It’s beginning to hurt.

James Lasdun, winner of this year’s inaugural national short story prize wrote ‘It’s Beginning to Hurt’ in just 500 words.

we were set the challenge of borrowing one of his character’s and write their story within the same, or near to. time frame.

so this is Beginning to Hurt from Derrick’s view in 460 words.

It’s beginning to hurt

“Good lunch Mr Bryar?” she asked

“Excellent lunch” I heard him lie to Beth our office secretary

“Sorley’s?” I asked out of habit as my senior partner in our firm took his place at his polished walnut desk and I at my budget replica.

“No, some… Chinese place” he mumbled not even bothering to look at me.

“Your wife rang” I’d thrown that comment out into the air thoughtlessly. Inwardly I was cursing myself. She hadn’t just rung because I’d just had lunch with her secretly.

Panic at my stupidity caught the breath in my lungs and I gaged.

Bryar he was now on the phone to her. My heart beat guilty like a judge’s baton against my chest. I didn’t know how long it took for the taxi to take Penelope home from Metcalfe Hotel where we had been together.

Guilt had robbed me of the taste of the signature black and blue grill but not of Penelope’s lips on mine. Heat flushed my flesh at the thought of Bryar’s wife kissing me.

Would she be able to fool him once more?

This was a dangerous match neither Penelope nor I could afford for Bryar to divorce her. I needed his job and she needed his money.

My desk clock ticked as I went over tonight’s murder plan in my mind once more this had to go perfectly like a metronome if we were going to get away with it.

Tick,

7pm; He takes his brandy in the library. Pea will open the kitchen window and leave Tom’s car keys out on the phone stand.

Tock.

8pm I will hide behind the shed until the security lights turn off in the yard.

Tick.

8.20 get into the kitchen and hide in the pantry.

Tock.

9pm Bryar sets the alarm and goes to bed. Wait until I hear Pea call ‘Goodnight’ to Crème Custard.

Tick

Oh dam! I forgot 8.10 – feed Crème Custard AMITRIPTYLINE laced dog treats. That bloody Poodle would bark the place into an up roar if I don’t give him the sleeping pills.

Oh god, I’m going to end up in prison.

He’s not at his desk on the phone. Where has Bryar gone?

“Where are you heading Mr Bryar?” I called after him

“My wife needs a Salmon, see you tomorrow Derrick” came his distant reply

“Night sir? Hope you have a good evening.” I gave my best toadying voice. Did that sound too forced? Was it too obvious? Golly it’s so warm in this bloody office.

Maybe I should write the plan out in built points, then I can memorise it easier.

Hell no, stupid, stupid me.

-Bang!-

Ahrr! Oh the door, yes of course it is. Where was I?

By SB

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Week 6 Creative Writing with WEA

Q; Write a short story with Lent as the theme, explore the use of monologue and/or soliloquy to tell the story.

This Lent

– “I forgot to put ash on my forehead this morning, what a wonderful example of Christianity I am. Not that anyone outside would care. They would think I’d just forgotten to wash my face this morning, or worse think I’d fallen asleep whilst smoking and landed head first on my cigarette in hand.

I haven’t even chosen what I’m going to be fasting. It’s no good giving up chocolate again; the PMT was so bad last year. Not that it hurt me much it was everyone around me who had to do the suffering. The point is for me to be in a type of sacrifice, I’m supposed to feel and resist temptation; I need to prove that despite being mortal I can understand the point God made.

Who am I kidding; I don’t understand being human let alone God.

I could give up blasphemy and cursing. Oh but dad did that a couple of years back, I don’t want to end up turning blue while holding my tongue at work , poor old dad.

Maybe I could do a Katharine? She is so pious only eating when the sun is down, now that’s true penitence. Only I know I’d pass out whilst driving grandma and chasing after my demented two-year old, not to mention being my crazy self. Oh god I’d better get a move on, she’ll be waiting. See what I mean, I’m just not good at being a Christian.”

-“Ash yes, prayed yes, bible notes check. Great I hope Marie is on time Jack, it’s been hard since you left. I’m fasting again this lent I’m going to do it this time too, no sneaking snacks, only water in the day this time, I will make you proud of me.

I’ve volunteered at the coffee shop with Marie so god will be more pleased with me now. I know I’m not as good as Marie; she manages to be nice, cheerful and do loads for people. I can’t stand people Jack god knows that. Especially the foreign people living in our country. I don’t know how they can honestly expect me to go to a doctor about private matters when I don’t even understand a word they say. Things are harder for me than her. She has her little family, and her big family have been at that church forever. Marie can just be a Christian it’s in her blood. I have to work at it. I will show them you will see and if god is happy with me maybe he could make you come back to me.  Be more than just an old photo.”