by Daniel Dalton)
“I entered as a wrecking ball might, with abandon, intent on tearing the walls of your home as you did the walls of my heart.”
“Into the soiree a catalyst arrives, hips swaying metronomically as she crosses the floor toward me, lips dancing around the edge of her rum-filled glass. The men in the room are silent, standing catatonic and salivating into their champagne as she pulls me to my feet.
“I’m drunk,” I tell her.
“So what?” she laughs, “it’s the weekend.” She leads me into the middle of the dance floor as toots and whistles sound out from the crowd, the atmosphere rich and wanting. She leans in close and whispers, “let’s have some fun,” and I close my eyes as she rolls into me, letting the crowd fade away behind us.”
“Ghosts don’t like the evening news. Jon Snow on Channel 4 seems to be the most effective barrier against the supernatural, and I turn up the volume as loud as it will go, the deafening analysis of the situation in Crimea preferable to the ungodly wails of a disturbed spirit.
But the ghosts have other plans and hit the mute button on the remote, which they seem to have hidden. My hairs are standing on end as the overwhelming silence sets in and panic gives way to fear.
And then… nothing. I chuckle, thinking how ridiculous my life has become, relieved. As I turn back toward Jon Snow the toaster pops up and I shriek until I shred my vocal chords, the laughter of ghosts echoing throughout the house
“To celebrate the beginning of the summer holidays, the seven decide to have a party. “What fun!” they agreed, and made plans to serve fig rolls with lashings of ginger beer.
The day of the party arrived and everybody was in good form. Tina had been practicing a special dance with Jon, who fancied more than a little bit of Tina. Paul, as was typical of him, was hand-polishing the floor, while Hannah shouted encouragement.
Bradley, in an effort to escape the pre-party jitters, had gone outside to play on the swing. Bradley finds parties ever so stressful.
Rachel, who was hoping to meet a nice boy at the party, despite them only inviting each other, was upstairs raiding her mum’s make-up for the perfect shade of lippy.
The only member of the gang not looking forward to the party was Jo, who had started her period that morning and was currently bed-ridden with cramps.
“Poor Jo,” the other six lamented. Then they had the party anyway, because there isn’t a party quite like an S Club party.”
“Twas the night before Christmas and spirits were high
When the lights were extinguished with a terrible cry
“What is the meaning of this?” shouted the host dressed as Santa
But the barking had started, and we set off at a canter
For the legend was true, demon dogs of the lore
They’d attacked this same night twelve and one years before
“What fools we had been!” I thought, “with our ignorant groans!”
As the dogs downed the host, tore the flesh from his bones
And as we ran with a pace from the bloodcurdling sounds
It dawned on us then; who released the hounds?”
“The jazz club was kinda lousy, the sorta place where everyone thinks the singers are so great as they “bop ba duba dop” and mince around on stage. Not me. I like the blues. That’s where the pain really is. Songs about being old and losing your hair and your woman.
I hope I get that pain someday, I want to sings songs about someone I really loved, that one real swell girl, wondering who will care about me now she’s gone. Much better than this lousy “mmmbop” kinda singing.
“The men woke in a hospital room, strangers but for the uniforms they wore. They looked at each other, freedom fighters of the human resistance, six men in all, and six beds.
“Are we alive?” one asked. He stood and kicked the door, finding it locked. He began pulling the cord out of his arm.
“Don’t do that,” another said.
“Look at the vitals,” the first replied, pointing to his heart monitor. “I’m fine, we’re all fine.”
“That’s not the question we need to ask,” a third man stood up. The rest looked at him. “The Dancer invasion rolled over my unit, I saw my men cut down in battle. I took a shell to the gut. But look at me now. Not a scratch.”
The rest looked on, silent. “Feel my hand,” he reached out to the man next to him. “Ice cold right?” The man nodded.
“The question isn’t are we alive?” He pulled the cords from his arm, and looked at the other men. “The question is, are we human?”
“As the asylum loomed in the distance, Rebecca began kicking the front seat, hissing and screaming as her parents tried to subdue her.
“It’s Friday!” she screamed. “Friday! Friday!” she continued as if stuck in a loop. “Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend!”
She bit down on her mother’s hand and drew blood, as her father pulled the car over.
“See?” Her father said, grabbing her arms. “This is why we have to put her away. She’s hysterical!”
Her mother nodded, nursing her injured hand. “It’s for your own good, sweetheart, I promise.”
But the girl was no longer listening, staring in the distance as the car started moving, whispering to herself.
“It’s Friday. It’s Friday. It’s Friday.”
Grant had been sulking all morning.
“Shouldn’t have had all that coffee,” Brian laughed, pulling into a petrol station and running to the men’s room. Grant rolled his eyes. Grant’s Mum turned round and gave Grant a hard stare.
“Don’t give your Dad such a hard time,” she said.
“He’s not my Dad.”
“We’ve talked about this, you know you’re supposed to call him Dad.”
“I don’t want to. I don’t want a new Dad and I don’t want to move house.”
“He’s nice really, you just have to get to know him.”
“What’s so great about him?”
“He’s got this lovely new Jaguar for starters, and a new house he’s invited us to move into.”
“This isn’t a Jaguar. It’s a Nissan.”
“Same difference. Leather seats, CD player. It’s dead fancy.”
Grant rolled his eyes.
“We’ll start over. It’ll be good, you’ll see,” she said, and turned around.
Grant put his headphones in. He’d already decided he hated Devon. His friends back home had told him they all drank lemon cider in Devon and everyone knows lemon cider isn’t even a thing.
“In the summer of 2000 I enrolled in an aerobics class, less for the fitness, you understand, than for the lycra-clad view. Suffice to say I didn’t understand a word.
“Move in now move out hands up now hands down back up back up,” the instructor shouted, her undecipherable calls accompanied by high tempo electronic dance music. “Tell me what you’re gonna do now!”
“Roll!” the class shouted in unison before spinning to the left, then to the right. I hadn’t moved in two minutes, my feet encased in concrete and confusion. This simply isn’t how I roll.
“That’s right, keep rollin’,” the instructor beamed at us, her face a wall of hyper-white teeth.
The only “rollin’” I did that day was out of that studio and back into my car. The summer of 2000 was also the last time I ever did aerobics.”
“She had a face like a Cornish pasty, wrinkled, sunken, and crumbling, turned an unnatural shade of yellow by her habit. There were holes where her teeth used to be, and her arm was tattooed with a constellation of track marks, the kind you didn’t need a horoscope to decipher.
Her eyes were glazed over and you knew she was no longer in this room. She was off somewhere else, somewhere where she still had hopes and dreams, eighteen again and never looking back.”
“The club was full, and there was someone and something for everyone. Boys who like boys, boys dressed as girls, girls who like girls who look like boys.
What was lacking in emotion was made up for in ecstasy, the constant flow of which ensured the club was full of love; every corner you turn someone who loved you, every face in the crowd someone you really loved.”
“His hands roamed, exploring every inch of my body, my natural curves, my humps, my lovely little lumps
“No ta, me and our kid already took ours. Where were you, like?”