I login in an effort to drag my head out of this bad-B-movie-sci-fi-horror we are living through at the moment, here’s something I wrote earlier…even a collage I did in Europe last century.
Time Warp In The ‘dam
“Sooooo” She drew the word out with undisguised relish “What are we going to do with our last night in Amsterdam, eh?” She laughed, poked him in the ribs and stretched out languorously across the counterpane, sprawled like a self-satisfied cat. “Our last night as twisted British rock-star and unofficial girlfriend, cut adrift in the city of sin?” “Just give it a rest” He mumbled. “I’m going to sleep” “No no no” She laughed “Lets live a while before we go back to our boring lonely adulterous reality.” He turned away and She could see he was already half way back there, miserable and contemplating meeting his wife again after eight days half-explained absence. “Look! what do you want from me?” She wheedled
He said “I don’t want nothing”
“Fine, nothing. I’m going to get something to eat then” she was rummaging in the supermarket carrier bag on her bedside table, smacking her lips. “a crisp buttie in a cheap hotel room, hahaha” she laughed.”Rawk ‘n’ Roll!” “that’s pathetic” he sneered “you’re not really very rock’n’roll at all are you, with your carrier bag of crisp butties” “yeah, well you’re not really a rock star are you” she countered
He sat up on the bed “I’ve got my following” He was irked.
“Yeah, but not in Britain, eh? Only in Holland and places where they can’t understand what you’re singing about. Are you big in Japan?” “I’ve got my following” “What does your wife think?” she knew she was probing to be provocative “Does she think? Your wife?”
“No, she doesn’t think, she looks after the kids and stuff like that, she doesn’t need to think. Will you just get off my case” He switched the light off, plunging the hotel room into the vague neon gloom that passes for night in the city.
She took off her rings, her jewellery and watch, she lay back fully clothed on top the bed. It was one of those sinking moments, she began to wonder why she’d come along at all. It had sounded great when he’d first mentioned the tour, – his first solo tour, a week in the Low Countries, hotels and food all in, she only had to find the money for the fares. The fares, that was her fare, and – “Could you lend me the money, just until they pay me at the gigs” – his fare too. Funny how his pay had diminished, then disappeared after the first few venues, they’d been living off her savings all week. She closed her eyes in disgust, she hadn’t known about the wife either.
Drifting in half-sleep she ruminated in growing disappointment, she dreamt of their first meeting in the pub all those weeks ago. Dipping in and out of hypnogogic sleep-states, she saw him as a giant tape-worm , all mouth and arsehole, perched on a barstool downing pints, glass and all, gurgling about the losers in the band he’d just dumped, “Losers every one of them, even if they are famous now, deep down they’re born losers” he kept repeating. Was she really so gullible? Had she really been that stupidly smitten with him?
Suddenly, she was wide awake, she peered at her watch in the gloom, the hands on the retro-style dial read 1.35. Amsterdam would still be kicking she decided, plenty of time to still have fun before the flight back at 9am tomorrow. She tucked her handbag into the suitcase – she intended to do the rockstar’s girlfriend debauchery bit to the hilt, no point in carrying valuables around, in this sort of mood chances were she’d lose her handbag in the first bar, best leave her passport, plane tickets and bits in the suitcase. She grabbed her leather jacket, stuffed the last of her dope and cash into the zippered pocket and headed for the door. “I’m off out, looking for some dirty fun. You coming?”
“I’m asleep” the rock star grumbled.
The street seemed uncannily quiet as she stepped from the hotel lobby, she began walking, seeing nobody. In fact, the usually bustling lanes around the hotel seemed totally empty, every where seemed to be closed, even the trams had shut down. Some City of Sin this is, she thought heading for the nearest coffeeshop.
But even the coffeeshop was dark and so she plonked herself down on a bench, spun herself up a mini-spliff and gazed forlornly into the grimy green of the canal. She wondered when Amsterdam had become so conservative, since when had Europe’s most alive city become a post-midnight deadspot. In the preternaturally tranquil streets she thought she sensed a weird glowing, growing light, as if night were turning to morning. An unusual sensual response, she thought, I must be very stoned, Good Sense, Amelia she said to herself. Spliff done she headed on towards the city’s main drag, the stoned light was definitely intensifying, in fact there really did seem to be a streak of sunrise smearing the east horizon. She crossed the canal into Oudeshans to the charming chiming of the Montelbaanstoren clock tower. One two three chimes, then four five six seven eight. eight? Looking up to the big clock face on the tower her heart did a strange faltering flip, she unstrapped her wristwatch and as she turned it through 180 degrees she turned 2.30am to 8am. She laughed momentarily, realising she’d put the wrist watch on upside down in the darkness of the hotel room, she’d had a time warp, she laughed at herself, at the idea of Amsterdam gone moderate, she laughed, even though she’d just lost five and half hours of her life, and she hadn’t even been drunk. She laughed.
