WRITING 101- DAY NINETEEN- DON’T STOP THE ROCKIN’.

It’s a free writing day. Let it all hang out. Even if you think it’s stupid. Just roll along. OK here goes.

Day nineteen, only tomorrow left to go. Just one more day to go, twenty four hours to go. Tomorrow, Day Twenty. Zero hour.

These days, life seems to be made up of a continuum of ‘ only one more day to go’!

For example. Only one more day to go before registration for the Harley Rally closes. Only one more day to go before interest on the investment is paid. Only one more day to go before interest on the mortgage is due. Only one more day to go before the exams start. Only one more day to go before the exam results are published. Only one more day to go before the new boss takes over. Only one more day to go before the accounts have to be in order. Only one more day to go before the car’s registration is due. Only one more day to go before we go on holidays. Only one more day to go before Charlie and Sharon come to stay.

Christ all Bloody Mighty, not them again.

Here I was thinking that thoughts of ‘only one more day to go’ could be put to rest and bugger me, Charlie and Sharon come into the picture.

Now all I can think of is, Only one more day to go before I have to put up with Charlie grizzling about Sharon’s weight. Only one more day to go before I have to put up with Sharon grizzling about Charlie’s beer gut. Only one more day to go before having my wife worry herself sick  about keeping the bathrooms clean because Charlie is a messer. Only one more day to go before I know I’ll be wishing Charlie to hell because he is mixing up all my tools in the shed. Only one more day to go wishing today was the day.

Suddenly, one more day to go became the day before one more day to go. Charlie and Sharon left early this morning. I overheard Sharon say to Charlie, ‘If I have one more day to go in this place  I’ll kill her’. I knew she was referring to the woman next door who kept looking over the fence and saying to Sharon, ‘One day I’ll have a nice car like yours’, or, ‘One day I’ll come down and visit you’, or ‘One day I’ll go on a cruise up the Danube’. I found myself thinking, ‘One more day of this and I’ll do something stupid’. The only good thing was she never said’ One more day to go’!

Anyway, Charlie and Sharon have gone, the old duck next door has gone inside, my wife has gone to golf , I’m home alone to do as I bloody well like and I thought to myself,’ Christ I hope I can have one more day to go and enjoy this’!

Only one more day.

WRITING 101-DAY EIGHTEEN- HONE YOUR POINT OF VIEW.

Today’s prompt, write today’s story in the first person as told by a twelve year old boy.

I couldn’t believe it. Mom and Dad had gone off to work and left me at home as I pretended to them that I was too sick to go to school. I’d fooled them alright cause Mom rang the school and told them I wouldn’t be there today. She left me lunch and all, and Dad said he’d get home early and told me to stay warm.

Anyway I’d put on the show because I wanted to see what was going to happen with the old bird across the street.

I heard Dad and Mom talking about her and how she was going to be tossed out of her house because the bloke that owned it wanted to knock it down and build a new place or flats. Dad reckoned that since her old man had kicked the bucket the old sheilah had no money and had got behind in the rent.

I couldn’t care less about the old bird, I didn’t like her and she didn’t like me. Every time I kicked a ball and it went into her front yard she’d almost blow a fuse when I ran over to get it back.

I was glad she was getting shoved out.  The best part was that Dad reckoned the cops would be there to help the bloke who owned the place get rid of her. I felt sorry for her dog though, it was a black thing, quite big but real friendly and used to lick me every time it got out and came over to our place for a feed. I reckoned to myself that I’d get it and bring it over to our back yard and hang on to it.

From my perch on the front verandah I could see her place real good. I had some Pepsi and some chips and settled down to wait for the fun to start.

I didn’t have to wait too long. I heard the bloke on the radio say it was just going 11o’clock and almost to the minute, a ute pulled up and a big bloke carrying a pile of papers got out and went up the steps and knocked on the old girl’s door.

I was amazed how quick it happened. The door swung open and she pushed the bloke off the verandah with a mighty shove. The she reached inside, pulled out a broom and whacked him over the head. It was terrific, bloody better than TV.

The bloke jumped up and rushed back to ute, jumped in and slammed the door. I thought he was going to shoot through but when the old girl went back inside and shut the door he got out of the ute and jumped on his mobile phone.

Not long after that two cops in uniform turned up in a van and the three of them went up to the door. I was waiting for the fireworks to start and they sure did. She gave one of the cops a great whack with the broom handle before the other one grabbed her and took the broom off her.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying but there was lots of shouting and she was struggling like mad.

