Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

A short story written by Adam Knowles

My old room was far away as I blasted across the Antarctic wilderness, my only companions were the team of highly skilled proboscis monkeys pulling my sled, and Uguaua—the most beautiful bonsai cork tree in all the land.

It was in Peru that we were married, the land that we called home, but, sadly, it was not to be. They said it wasn’t simply homophobia. They claimed it wasn’t simply because he was green and I was white (though had dyed my left ankle plum crush in an unfortunate glass-blowing accident some years before). For the most part, I think, the others simply could not accept the idea of a man marrying a cork tree. They were ashamed of our love.

So, Uguaua and I decided to live far away from Peru, and the scorn of our families. I left my old room behind, in favour of a new abode: That small chariot. The tiny sled that was the one possession belonging to Uguaua and I, and we shared it with each other.

Supersonic-Uber-Hyper-Extreme-Crazy Monkey-Powered Ephemeral Madness Sled Team Antarctic Mega Sled Racing is a simple joy. A wholesome, traditional lifestyle where people get on with each other, and nobody asks too many questions, like: “What’s up with that cork tree in the passenger seat? It’s wearing a rather stylish ski jacket and spilling compost everywhere.” Everybody here had their own painful history, and in the brief glances of conversation that occur as one sled rider hurtles past another, nobody wants to bring it up.

It was in this quaint world of S.U.H.E.C.M.P.E.M.S.T.A.M.S.R. (as it is known locally) that Uguaua and I managed to continue our simple lives together. The bitter, icy air only served to contrast the sweet warmth within our hearts. Or, my heart anyway, and Uguaua’s xylem vessels, the warmth of which was, in fact, provided by a small hot water bottle tied delicately to his trunk beneath his ski jacket.

That ski jacket had been a gift from my mother. Like the others, she did not completely understand the relationship between Uguaua and myself. Truth be told, I do not think she approved, but she accepted. And that was enough for us. On the day that we set off toward our new life, sled paid for and monkeys ready and waiting in Sydney, she gave that ski jacket to Uguaua. “It’s cold down there” was all she said. The tears in her eyes spoke far more.

I think, literally and metaphorically, it was that ski jacket that gave Uguaua the strength to come this far. Uguaua was from a single parent family—his father having self-pollinated—and I have a feeling that my mother had always wanted to make up for that. I’m sure Uguaua feels the same way, but I’ve never wanted to ask. Out here, in the cold Antarctic, words can only explain so much. Words are worth little when the sled jets are roaring, and worth even less in the silence of night—the monkeys snuggled down firmly in their hammocks. Uguaua has never talked much.

Setting off in the morning, I stepped through the canvas flap at the entrance to our small, chilly room and gazed out across the wastes, wondering how much further we had to go, and whether we would ever get there. Though my eyes were hidden behind frosty goggles, the wind ruffled through my thick, bushy moustache, making this place seem even more barren, more real than its bleak appearance would suggest in a photograph.
“Come on,” said Uguaua, gently, “We’ll get through this.”


A story written by ‘Mathew Bishop’

And as another weekend appears, so does another teenage house party. This time it was Jo’s. Her parents were around, in-fact they encouraged us to “drink safely indoors”. Sure we’re 17 and that’s sorta illegal, but they drink at 14 in France. Who says we have it correct over here? 

I hung around outside waiting for Mary, my girlfriend for those not in the know, to appear. When she did turn up. she was late, and she didn’t look happy to see me. I got a D grade in Communication Studies, so I’m qualified to read human body language. 

All I said was “Hey, what’s up”, and I get a lecture about “how periods are the chains on woman’s feet”, and that as a man “I’d never understand the complexity of ovulation”. 

“Chicken’s lay eggs everyday”, I mentioned, “and you don’t hear them complain”. 

She just looked at me, with those puffed out cheeks, flared nostrils, and the look in the  eyes which say “I can’t believe you just said that”. See, my D came into play there. 

In hindsight, that was stupid. You don’t disagree with her. You just don’t. If you do, well you’ll find out why your opinion is wrong. I don’t mind. I’ve been taking it for months. That’s what love really is though, moulding to their needs to fit in with them. It may seem silly, but it works, because I know she loves me too. 

The rest of the night seemed to go without anything else going out of place. I managed to finish my Baileys, Diana made a bottle of vodka disappear, and fiveteen minutes later, managed to make it reappear. Silly girl. 

Why do people drink Vodka? It’s just like rubbing alcohol, except with a pretty bottle. It burns your tongue and just makes you drunker, quicker. Enjoy your poison I say. 

I got to spend some time with Mary. Not to put too much gratuitous detail into it, as after all I am a gentleman, and this is on the internet. We both had a good time. Surely a home-run is just round the corner. 

Simon lives on the other side of town than us, so he spent the night at Mary’s. Me and Pete decided to walk home, as it’s not too far away. He went one way, and I scuttled along the other. Walking though a city on a Tuesday night, even one as tiny as Winchester, is an odd experience. So much is going on. Drunks stumbling out of pubs, narrowly missing cars. Gangs of Chavs roaming the streets with the idea they’re “ard”. I would never test that idea myself, but when I’m locked in my room and under my duvet, I can laugh at them. Quietly. 

I managed to get home in one piece, somehow. I don’t seem to remember parts of the trip, so it felt like a record time. In the morning, when I got back into conciousness, I found I had been cuddling something all night. Turns out, my new companion was a small traffic cone. Technically, I’m a criminal, but unless anyone can recognise the cone in a line up, I’m off scott free. I made sure I had a good wash. Who knows where that thing’s been. 

Met up with Mary and Simon in town, who seem to be in a pretty funny mood with each other. We had a debate about all sort of low level things, such as Skins and Communism, They didn’t believe that the latter would really work. However, as a Communist myself, I know it does work. However, Mary and (surprisingly) Simon are too blind to see this. If they are a general slice of humanity however, then I guess we’re all doomed. 

Besides, what makes them think they deserve an opinion? 

As Mary left for home (she had work), me and Simon had a talk. Turns out he’s doing alright. He’s just currently feeling slightly down at the moment, but it’s hard to tell with him though. 

You see, that’s his gift and his curse. He doesn’t really have emotions. I don’t mean that like he’s shallow, like one of those plastics wondering around in their River Island clothes. It’s just that he seems to be someone who will never really be high or low. I’m glad I don’t have that, else I’d never experience the highs that I now feel day to day.  

But why should I bother how he feels? I’m happy, he’s not. Not my problem. I’m just busy being my perfect self at the moment.

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