Short story 1
Here, have a short story – well two really. They were something I just had lying around in the cupboard. Okay, so that’s not true really, it’s just me trying to sound casual.
I’ll be putting together a collection of short stories soon and forcing them on an unwitting world by publishing them as an e-book. In the meantime, I thought I’d give a couple away for free here, just to give you an idea of the kind of thing I write. Both stories have already been published in a women’s magazine in Australia.
Now, the way I write can be split into two distinct camps: Good Trudi and Evil Trudi. The first is borne of the sunnier side of my personality, the latter has crawled out of that dark little corner of my brain that loves to scare the pants off people. I’m posting the Good Trudi story this week. I’ll put Evil Trudi up shortly. So, here it is, I hope you like it.
Facing my Waterloo by Trudi Slavin
I have an itch on my cheek where it’s pressed into the cold brick and one foot has gone to sleep, but I’m not moving, no way. If I budge an inch I’ll topple to my doom, I know it. It doesn’t matter that my doom is only seven feet below me, that’s far enough, thank you very much.
I take a brief look at the ground below and my head spins. Vertigo and I are old friends, which is why my present dilemma seems particularly ridiculous to me now. You see, I am currently clinging like a limpet to the top of a seven-foot brick wall, one leg dangling down either side, hugging the masonry like I was about to topple from the Eiffel Tower. Ooh, that makes me sick just thinking of it.
I’m not feeling terribly dignified, I have to say, and the security guard yelling at me in red-faced frustration isn’t helping.
‘For God sake, you silly woman, just let yourself down! It’s not going to kill you!’
Hah! That’s what he thinks. I know better.
Of course, he was taking a different tone a few minutes ago. Then he was running towards me, bristling with macho authority, nightstick drawn.
‘Get down! Now!’ he yelled.
I didn’t move.
‘I said get down!’
‘I heard what you said!’ I yelled back, the effort to turn my head in his direction giving me the spins. ‘But I can’t, I’m stuck.’
He looked at me and blinked, his macho authority deflating quickly. ‘You’re what?’
It’s all Shelley’s fault. If she hadn’t pushed me, if she hadn’t pressed just the right buttons and made me angry, I may not be up here. Well, it’s not all her fault, ABBA had something to do with it.
We’d waited six months to get to this concert. Shelley and I had sat for 12 hours in a freezing Melbourne winter to get the tickets, second row – and I swear tonight Bjorn winked at me – I nearly died.
‘The only thing that would be better,’ Shelley said before the show, ‘is if we could get backstage.’
Well, that was it wasn’t it? You see both of us have been devoted since Eurovision and the idea of actually meeting them was too much. So when the night finally came, I put on my best platform shoes, wriggled into my new polyester/rayon dress and helped Shelley apply her blue eyeshadow – she looked just like Agnetha. We were going to look fabulous and we were going to get back stage.
The problem is Shelley doesn’t think I’m at all cool. ‘What is that you’re wearing?’ she asked, when we were ready to go.
“What’s wrong with it?’ I said. ‘I bought it from Fosseys just last week.’
At this point she rolled her eyes. ‘We’ll never get backstage passes with you looking like that.’
Really, she can be so cruel at times. She was, however, right about one thing – they wouldn’t let us backstage.
‘I said no.’ Shelley had tried to ply her charms on the man guarding the stage door. He had muscles the size of Canada and was clearly unimpressed with her arguments. ‘They do not want to be bothered by a bunch of 15-year-olds, now nick off.’
Shelley was crushed. ‘Look,’ I said, with more bravado than common sense, ‘I know a way we can get in.’
At that I dragged her around the back of the auditorium and presented her with the now infamous brick wall. The wall that was to become my Waterloo, so to speak.
‘You are joking,’ she said, looking at me incredulously and pushing back her flicks. ‘You cannot climb that wall and I am not going to ruin my brand-new slacks.’ At this point she snorted and looked at me. ‘Besides, you’ve never done anything that cool in your life. I’m going to get Carl, he’ll get us over there.’ And off she ran to get Carl, her latest crush and part of the group of kids we’d come with.
Well, that was all it took. Never been that cool? I’d show her wouldn’t I? I’d show her how cool I could be by climbing that wall and getting autographs from Agnetha and Anni-Frid, Bjorn and Benny. I’d probably even get an invite to their after show party, I’m that cool. That would show her. Yep, I’d show her how cool I was… by getting myself stranded half way over this brick wall, legs splayed, my knickers the world to see every time so much as a gentle breeze puffs my way.
‘Look, don’t worry love, I’ll call a fire crew to get you down,’ my security guard turned rescuer yells at me. ‘Just you stay there.’ Like I was planning to hop up and do a highland fling.
So, my humiliation is now complete, because finally the fire crew has arrived and after pitching their ladder up against the wall, I have been flung unceremoniously over the shoulder of one of Melbourne’s finest.
I’m dangling bottom up, my knickers now a common household name, thinking, thank God Shelley isn’t here to see this. And that’s when I see her upside-down face staring stricken at mine. ‘Oh, my God, Mum, I can’t believe you’ve done this. What’s everyone at school going to say?’
I can see the gormless Carl grinning up at me.
‘It’s humiliating enough that my mother likes the same band as me, let alone this.’ She storms off with a wail, throwing a glance to make sure Carl is following.
All right so I’m not that cool. And I probably never will be. But really, I don’t mind. After all, how can I compete with four Swedes in white polyester jumpsuits? That kind of style is immortal, I’m just a pale immitation.