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by DJC 

Posted: 27 January 2006
Word Count: 991
Summary: My flash for this week. More bleak and depressing stuff, I'm afraid. Next week I'll write about kittens, I promise...
Related Works: Alpha • 

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

The boys were bored.
‘How about we find something to burn,’ Ginga said. ‘Like some woodlice or something.’
They hunted for woodlice in the woodpile at the bottom of Ginga’s garden. They found some under a rotten log. They collected them together and put them in a dish.
‘What are we going to burn them with?’ said Minnow.
‘My dad has some meths in the shed.’
They broke into the shed and found the meths. They poured it over the woodlice. Minnow took a lighter out of his jeans pocket and lit the meths. They stood around and watched the woodlice burn. They gave off a peculiar smell, and crackled as they burnt.
‘This is so boring,’ Reece said.
‘We could go wind The Whale up,’ Ginga suggested.
‘We always do that,’ said Minnow.
‘Got anything better to do?’
It was easy to get into The Whale’s back garden as the fence was full of holes from where he’d once had a dog he couldn’t control. From the garden you could spy on him through the grimy french windows that led to his lounge. If you stayed behind the overgrown buddlea you could shout things at him and make him try and get up from his lounger chair. He really struggled to get out of the chair, which was fun to watch. He looked like he was beached, which was probably where he’d got his nickname from. Everyone knew him as The Whale.
The three boys took up position behind the buddlea. They could see him, sitting in his chair, his eyes closed. ‘Look at him, lazy fat bastard,’ Ginga said.
‘I hate him,’ Minnow said.
‘Me too,’ said Reece.
Reece picked up a stone and threw it at the patio doors. It clattered against them. The Whale opened his eyes, looked around. The three boys laughed.
More stones were thrown. Most of them hit the window. The Whale tried to stand. He wobbled a bit and sat down again.
‘Reckon he’ll have a heart attack?’ Minnow said.
‘Looks like he might,’ said Ginga.
‘I really hate him, you know,’ Reece said. The others nodded. ‘No one needs to be that fat. It’s just being lazy and stupid. Debbie said she saw him in the Spar, buying porno mags last week. Dirty bastard.’
‘Fucking dirty fat git,’ Ginga said.
‘We should go and find them,’ Minnow said.
‘Let’s do it,’ said Reece. ‘I really hate him.’
The Whale had closed his eyes again, his hands resting across his enormous belly, his legs stuck out underneath him. They looked so thin compared to the rest of him, like they could hardly hold his weight any more.
‘So how’ll we do it?’ Ginga said.
‘We should go round the front and break a window and climb in,’ Minnow said.
Reece shook his head. ‘Don’t be an idiot. One of us should knock on the door, and when he’s going to answer it the other two can go in the back and look for the mags.’
‘Where d’you reckon he’d keep them?’
‘Probably his bedroom. Probably wanks himself to sleep every night.’
‘Uh gross,’ Ginga said.
‘Expect he can’t even see his dick,’ said Reece. They all laughed at this. At the thought of such a fatty trying to find his dick in amongst all that flab.
‘So who’ll knock?’
‘Don’t mind,’ Minnow said.
‘I should do it,’ said Reece.
‘Why you?’
‘You’re both faster than me so you could get out quicker. And he knows me a bit so he won’t be so suspicious. I’d be better at keeping him busy.’
It was decided. Reece went round to the front of the house and the other two stayed behind the buddlea. When The Whale went to answer the door, Ginga and Minnow would go in through the back and up the stairs, and try to find the porno mags. It seemed like a good plan, and certainly beat burning woodlice.
Reece knocked on the front door. After a few moments, The Whale opened his piggy eyes and struggled out of his chair. He waddled towards the front door, stopping a moment half way there to catch his breath. As soon as he was out of the lounge, Ginga and Minnow ran up to the back door and let themselves into the house.
They looked at each other and giggled. ‘What is that smell?’ Ginga whispered. ‘It’s fucking awful.’
‘Smells like shit,’ Minnow said. ‘Like fatty’s just dropped one.’ They found this hilarious, and had to struggle to stop themselves being heard. They looked through the lounge and could see the huge bulk of The Whale blocking the front door.
They headed towards to stairs. They had to go into the hall and creep behind the fat man. They went one at a time, so as not to be heard. He probably had fat in his ears as well, as he didn’t turn round, even when Ginga trod on a stair that creaked.
They couldn’t find the magazines. They looked in his room, in the bathroom, everywhere. Two of the upstairs rooms had nothing in them. The main room had a double bed and a wardrobe. Crisp packets and chocolate bar wrappers littered the floor. ‘This is gross,’ Minnow said.
They heard the front door close while they were still upstairs. They looked at each other. ‘What if he comes up here?’ Ginga said.
‘He won’t. He probably sleeps in his chair. Shits in it as well.’
They waited on the landing to see what he would do. He waddled back into the lounge.
They crept back downstairs, to leave by the front door. As they were reaching it, they stopped. ‘Listen,’ Ginga said.
The Whale was crying. They could see him, in his chair, his back to them. They could see his shoulders moving and hear his sobs.
‘Fucking pathetic,’ Minnow said, opening the front door and not bothering to close it quietly.

