With fear and urgency, I’m learning that when a story is ready to present itself to the world, it will go forth… with or without its author.
The following excerpt is a first draft of…something. I’ve been thinking about this story for a few months. Having played around with concepts, dialogue, and character dynamics, then rubbishing my efforts by closing the laptop and switching on guilty-pleasure-TV, (wash, rinse, repeat) I feel now’s the time to go beyond ideas’ stage and throw all into the blogosphere.
As cheese-ville as this sounds, the title came to me in a dream. I have no recollection of said dream, I just woke up with the title etched on my mind. Having shared it with a few friends, I saw how it tickled them and evoked intrigue. Already, it’s made me break a fundamental writers’ rule – save the title for last, but I wonder if this is for a reason…one that I won’t comprehend until the last full stop is written.
So without further ado here’s what I have so far…for whatever this is.
In a world where wifi is a basic human right and sanitation is not, where emerging afrofuturism and neo-soul acoustics supersede the 4-chord progression, making waves that crash against a backdrop of kente cloth, worn out shoes, and Bantu knots, there is a paradox. Said paradox is much larger and vulgarly louder, with engulfing flames of riots, utter X-Factor shite, emptiness encouraged by online addictions and over-sexed minds, an immunity to war, refugee, and humanity. It is here, where our small, barren wasteland is stationed. It’s as dry as it is gray, as it is overcrowded, as it is hollow. It’s a place where even the trees are unaware of their existence.
At the heart of this dystopian, cosmopolitan concrete labyrinth is a venue, famously known as ‘The Silence’. By day, it veils itself as a contemplation cafe of sorts, where you’ll usually find one of two demographic representatives; either the accidental-islamophobic, bearded man cocooned in a tablecloth shirt, non-prescription glasses, and crabs – nursing a laptop, an expired issue of The Spectator and an espresso while perched on distressed wood, as he waits on an overpriced bacon bap and introvertedly questions if he used the word ‘ironic’ in the correct context…
or a ‘maga’ 30 something wearing a proud untamed afro (that took 20 minutes to backcomb) and matching beard, an imitation dashiki top, fraying jeans and broken, Shakespearian boots, holding a Cornel West biography to his chest, in a way that allows strangers to see the front cover as to suggest that he too is a philosopher (but secretly, he ordered this book from Wordery after a passerby casually mentioned West while fixed on an A1-sized installation at a fringe exhibition, and to prove his ‘blackness’ he knew he needed to read the book before he was ‘outed’). Cocoa butter music plays from his ear piece which hangs around his neck, dangles over-shoulder and sways like a willow branch in worship. He doesn’t know the name of the artist, but the off-beat suggests an air of musical sophistication and is loud enough to throw ‘the enemy’ off. Both representatives have one of many attributes in common – they are as unique as everybody else.
Juxtaposed, is the night, falling without fail, with a promise of upholding the ambiance of the day which stood before it. Everything is pretty much the same, except the neon fairy lights have been switched on and the bar. Is open.
Since 2010, the sun has risen and fallen on this auto-piloted space; the same music is playing as the same visitors order the same drinks, at the same time while indulging in the same conversation. Monotony has been the bedrock of ‘The Silence.’ But now, as you’re reading or hearing this, monotony is getting ready to take a back seat, as three newbies enter stage – one of whom is not supposed to be here.
A fascist masquerading as a neo-liberalist, an evangelical atheist, and a donkey have walked into the bar. They arrive like musketeers on a western film set – reliant on their big entrance but confused by the unfamiliar ambiance. Still, the trio edge forward and scan the stillness, the mismatched stools, ‘antique’ jukebox and worse-for-wear snooker table in the right-hand corner next to where the distressed hipster on distressed wood still sits, typing away, unaware that he is no longer relevant to the ambiance. Pan across to centre stage- the flickering neon sign behind the barista drying a pint glass with a fury tea towel, looking defeated either by life or the prospect of more washing up.
The smell. The smell. Like the climate is warm, sticky, pseudo-sulphuric with a hint of stale beer and arrogance. And people order overpriced bacon baps from here? SMH…KMT.
“You sure we’re in the right place?” asks Nick. “I’m sure,” replies Donkey, nonchalantly. “But you said it’s a place that adequately reflects our soul’s desire?” teases Elle. “That I did!” snaps Donkey. “Well, you’re not half wrong. My soul desires a drink!” quips Nick. “What you all having?” The trio stride towards the bar, stand front and centre, perusing an endless stream of liquor. Three minutes go by, and then they order. Bare in mind that the drink you order tells all the other humans everything about you…according to Nick.
End of excerpt.
Future plans for this story include, but are not restricted to:
- Conversations will include commentary on Honey G (the minstrel too cowardly to sport blackface) and other reality stars, recent political events, whether the right and left wing are part of the same bird and…when I think of more subjects, I’ll get back to you… I find it hard to write with distractions…how many times is this fool gonna scrape his car against a speed bump! KMT!
- Nick’s weird philosophy about the drink one orders and what that says about a person. (Nick is the evangelical atheist).
- Elle reprimanding Nick for stereotyping – an argument which is doomed to failure when you hear her ignorant reasoning (Elle is the fascist/neoliberalist).
- Donkey’s quiet observations inspire a monologue that neither of them understands, but comment on anyway. Donkey has a charming way of holding up a mirror to society.
- The church relies on sin to sustain itself economically.
- The ‘alt-right’…REALLY?!
- Decanting a soul.
- The hypocrisy of those who complain about Trump while benefiting from the same injustices he clings to for the sake of his pointlessly ostentatious lifestyle – owning land that was never yours to own, avoiding taxes while you accuse innocent people of benefit scrounging…
- Liberalism manufactured in a non-liberalist manner…a totalitarian viewpoint seen through smudged glasses.
- 2 things the black community (as a diaspora) have been unable to shake off since colonization and slavery: 1.) the way we discipline our children and 2.) religion.
- Everybody secretly wants a ‘Trump’: Either someone to use as evidence that ‘they’re not as bad as all that’ and/or someone who airs the limited views they’re too chicken to air themselves.
- “The bitter-salty taste of tears from a flaky liberal who’s too arrogant to see when she’s wrong and too proud to humble herself, listen to others, admit when she’s learned and apologise…the kind who tries to prove she’s not racist and uses her poverty porn wristband to prove it.”
“Our stories are the ladders that make it easier to touch the stars, so climb…light up the world with your luminous allure.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eUl4gF0ED4
- The fine line between celebrity atheism and evangelical atheism (Ricky Gervais…his latest standup…the rise before the fall).
- The new wave of feminism is raunch culture entering through the back door?
- Grieve like a man?
- Donkey re neo-liberalist: Some people read to learn, but you, you read to learn new attitudes.
Feel free to share your questions, suggestions, and requests in the comments box.