Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Intro to Shot No 20

I started to write this about some of my favourite words, and overheard a remark which I let distract me.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

SHOT NO 20, by Anthony Sides

That hiss of the wind in trees rippling white-sided.

My uncle's son-in-law drove him to a nursing home to die. A black woman in a uniform came out.

"Bloody hell," my uncle said. "What tribe are you?"

Oh, no, please, my uncle's son-in-law thought.

"Matabele," the woman said, and as she guided and supported my uncle lifting himself out of the back of the car in to his wheelchair my uncle and the woman started to have a conversation together with each other in Swahili. My uncle had done some of his National Service in Kenya and said he had learned to speak some Swahili there.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

SHOT NO 19, by Anthony Sides

Mr Grafton marched out of his premises when he heard the thin bright wire of the scream climb in to the autumn sky. The tram scraped screeching and stopped. The horses stood, ears flicked, heads bobbed, the long reins pulled tight.

Shied when a straw bonnet with a ribbon on it blew past their hocks and hoofs. There was blood on the brim. The people on the street were silent with a sick feeling, and then whispers.

Practical grey-handlebar-moustached Mr Grafton marched forward to take charge. His bowler hat was straight and he was wearing a starched shirt and black cravat and the trousers and waist coat of his grey 3-piece suit, having left his jacket in the office in his haste taking his bowler from the peg.

Clearly there had been a frightful accident. Terrible business. Mr Grafton knew he must take charge. He stopped by the front of the tram in the middle of the cobbled street and nodded gruffly to the fish-belly-white-faced driver who looked down at him appalled, giant eyes, squid eyes. Mr Grafton bent to look under the tram to be certain the poor party was in fact deceased and would not be further injured if he directed the tram to back up to free the body.

It was 1928. Younger rusty-handlebar-moustached Mr Grafton saved Mark Addy from drowning in the Irwell though it was a misunderstanding, and owned a bicycle shop and then the 1st Ford motor car show room in the south eastern district of the Manchester conurbation. The good son was killed at Ypres. The younger son helped his father with the business, was schizophrenic, shot himself in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Mr Grafton shut down. Continued to attend church. Felt angry all the time without knowing. Survived his wife. Married a young girl. Survived her when she and her straw bonnet were crushed by a horse-drawn tram.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

SHOT NO 18, by Anthony Sides

For 4 hours I remember nothing at all the pretty horses come to the aid of the quick red fox glacier mints meat polar bear arms and the manifold it 5 ways and put it where the moon don't shine on harvest moon river Just once I'd like to hear you scream in pain Try playing some rap music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel red jacket white T blue jeans He has to see us Harry Webb and the Spyders in the heat of the night of the iguana he arrives just in time wounds all heels round about just a minute passes the clock throws minutes in to the room with a view from the bridge contract trumps smells like boiled eggs bus ride from Queens Park giant spidery steel/concrete bridge high above the river in the park funny-coloured textile-smelling water ripples silkily - down from the bridge they throw bags of rubbish mattresses an old brown sofa I thought was a dead cart horse on its side fridges a gold-spray-painted basket chair and a large porcelain doll lying on its back, the river eddies moving the hem of its dress, that turns its head from the side and opens glass Liz Taylor eyes and blinks.