I saw the bloke with the papers hand some of them to her and some of them to the coppers and I saw him reading to her.

Then, the cops put her in the front seat of the van and buckled her in. She was quiet by then and as the cop shut the door I could see she was holding onto the papers. Then the  cop who got the whack got into the drivers seat and the other cop got into the cage at the back. I thought that was cool, doing that for her.

They drove her away, to the cop shop probably, anyway, I never saw her again.

The bloke with the papers went inside and a bit later came around from the back dragging the dog and he just got it through the gate, left it there and went back down the drive.

The dog hung around and then came over to our place. I grabbed it by the neck and took it round the back.

The old bird’s house got knocked down a month or so later on and there is a real beaut place there now. A couple of kids house live there and we go to the same school. It doesn’t matter now if I kick my ball into their yard cause if the kids are there they kick it back and if not I just go over and get it, no probs, its just cool bananas.

Oh yair, and the black dog has settled in real good and Dad and Mom reckon it was real decent of the old girl to give it to me.

WRITING 101-DAY SEVENTEEN- YOUR PERSONALITY ON THE PAGE

Today’s prompt, what are your worst fears?

As a young lad, living near a surfing beach and being a strong swimmer, I joined the local surf life saving club. We put out flags on the beach to show swimmers where it was relatively safe to swim, no sand bars, no rips and in general, the perfect place to enjoy a swin. The one thing we could not give information about was the presence of sharks.

Some sharks are a danger to man, others, like our Grey Nurse or the poor old Wobbeygong are present but pose little or no danger.

The constant carping about sharks in the press caused me to develop not only a dislike of them but also a feeling of apprehension when I entered the water, particularly on a dull, miserable sort of a day.

Then, one day when a group off us were doing our ocean swim training about 3 or 4 hundred yards off the beach, the shark alarm siren sounded. I was then about 17 years old. We got into a huddle and one of the old blokes( he was probably about 25 ) simply said that we would all be ok, there had never been a shark attack at our beach and we should just turn around, stick together and swim back quietly to the beach without too much splashing. That is exactly what we did, and no untoward incidents occurred.

Was my fear of sharks quelled? Partially.

They did disappear totally though after I took up SCUBA diving. I had numerous encounters and after a while, still careful though, my fears evaporated.

Then, as a mature man, I spent over 35 years in an occupation that can sometimes be extremely dangerous.

In those situations, I found the surge of adrenalin quickly kicked in, there was no time to think about fear, all senses concentrated on resolving the issue at hand.

When everything was settled, mostly peacefully, sometimes not, and the paper work was completed, we would retire to the nearest licensed establishment and relax with a few beers and discuss what we did well, what was not done quite so well and how we would do the job next time.

Fear? No. Need for counsellors? No.. Our concerns were for our own safety of course and that of the public. In addition, we never disregarded the safety of the individual or individuals who were the cause of all the fuss.

Present fears, only that no one will bother to read this blog.

WRITING 101 – DAY SIXTEEN:THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM.

Today’s prompt: imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings and describe a day in which you came across something peculiar. Time to start right now.

Back in the dream time, as a young bloke gaining the necessary skills to be a success in my chosen profession, the powers that be believed in starting us at the bottom. That’s why all of us beginners knew that toilet cleaning would be our first task on arriving at work.

You were lucky indeed if your found a pair of rubber gloves or even a loo that hadn’t been occupied by blokes with intestinal troubles.

I must have been an effective operator because I was soon tasked with an ‘exciting’ job.

Sifting through what was known as ‘miscellaneous property’ became my new task. Sorting through the mounds of ‘stuff’ was hardly mind boggling. However, finding clues to owners became an intriguing exercise.

Wallets provided few challenges as most contained owner particulars of some kind.

However, one morning when I opened the ‘miscellaneous property’ drawer I found a new and unexpected item. There in all its splendour was a full upper denture, complete with a glistening front gold tooth.

Its only extra was a stick on tag indicating it had been found, all alone, in the early hours of that morning at our building’s front door.

Here was a golden opportunity to show the boss I could rise above the mundane work as the ‘miscellaneous property’ sifter and I entered into my clue discovery mode with enthusiasm.

