Friday, 28 February 2014

My Turntable

This week, Chuck Wendig has us doing a writing exercise instead of a flash fiction.  He wants us to pick an item from around us and to describe it in 10 sentences.  Okay, easy for me, but my sentences are long - very long - sorry about that, chief!

It’s a Sony and has two speeds on it, along with a lose piece of plastic for those 45’s with a big hole in the centre, and a hard, tinted lid – to keep the dust off.

I bought my turntable about 6 months after I bought my AWA (a sister company of Sony) Stereo system, as I love vinyls.

The one thing I love about it is that farting noise it makes when you place the stylus onto the edge of the vinyl and it crackles just a little before the music begins to play.

It’s a semi-automatic turntable – so it has a buttons for ‘start’ ‘stop’ and ‘up/down’ for those who don’t know how to pick up a turntable arm – but I never use these buttons, not unless I’m in a hurry and I press the stop button to turn off the stereo quickly.

The stylus had to be replaced just once in the 10 years since I bought it; in 2004, but the stylus wasn’t the right one for the model of the turntable, so Dad and I had to take the whole thing into the music store and they fitted one for the arm which was a different model to the turntable.

When I put the turntable together – via instructions – I found I had to follow the instructions until halfway through, then ignore them, as it was made in Taiwan and everything was designed backwards… the switch inside the turntable (for the sound to play the vinyls) had to be turned off and not on. 

I love collecting great music for my turntable – rare music – from all eras.  I have vinyls from Carlos Santana, Jethro Tull, AC/DC, INXS, U2, Eurthymics, Madonna, The Doors, P!NK and B.B. King as well as classical music of the likes of W.A. Mozart and Beethoven – I play them more than I play cds.

Yes, I’m a very proud X-Gen child who knew and saw the changeover from 8-track tapes to cassette tapes and vinyls to cds and then through to iPod… I’m a rare one to know how to type on a typewriter as well as an electric typewriter and to have learned how to use a rotary phone and I was around before mobile phones became a reality.

I’ll never throw away my turntable, and if it breaks down… I’ll just go out and buy another one.

I do love my vinyls and my turntable… they just never go out of style.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Shake Your Groove Thang

It's time again for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Friday!  And this time we have to pick out a song title and base our flash fiction on it... so, here's mine for this week!  

Sharny’s break-up had been really hard on her, we all knew it.  So, we all pooled our money, booked a few seats at a show and dragged her along to it. 

She didn’t want to go.

She whined at how much she just wanted to stay home.

Sharny wanted to curl up on the lounge nursing a bottle of Merlo and watch ‘Love Actually’ – again – and cry her eyes out.  But she had done this for the last three weeks, and I was getting concerned that the Merlo was turning her into an alcoholic; and she was starting to get the hots for Hugh Grant (and shit!  I’d hate it if she did!).

So, I begged her to come with us and have a girl’s night out.

So, she did.

The show wasn’t too bad.

There was a comedian who made us all laugh and spill our drinks a little.  Sharny actually cracked a smile;  which I’m proud to say was a real smile, and then there was a one-man-band who wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  It was a guy who called himself Mr. Percival; and he was masterful to say the least!  He had women screaming and throwing their underwear at him!  I kid you not!

Then, the magician came on.  He wasn’t too much to look at – a little geeky-looking really, but impressive.  The Great Mage Jones was his name… sounds a little like a kid’s name trying to be big, but what he did was amazing. 

He managed to hypnotise every last person in the place – everyone but me. 

How did this happen? 

Okay, he was doing his act of turning paper birds into real doves when he turned around and clapped his hands three times, shouting:  “Shake your groove thang!” All around me everyone stood up and began dancing to their own beat, wiggling their butts around. 

Young and old.

In wheelchairs and on walking frames and walking sticks.

The staff around the place and behind the bar…

Every last person inside the place got up and … well… shook their groove thang!

Laugh if you will, but I found it creepy, as he turned and glared at me.  He raced off the stage and stormed straight for my table where my friends were dancing around.  The Great Mage Jones pointed, shouting, “Why aren’t you dancing?”

“I don’t feel the urge to.” I answered.

