Category Archives: EDL Novella – Work in Progress

NANOWRIMO Novel – Cuttings – Day 11


She carries the slip of paper back to the table, sits down and wishes that she still smoked, wants something to mark this moment, but instead she lets her hand hover over the last remaining chocolate biscuit and then she carefully unfolds the square of newsprint,

” lady dwarf named as co-respondent in circus strong mans’ divorce petition”

and then she laughs out loud, the sound bouncing off the tiled walls, sounding louder than it really is.

She shakes her head, reminds herself that there is no-one to see this action and re-reads the headline, still smiling.

It is a gift of sorts, she can, see her mother, or perhaps father, carefully cutting the headline, choosing a resting place for it and then, but it is the then that pulls her up. who exactly was it meant for ? Was it meant for anyone? or is it just evidence of mis-firing synapses, her parents gentle fall into mild confusion, quiet loss and her fathers’ baffled expression as he tried, and failed, to keep on top of names, dates, constantly vanishing personal possessions.

She shrugs, it’s all too late now, she cannot have these questions answered, so has to take the cuttings in face value, left for someone to do something with and as there is no-body else then she will take them as hers, her gift and to what she can with them.

This  one is already pulling at her, a thread of a story beginning to unwind. She knows that now is the best time to start, so takes a bite of the biscuit which she has been absently holding, licks the melted chocolate off her fingers and sits for a moment, absolutely still, waiting for the story to emerge.

The Next Narrative – When God gives you lemons……

I heard that once, that saying and I thought, that’s me, that’s my life and God knows, he’s thrown plenty of lemons my way and I like to think that I’ve made lemonade.

I didn’t ask for any of this, like you didn’t ask to be blond or left-handed or blue-eyed, it’s just what we get given and it’s what we do with it that matters.

So, I’m small, really, really small, but and I say so myself, perfect, a bonsai version of a woman, everything in proportion, but tiny and take it from me, that’s just not true of many of the dwarves I know.

They  look unfinished, lumpy, hands too big, heads too big, but me, I’m a porcelain doll of perfection.

And yeah, I use the word dwarf, hell, why not. In my mind it’s like those black kids using the word n****, I’m just reclaiming it, making it my own and I like to see your faces when I use the word, like to see you look away, try to hide your embarrassment, try to hide your desire.

And right again, this is my chosen career, my profession, like I said, you get lemons and I tried the big world, tried an office job, everyone being kind to me, trying not to stare when I used a foot step to turn  the lights on and off. I was the one everyone came to, poured their hearts out, because none of them ever thought I had that kind of life, real, raw, dirty. To them I was just a doll, something to talk to and I learnt to not see the mens’ eyes on me, learnt to ignore the unspoken questions, the barely thought about, cos thinking about that stuff makes you feel like a bad man, a wrong man, a pervert, physical pondering.

And I’d probably still be there, wearing my age 3 to 4 clothes and do you know how hard it is to find black trousers in that size?, if it hadn’t had been for the freak show and yeah, I know what you’re thinking, freak show, in this day and age. How exploitative, how un PC, how very not modern, but you’d be wrong.

This was the new freaks – freak show run by freaks for freaks, making lemonade, hell, we were making champagne from the lemons we got given.

And I loved it, loved being around people who saw that what I had was special, saw that I was special, made me feel special and the money was great and people looked at me and I looked right back at them and dared them to stare.

We ran late at night, carried good security, ejected the drunks, the pity whores and became cool, stylish, invited to the right parties, got to wear tiny versions of designer outfits.,  there was even talk of me becoming a Vivienne Westwood muse.

Sometimes, people, who am I fooling here, men, it was always men, wanted to touch me, to hold me, offered me a lot of money and hey why have lemonade when you can have Chivas Regal ?

So, I became a teeny tiny courtesan, Polly in your pocket and yeah, it’s maybe not the career path my mother dreamed for me, but she’s not the one who has to live my life and besides and you probably didn’t know this, but dwarves, well, let’s just say, we’re not known for our longevity.

Besides, it’s not like any of the men mattered, none of them got to me. I stayed pure, clean, in my head I was still the porcelain doll.

I didn’t know it, but love was coming, love would fill me, love would lift me up.

See, you need to understand something about the New Age freaks, most of us, well, our bodies are different, born that way and we’re cautious about the others, the ones who do it for themselves, it’s almost as if they’re cheating, but, we need them, they add colour, glamour, so we have the tattooed lady, the starving man, the geek and of course a strong man. They change, a new geek every summer, a different strong man. they come and go, but we, we are constant.

