​The Lottery

 

My homework set for week 5 was to have my story following on from the first paragraph of a short story called.

The Lottery   by   Shirley Jackson.

       The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely, and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank around ten o’clock; in some towns, there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th. But in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

 

Continuation by Gary Oldmeadow

      Mac was standing in his small shack.  Now Mac, or James McKenzie to give him his full name, turned 50 last week, He looked pretty good for his age, and these days 50 was a damn good age to reach. The average age for most citizens was about 35, it’s been this way ever since the great plague had wiped out 50% of every living creature on the planet, it happened the year before Mac was born.

‘I’m sick and tired of living off bloody scraps, I’m the oldest in the village now, it’s my turn to win the chance to go to the citadel, eat good food, drink fresh water’. He shouted to nobody as he set off for the square.

On the other side of the village, Magister Jayna Kovac, the youngest and first female Magister the village had appointed, was putting on her ceremonial robes for the drawing of the yearly village lottery. She knew the lottery was rigged; she knew that certain citizens would never be allowed to win and leave the village, and anger was growing amongst those people. She also knew she would not be one of the lucky ones that got to stay in the village.  Little did people realise that the blood tests they all had to have on the 1st of each month would make the ultimate choice of who would win the lottery, nothing to do with the luck of the draw.

Mac was one of the last to arrive in the square, he spotted one of the few people he trusted and walked over to him. His name was Steve Sutton, Steve was around 4 years younger than Mac and saw him like an older brother.

‘Hey Mac, how’s thing’s? What do you think the chance is of one of us winning the lottery this year are?’

‘There’s more chance of seeing a squadron of pigs doing a flypast Steve’, Mac joked,  ‘We still buy our tickets though, just in case it isn’t a fix, after all, you gotta be in it to win it’ Mac said cynically, ‘anyway we’ve literally paid for the chance with our blood each month’

‘Are you still having the blackouts Mac? I’ve had two this month alone, the Doc says he still can’t figure out what’s causing them’.

‘Same here’ Mac uttered back.

Suddenly the atmosphere changed, and a hush fell over the gathering, the town Cryer was announcing the Magister and the beginning of the 45th undertaking of the Citadel Lottery. As he finished his announcement, the large ornate black metal box came into view, carried at shoulder height by 6 Box Bearers.

Waiting in her office on the square, Jayna was feeling nervous about delivering her first lottery, she dashed to the bathroom whilst having a fit of coughing, she spat in the sink, more blood she thought, she washed her face and placed the ceremonial black cap on her head.

As the box was placed onto the stone table, the Magister stepped onto the square and made her way toward the podium to carry out her duties. Almost everybody clapped and cheered, even Steve, only Mac stood stony face hands in pockets. Then the speech was over, time for the Lottery to begin.

‘Citizens, as is our custom, I will draw the first ticket blindfolded, then as each of your names is called by our village Cryer, you will make your way to the box and draw your ticket, remember there will be no looking at your ticket until all have been drawn.

A little over 2 hours later and the lottery draw was complete, once again a hush falls over the crowd. The Magister speaks again.

‘As you, all know the one who has the ticket marked with a ‘C’ will have won the prize of going to live in the Citadel, so without further delay please look at your ticket, then hold it aloft for all to see’.

There was a loud gasp, then everyone began to cheer and clap, ‘it’s the magister, she’s won’. Jayna feigned shock and embarrassment then thanked the crowd for their good wishes. Steve turned to Mac to ask what they should do about it, but Mac wasn’t there. Where the hell’s he gone? Oh God, I hope he isn’t doing anything stupid.

As Mac came too, he wondered where he was, he didn’t recognise the room, he’d never seen anywhere this fancy, then he heard the Magisters voice. He turned, his face red with anger, Jayna asked him to listen to what she had to say. He nodded.

‘Mac, I’ve decided to name you as my successor. In 3 days, I will be leaving for the Citadel’, she started to cough, Mac saw the blood in her handkerchief. ‘I’ve got the plague’ she a tear in her eye, ‘the citadel is really a hospital, the monthly blood tests are to find those who are immune, we take blood from those of you who have the unsolved blackouts and use it to try and find a cure, this happens in every village, town and city around the world. This is why you and anybody over 40 has never been picked’ another coughing fit more blood.

