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[Writing Contest] - THE ARENA

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,729 ✭✭✭redser7


    Absolutely fine with me, whatever you think.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,729 ✭✭✭redser7


    Blackstar

    She lifts her butt cheek and plucks the G-string out of the crack, adjusts her dress hem down a smidge, and pushes off up the driveway into the milky dawn. The latch on the gate is stuck hard in the receiver by decades of sloppily layered paint, the current scheme being something akin to what her mother had always described as 'ducktymud'; an unfortunate brownish-orange. She pushes down hard with both hands but the latch won't budge. The boundary is a ratty low box hedge but being quite short she has to hike her leg up high to get across it. The cool breath of dawn and the untrimmed hedge ends tickle her as she straddles it and in an explosion of laughter she falls across to the other side. A little wee escapes. Oh gawd. She pinches the smile out of her face smudging her makeup, rolls over on to her knees, laughs again and hiccups. A spoonful of hot sick bubbles into her throat. Oh gawd.

    She scans the small curtained windows above but nothing moves. She spits and wipes a little lingering spittle into the torn shoulder frill of her cocktail dress. Black is always a wise choice for a Friday night. Like a puppet on a string she gathers her limbs up and stands wobbling in the half light of the July morning. The night's music echoes in her head. She doesn't recognise the street, but the red brickwork, mock Tudor beams and tightly packed motors along the kerbside give her a fair idea of what part of town she is in. Score! But then it's a drag to realise that she faces a long-ass walk all the way home.

    She fishes her bag out of the hedge, untwists the clasp and takes out her phone. F**k. A spider's web crack sits smugly in the centre of the screen. It is 6.02 AM. Adopting a well-practised and defensive pessimism she takes an itinerary of the remaining contents - Key, check. Assorted lip products, one - two - three, check. No wait, four. Four? Bramley apple flavoured B-Sting lip Gloss. That's not mine! She turns it in her fingers, focuses in and out on the minute writing - 'For that Bee-Stung look'. She pats her lips. Eh? Oh gawd, filching again. Cash - 200 euros, rising panic. She'd left home with 60 and had had the sense to leave her debit card in her knickers drawer. What else? Two foil-wrapped condoms, attached to each other. There had been twelve soldiers in the box when she'd kissed her mother goodbye. Major panic. Her brain goes into overdrive, she grabs herself in front and back. Bridge to Engineering! Damage report Mr Scott! We've vented a wee bit of plasma Captain but other than that we're in good shape. Must have given them to Marc. What the f**k happened to Marc? F**K Marc. I couldn't have used nine f**king Johnnies! She casts her line into the TARDIS-like purse again. A small baggy of a white dust-like substance of indeterminate identity and origin, a driver's license with a photo of some blonde bird called Gemma, a canister of pepper spray ... Hang on! This isn't my bag! There's a movie clip in her head; all glitchy and scratched. There is lurching, there is falling, there is dancing and ... and the Ladies toilet. Waving at the automatic tap, slipping on a pool of water, and, ah, there she is. Gemma. Same bag, SNAP! Fancy that! There is Tequila. Lots of Tequila. There are linked arms, a hand dropping. Oh gawd. She looks up at the window. Squints. Nada. She has zero recollection of what happened behind that curtain. She reads the license card again, studies the photo. Gemma Wells. Simply. Stunning. Nah, surely not with a woman. There is also an ID tag. Gemma Wells OB/GYN. She's only a fricking fanny doctor! Well that makes sense.

    She rifles the bag for more treasure. Her scrabbling fingers fall upon a cold metallic object. She draws it out into the light. Its beauty is almost frightening. It is a Mercedes key fob.

    She slowly totters round one hundred and eighty degrees. A silver Mercedes C-Class Coupe lounges at the kerbside. It looks freshly unwrapped.

    She raises the fob and squeezes. The locks disengage with a clunk so smooth it steals a little of her breath away. The driver's door pops open, just an inch, an invitation. The engine sets to humming.

    Oh sweet devine. She claps her hands to her face to stifle a laugh and smudges her lippy up onto her cheeks.

    Her gaze swings back to the window, then up and down the silent street. A robin stands brazenly on the gate latch, egging her on.

    Hadn't her mother always warned her never to get into a stranger's car? She steps closer.

    A voice drifts through the narrow gap in the open door, a siren voice that startles her at first, then intrigues as it seems familiar.

    She leans forward.