Listen to me, I’ve gone all thoughtful, big words. I’m tiny, but I’m not stupid, I just pretend, it makes me more doll-like, more delicate.

But, the strong man, well, one went away and a new one came and i noticed him, all us girls did, because he was drop dead beautiful and I started watching him,watching him perform, spying on him training, feasting my eyes on his perfect body.

Yeah, you’re right, it was something about the scale of him, the space he took up.

I found myself dreaming about him, his arms wrapped round me, his biceps bigger Than my head, but it was more than that, there was something else, something that made me shy and I gotta tell you, I don’t do shy, no way Jose, but I couldn’t talk to him.

I just watched and waited, waited for the right moment, knew it would come…….

( to be continued)


MAYBE AN ILLUSTRATION FOR THE EDL STORY?


20120630-195759.jpg

saw this dog in a city centre , think he will make a great illustration for the EDL novella


final section of the EDL story


They walk away, keeping their heads down, Scott wants to run, but Lee keeps his hand on his shoulder

“easy now ” he says

“we need to keep under the radar, get back to the coach, get home”

Scott nods, although he is so pumped, so full of adrenaline that he thinks he might actually explode. He bounces on the balls of his feet, hand still curled into fists, so much energy inside him that he hardly knows what to do with himself.

Their exploits have travelled before them, when they reach the coach, having dived and ducked along every side street and alley way to avoid the huge police presence that is closing down the city, they are met with whistles, cheers, nods of approval. Some of the older guys even give them a round of applause.

Scott tries and fails to look unimpressed, as if this is an everyday occurrence. He can’t help himself, this feels like celebrity, a huge grin splits his face, this is belonging, this is what he has been looking for.

On the coach travelling home, they are heroes. None of the other hard men in the group got through the police line. They tell and  re-tell their story. other men join in, veterans of other skirmishes, other running battles and in the telling, their stories become heroic.

Throng girl and her mate are all over him, she moves across the coach, bounces down on his lap, gives a lap dance wriggle which makes Lee and Kev whoop and cheer, Scott cannot wipe the grin from his face. Thong girl gives him her real name – Gemma – says she will friend him on Facebook.

Finally, it’s all over, the farewells at the coach and Scott is walking home alone, suddenly, he is bone, dog tired, every part of his body aching, He cannot wait to get home , veg out on the sofa, see what his mum’s got in for tea. He realises he is starving – what’s the thing his granddad says – could eat a scabby dog – Scott understands what he means now.

He knows he shouldn’t , but he can’t help himself and dives into the chippy – a cone of chips will keep him going until he gets home.

There is no queue and there he is – eyeball to eyeball with Ahmed, serving behind the counter in his dad’s take-away  – year above him at school, good footballer, bit of  a headcase.

There is a pause, Ahmed looks at him, takes in Scotts’ bloodstained face, tattered union jack still tied around his shoulders, bruised knuckles.

They both stare at each other and then Scott turns and leaves the shop.

Yeah, better to get home, not ruin his appetite, chips are not a good idea tonight.


chapter 7


the cold is deep into his bones now – the union jack he draped across his shoulders hours ago is now wrapped tightly around him, a desperate attempt to keep some warmth in, some of the biting wind out.

scott is terrified that his shivering may be mistaken for fear, the men around him seem untouched by the cold, some are  dressed only  in t-shirts, bare arms folded as they stand impassive, watching the police watching them.

the speeches must have finished,there is a change in the energy of the crowd, the police line is tighter again, as they move in to shunt the marchers back to their coaches.  Lee and Kev are moving forward, sliding into position with the local men, Lee nods towards a tiny side street

“we leg it up there, through the industrial estate , across the roundabout and bingo – paki land central get in”

scotts nods – what else is there to do?

suddenly, there is a shout and as if on a signal, 100, 200 men start to run, scott goes with them, feet pounding on the pavements, heart racing, but careful to stay near Lee and Kev, who move surprisingly fast for blokes who smoke as much as they do.He looks at Lee, grins with the physical pleasure of movement, the union jack is unfurling from his shoulders, he catches sight of ‘himself in a shop window, the flag is like a cape and for a moment it’s as if he is superman, flying to rescue the citizens of Metropolis – it feels good.

the police have been taken by surprise and the group have covered a lot of ground quickly, they power through the arse end of the city centre – bursting out – looking for trouble, looking for pakis, towel heads, guiness bottle women, anything really to make this day feel worthwhile. to live up to the hype, their promised day of reckoning.

