me and back. It was impossible to read him. I could feel a hot flush rising, the last thing I needed. The policeman would surely take a reddening of the face as a sign of some sort of guilt. Finally he spoke.

“Very well. I will complete my report. It is highly likely that we will need to speak to you again during the course of the investigation. Please do not touch or use the vehicle until our forensic people give the all clear.”

He turned abruptly and head off down the path to the street frontage.

Mike released the pressure on my hand and retreated to the darkness of the interior. The cool of the house was a welcome relief. It had been sweltering for days and I was over it. This incident was the last thing my frayed nerves needed.

“So Mike, tell me what this is all about.”

“Not now Lydia. I have things to do.” He was heading to his study.

“I think they can wait. I want an explanation and I want it now.”

Mike spun on his heels, turning back to me suddenly.

“It’s pretty obvious what happened isn’t it? I ran over that bastard and left him for dead. Problem is he didn’t die, did he, and now I am for it. This is all your fault you bitch.

The hatred in his eyes was spilling out like a lava flow. I stepped back putting more distance between us.

“Mike, what are you talking about? Who was this guy?”

“Oh come on Lydia. Cut the crap. The game’s up. You’ve been caught out. Why don’t you tell me how long this has been going on?”

Mike grabbed me, holding both my arms firmly with a monster grip. Staring into my eyes, searching for answers.

“For god’s sake let go of me, you’re hurting me. And I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t lie to me woman.” His breath was hot on my cheeks, a mixture of late morning coffee and stale cigarettes. He pushed me back onto the sofa, I landed heavily.

“I swear to you Mike, I don’t know and I’ve never heard of Jason Moore before this morning.”

“How do you explain this then?” Mike reached into his jacket pocket, retrieving a piece of paper. He threw it down on the coffee table. It was a photo of me with a man. I picked it up and looked at Mike.

“So what’s your story now?” he said softly.

“Mike, I have no idea where you got this or what you thought was going on but this is Malcolm Barrow. I told you I was seeing when you were in the US.”

“Malcolm Barrow? Your half brother?” The colour drained completely from Mike’s face. “Malcolm Barrow. So who the hell is Jason Moore?”

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Jason and the donkey-brown coat (by Heather)

Start with: “I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque.”

I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque. I was twenty and my summer of slaving at the public library was reduced to a little piece of paper burning a hole in my jacket pocket.

I was window-shopping downtown with the love of my life, Jason, a fellow university student, when we spotted the coat in the window of an elegant little boutique. I drew him inside and found the rack where the coats were displayed. He leaned against the mirrors as I found the match for the coat in the window, caressed it, studied its heavy topstitching, checked the lining and finally tried it on, cinching its belt around my 20” waist and dropping my hands into its deep pockets. All he said was, “It matches your eyes exactly.”

“Donkey-brown?” I laughed, alluding to a conversation we’d had earlier about the perfect colour of donkey’s eyes. He only shrugged and continued to watch me.

It might have been his comment, or the angle of his body in that lean, that swayed my purchase, as much as the coat itself.

I loved them both in that moment. The wool and cashmere cloth of the coat draped in graceful folds; the lines of the lapels and shoulders were elegant; the whole coat was a portal to culture and refinement. And that brown! – rich and dry at the same time, a haunting colour with limitless depth. Jason also draped gracefully not only against mirrors but over me, and over my growing sense of self. He was the portal to a world of culture, intimate conversation and sexuality.

Jason lasted in my life another eight months. In March of 1967 he decided to join the Peace Corps and we took tearful goodbyes. It probably never crossed either of our minds to try to make a long-term relationship of what we called “our good thing”.

The coat lasted me all through university and beyond that for a year or two of my subsequent career. My image of myself in it, with boots, scarf and long lustrous hair, has lasted my life.

Sadly, I can no longer picture Jason.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Donkey-Brown Coat - by Rick

I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque. I still have it. I still wear it. I’m wearing it now. I was 21 at the time, not certain yet about where I was going in my life nor how far, but even then I knew that going for what I want was important. It set a trend, a path upon which I’ve trodden all my life and it’s gotten me to where I am today.

I stand before you as one of you, brought in by invitation from my friend John here, who’s been a member of this organisation for years and who kept trying to get me to come out and see what it’s all about. I knew I should, but I kept putting it off. I always had some good excuse. I’m not a joiner. I’m not ready yet. I don’t need this. It’s too much effort. And I procrastinated and procrastinated.

Well the final straw that broke my proverbial camel’s back was the magnificent Mercedes Benz convertible that’s sitting out in front of the building. I bought it yesterday and today my wife left me.

So I’m ready to take the pledge. My name is Bart and I’m a compulsive buyer.

Hi Bart!

Phew. It’s taken me 15 years to say that. Everyone else said it. Why was it so hard? This stupid coat for example. What was I thinking? It cost more out of that first paycheque than my rent did. Donkey-brown? Jackass-brown is more like it. I know I’m talking to the choir here, but you should see my house. Well my rented flat actually. We could never afford the down payment, even during the easy credit when no down payment was all you needed. I think my wife married me because of the size of the engagement ring. You guessed it – three months’ worth of paycheques went into that one.

Well I’ve had it. The Mercedes goes back tomorrow. I have a 7 day cooling off period and I’m taking it up. And you can count on me to be here every week, with no new acquisitions either and maybe one day, I’ll get my wife back.

Friday, 18 February 2011

A winter in the cold (Kerry)

I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque.

