Here we go again ….. An Unreliable Memory

To my already impressive portfolio of writing contest failures I can today add another. It is meant to be 1500 words (which it is) meant to be non-Fiction (which …. well, maybe not quite) and meant to be of a high standard (that may have been an issue). The requirement was to describe something that I had had to remember. Or something like that ….

Anyway I was eliminated in the first round. I have a perfect record in that respect.

But …. for better or worse …. in the name of artistic honesty ….here it is

***** have just discovered another reason that it may have failed. It was swallowed by my email system and never left the building ******

An unreliable memory.

I should make something clear from the start and stress, primarily, that I am not a liar. My truth may not always mirror your truth but that is just in the nature of truth itself. Likewise, my memories of certain events may differ from the memories of others but any apparent contradiction can normally be explained with reference to differing perspectives. Distortion may occur through the filter of time or via the influence of external circumstances but eventually all that we need to agree upon is the essential framework. The big things. The little things are unimportant. Or so I have discovered.

Likewise, I would like to be unequivocal in my denial of any direct connection to a moral misdemeanour. If an infidelity has been committed (and I have no specific knowledge to suggest that it has) then such occurred beyond my scope of awareness. I have no memory of it, in other words. When I was asked to confirm certain facts by way of an alibi for an old acquaintance I did so based on the assumption that it was requested merely to bypass what may have otherwise led to an unnecessary misunderstanding between partners.

And there’s something else you should know.

I drink a bit.

****

Allow me to elaborate.

Dave Roberts and I had a difficult relationship at school. We were different sorts of guys. He was a sportsman, I was not. He was popular with the girls, I was not. That sort of thing. He was bigger than me.

So whilst it was common, in later years, for Dave and I to pass each other in the street and exchange glances of mutual recognition it was most unusual to subsequently strike up any sort of conversation. On one occasion, however, he approached me with urgency.

“Pete!” he unexpectedly exclaimed that day, “thank God you’re here!” He had always called me ‘Knob-Head’ at school, incidentally. Everybody had.

“What?” I replied

“We’ve got to get our stories straight.”

“What?” I repeated.

With this he grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me a little bit. “Just listen to me,” he hissed, “its important.”

“Right.” I said, without the vaguest idea of what was to come.

****

“So,” he continued, “last night, right?” He was whispering with something of an insistent confidentiality and, in the presence of this local football hero, I confess to having found the atmosphere slightly infectious. “We were at the club. You and me. At the club. Together. Right?”

“Right,” I confirmed whilst attempting to send urgent messages to whatever part of my brain might contain reliable details of the previous twenty-four hours, “what were we doing at the club?”

“Drinking.”

“What?”

“Drinking, you idiot. What do you think we’d be doing?”

“Yes,” I nodded, “but what were we drinking?”

“Oh,” he said. “good point. Beer.”

“Not me,” I said as vague recollections found a path into my consciousness, “I was drinking red wine. Cabernet.” He looked at me with a mixture of confusion and reluctant admiration. “Cabernet,” I repeated, “remember that. It’s the little things that matter.”

“Got it,“ he nodded, “Cabernet.”

***

The fact is that I had been drinking the night before. Heavily. As unlikely as it sounds I may have been drinking with Dave. He seemed certain of it. And who was I to argue? So we continued to reconstruct details of the previous evening as we stood there on the street.

We had met about 7:30 in the car park, decided to share a Chinese meal, discussed old times, had a bit of a conversation about Mr Simms the maths teacher, a few laughs about the school camp of ’74 and played a game of darts.

“Who won?” I asked.

“You did,” he replied initially, before looking me up and down and correcting himself. “No. She’ll never believe that. I did.”

“She?” I queried.

****

It was just at that moment that an attractive blonde woman who I immediately recognised as Amy Tyler, a bombshell from the year below us, pulled up in a car. She leaped out of the vehicle and approached us with what I recall as being an expression of alarming malice before grabbing Dave’s shirt. “Where the f…,” she started to say before Dave interrupted her.

“Amy, Amy, settle down,” he said to her, “you remember Pete, of course.”

She turned to me. “Knob-Head?” she responded and examined me closely, “Is that you in there? You look worse than you did at school.”

This was my cue. “Yes,” I confessed, “I tied one on with Dave last night. I’m a bit the worse for wear.”

“Cabernet.” Dave added helpfully.

****

But I could tell that she wanted further details. We had them. Plenty of them. She didn’t really need to ask the questions. We just provided the answers. Honestly, it was astonishing what we had retrieved from the fog of the previous evening and had now painstakingly recommitted to memory. She was greatly impressed, for example, with our relating details of the guy who had won big on the pokies. “Six thousand, four hundred and thirty-five dollars,” we told her in unison.

In retrospect we may have remembered a little too much. But we almost had her. Her and Dave were getting into the car and bidding me a fond farewell when she turned to ask me a final question.

“The club, you say?”

“Yes,” I replied confidently.

“Which club?”

Dave was in the driver’s seat and frantically feeling around for the keys. Upon hearing this final line of enquiry he started moving his arms around in some sort of swinging action.

