I will forever be confused on why WordPress hates indents but here is a story. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Welcome To Oswaldtwistle
‘How are you?’
‘Nice weather isn’t it?
‘I’m from Oswaldtwistle.’
‘You made that up.’
These are a collection of common responses to the questions. From birth the answers are quickly engraved into the human mind. To say you are feeling like sweet popcorn, the weather is like a soggy crumpet and Oswaldtwistle is a great place to buy sweets would be unnatural despite them being the correct replies rather than the stock replies.
Oswaldtwistle is a real place. I’m standing in it by the bashed up phone box watching the trains go by every thirty minutes. It makes a good Tuesday afternoon does train watching. It was either that or the clock game and I’ve already played that out for the week. I’ll stay a little longer till the wire which once had a full phone connected stops swinging in the wind. You can’t just leave without a reason.
Chapter 2: Sweet Home Oswaldtwistle
Home, as they say, is where the bed is. If it was where the heart is, my house would be a cold dry lump in a box. My parents have left for a while to travel to Ossy. Australia Ossy, not Ossy Oswaldtwistle. I can now have a house party with myself and pretend to be dead when the double glazing salesman comes round in the day. I sleep in a room the size of cupboard despite the other rooms being available (but this is down the case of routine). Sleeping in a bed which smells of middle age isn’t the best anyway. I like being the man in a box and the rest of the house is left alone. I mean Harry Potter was happy living under the stairs till he got some scary thug like friends. Now he walks around like he owns the place, change of character and thus I don’t want scary friends.
I sit on my high bed with the list in hand. The list is the ultimate routine for enjoying Oswaldtwistle to the fullest.
Sunday: Stay in bed
It could quite possibly be true that all of the listed could be accomplished in one day but if that was the case what would happen to the rest of the week? Spreading out events leads to further appreciation of the sandwich.
Chapter 3: Wednesday Swing
The park at the top of the hill by the farm is the highest peak point of Oswaldtwistle (or so I’d heard). It was the first place I swung a swing, slid down a slide and rode a wooden horse. It is also the place I got beaten up, got a rock through my leg and lay temporarily paralysed for four hours on a Sunday morning after falling off my skateboard. (Everywhere has there swings and turnabouts don’t they)?
This time I swing on the swing hoping no one will tell me off. It is good to feel a sensation of life blowing against my face as the moment I jumped off to clear the black safety mats I had crashed back down to feeling like a soggy wet biscuit. It always rains in Oswaldtwistle.
School finishes at three, it is time to leave.
Chapter 4: Thursday Café
The café is never as good as I expect. As full as my 21st birthday party and smelling like cat I sipped my glass of water and look outside. The rain taps against the window, the fish and chips take out now look mighty promising. Or a pie. Near fifty different places to get a pie and only two of them sell good ones.
Outside I just wandered around the rather empty streets. A town, no matter where you go, always seems to end up looking grey no matter how many flashing banners they (try to) bolt above doors and Oswaldtwistle has none of them so it’s greyer than an elephant. Even the occasional old biddy you see is dressed in the one tone colour. The one in front for example standing by the zebra crossing. I offered to help the old lady across the street and after I made the dangerous trek across she tried to push 50p into my hands. As I declined, something bright yellow rushes past. A pink phone clattered to the pavement. I scooped the pink into my hands and rushed to the yellow. As I cried out ‘wait’ and the colours began to turn around, I didn’t realise that I’d be living outside my head for a while.
Chapter 5 : The Girl Who Made The World
‘Thank you.’ she said as I handed her the phone. Now getting a good look at her I could see she was pretty weird. Bright yellow shiny coat unzipped to reveal a bandaged top and cyber-punk green goggles covering her eyes. Bright pink hair too. She was clearly having some sort of crisis or had been pilfering the clothes from the Blade Runner studio.
‘No worries, it was lucky I saw you drop it.’
‘I knew this would happen, you were designed to bring my phone to me if I ever lost it.’
‘Well see you… wait, what?’ Whatever she just said, it didn’t make any sense at all.
‘If I ever drop or lose anything someone will appear no matter what. You are a tool in my life with the sole purpose of helping me.’ She smiled and pulled the goggles from her eyes. ‘As you see, I created this world.’
