Unfinished Works 1

Here's a sample of my writing - a part of a chapter from a book I never got round to finishing. With time, more writing will be added, maybe mini-stories or sample works?

Here goes:

Chapter 1 (part)

"What the hell are you looking at that for?"

Mark sat back in his chair, the room having the slightly 'just sprayed air freshener' feel. A copy of the local newspaper was to hand, and chosen at random, he had selected the 'Partners' page. You know the drill - people advertise wanting their perfect partner, in the hope that someone will respond, an expensive phone number to call or pay a large fee to reply by post. A money spinner for all concerned, that sort of thing.
Adam still looked at Mark, wondering just if he had chosen that page at random or if the intent was there.


"Well, what?"

"So are you looking for a woman in there, really, or not?"

"Not really. But some of these adverts are really funny, Adam. Check these out."

They both looked at the black and white sheets of paper, trying to see which was the worst advertisement of them all. You know, the cheesiest, most 'oh I really do want to be with you and get all soppy' type of one. The one they wanted to avoid like the plague in the case of them being too clingy. Adam spotted one.
"Lets' see. Here we go. Single tall (5'11") intelligent female, 29, long blonde hair, likes eating out, clubs, cinema, seeks honest handsome male, 26-36, for friendship/relationship. Box 16327."

"But she's blonde," retorted Mark, "I thought you disliked them."

"Yeah, I know. But if they are intelligent, then maybe they'd be okay. But I don't know, something not quite right there. Seems that every late twenty-something is of the wine and dine variety."

"So? Aren't we of that category? Even when we fill our faces at some steak house, having a laugh to see who can eat the biggest steak ordered, aren't we eating out?"

"I guess. But I don't want one of those 'expensive restaurant' women. You know the ones I mean, the ones that want you to pay around thirty quid for a bottle of champagne, just to get them started, and then they get all tiddly drunk on you."

"That's a bit unfair. Not everyone is like that."

"The last one you went out with was. You were skint each month, remember?"

"Hmm. Good point. But let's see another one." Mark grabbed the newspaper and flicked through the selection. "Here we go. Get this - sleepless in Manchester. Doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? I mean, you aren't going to get Meg Ryan advertising for a bloke, are you?"

Adam shook his head. "Dear me, what next? Will they be using quotes from the film Titanic as well? You know the ones I mean - imagine what you could do: My Heart Will Go On, and all that sort of thing. Right soppy, I reckon."

"Yeah. Not what we want. Anyway, this woman seems interesting: brunette female, 5'6", 25, OHAC, likes weekends away, cinema, music, concerts, seeks like-minded man for caring and sharing times."

"Own house and car though? Maybe she'd be quite well into money as well, and we've only got this poxy little flat between us. Mind you, we ARE in Didsbury, so that kind of gives us a little bit of credit. Shame we pay through the nose for this place."

"Maybe also, that'd scare her off, right? Knowing we lived here. She may think we'd be above her or something. But who knows. Hang on, I noticed something in here - she also says Bridget Fonda lookalike. Uh-oh"

"What do you mean, uh-oh?"

"You've seen Single White Female, right?"

"Yes.. and?"

"Well that bit where she gets all jealous of the woman she's sharing the house with, and sees her boyfriend, then kills him with the high heel of her shoe. Remember?"

"Now I don't want that to happen. Damn! She could want to be another lookalike. Better stay clear, I think. Not so great. Also, would she be put off by my music collection? I mean, not everyone appreciates the geniuses of singer songwriters - we usually get the quite of 'oh that boring folkie' or something similar, after all."

"And not every woman would appreciate the time we both spend in Vinyl Exchange, either. Veritable mecca though it is for us musophobes. Did I invent that word? Musophobe? Sounds cool, doesn't it?"

Adam decided to scan through another few adverts. "It seems to me that these women must have some guts, you know. I mean, would we do something like that, give our basic descriptions to the region and I? I guess we wouldn't. But I wonder who replies to these things, you know. Are they raving psychos, or just shy people who need encouragement, or what?"