It was full daylight by the time she got back to the hotel. The room was empty, the suitcases gone, he’d already left. There was a note for her on the dirty rumpled bedsheets. “I’ve gone home. Where’s the money? I couldn’t even get breakfast! Where are you? signed Acab Roxtar”.
Continuing on from the series I started last year – offering number three of pickings from my Slush Pile Bonanza.
This particular story has been knocking around, getting re-written and mucked about with for nearly three years. I have entered it for numerous flash fiction competitions and it doesn’t even get shortlisted. So, now I am reduced to offering it up as part of my Slush Pile Bonanza – Bella Basura stories that never got published…
Gray Road, April 2015, found artefacts on the slabs on the foundations of the ruined shed. Various pieces of ironwork, including 200 rusted three inch nails and model railway track.
Play Time in the Sunken Nature Garden
My favourite friend one year at Junior school was a boy called Lindsay. Lindsay’s mum must have been young and groovy, because Lindsay always had the latest paisley-print corduroy waistcoat or fruit-of-the-loom scoop-neck tee or jumbo-cord loon-pants. He had long bright orange hair and I remember we became friends over his extensive collection of used ink-pen cartridges, which he had sellotaped in rows to the inside of his desk. He showed them to me and Riz one rainy lunchtime when we weren’t allowed out on the playground.
This was the 1970s, and just like any normal eight year olds we listened to pop-music all the time, we knew all David Bowie’s songs by heart and watched Top of The Pops religiously. One favourite that wasn’t David Bowie was The Monster Mash – “It was a graveyard smash”. We liked it because it reminded us of our favourite film Carry on Screaming, which had been screened on TV last christmas holiday. We’d spent the rest of the holiday playing The Carry On Screaming Game, which revolved around running around the disused carpark by the river being vampires, or zombies, or frankenstein, or Kenneth Williams, or Fenella Fielding, and screaming a lot out loud. In fact most of the game involved a lot of screaming out loud, after all it was called The Carry On Screaming Game. We also loved Alice Cooper and sang “School’s out for summer, school’s out for ever, school’s been blown to pieces…” every day at home time for the whole of the week before half term.
Also, Lindsay wore black nail varnish, his mum let him because Alice Cooper did. Nobody else ever wore black nail varnish, only Lindsay, Alice Cooper and Lindsay’s mum.
Gray Road, April 2015 nails and model railway track
Due to some sort of building work on the main school that year, our classroom was out in one of the temporary missen huts, out beyond the playing field. There had once been two missen huts , but one had been taken away over the summer. The brick foundations had been left intact and our class had been given the project of turning it into a sunken Italian garden. One of the teachers must have been an avid Blue Peter viewer.
In the winter, the Huts (they were still plural even though they’d taken one of them away) was freezing, and we’d have to huddle around a huge oil burner in the corner of the room for heat, sometimes kids took their wet socks off to dry them on it. It was a strange place to have your classroom, separated off from the rest of the school by the playing field. I felt I lived in some idealised rural nineteenth century village school where the teachers looked like hippies, except it was slap-bang in the middle of grid-pattern pre-fabricated London-overspill dormitory new-town.
As the year rolled on into summer, we spent more and more time out of the classroom, we spent our time in the sunken garden, which was now called The Sunken Nature Garden on account of it being so overgrown and neglected, or we lounged on the playing field, out of sight from the rest of the school. We had lessons outdoors, sitting cross legged making daisy-chains in the long grass, listening to the teacher telling stories. Lindsay drew Draculas in my story book, he preferred to call them Alucards, so that the teacher didn’t understand.
In the summer term we did a class project on the founding of our town. First of all we got the history, long tracts about this were pinned around the walls. They told how thirty years ago Lord Dashingforth, a dead local landowner, had personally given permission for his ancient sacred ancestral lands to be used to build our town on, he was almost an uncle to us all. He gave personal permission for the inventor of breakfast cereals to build his first UK factory in our town, likewise a pharmaceutical birth pill manufacturer and the controversial war plane foundry by the river, and he gave permission for our Junior school to be built. HOORAY (sarcasm). This was very boring. Until one day our class was visited by a very old woman, with a walking stick and skin like old leprosy. We were told that this very old lady was the mortal remains of the sister of Lord Dashingforth, the very founder of our town. “Alucard!” whispered Lindsay to me while the old, old lady rambled on. And immediately I could see what he meant, my eyes had been opened, I now knew that the so-called generous Lord Dashingforth that they were talking about so reverently was none other than a seething vampire in reality.