And there it is, the road narrows ahead and stranding waiting are the enemy . There is a moment when both groups pause, cannot believe their luck, this it – face to face,no civilians, no police.

Scott remembers a film he saw with his dad, some olden days Scottish blokes, real Berserkers, they did this shouting thing when they went into battle – it’s happening now – all around him men are shouting, noises beyond words – raw animal noise and Scott  joins in  as they run

50 yards

40 yards

30 yards

he has no real idea what will happen when the 2 groups meet – this is bigger than the school routs  he used to take part in his school against its’ historical enemy – that was always more about bluster, rep building, being there, a few blows and then allowing your mates to drag you off .

today, he thinks in that split second before it all kicks off, may be something else completely.

And then, it starts, Scott throws himself at this  guy, about his age, a bit taller but lighter, more fragile looking,and its nothing like in the movies or in Modern Warfare, its messy and grappely and it bloody hurts.

Scott is doing alright though – gets a few punches in, see his man on the floor, goes to give a good kicking  but and he doesn’t know why, he pauses, just for a moment, looks up and in all the chaos around him, somehow, he meets Lees’ eyes and Lee nods and its like time has slowed right down, frozen even and  scott has time to look at the figure on the ground, has enough space to take a deep breath, and then he kicks again and again and again.

And now there is a new noise, cutting across the shouts, the grunts, the moans ,the sound of horseshoes on road, 30 police horses, big,sweated, snorting horses are cantering up the road>Kev grabs him

“time to go” he says,matter of fact tone, not even out of breath

Lee and Kev scoop him up and all 3 of them start to move away, quickly heading back toward the coach.

Scott feels something cold, damp on his face, he touches it with his fingers, blood, but he’s not sure if its his or someone elses – he dabs at it with the union jack flag which by some miracle is still wrapped around his neck.

All three of them are walking arm in arm. but it feels ok, not weird or gy or anything. Actually, it feels better than OK, it feels great.
Scott feels like a warrior.


chapter 6


scott looks to the left and right -, trying to work out the best way to slip away and get some food. it takes him a few seconds to realise that he is trapped – at the end of the street is a large & solid-looking metal barrier, with a double row of police  in front of it, police are standing on both sides of the street and when he looks to the back of the march just in case he can sneak out that way he sees with just a touch of panic that he has no chance. The police have neatly funneled the last of the marchers in, closing off that exit with a line of very large police horses. Scott has never met a horse up close, he’s not scared of them or anything, but these are big buggers and the only thing that Scot knows about horses is that they kick and bite, so he’s not planning on taking any risks by getting too close.

He’s heard about this – kettling, he didn’t think it would feel this bad and of course now, the moment he finds that he can’t, he really really wants a piss, that 3rd pint was not a good idea.

he looks about for familiar faces and is stupidly,hugely relieved to see Lee and Kev a few feet ahead, he moves towards them, hoping that they cant see how anxious he feels, hoping that he is still coming across as just a bit cool

“alright” he mumbles

Lee nods, Kev is focused in rolling a fag, but grunts, Scott is not sure if the grunt is aimed at him or the general difficulty of rolling a smoke one-handed on a cold & windy day.

the three of them stand there, Lee and Kev seem watchful, they are less relaxed than earlier, its as if they are wiating for something, Scott cannot believe that they are actually excited about listenng to some speeches, there must be somethuing else going on and he wants to know, wants to be in on it.

“so, what happens next?” – he shuffles his feet, doesn’t look up, tries hard to give out that dis-interested vibe.

The look he perfected at school, the one that made sure that teachers left you alone, that hid any interest you might have  in a lesson, that kept you tight  with the proper hard kids, kept you safe from the random violence meted out to the boffins, the fuck wits who dared to give a school a go.

Lee points to a group of youngish guys stood to one side

“local – know the ground, they reckon there’s a big mosque just the other side of that roundabout near the coaches – we’re gonna give the police the slip there, go & kick some towel heads in – make a bit of mischief, you coming?”

the question is casual, but Lee looks right at him as he asks it.

scott realises that this is a test, he needs to answer just right, this is his chance to get involved, get taken seriously, do something, get noticed.

