Longer ago than I care to remember, my dear friend Matt Mascarenhas devised a delightful little game. He is a ‘Countdown ‘ addict ….you know, the word and numbers quiz-type programme on Channel 4 …. …. so, every Monday, he watches the show and publishes his score-card on his Blog Page , then invites his readers to either comment or write a story or article and include all the words on the card. I used to play this game regularly ……..in fact I once wrote a short story every week for a WHOLE YEAR ! ….Yes, 52, flipping stories, poems and bits of nonsense ……. honestly !
Well, its been far too long since I took part in the WORD GAME ….so, here is a silly tale to get me back into the swing of things. You will probably be relieved to know that I don’t intend to enter every week ….just when inspiration gives me a kick in the shins.
The words to be included this week are;
USABLE, UGLIEST, UNDIES, MALTIER, FORGOT, OPINE, SORRIEST, SPARED, MENTION, PARADED.
OVER THE LIMIT
Mrs McGillacuddy shifted in her bed and sighed heavily. The snoring emanating from the twin-bed, a few feet away ….across the small, rather scruffy and well-worn beige shag-pile rug …… hadn’t ceased for the last hour. She had thought of getting up and making herself a cup of tea, but she needed to sleep. There was too much to do tomorrow. Cleaning for Mrs Donalds; laundry for the posh restaurant down the High Street ….with all the table-cloths and napkins to starch and iron. The foyer floor to wax in the Town Hall. And all for a pittance …..
The snoring reached a crescendo. It had been that loud, guttural, snorting sound that had woken her.
“Gawd”, she thought, it felt as though she had only just managed to drop off to sleep and now she lay awake while a multitude of thoughts and emotions paraded through her brain.
“Bloody ‘ell” she murmured, “If he doesn’t shut up I swear I’ll ‘ang for ‘im”
Then, feeling suddenly brave, she reached to the floor, picked up her old tattered slipper and flung it in the general direction of the sleeping hulk and, trying to summon up all of the usable words in her rather limited, but colourful vocabulary, she muttered.
“You’re the ugliest, sorriest excuse for a man. You f’ing bastard. Not an f’ing useful bone in your f’ing fat lazy body. Shut the f’ up ….for gawds sake ……. I need me f’ing sleep”
The offending snorer, her husband of 10 years, was spared this torrent of abuse as he slumbered on, comatose. Rendered unconscious by the 10 pints of best bitter he had swilled down at the local pub. Not to mention the additional 4 double whiskies, generously bought for him by old Harry-next-door. Of course, Harry could afford to be lavish with his money tonight …he had had a big win on the horses. So the guys were determined to drink until they could barely stand …..
“Gotta spend the winnings …can’t let the wife get a sniff of it, she might want to pay some bills with it” Harry had laughed. And so they caroused till closing time.
On their drunken, meandering walk home, Harry was heard to opine,
” I ‘ope you ain’t forgot yer lasses birthday. Our Elsie says its t’day “
But of course he had forgotten ….. he always did. In all these 10 years he had never remembered. Never had a job, either. Mrs McGillacuddy hadn’t received so much as a kind word or dog-eared card, let alone flowers or chocolates. But she dare not utter a word of protest ….. A thick ear or blackened eye was her usual reward for any dissent. He beat her on a regular basis,
“Whether she needs it or not”, he joked to his cronies.
And Mrs McGillacuddy was too afraid, or too worn down by life, to leave him.
A rustling sound suddenly added to the snoring and the woman screwed up her eyes and tried to peer into the darkness. The room was practically pitch black …no light seeped in from street-lamps ….not round here. The local kids had smashed the light-bulbs so often that the Council had given up replacing them. The whole unkempt and bedraggled street was dark.
She heard the curtains move and, for a second, her heart-beat quickened. But then she remembered that the window, beside her spouses bed, was open. A breeze had briefly lifted the drapes, but now they were still.
Mrs McGillacuddy lay back on her pillow and wrinkled her nose,
“Gawd, what on earth is that smell ?”
His socks, maybe ….or worse ? He changed his undies far too infrequently. Or, more likely, it was the can of Tetleys he had split in one of his drunken rages. She had scrubbed that ragged old rug, but the beer had saturated every fibre and a sour aroma still remained. Oh well, she really must try to sleep.
Wearily,she pulled the thin duvet over her head. The snoring had changed tone and was now a sort of rhythmic, slurping, gasping sound.
” Maybe the old sod is choking”, she thought, ” But I’m not that flipping lucky” and she ruefully rubbed at her hip, which still bore bruises from her last beating.
“Sleep” she muttered, “…..must sleep….gotta get up soon” and she closed her eyes.
The vampire had entered through the open bedroom window. It was so easy to gain access during the summer months. People liked fresh air when they were sleeping. But times weren’t so easy in other ways. It used to be that folks went to bed at a reasonable time, but nowadays they stayed up late; playing on-line games or watching flipping box-sets of ‘Breaking Bad’ on Netflix. Now a vampire had to get his sustenance wherever he could !
The bed nearest the window was occupied by a male, who seemed to be in some sort of stupor. So the creature had drunk its fill ….sucking pints of blood from a gaping hole in the man’s neck. The monster’s fangs had ripped open the flesh, tearing into the jugular vein, instantly killing the victim.
There was anther human in the room, but time was running out. Dawn would soon be breaking and the vampire must get back to his lair. His refuge, a dank, ancient coffin, lay well-hidden, in the old disused cotton-mill on the other side of town.
The evil beast grinned. He knew he could always return another night and finish off the other human. Slipping through the curtains, the vampire stood on the window-sill, poised to fly ‘home’. But something was wrong, he felt strangely disorientated. The victim’s blood had tasted …..different….. somehow. What could it be ? It seemed ….yes….. maltier than usual. That was it, MALTIER !
“Ah, no matter. Blood is blood” he thought and, swaying slightly he launched into the air.
The sky in the east was beginning to get light……
“Hurry. Hurry !”
But the creature could barely control his flight. He was swaying, swooping drunkenly.
Over the town; over the new housing-estate ….over the playing fields. Just the Rugby Stadium to negotiate and ……..
The alcohol was taking its toll …..
“Drunk in charge of fangs” …. was his final thought as he plummeted downwards towards the goal-posts and was impaled, through the heart, on one of the uprights.
So….. well….. yeah ! Truly rubbish but great fun to write …..hehehe. Why not have a go at the Countdown Word Game ? I’m sure you can come up with something much better !