"I don't know." Mark leaned back in his chair. He needed the comfort of the chair right now. Saturday afternoon, your favourite team has just lost and you've seen the score come up agonisingly on the television results. The pain is there and the wanting to forget just starts. Of course, at least Mark and Adam share the passion for the same team. Any of you who know the values of being with someone of the same ilk only helps ease the pain and not rub it in ("aaaaah 4-0, you're rubbish, you are!") You know the score, and the score was not good.

"But maybe," Mark added, "Maybe they're all really nice people too. Who knows? I mean, they couldn't be more psychotic or self-loving like some of the women we've been out with. Remember Nadia who you went out with, Adam. Didn't she love herself to bits?" Mark then did his (what he thought to be) funniest female impersonation. "Ooh, look, I just have to spend half an hour every day with my beauty sleep and make up treatments, then I have to do my hair properly every time I see you."

"That's the worst impersonation you do", Adam giggled. "But also, do you remember that time you saw us in Eats R Us, having a snack in town for lunch? She was sat by the window and you could see in the reflection her layers of make up. It was like looking at those ice cream blocks you get with all the crispy bits of choc in as well, all the different layers and bits that you get in there. If she stood here, say" moving to the window, "then her face would be touching the window via her make up alone! What was she like at all?"

"And when she played with her hair all the time! I bet that was really annoying though. She wasn't worth it in the end, was she?"

"Sadly, Nadia was not for me." Adam sighed, "But then, who the hell is? I mean, we're not bad looking, we're both 27 so we can't be accused of being immature, I like to think we look smart, we try and hang out in the nice places and areas, and yet we seem to still be stationary on this moving roundabout of relationships."
"Not for the lack of trying though! I mean there's been some right embarrassing moments though has there not? Remember when we were in one club in town, and we both just fell over the step in the entrance to the dancefloor"

"Yeah. Just had to leave after that one. So darned embarrassing!"

"Still, it's around six and time that we actually ate something. What can we throw into the microwave? I can't be arsed doing anything like a full cooked lunch right now."

Adam perused the fridge, like a rabbit scrambling around its hutch trying to locate the last piece of lettuce. "Well" he exclaimed, "We have a choice. Either lasagne, lasagne or, erm, cottage pie."

"I didn't realise we were that low on food" Mark grinned. "Come on, it's time we headed up to do some shopping, maybe treat ourselves to something we can place in the microwave a little later with a good film or something."

"Yeah, we could always find a dish and something dishy". Adam gave that look of nonchalance. "Or we could bump into Richard and fucking Judy. Mind you they buggered off to London just in time didn't they?"

A supermarket on a Tuesday night is a lonely place to be. Even with late opening, there seemed a distinct nothingness in the air as Mark turned into the car park, spaces a plenty to choose from. He carefully backed up the car so he had to do no fancy reversing when leaving with all the shopping, and then walked slowly towards the entrance, Adam in tow.

"Mark! Adam!"

A voice, sounding rushed, suddenly grew louder shouting their names and running towards them. They turned round to see Andrea, their friend, almost sprinting down the car park towards them, her hair flailing in the wind.

"Hello Andrea", said Adam, "you've run out of food as well then?"

"Yeah. I just couldn't stand the fact that my flatmate is wanting to go on a diet and insisting on everything being the same low calorie no taste crap. Want some proper food you know? Like chips and pizzas and stuff that is full of things it shouldn't be but you feel better eating for the sake of it"

"Wanna wheel the trolley around for us Andrea?", asked Mark, "Can never steer these things."

"Okay then.. we can just pile everything into one trolley and then just sort it out at the till if you like. Seems easy enough. Knowing you two it's mostly going to be a trauma deciding which microwaveable meal to have anyway..". Andrea of course being brought up helping her mum do the shopping was an expert at steering shopping trolleys. No faffing around with a trolley that doesn't go in one direction, you have to counter the cornering correctly so it oversteers straight into the next aisle. And she knew how to do it, much to the bewilderment of Adam, who having failed his driving test already earlier in the year, knew that if you couldn't steer even a inanimate object like the trolley, then the car was just a fantasy wish.

