BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

What comes next? Join in this group story writing challange

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WE had two stories running at the same time. I ended this one yesterday (see how it all worked out) but the other is still live. And you can join in HERE. You can write as much as you like, but you can’t have another go until someone else chips in

Both start with the opening line:

Having taken a vow of silence, he kept it.

From

glenavailable

It had been three years since anyone had knocked on Percy Walker’s door with an over-cheerful smile that made him assume they were selling Jesus. It wasn’t God being hawked today but solar panels and the opportunity to purchase a ‘5.2 kilowatt Advantage Package with estimated electricity savings of between two and $3ooo per annum’. It takes exactly seven seconds for silence to shift into awkward but the type Percy was about to offer up would be as long as a freight train and as deep as a philosophers textbook.

The young man who stood at the door holding a blue clipboard was tall – over six foot Percy estimated – with piercing blue eyes and curly hair. He wore an open neck shirt and blue denims, with two matching braided leather wrist bands completing the uber casual, ‘laugh-at-any-jokes-the-customer-says-whether-they- are-funny-or-not’ salesperson look.

After the initial greeting and inquiry as to whether he was the home owner or not – to which Percy had offered his first strategically delivered nod – Mr ‘Return on Investment’ had not stopped talking, launching straight into his best ‘this offer is for a limited time only’ spiel complete with brochure flowcharts and cost comparison diagrams.

“The energy storage subsidies that accompany this particular unit are due to finish at the end of the month after which the government feed-in tariffs are also set to change, making not only the running costs but also the installation costs substantially higher after this period,” he jabbered while showing impressively white teeth and taking care to remain likable all the while.

Skilfully, Percy had managed to dodge the salesman’s attempts to find out how much money he earnt with some no nonsense, well-aimed furrowing of the brow and narrowing of the eyes. Yet he began to sense the longer he stayed with the door open engaging in this one-sided dialogue the more his silent act stretched thinner and thinner, like a balloon blown big, until the temptation to rupture it might become too great to resist.

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8 comments on “What comes next? Join in this group story writing challange

  1. bridget whelan
    July 6, 2016

    ‘Pisspoorcodswallop!’ He shouted into the salesman’s startled face. There’s no come back to that, he thought as he shut the front door with pantomime care, . He glanced at his watch. 10.30am. This wasn’t good, it wasn’t at all good. Another promise broken and so early in the day too.

  2. suzannebowditch
    July 6, 2016

    He ambled back down the hallway, his right leg slightly dragging on the worn carpet ( a result of that fall last year ) and pushed open the kitchen door. The remains of breakfast stared at him from the kitchen table; crumbs of buttered toast and a teapot now turned cold.
    He pulled at the watch on his bony wrist, anxiety overwhelming him. She will come won’t she? She promised….

  3. bridget whelan
    July 6, 2016

    And she always did what she said. She was reliable in that way, if not in others. It was odd to think that he would have two visitors in one day, it had been so long since he had any real human connection. Although perhaps insulting a salesman didn’t really count. He started to clear away the breakfast things suddenly aware that She was about to come into his home. Would she judge him by what she found? Of course she would.
    He tried to look at his surroundings through her eyes. Shabby furniture, painted walls that neded a damn good clean, bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling, spider webs in corners, the floor sticky and the windows grey with dirt. It won’t matter, he thought. He was almost praying now. She’s come to see me. Not this place. She’s coming because she can’t keep away.
    But I am not going to tell her what she wants to hear. Oh no, I can be reliable too. I said I wouldn’t tell and I won’t

  4. glenavailable
    July 8, 2016

    Just as this promising resolution was being swilled about in Percy’s mind there was a loud knock on the door. He reacted like a war veteran might to an unexpected gun shot and jerked suddenly half a step back from the spot he’d been occupying just below the long-dead dried flowers hanging from the overhead beam.

    • bridget whelan
      July 11, 2016

      He opened the door to a short, plump woman with hair blacker than nature ever intended. Percy looked down at a very ordinary face. Her make up was too thick and her eyebrows drawn with a lazy hand. No one could be scared of a woman who looked like this but Percy was trembling and his mouth was dry.

      • glenavailable
        July 14, 2016

        “I’m sorry. Looks like I have the wrong address,” said the woman upon locking eyes with him. “I’m after the Tate residence and I was certain it was here. Would you by chance know where in the street I might find them?” A slow smile spread across Percy’s face. He pointed to the house directly across the road and in the next moment, amidst the puff of a summer breeze, the woman was gone. Another catastrophe avoided.

        Percy had to admit that these close calls were good for his concentration but played real havoc with his nerves. Smoke and mirrors was all well and good in the short term but as he brought to mind the old saying about being able to fool some of the people some of the time he began to reflect on just how long he could keep up this charade.

        Yes he’d had a momentary lapse of concentration with the salesman but another slip-up like that and he knew exactly what fate would lay in store for him. He’d be out of the program; for good. That would have been deemed unacceptable since he’d already invested so much time and effort and now naturally had come to expect a return.

        So far he’d achieved solid grades in all basic training subjects – everything from emergency medicine and water survival skills to firearms testing, enhanced driving skills and close personal protection methods. However it was in the advanced training units – the core operational skills that each required some measure of covertness – that he’d really excelled in. Proficiencies like counter-intelligence, undercover assignments, surveillance and cyber-investigations.

        In all, he’d clocked in excess of 800 hours of training. He was nearing the completion stage of his classroom curriculum and the aptly named Code of Silence test was one of his very final units. Percy possessed the wisdom to know you could swallow an elephant but choke on it’s tail. It was something his own father, a Vice Admiral in the Navy, had frequently said to him growing up.

        He may have become tired of playing ‘let’s pretend’ some time ago, yet he reminded himself that complacency, especially now in these final days, would see him and everything he’d worked so hard to achieve, destroyed. He knew the next assay would be along soon and as it turned out he didn’t have long to wait.

  5. bridget whelan
    July 14, 2016

    A timid knock, a pretty face on the other side of the frosted glass. He sighed this was his test subject for sure.
    ‘I’ve broken down and lost my phone.’ Would he let her into his house to make a call? No chance. Miming deafness, he was about to shut the door when a voice he knew all too well rasped out a command.
    ‘Ok sweetcheeks, out of the way.’ His commanding officer, the woman who controlled his destiny and made his heart beat faster, was standing in front of him. ‘That was an out and out fail Percy. You are never going to be an agent.Know what that means?’ She leant so close he could smell her expensive perfume and the mint of her toothpaste. ‘You’ve wasted a lot of government money. And I am going to enjoy making you pay it back.’
    He couldn’t imagine what she meant. He knew it would be far worse than he could ever imagine.

    THE END

  6. Pingback: A group story writing challenge | The Proof Angel

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2016 by in Muse, Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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