Twelve Ten, No. 9

Twelve Ten is a first step
an experiment
a playground.
It’s a space to look at
write and talk about
the world we live in
in all its myriad forms.

 

Editor’s Note

Maya

 

It’s writing season!

 

Grab your pens and paper, boot up your notebooks, get to your writing spot (I’m sure you have one) and: do it. Start writing. Now!

 

Don’t hesitate.
Don’t think about it.
Don’t put it off, either.

 

You said ‘Tomorrow’ yesterday. Well, here we are: start that sentence, finish that paragraph.

 

Don’t dream up whole plot-lines and never write them down.

 

Write them down, even if you know they aren’t much good. Sometimes you need to get the bad fiction out of the way to reach the good stuff you really want to write about. It’s a bit like clearing out the weeds to see the actual garden. It’s after the weeding that you can really let the bulbs grow, it’s after all the cutting and snipping and re-arranging that the whole place starts looking like the real thing – the place, here, being your story.

 

Be patient with yourself and try things out.

 

Experiment, jot down ideas. Type it all out for a while just to see where you really are. Then give your humble scribblings to a good friend who will be honest and say terrible things like ‘I don’t get it,’ or, ‘Do you really need this scene?’ or, ‘You really don’t need that character.’ Or the worst of the worst, ‘It’s kind o’ boring.’

 

Listen to that friend. It hurts, yes, you may shed a quiet tear, but take their advice seriously. And don’t let it dishearten you either. Mistakes will be made. Drafts will be written and re-written, and re-written again. That’s all part of the process. It is, after all, writing season, so go to your writing spot and… write!

 

~

 

DeathtoStock_ModernWorkshop-04

 

The What and the How

 

It’s autumn, leaves are falling, days are getting shorter: the season for book-reading and book-writing has come.

 

These are the days of long conversations about writing and story-telling, about the What and How of it all.

 

What exactly are you looking for? pops up over and over in these conversations about books and manuscripts. It is a much trickier question than most realise, since the answer is so diverse. From subject (‘boy meets girl’, ‘story of my life’, ‘overcoming terrible odds’ etc.) to type (love story, coming-of-age, suspense etc.) to style (realism, postmodern, experimental etc.) there are so many things one could talk about, the subject is beyond vast. However, since it is autumn, the season of books, hot drinks and comfy chairs, how about a couple of examples to point potential writers in a recognisable direction? The best way to hone a craft, after all, is to practice it, so here are a few practice runs.

 

In today’s particular case we’ll look at possible writing styles with the help of a storyline previously published here (Ferin Mews). In writing, it is not enough to be solid on the What (girl meets boy, for example, story of our lives, or, that horrible thing that happened and we survived). The How of said writing is just as important. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

 

  • Who is telling what? + What can really be told?
  • How much does the character know? + What can the character know?
  • How much does the reader get to know? + How much does the reader need to know?

 

There are very many ways to answer these questions, and depending on the kind of story you want to tell, you will answer them differently, creating the final story that your readers will get to read.

 

The following three excerpts show, on the one hand, a “straight”, linear, storytelling with dialogue and descriptions (I), on the other, an interior monologue and reminiscences that jump back and forth in time (II), and finally a mild mixture of both (III). All three excerpts are ways to tell a story from different parts of the characters’ lives, perspectives, motivations, and experiences. These examples show styles we appreciate and make us look closer, though naturally we are always very ready to be pleasantly surprised!

 

And as always:
Don’t give up
Keep on writing.
~ VR

 

* * *

 

DeathtoStock_ModernWorkshop-03

 

O’Connor’s (Excerpts)

j.d.may

 

I

Marla didn’t believe in chance encounters, but to her friends she seemed to have had an enormous stroke of luck when, just a few days ago, she stopped at the notice board on the way to O’Connor’s bathrooms. It was a weeknight and Marla and her friends had decided to be supportive and play fan-club to Rena’s brother’s band, Operation 8. So they sat in the middle of an Irish pub Marla would have otherwise never entered, drank Guinness, and listened to Operation 8, who were pretty good with their guitars. Halfway through a song, Marla had a pressing urge to use the ladies’. She didn’t want to get stuck in line when the band had a break, so she left the table and manoeuvred her way past enthusiastic fans and mildly impressed onlookers.

