An exercise from my creative writing class. Randomly select ten fiction titles and create a piece of prose or poetry that incorporates them. (The titles I selected are at the end of this piece – I managed to get most of them into it. Started on Friday 24 March 2017).
Derek the Sheep and the Deeds of Darkness
Derek the Sheep opened his eyes and immediately screwed them tightly shut again. The bright sunlight flooding into his penthouse suite, whilst welcoming in its warmth, was piercing and painful in its brilliance and dazzle. And after a night on the town with his homies, Derek wasn’t up to brilliance and dazzle. All he wanted was a big mug of coffee and for someone to appear by his bedside with a tray bearing a F’English complete with hot, buttered toast.
Despite the thumping throb in his head and a throat that felt raw and dry, Derek could really do with a full English right about now. He cast his mind back, trying to remember last night. He struggled to recall much. Especially after he and his cronies had been thrown, rather unceremoniously Derek thought, from the club. It wasn’t the first time they had been “asked” to leave “Without The Moon” and, Derek thought happily to himself, it was unlikely to be the last time either.
Derek smiled. Parts of last night were coming back to him now. He chuckled at the memory of Mr Fox, his oldest friend, and how Foxie had necked a full bottle of Captain Jack before staggering across the dance floor to the jukebox. Or, Derek wondered, had Foxie danced and jigged his way cross the dance floor? You couldn’t really tell with Foxie, what with his normal prancing, loping gait. Add a full bottle of JD to that and Foxie might have been grooving his way over. Derek decided to give Mr Fox the benefit of the doubt and concede that he had been dancing. Either way, loping or dancing, Foxie had somehow made it across to the record machine and been able to jam a pocketful of coins into it before choosing a song on the jukebox.
And what a beauty Foxie had chosen. “Going Underground” by The Jam was always a sure fire hit with Derek and the boys. A tune absolutely one hundred percent guaranteed to get them all out onto the dance floor and busting a few moves. Who could resist taking to the floor when that classic came on? They liked to think of themselves as able to hold their own when dancing and that they each had some killer steps and shapes that they could throw. You know, the kind of slick, well rehearsed and confident dance steps that would wow the ladies and make each of them an attractive proposition for the night. But then, Derek and the boys were generally paralytic by this time and, if they could still remain in an upright position, they considered themselves to be world beaters. The reality was that Derek and his mates dancing was less John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” or “Pulp Fiction” and rather more akin to Boyzone when they made their very first appearance on Irish TV.
So, last night, their dancing had provoked merriment among the clubs other guests. The merriment had become banter, banter became coarse words, coarse words brought unfriendly replies and oaths. It had led, predictably enough, to shoving and pushing and fists and feet. And barstools, Derek remembered. Several barstools had entered the fray.
Well, that was what got them kicked from the club. Foxie had been livid with the bouncers, demanding the return of the money he’d fed into the jukebox, furious that he’d not been able to hear all his selections. Foxie did like to get his money’s worth in everything after all.
As they lay sprawled on the street among the discarded trappings of a night on the town – crushed and torn kebab boxes, broken bottles and used condoms – Derek agreed that it had been very rude of the club to neither refund the money or let them hear the remaining songs. He’d been eagerly anticipating the sound of Dexys booming around the club. Foxie could always be relied on to choose a Dexys track. As he lay in bed, Derek wondered which song Foxie had picked. Such a shame they’d missed it. He hoped it had been “Come on Eileen”. Derek loved that one.
He chanced opening his right eye a little. Through tiny slits and despite the searing brightness of morning he saw that no one had seen fit to bring him breakfast. He sighed in disappointment. With a tremendous effort he forced both his eyes open and stared around the room.
He was puzzled. Taking into account his thumping head and the possibility that it was affecting his perception, Derek was fairly sure that he wasn’t in his own bedroom. And, if this wasn’t his own bedroom, then he had an uneasy feeling that he may not actually be in his own penthouse. As he looked to his left Derek saw that he wasn’t alone either.
Under the covers was the unmistakable form of another person.