‘As Magister you will need to keep the pretence going, if we don’t find a cure then you and those like you will be the last of the human race’ Mac slumped back, struggling to take it all in.

‘You will need to choose an advisor, someone you can trust, someone to share the heavy burden. I chose you to succeed me as I think you have what it takes to make a good, kind leader for our village, I think you have the strength to conduct the lottery in the way it needs to be. So tomorrow I will announce your appointment. This is how it must be; I am sorry Mac but now we must go and prepare for the future’.

 

​My first short story

so I started my creative writing course last week. This is my first short story.

the brief we had was a man tells his wife he is leaving because he has a terminal illness, and it’s there 35th wedding anniversary.

My daughter thinks I’ve watched to much Mindhunter.

if you like it, give me some feedback, if you hate it give me some feedback, all feedback is appreciated

Goodnight Sweetheart by Gary Oldmeadow

        In a week’s time, John and his childhood sweetheart Stella, should be celebrating 35 happy years of marriage.

Now John was a guy who’d do anything for anybody, he was seen as a fair, honest guy who loved his wife, and his job. He worked as a scene of crime officer for the Metropolitan Police, and was considered to be one of the best in his field

Stella, John’s wife was a beautiful woman and well liked. She loved working as a volunteer at the local ‘Cancer Research Charity Shop’, at weekends she would help out by volunteering as a befriender at the local Hospital in the mornings. She was definitely what you would call a people person.

Tonight, John had finished work late at the crime lab, which in itself wasn’t that unusual, as there was a big case on at the moment. The person they were after was a serial killer who removed the liver from each of the victims, the police think the killer is eating the livers none were found. He took the tube home as usual, as his house was only a short walk from the station. With all that was going on at work, his health issues, and his anniversary just around the corner, it meant he had a lot on his mind, and, he knew he would be delivering some devastating news to Stella, which would destroy her world.

Two weeks previous to tonight, John had gone to get the results for his yearly police medical. He knew the doctor he was seeing, a Dr Jim Steven’s, Jim was a good guy, always had a smile on his face, but told it to you straight.

So today as John walked into the examination room, he knew something was up. Jim, was sitting behind his desk, and he nurse standing beside Jim was desperately trying to avoid making eye contact with John

‘Hi John, take a seat’.

John sat down; a feeling of dread washed over him.

Jim was silent for what seemed like an eternity.

‘I’m sorry John, it’s not the news you were hoping for, the MRI you had last week, has shown you have a large mass in your brain, a tumour’.

‘Cancer, you mean I have cancer don’t you Jim. Can anything be done? How long do I have?’

John sat in silence, he seemed to be looking right through Jim.

Jim turned to the nurse and told her to go and get John a glass of water from the kitchen, she left feeling relieved at being able to get away, she hated these moments.

‘Yes, it’s cancer’ was Jim’s reply ‘and due to where it’s positioned, it’s inoperable’, Jim paused for a moment. ‘It’s terminal John, the scans show you have week’s rather than months left, go home and talk to Stella, you have a lot to discuss, I’ll wait for you to get your affairs in place before I contact your inspector’.

Without another word John got up and left . He didn’t go straight home though, instead he walked around the streets for hours. The following day John went into work, to but told nobody about the tumour…

The noises and smell’s of the city that night brought John back from his thoughts of the last two weeks, he was sitting in the bus shelter opposite his house.

After sitting for a while, he crossed the street to his house. He was about to put the key in the door, when it opened and there holding the rubbish bag was his beautiful Stella.

‘Hello love’. He said, ‘let me take that for you’.

Stella kissed him and gave him the bag.

‘I’ll make you a cuppa and warm your dinner in the microwave’. She turned and went back into the kitchen.

John put the rubbish in the bin, paused for a moment, then he pulled himself together then went indoors, in the kitchen Stella stood with her back to him, she was humming a tune whilst finishing making his cuppa.

‘So how was your day? It was so good at the charity shop this afternoon, I do so love volunteering there, you get to meet so many interesting people, there I go again chattering on, anyway as I was asking, how was your day?’.

Listening to Stella talking made him feel more relaxed, it always did. He loved the sound of her voice

‘Work was ok’. He said ‘I’ll really miss it though; you see I’m leaving’

‘What do you mean you’re leaving John? why?’

Stella looked worried; how can this be happening? She thought.