I visited all the local shelters and hostels looking for the male owner of the teeth. No luck. Why a toothless man? No one at work had seen or heard of a toothless woman around our area. Toothless man, quite a few. Same story at the nearby public hospitals. Next I carted the teeth around to local dentists where no recognition of the teeth occurred.

I also visited the sole major dental hospital and saw the staff that create these dental prosthesis items.

No luck there anyway. So, what to do now?

The answer to that question was taken out of my hands by three occurrences.

Firstly, a poor old bloke, down on his luck turned up at the counter, minus his upper teeth. He’d been told at one of the hostels where his lost upper teeth could be. Sure enough, when I showed them to him, he whacked them immediately into his mouth, tag and all. I could see they were a great fit.

Then without saying a word, he scratched his name in the ‘miscellaneous property book’ against the toothy entry I’d shown to him and left in a rush.

Secondly, I was called up to see the boss who gave men a tongue lashing for wasting so much time on a set of false teeth. Then he laughed and told me he found it amusing and couldn’t wait to tell his mates at the Rotary Club.

Finally, he told me that I was being moved to the first floor where I would have to do real work.

He thought it was a punishment . Not by me though because it was the fulfilment of a dream.  All I wanted to do was carry out the work undertaken by the staff on the first floor.

The lessons I learned from my ‘miscellaneous property’ sifting, and particularly the teeth incident have stuck with me ever since. The teeth themselves were not important to me but their story was. Unfortunately I never learned the story of the teeth, nor of their owner.

Since that poor old bloke claimed his missing teeth, I’ve always had a soft spot for individuals who seem to be down on their luck, for whatever reason.

We all start out with dreams and aspirations. Some of us are lucky and live the dream. For some though, things go sour.

If only we knew their story.

WRITING 101- DAY FIFTEEN – YOUR VOICE WILL FIND YOU

Today’s prompt, in abbreviated form is simply write, in your own voice, how you feel about an event you’ve attended and loved, only to find out it’s being cancelled forever.

So, here we go.

Some years ago I found out, quite by accident, that my favourite Chapter of the Harley Owners Group, close to home, was being closed and moved to a country town almost 150 miles away.

It wasn’t the distance that got under my skin. 150 miles on your favourite brand of motor cycle is just a pleasing jaunt.

No, what got under my skin was being told that the reason I didn’t know was that I was ‘Out of the Loop’.

Also, the prospect of losing touch with my riding mates from the old Chapter was of concern to me. Of course there was another Chapter to welcome us all, but, old habits die hard and I knew that many of the blokes, including myself, would resist joining up with the other mob. After all, we’d been their opponents for years at gymkhanas and what was known as the Chapter Challenge, an annual event where competition was fierce.

As our Chapter’s closing date became closer, the rot really began to set in. Our close knit group began to disintegrate. Some just joined the other Chapter without a parting word. One or two just sold their bikes in disgust and were never seen nor heard of again. Some even announced they would never in a million years join the opposition.

At a few informal meetings, we’d loosely agreed to have our own independent riding group without affiliation to any Chapter and attend State and National HOG rallies with our international HOG membership as accreditation. In my view, It seemed like a great idea.

Now I’ve been around a while and not much surprises me any more. What did surprise me though, and peeved me no end was the cavalier attitude the so called ‘mates’ were taking with each other over the supposed continuation of our riding together. It appeared to me that no one was going to take the lead and organise something.

I’d been left high and dry by the ‘mates’ after I tried to get them out on our first independent group ride and I wasn’t going to let it happen again. It was then I reluctantly concluded our loose riding  agreement was just ‘pie in the sky’, just empty words.

What to do now? Email the lot of them and tell them what I thought, visit the ones I thought I knew and try to keep the ship afloat or simply do what every one else was doing and quietly fade away.

Thinking things over, I realised that the decision to close the Chapter was simply a matter of economics for the dealership under whose banner the Chapter operated.

Further I concluded that as a voice in the wilderness I had as much chance of keeping the ‘mates’ together as a riding group as I had of flying to the moon. No one would give a hoot if I made one hell of a fuss, or, like the others, just walked away. After all, if they didn’t miss each other, why would they miss me.

Then I decided to do a SWOT analysis of my situation. SWOT by the way stands for Strengths and  Weaknesses; Opportunities and Threats.

