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My Hiive submission : Wrestling

My Hiive submission : Wrestling



I applied unsuccessfully for the Hiive The Columnist position. Here’s the article I submitted. I thought it was pretty good:

Here in England professional wrestling has never gotten the respect that it deserves. Despite it’s long history (pro-wrestling has been around in Europe since the 19th century) and it’s undeniable cultural impact it is considered uncouth to mention pro-wrestling in polite society.Cries of “It’s all fake” from critics and it’s sleazy reputation mean that this physically demanding performance art is simply seen as low brow entertainment that can tell us nothing about the human condition. People that are fans of pro-wrestling are often seen as dullards who have not caught on that it is fake.  Somehow the art has been tarred by fact that those who most appreciate it are seen as unintelligent. Here’s the thing though; we fans know. It does not matter. We know they aren’t really trying hurt each other (most of the time).

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Part One of a longer story.

Two boys on the tube are talking.
“So bro would you?”
“How can you even ask me that?”
“Answer the question”
“Bruvs she’s your sister”
“I know who she is, now answer the question”
“Bruvs I’ve known her since she was seven”
“That don’t answer the question”
“Bruvs she’s your sister”
“You bastard. You would wouldn’t you”
“You’re a sick fucker”
“Of course I would”
“That’s it, you’re not coming round mine anymore. All them times you said she’s was like your little sister. Pervert.”
“Me a pervert. I’m not going round asking people if they would or not about my own sister”
“The reason I’m asking is so I can keep her way from dirty sex fiends like you fam. Intelligence gathering innit” .
It is my stop. I get off the train and onto a crowded platfrom. I need to change lines. Suddenly I find myself seated on another carriage. I don’t remember how I got here. I wonder if I’m on the right train. As it moves away I realise that I am.  It is early morning. There is a Metro on the seat next to me but I lack the will to read it. I am still tired.

The train stops. I get off and make my way out of the station. The homeless person, who I think is a crack addict, is waiting in his usual spot jabbering to himself accompanied by his sign and his dog.  I hate him. Not just that but he disgusts me. Something should be done to help homeless people like him. I walk past him doing my best to ignore him.

Again my brain switches off and I find myself at work with no memory of how exactly I got there. I walk into the reception area and exchange “Good Mornings” with with the receptionist. I do not mean mine. I get into the life. Really I should be taking the stairs. Cardio, saving the planet and conserving energy and all that. Not this morning though. I cannot care less. I live in a perpetual cycle of self-loathing and apathy.

It is my floor. I walk in. I see my boss. I want to fuck her. Before I can say hello she asks “Is the Pekar presentation ready?”. Yes it is. I hate her. Where is the courtesy? The good morning? The hello. Where are your manners? Steady yourself.

“I put it on your desk before I left last night” I reply holding in the rage and pain behind it with a toothy insincere smile. I wait to see if she has anything else to say. She looks unsure. I walk away after a few seconds pass. I bet she didn’t even look for it. My cubicle. Whatever evil American or possibly German efficiency expert should suffer in their own special hell. Cubicles should only be places where you get changed or take a dump. They are not places of work. Still they are better than those open plan offices where there is no privacy and some bastard is always starring over your shoulder.

I sit at my desk. I read through my letters and memos sent from up high. I feel tired. It is not yet 11am but I am ready for bed. I’d have a coffee but I quit it.  I drop a herbal remedy effervescent into a glass of water. I watch it bubble and dissolve like a witches brew. It taste crappy. Want to be happy. I just don’t know how to go about it.  I’m lazy but not feckless. I’m smart enough to know I’m that I’m not too stupid but too stupid to be considered smart. I grab the fleshy parts of my belly, my love handles and muffin top, I lift them and feel them drop. I hate the gym. I want to be something else. Thats not really true though. Because if it was then. Because if it was then if I did want to be something better, I mean really wanted it, then I’d be doing something about it.

I sip the herbs potion, I retch with every gulp, yuck, I do not think it has effected my chi yet.  I reluctantly start doing my job. What I do is not important and is in fact so banal I’ll only give you my job description: I’m an office worker.