The bathrooms were surprisingly tidy, a little old-fashioned maybe, but much cleaner than some others she’d seen. Marla was convinced you knew a place by its lavatories. No matter how chic the exterior, all the secrets came out in the loo. It was on her way back from the WC that she saw the notice board, filled with advertisements and flyers in a jumble of colours and fonts. She was looking for an apartment after all, so why not check. There were many offers, some silly, others intriguing, and a couple worth some actual thought. She was reading one of the flyers when one of the waitresses, Sunny by name, came sauntering down the old-wood hallway, holding a tray in one hand, her black apron slung as low as her jeans, showing off her navel-pierced middle.

‘Lookin’ for a place?’ was the first thing she said, which was odd, but Sunny had proved to be such an open, chatty young thing, that Marla decided to smile and answer yes, she was. ‘Upped the rent, huh?’ Sunny hedged but Marla shook her head. She’d just moved to town, she said, and needed a place to stay. ‘D’you work here?’ was the next question and Marla affirmed she had just gotten a job at one of the hubs on the hill. Marla felt she should make it clear that she was not, in fact, desperate. Sunny pouted prettily, looking impressed. Then she asked how much Marla’d be willing to pay for a place. It was bit forthright, yes, but Marla gave her an approximate all the same. Sunny’s answer to that was, ‘Sounds good to me,’ adding, ‘Good luck, then,’ before walking on. Marla was puzzled but didn’t think much of it until it was her turn to buy the next round. The band was playing something less confused and Marla didn’t have to shout to catch the bartender’s attention.

The bartender. Owner, actually, Rena’s brother was in awe of him due to that fact. Well, what to say? He was the kind of man who got female attention whether he wanted it or not. Black hair, ruffled yes, but very fitting, hazel eyes that made you look again, even if you didn’t want to, and a very catching smile. He simply looked good, there was no way around it, though Marla felt it was a pity life should so resemble a cliché. Even so, bartender or no, it couldn’t be helped, the man looked good. His shirt was rather faded, and his jeans well-worn, but it all fitted the pub and his laid-back style. And anyway, you couldn’t look all nice and tidy when spending half the night behind a counter with calls for pints, whisky, shots and ale, repeatedly dipping used glasses into vats of soap-water and clear, wiping them only to use them again. And all this with that relaxed, reserved air that pressed all female flirt-buttons, especially when he was so focused on drying the glasses. As bartenders went, this one looked as if he really couldn’t care less about what was happening beyond the counter, which to everyone young and female present was equal to an invitation to be talked to, flirted at, and in every case given their fullest attention.

Marla waited while one of the many Operation 8 fans smiled and batted her eyes, her pert bust pressed conveniently against her arms folded on the counter, showing off an ideal cleavage. She was pretty and if the bartender noticed, he never showed it. He gave her two pints with a nod, turning easily back to washing the next glasses when Sunny popped up to take the money. Marla gave a sign right then, but before the barman walked over, Sunny held him back with an affectionate hand and whispered something into his ear. His reaction was surprise and a scrutinizing look in Marla’s direction, followed by a nod and a relaxed amble over to where she was. He said nothing more than, ‘Yeah?’ with the faintest frown over disinterested eyes. Marla ignored everything she was seeing and ordered the Guinness her friends wanted. Standing at the taps, both the barman and Sunny filled the glasses, Sunny still talking happily, repeatedly looking at Marla, while the bartender nodded every now and then, watching the black fill the glasses. It was Sunny who brought her the drinks, but before Marla could hand over the notes, Sunny said, ‘You know, we have a place upstairs.’

‘Sorry?’
‘A place,’ Sunny smiled. ‘You were looking for one, right? We have one. If you want, Caden could show you. It’ll be a bit more than you expected, but it’s really nice. I’m sure you’ll like it.’