    Rebel Rebel You've torn your dress

    Well Gemma obviously has good taste in men. And delivered through the Burmester 3D Surround Sound System Bowie has never sounded so good.

    She hooks a painted nail behind the door and ever so gently pulls it back. It opens with all of the ease with which the other half round here live.

    Hadn't her mother always warned her not to talk to strangers?

    Hi David. May I come in?

    You've got your mother in a whirl 'cause she's
    Not sure if you're a boy or a girl


    Funny guy. She slides into the driver's seat. The leather is like a lover's skin against her own. She closes the door. Hermetically sealed, it has the feel of a cockpit and she is the pilot. Sitting at the heart of the wrap-around technology that she understands so well is like having a universe of possibilities at her command. She flicks and swipes her way through every function as if performing a pre-flight checklist.

    Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess

    She adjusts the mirror and checks her face.

    You're not wrong David. The only colouration that does not slide across her face is the tiny Blackstar tattoo below her left eye that Marc had given her on her first anniversary in juvie. He'd explained to her what a Blackstar was and about the irresistibility of its gravitational pull and that this symbol meant that there that was no escape from his love for her. The f**king knob end.

    Hey babe, your hair's alright
    Hey babe, let's stay out tonight


    uh huh. She musses her hair in the mirror then runs her fingers through it to put some manners on it.

    Let's have some of that Bramley Apple shall we. She freshens her lips, feels the capsicum burn, purses and pats and pouts. I think it's actually working! And it really does taste of Bramley apple pie David!

    You've got your transmission and your live wire

    Yes I do David. And I've also got a state of the art 302 horsepower V-6 engine beneath my ass.

    She presses down on the accelerator. Oh f**k me Jesus! She could cry.


    Sh*t David, what am I doing?

    You want more and you want it fast

    She places her hands at ten and two and thinks about that.

    The crown of the new sun births at the end of the avenue. It makes silhouettes of everything and lays down a tangerine runway along the centre of the road. She licks her index finger, dabs it into the baggy and rubs the grit across the front of her gums. She savours the burn as the sunlight crawls up the bonnet and onto the windscreen. She sucks and swallows. Oh gawd. Top sh*t Gemma. You naughty, naughty girl.

    The stick falls into first at the merest suggestion of a push and her bare foot finds the bite. She lifts her butt cheek, puts her hand up her dress and straightens out her cock.

    Right then David. Let's go.


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,470 ✭✭✭✭Mr E


    Julia shook her head to clear some lightheadedness, and started singing.

    "Something happened on the day he died, spirit rose a metre and stepped aside, somebody else took his place, and bravely cried: I'm a Blackstar, I'm a Starstar, I'm a Blackstar."

    She was singing it quietly enough to herself at the communication console, but it was just loud enough to irritate Alan.

    "Will you stop singing Bowie please? I'm trying to concentrate." Alan tapped a panel in front of him with a knuckle. "Probe 14 launched."

    "I can't help it, Alan. I mean, who else has gotten this close to a black hole before?"

    Alan and Julia were scientists in a small research craft at the edge of the Milky Way.

    Julia looked out of the front viewing window, a massive hemispherical screen that gave them a full visibility of all forward angles. What seemed like a million stars filled their view, but right in the middle there was an emptiness. A black hole. A place where nothing can exist, no light can escape, an empty blackness. As a scientist, she was in awe of it.

    A small probe was propelled from the ship and moved from the bottom of the view screen to the middle, getting smaller the further it travelled.

    Alan looked at the readings. "Acceleration is similar to the previous 13 probes. 5,000 km/s. 20,000 km/s. 60,000 km/s. Probe entering black hole in 3, 2, 1."

    The readings continued for another 150 milliseconds after it vanished, then stopped.

    Julia spread the readings from that probe across multiple displays.

    "Something weird is happening, Alan. I think the black hole is getting bigger."
    "What? That's impossible!"
    "Look at the readings."

    Alan looked at Julia's display and compared the readings taken at regular intervals since they began their tests. The increases were small, but they were there.

    "Shit. If the black hole is getting bigger, then we're in danger. We need to get out of here before its gravitational pull gets a hold of the ship."

    Julia agreed. She touched a panel in front of her and spoke: "Research Vessel Lazarus to Science Base."

    A voice came over the speaker. "Base here. Go ahead, Julia."

    "The singularity is getting bigger. It's slow, but it's definitely growing. We're coming back. We can discuss options when we get back."
    "Options? Jesus, what can we do about a growing black hole?"
    "I have some ideas, Major."
    "OK, get back safely."
    "Will do."