Nominally I am a muslim. Like everything else I am I am not a very good one. The black sheep, the shame of and the stain upon the family name.

It is only 12:30. My in tray is empty. I have been working solid for 30 minutes without break. I decide I need to scratch my groin. It is a risk. The footy is on tonight. I need a walk.

I go to the water cooler. No one is there.  I decide to visit Macy on my way back to my desk. Macy is fat and quite possibly the ugliest person ever to gain employment outside of those genetic aberrations put on display in the circus freakshow. She dresses like a librarian from the ‘80s and vaguely smells of something. Not perfume. Just some unknown odour. I love Macy. She is happy, one of there very people I know that are, and it radiates off her. It feels pleasant and life affirming to be around someone happy, someone content with the direction their life had taken. Macy is nice. She is nice to me. she is nice to everyone.

“Hey” I say.
“Hi ya” Macy is glad to see me.
“Busy?” I ask
“Nah” she replies.

We chat for bit about things at work and in the news. “What are your plans for tonight?” I ask.
“Not much” she says “Probably just go home. Hopefully in time to help Kev put the kids to bed”.
I nod. Kev is wonderful. He’s a stay at home dad and despite the fact he looks like a one of those genetically engineered hairless cats designed for people with pet allergies I envy him.
“What about you?” she asks. I lie and say something about staying in and watching the footy. My cup is empty.
“Did you see that thing on the telly last night? About those migrants forced to work in sweatshops?” Macy says.
“Yeah terrible, shocking” I reply having not seen it I assume it must be terrible and shocking.
“It was so sad. Especially that 10 year old girl’s story. All that pain for £5 t-shirts “
“Oh it was heart breaking.” I can tell it was heart breaking by the way Macy is emoting. Quite frankly I do not care what happened to the poor little dear. In my opinion a little misery of some third world tyke is a price worth paying for clothes that I look good in and that are affordable. But. But I can’t say that.  TV shows like that are not going to stop me buying gear from Nike, Gap and Primark and all the other exploiters of the youth in the developing world. It does make me feel bad but not bad enough to put my hand in my pocket and spend more money on ethical goods. Guilt of this kind no longer weighs heavily on me. I don’t feel it much, I don’t feel much of anything anymore. I say what I think I right minded person would say “ These companies are evil aren’t they? Theres no justification for treating children like that” Except for a line of eager consumers waiting to buy their goods.
“It just made me think about my little ones, if they were in that situation, having to work like that. Makes you realise how lucky we are to be where we are”
I’m desperate to change the subject. “Did you see Lost?” I say. Crisis averted. We talk about how good it is and how it annoys us how fabulous all the actors look even though they are you know lost on a island and should look half starved. They should look like survivors from a gulag instead of like models from a sun cream advert. I see our boss approaching. “Princess is making her rounds” I whisper to Macy “See you later”

I scurry back to my cubicle like mouse fleeing to the safety of it’s den from the flight of bird of prey.  Seeing my boss just makes me angry. Back to work. I am not very productive. I am slacking today I have decided. I spend my time day dreaming and reading wikipedia. I also watch the clock on my monitor screen. 1.14pm time to get some lunch. I say lunch but I am starving myself on some diet I saw in a magazine.

I make my way outside to meet Macy and Brook. She is a stupid skinny bitch. She eats whats she likes and never puts any weight on. Her hair is horrible though. I cannot understand why Macy likes her. They are deep in conversation when I arrive.  I feel like I’m intruding. I stand there self-conscious trying to think of something to say. I never feel relaxed around Brook. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because I might accidentally reveal my unjustified hostility towards her with a slip of the tongue or maybe it is because I’m always comparing myself to her. I decide to leave them to it. I make my excuses and leave. Some lie about forgetting something upstairs. Doubt they believed me. I go back into the building and hide in the toilets for five minutes and hope they have gone by the time I have come out.