Perplexed, Marla looked to said Ca-something, she didn’t catch what. He was taking another order from a young, highly enthusiastic Operation 8 fan who was overflowing with smiles. She asked, ‘You live here?’ Sunny nodded,

‘Yeah, upstairs. There’s a loft that’s empty, and it has a separate bathroom with a shower. I’m serious, you should go and see. I’m sure you’ll like it.’
‘I can come tomorrow,’ Marla said, not wanting to intrude on an obviously busy night.
‘Why?’ Sunny frowned sweetly. ‘You’re here, Caden’s here, it’d just take a few minutes. And it’s not like it’ll take you an hour to see if you like it, right?’ Sunny smiled happily, adding Marla shouldn’t worry, she’d take the pints to her friends while she went up.

This left Marla at the counter feeling awkward. Sunny looked like she meant what she said though, so Marla waited until Whatever-his-name-was finished with his next order before approaching him. Before she could say anything though, he wiped his hands and said, ‘I’ll be right out,’ without much ado. His ease was no show then. He really couldn’t care less about what was happening beyond his personal space. It was intriguing, and maybe a little annoying, but then again why be surprised. He was probably ogled at 24/7, really she should stop staring.

The bartender whose name she really did not catch – Kalen? No. – walked around the counter and motioned her to follow him to the back. Marla did just that after a quick glance to her friends who unanimously grinned back. It was a short walk through a narrow passage to a broader hallway and then up a flight of stairs to a front door. He opened the door without a word and they walked in, she really would have to find out his name. Kay-something, she was sure of that. He motioned to Marla’s immediate left, there was another flight of stairs. Marla proceeded. Stopping at the small landing, Marla heard, ‘It’s open,’ and pushed the door open. She didn’t find the light switch right away and the sensation was immediate: a sudden touch, not light, not gentle, an entanglement of fingers. His hands were warm and damp from the dish-water. Marla murmured a quick, ‘Oh, sorry,’ and walked further in, crossing her arms – and the lights were on.

Marla fell in love with the room. There were skylights in the ceiling, shedding warm, welcoming light onto a polished-wood floor. The slanted roof was spanned with thick old-wood beams and there were three windows, black now that it was night outside. Marla looked around and could immediately see herself in the open space. She smiled, pleased when she opened the door to the small bathroom. The tiles were a fresh, minty blue until the rough stone started above shoulder level, the shower had a glass door and the rest of the furnishings were smooth white porcelain. The entire loft had an even balance between old and new and was in itself an invitation to come and stay. Walking to the centre of the room, Marla saw – really, what was his name? – lean against the door-frame, arms crossed, waiting. For a moment Marla couldn’t help wonder. He had to know how that looked. It was a bit too right, somehow.

‘It’s perfect,’ Marla smiled.
‘It’s not much of a view.’

Marla stepped to one of the windows and looked out. So far she could identify rooftops, chimneys, street lights, and a lot of sky.

‘How much sun is there?’
‘This side is south, south west’

All Marla heard was sun and sunsets.

‘You work on the hill?’ she heard next.
‘Yes. I’m part of a programme there, but pay’s steady, so – ’
‘Any pets?’ he interrupted, clearly not interested in her pay roll.
‘No. Ahm – you?’
‘A cat. It’s somewhere, I don’t know where. You ok with that?’
‘Yes, I love cats,’ Marla smiled.

He just nodded as if she’d ticked the right box.

‘Sunny told you the expenses?’
‘She said it might be a bit more than I intended,’ Marla answered.

He stepped further into the room, looking around as if checking whether everything was in its right place. Really. Where was a camera when she needed one? Then he explained the rent and Marla felt it was rather affordable considering the newness and the space. She said, ‘I’ll take it then. I mean, if you don’t mind that is.’ His answer was a simple, ‘Ok.’ Marla waited for more, but that was it. He walked to the door, stopped as if remembering something and asked when she planned to move in.

‘As soon as possible. If that’s ok.’
‘Yeah, that’s fine.’