    While they were talking, Alan had fired up the reverse thrusters. They need to back away at an even speed before they could turn around and get out of there.

    "Julia, something's wrong. We're not moving."

    Looking through the front viewing window, they saw the light from the thrusters extending like tendrils towards the black hole.

    "Oh my god, kill the thrusters! We're feeding it! We're the ones who have been making it bigger with each probe!"

    It was too late. Lazarus gave a little lurch and the displays on Alan's console were now registering a forward velocity.

    They were powerless to do anything. Firing the thrusters would feed it even more.

    The Major's voice came over the speakers. "We're still here, Lazarus. We're coming to get you."

    "Negative, Tom. It will take you at least 8 minutes to get here and we'll be gone in 3."

    "There must be something we can do?"

    Julia relaxed into her seat, resigned to her fate. Their fate. "There is something you can do, Tom. Please record the following message and make sure our kids get it. Audio only."

    Alan sat beside her and gently took her hand.

    "Hey Catherine. Hey Hugh. Mommy and Daddy here. You know that we're scientists and that what we do is very very important work, right? Well there was an accident here today and we can't come home right now. Catherine ... princess ... you're going to grow up to be a beautiful young lady and we're so proud of you. Hugh, you're only 4 years old, but you're the best little ..."

    The vibrations grew more intense and tears started to roll down Julia's face. She started to sob uncontrollably. Alan squeezed her hand and spoke:

    "Hey kids. Daddy here. Hugh, I think what Mommy was going to say was that you're the best little boy in the universe. We know that you love your spaceship toys and solar system holograms. Maybe you will follow in our footsteps one day? That would make us so proud. You and your sister look after each other and do whatever Nana and Pop ask you to do. When you look up at the stars, remember that we are looking down on you, always and forever. We love you both very much."

    Alan gingerly touched a button to kill the comms link, and they just sat there waiting for the end.

    The blackness filled the front viewing window like spilled ink. As they got closer to the black hole, the vibrations got more intense. Just as they were about to become unbearable, they ... stopped completely. A kaleidoscope of colours filled the viewing window. It was the most beautiful sight they had ever seen.

    Alan spoke first. "Oh my God, we're still alive. What is this?"

    "We're inside the singularity? Your guess is as good as mine, Alan."

    "Let me see if this thing will fly in here."

    He powered up the engine and hit the thrusters.

    There was a blinding white flash.

    Julia shook her head to clear some lightheadedness, and started singing.

    "Something happened on the day he died, spirit rose a metre and stepped aside, somebody else took his place, and bravely cried: I'm a Blackstar, I'm a Starstar, I'm a Blackstar."

    "Will you stop singing Bowie please? I'm trying to concentrate." Alan tapped a panel in front of him with a knuckle. "Probe 14 launched."

    "I can't help it, Alan. I mean, who else has gotten this close to a black hole before?"


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,729 ✭✭✭redser7


    Well done Mr. E, a well deserved win!


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,470 ✭✭✭✭Mr E


    Thanks Redser7. Now to the main event!


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


    I was late, but I voted for redser's. The description was excellent, and the suspense was perfectly measured.

    I think I know too much about black holes to suspend disbelief with Mr E's. :D

    If you called it anything other than a black hole, I could have followed you down the path. :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,729 ✭✭✭redser7


    Das Kitty wrote: »
    I was late, but I voted for redser's. The description was excellent, and the suspense was perfectly measured.

    I think I know too much about black holes to suspend disbelief with Mr E's. :D

    If you called it anything other than a black hole, I could have followed you down the path. :pac:

    Oh thank Christ I got at least one vote!! :D


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


    redser7 wrote: »
    Oh thank Christ I got at least one vote!! :D

    You haven't lived until you got a nil vote. :D

    I usually manage it :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,729 ✭✭✭redser7


    Rubecula wrote: »
    You haven't lived until you got a nil vote. :D

    I usually manage it :pac:

    Aw, don't give up hope! You never know ...


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


    redser7 wrote: »
    Aw, don't give up hope! You never know ...

    Never give up hope? I never had any to give up :pac:

    I know my limitations redser and I really don't care whether or not I get a vote in my favour, just as long as folks enjoy my writing I have no worries about whether they like it best.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    So... It's been a while. Anyone up for this? I haven't written in a looongtime. Need a kick up the arse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,470 ✭✭✭✭Mr E


    Yeah me too. :)

    I don't have a free night this week, but maybe next week?