I exit the building. Relief. They have gone. I decide to go to the deli. Fuck the diet. I get a parma ham and lettuce baguette. I eat it greedily. I feel the carbs. My blood sugar levels rising, it is like shooting up heroin, pure pleasure. I drink a coke and grab and guzzle down a slice of peach cobbler from the bakery.  Only a few hours of work left. I try not to count the minutes till aI return to my empty home.

I’m back at my cubicle and I looking at my monitor. I can’t remember how I got here. I feel suddenly full of anger. I want to explode. I can barely contain it. I can’t conceal it. I want them all to fucking know. I want them to all know what I think of them. How much I want to hurt them. It is all their fault. I realise that it is a good thing that I am alone.

My ears are buzzing. They are red hot. There is a thumping at the back of my head. Faster and harder with every breath, with every beat of my heart it jolts me, theres something inside there trying to smash through my skull. “Bastards, Fucking Bastards” I want to scream. I want yell out a shriek like a banshee. There air should be filled with all the expletives and insults that they deserve. I’m tempted to fall. The moment passes. I get back to work.

It is knocking off time.  I make my weary way to Macy’s to say good bye. She’s there still working. She should be running the place. “I’m off” I say and walk.
She calls me back.  I turn. I see a face full of concern. “Kay are you alright ?” she says. “Yep” I try to act surprise, like why would I not be alright, thats what people do. She persists “You sure?”. I lie again “Yeah, I’m fine”. She looks for another angle “It’s just, I don’t know, it seemed like there was something wrong, you know at lunch today”. I feel my hackles stand on edge. Let rip. No. Not on her. Never on her.  “No, I’m fine” I am so desperate to tell her. To let her know how angry I am all the time. How I’m on the brink on rage at this very moment. “You sure?” she relents. I nod. “Course I am” I say “See you tomorrow” I say. “See you tomorrow babe” she says. I walk away.

I feel shame. I disappointed her. She reached out to me and I shut her down again. I panicked and did what comes naturally and ran away to find a place to hide.

It is not yet dark.

The Red Notebook 9

The Red Notebook 9

Really glad to have discovered this. I don’t write things this surreal anymore.

It’s too early, too too early. I have just finished a late shift, I ache, I’m so tired, so so tired. And yet here I am on Monday morning waiting in queue at Building’s Edge. I feel my bed calling to me ‘Clarence, come and rest, Clarence Clarence’

I curl my toes inside my boots and bite my tongue to try to remain awake. I have a bag of teeth in one hand and a bag of coins in the other. The queue at Building’s Edge is packed with worried and weary people. I glance from face to face and they all have the same tired expression I do. then I see her. She is old and wild eyed, chuckling to herself, she looks like giant frosted cream cake with blue icing on top.  A walking bake. I blink and rub my eyes just to make sure I’m not seeing things. to make sure I haven’t fallen asleep.

The old lady grins at me. ‘It can’t be’ I mutter to myself. The old lady seems magnificently drunk, swaying side to side, smiling as she giggles, belching and scratching as she makes her way.

I look around. Has no one else noticed? The Iron Lady has returned from the dead, our former Prime Minister is here. She has been reincarnated as a giant cake.

From behind me I hear a roar. A middle-aged man is charging towards Thatcher. He knocks her to the ground. Maggie lays ruined on the floor. She starts crying. The man stands over her and screams “You fucking bitch over, you fucking bitch you ruined this country” over and over again.

The Iron Lady is weeps, mascara running down her face, deep into her wrinkles. “I didn’t ruin it! IT was already broken” she says sadly.

I’ve seen enough. “Leave her alone” I shout.

“No I won’t. She closed the pits! She freed the banks to fuck us all, my family has lost everything, she ruined my family” the man says still full of righteous indignation.

“Thats no reason to smash her. She is a cake now” I reply.  I had the man’s full attention. He looked like a miner. All dirty hands and hard muscles. If he hit me I’d go down.

Behind him the Thatcher Cake (Cake Thatcher?) was slowly reforming. I pointed at her. Thatcher had a steely look in her eye.