“The hockey club,” I offered.

She stared at me blankly. Dave was shaking his head and continuing to imitate some strange sporting activity. I tried again. “The cricket club?”

****

As it turns out there are only two clubs in town. A car club and a golf club. It’s weird that I don’t remember where the golf club is located.

****

Spam Spam Spam Spam

I created this page with the idea of enjoying a certain degree of anonymity but I have become alarmed at the number of personal details that seemed to have escaped somehow from it. Evidence of this comes via heartfelt emails I receive regularly offering to solve the everyday issues of old age that I had, up until now, been suffering stoically in ignorance. Most mornings I open outlook to be greeted by several concerned individuals who specialise in conditions that I didn’t realise I had. These range from to the ringing in my ears to the toe fungus which must be obvious to everyone else but has, until now, skipped my attention. The correspondence relating to my erectile disjunction is dwindling and I can only conclude that it has been given up as a lost cause. Likewise the offers of marriage (and much, much more!) from attractive Russian ladies one third my age seem to have dried up. I can’t remember the last time I was contacted by the Nigerian Royal Family, either. I hope they are OK.

This morning I was lucky enough to receive advise on recharging used batteries. In view of the context of previous epistles I am wondering if I should be taking that literally or euphemistically.

Is it just me? Am I special?

But here’s the good news. I checked between my toes this morning (not as easy as it sounds) and found no sign of the fungus.

And that’s before the product has even been delivered!

Devotion

For #LoIsInDaBl

 

I looked up at her from my bed as she was sitting there beside me. The screen above my head reported to the world, via a series of numbers and a moving graph, that I was still alive. Though we both knew that I wouldn’t be so for long.

It was easy, lying there useless, to compress all of those times when we had laughed, made love, argued, cried, got drunk, lied to each other or fallen asleep in each other’s arms into a single moment. And wonder what it meant. Two ordinary people within two ordinary lives.

She had no expression on her face. Or not one that I could interpret. So I asked, “Do you still love me?”

She looked at me carefully for what seemed a long time and sighed. “Oh,” she said eventually, “I think it’s much worse than that. I’m devoted to you.”

The Photograph

This for Nortina’s #1MinFiction

 

 

That’s me. In the photograph. On my mother’s knee all those years ago. Staring unknowingly into the future. So that the future, all these years later, might stare back. And wonder. What was going on?

They took her away, they said, because there was something wrong with her. Or because there was something wrong with me. I don’t remember. What would be the difference?

So I don’t know what was going on, either. I think, probably, that somebody was scared of something they didn’t understand.

That is at the heart of most things.

 

The Penquins

Michael

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I seem, of late, to be developing a disturbing (and probably unhealthy) obsession with nuns.

But came across this #99word #flashfiction Challenge (99 words – no more – no less, to feature something black and white) this morning here and couldn’t resist……

 

Rowing away from the island he looked back and saw the disorganised black and white line marching towards the water’s edge. As the penguins plunged into the icy waters and suddenly achieved grace he was reminded of nuns and, in particular, the confused old women of his youth who, he imagined, may have achieved a surprising grace as they stepped from life and into the abyss.
And he wondered too, if they might be waiting there to judge him.
But the penguins and his memories were out of sight as he eased his wife’s body silently over the side
.

Predatory Behaviour

Nortina’s #1MinFiction for this week is “won’t take no for an answer”, and here is the proof.

I’m beginning to think it should be “Naughtina” ….. is she trying to lead us into deep dark waters?

I only had a minute. That’s my excuse.

Girl we’ve come so far
To be together in this bar
And you’ve seen that I’m not much
Of a dancer
And I’m not your sort of guy
I’m normally too shy
Not normally a fast advancer
But fast I’m getting old
Outside it’s getting cold
I think you might be my
Last chancer
So you’ve really gotta know
That we’ve really gotta go
And I won’t take no
For an answer

Aloha means both hello and goodbye, right???

If that is the case then I am still on  the goodbye (Song Lyric Sunday) theme and by way of homage from here in Oz to there in the USA I have another offer for those who may remember the original Hawaii Five-O and theme. The lyrics come via a poor memory and may not be as per the original ….

Steve’s on the line to Danno
We gotta pick up this guy
Put out an APB
Not much time to tell you why

Governor says it’s top priority
Washington says so too
Tell Chin to get here fast
Five-O is on the move

Steve I want to say thank you
For all you’ve done for me
My nights are dark and empty
When you’re not on TV

There’s an agent in the field
I want to have him tailed
He’s been staying at the Hilton
He should be staying in the gaol

He’s working for the KGB
And here’s his dossier
Those Reds won’t be happy
Till this guy gets his way

Steve I want to say thank you
For all you’ve done for me
My nights are dark and empty
When you’re not on TV

Dark spectre of espionage
Hangs over fair Hawaii
McGarrett’s one cool guy
The guilty will not go free

Steve and Danno they made the scene
The agent had done his deed
Caught with a stiff and a silenced gun
Said Book him Danno Murder One

Steve I want to say thank you
For all you’ve done for me
My night is dark and empty
When you’re not on TV