Briefly, after using up a forest of paper, I worked out that being a loner, one of my strengths could also be a weakness. In this particular case, loner was a strength, not a weakness. I’m a bit of an egotist too so couldn’t find any weaknesses. Opportunities, plenty, particularly as I’d have more time to ride with long time friends. Note, friends, not ‘mates’. I scratched my head and couldn’t come up with any threats.

My conclusion, stick with the long time friends. Should any of the the old chapter ‘mates’ invite me to go for a ride, I was under no obligation to accept the invitation.

I felt good having taken my decision and it’s proved to be the right one. Not only then but many years later it still is.

Looking back on it all, I sometimes ask myself, how do you feel about those past events?

My answer,  I’m completely ambivalent about the whole issue because, in the overall scheme of things it’s absolutely irrelevant.

Oh and by the way, I joined the ‘other chapter’ after a few years. This time I’ve stayed on the outside looking in. It suits me that way, no obligation yet all of the advantages of membership.

You see, I did learn something from my ‘mates’ in the old chapter.

WRITING 101-DAY FOURTEEN- TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

I opened my copy of HF Radio for Travellers at page 29 as instructed. The first word to jump off the page was, ‘Capabilities’. So, here we go with the reasons I penned my letter, to whom it was directed, and the final outcome.

I live in a small town called Woop Woop. Trades people here are few on the ground and work out of town on contract, making it impossible to get skilled help when you needs it. I found myself in the situation where I needed a plumber, and fast.

I thought I was lucky when I saw an add on TV for a company calling itself Capabilities Unlimited. Their add advised they had plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and every type of tradesman any householder could need. The add also said that one phone call was all that was required and help to anywhere, to fix any problem, would be on the way, ASAP. All work guaranteed.

I called their emergency helpline, outlined the urgent need for a plumber and the switch girl said one would be with me by 7am the next day, Wednesday.

The ensuing disaster is fully covered in the letter I wrote to Capabilities Unlimited and this is what I wrote, minus my full address, title and other personal details I know you are not interested in.

                                     TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

        CLOGGED SEWAGE AND DRAINS  ETC AT……………….STREET, WOOP WOOP

I refer to my previous seven letters concerning the matters referred to above. To refresh the brain of the dim wit to whom my previous correspondence has been directed, here is a precise of the reasons for my original call to your ‘organisation:

1          Clogged sewage lines.

2         Clogged drains.

3          Domestic Water pipes not running.

Only one positive arose from my contact with your ‘mob’ and that is the first tradesman arrived, as promised, AM, on the Wednesday after my call. I stress  AM  as he arrived 1 minute prior to noon.

After a very quick inspection he agreed that the three problems required immediate attention. He explained to me that excavation of the problem pipes would be required and assistance was needed for that task. He left in his truck saying he would be back forthwith.

Forthwith turned out to be just after noon the following day, Thursday. With no apology to me, he, accompanied by a crew of two others unloaded what appeared to be a bob cat with a hoe attached, kn locked down my front fence and immediately started digging up the front yard. I rushed out to stop them as the electricity cables are underground in this area, as are all of the utilities.

My entreaties were ignored, the hoe was dropped and trenching down to what appeared to be about 6 feet started.

Work didn’t go on for long. First, a fifty foot high water spout sprung into the air, followed by a flash and a large bang resulting in the bob cat immediately stopping and catching fire.

I couldn’t ring the fire brigade because the telephone cables had been severed as well.

As a result, your bob cat was destroyed,  two of your staff were conveyed to hospital with burns and the other individual was in such a state of shock that he was incapable of speech or movement.

Fortunately, my neighbour who had called the fire brigade and the ambulance, also called the utility companies and they arrived in quick time and took control of the situation.

By 7pm that night, the utility companies had rectified the three problems I’ve set out about and also reconnected my telephone. All at no charge to me as they will be billing your company direct.

I’m writing to tell you again that I will not be paying the accounts you have sent to me on seven different occasions. I have paid you the courtesy of outlining my reasons in the seven previous letters I have sent you.

You will be aware that I have not lodged a claim against Capabilities Unlimited for nervous stress, damage to my property and for compensation for the total inconvenience your so called tradesmen caused me.

However, my brother has suggested I do so, based upon your total disregard for my circumstances, your neglect to reply to my correspondence and the provision of incompetent personnel to carry out the tasks for which I had contacted your organisation.

He informed me that I have excellent grounds to receive a significant settlement.

As he is a Judge of the High Court, I think he has given me the correct advice. He has also referred me to an excellent attorney who will be handling my matter, pro bono, and will no doubt seek costs when the matter is settled in our favour.