The man turned and started taking handfuls of Thatcher cake flesh and stuffing it into his mouth. I turned away. I was always squeamish when people were being devoured.

The Red Notebook 8

The Red Notebook 8

These two stories are quite similair but still very different. From an Utter! session in 2009. I really miss that group.

Smile. Look friendly and open. Be ready to engage the public. My leaflets laid out neatly trapped by paperweights to stop the wind from scattering them. Looking at all the people walking past, hopefully I will catch someone’s eye, the hours go by, I stand resolute.

This is important and can’t be ignored. Even so. Every averted gaze made by someone wanting to avoid eye contact with me or every time  someone walks past me deafly as I say hello is blow, a tiny blow, to my enthusiasm.

Climate change is what I want people to know about. I want them to know what they can do, what we can do, what we should force our leaders to do.

The police  are hovering like busybodies with nothing better to do than to make sure I’m not littering the streets with discarded leaflets.

Deep breath. I have made progress. Progress is slow. I look down at the list of emails I have collected and I feel that I have achieved something. If only one person from that list attends our meetings then that would be a victory.

It is Saturday morning. People are doing their shopping walking straight past me. THEY said I could set up my stall outside the library next to the streets preachers proclaiming the word of god and global damnation. Believing the the world is being damned is probably the only thing we have in common. There are pigeons loitering near a tree, pecking at crumbs, what a waste of food.

Different story.

There were far too few people, why did they not care? Can’t they see the suffering? Have they no empathy?

I don’t know what makes me more angry. The wholesale slaughter of those I seek to protect or the apathy this society has towards their plight.

There were only a few of us protesting. Holding our placards and chanting. Where were the journalists I wondered. I had made sure that the local newspaper was aware of our plans.

I looked at the pesticide factory. How could the people who worked there sleep at night? Finally the newspaper man arrives. He looks completely disinterested. I’ll soon change that.

I gather the few, the brave, the loving around me and begin my speech.

“Ladies and Gents, brothers and sisters, I’ve have convened us here today to so that we may say with one voice ‘No more’” I paused for applause. The gathered few cheered.
“No more slaughter, no more murder, no more killing, cockroaches have as much right to live as any other living creature”. Again I pause. The gathered few clap and hoot.

The Red Notebook 7

The Red Notebook 7

Another Utter! work:

The harsh light of the early autumn sun illuminated the street, it reflected off the layers of hard glass and slick wet asphalt.

He stared and stared at me. His dark beady eyes expressing all the distaste he felt. Those beady eyes betrayed the truth his otherwise emotionless face his well.

So your dad and your uncle got jobs on the buses. Your dad was a driver. Look how smart in looked in his uniform, look at the bus he drove, elegant in its own way.

One more from the same session:

There were a lot of people around the train station. It was awful, it was busy. The noise from the excited chatter porters and the clatter of horses overfilled the air and my thoughts. I held father’s hand tight. We moved through the crowd. We were on our way to the fight. As we exited the station the street we joined a crowd of punters who were also on their way to the arena. Poorer folk like me and father had to walk from the station. I remember looking on in envy at the richer folk riding horse drawn carriages to the arena.

Jack Solomon was the promoter of the fight. The man was a legend. Jack always had the knack of obliging the best fighters to face off against each other. Jack Solomon fight cards always delivered on entertainment.

I was excited. It was my first time going to a bout. I didn’t know what to expect. It was cold even though  the autumn sun shone bright. The sky was clear of clouds, I looked up at father and smiled. He smiled back. Father had a thick bushy moustache and he looked like a grinning walrus. I felt warm again despite the chill

The Red Notebook 6

The Red Notebook 6

The room was bathed in sunlight. “Bloody mess” said Van looking at the corpse. The dead woman had been beaten. The cadaver lay face down in a pool of blood. What was exposed of her face was bruised and swollen.