Chapter 6: The Girl Who Made The World Pt 2 (Sad Café Mix)
Two cups of tea on the greasy table cloths, Cyber Casey sitting across from me. I’d already been to the café earlier but you aren’t going to say no when you’ve been pulled in by the fact that a girl says she created the world. That or you run away as fast as possible because she is a possible psycho. The smell of cats still suffocates me.
‘So Casey, you are telling me everything is because of you?
‘All the thoughts inside my head are so strong that it has to be impossible for the other people you see to be going through the same thing. You are all merely works of fiction to benefit my life.’ She smiles and I think at least she is honestly self-centred.
‘But I have strong feelings.’ I try to explain to her though she shakes her head.
‘I can’t see that. To me you’re just the guy who helped me get my phone back and pass some time.’
She stands up and, to my sudden surprise, kisses me on the cheek. Warm.
‘See you around.’
When she left I sat in the chair by two almost full tea cups, I was in deep thought. I didn’t get her number.
Chapter 7: Visit
I sit in front of my audience and crack my knuckles. I tell them that we are all fictional and made up for the sake of one person. They just look on in bemusement. I then say the audience doesn’t exist anymore anyway. They’d nod in agreement if they could. The rain started and I bid my farewell. I’d wait for my applause but I know I wouldn’t get any. They are just graves after all.
Chapter 8: Potato
The potato lady sells potatoes every day. She loves her job it seems and she gives Casey some each time she goes round because they have some sort of bond you won’t see. When Casey walks away the potato lady is presumably still selling potatoes. When she shuts up shop she sleeps till she can sell her potatoes again. She only needs to face intense drama if the plot calls for it. But she is just the potato seller, she’s selling those potatoes and we only need to know that.
I wake up sweating. I think I should see the pear drop tomorrow. My routine is breaking, falling apart and I’m not following my path any more.
Chapter 9: Pear Drop
I’m sure that old lady pushed me. The Oswaldtwistle mills are a vicious place as The Old push and pull to get their woollen rugs and scented candles. It isn’t the place for someone like me but this is where they keep the legendary pear drop. The size of two sheep stacked vertically, it holds the record of the world’s largest and it is a worthy piece of sweet. I managed to brush past the aggressive old people and make my way into the lair which houses the drop. For a pound.
Walking through the entrance nothing much had changed. The history lesson on Stockley sweets crackles out of a speaker and a flickery video in the corner of the dimly lit room shows workers making the hard-boiled goodness. When I was younger, the people would be behind the glass not on a video but times have changed and they had been written out of the story. Round the corner was the tremendous drop just by the exit so the sweet shop staff could keep an eye out for any thieves or cameras.
I reached out to touch but of course the glass got in the way, instead I could just see my hand marked on the cold surface.
‘I wonder if you’re actually real and not just a fake. Are you really fully hard-boiled or are you just a hollow shell of plastic?’ I was talking to a sweet but it was reassuring to know if it had consciousness it would probably be wondering why it was bigger than its family.
‘It doesn’t matter if it is real or false because no one can ever know,’ Casey says as she stands beside me.
I jump back startled, what was she doing here?
‘How did you find me?’
‘I didn’t find you. This is purely just a coincidence. Besides now I’ve found you, you are going to fulfil your role and keep me entertained.’
Chapter 10: Train
We ended up at the train station. She was going to show and prove that the world works with her.
‘I’m going to climb down onto the rail tracks,’ she said.
And she drops onto the rails, her arms stretch out in the spring breeze I see the body in pieces ricochet, blood covering the pavement and the windows of the train. I thought at this point I could still do something but reattaching pieces of pulp won’t bring someone back.
‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?!’ I cried out as I snapped from my mind. I fell by the edge and grab her hand pulling her up.
We both sat on the side in silence for a moment.
‘There will always be someone like you to save me which is why the world is mine.’
Chapter 11: Pole
I stick my legs up into the air pushing the bed covers upwards like a tent. I’m the poles. I don’t know why I do this pointless motion, I won’t even remember doing it in the morning. I’m just in suspended animation till my place in the story pops up once more. It is the same for everyone, they wake, eat, work, eat, sleep till their moment in the sun crops up. For the rest of us we create tents in bed. For Casey she takes the world and continues down her path.
Chapter 12: The Girl Who Made The World Pt. 3 (Soul Mix)
She appears on Wednesdays. She just finds me no matter where. It could be the park, the field and even the pear drop. This time it is the graves.
‘I knew you’d be here,’ she says sitting down next to me, close to me.
