Nearly Christmas day… are you ready? No? Well, panic not. Before you know it, it’ll all be over and you’ll be worrying about what to wear for the New Year’s party, and what resolutions to make.
Soon be Easter.
And so… on with the 30 Writing Challenges. Challenge 23 states: Write the story of one of your childhood memories.
Simple enough, you would’ve thought. But no, not really. You see, talking about myself isn’t something I generally do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a very varied and interesting life, which is worthy of many a tale. I just don’t enjoy telling those tales, unless I’m in a conversation. Ask me, and I shall tell, but to just sit and write something down? Nope.
I do, however, weave a lot of my personal memories, emotions and feelings into the majority of the stories I write, and so I have decided that for today’s challenge I will post an extract from my soon to be released book – The Negative Bind.
This book tells the story of Paul, a teenage boy whose perfectly ordinary existence is shattered after an accident. Paul sees his life spiral out of control, with unexpected and possibly tragic consequences. Paul is not me at a younger age, by the way. That really would be a tragic story. But there’s no denying a lot of me is in the story, in one shape or form.
The following is from chapter 10: Fairboss and Prizes. I hope you enjoy.
Extract from Chpt 10: Fairboss and Prizes.
Eventually I decided it was time me and Jimmy started to make our way to the common. The fair opened at six, but it wasn’t cool to be the first ones there, so’s I’d waited ’til ten past the hour. We’d get there about half past – a good time to arrive. All the uncool and excitable little kids would already be there, screaming and yelling. I’d be able to make a grand entrance, just swagger into the fair, like it meant nothing and it bored me slightly. Being so cool is kinda cool, you know?
Man, that was a good night. All them sights and sounds. Thousands of multi-coloured lights, flashing and twinkling like earth-bound stars. The music, blaring from huge speakers, so loud your whole body thump thump thumped with the beat. The ride guys, doing their bit to get the kids more excited – scream if you wanna go faster! I can’t hear you, I said SCREAM! Girls giggling, guys laughing, friends shouting and calling to each other.
And the smells! The air was thick with them. They were almost a physical thing, wrapping themselves around your body, insisting you took a great big lungful. Diesel fumes from all the generator and tractor engines. Sweat from kids overheating with fun. Cheap perfume from the girls, cheap cologne on the boys, all vying for the other’s attention. Candy floss, popcorn, toffee apples, donuts, burgers, hotdogs – you didn’t need to eat nothing, you could just munch on the aroma filled air and get your fill.
Course, me and Jimmy weren’t going to eat air, no way. A hotdog, smothered in ketchup and mustard to snack on while we waited in line for a bacon cheeseburger. Wash ’em down with a coke, then donuts for me, toffee popcorn for the Jimster. A toffee apple each – one of our five a day, gotta make sure you eat healthy, right? All followed by a huge stick of the pinkest candy floss you ever saw.
We’d probably be sick for a week, but right then and there, in the middle of a whirlwind of sights and sounds and smells, of laughter and screaming, of guys acting cool and girls acting like they didn’t care – right in the middle of the best night of the year, me and Jimmy didn’t care. Didn’t care not one little bit.
Before we knew it, it was nearly time to go home. Time goes so fucking fast when you’re having a blast, am I right? Right! We’d been on the waltzers, spinning at a hundred miles an hour, little Jimmy staggering like he was drunk when we got off. A ride through the ghost train followed, the cars rattling and banging, cheap and badly painted dummies springing out at us round every corner. Me telling Jimmy it was all tacky and craptastic, not scary at all, then screaming like a girl when a rubber spider brushed over my face in the dark.
We climbed up the Helter Skelter, four storeys high, and slid all the way back down the spiral slide, the fairground revolving around us like we was the centre of the world. The mat Jimmy had been given to slide on was near worn through and he swore he’d got friction burns on his arse.
“Check for me, Paul! My bum’s on fire, look at it and make sure it’s ok! Please?”
Yeah, like hell. Like I was gonna be looking at his arse in the middle of the fair! I told him to man up, and bought him an ice cream to shut him up. He took a couple of licks. I waited for him to take another, and jogged his arm, knocking Mr. Whippy’s finest all over his face.
“Paulieeee! I’m going to kill you!”
Wow, look at that, a talking ice cream! Haha, too cool!
The Manic Mini Coaster, the House of Mirrors, the Frying Pan, the Octopus, the Funhouse, the Turbo Booster, the Dodgems, the Terminator, the Mach 1, the Ferris Wheel, the Wave Swinger and the Freakout, we did them all. Some of them twice. The energy expended by us and all the other kids that night would’ve been enough to power the entire town for a year, I swear.
In between rides, while we got our breath back, we’d been trying out some of the stalls set up either side of the midway. Hook-a-Duck, Hoopla, Sharpshooter, the Coconut Shy, all them kinda ones. I’d hooked a duck and won a purple teddy. It was mum’s birthday next week – present number one taken care of then.
Before we left for home we tried another, and Jimmy, somehow, knocked a coconut over. He couldn’t throw for shit, but there he was, pegging those little wooden balls for all he was worth at them nuts. And then bam! One of them connected, and the coconut took a dive. Wasn’t the one he was aiming for, but so what?
His prize? A little goldfish in a plastic bag full of water. For fuck’s sake. Everybody knew them things died in a day or two. I told Jimmy this, told him to ask for something else, but he was having none of it.
“It’s my prize, Paul. I won it fair and square. Me, on my own. So if I want a fish then I’ll have a fish!”
The old guy running the stall looked at me and grinned, as if to say ‘to hell with you kid, he’ll get what he asks for.’ His leathery face creased as he showed me his remaining three teeth, and he handed Jimmy his fish. The Jimster grabbed it and held the bag up to his face, making stupid fish gulping shapes with his mouth as he wandered off. I gave the old guy the finger and followed after my bro’, cursing under my breath.
Ten months later, and there the fish still was. Freddy. Swimming endlessly round and around his little tank. So much for all fairground goldfish dying in a few days.
The End (of the excerpt)
If you liked it, look out for the release of The Negative Bind, so you can read the rest.
As always, that shallot…