I recently took part in the open university’s free creative writing course. I LOVED it. It opened my mind to new ideas and methods of doing things. My writing, planning, editing, formatting, and idea processing have all improved. It has been a real joy and a pleasure to sharpen up my brain cells and learn again. (I finished my collage course 8 years ago!) In the final week of the course we were asked to submit a short story of under 1000 words which used some of the methods we have learned.
I am posting my short story here on my blog in the hopes that you like it and it makes you smile.
Charlies fist flew out with perfect speed and precision. He saw only the dark inky flash of her tattoos before he heard the sickening crack. Blood gushed from his nose and dripped off the end of his chin. Charlie gave a sweet smile, her voice full of sympathetic concern as she handed him napkins “Nosebleeds are the worst.” The few regulars sitting in Max’s bar stopped looking. Her smile dropped, her eyes, like 2 black chips of slate, punctured his drunken haze. The expression on her face could have frozen hell. She kept her voice low and deliberate. “Touch another girl in an inappropriate manner and I will break something else.” Clutching his nose he quivered and nodded once before hurriedly leaving. Charlie gave a grim smile of satisfaction, as she absently rubbed her knuckles.
Normally she was treated with a respect bordering on caution. She looked intimidating. Her father said resembled the unholy offspring of the Rock and a vampire. When she was younger, her interest in computers and technology had led her into a male dominated world where she was treated with suspicion and occasionally outright aggression. She was a woman, she did not belong. Charlie, with a stubborn streak which could have bridged the grand canyon, refused to be intimidated. At college her iron will demonstrated itself, her resolve hardened and her skin thickened, Her soft hair was mercilessly cut short, virtually shaved on one side, dyed a midnight black with blue streaks. Tribal style tattoos covered a full arm, shoulder and climbed up her neck. She had several ear piercings, and one in her nose. Her mother called it her ‘gang look’. Now at the tender age of 21 men did not try to intimidate her. She still was not accepted. She was infuriated as yet again she was passed up in favor of a spotty teen wearing a dirty star trek t-shirt. 12 interviews later, she was still working at Max’s. Something needed to change.
Giving the bar one last wipe, she hollered to Max that she was leaving. A short trip on the underground and she arrived at the theater. She sat, she was enraptured. The Tchaikovsky score fell upon her like a gentle rain on a parched ground. Her ears strained as if they could greedily gobble up every single note of the music. The ballet dazzled her senses. Her eyes, drew her to the stage where Prince Sigfried, the impossibly handsome ballerino, was falling in love with the swan princess. Although he was taller and stronger than the dainty ballerinas every movement he made had a smooth finesse. Her eyes devoured every second of the graceful performance. At the conclusion hot tears prickled, as they always did.
She stood outside. Waiting in the hopes she could get a signature on her program from Guy Stevens; primo ballerino. He looked strangely normal in black jeans and a warm coat. He smiled and chatted easily, posing for photos with a bright smile. She liked his clean cut look, it was a refreshing change from the endless bushman’s beards and dirty stubble. Charlie held back and looked away.
“Hello.” He said with a soft smile. Charlie turned slowly.
His smile to widened to a cheeky grin. He held out his hand.
“My name is Guy. I work at the ballet.” she laughed as she shook his hand.
“Charlie…I have seen you here a few times. You always cry at the end”
She leaned forward “Tell anyone and I will kill you.” It was a silly thing to say but the laughter eased the tension she was feeling.
“Look Charlie I’m know its pretty late but I am starving. I never eat before a performance, you only make that mistake once!” he quirked a wry smile. “Would you like to get a bite to eat with me?”
A dazzling but astonished smile flew across her face. She nodded.
Sitting in a cosy pub Guy took a sip of his hot tea and gave a sigh of satisfaction. “So Charlie, what is your story?”
She smiled, at once understanding the question. She spoke briefly, family and work.
“It must be tough trying to make it in such a male dominated industry.”
She gaped at him and fell a little more in love. “It really is. I get so frustrated. I’m excluded merely because I have boobs! I’ve got so many ideas, things that could really be something but getting a foot in the door is impossible.”
Guy nodded sympathetically. “I’m surprised your not trying to blow the door open.”
Charlie laughed “Don’t tempt me. “Its what I like about you actually.” he raised an eyebrow. “What I like about ballet I mean. You are a man, even though you are surrounded by ballerinas, you have your place, you dance just as beautifully as they do. Even though your tall and well…” she blushed “you have muscles but you are still lithe and graceful. Being a man is an asset to your dance.”
“Stop, please your making me blush.” He grinned at her. “Ok ok I will be serious, I understand what you’re saying. In ballet, male or females dancers, we all have a part to play. It wouldn’t work if we didn’t mix. It provides variety and artistry.”
“If only I could make the geeks understand that.”
“Charlie if you cant make them understand, why don’t you show them?”
“What do you mean?”
“Pick one of your ideas and go with it. You don’t need the proverbial ‘them’.” he said casually as if he hadn’t just dropped the biggest eureka bomb onto her.
“….OH MY GOOODNESS!” she grabbed his face and kissed him. “You are a genius!” her smile became electric, beaming out at him. “I am going to make my own company!”