My Words, My World

First drafts – A few pages in the large wilderness of the world of writing

Archive for the category “Sketch”

Hats off to Raymond Chandler

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” So said Oscar Wilde.

While I hope my work isn’t mediocre, I can understand the sentiment behind the statement.  We who doff our caps at others are acknowledging something which we appreciate and would probably like to do or achieve.

I have a weakness for reading Raymond Chandler.  Every once in a while I’ll return to any one of a number of books on my shelf.  A great writer.  By all accounts a greater drinker also, but that’s neither here nor there.  I’ve always loved reading Chandler and, not so long ago, as an idea to ‘unblock’, I wrote a small, Chandleresque sketch. It only runs to 68 words but after doing so I found a new impetus to my writing.

I hope you don’t find it too mediocre…

She offered me a coffee.  I took it like a man.  Black, no sugar; like my mood.  I don’t know which discount supermarket she’d bought it from but even with hot water added it was as dry as a Saharan wind.  I managed to drink it without pulling any expression except appearing concentrated on what she was saying, which wasn’t much.  Her words flowed like an uphill stream.

A Time for Tea

“Does one ever learn to trust again after that trust has been abused and rejected?”  She was in one of her post-relationship moods.

“The matter of trust hangs on a knife-edge”, he said, sat squarely on the fence.

“I know that”, she replied, “I have been stabbed, deeply.”

“We live in fields of blades”, he sighed.

“Now you are being pessimist,” she retorted. “I think in the end our choices lead us to these fields you refer to as being filled with blades, or could they be filled roses?”

“Both may cut and scratch you.  Many times we sow the seeds of our own crop of blades”, he said.  “Others, unfortunately, wander too into these fields, time and again”.

“So we have experiences to avoid revisiting?”

“Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid wandering in,” he said, offering some comfort.  “From a distance these fields look beautiful, only once your inside do you realize the swaying, green stalks are really chrome blades, chopping.”

“Then the experience one had is defective as he still needs to learn further lessons.  He shall wander into these fields until he learns,” she sighed, despair creeping in.

“It’s not defective; unless you call hope a defect.  It’s hope that brings one again to the field.”

With relief that was tangible.  “Therefore I am doomed to wander the rough-made footpath and stray back into hurt, cuts and pain.  However seeing you start this conversation with pessimism and ending with a flirtation with optimism gives me strength to walk once more.”  She was warming to the idea.

“I never started a pessimist, as I have never looked upon this subject with pessimism.  Even blades have their uses, but only while they remain sharp.”  He responded, as pragmatic as ever.

“The only useful blunt utensil is a spoon,” she replied.

They exchanged glances.  He got up and put the kettle on.


A Colonel sketch

The drunken colonel, after a morning aperitif of several G&T’s, finds himself seated for lunch in a restaurant he happened to fall into:


“Waiter, there’s a turd in my soup.”

“No Sir, that is Tofu.”

“Toffee, waiter?  I like to drink my soup, not chew on it.”

“T.O.F.U. Sir.  It is a meat alternative.”

“Waiter, if I ask for chicken soup why would you serve me a meat alternative?”

“House rules Sir.”

“House rules?  What the devil are you talking about man?”

“Yes Sir.  This is a vegetarian restaurant Sir.  We do not offer meat products.”

“Vegetarian restaurant?  What, you mean no meat and two veg?”

“Just the two veg Sir, in fact more if you wish Sir.”

“Vegetarians… I blame vegetarianism on the lesbians you know.”

“What, Sir, may I ask, have the two in common?”

“There you go, you just said it.  Greenham Common.  Thirty years ago thousands of ordinary housewives went there to protest about nuclear deployment.  They all came back lesbians and vegetarians.”

“Oh Sir, I think you are exaggerating the link, even if I am too young to remember.  After all, I grew up a vegetarian.”

You’re not gay are you?”

“No Sir, I am married.”

“And your wife, she doesn’t bat for the other team then does she?”

“Sir, I can assure you we have two healthy boys, who are not gay and we are all vegetarians.  About the soup Sir?”

“Something less resembling a floating turd would be my soup of choice.  Oh, and waiter, a man can only drink so much water; bring me the wine list would you?”

“Sir, this is a non-alcoholic restaurant, we intentionally do not have a licensed premises.”



Exit waiter, rapidly.

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