Grimacing, he turned, flapping his long cape behind him, made his way back to the stage, glared at me again, then clapped his hands three times, “Sit down!”

As though the entire place were all sleepwalkers, they went about their usual things.  The audience sat.  The staff went back to work.  Everything went back to what was considered normal… but he glared me at for a moment before he picked up the paper doves and tossed them into the air, making them turn into real birds.

Everyone oohed and aahhed.

Everyone applauded.

A huge smiled split his face, but I knew he wasn’t happy that there was one person not fooled by him… me.

A few days later, I was reading the paper and found The Great Mage Jones was touring around Australia.  He had been around Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Tasmania.  His biggest and best trick was one the audience didn’t even know happened called the ‘Shake Your Groove Thang’. 

I jumped on the internet and find there’s news reports of people hurting themselves at the shows because they’ve been hypnotised and don’t know what they’re doing while they’re under another’s power. 

A week passed by and The Great Mage Jones is on his way to the USA where his shows have sold out from L.A, Las Vegas, San Fran … right across the country to Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Florida, New Jersey and New York City.

“Oh crap.” I mumbled as I perused his site of shows.  His last show was in a year’s time in Tokyo.  His show was going to be the same – and his most popular stunt was going to be used in each show in each city around five times each. 

I had to find out how this trick worked!

I sought out a magician at a traveling circus in my suburb and asked the manager if I could talk to the magician, concerning The Great Mage Jones.  He wasn’t too happy about my queries, but let me.

“So, young lady, what do you wish to know?” the older gentleman asked offering me a seat in his caravan boasting knick-knacks of all kinds from wherever he’s travelled.

“I need to know what goes into the ‘Shake Your Groove Thang’ hypnosis trick.” I said.

His smile slid off his face quickly, “Who is using that?” he asked.

I pulled out the clipping from the paper, “The Great Mage Jones.” I handed him the clipping, “I need to know how to stop it before he finishes his world tour.”

“Did he get you?”

“That’s just the thing, it didn’t work on me.”

He grinned, “Good.  The only way we can stop it is to kill Jones himself.” He turned from his seat and pulled out a large book, “And seeing he’s using real magic, I have to use real magic too.”

“You mean to say…?”

He smiled, “The stuff on stage is all crap.” He tapped the cover of the book, “This?  This book is filled with really dark, true magic that will work.”

“Good.” I said, “When do we get started?”

“You go home.” He said, “I’ll take care of him.”

Another week passed and I heard on the news the magician I had tracked down was found dead in his trailer.  I sat down on my lounge not knowing how to react to this; except to feel very lost.  A knock at my door pulled me away from the set as I muted the news and turned to answer it. 

As I opened the door, I saw The Great Mage Jones standing there, “Knew it was you.” He grabbed my arm and I felt a jolt run through me, “Now, shake your grove thang.”

I couldn’t help myself. 

The song started up in my head of ‘Shake Your Groove Thang’ by Peach and Herbs. 

