i talked to Shane Jones on gmail chat, and we decided to each write a short story in response to a google image search result. we decided on two words each; the four words that we entered into google image search were: tadpole, kippers, dirt, and blood.
the 'winning' image, which we both looked at and decided to write stories about, was this one. (note: it only came up on google.co.uk for some reason).
here is Shane Jones' story.
here is my story:
Sandra gets up from the sofa and walks to the TV. She changes the channel. Phil lost the remote. He was walking around with it in his hand one day last week, he said, and he must have put it down somewhere strange, and now neither of them can find it. It’s not a big flat. Sandra has checked the shelves in the bathroom and the cupboards in the kitchen and down the side of the bed.
‘It’ll turn up,’ Phil says, whenever the TV remote comes up in conversation.
The TV remote has come up in conversation five or six times.
Sandra wants to turn the TV off, but she just changes channels.
Sandra wants to take some of the unpaid bills off the table and stuff them in her mouth and then try and scream through them.
She sits back down on the sofa.
‘What’s this?’ Phil says. He’s talking about the programme she changed channels to.
‘I don’t know,’ Sandra says.
There is the sound of something coming through the wall from next door’s flat.
‘Could you turn it up a bit?’ Phil says.
Sandra gets up from the sofa and walks to the TV. She turns it up a bit. She wants to turn it off. She wants to run her head under the tap in the kitchen until the sink fills up with hot water and she drowns. She wants to relive her whole life from 1997 onwards.
She sits back down on the sofa.
‘What is this?’ Phil says.
On the TV someone is walking around and moving their hands and saying something.
Next door the man who lives next door is hammering. He hammers every night.
Sandra feels like her head is expanding, like it’s about to explode. If he touches me now, she thinks, if he reaches out his hand and puts it on my leg or any other part of my body then I will die.
Phil starts to move his hand. He moves it off his leg and towards her leg and she braces herself, but then the hand moves past her leg as Phil leans over her, reaching for a glass of water standing on the little coffee table on her side of the sofa. She can smell his B.O. She can smell his unwashed hair and feet. She listens to him lift the glass of water up to his mouth and make a whistling, sucking sound before the water even touches his lips, and then she hears him swallow loudly and repeatedly until the glass is empty.
He makes a clichéd ‘Ah,’ noise, like someone in an advert, then wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Christ, she thinks.
He is like something, she thinks. He is like something obvious, and if I didn’t hate him so much and if the TV was off right now and if the flat was tidy instead of such a fucking mess all the time and if that twat from next door wasn’t hammering every night of the week and if I had never met him and done something completely different with my life, then I might be able to think what it was.