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View Full Version : A Night Out in the Welsh Valleys Swearing and mature themes



Kepharel
March 3rd, 2014, 09:32 PM
It's about time I put something up for criticism so I'll submit this work in progress on the basis that I quite like it, and it has not taken me long to put together. Part of the reason for this alacrity is that there is a very small kernel of truth to the events which I have pushed to breaking point and mangled beyond recognition in pursuit of a bit of fun. It is still not complete because the conclusion to the story is so bizarre that articulating it will require a degree of effort that I have no time to spare right now so it's going to find a place in my projects folder until such time as I am able.

A Night Out in the Welsh Valleys


Warning: Mature and with Strong Language.

I'm stood in the toilet block off the bar at the local football team’s social club, beginning to feel that early onset unsteadiness brought on by the over enthusiastic ingestion of Cardiff’s finest brew, Mr Brain’s S.A. Short for Strong Ale to the uninitiated, or Skull Attack for the more knowledgeable among us. The tin trough urinal in front of me is drumming, no vocalising, an acceptance of my offering with commendable variation in pitch, and life, all in all is feeling good.

Stood next to me is what archaeologists have been searching for, for most of the 20th century, the missing link between us and Cro-Magnon man.

“What the fuck you looking at?” says Cro-Magnon

“Hard to say mate, there’s no label attached”

At this point I am mentally cursing Mr Brain for brewing his truth serum of a beer and breathe a sigh of relief when the lavvy door opens and Cabdo Morgan makes an entrance. Cabdo is a warrior of a miner, a natural, whose physical senses, dimmed by the dark and noise of years at the coal face have been replaced by almost psychic sensibilities to the proximity of danger. It is also my good fortune that Cabdo is one of tonight’s drinking buddies.

Good old Cabdo has the situation weighed up in an instant. I look first at the 5’ 4” of Cabdo and then the 6’ 3” of Cro-Magnon. Undeterred Cabdo says

“You got a problem with my mate?”

To which Cro-Magnon, in a moment of critical underestimation says

“See you pint size, piss off or you’ll get the same as your pal over there is going to get.”

Cabdo, unimpressed with the Glaswegian ‘See You’ euphemism takes a swing at Cro-Magnon’s solar plexus but can only connect with the groin instead. It is a fortunate overestimation of Cabdo’s reach. As Cro-Magnon staggers back, holding his crotch his elbow catches me and I fall into the urinal. At his moment the lavvy door opens once again and this time it’s Idris Evans, a panicky sort of bloke with an eye for drama; he eyes up the situation and is gone in an instant. In the meantime Cabdo, with an expression of mirth at my predicament mixed with some small concern for Cro-Magnon's well-being begins to haul us both to our feet.

Yet again the lavvy door opens and I have a momentary flashback to my youth and those Saturday afternoon matinees in the Village Hall cinema showing those old Keystone Cops movies. The door groans on its hinges as what must be every patron of the Social Club’s Men Only Bar attempts an entrance simultaneously. The lavvy is now full to bursting point. Quickly formed alliances ensue of those present favouring either Cabdo or Cro-Magnon. These in turn become the spark of ignition, the opportunity, for the conflagration of ritual insults, fuelling all those long standing tribal grudges which plague otherwise small close knit communities, some going so far back they are ancestral in origin. Everyone quickly perceives the lack of space is a hindrance to the employment of limbs and fists so these ancient disputes begin to resolve themselves with head-butts and knees. This carries on for some minutes until the futility of it all causes a gradual loss of interest with finger pointing and warnings of dire retribution a kind of farewell parting shot replacing hostility and attempted physical harm. The lavvy slowly begins to empty until, I'm alone; I breathe a sigh of relief. The seat of my pants are, of course toxic, but I decide to keep an open mind for the time being on whether the situation is recoverable or not and make my way back into the bar.

All has returned to normal with the drinking fraternity; a freak storm that has blown itself out; banter and buying rounds are an encouraging sign the evening flashpoint has passed. Though, as I take my seat back with my pals, the studied, artificial indifference breaks into sniggers and elbows digging neighbourly ribs. I look on sheepishly.

“God, you’re a bit ripe!” says Nimrod. “I can smell that disinfectant block from here.”

“I’ll pass it off as aftershave if anyone asks” I say sheepishly.

“Go on with you mun” says Rhodri “I’ve smelt a lot worse down the pit. Let me tell you boys Dafydd The Milk farted at the coal face a few months back and no-one would work the seam for a week; foreman had to pay time and a half to get anyone near it.”

He turns to me and says “Cledwyn bach, why don’t you go stand against the radiator over there and dry yourself out a bit.”

Apple Ice
March 4th, 2014, 06:21 PM
Hello Kepharel. An interesting piece, sounds like a rather typical night out in the UK.

I found the narrator to be individual, pompous and arrogant (not saying these are bad things obviously, they're character traits). I think the scene where everyone packs in to the toilet is more wordy than it needs to be. He has a very long way to get to what he's saying. Perhaps just a personal preference on my part, however.

Kepharel
March 4th, 2014, 07:26 PM
Hi Apple,

Nice to get some feedback YaY!!

It may be that the narration is individual, pompous and arrogant rather than the protagonist as those are character traits of mine. I hoped he would come across as vulnerable in some sort of way insofar as we witness his passivity in the face of all the mayhem around him while others take up his cause, allowing himself to be hauled out of the urinal even though he has suffered no injury other than his dignity. He is not so much an individual alpha male in a room full of individual alpha males as the pack whelp, undecided about whether to go home and get a change of clothes or stay with the pack, and meekly doing as he was told by drying out against the radiator to the merriment of all.

In fact the feedback is so off the mark of my intention that, on reflection maybe this is not the kind of story best suited to me to tell. I'll have to dig something else out of the folder I guess :) :)

Apple Ice
March 4th, 2014, 08:00 PM
Oh no, I did also register his sensitivity too, along with a sense of humour on his part. Those 2 traits were just the first. The sense of humour and sheepishness did come through also, though. You have my word. I don't think you should move on to something else. it's a good piece. Obviously because it's a short piece it's very hard to gauge what sort of novel it would be and what would be the main plot. I will guess it's a character novel, though from what I've read. it was interesting enough for me to read more of the stroy if you posted it.

Bloggsworth
March 4th, 2014, 08:44 PM
Wot! No sheep...

Kepharel
March 4th, 2014, 11:22 PM
Bloggsworth,

That has to go down as the shortest critique of a members work I have read on here, also the least helpful, but I'll take it in the spirit in which it was intended, and also take my leave of this website.

Kevin
March 4th, 2014, 11:45 PM
feedback is so off the mark of my intention that S'only one... don't be so hasty. I was just enjoying it (the sort of story I like hearing). Liquid courage, regardless of consequence at the moment, and instantly aware that he may indeed, take a pounding. Been there... Go on then, it's not bad. If I were to pick nits, I'd say a fresh comb-though and pruning, however lightly, of the over-wordacious complication...as I say, slight. As example: going so far back they are ancestral in origin. 'ancestral'- I understand the meaning, but... it seems a lot of word for something still vague. A small thing, but if it were me, I would question. Grain of salt, etc., Kevin.