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June 12th – flash fiction ‘Just wrong’

June 12, 2012

I like to write occasional pieces of short fiction.  Flights of fancy and imagination really.  When I read this I’m tempted to call it a story for two voices.  I’m going to read this tonight at Leeds University Chaplaincy open mic.  The formatting is a bit wonky but I hope it doesn’t make it hard to read.  Let me know any comments you have.

Just Wrong

‘Where have you gone to?’
‘Eh?’
‘Derek, where did you go to, just then?’
‘Nowhere, Look, I’m sorry. I’ve not done this before and I don’t really understand the question.’
‘OK, when I asked you how did her reaction make you feel, your face sort of, shut down’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, you stared at me quite hard, then your eyes glazed over and I noticed your jaw seemed to clench.’

It was true. I’d flown. Quicker than a jet-packed rat up a drain pipe. I’d left her consulting room and been fired back to the booth in the DSS. The bloody crummy DSS. The bloody crummy DSS with no bloody privacy with halfwits and skivers listening to my humiliation and the fucking smug Keren, Keren spelt K-E-R-E-N smiling with her manically twitching mouth. She’d told me I lacked the requirements for a advertising space sales assistant. It wasn’t right. I knew how to sell. I’d sold my pride for 25 years to Brownroyds.
Keren had thanked me, glanced again at my application form then failed to conceal a smirk that threatened to crack her orange make up.

What I hadn’t realised was whilst I’d sold myself, I’d saved my anger. I’d saved it for one catastrophic explosion. The judge told me I’d blown up the wrong target at the wrong time. There were innocent victims. My unblemished record, blown to smithereens. I’d been an unconscious suicide bomb of anger. Except I was still alive, a corporeal ghost carrying the sins of my outburst.

I walked into the court unknown and walked out into the pages of the Yorkshire Post. It must have been a quiet news day. I occupied the sort of photo in which I’d have condemned me for looking ‘the type’. I hadn’t realised that I had such a tortured manic look. That stitches in my head re-enforced the look of a dangerous aggressor, not a victim. Had my rage been that newsworthy? Maybe the joke bore re-telling. Apparently so.

Clearly I was mad, bad and in need of punishment. Fined, and seeing a counsellor for my anger issues were not the preferred punishments of the mouth breathers that drop their poorly spelt, acidic spew onto the Yorkshire Post bulletin boards. They’d have had me wearing a lead suit, diving for shit in the river Aire…

‘Derek? Derek? You’ve gone again. Come back and tell me what’s happening?’
‘I’m sorry. I was just…you know?’
‘Not really, can you explain?’
‘That anger.’
‘What anger?’
‘I’ve never allowed myself to feel that angry before. I felt cleansed. You know it took three taser shots to bring me down.’
‘I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing.’
‘You’re right, I know it’s not. But. Fuck, I felt so alive. It must have been the adrenalin. I was shouting with laughter.’
‘But you caused five thousand pounds worth of damage and put two members of staff on long term sick.’
‘I can’t feel sorry for them. They’ll get paid whilst I’m still unemployed, with a record and no chance of getting a job. And I’m the punch line of the crappiest joke ever.
You know, they were right to not give me the job. I couldn’t sell their advertising space. Not at my age, what is a pre-teen magazine? Selling young girls superficialities masquerading as advice about make up, clothes and food; about buying a make believe life when they’re not even teenagers. “If you wish upon a star”. What kind of title is that?’
‘Is that what triggered your response?’
‘No.’
‘What was it?’
‘It was after her sign off line. Did she have to say “Keep wishing upon a star and maybe your dreams will come true”.?’
‘She said in her evidence that is was company policy to say it at the end of every interview.’
‘I know. But she said it, saw my signature and smirked.’

And I’m back in the courtroom and again I can hear it. The looks and stifled giggles…

‘Derek, come back. Derek, I know this isn’t easy. Please, Mr Disney, answer me.’


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