  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    Deadly. Well let me know when you're free and it's on :)


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


    and me please


  • Registered Users Posts: 450 ✭✭Agent Weebley


    I’m in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,470 ✭✭✭✭Mr E


    How about a VOAT story? Maybe Sunday to Sunday?


  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    Hey Mr E, Does that mean you don't want to do The Arena?


  • Registered Users Posts: 55,470 ✭✭✭✭Mr E


    Since there are a few people interested in writing, I thought a VOAT might help get more people involved. Strike while the iron is hot. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    So you don't want to do the arena? If anyone else does can they let me know. I'm not really interested in voat. I just wanted a quick arena challenge. That's why I posted on this thread.


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


    I am up for anything to be honest as I have not written anything for a while now


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  • Registered Users Posts: 450 ✭✭Agent Weebley


    I vote for VOAT; less pressure ...


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


    Okay hcass and Rubecula

    I'm going to get ye going. Your topic is Festival

    700 words

    You can have until 9pm Saturday. :D


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


    Das Kitty wrote: »
    Okay hcass and Rubecula

    I'm going to get ye going. Your topic is Festival

    700 words

    You can have until 9pm Saturday. :D

    omg I just realised something, can not remember the 'kin rules be right back


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


    here is my entry for the festival arena thingy.

    "Oh my lord" The words came from deep inside the multi coloured and heavily carpeted tent. The small and slight figure sat hunched over a desk made from a few items of luggage, and his gaily coloured outfit was shining and twinkling in the dim light cast by a flickering candle.

    "What the hell is wrong with you now Wormy?" The big waist coated man with his shirt sleeves rolled up to emphasise his size and his strength sniffed almost without care at the smaller man.

    "My name is Vernie, Groucher. " the mild irritation in his eyes was a sure sign that he was near to breaking point.

    "Mr Groucher to you Wormy" The big man spoke gruffly, and anyway you get your act in order or you leave. You have until the show tonight." He stomped out of the tent kicking at a second smallish figure as it entered the tent. The small figure dodged out of the way and a deep blood chilling growl escaped from a four legged figure behind it. Groucher gulped and spun out of the tent in a flurry of shirt tails.

    The second figure ran into the tent and hugged Vernie tightly around the neck. "Oh Vernie what are we to do, he owns the company and he hates us?"

    "Well, I have been thinking about leaving anyway Margy, I want to go out into the wide world. "

    "I think that is impossible, you know the act is no longer bringing people in as it used to, and you are banned from performing in big establishments. Vernie why on earth did you do something so stupid?"

    Vernie sighed deeply it was an old old argument he had been an amazingly good illusionist until he told a newspaper reporter how he did a trick and the next thing he was being held up as an example to all magicians and illusionist of what happens if your idiocy allows you to break the rules.

    "I don't care any more Margy, all I want is to get out of this hell pit. I will find something to do." He sighed deeply one more time. He then stopped and tilte his head as though he had heard something. "What is that?"

    "I have no idea Vernie it sounds like a bit of music, It sounds like your old musical intro to be honest,"

    Vernie agreed and stepping out of the tent he peered around to see what was going on. There was a group of untidy men and women standing around with musical instruments and they were being interviewed by Groucher.

    Groucher was irritated by something, he grabbed at an elderly woman and shook her and told her to get away from him and threw here to one side. He stormed off into his big caravan, which hadn't moved in many years. Vernie, cracked at the sight of this and he ran screaming at the caravan. Kicking open the door he launched himself through the door, Margy and her huge canine companion (Wolfram) Looked on at this sudden display of manly rage from Vernie. After a bull roar from Groucher and Vernie's scream there followed a crashing and rocking of the caravan.

    Vernie came flying out of the door horizontally, his face all battered, and Groucher appeared at the door and snarled through bloodied lips for Vernie to leave.

    Margy and the group of musicians ran over to help Vernie to his feet. Margy was all careful and at the same time motherly , she had never seen him this way before and didn't know what to do . But instead of being furious Vernie was laughing. His face was battered and bruised and he had been given a hiding by Groucher, but he was laughing.

    Margy was unsure what to make of this. Vernie looked at her and winked. Walking away he gestured to the band to follow him and they did, all of them, and the still confused Margy. "What happened Vernie?"

