View Full Version : The Writer. 1,200 words. Some language.

The Backward OX
February 7th, 2012, 12:29 PM
Scene: Outside Dmitri’s rented flat.

Vladimir has called to see his friend.

(Imagine thick Slavic accent)

‘Dmitri, I staying not am, I my new activity telling only. I thinking I writing begin.’

‘Oh, Vladimir, clever are. What you to write?’

‘Knowing I not. Something deep and brooding, atmosphere with.’

‘Da, I see. Perhaps Politburo, the history?’

‘Nyet, Dmitri, I novel thinking.’

‘Vladimir, why like this speaking we? You and me here only is. Why Russian not we speak?’

‘Practice, is. Writers this all do.’

‘Aha. You idea for story have?’


‘I understand not. You idea not have. I you say this am hearing. Intend you how start?’

‘Very simple, is. I to do what, the learning. I to city’s biggest mall, I listen people around about talking, I the notes make, I what overhear. I my room to, develop for the story into, the idea the notes.’

‘Da, very simple, Vladimir. Why not everyone it doing?’

‘Good question is. Maybe are. Now must going be. I to get started.’

‘До свидания, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Good luck.’

Vladimir strode off, his heavy wooden heels going thunkita thunkita thunkita, a grey double-breasted gabardine overcoat wrapped around his squat body, his square-blocked fedora pulled low on his porridge-coloured forehead - as common a sight as could be seen any day on Komsomolskaya Square, the only fault with the image thus created being that he presently resided in Parramatta, New South Wales.

He and Dmitri arrived in Australia three months earlier, on temporary visitor visas. To obtain a feel for the vastness of the wide brown land, they’d gone fruit-picking, intending to follow the ripening orange trail from Griffith to Gayndah. But in many places the sun-bronzed Aussie workers made their lives miserable, forever pointing at them, making remarks they did not understand, and howling with laughter. They cut short their citrus sojourn and returned to the city.

As Vladimir walked, he checked his pockets.

Pencil, da, note book, da, visa…visa…where visa is?

He re-checked. Nothing. Where had it gone? Did he leave it at the hostel? He felt certain it’d been in his pocket when he called at Dmitri’s. If he’d lost it, that would mean a trip to the Embassy. Nроклятие!

He decided to forget it for now. If he acted normal, no one would bother him. No one would stop to consider he might not be a citizen.

Seven minutes walk brought him to the mall. Upon entering, he discovered many food outlets peddling a variety of unhealthy Western rubbish, and people - the raw material he sought - everywhere. Queuing, standing around in groups, eating at cheap plastic tables, entering and leaving toilets. Over all, the hum of voices. From the hundreds of conversations he could listen in to, there would be hundreds of ideas he could take away.

Vladimir thought it best to amble a while, to obtain a feel for the place, before taking notes.

Some three minutes later he decided to act. Choosing a pair of middle-aged women on whom to eavesdrop, he sidled towards them from one side and very slightly to their rear. At the same time he pulled out his notebook and pencil. Vladimir moved as close as possible, and because of the ambient noise, cocked his head, to hear better.

‘…And then Keith twisted the wrong way, and put his back out, and that left me to finish doing the packing meself. Tell you what, Mabel, I’m getting fucking sick of having to do every fucking thing meself.’

‘Yair, I know whatcher mean. My old man’s a lazy bugger. Wouldn’t work in an iron lung...Oy! You! Whattyer think you’re doin’? Pervin’ around on other people’s privit talk. Garn, pissoff out of here, before I call the wallopers. Bloody nerve of some people. Jesus.’

Vladimir didn’t comprehend the words spewing forth but there could be no mistaking the tone of voice and body language. He backed away, thinking the woman must be sick in the head. He hadn’t done anything.

Across the floor two suited men noted the incident and looked at each other. One nodded, then spoke.

‘We’ll keep an eye on him for a bit.’

Vladimir’s middle name, had he been born anywhere else, would have been "Persistent". One hiccup wasn’t enough to dampen his fire. He quickly sought another conversation source. This time he chose a young man and woman standing eating burgers they held between their fingers. He repeated his technique to get close.

‘…But, Jill, wouldn’t you think they’d dislike saying ‘D’you want fries with that?’, eighty-seven times a day? It’s demeaning.’