My very first pay-cheque? Now I don’t remember that. I don’t think I ever got a pay-cheque in my life. Always the little paper packet of notes and coins. Maybe that’s why I don’t recall how much I earned. It required counting every time.

But the coat is very familiar. Donkey-brown is the description I gave for the colour only after it was no longer possible to wear the coat. It has hung forlornly in my wardrobe now for years. Since I’ve grown too large, shall we say, for it to fit me. Donkey-brown is actually a rather delicate tawny grey which I really loved in the beginning. When I still had fresh young skin and bright eyes. It rather complemented my dark hair I thought.

It was a daring purchase in some ways. But at the same time a necessary one. I was living in New York and it was coming on winter so I needed something to keep the chills out. I had had a beautiful coat that I’d worn for years through my schooling but it was so dated and so not-New-York that I refused to wear it when I moved from up-state.

I remember now the shopping trip with my new work-mate, Christy. She was the daring one actually. Took me to a part of town I’d never have ventured into. This was the first coat I tried on and fell in love with straight away. Such gorgeous slim lines. Beautiful tailoring around the collar. And that little fur trim on the collar and sleeves. Very elegant. And fitting for a new up-and-coming executive assistant.

The first day I wore it to work my colleagues whistled as I walked into the office. These days that may have been referred to as sexual harassment but actually I was quite chuffed to be noticed. Better than being ignored I reckoned. I wore it every day after that throughout the winter. Through snow storms, ice storms, rain storms. On the metro, in taxis, walking in the park. You couldn’t separate me from that coat.

I even bought a pair of boots later that winter to match the soft grey of the coat. These were specially for Sundays only. Otherwise I stuck to my black serviceable boots for work and about town.

The coat remains my favourite piece of clothing.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Coat by Peta

I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque. It was a beauty. Long and lush. I wore it everywhere. I remember how one girl in the office was so envious, green she was. She’d walk pass my desk more than was necessary and stroke the coat. I had to tell her off. Didn’t want her sticky mits on my gorgeous garment. And warm .It was so warm. I could have lived in the coat. It made me feel so safe. Wrapped up in it was like being surrounded by the bigs arms of a lovely man. Protecting me from all the evil in the world. Of course I was young and impressionable back then.

I had that coat for many years. It saw me through the end of my adolescence and into womanhood. It was my confidant. I could tell it anything and it never judged.

When I met Jake, my world changed. He swept me off my feet, in the same way the coat had done all those years before. He wrapped me up in his huge arms and loved me like no other. It was such a blessing. When he asked me to be his wife, I cried and cried so much I could not even respond. But he knew my answer without words. I wore my coat that day.

One day I was walking home from work. I travelled along a side road to escape the hustle and bustle of the traffic. I came across an old woman. She sat on a bench, the snow flakes landing on her grey hair. She was all skin and bones and shivering against the cold. Her clothes were old and clearly not warm enough for the conditions. I stopped and asked her if she was OK. She looked at me strangely and smiled in a way that told me no one had asked her such a question for a long time. I sat down next to her. Side by side we sat in silence, in the falling snow. A street vendor came past and I bought her a cup of coffee. Her face broke open with a warm smile as she greedily sipped the hot dark liquid. The steam rose and her nose turned red. I had to go. Jake would be worried. I said good bye and rose to leave. After a few steps I stopped and turned. Her tiny fingers clenched the warm mug which she held close to her face accepting the radiating heat. I retraced my steps and stopped again in front of her. Her tired eyes look up at me questioningly. I took off my lovely donkey brown coat and wrapped it around her shoulders.

“Stay warm and well” I said to her in a soft low voice. “This coat has always protected me, it’s your turn now.”

I hurried off and didn’t look back. I can still remember the look of gratitude on her face like it was yesterday.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

My First Coat--Gordon

Prompt: "I remember that donkey-brown coat, bought with my first ever paycheque."

Nonchalance is like a prelude.

I walked down the shopping arcade with an air of nonchalance and expectation, surrounded by tall oak trees that held the street in their embrace by covering the bitumen strip like a green archway. Dotted between the shiny trunks were reflective shop windows that gave a sparkle to the elegant streetscape. Couples wandered down the sidewalks peering into shop windows and laughing and giggling as they walked. Others scurried from one office to the other conveying a feeling of rush and hurry. I resisted any form of rush as my intent was a new coat. I had dream't for weeks of walking into a shop and immediately seeing just the right coat. It had to be brown with a fine weave of grey giving it a sheen that portrayed 'well-dressed'. This moment should not, and could not, be rushed as it had to be just right.

I walked though the arched doorway and opened the heavy glass door. "Hello sir," the assistant exclaimed. "Can I help you?"
In the moment I said: "I would just like a look around." "My name is Arthur, and I would be delighted to help you, but do take your time." The preliminaries over I turned and looked at the elegant clothing beautifully displayed on criss-crossing racks and also around the walls of the room. It took only a moment and there was the coat I had to have. "Could, I try this one on", I said. Gently, I took it off the rack and Arthur helped me put it on. As I swung around to look in the mirror, to my horror I saw the price tag. It was as much as my first cheque. The coat was beautiful and the fit perfect. I loved it and how good it felt.

I had carefully considered how, with my very first cheque, I could buy a whole range of desperately needed kitchen items and maybe even a television. I really did have to have a coat as winter was just around the corner and I had been really cold at university this last year. "I will take it", I said, knowing full well that any television would have to wait at least another four weeks.