“yeah – go on then” – he pauses to pull out a fag, makes a bit of a production of lighting it

“whatever”

Kev leans forward and ruffles his head – his hair is so short now that the touch sends shivers up Scotts’  spine

“F*** off, you old queer”

Lee laughs and moves off towards the  knot of men he pointed out to them earlier.

The speeches drone on, Scott is bored, he’s right, it is just like school, mostly he tunes it out, remembering to clap when everyone else does.

They are part of a larger group now – 30 or 40 guys – Scott is the youngest , they dont say much, just stand there smoking, occasionally stamping their fee tto keep warm in the biting wind, waiting for this to end, waiting for the real action to begin.

Scott remembers the last real fight he had – Yr 11 – this big Somali lad – Omar somebody or another.

wasnt really his fault, they had a supply teacher, didnt understand how things worked,  Somails sat together, pakis together, white boys in the back row. She tried to make them sit all over the place, so Omar starts calling his mother – Kyle and Tye hear him. so Scott can’t pretend it isnt happening, has to do something, defend their honour, keep the respect.

he lunges at Omar, gets a punch in, Omar is huge & shakes him off, this makes Scott so angry that he proper looses it – feet &  fist flying the class go mad – shouting and cheering

“fight fight fight”

the teacher looks terrified and it takes 3 staff to pull them apart.

Scott got an external for that – 3 days at home – like that’s a punishment.

His mum went mental,especially when she had to go up to  the school with him and grovel to keep him in school for his exams, but he can remember just how good it felt, how satisfying that first punch had been.

he really hopes that today will be as good, just wishes that he can have a wee before it all kicks off.

 

 

 


CHAPTER 5 – EDL STORY


 

Scott is almost surprised that it’s still daylight when they go to leave  , he feels as if he’s been there for hours, he blinks in the light, trying to focus after the strip lighting of the crowded bar.

When his eyes are finally working again he realises that everything has changed. there are police everywhere, they stand two deep, closely packed together, creating a pathway to funnel the marchers to their meeting point.

Scott has never seen so many police in one place, for a moment he wonders if this is going to be ok, but then one of the march stewards produces a megaphone and the chant starts

“whose streets?”

“our streets”

“who’s culture?”

“Our Culture”

he joins in on the responses, at first a little hesitantly, there is something a bit dumb, a bit gay about shouting out loud in public, he doesnt want people to stare at him and then he remembers the whole point of this is to be stared at, to be noticed, to make some noise.

His voice gets louder and louder, now he is screaming the words out

“Our streets”

“our culture”

It feels good, to be part of something, to fill the space around you with noise, to hear the same words coming from all the mouths that surround you

Scott remembers when he & his dad used to go the football on  a Saturday – lunchtime in the pub,  his dad sneaking him sips of dark bitter, 3 packets of prawn cocktail crisps and then out into the streets, everyone wearing the same – a sea of blue streaming towards the Ground & Scott walking next to his dad, bugging him to buy a programme, knowing  even as his dad moaned about the cost, that at the end of the day he would be walking home clutching a souvenir programme to add to his collection.

Scotts’s not quite sure when he & his dad stopped going to football together, he knows the season ticket stopped when he dad got made redundant last year, but thinking about it, the whole  father son thing stopped when Scott left school, when he refused to go to college, when he walked out of 1 and then 2 poxy stupid jobs.

But today, today is even better than football, all around him are men and boys who look like him,  sound like him………………

Scott looks to the side,  Lee and Kev are actually marching, heads up, arms swinging – it should be stupid, but actually it isn’t and he finds himself marching too, looking straight into the eyes of the police that line the route, a feeling of pride, of belonging so strong that it gets all emotional inside his  head & for a terrible split second, Scott almost cries but he focuses on the chanting & the moment passes

“whose’s culture ?”

“our culture”

“Sharia Law”

“No thanks”

There is something happening behind the lines of police, he looks more carefully, tries to work out whats happening. People are standing, most of them have got their phones out, taking pictures, Scott stands up tall, sticks his chest out, if he’s going to appear as someones’ Facebook status, he want to look his best. But there is something else too, there are  people just watching, mostly older, wrapped up against the bitter cold in sensible fleeces – they are clapping, nodding , making eye contact with the marchers, smiling at some of the banners.  He wonders why they don’t join in , maybe they are too old, too whack, too scared.

The march is moving to its end point now, this is where there will be a rally and speeches – Scott’s not so sure about this bit feels a bit like a school assembly – he wonders if this would be a good time to wander off, have something to eat – he could murder a Big Mac meal, maybe check out Footlocker – he starts looking out for thong girl and her mate – maybe he can persuade them to come with him.