John looked deep into the eyes of the woman he loved, he had just sent her world crashing around her, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead. He could feel her hot tears on his chest, as he held her tight and whispered that everything would be alright.

‘It’s over Stella, everything is over. you see two weeks ago I was told I had a brain tumour that’s killing me, I know I should have told you then, but I couldn’t, there were too many loose ends at work that needed fixing, and they’ll know what’s happened by morning, just believe me when I say that none of what’s happened is your fault’.

‘It all started because of feelings I had for other women, though I only ever loved you, I couldn’t bring myself to cheat on you, so I had to remove temptation, I killed them, and ate there livers, they’re what caused the cancer. Stella I’m the serial killer the police are looking for, my job has made it easy for me to cover my tracks, but now it’s all over and it’s time to say goodbye my darling’

John lowered Stella’s limp body to the floor her blood pooling from the knife he had pushed into her heart.

‘I’m sorry sweetheart, forgive me, I couldn’t face leaving this world without you, we’ll be together soon’.

 

take care

Gary x

Moving forward

So last week was extremely busy, and extremely lucky. I got to meet up with lots of my favourite people, and drank lots of my favourite beverage, Coffee!

This week looks like it maybe heading the same way,  Monday started off with a visit to the doctor’s for my mo thly blood tests. Then the rest of the day was spent preparing,  then checking, double checking and triple checking that everything was ready for me to attend my first creative writing course, it was great fun. The tutor gave us a plot for writing our first short story, and gave us 20 minutes to write it, homework was to expand on what we had already written and she added an extra twist that we would have to weave into our stories.

I’ve decided I will publish the piece on here next week on e it has been critiqued by the tutor and class.

Tuesday was spent helping  my brother-in-law to get the wi-fi working correctly in my writing den(shed).  I helped, by sitting in the shed with my laptop on, shouting out whether or not the signal was stable, whilst he did all the work in the house. Then the evening was spent finishing my story, and tomorrow  I will do a final edit before submitting it.

Today I will be mainly firing arrows at targets.

Tomorrow will be spent resting whilst my car is repaired and resprayed.

Friday I  will be collecting my monthly sack of meds for the month from the chemist’s.

Busy, busy, busy,

Take care

Gary x

 

 

Father’s Day

What a great day, started off with a rare cooked breakfast, opened my cards and presents.

  • 3 x Chilli plants an Etna 5th hottest in the world apparently, Scotch Bonnet hot but fruity Jamaican chilli, and an Apache haven’t tried these before.
  • 2 x bars of Lindt dark chocolate.
  • Book, Eric Idles biography
  • A voucher to spend on Amazon.

Nice easy day relaxing. First I planted my newly acquired Chilli plants, after that I decided to stay  outside in the garden  with the dog and  carried on reading my latest ook of  choice  “Catch 22”.

Below is a picture of my selection of books, that I will be reading in no particular order.

20190616_235057

A varied Selection I’m pleased to say,

My Eldest daughter arrived home just after lunch, she’d been to a concert at Wembley arena last night to see The Spice Girls.

My Wife arrived home about 3:30 as she had been working in Hampton today, on the way home she picked up the fathers day family dinner of Pizza, fries, garlic bread and Dr Pepper, my pizza was called the Etna, hot’n spicy. Heaven.

My youngest daughter arrived home around 5:30 almost all my daughters back home, the middle one is at Oxford Uni and wasn’t able to get home,

So all in all a pretty good day, and I even got to see the Red Arrows display  team fly overhead in V formation to the local airshow, so low you felt like you could al ost touch them, and engines roaring as loud as thunder, bloody amazing.

What a fantastic day,

Take care out there

Gary x

School Daze

I grew up in Mitcham, in the London Borough of Merton. My mother was Irish, Roman Catholic, my Dad was a London boy and slightly Church of England, which meant, of course, my younger brother and I were going to be raised as good Roman Catholic boys. Our first school was called St Peter & St Pauls Roman Catholic, Primary School. I would say it was your typical RC London school, too much religion for my liking, but hey it was what it was.

As I said it was your typical school. We had the guy who would eat a worm or a spider for a dare, there was the girl who would always do handstands and show you her knickers for the price of a sweet, and the kid who would always pee himself in the classroom because he was too scared of the teacher to put his hand up to go to the toilet because he was embarrassed about asking in front of others9that must have been tough). We even had a few of the 7/8 yr old kids who used to smoke behind the bike shed(this was the late 60s early 70s after all).