Sure enough, the three reach the microwaveable meals section. "Oh bugger", sighed Adam, "Dilemma time. Do we go for the penne or the lasagne?"

"Penne", replied Mark, "We still have lots of lasagne left. Mind you, what's this.. special fried rice? What the hell will they think of next?"

"Sod getting it from here", interrupted Andrea, "You can always go to that really good chippy you've got down the road from your place. Save time and effort, and you get more in the portion"

"I'll go with that", said Mark, "Let's get some essentials first and I think that's our tea sorted a little later. Andrea, why do you have to know exactly what we want?"

"Simple", she grinned. "One, female intuition, and two, you're just two typical twenty something blokes really. But nicer than most with it I have to add. Look at it this way, you may be occasionally gutted that you're single, but at least you have the option of a get out clause if the relationship gets serious.."

"I meant to ask. How's the divorce going?"

"Awful. He wants everything but should get nothing, I mean, he pretended so much he loved me and then just went off with wild abandon having sex with a different woman each week! So much for love. And now he wants all of the house. I mean if we sell it, we should have half each."

"If it makes you any better", chipped in Adam, "He'll probably have it running as a brothel and being arrested knowing what he seems to be like."

"Thanks. But I'm going to fight this all the way nonetheless. Don't see why he should have the upper hand all the time. Just cos he has friends in higher places than I do shouldn't detract from the truth should it? It really annoys me to see so much effort go to so little after all these years. Maybe I'm just being over-cynical, but don't you think sometimes that if you were that involved with someone, that no matter who you end up with, it'd never be the same? Even the prospect of just sex is a little unexciting right now."

"Things are bad", whispered Adam, "But they get better. As a friend, I promise you that."

"Enough anyway. Let's make this decision. Mushroom risotto looks good does it not?"

And so for around fifteen minutes, Adam and Mark pondered and thought over their choices of microwave food. They always kept a supply in for emergencies or when they didn't just want to cook. But they could both rustle up a good meal when needed and their cupboard still had many ingredients. A bit of raiding the frozen food section later, along with a jar of coffee, and their mission of shopping was complete. Andrea had just settled on getting herself an Italian stonebake pizza that she could throw in the oven sometime, and eat it in front of the television.

"That'll wind up Louise", she grinned. "She'll try and give me a lecture about calories, calories and more calories. But hey, that's her opinion, and if I feel like pigging out.."

"Well, tough isn't it?" smiled Mark, "I mean look at us having dilemmas over microwaveable food? All we'd get from her by the sound of it is 'ooh that'll make you fat', big deal I say.."

"You are what you eat" said Adam, "Pigs we are, and pigs we'll probably always be.."

"You got your clubcard, love?" interrupted the checkout cashier, "Save money and all that, you know".

"Nah.. not worth it" shrugged Mark, as he dug out some loose change to pay for the shopping. He and Adam headed towards the car. "Hey Andrea", he asked, "Wanna pig out with us? Can escape little Miss Dietician"

"Okay, there's football on is there?"

"There is.. cup-tie actually. Arsenal-Chelsea sound interesting to you?"

"Yeah.." Andrea was one of a rare breed, someone who was passionate about the game and yet also still had enough time to share other interests and not let it take over her life. Like Mark and Adam, her favourite team was born into her blood, from a small child. Although exiled from Birmingham to get her degree and also meet her ex-husband in Manchester, she stuck around and occasionally went back to Villa Park to see 'der Villa' play. Sometimes she would come out with sayings in her native accent but that's been mostly drummed out of her now from the incessant Northern accents, Mancunian appalling weather and having to put up with Mark and Adam's humorous swipes at her coming "frum Burrrmmingum" on top of that.

(well, you get the idea..!)