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Sunday Bloody Sunday

by Earl Grey 

Posted: 06 July 2012
Word Count: 263
Summary: Dying a thousand deaths in gridlock.

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

It’s raining outside. Heavy splatter crashes into the windscreen, making me feel cosy in our cocoon – but it's scant consolation. I run gloved hands along the steering wheel and stretch, before letting the upholstery take my weight. The engine purrs idly in interminable stasis - I’m going nowhere.

Image and reality; style over substance. Marketing snapshots flitter through my mind, the disconnect punching me in the guts. Since I was a boy I’ve been drip-fed…the Zen-like calm of the executive in his Jag, the urban chiquitas and cool cats in their sporty little numbers, and the bohemian couple off-road, the wind blowing in their hair. But no-one prepares you for this - being a quarter of a mile outside Ikea on a Sunday, and going fucking nowhere. And all she wanted was a lampshade. I should’ve said no. I turn to her, acknowledging our uncomfortable silence, waves of hate emanating off me.

Haha! I hear you chuckle, but it ain’t funny no more. How come we all just take this? Where’s the revolution..? People riot in the Middle East and dictators fall. Here we have a vote but we’re basically mute. We’re a nation o’ Walter Mitty’s…turned into marshmallows by pop and porn. Oh thank fuck, I can see an opening up ahead…

“Hey,” I say softly, putting a hand on her knee, “what colour shade do you want? And we should check out the beds too…I hear their beds are really something.” I turn back and smile warmly as I move into third gear, excited by the wonderful world of Ikea.

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Comments by other Members

dharker at 13:16 on 06 July 2012  Report this post
Flat pack traffic jams Earl... manufactured from substandard materials and widely availble in quantities too many to count. Great commentary on a trip to Ikea... I liked it a lot!


Dave Morehouse at 13:35 on 06 July 2012  Report this post
Walter Mitty indeed! I especially enjoy the manner in which you meld two completely different banal activities into a single story. This one gets high marks in my book. The tiniest niggle - "its" for "it's" in the second sentence. Wonderfully done, Dave.

Bunbry at 07:53 on 07 July 2012  Report this post
Great title, and the descriptions are spot on - nice writing although I wasn't keen on the 3rd paragraph - I'm not sure it fitted well with the other parts.

Final point, you have, in my opinion, far too many ellipses for such a short piece. Check out most well written novels and you will find they are very rarely used. When I was new to writing I used to use them all the time, almost thinking I'd discovered them! Now I realise that, like any technique that's overdone, the effect becomes ruined.


Earl Grey at 10:56 on 09 July 2012  Report this post
Dave * 2 - sincere thanks for your appreciation (oh & changed to *it's*).

Euclid - hey I also remember wandering round & round interminably in Ikea, like I was trapped in the concentric circles of hell.

Nick - goo point re. the 3rd para - on reflection, I think you're right. Thank you. This is exactly what I'm after by joining the group. I'll rework so it doesn't feel like the story has gone off on a sharp tangent.

Earl Grey at 15:10 on 09 July 2012  Report this post
Have upd'd the 3rd para following Nick's comments,

blob at 18:01 on 09 July 2012  Report this post
Another great title! Especially bearing in mind the triviality of the problem!! I love the idea of being stuck in traffic on the way to Ikea on a Sunday with only a lampshade to buy and the deep inner reflection it provokes!!

I had the same problem with the first two paras - I didn't understand the point until I got to the last line. I'd be tempted to help the reader e.g. starting with "We're (not I'm because of 'our cocoon' going nowhere."

My second problem was I couldn't get a feel for the driver - he's wearing gloves so I thought a gangster or a chauffeur and his inner dialogue 'going fucking nowhere' 'waves of hate emanating off me.' 'Oh thank fuck, I can see an opening up ahead…' is very different to his real dialogue:

“Hey,” I say softly, putting a hand on her knee, “what colour shade do you want? And we should check out the beds too…I hear their beds are really something.”

That's okay but the former makes him sound like a nasty piece of work the latter softens him up considerably!

Are you talking to the reader here? "Haha! I hear you chuckle," I'd cut that line.

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