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by Mac 

Posted: 14 May 2004
Word Count: 536
Summary: Wrote this a while ago but decided to post it in case everyone thought I was a miserablist.

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With apologies to Damon Runyon

It is New Year’s Day and I find myself in my local hostelry. As this is not an unusual occurrence and is quite the thing for me I give it not another minute’s thought. In fact I am relaxed about it. As the afternoon is progressing I am becoming more relaxed and could even be described as laid-back.

Of course, one small thought is eating away at the back of my mind and that is that my ever-loving gal and my ankle-biters may require my presence back at the homestead. I decide that this thought is best left at the back of my mind where it can keep company with some of the other ideas that I have placed there such as attempting to secure gainful and respectable employment and how it is a good feature in a person’s character to be sober at all times.

But, as is the way with thoughts, this wife-related one keeps climbing over all the other clutter in my head and fighting its way to the front of my mind where there is practically no room for thoughts of any shape or form as I have by now drunk more than somewhat. To be exact, three more than somewhat.

As this vision of my wife is forming I note with alarm that it is speaking, although it is only fair to state that speaking or even shouting almost always accompany her presence. What is she saying? Well, I’ll tell you, dear friend. She is advising me that I must change the company I keep. Wholesale. I must, in fact, carry out a total recruitment drive and replace them man-for-man. This is, she says, because they are a no-account group of shiftless bums who are irresponsible, badly-dressed and drunk to boot. She repeats the drunk bit four times so that I am in no doubt that this is a major feature of her message.

I am affronted by this slur on the good names of this fine body of men. Whilst it is true that several of them have unconventional lifestyles and in one or two cases do not even have what would qualify as lifestyles there is no finer bunch of raconteurs and commentators on the modern malaise. I would go so far as to say that if these men ran the country then it would be a veritable utopia but of course no one would ever vote for them as they are unsightly and often have strange gaits.
As I am exhausting myself with all this thinking, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie comes on the jukebox and One-Legged-Ben declares to all who care to listen, “When this song comes out I am driving on Highway 61 and thinking that my life is quite some set-up” and by way of a response to this, Very-Large-Pete states “When this comes out I am in Full Sutton doing seven for stabbing Greasy-Titch.”
So I gets to thinking that there is maybe some wisdom in my beloved’s words and resolve to henceforth only associate with doctors, lawyers and teachers and perhaps some other pillars of society such as people on television.
But you know how resolutions are.

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Comments by other Members

ShayBoston at 07:06 on 14 May 2004  Report this post

Very well written short. You seem to bring it to a 'resolution' at the end, but as I read I couldn't help think this had a lot of potential as a longer piece. I think it even gets stronger towards the end. Love the lines, describing his mates as a bunch of raconteurs and commentators on modern malaise. I see them more like the Harry Enfield character in the pub 'I'd say Oi Minogue NO! You might have a cute antipodean tush, but don't go telling me I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky!'


crowspark at 16:06 on 14 May 2004  Report this post
I love this drunken circumlocution. It may be an odd choice for flash fiction but who cares? It works1 Excellent stuff and make mine a brandy.


Jubbly at 15:32 on 17 May 2004  Report this post
I enjoyed this Mac, it has a nice 'go with the flow' kind of mood to it. I also completely relate to the wife. Perhaps you could do a collection of 'Resolution' pieces.

All the best


Anj at 20:31 on 17 May 2004  Report this post

Loved the voice of this narrator, all wounded pride (initially) and unjust treatment. Some of the sentences were a little long to read easily, but perhaps that's a good indicator of the stream-of-consciousness of our poetic drunk.

Loved "other pillars of society such as people on television".

Can't actually think of any criticisms. Is this a good sign, or am I just tired?

Take care

Mac at 07:55 on 18 May 2004  Report this post
Thanks for your comments everyone. This is actually (sort of) a true story, although I'm not exactly like the main protagonist but it was based on an overheard conversation. And Julie, with regards to the idea of a series of pieces like this, well, I have done a few so I'll post some more at a later date. The main character is based on my alter ego who I do a web log based on. Relentless self publicist that I am I'll tell you that it's to be found at www.papmeister.motime.com just please realise that it's not factual, just a light hearted diary. And as I said in the summary, I mainly posted this because I was worried the flash fiction I'd posted before might make me look like a miserable git.
Thanks again.

word`s worth at 09:29 on 18 May 2004  Report this post

I enjoyed this longer piece (I've been reading your shorts (never thought I'd ever say that to a man)) I thought the narrator was a rather charming fellow, if not a little hen-pecked despite his all-man and tough exterior (I assumed the all-man/tough thing from the names of his friends...One-Legged-Ben and Very Large Pete!). I thought that it came to a nice end although nothing major happened. It was full of resignation and 'can't be arsed' sentiments - which a lot of us can relate to I should think from time to time.

The only thing that stopped me in this piece was this line

"So I gets to thinking that there is maybe some..."

So I gets - is very American but maybe your narrator is American? - I know that One-Legged-Ben speaks about Highway 61 (wherever that is).

I don't know why, but I distinctly heard a British (east end) voice as the narrator.

Speaking of your shorts. I did like them - particularly Orange.


Mac at 09:35 on 18 May 2004  Report this post
As I say, it was a true story and the guy who heard that record was in America at the time it came out - he'd actually funded his trip by carrying out serial fraud in this country but that's another (more interesting) story. However, the reason why it sounds American is that it was partly a homage to the US writer Damon Runyon who was at his peak in the 1930s and 40s. He always wrote in the present tense in a slangy kind of style and his subject matter was usually criminals and low level showbiz people. So I thought the subject matter fit the style.

word`s worth at 09:38 on 18 May 2004  Report this post
Ahh...I see! Sorry, I didn't know who Damon Runyon was. Nevertheless...I enjoyed it! :)

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