Van shook her head. It perplexed her. The violence that is visited upon us everyday. It made no damn sense at all. Behind her she heard the unmistakable huffing and puffing of her partner Rizzo. Rizzo breathed like a fat man. You could tell he was fat even over the phone. He was licking an ice cream cone. “I tell you Van, this thing is heaven in vanilla” said Rizzo.
“What did the Chief say about you bringing food onto crime scenes?”
licking the ice cream that was dripping down his knuckles Rizzo replied “I dunno somethin’ about contaminatin’ da crime scene”

“It is dripping all over the floor!” Van said. She almost angrily added the words “You fat fuck” but managed to catch herself. Rizzo peered over Van’s shoulder and said “Oh bless my soul, what a bloody mess, a real nasty one” as he finished off the last of the ice cream. Van looked on disgusted as Rizzo licked his fingers.
“So” Rizzo said “What have we got here?”
“Some poor lady beaten to death”
“I don’t get it you know.”
Van nodded in agreement. “How could someone let carpet as nice as this get ruined by blood stains is a mighty mystery to me. Why couldn’t the perp have off’ed her in the garden?” Rizzo said as he picked his nose and then wiped his boogers on the wall. 

The Red Notebook 5

The Red Notebook 5

I think this was from Utter! Lots of stuff in the Red Notebook seems to be from Utter!

I think this was from Utter! Lots of stuff in the Red Notebook seems to be from Utter!

The mine was cold and dark. She hated it, she hated being alone down here. The air was dank and salty, she had not expected that, but then she had not expected to be thrown into the deep tunnels of the mines either. She waved her one good hand in front of her face just to see if she could see it. Nothing. It was solid darkness.

This was Mara’s test, even though she felt she had been proving herself all her life, this was her test. “Find your way out” her uncle had said when they had left her there. Mara had planned on tracking her uncle and his goons out but they had gassed.

“I’m going to die here” she thought. She used her good right hand to examine her bad left hand. It had already began to corrode in the sodium filled air. Mara’s skin felt dry and course. She didn’t know long she been down in the dark.

She began to walk. She remembered the moment her uncle left her here. “Where am I” she  asked. “The Salt mine, mind your steel claw Mara, it’ll rot down here. Can’t taste the salt in the air?”. Though she could not see him she could tell uncle Murray was grinning nastily as he said this. “Time to prove yourself you little bitch”. Then there was the gas and he was gone.

Using her good hand to feel her way against the mine wall. Mara slowly made her way through the tunnels.  Every so often she would use the metal claw at the end of her left arm to mark the wall in case she had to trek back and keep track of how far she had gone.

It was silent in the darkness, the air was still, it was as if the darkness was so complete it would not even permit the air to move. Mara began to cry and unthinkingly wiped the tears with her hand forgetting it was covered in salt from the wall. Her eyes burned ands gasped in pain. She shook and panted, the pain was intense. Pain would pass. She managed a few deep breaths.

As Mara shuddered she did not hear the silence of the mine being broken by the quite movements of Kor-Sa-Unataq, the eight limbed giant, Kor-Sa-Unataq the Traitor. The giant was furious. The male that had brought this child here had torn down his web and blocked the entrance to the mine. Kor-Sa-Unataq creeped quickly across the the ceiling of the mine. He craved vengeance.

Mara chided herself. Stupid girl. Her face and eyes were red and sore. The giant creature above  dropped down and knocked Mara off her feet. Kor-Sa-Unataq was twice Mara’s size.

This seems like a good story. Should try to finish it at some point.

The Red Notebook 4

The Red Notebook 4

Assuming this was from Utter!

“How do I look?” said my wife, the stupid old hag. I despised her, I especially despised her inane narcissism. I pretended not to hear her and carried on watching telly.

“How do I look?” she repeated. She stood at the doorway leaning against the frame in a pose that I suppose she thought was alluring and sexy. She was wearing a bright orange dress and high heels. The dress was too tight and showy for her humpty dumpty physique.

Another one:

The corpse of the twaddle-copter lay half buried  in the orange sand. It occasionally pinged as it’s large rotator blades tried to move. Ravvey Combey-Twaddle, the pilot of the twaddle-copter, looked at the blue cloudless sky. He was tired. It was only few days since the crash but he was already looking haggard. Rough stubble began to grow on his face and his normally pale of complexion was becoming tanned.