At break-time, me, Lindsay, and Riz sat in the Sunken Nature Garden deciding what our contribution to the class project on the founding of our town would be. We already knew that it was going to be a play, because at half term we did the play Riz had written and directed about a favourite fluffy rabbit, which was loosely based on last term’s class project about Beatrix Potter. And, I can tell you, it went down a storm, especially at the end when we sang School’s Out and all the rest of the class, who were the audience, jumped up and down and joined in till home-time. We knew that the performance would have to be in the Sunken Nature Garden. And we also knew that our play had to expose the terrible information we had discovered that afternoon. We owed it to our public to tell them that kindly Uncle Lord Dashingforth was in fact a filthy writhing Alucard, the very founder of our town was none other than a vile vampire, with no more morals than Kenneth Williams in Carry on Screaming when he says “frying tonight”. Then Lindsay introduced a new element into the play that added all the sophistication we could dream of. “We need to dress up for it” said Lindsay, pulling a sheer lilac negligee and black nail varnish from his duffle bag. “I’ll be Lord Dashingforth, and wear this when I’m dying”. I was Lord Dashingforth’s sister, and Riz directed and played a ghost.
From that day on we rehearsed mercilessly, we painted a poster to advertise the play to our class. We attempted making costumes when the teacher taught us tie-dying, but in the end we used them as flags. Washing lines of damp psychedelic rags, strung between the Rowan and Wild Cherry saplings, fluttering colour in the summer blanched meadow of the Sunken Almost-Wild Garden.
Herne in the tree stumps
And very soon it was the end of term and the big afternoon arrived. The play, as we performed it, went like this:
Uncle Lord Dashingforth and his sister are having dinner. Lord Dashingforth is not wearing his negligee. The sister says “There is a letter from some poor people asking you to find their town, please to let them have some of your ancient ancestral sacred land so that they don’t have to live in stinking London slums anymore and can build a bloody decent school instead”. Uncle Lord Dashingforth is not listening, he says “There is a full moon, I must go and drink someone’s blood”. The sister says “No, no, no, you mustn’t keep drinking people’s blood, you must help the poor people to fund their town. One night you’ll encounter a ghost and that’ll change your miserly ways”. But Uncle is off “Cavorting in the Sunken Nature Garden under a bloody full moon” I wail, and we play The Carry On Screaming Game until Riz, the Ghost, rises up from behind some poppies, hiding under Lindsay’s see-thru lilac negligee, whoooo-ing like a howling hurricane. Uncle Lord Dash tries to drink blood, but Riz is a ghost and doesn’t have any. Instead the ghost says “I am a ghost of your ancestors, you must give your land to the poor people. You mustn’t drink any more blood. You are going to die”. Then Riz throws the lilac negligee over Uncle Lord Dashingforth, like a net. He falls to the floor, he is dying. Me, the sister, talks to Lord Dash, who mumbles, then gives his permission to founder our town. Lindsay then jumps up from the ground and we all do School’s Out and then 17 choruses of Starman until our mums came to take us home. “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us but he think he’d blow our minds. There’s a Starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us but he think he’d blow our minds…”
Join us for our launch event tomorrow at The Edge Cafe at 7pm (doors open 6:30pm), where the contributors will be sharing their wild encounters. Entry is free. Copies of Edgewords £5 (all proceeds to The Edge Cafe, for its work supporting people in recovery from addiction).
A short while ago, during a particularly dark patch, I watched The Great Hack documentary and Charlie Brooker’s Bandersnatch in rapid succession.
It didn’t much help my mood. And I’ve really gone off social media and computer games a bit since then.
Which is how come I have been reading a lot, and re-reading many of own my failed stories which are filed away in cardboard boxes under my bed. And so that’s how come I am gathering them here, under the title Slush Pile Bonanza
The next piece was written earlier this year. I abandoned it because it felt way too dark, and I couldn’t find a laugh in there.
Scene Beyond The Rape Yard by Bella Basura 2019
Beyond the Rape Yard
Every night she was tortured by the sounds.
She lay awake, at best half-asleep, hearing the far-off grunts and snarls, the yelps and screams.
Screams, she heard, she was sure…MORE..
This is the first installment of a collection of my previously unpublished stories, gunk from my personal Slush Pile…
This first story is from 4 or 5 years ago.
What Time? Collage by Bella Basura. Spain 1994.
Time Warp In The ‘dam
“Sooooo” She drew the word out with undisguised relish “What are we going to do with our last night in Amsterdam, eh?” She laughed, poked him in the ribs and stretched our languorously across the counterpane, sprawled like a self-satisfied cat. “Our last night as twisted British rock-star and unofficial girlfriend, cut adrift in the city of sin?”…MORE..