I began to dance…

And dance… and dance…

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Twisted Lover

He’s hot.
And I don’t just mean, his butt or his eyes and smile.
I mean, everything about him is…
I met him at one of those singles swinger parties put on by an online dating site… and the moment we met, it seemed as though nothing else and nobody else mattered.
We talked about everything and anything that night – nothing was out of bounds.  Exactly why I opened up, I’m not sure, but I felt so comfortable around him. 
And when he left my side, I felt so lost.
So, seeing I lived in nearby West End, asked if he could accompany me home; as it wasn’t right for a lady to be out so late on her own.
What a gentleman.
But then I started seeing him everywhere.  After work. When I was sitting in my living room and looking out the window.
In my sleep I dreamed of him, taking me.  Loving me.  Making me his forever.
I’d wake up sweating, hot and feeling as though he had been right there in my bed… when really I had been alone all night – or had I?
I wasn’t sure anymore.
And I found I could barely function as a human being anymore.
I almost lost my job when I screwed up in front of my bosses.  I even showed up to work on a Sunday by accident once… how did that happen?
This guy was really beginning to take my life on a terrible turn… twisting it in a way I wasn’t prepared for – especially now.  I really wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.  But I think he wanted more…
And it wasn’t until I showed up at the next singles swingers’ party that he had followed me. 
He looked betrayed. 
He was by my side in a minute: “What are you doing here.” He grabbed my arm.
“I was hoping to have a good time.” Tried to get away from him, but his grip tightened, “Ow, you’re hurting me.”
“I don’t like it that you’re here.”
“We’re not an item.  We haven’t been on a solid date for weeks.  So, you don’t own me.”
He let me go, “Sorry.  Please forgive me.”
“I guess.”
“Do you want to get a drink?  I promise I won’t hurt you.”
I nodded, allowing him to stay near me all night.
I let him walk me home just like he did on the first night the met.  As we sat in my living room, he looked around at my small townhouse, admiring the collections of things I had.  He didn’t say anything; it was as though he had been here before, as he stood and walked confidently around the room, looking at things.
“You like my place?” I asked bringing in a tray with coffee and Tim Tams on a plate and placing them on the coffee table.  Pouring the coffee from the plunger, I picked up a dark chocolate Tim Tam and bit into it.
“Your house is … interesting.” He said.
He hated it.  That’s what ‘interesting’ used in that context meant.  I didn’t care, he didn’t have to live here, “Okay.”
Turning he looked at me, “What?”
“You love me, but hate my house.” I shook my head, “You hate it when I go out without you, but love it when I submit to being only around you.  I nearly lose my job, my mind and you seem to be everywhere and nowhere for the last month… and then suddenly, you claim that we’re something when we’re not.”
“I thought you liked me.”
“Like I said, it’s been a month and you haven’t been around.”
“And you’re being a bitch.”
“Get out.”
He walked passed me to the door.  I followed him to make sure he left.  As he stood in the doorway, he held my gaze as he leaned in close, and I moved away slightly, “You’re mine.” His whisper barely reached my ears, then he turned and left, the late night engulfing him, taking him from my house – all of him but his aftershave, which lingered in the place for hours.
Damn him.

Valentine’s Day arrived and I didn’t want to get out of bed.
I hate this day. 
I actually don’t really notice it in any way… just more shit for couples who love to rub it in that single people are just sad and alone.
I opened my door and there was a bunch of roses at my door.  I knelt down and read the card, “A Secret Admirer… great.” I took the flowers inside and put them into a vase of water before going to work.

Arriving home, I knew he had been there.
Heart-shaped balloons were tied to the seats on my front patio.  Yuk… when will he get the message?
I opened the door to find him standing there in the middle of a heart near my stairs made of pink rose petals.  He was wearing red… something he looks wonderful in.
“I seem to be asking for forgiveness all the time.” He said, “But we’ve known each other longer than that dating service.”
“Yes.” I closed the door and put my bag down, “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve been an asshole.” He said, “I took you for granted, when I shouldn’t have.  It’s been so long since I’ve loved somebody like you that I’ve forgotten how long it takes to get to know your kind.”
“You know I’ve been hurt… why are you ignoring my problems?”
“I’m not.  I just don’t know how to deal with a person who has them.” A blush rose in his cheeks, “I haven’t had all that many problems for a very long time.”
“I see.”
“Bethany, can you please forgive me?”
“So long you stop treating me like I’m a whore… and running out on me.” I said, “And please, let me in to who you really are.  We’ve yet to go out to dinner.”
“That won’t be possible, for me at least.” He looked down almost ashamed.
“I have a huge secret and I don’t wish to scare you.”
“Tell me.”
He looked straight into my eyes, ‘I have been in your house before, Bethany… and … I don’t hate it… we have slept together, been together, but you thought it was a dream.’
“Yes.” He nodded, “I don’t need your invite here because we’re kindred souls… so, we know each other quite well.”
“You’ve had me?”
He walked to me as I moved back and ran into the door.  Softly, gently, he caressed my hair, touched my skin with the back of his fingers, “You are my Queen, Bethany.  I want nobody else in my life… my long life.”
“Long life?” my heart raced.
“Yes, you see I’m not your average human being.” He smiled, “I’m not human.”
Tears blurred my vision as a realisation washed over me, “Oh, crap… you’re a…”
He leaned down –
took my lips and –
held me close –
made me one with him…
and, I loved it.