He had crashed the twaddle-copter crashed because he was showing off. Stupid air twists and stunts in the sky. All for the sake of gasps and giggle with delight of the crowd. He scolded himself for pushing the twaddle-copter further and further

The Red Notebook 1

The Red Notebook 1

Finished all the stories in the Purple Notebook. The rest of the all contained notes (actual notes!) from seminars and quotations from books. The next book is the Red Notebook. Onto the first story.

“Why do they stare?” Reza wondered pulling his overcoat tighter as if this would in some way shield him from what he perceived to be the hostile eyes of the strange people in the street. He did not want anything of this city anymore. He wanted to switch off his brain and only have it turned back on again when he had left the city limits.

At first the confused mix of old, almost ancient, buildings made of stone and skyscrapers made from glass and steel excited Reza. He was stunned. That is what this city did. It hit you over the head and concussed you. It altered your brainwaves and stopped you from thinking straight.

Reza hated it now. He hated it so much. He spent a little bit of every day thinking how much he would enjoy seeing in burned to the ground or shelled out of existence. So He walked trying to keep his eyes down on the grimy streets. He felt as filthy as the pavement he walked on. Every step he took out of the city  he felt cleansed him. He journey out of the city was a walking ablution.

He had planned a wonderful life for himself outside the city limits. A life he could live. All he needed was to get out. Caught in this daydream state he almost stepped out infront of a bus. The vehicle screeched past him.

The Purple Notebook 4

The Purple Notebook 4

Another story inspired by an Utter! Workshop. I think we were told to go outside and make note of local features and then write a story about items or buildings we saw.

They were staring out of the window, across the street, at Vito’s burned out shop.

“It was so sad what happened. Those poor children. They live in the flat above. Dying the way they did” Whispered Jess into Mr Chumble’s ear.

She carried Mr Chumble around everywhere in a bag. Mr Chumble was wheezing and incontinent was unable to walk for long at his old age. Jess left the clothes shop and was immediately accosted by an insistently cheerful young man with a bright wide smile. He was asking what she thought about donating money for needy children. Jess sharply said she was not interested and started to move around the fundraiser. Undeterred the fundraiser followed her to the curb of the street despite being ignored. “Your on my shit list mister” Jess thought “Just like Vito was”

Walking down the highstreet  she heard some music and she started tearing up. It was the theme from The Last of The Mohicans. Where was it coming from. Lips trembling she thought for a moment that it was coming from inside her own head. She could not afford another episode now. Not in front of all these people. Jess was relived when she saw the poncho wearing pan pipe players.

Jess and Mr Chumble went closer to the players. They approved of the tunes lovingly played. Appreciating the music for a few minutes she finally dropped a £50 note in the collection tin and walked off smiling.

Jess decided Mr Chumble looked tired and it was time to go home. There were no bargains to be found today. She walked to her car. She had to park on a back road far away from the high street. As she approached her BMW she saw a discarded red balloon holder on the pavement. It was bent out of shape and filthy. Designed to only one thing it was now laying broken and unwanted on the ground  by it’s cold hearted careless owners. Jess felt a strange sort of empathy with it. “They ought not create something and throw it away so easily Mr Chumble” Jess said as she stepped into the car.

She was a couple of miles away from home when she saw him. The fundraiser that had so annoyed her. He was walking down the street by himself. Jess did a quick for witnesses and saw no one around. “Lets have some fun Mr Chumble” said Jess as she reached into the glove box. She took out a clear plastic spray bottle. It contained acid. Driving slowly behind the fundraiser she opened the passenger side window and sprayed a jet of caustic liquid at the fundraisers groin.

“What the fuck are you…” the fundraiser started to say before collapsing holding his melting testicles in agony. He screamed something again  Jess drove off laughing before he could complete his sentence.

Jess seems to be a great character. Great to have discovered her again.