Sunday, May 18, 2014

How not to write a short story

A year ago I amused myself [though nobody else: Ed] by writing a piece based on trying to link together a set of small ads published on a single page in the Guardian weekend colour magazine. It’s a beautiful hot day, the roses are out in our garden and our neighbours appear to be gearing up for a noisy outdoor party; none of which has any bearing at all on my rash decision to repeat the exercise. This time you can see the source material for yourself.  Unlike last time, I have not followed the order of the ads but I have referred to each one. All names are fictional and any resemblance to anything is purely intended.
All for Passion
A Ruislip Commuter

Caroline, Lady Renault, had a sheltered upbringing in the country. She was at her happiest mucking out her horse, Hashtag and it was in the stables that her eyes fell on the lean, sensitive features of Arnold Qashqai whilst he was searching for the person who had stolen his ‘u’s. Unlike the tall, cultured young woman Qashqai was from a poor background and was forced to work in the stables instead of pursuing his great love of art. Despite the differences it was love at first sight.
“Oh but Caroline, I can never keep you in the manner, or indeed manor, to which you are accustomed” stuttered young Arnold “For I have no money and no home.”
“Fear not” she replied stoutly “We can manage somehow”.
“I can just about afford a tent” he said. She took his hand in hers “We will have the best tent that money can buy, my love”.
And so they bought the finest bell tent in the land. There was nowhere suitable to pitch it until with the aid of job lot of plastic lawn edging they could proudly place it on a perfect plastic lawn. And as soon as they could afford it they added some oak-framed garden structures. Now Caroline could feel at home. She retrieved all her CDs from home and copied them all to a collection player yet something seemed to be lacking when she listened to them. A hearing test confirmed that all was not right. Meanwhile Arnold, dismissed from the stables for wasting his time trying write books that nobody wanted to read, and having failed to use Facebook correctly to market them, was spending the last of her inheritance on a private investment, the nature of which he did not disclose. Bolstered by his confidence building course he no longer stuttered and soon was ready to attend a business events conference.
With their love of horses it was obvious that they should set up selling racing gifts and as their business grew they applied for ISO9001 certification. Everything seemed to be going their way but Caroline began to mistrust Arnold. Was he seeing another woman? Or another horse? She tried a lie detection test. He told her the truth – he was doing art classes with a view to selling portraits. “Paint me but make it affordable” she cried.
The pictures were a great success. As the money rolled in, they talked about a holiday home in the Balearics. Blessed with two adorable children they wasted no time in packing them off to boarding school, but assuaged their consciences by teaching them dance, whilst they regaled each other with gifts of gold.
After this happy period, sadly Caroline fell off her horse and was reduced to getting around on a mobility scooter. The bottom fell out of the art market. Arnold sold up and gloomily prepared to end it all, having carefully drawn up a will which ensured that the horse got hay for life, Caroline could keep the bell tent and the kids got the unreadable books.
[Film rights are available: Ed]

No comments:

Post a Comment