Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When creative writers go wrong

I go to a writers circle most months, and for February we had a 'write beforehand' exercise. We were given three titles and I started writing about 'The Betrayal'. It was pants. The next choice was 'Thursday morning, 4am' but it also left me uninspired. The final choice, 'Shoes in a charity shop' didn't exactly excite me, but some whimsy took my mind last night as I was thinking about this challenge, and this is what I wrote.  Best read aloud, with a suitably regionalised accent for the shop assistant:

Shoes in the charity shop

“Excuse me,” I said to the lady at the counter, “but these were on the shelf over there”. I pointed towards the shoe rack, and put the two bananas down in front of her.

“Oh my, they are lovely, aren’t they?” she said. I looked at her, a little confused. Well, yes, I liked bananas, but that’s not what I expected her to say.

I looked down at them, and then up at her.

“Well, aren’t you going to try them on?” she said. “They are just your colour.” I looked at her as if she had just landed from another planet. “Go on!” she enthused. I paused, and a small frown creased her brow. “It’s OK, we do spray everything. They won’t smell or anything. They are perfectly clean.”

I looked at the bananas again. Two long, slightly curved, and somewhat wide yellow fruit, delicately scored with black. Actually, the black was rather nicely symmetrical. I looked at the bananas again, turning them round on the counter, to view them from every angle. They were bananas.

“Not too high, are they?” the assistant asked. She nudged them towards me. “Go on. They aren’t expensive, and they are so lovely and soft. I bet they’ll fit like a dream when you put them on.”

Sighing at the complete impossibility of it all, I took the bananas from the counter and put them on the floor. I slipped off my burgundy court shoes and … stepped into the bananas. They felt soft, squidgy. The fruit seeped between my toes, a not unpleasant feeling.

“Walk around a bit, see how they feel.” I walked across the shop floor. The bananas moulded to my feet. The gluey fruit flattened, the slippery skins buttered themselves across my instep. “They do look smart on you.” Said the girl. I decided to stop looking at my feet as I walked. I crossed the shop and went to a full length mirror that hung next to a huge vase full of walking sticks. The bananas felt strangely comfortable.  I looked at myself in the mirror, there were my feet – neatly encased in … mashed fruit.

I went back to the counter and slipped them off. Putting my feet back into my own shoes, my toes still sticky with squashed white flesh, I felt rather silly. “I don’t think they are really for me.” I said. “Shame.” The assistant sighed, and as I put the pulped bananas back on the counter her face instantly clouded. “Look what you’ve done to them!” she said. “They’re ruined – I can’t sell those!”

“But…” I started, and then realised I had not one iota of defence. She looked at me. I looked at her, and then down at the ruined bananas. “I tell you what,” I said. “I’ll take them, but I’d like a handbag to match.” The girl smiled.

“No problem,” she said, and reaching below the counter, pulled out a large yellow melon. She unzipped it and pulled out something not unlike a very ripe mango. “Look,” she said. “Even got a matching purse.”
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