You can read the entries here (minus info about the authors), and vote at the bottom of the post. Please only vote once, I will be able to tell! Voting closes at 8am Monday 12th November 2012. The winner receives a copy of London Lies, the runners-up win one of our nifty little London Liar badges. Wearing one of these beauties guarantees people will talk to you at cocktail parties, networking events, on the tube … actually you might want to think about where you wear them.
So – in order of arrival at Arachne’s web and with no intervention on our part:
CLAIM TO FAME
Nearly everyone of my age, who comes from the East End, will tell you they used to drink in the Blind Beggar with the Krays. It is the ones who don’t tell you that you need to be wary of. I never mention it, not even now; still keep me head down me, even though most of them are dead. Ronnie and Reggie gone before to answer to their maker, may they burn in hell the pair of them.
‘What’d you do in the war then grandad?’ the nipper asks, ‘we’re doin’ about it at school.’
‘Noughin,’ I growl at him from me chair, ‘I was ten!’
He’s talking about World War Two. I’ve been in plenty of other wars though, with The Firm, but there’s a heap of books out there about all that, film too I think. What most people don’t know about me, what they’d never guess, looking at this old fart sitting here in this chair by the window; this old dodderer who needs a nurse to help change his colostomy regular and can’t walk a step without hanging onto that bloody frame. What they don’t know is, I once went out with Diana Dors. Right smart looker then, me. Had a couple of dates we did, bit of how’s your father, but she was a bit clingy for my liking.
He’s playing with his little electronic game now, his mum, our Tracy, is reading a magazine.
‘Don’t know why you bother to come,’ always spoke plain me.
‘’cause your old and got no one else,’ Tracy sighs without looking up from the celebrity gossip.
Her mum used to bring her to visit me in prison, Tracy would sit reading her comic, nothing changes. I mean – Scrubs, nursing home … what’s the bleedin’ difference?
Second to get caught in the Web:
The boy was spoilt. You could tell that straight away. His dad told everyone how bored he got, how bright he seemed, how gifted he was.
He was unbearable. At the riverside café where we sat, he was noisily re-enacting the Iraq War. When the food was finally brought, he shouted for bigger burgers, fizzier pop.
He was running down the stone steps to the Thames. He’d tired of planning the Third World War and was now splashing into the water, calling out to his parents to look, look, look!
And he was screaming, probably because there was no one now he could pretend to bomb.
Then the screams became words.
“There’s a shark! Mom, there’s a shark in here!”
He screamed with the full force of his lungs. He screamed to make the sky echo. He screamed to make the clouds shiver. Heads turned to look at the child-rippled water; tongues clicked in disapproval at the irresponsible parents.
“What a liar!” people muttered. “There are no sharks in the Thames.”
Oblivious, the loving mother brought her camera to the water’s edge and filmed her brave son.
Oblivious, the loving father smirked proudly.
The boy screamed. He screamed to make the river cower. He screamed to make the birds cry.
Still the mother filmed. Still the father smirked.
The dark water was the first warning. From up in the café, onlookers could see the change in the colours, hear the difference in his screams. Through a viewfinder though, sounds that should terrify seem entertaining; colours that should alarm look artistic.
Only a sudden silence could pierce the proud parental insouciance, could make the mother stop filming.
It was only then that they realised that their lovely, clever, noisy son had not just been screaming but, weed-mangled and reed-pinioned, drowning.
And finally, this one arrived minus a title, so I’ve given it one, purely for voting purposes.
An ex-colleague of mine, Katie, was asked to dog-sit for an elderly labrador, the owners knowing she wouldn’t survive the uncomforts of the local kennels. Unfortunately, within hours the dog became ill, and using nearly all the “in case of emergency” money, she bundled the ailing dog into a taxi.
“It’s serious…” the vet said, “…we’ll have to keep her tonight.”
Now almost skint, Katie faced a complicated tube journey back, only to be greeted by a message saying the dog had died, please come and collect the body tomorrow?”
What to do? With hardly any money, options were limited.
Finding a suitcase under the stairs she set off.
But the weight of combined dog and case was more than expected. It was difficult enough trying to stop the vet carrying it out to her non-existent car. The stress of willing the case not to explode as she dragged it onto the tube, was unbearable. Worse still, the escalators back at the local station were broken.
She stood silent, preparing herself for the mountainous climb.
As if answering an unspoken prayer, a scruffyish man stopped to ask if she needed help. She paused for just a second before accepting.
“Blimey this is heavy! What’s inside?”
On the spur of the moment, her face reddening fast, the best she could come up with was…
“They’re books… college books….”
She thought she could see cogs of disbelief turning in his head.
“Big expensive college books… I’m taking th……”
But at the word ‘expensive’ eye contact had ceased, and with an unexpected burst of energy, he snatched the case and bounded up the stairs, three at a time.
And that was the last she saw of the man, the case, or the moribund mutt.