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[Writing Contest] - THE ARENA



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Politics Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 81,310 CMod ✭✭✭✭coffee_cake

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    That's great Hcass. I understand I choose the topic so how about

    The Interview

    Don't want to break any rules so let me know how long I have to post or what suits you. Please go easy on me have not written anything for a while, am trying to ease back into it and get some feedback on how I write!

    Cool topic, I accept. Let's get to work! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 303 ✭✭partnership

    Ok here goes - please have mercy on me!


    “Dad, I got an interview with Flynns for a personal assistant”, Claire said triumphantly. Delighted with herself; after all, he’d said not to bother applying because they’d already have someone in mind for the job.

    A pause on the line, he came back at her – “Well I suppose they have to advertise and interview a few people under the law, in my day you just gave it to who you wanted.” He had worked there for thirty years before his heart attack forced him to retire early. “Whose name is on the letter then, I might know them.”

    “Pauline Kelly”

    “No don’t know her. She’s probably some middle age bitch who slept her way to the top.”

    Claire despaired; she hated his bitterness and how he spoke about professional women.

    “Knew a Paul Kelly once, sound man, a real mans man. If he was still there I could have put a word in for you. Gotta go kettles boiling” the phone went dead.

    Typical, he couldn’t even bring himself to wish her luck.

    Two days later with butterflies in her stomach she introduced herself to the person on reception at Flynns.

    She was told to take a seat and someone would be with her shortly.

    Sure enough a few minutes later a door opened nearby and a tall, middle aged lady came out. “Hi I’m Pauline Kelly”, she said in a fairly deep voice, holding out her hand. “Hope we didn’t keep you waiting.”

    Claire shook her hand and said hi back and followed her into the room. She studied her as she sat down behind the table where one other man already sat. She was taller than Claire, dressed in a bright blue dress which draped well over her stocky figure. Long brown curly hair held back with a clasp at the neck. A quick glance at the man showed a fairly nondescript man in his sixties. Slim, clean shaven and that was all she had time to notice.

    It seemed to go well. The man whose name she didn’t remember went through her CV with her before Pauline asked her questions on how she would handle various situations. She thought she gave good answers and was getting a good vibe and then it was over.

    Pauline saying “Thanks very much Claire we’ll be letting people know later today.” A pause. “By any chance is your father Frank Murphy who used to work here?”

    “Yes he is, that’s why I decided to apply here; he was happy here, said it was a good place to work”, fingers crossed in case she was struck down.

    “I thought so, I met you once when he brought you into the office. You were about ten at the time, you haven’t changed.” A smile. “Please remember me to your father; though... he would have known me as Paul, Paul Kelly, I’m Pauline now. You don’t have a problem with that do you?” Lifted eyebrow and a slight tremor.

    Claire felt her heart stop. Oh my God, she really hoped she would get the job now, imagining the many conversations she would have with her Dad about Paul/Pauline.

    “No, I think it is great.”

    As she left the office she had to stop herself from skipping and laughing.

    Sure enough at 5 o’clock that evening she got the call to say she had the job. She started to ring her Dad before putting the phone down – this was something she had to do in person. She had been waiting for something like this all her life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    The Interview.

    I knock on the door.

    I hear a man shout, “get that, will ye?”

    “Get up off yer hole and get it yerself.” Someone shouts back.

    A large figure appears in the hall and walks towards the door, grumbling and groaning incoherently.

    The door flings open and I look up at this great big f*cker and gulp.

    “I’m here to see Janie.” I squeak.

    He yells up the stairs, “Janie, there’s some bloke at the door for ye.”

    Then he steps aside and sort of guides me into the hall where he leaves me standing like a spare tit after he walks into the sitting room and shuts the door behind him.

    I look up the stairs as I hear someone’s footsteps come down. I hope to christ it’s Janie. But it’s not. A middle aged woman who I presume is Janie’s mother, stands in front of me. She looks me up and down, shaking her head like some guest off Ricky Lake. She’s wearing a mad floral patterned housecoat thing like you’d see on an American house wife of the sixties. She has these pink slippers on her feet and some crazy arse hair net on her noggin. I’m trying not to laugh at her gettup as she stands there staring at me; feet at ten to two, hands on hips.

    “Who are you?” She barks.

    “Eh, I’m Joe. Janie’s eh…” I trail off cause I’m not really Janie’s anything just yet and don’t want to jump the gun.

    “Janie’s eh what?”

    “Eh… her…FRIEND!” I shout as the obvious answer dawns on me.

    “What’re ye standing in the hall for, go into the sitting room.” She points at the door that was shut in my face by Janie’s Dad. I smile at her and slowly turn the handle before shuffling into the room.

    “Be quiet.” Janie’s Dad warns, staring ahead at the TV screen.

    I drop onto the sofa and look at the telly. It’s MASH. Hawkeye is performing an operation.