And with that he walked down the stairs, leaving Marla in empty space. She clearly was no more to him than a possible lodger. And that was just right and well. Marla followed him out of the room – she’d probably have to ask Sunny for his name – and found him waiting in the hallway, looking eager to get back to the pub again.

[…]

* * *

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

II

So maybe she was a little different, ok. Maybe she did live an unusual life, all right. Alain Delon was beautiful. Back then. Then he went Bardot. A pity. So maybe she thought a bit too much. Romy Schneider? Gorgeous. She’d love to have a swimming pool. Crystal blue. Shrubs and greenery seaming the stone. Hot, hot days. White cushions to sink into. Drinking longdrinks, ice clinking, stumbling about. Without all that mess in the end.

‘Intellectual’ was a silly word. She just took the time to think one thought through to the end before starting with another. It started in Paris, as these things start. Then there was Jaipur, then a long stint in New York. Finally, London where one could find India just a few streets away. How many of them wished they were young again? Young and beautiful and daring without all those crazy mistakes they made? How many wanted none of that, and were that thing that was so rare: How many were happy, content, blissfully self-aware?

Alone in her room, dressed in no more than an old bathrobe, Marla continued smoking her cigarette. She rarely smoked, but right now she felt like one. Windows open, the night black, lights speckling the emptiness. The bathrobe was a cheap piece from a corner-shop in Camden, cream with black borders, and a violently red and purple dragon with golden fangs and talons on the back. The black sash kept everything from falling open, wide open.

Behind her, La Piscine, The Swimming Pool, flickered across her super-wide TV screen. She carried the whole flat thing up here just recently, plugged in all the cables, figured out all the channels, and found a way to get that French one as well. No advertisements, just movies, documentaries, news, interviews. Exactly what Marla wanted. Delon smoldered on the screen. Schneider beamed back, cheekily. They were beautiful. Back then. What a pity. Age should not happen to people. It softened something, in the muscles, in the brain. And then you started saying very stupid things with absolute conviction. But he was that. Then. So was she, but she… That was sad. A real pity.

Marla turned away, she knew the rest. Standing at the open window, she drank from her cup of tea. The chill breeze slipped icily over her skin. She didn’t move though, nor readjust the belt. Everything was slipping, but who cared, she was safe from nosy looks. All around were only rooftops and chimneys. It was quiet enough to hear that low throb of the pub downstairs. If she thought about it long enough, it was as if the music was rising up through her toes, up past her calves and thighs, all the way into her.

Ric had taught her not only to listen, but to feel. How old was she, five? Seven? Somewhere there. Sitting cross legged in front of the record player, having him hold her on his lap, telling her who the singer was, where they were playing, showing her the sleeves. She understood nothing, but she felt it, the music, rising up from the floor through her toes and soles, up her legs all the way into her, until it wrapped itself around her heart and filled the beat, until she felt it way down to what she knew was her core.

Singing to the music was a part of it after that. Humming, tapping, clapping, remembering the lyrics when the song caught that cord in her soul. That was them, then. Felicia and Ric, Ma and Pa. The music, the laughter, the crazy friends. Those late nights where Marla would wake up and hear the bongos and guitars downstairs, the singing and laughter. Always the laughter, real, genuine, from the heart. And she would creep down with Jack and Sadie, and see their mother and father dance and sing, and play their instruments with their friends, drinking straight out of wine bottles, Bella, Dr Garcia’s wife, sometimes climbing onto the table top, barefoot, as if that was a normal, everyday thing to do, dancing there.

Bella showed them how to make paella from scratch, her mother was from somewhere near Bilbao. She said it wasn’t right if you weren’t close to the sea. Marla still made it at family dinners. It was a Brandon tradition to eat dinner together, all five of them, Felicia, Ric, Jack, Sadie and herself, mother, father, and three kids. Dinners were always loud, boisterous. Arguments, laughter, more arguments. Plates, bowls and drinks, salt and pepper passed around without  breaking the conversation.