Her knees rubbed against mine, her arm curls around mine, mine.
‘I can get you when I need you, the purpose of fulfilling your role in life.’
‘We’re in a grave you know.’
My audience has to be told they aren’t real. Everything is no longer real when it’s gone.
‘It tells me that some people just aren’t as lucky as me, the drama which helps contribute to the feeling of reality in my world.’
‘I don’t like the idea that I’m a work of fiction, what will you do when we all fizzle out like the bubbles in coke?’
‘Well the people I choose to remain will, like Martin. Don’t get so down about it.’
‘Martin, who is that?’
‘That grave you always sit by, who is that?’
‘Nobody, it’s just a grave.’
Chapter 13: Martin
Martin is all I hear at the end of the day. I hate Martin and his stupid… face I imagine in my head and his voice I’ve never heard, and the dress sense I can only guess. I hate it all.
Chapter 14: Clock
I was playing the clock game. You watch a ticking clock and as the second ticker moves you calculate when it will reach the next minute, you count the seconds in beat to the ticking and usually by the end of the 60 seconds you’ve won. You always win. Sometimes I used to think the hands would move back a minute to taunt me when waiting for a TV show to start or waiting for tea. But now I wish it was true, though would I just waste those rewound minutes to play the clock game some more? Tick.
I think about actors who act in films and writers who create worlds and characters. I think they do it to trick themselves into being something more than the writing on the page they are. They can be heroes or villains. When I sit watching the clock I’m waiting for Wednesday so I can pretend to be someone.
Chapter 15: Midnight Cowboy
Sitting on the bench outside the library, I see the local cowboy. He calls himself Clint and sits next to me tipping his hat and stomping his boots. His sideburns look at me and he starts to ask me what the matter is. I tell him I’m confused and he decides to confuse me some more.
‘Everyone in life is just passing through waiting for those moments which are real, you just got to live them. Once I shot up some guys for laughing at my mule and I made the mistake of asking for three coffins when I actually needed four. You just got to live and learn.’
‘I saw that happen on TV a few years ago.’
‘Good times.’ He leaves swinging his imaginary whip and rides off on his imaginary horse.
Chapter 16: Game
‘I shake the trees and grab the fruit. With full pockets I sell them onto the raccoon and head back out into the forest for more. The process and repetition of grabbing the fruit is the same tedium as a factory job I’d guess. Yet I’m addicted, though you have to be addicted or the truth awakens like the fact Spider-man isn’t real. It’s Saturday night, cold white plastic in your hands and you’re pressing buttons to pay off a virtual mortgage. When the immersion goes everything suddenly seems pointless, but what isn’t? Wednesday is when things have point.
Chapter 17: The Girl Who Made The World (Finale)
She sits by my door holding her knees, plasters on her fingers, looking glum. I ask her why she is here but she shakes her head and says she doesn’t know. I try to kneel down to her level, my knees crack and it is a pointless movement anyway as she has already stood up. She stood up and fell into me; I didn’t know what to do. The plot twist had come and I felt sick.
‘You’re going to make me feel better,’ she stated.
We go to my room and I try to show her the clock game. She doesn’t care and instead asks if we can drink the champagne on the side. I always said I’d save it till I could share it.
We drank the drink and she curls up like a cat falling asleep. I couldn’t push her out so put the covers over her. As we slept she held onto my hands, a leg in-between mine. I saw the tears falling from her eyes and the words which came out of her mouth as I was moving closer.
‘Nothing is real.’
Well fuck. I moved away and sat at the edge of the bed. She was just an actress asking for the lead role. And I was the tea boy.
I pick the gun from the desk and push it against my head. The glass of champagne half empty, my hands shaking. I pull the trigger. It’s just a toy.
Chapter 18: Change
I haven’t seen her since. She seems to have vanished from the pages of Oswaldtwistle. It in a sense is the anticlimax. Oswaldtwistle is a real place but the people are all made up. Like the cowboy and like myself. I wouldn’t even be able to sell a paper in the street to make myself real; I was fired the minute I stepped through the door. I stared at the graves one last time. The idea that only one person is real and everyone is just the character in a story is nice to believe… people walk in and out of the plot as the writer sees fit, though she chose to live here, the girl who made the world. I tapped the grave of my friend and said:
I set off to the train station and I stand on the edge of the platform. The engines are roaring and I let myself go. I step off the edge of this fictional place.