    “Hawkeye’s my favourite.” I grin at Janie’s Dad.

    He glares back at me and I shut up.

    Janie’s Mam sticks her head around the door.

    “You still watching that shlte? Corrie’ll be on so you can turn it off. Bloody MASH, you’re seen them all before anyway.”

    “Ah pi$$ off.” He grunts, eyes still fixed on the box.

    “I’m making tea, you having some?” She looks at me.

    “Yes please.”

    Janie’s Dad stares at the both of us. Her Mam leaves the room, mumbling about MASH and Corrie and tea.

    “Make me one.” He shouts after her. Then looks at me and rolls his eyes. I’m not sure how to react so I just make this stupid half laughing noise. It sounds like someone letting the air out of a balloon. Janie’s Dad shakes his head like he’s disappointed and I’m thinking I’m fu*ked here.

    Janie leaves me down there for an hour. Between which her Mam, Dad and me sit there watching Coronation Street in silence; apart from the odd tut of disapproval whenever Hayley Cropper is on the screen.

    Finally her head appears round the door. “Ready?” She asks, as if she’s been waiting for me all this time.

    I leap off the sofa and say goodbye to her enchanting family. We’re nearly outside when her Dad calls her back. Fu*k it any way.

    I wait at the porch and two minutes later she bounds out to me grinning from ear to ear.

    “You must have turned on the charm big time,” she says, “Mam and Dad couldn’t be more impressed. They think you’re great!”

    I shake my head in disbelief, “Ah, sure you know me…”

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty

    I went with hcass here. Janie's family are class, nice break from the usual stuffy family of the girl cliche.

    And that last line gave me a good chuckle!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,578 ✭✭✭✭Turtwig

    Hcass for me. I'd love to hear more antics from that family. :)
    (Is it too soon for there to be a wedding? :D)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,183 ✭✭✭Antilles

    I voted for hcass. The story was well written and partnership's felt like it made the trans woman into a punchline, which I didn't like.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Politics Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 81,310 CMod ✭✭✭✭coffee_cake

    hcass's was great, very amusing :)

  • Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 55,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭Mr E

    hcass for me too.... put a smile on my face. :o

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭echo beach

    I went with partnership although I did see the twist coming from the start and thought it could have been handled better but it was a good idea and description of the interview itself and the relationship between the girl and her father was realistic.

    I did enjoy hcass as well but not enough to give it the nod.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,461 ✭✭✭--Kaiser--

    I voted for hcass as well...I was vaguely reminded of a time a guy called over to the house to pick my sister up

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,776 ✭✭✭up for anything

    I liked them both but partnership's piece had the edge for me. I could picture Claire not realising that she was starting on the road to becoming as bitter and unpleasant as her father because of her intent to take pleasure in his discomfort when she told him what had happened. Her revenge being a double-edged sword.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,718 ✭✭✭The Mad Hatter

    I liked them both, but hcass' edged it for me. The portrait of the family was nice, and they were enjoyably Irish in their surliness. Partnership's story was built from a decent idea, but sort of telegraphed the ending.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula

    Loved both stories.

    Partnership: Good idea and pretty well written, a little obvious I think but a great idea all the same and as I say well written.

    hcass: Humerous, written "as it happened" very imaginative piece of work that smacks of realism.

    In the end I went for partnership's story. Both excellent but it came down to which one I actually enjoyed, and the 'future' confrontation with Dad left to the imagination just pipped the decision for me.

    Well done to both.

  • Registered Users Posts: 303 ✭✭partnership

    Well done Hcass - I really liked your story and was wondering where it was going before the end.

    Thanks to those who voted for me and gave me feedback. I entered because I wanted to get some feedback on how I write and it was the first time for me.

    I knew using similar names was a bit obvious not sure why I didn't change it prob too lazy. The real story is the relationship with the father and I might have a stab at writing the confrontation anyway.

    Look forward to reading more great stories and will challenge again some time in the far future!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭echo beach

    I knew using similar names was a bit obvious not sure why I didn't change it prob too lazy. The real story is the relationship with the father and I might have a stab at writing the confrontation anyway.

    Using similar names wasn't the only lazy part. I'm no expert on trans gender but I doubt if even the most confident reveal the fact so quickly, especially when she/he knew the father.
    An idea for the confrontation might be if the daughter just suspected that Paul/Pauline were the same person but the father wasn't convinced.

  • Registered Users Posts: 303 ✭✭partnership

    echo beach wrote: »
    Using similar names wasn't the only lazy part. I'm no expert on trans gender but I doubt if even the most confident reveal the fact so quickly, especially when she/he knew the father.
    An idea for the confrontation might be if the daughter just suspected that Paul/Pauline were the same person but the father wasn't convinced.