Her new house-mates were quiet eaters. If they did eat together, which was rare. If they did, then it was done quickly, as if eating was a nuisance to get over with. Marla loved long dinners. She watched her house-mates, amazed. The hasty cooking, the impatient sitting down and getting up, the rush to rinse plates and stack everything into the dishwasher. If anything was said, then it had to do with plans for the pub, some new acquaintance Sunny had made the previous night, or what was happening in her circle of friends.

Caden Tellis seemed to have no private life. At least he never mentioned one. He seemed to only live to see that the pub did good business, that the supplies were well-stocked, and that the bands signed up in time and had enough equipment. Her tea was still warm, almost hot, nicely smooth and sweet. The cigarette glowed in the dark, bright, red. He wasn’t rude, nor in fact quiet. He was simply very sparse with his words. Attentive though. And observant. You had to be, to keep a pub running without fights breaking out.

Like that night with the bloke who thought someone had looked at his girl wrong. Or those two who thought Sunny was fair game. Caden just needed to ask the person if he could help them on and all was settled again. It didn’t happen often though. O’Connor’s was a place where friends came to have a pint, play a game of darts or pool, watch one of the leagues. Every now and then old rivalries would break through, yes, but if Sunny couldn’t break it up, Caden would.

He really didn’t do anything. He was just there. It was that look. Hard to describe really. And then there was Sunny. They were so different in temperament and character. Marla was surprised that they managed to live in the same house for so long. She knew bits and pieces now. What was now the office used to be Adam O’Connor’s room, the man who took over the derelict pub many years back, at least twenty from what Marla understood. Caden’s last name was Tellis though, so he could hardly be Adam’s son. Sunny was Adam’s niece, she moved in with Adam in her early teens. There was more to that, but she couldn’t ask yet. In a few weeks, maybe.

Adam passed away a few years back, four or five, Marla couldn’t say. They missed him, both in their own way. Sunny with comments that started with ‘Adam used to say’, Caden by never mentioning him unless Sunny made him, and then only very little. They must have been close though. Caden rightfully owned O’Connor’s and the whole house with it. How did that happen? She would have to wait. A couple more months maybe, then she could ask.

[…]

* * *

DeathtoStock_ModernWorkshop-06

III

Caden looked at the number. If he took the call he would not say no. If he didn’t take the call, the noise would never end. The song wouldn’t stop either, the screen blinking madly. He really didn’t want to. But if he didn’t, Joan would call and he didn’t need to hear, ‘What’s wrong, darling, why’s Steff so cross?’ He took the call.

*

He was shaving when he heard it, ‘Oh come on! Are you serious?’ Next, three knocks, quick, loud. Caden said, ‘Yeah?’ and Sunny opened the door, waving a piece of paper in her hand. It looked like the list. Well, no wonder.

‘What’s this?’ Sunny demanded.
‘What’s what?’
‘I thought you said you wouldn’t do it again.’

Caden cut a long swath through the shaving foam, flicked the razor in the water and started again. Three more to go.

‘Caden. You said you wouldn’t do it again.’

Another clear broadway through the white. Fred had shown him first. Matt wasn’t too happy, but Matt had nothing to shave off. It’s not like he pressed a button and started earlier just to spite him. Caden stopped a second. He hated how that still could rile him up, even now.

‘It’s good money,’ he said, after finishing the last stroke.
‘Yeah, and they’re complete arseholes!’

Caden unplugged the sink, and watched the soapy water drain out. He remembered, clearly, the first time he forgot to rinse out the sink. Joan saying, really loud, ‘Who did this?’ as if he’d firebombed the house.

‘They talk down to you, Caden!’ Sunny snapped. ‘Like you’re some kind of… some kind of… I don’t know! Something they can just order around and stare at! I hate that!’
‘It’s just an evening, Sunny,’ he said, bent down and rinsed the last of the foam off.
‘That’s a whole day, Caden. A whole day. Catering!’

She said it like it was something way below his dignity. Caden kept down a smile. Sunny had this thing that, if it wasn’t helping bands build a fanbase or seeing the pub didn’t run dry, it was nothing.