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Comments by other Members

Haadi at 09:39 on 27 January 2006  Report this post
God, Darren, I could weep. This pierced me to the quick.


DJC at 10:02 on 27 January 2006  Report this post
I'm really quite an upbeat person on the whole. Not sure where this stuff comes from...

Haadi at 10:15 on 27 January 2006  Report this post
Our imaginations are unwieldy beasts aren't they? I scare the sh1t out of myself sometimes with things I write.

I'm a miserable sod though ;)

Heh heh.

Cholero at 12:26 on 27 January 2006  Report this post

Does it for me.

Nice, the double application of bored, to the kids and to the Whale.

Lovely simple style.

You're probably getting sick of me saying this sort of thing but I think the'crying' punchline could have more power if staged/timed differently. I know you're against overt effect, but still... As ever, I don't know how...




Just read Nikki's comment and meant to say how strongly you arouse sentiment for this repellent person. Some trick!


Nikkip at 12:44 on 27 January 2006  Report this post
The more I read this the sadder it makes me - I can feel the years of torment The Whale's had to take from these boys and, I suspect, many others.


DJC at 13:47 on 27 January 2006  Report this post
It's funny - I've just reread it and it really makes me sad as well. I agree about the crying bit, but was trying to keep this under 1000 words! I'll revisit it as a longer story later, and make the ending a bit less abrupt.

Prospero at 04:50 on 28 January 2006  Report this post
I appreciate you promise to write about kittens, but I am worried about what you might do to them.

A well written and darkly powerful piece Darren.

I believe we explore our darker side through our taste in fiction. We seek there, those things we don't want to look at directly. However, exploring our darker feelings helps us to be come more integrated as human beings, to mature and discard those primitive instincts which, as adults, no longer serve us.



DJC at 05:10 on 28 January 2006  Report this post
Thanks, John - and don't worry, the kittens are safe, for the time being...

This is well put - it's almost and exorcism, isn't it. Although to exorcise is to get rid, and as writers we don't want to get rid of this side of us. So catharsis is probably a better word.

Prospero at 05:44 on 28 January 2006  Report this post
Exactly so. It is a catharthic process. In a way we become our own psychotherapists, peeling away the onion skins of our personality and working with what we find. Becoming, I believe more rounded and complete people as a result.



Heckyspice at 09:59 on 28 January 2006  Report this post

Excellent stuff. The cruelty of the kids is well handled and the boredaspect sits nicely with the beached aspect. All charcters are beached on an a shore they can not escape from.

I liked this.


ccatherine at 10:47 on 28 January 2006  Report this post

How sad. I can feel the poor man's torment. I also think you capture the lack of empathy from the kid's perspective. They wouldn't let themselves get fat like that (would they?).

I think we all find it difficult to empathise with people who we think could help themselves.


crowspark at 06:54 on 29 January 2006  Report this post
This is excellent Darren.

Loved the way you built the story and great details.

I wondered whether it would have been more attention grabbing if you had started with,

They hunted for woodlice in the woodpile at the bottom of Ginga’s garden. They found some under a rotten log. They collected them together and put them in a dish.

This grabs attention and the first bit merely repeats the title.

‘This is so boring,’ Reece said.

makes the point.

Thought the diversion at the front door worked well, the feeling that the kids were in control, that the Whale was at their mercy.

Brilliant ending.


ginag at 19:37 on 01 February 2006  Report this post
Sorry this is late.

I thought this was excellent. At first my sympathy - wrong word, empathy maybe, was with the kids, not that I condone their behaviour but you can see why they did it.

Then, you switch us over and in an instant we are feeling so sorry for 'The Whale', brilliant.

Loved it.


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