    "Look at this," he smiled at them all, " Groucher was so mad he threw this at me and it is full. It is all our salaries that Groucher has not paid us for years. We can free ourselves."

    "And do what?"

    "We can start our own little town festival"


  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    Piss Girl.

    The sound of the waterfall was soothing at first but as I turned my face to the warm sun it rushed harder and began to stir me from my slumber. I opened my eyes.

    “Jesus! Keith, Keith, you’re pissing! You’re pissing all over me!”

    He was on his knees, his dick in his hand. Eyes shut, swaying from side to side. I jumped back from the spray of warm urine. It kept on coming. All over my sleeping bag, all over my ruck sack, all over my clothes.

    “Stop! Stop now! You’re pissing all over my stuff!”

    “I’m going the jacks, I’m going the jacks” He mumbled, pushing me back as I tried to hit him.

    And still it flowed. All the beer from last night, every last drop was being emptied from his bladder onto my things. I cried at him, I shouted, I shook him but nothing worked. With the last trickle he collapsed back in a heap, snoring loudly, out cold, in a pool of his own piss.
    Mary was sleeping down the other end of the tent. She rubbed her eyes and looked up.

    “Are you ok?”

    I was sitting up, my mouth wide open in disbelief at what had just happened.

    “I… I …”
    “What? What the f*ck happened?”
    “Keith just pissed all over me!” I shouted, “all over my stuff, everything.”
    “Everything? How did he get everything?”
    “Cos it was like a f*cking river!”
    “Did he get any of my things?” She pulled back her sleeping bag and started to look through her things.
    “No, he only got mine.”
    “Oh thank god.” She smiled then shook her head, “Sorry, that’s sh!t. I can give you a jumper or something.”
    “Yeah, throw me something now will you – he pissed all over this t-shirt I’m wearing. I’m going to get coffee, you want one?”

    I walked out of the tent to a chorus of “Pisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.” A group of lads camping beside us peeled up with laughter. Every motherf*cker in the campsite had been listening to the last ten minutes of my life.

    For the rest of the weekend I was “piss girl” – you think they’d have come up with something more imaginative than that but no, piss girl, it was. And like the smell of urine on my polyester sleeping bag, it stuck.

    “Hey piss girl, get us a breakfast roll while you’re at the food truck.” “Here, piss girl, d’ye have any jacks roll?” “Piss girl, hey you, piss girl, Piss girl!! Give us a baby wipe would ye?” It followed me around like the smell of a festival portaloo. And by that Saturday night, I’d had enough.

    “I’m going home.” I told Mary.
    “What?! Why? You’re gonna miss the best acts.”
    “I’m having a **** time. I’m f*cking hungover and I just want my bed.”
    “Is this because of that piss girl thing?”
    “No… Maybe. Yes.”
    “Is it really that bad?”
    “Yes! It’s ruining everything. I can’t take it anymore.”
    “OK, well, **** it. Why not just try and embrace your piss girl status. I mean, you’re a f*cking hero here. You’re piss girl. That’s gotta be worth something.”
    “Alright piss girl.” Some randomer nodded at me as he passed.
    “See? You’re f*cking famous!”

    I looked around, another lad was pointing me out to his girlfriend, I saw him mouth “That’s her, the piss girl.” And his girlfriend smiled and waved at me.
    I waved back. She shrieked, jumped up and down and ran over to me.

    “Oh my god, piss girl! Can I get a photo with you? I’ll get you a drink.”

    Mary pushed me beside her, taking her phone off her to get the pic. I stood there, looking stupid.

    “Piss girl? That’s you, yeah? You doing photos?” Some other bloke approached us.
    “She is if you get her a drink.” Mary piped. “And maybe a doobey if you have one.” I added.

    He pulled a joint from his pocket.

    “Yeah cool, here ye go.”

    He passed it to me and I threw my arm around his shoulder, pulling him in for a nice pic.

    “Altogether now - Cheeeeeese!”


  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    That's it so I think? A draw. Thanks Rebecula. Man, it's quiet round here. Or is it?

    That was the second time I got Festival as the theme for The Arena. Anyways...

    Anyone want to go again...


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


    Eager beavers, ye posted very quickly. I thought I’d have plenty of time to wander in and vote. I liked both, but hcass edged it. Cracking dialogue.


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


    How about a VOAT now?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 SlicedBread19


    I'm a total noob here so I'm going to lurk until I get a feel for it. But I'd be up for taking part.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 628 ✭✭✭hcass


    I'm here whenever you're ready.


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