‘You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Mike’ll be there and Becca and Siobhan’ll –’
‘Oh, I’ll do it. I just don’t see why you have to give in all the time – and don’t say it’s good money. I don’t care about the money. We don’t need it anyway.’
‘Yeah, and I don’t need the noise.’

Sunny just stood there pouting. Sometimes she was a teen all over again, Caden wondered if that would ever stop.

‘Look, you know how it’ll be if I say no. I don’t need that right now, so – it’s just an evening. There’ll be a band and an open bar, she said you can have whatever you want.’
‘Oh, how generous! M’lady deigns to let us drink her precious wines which are ours anyway, for fuck’s sake. How can you put up with that?’

Caden smiled. It was nice, seeing her annoyance. It was genuine too.

‘I know it’s a pain, kid, but I don’t have the time for arguments. We’ll set up everything by five and you can leave by nine, so that’s just four hours, five max if it takes longer.’
‘Yeah, but what about you?’
‘What about me?’
‘Caden, that’s a whole evening with those twats, why’re you doing that to yourself?’
‘I’m not doing anything to myself,’ Caden said, flicked a towel off the heating rack and dried down.
‘It’s still –’
‘I’m just delivering some drinks, Sunny. You really don’t have to join if you don’t want to, but it’s done anyway.’

Sunny just made a face and shook her head, strutting off like he was an idiot to give in again.

He’d have preferred not to do it, but if he said no he wouldn’t just have Steff all in a miff, it’d be all of them breathing down his neck again. They’d been quiet for some time now, he didn’t need to change that for no reason. It’d be ok, he’d drive over, drop off the drinks and glasses and pick everything up the next day. He’d probably have to stop for a tumbler and palaver about something, anything. It was dull, but bearable. Steff had some chef on for the food, she just wanted the right wines, so it wasn’t a big deal really. It was strange though, how none of them ever got the hang of wines.

Adam had taken him to the South of France back then, Sunny in tow, fourteen and pissed off all the way until she saw the beaches, then they hardly saw her for the three weeks they were down there. It was business really, Adam was visiting some people he knew, a few microbreweries were staging an event, trying to break into new markets, and Adam wanted to know what they had. There was that pavilion with smaller distilleries showing their latest single malts and single casks, they ended up buying a crate full of several different bottles. After that there were the wine cellars and the vineyards they went to, Adam speaking his seriously awful French, everybody winced when he started talking. Adam didn’t care, telling Caden, ‘Try it, son, try it,’ so he tried what was offered. He got the hang of it after the third cellar, and with Maurice adding the meals, it made sense.

Maurice lived in Nice and was a dictionary on food, wines and several obscure schnapps. They spent a week at his house, Sunny at the pool day and night, Adam and Maurice talking about their days working for Citroën which was how Adam could save up for the pub, he’d had enough of desk jobs and office life. Adam’s former office was one of Citroën’s suppliers, and Maurice was usually the one on the other end of the line. Over the years they started talking about more than velocity, pressure valves and tires, and finally became friends. They’d been visiting each other for years by the time they went over that summer, and it was nice seeing Adam laugh so much. That was about a year before the heart attack.

Now Caden had a pretty good list of whiskies and wines, though he only used it for ‘The von Arseholes’ as Sunny called them. Sunny at sixteen was a full-out Goth. It was a phase, but the wrong phase to meet the Corrigans in. Steff was derisive, Joan horrified, and Fred just stared at her, asking, ‘Is something wrong with her? Why’s she so pale?’, Matt cackling out loud. Sunny heard it all and hated them ever since.

Sunny was convinced he was selling out, to Caden it was just business. The Corrigans had heaps of friends and acquaintances who needed good drinks for the dinners and parties they seemed to have at least once a week. They knew to get the food right, but they were hopeless with liquids. So Caden got that sorted, and from the calls he was getting, he was doing a good job about it. The best part of it was that the more ridiculous the price, the more willing they were to give him the job. Nowadays, one evening catering to Steff and Joan’s friends was enough to stock up O’Connor’s for a month. Matt’s people were no different, and Fred’s could buy out all his single malt if Caden didn’t watch out. With all that, Sunny could huff all she wanted, business was business, and they weren’t all bad either. Well. Some were ok. So there was really nothing to worry about.