‘Brian, the corporate bosses aren’t interested in how those kids feel. I’m sure they’d’ve done some deep and penetrating market research into the idea, before adopting it. They probably know the exact percentage increase in sales they’ll obtain, from the customers who give an affirmative answer.’

‘Jeez, I hate women who are logical. I’d like to do some deep and penetrating research into you…Hey! What’s this? What’re you up to, feller? You shifty-looking prick. POLICE! HELP! POLICE!’

The two suited men materialised alongside Vladimir like a twinned wizard in a B-grade movie. Grabbing an arm each, they propelled him backwards. One spoke to the young couple.

‘We’ll take it from here thanks.’

‘Now, mister, you have some explaining to do. From where we stand, you look like a serious public nuisance. I’m Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. This is Detective Sergeant Smurf. Who are you? What’s your name?’

‘Big mistake is. Ideas writing for, is all. I thinking I writing begin.’

‘Whaddid ‘e say? You catch any of that, Harry?’

‘Not a word, sir.’

‘Rightie-oh, sunshine, just who the fuck are you? Do you have any ID?

‘What ID is, please?’

‘Oh, fuck. Identification. Papers.’ Barnaby had dealt with this type before. He had the sign language down to a fine art. With his forefingers he drew a square then quickly reversed his fingers and pointed at his face.

‘Photo-graph. Savvy? Capiche?’

Vladimir understood. He understood only too well. He replied slowly.

‘Nyet. I photograph not have. Lost is.’

‘What you mean sunshine is you’re an illegal. You’ve come off a boat somewhere, haven’t you? I reckon you’re one of those terr’rists we’ve been told to watch out for. You’ve probably got a stick of gelignite up your arse. Where’s the switch? Keep hold of that hand Harry. Don’t let go or he’ll blow us all to kingdom come. You little shit. Think you’re going to spoil my weekend fishing? I’ve got news for you.’

Vladimir had caught the word ‘terrorist.’

‘Nyet, terrorist not. Tourist. Good loyal Russian I.’

‘Stop carrying on with all that monkeyshine. We’re getting the bomb squad in, to look up your arse.’ With his free hand Barnaby punched a button on his phone.

Twenty five minutes later, with the public and workers moved from the immediate vicinity, the bomb squad had given the all clear.

‘Okay, Ivan, there’s still this little matter of you being an illegal. I think Customs and Immigration might be interested in you. They’ll get you sorted out, quick smart.’

‘Ivan not. Vladimir is. Writing is. Visa lost is.’

‘Look, sunshine, writers don’t lurk around shopping centres, with or without a visa. Who ever heard of such bullshit? Writers write. Gimme a break.’

‘Ins-pektor. Ideas necessary is, before begins the writings. To the public places writers, what people say, hear, then story think of. Vladimir policeman fishing enjoys, hear, notes make, story become.’

‘You could write a story about me and my fishing? I could tell you about the one that got away…’

February 7th, 2012, 03:05 PM
Good show! Glad you edited the actual cavity search out. I mighta fainted...bloody foreigners. Next it'll be 'intermarriage'. My nephew just called. 10lbs 2ounces. Oh , ya. I says. Oi, masoltov! What's his name? I says... "Hayden..Hayden Alvaro..."

bazz cargo
February 16th, 2012, 11:16 PM
Hi Xo,
Looked this over last night but was too short on time to take much in.

Today I spent four hours 'guesting' in the fabrication department. I don't like borrowing someone else's mask so I am now going to be stoned for about three days. I might be able to make some sense by Sunday.

About your autobiography, how about 'Hoof Hearted' as a title?

bazz cargo
February 22nd, 2012, 09:55 PM
Hello, me old bovine,
Finally found time to look at your work properly. I enjoyed this a lot. Mind you everything I've read of yours has been properly entertaining, rather than by accident. I could see nothing to take issue with. I'm not sure if this is contemporary or if you slipped back into your time warp again. Not that it matters a jot, the story still stands either way. I like the way you play with caricatures. I work with them in a factory so I can recognise the types quite easily.

This is the second 'eaves dropping' story I have read in a few weeks, I wonder if this is the start of those coincidences that happens in my life.

Just between you and me, have you been hanging out with the ESL crowd?

And will there ever be a book? Your stuff is kind of addictive, and after Adrian Mole's success there is definitely an apatite for imaginative Biographies.

I await your next offering with eagerness.

The Backward OX
February 23rd, 2012, 12:32 AM
Thanks, bazz. A book? Who knows? Stranger things have happened.