Foxie! Thought Derek at first, until the figure shifted a little and a hand poked from between the sheets. A hand that didn’t look remotely like Foxies’ and that ended in nails painted a deep purple shade of nail polish. Derek was quite certain that Foxie didn’t paint his nails. And, even if he had painted his nails, Derek was confident that Foxie wouldn’t have overdone it by adorning them with those fiddly little jewels and shiny charms that seemed to be the current trend.
He cautiously lifted the sheets. Lying beside him was a female. Quite an attractive female mused Derek as his gaze took in her naked body. A very attractive female indeed. He silently congratulated himself on what had obviously turned into a successful night despite the earlier mishap at the club.
Derek was still perplexed though. Who was she? And, if this wasn’t his bedroom in his own penthouse, whose bedroom was it? Hers, Derek reasoned. It had to be. Didn’t it?
He slid from the bed anxious not to wake her. He was feeling ropey from the night before, hungry for a fry up and far too confused to want a conversation with his strange, although beautiful, companion. He moved to the window and gazed out across the rooftops. The hurly burly of city life was in full flow. Cars crawled by in queues of traffic, deliveries were being wheeled on sack carts from the backs of vans to stores and shops. Commuters walked briskly by, tourists posed for snapshots in front of the Eiffel Tower. Pigeons fluttered past his window and landed on roofs and chimneys. The normal cycle of everyday life.
Hang on a minute, thought Derek. The Eiffel Tower? His mouth dropped open and stayed that way as his brain tried to compute what he’d just seen. The Eiffel Tower? What was that doing in Bradford?
Drool began to drip from his still open mouth. He snapped it shut and wiped his arm across his lips, dragging spittle across his cheek. His mind still befuddled from the drink and antics of last night, Derek contemplated what he was looking at. He’d only seen it in films and pictures but it sure looked Eiffel Towerish. He briefly considered if Bradford had, in some bizarre and inexplicable way, ended up in Paris. Through the hastily lifting fog of beer, bourbon and whatever else he’d taken, Derek the Sheep was certain that the Eiffel Tower wasn’t in Bradford. And, therefore, neither was Derek.
It was becoming apparent that between sprawling in the filth and piss outside the club and waking up just a few minutes earlier, Derek had met a beautiful woman and, somehow, made his way to Paris.
The actual Paris. In the France that lay across the English Channel.
Now, Derek had many faults, vices his family and friends gleefully called them. Gambling, however, wasn’t one of them. Derek preferred to speculate on stocks and shares, on property and trades. This almost always came as a shock to people when they first met Derek, especially if their first encounter with him was on a night out when he was causing merriment with his mates. He’d had a good job which had earned him a very decent salary and he had money to invest. And he had invested wisely, at the right times and with the right deals. His success had enabled him to build up an attractive portfolio of shares and properties. He’d become modestly wealthy over the years and been able to retire early. He had the time and money to enjoy life and its fine trappings. His success had allowed him to pay cash for his luxury penthouse. A penthouse which, it now seemed, he’d misplaced somewhere.
Sure, Derek placed the odd bet on the National and on major rugby and football tournaments but he didn’t much care for the whims of chance or for sporting gods to dictate his fortunes. He preferred the cut and thrust of finance and the ability to spot market trends and for his next trade to bring him monetary success. He understood the rudiments of betting but had never really got to grips with betting odds. It didn’t, however, take a seasoned gambler to calculate that, with every passing second bringing the likelihood that Derek was, indeed, now in France the odds on him getting his sausage, bacon, eggs and beans anytime soon were rapidly shortening.
Derek slumped down onto the edge of the bed in shock. He groaned disconsolately.
The figure beside him stretched, a lithe leg appeared, the toes caressing his thigh.
“Bonjour, my husband.” Breathed a sultry voice.
It was about this time that things got quite odd for Derek the Sheep.
The titles I randomly chose from the fiction section were:
The Deeds of Darkness by Edward Marston
The Secret Place by Tana French
Derek The Sheep by Gary Northfield
A Song on the Jukebox by Pat Posner
Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
Without The Moon by Cathi Unsworth
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
Two One by Jojo Moyes
The Other Side of You by Sally Vickers