*

Caden was just done with his coffee when the front door opened and Marla walked in. Now there was a real problem. He still didn’t know why he agreed to it. She’d looked harmless. Pretty, yeah, but nothing to worry about, at least not like that. Turns out he was as wrong as he could be. She smiled, ‘Hi’ and said, ‘Going down?’ Caden nodded, and left it at that. He knew he didn’t say much to her, but it was a conscious avoidance. It was the whole of her. It was all a bit too there. And those clothes. They showed off everything. And in general the fact that she was everywhere. The house was tidier since she moved in. He kept on finding things quicker. Sunny didn’t leave all her stuff lying around anymore. And she was always cooking, it wasn’t bad either. And she smelled good, which was something Caden did not want to notice.

It was annoying actually. He didn’t want the changes. He’d start getting used to them, and then what? This was temporary for her, he knew it. Women like her only stayed a few months in a place like upstairs. And he knew Sunny had no clue. He’d have his work cut out for him once Marla moved out again, Sunny grew so attached to people. Moped for three months when Helena stopped coming over, like he purposely fucked up her life. Granted she was seventeen, barely out of school, still undecided. With Adam gone and Helena out of the house… he got that, but still. Caden wished he’d thought about that before he agreed to have Marla move in, but now it was too late.

Sunny loved having her around though, he hadn’t seen her this happy in months. She kept on giving him updates of whatever Marla was doing, ‘Marla’s on the hill right now, but she’ll be back by seven.’ ‘Marla lived in India for five years, crazy isn’t it?’ ‘Marla’s out with her girls, they’re really nice.’ ‘Marla used to work in New York, I wonder why she moved back here.’ ‘Marla’s going shopping, she asked if you needed anything.’ ‘Marla’s really quiet, don’t you think? I thought she’d be the louder sort.’ ‘Did you see Marla’s sari? It’s gorgeous isn’t it?’ It was constant and there was no way to make her stop. Caden didn’t want to know anything about Marla. The less he knew the better. She’d be moving out soon anyway, so why bother, but Sunny didn’t care.

It really was annoying. Coming up to the flat used to be a way to wind down. Now closing the pub just meant having to face her afterwards. If she was awake that is. Caden was actually relieved when she wasn’t. She was still up there though, and it didn’t help knowing that. She had this really bad habit of running around in her bathrobe in the mornings. It was quick, yeah, she only did it to grab some toast and tea before she ran back up again, but he still had her right there, in front of him, and it was… fucking irritating. She’d looked harmless. Pretty, yeah, but nothing to worry about. At least not like that. Pleasant, that was it. He remembered thinking, ‘Yeah, she’s fine.’ Sane, put together, someone who’d mind her own business. And she was sane, she was put together. She really did mind her own business. She still ran around in that tacky bathrobe where you saw everything. Not on Sundays though, thank God. It was weird, sitting with her at the kitchen table, having her flip through a newspaper or some magazines left over from the week, telling him something completely random she found in the pages. Sometimes he was sure she just wanted to start a conversation, but he wasn’t starting that. He didn’t want any habits to grow, any traditions to spread. It’d be hard enough dealing with Sunny once she moved out again, he didn’t have to get used to stuff as well.

[…]

DeathtoStock_ModernWorkshop-08

 

In Brief

We hope you enjoyed our ninth edition. Twelve Ten, No. 10 will be published on
12 December 2017.
Submissions are are open again, so if you have any excerpts, essays, reviews, poems, short stories or anything else written you would love to hand in, don’t hesitate to send us your suggestions at:
submissions@vonreuth.com
Please remember to put Twelve Ten in your subject header.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Your von reuth Team

 

 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

 

Image Source (featured & main text): Death to Stock
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s