I was one of the quiet, awkward kids, who didn’t seem to quite fit in, I didn’t want to be noticed, hated being the center of attention, crap at sport, always one of the last to be picked for the football or rounders team, unlike my brother who was an excellent footballer and always one of the first to be picked for any team.

As a result of my awkwardness, quietness and constantly being off school sick I had a definite lack of confidence, friends, and my social skills were rubbish, it was also a time for me that would have a big impact on my relationship with the Catholic Church and it was called first Holy Communion, I hated studying for it, I didn’t want to do it and it turned out to be my first step in moving over to the dark side of moving over to atheism, for me the big battle would come when I reached 12 yrs old, the church and I were never going to be friends and 50 years later it’s still not for me, my Mum was never happy about my  lack of love with religion but she eventually came to accept it.

When I was 8  my parents divorced, this was a traumatic time for me, I didn’t understand what was going on, I never asked my brother how he felt about it, and I even started thinking it was my fault. Then our dad moved out and I turned into the antichrist, my brother and my mum became the focus of that anger.

By the time I’d started St Thomas of Canterbury, middle school, religion and me were on very thin ice. One of my teachers was a nun. If have you ever seen the nun in the film the Blues Brothers, she used the same punishment a rap across the knuckles with a wooden ruler which bloody hurt, her Maths lesson was always intertwined with religious stories which meant I would just switch off. I guess this was my first real experience of bullying, the next was the PE teacher who was a really nasty piece of work.

Now I know I keep referring to my poor health and at this time of my life, my egg allergy  caused fairly regular visits to St Georges Hospital, my chronic Asthma which would cause several bouts of Bronchitis a year and would put me in St Hiliers Hospital at least once a year, usually during the winter, cold air and London smog do not mix well.

Anyway back to the PE teacher, it was a really cold day, and very smoggy , My asthma was playing up, so I had brought a letter into school from my mum, to excuse me from cross country running, which was held on Mitcham Common, what this man did to me scarred me for the rest of my school days especially when it meant doing sport. After the teacher had read my mum’s note, he threw it in the bin then marched me into the gym in front of the class, he sat down put me across his knee pulled down my school shorts and slippered me with my own plimsole, whilst telling them I was a poof and a weakling for letting my asthma stop me from running which actually helps asthmatics, this was a mixed school so what he did was beyond embarrassing.

It was my final year at St Thomas’s, I was 12 yrs old and I had to do my confirmation after much arguing and fighting with my mother I went through with it, I had to or I wouldn’t get my new Blazer. I hated doing it, then the next day everything went bang, I was dragged in front of the Headmaster for laughing in assembly during the Lord’s prayer, I don’t know what started off my fit of giggles, but I just couldn’t stop. I was called into the headmaster’s office who was standing there with his cane in his hands, then I blurted out I hate God and I hate religion and I hate this bloody school. That was the last RC school I ever went to thankfully.

For my Last year living in London, I got to go to a school of my choice, Eastfields High School, a dream come true, Instead it turned into a nightmare, I ended up in the hospital and at home for 3 months because of my asthma. At 13 I moved with my family to West Sussex, for my sins, I had to go to Forest Boys Comprehensive school, I was told I wasn’t allowed to carry on with the subjects I had chosen the year before German, Art and general Science, instead, I was put into Drama, Geology and Social Economics.

As it turned out, these subjects were undersubscribed and there were no sets, I liked the teachers, funnily enough, I did well in these classes and got two of my highest grades. As  for my main subjects, my grades weren’t as good as they should have been, though that was partly down to the teachers who weren’t really interested in those students who weren’t in sets 1 or 2 in Maths and English, and partly down to me having finally given up on a school system that had given up on me.

But it didn’t stop me going to college, It didn’t stop me from traveling the world for 15 years in an amazing job, going to fantastic places, seeing some awesome sights and meeting some truly wonderful people. I have also finished my working career as I will soon be released on medical grounds from a totally amazing job within the NHS.

Everything has worked ok in the end, no grudges, no regrets.

I just want to be clear I don’t hate any religion, personally, I don’t think that religion would make me any better as a person, but if it helps you if it’s your thing That’s good.

“Carpe Diem”

Party on dude,

Gary x