EDL Story – Chapter 1


– not my views – but an attempt to write about a character who has views a million miles from mine
Scott’s dad doesn’t know how close he came to being punched ,punched hard, in the face on Tuesday night. Tuesday night is his mums’ zumba night, so he & his dad have to sort themselves out, so tonight, its oven chips & chicken  tikka masala, pretty good really and because his mums out, they can eat out of the microwave dishes and save on washing up.So, Scott reckons it’s a good time to tell his dad what he’s planning to do on Saturday, cos this a man sort of thing and he doesn’t need him mum bleating and worrying and doing her thing of focussing on the least important bit , like the time when he and Jake and Nate wanted to go to Glastonbury and all she was worried about was the toilets and where  they would wash their hands.So, he just drops it casual like into the conversation and he really wants a reaction – would even like it if his dad went a bit mental, reacted the way he did when Scott got his eyebrow pierced. Maybe even told him he couldn’t go, so that Scott could kick off a bit, tell his dad, again, what was really going on. Deep, deep down, Scott would like his dad to be a bit impressed, maybe even say he will come too, but, his dad just leans over, snaffles a chip from his plate and ruffles his hair and just for a second Scott really, really wants to punch him, but then Jeremy Clarkson starts talking and his dad stops paying him any attention and the moment is gone.Scott’s being trying to tell his parents what’s going on for months now, he’s shown them stuff on you-tube and web sites but they just don’t get it, when he told his mum about Sharia law, she just laughed and said she quite fancied wearing a burkha if it made getting ready for work that  bit quicker.Scott gets its though and he’s started meeting other people who get it too and they don’t treat him like a kid and no-body there ruffles his hair and people listen to him like when he tells them about going past his old primary school and how that felt.He was walking past the school and the weird thing was he recognised some of the teachers, still in their sensible shoes and smelling of coffee, but the kids, the kids, they were all speaking loads of languages, all wearing those head scarf things , he looked around the playground and he couldn’t see one, not even one white face and it made him feel angry and wrong, so he pushed Tyson close to the fence and Tyson barked and all the kids ran away and that made him feel a little better, gave him back a bit of power and when he talked about it at the meeting, the other guys nodded and seemed to understand how  it could be.
Saturday morning, he’s up really early and he thinks about taking some weed with him, just to mellow out the day, but then he remembers that they mustn’t do anything to give the police an excuse, so he has a little smoke on the way to the bus station, so he’s feeling pretty chilled and he wishes he has Tyson with him, cos Tyson is a cool looking dog – almost a pit bull, but his mum did  that thing again when he just happened to mention taking Tyson,  that focusing on the not important and she started really stressing about Tyson getting lost, never mind him, so Tyson got  to stay at home and here he is now, walking through town before the shops are even open.
At the bus station, there’s a group waiting and coaches all ready to take them to Leicester, there’s even some girls, a couple are wearing really good t-shirts with the name of their group and the date, he wanted a t-shirt but when he mentioned it to his mum she said that money was too tight to mention and then his dad started singing some lame song from back in their day and then they started dancing around the kitchen and he was so embarrassed that he go upstairs and shut his bedroom door to drown them out.
But these girls look good and he wants to talk to them, wishes he had a spliff on the go so that he could offer it to them, break the ice, get chatting, but he just nods instead and goes and stands near the coach.
Lee and Kev are there, so he stands next to them, they are older and there’s something comforting about them. They don’t say much, but they’ve been doing this  a long time. they’re like some kind of back in the day warriors, they get respect and Scott reckons on staying as close as possible to them, somehow, he hasn’t really mentioned that he’s never done this before and he’s scared that he might get it wrong, show himself up, look like a kid. But he reasons, stay with them and just copy what they do – should be alright.
The coaches are filling up now – somehow Scott expected more people, maybe some of them are making their own way – it reminds him a bit of school trips – there’s even one of the organisers standing at the coach steps ticking names off and handing out legal advice sheets – could be a teacher from the legend that was the Yr 10 geography field trip – epic weekend that.
Scott looks at the legal advice sheet, wonders what would actually happen if he did get arrested, what would him mum & dad do? They flipped enough when he & his mates got stopped for riding those mini-motos on the reccy – grounded him & took his phone away – he pretty much decides there and then that he’s not ready to get arrested for the cause. This is his first time out, he can take it easy, stay under the radar, suss it all out, make plans for next time.