By the way, everyone living in Woop Woop is doing their very best to make all their families and acquaintances aware of the lack of capabilities offered by Capabilities Unlimited.

I signed the letter in the usual business like manner and posted it.

So there we are, that was my eighth letter to the company and on this occasion they replied. I’m not at liberty to reveal the terms of their confidential settlement, suffice to say I’ll be going on a world trip next month and upon my return, leasing out my cottage and moving into my new condo overlooking Grand Central Park, NYC.

1

WRITING 101- DAY TWELVE- DARK CLOUDS ON THE (VIRTUAL) HORIZON

It’s 10am on Wednesday the 22nd April and I’m sitting in a down town cafe waiting for a mate to join me for coffee. He’s late as usual and I can guess his lame brain excuse. He forgets that he uses it every time.

He’s a really big bloke and never just comes in, he always bursts in. Today was no different except he had company. He was with a codger who looked old enough to be his father.

Before I had a chance to say anything, my mate plopped down in a chair, beckoned to the old bloke to do the same and said to him,”  This is Max, I told you about him on the way over”. My mate then half turned to me and smiled out the side of his mouth but still didn’t acknowledge me verbally.  The old fellow just looked me up and down. His face was expressionless, he just licked his lips.

When the lip licking was finished, the old bloke, whose name I still didn’t know said,”He looks OK to me, not the stupid bastard you described”. I felt my hackles begin to rise but I kept my peace. My so called ‘mate’ said,” Looks can be deceiving, he is quite devious, you can never tell when you’ve got him, he’s a clever lying bastard”.

I nearly broke in to their conversation but kept my mouth shut, waiting to hear what was going to come next. I didn’t have to wait long. My ‘mate’, talking to no one in particular said,”I’ll go order the coffee, short black for you”, he said, looking to his elderly companion.”Yair”, was the reply.

The big bloke rose from the table and I heard him give the order to the girl behind the cash register.

On his return, he again ignored me and addressed his comment to the old man,” We come here almost every day. It gets damn boring, hearing his yarns over and over again, month in and month out. I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it”.

Something told me to keep a lid on my rising anger. The old bloke said to my mate,” Well, I haven’t heard him say a bloody word since we got here”.

There was a short pause in their conversation as three cups of coffee suddenly arrived at the table. Short black for the old boy, cappuccino for my erstwhile ‘mate’ and the same for me. My ‘mate’ had obviously paid for the three of us.

“Pitty you can’t take a leaf out of his book then”, was the mate’s reply to the old chap. My ‘mate’ continued,” I wanted you to meet Max because the two of you are like bloody twins. You never shut up and neither does he. At least with Max he’s not a bull shitter like you. When I said he was devious, a liar and you could never tell when you had him, I was really describing you”.

Before either the old bloke or myself had a chance to say anything, my ‘mate’ kept up his running commentary on the old blokes apparent faults. “I promised my mother I’d pop in and see you  every day as she used to do before she couldn’t do it any more. Well for the last ten years I’ve heard the same stories from you almost every day. I know that it’s just make believe but that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to. At least Max’s yarns have an element of truth about them. You are just a plain old pain pain the arse”.

With that I saw that the old boy’s lip began to quiver and I thought he was about to burst into tears.

I couldn’t hold back, things had gone too far, I just had to interrupt. I tapped my ‘mate’on the shoulder, he had his back half turned to me, and I said angrily to him,” That’s enough, you’ve not had the decency to introduce me to your guest, you’ve insulted me and now you’re insulting him.  Why don’t you just piss off”!

With that, the two of them burst out laughing, great smiles on their faces. The old bloke said to me,”I’ve known him for years, his father and I were great mates. One day he told me what a practical joker you are and how he wanted to get back at you for the last great trick you played on him, but he didn’t know how. I put him up to today’s bit of fun. It’s worked like a beauty. He really got you going’.

My mate, now reinstated from erstwhile status, offered his hand to me and said,” Now we’re equal, no harm done, just a bit of fun, I’ll buy you a beer to make up for it”.

What could I say?  I shook his hand and said,” good one, I’d no idea that you two were’t fair dinkum. Let’ go to the pub.”

We finished our coffee and off we went.

If my mate thinks that’s the end of it, he’s very much mistaken. I’ve got a ripper of an equaliser in mind.