    I did think of having her overhear the recptionist and someone else talking about it - however the 600 limit on words meant that it was not feasible. However I take on board all the feedback for the future so thanks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,554 ✭✭✭DublinWriter

    Any more topics/takers?

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty

    Any more topics/takers?

    You should challenge hcass with a topic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,789 ✭✭✭slavetothegrind

    jebus, had to go way back to find this!

    i miss reading this thread so if no one else is around i'll have a go just to get another story out of Hcass!

    topic: judgement is a vocab test i came across whilst looking for a random topic

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  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    Hey slavetothegrind - I just finished writing a story for the VOAT comp so can you give me a couple of days? Is that allowed?

    If there's a MOD around please let me know. Don't fancy the idea of writing another story right away and have a long day of work tomorrow.

    Could knock one out by Tuesday evening though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,789 ✭✭✭slavetothegrind

    no pressure hcass pm me when you are free and we will take off then.


  • Registered Users Posts: 568 ✭✭✭DangerMouse27

    I challenge thee!

    Wait a minute, who won?

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    I have more time now so I accept the challenge - see you in 24 hours.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 34,440 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney

    hcass versus slavetothegrind and DangerMouse27 to take the winner, then?

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    “We’re having an Elvis impersonator to sing. We were hoping you’d do a reading Tom. And Selma, if you’d like to light the unity candle, that’d be great.”

    We were at Ed’s parents’ explaining the plans for our wedding ceremony. I thought we should include them after his Ma had made a not so subtle comment about my neglecting to invite her wedding dress shopping.

    “Oh, that’d be lovely Deirdre. And Tom would love to do that too, wouldn’t you Tom?”
    Tom looked up from The Daily Mirror.
    “What’s that ye said?”
    “Dee is telling us about the wedding, they want you to do a reading, isn’t that nice. You’d like to do that, wouldn’t you?” Selma nodded her head at Tom.
    “Emm, I’m not really into public speaking. I do get very nervous Dee, ye know?”
    “Ah you don’t have to do it Tom, it was just a suggestion.”
    “Of course he’s going to do it,” barked Selma, “You’ll do it Tom, they’ve asked you. He'd love to do it, Dee.” She glared at Tom; he shook his head and went back to his paper.

    Selma was carefully arranging some biscuits on a plate.
    “So… an Elvis impersonator? That’s…different.” Ed entered the room catching the end of the conversation.

    “Yeah, you love a bit of Elvis, don’t ye Ma?” Ed kissed his Mother on the cheek and helped himself to a Hob-Nob.
    “I do, I do like Elvis. But what will the priest say?”
    “Oh we’re not getting married in a church.”

    Selma gasped. Tom looked up.

    “You’re not getting married in a church? Well, where are you getting married?”
    Ed came over, putting his arms around me.
    “Yeah, Ma, I forget to tell you. We’re having a civil ceremony. Seen as we aren’t religious…”
    “I thought they were for quares? Them civil ceremonies?” asked Tom, his brow furrowed in confusion.
    “Da, how many times…”
    “Sorry son. I mean gays, sorry.”
    “Anyway, no, that’s a civil partnership. This is still a marriage just without the god malarkey.”

    Selma shook her head in horror and muttered a prayer.
    “We need to talk about this. We need to discuss the consequences, don’t we, Tom?”
    “Ah Selma, I don’t know. It’s their wedding.” Tom’s show of support caused Ed to squeeze my hand. “Maybe they’re right, with all that abuse scandal…”
    “No! Can’t you see what they’re doing? What a mistake…”
    “Selma, we’re not getting married in a church. It’s just not going to happen.” I proclaimed.
    Ed threw me a look, telling me to stay out of this.

    “Ma, come on now, you know I never go to mass.”

    Selma was trembling. She let out a loud sniffle and began to cry. Ed dropped my hand and went to her. Tom caught my eye, silently pleading me to back down. I turned away; she wasn’t winning this one.

    “Ah Mam, it’s not that big a deal. You need to sit down and relax.”
    “I can’t, I can’t. What are you trying to do to me? I don’t know, I just don’t know. I raised you good… mass every week. ” she blubbed into her apron. “And when you have children… god have mercy on their souls, I just can’t…”
    Selma let out a pitiful howl and Ed held her closer.

    He gestured to Tom, who reluctantly placed his paper down and joined his son in mollifying Selma. I quietly scoffed at the pathetic scene before taking a digestive from the plate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    Hello? Echo echo echo...

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty

    Maybe PM him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass

    I did PM him ages ago! Well not ages but you know what I mean...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 447 ✭✭Agent Weebley

    If another couple of hours passes, then I would say slavetothegrind and DangerMouse27 are conceding defeat, and someone else should step up to the plate . . . whoever is the quickest to draw a verbal picture is your next contender.

    That's just my judgement on the matter . . . wadduino.