Sunday, 20 July 2014

Limp Wrist

Limp Wrist

He was shy to be himself. Until he broke his wrist and then it all came together.

There were woman's heels all over the floor, skirts, make up, everything I'd imagine a woman having in their bedroom. Not like this as if a bomb had gone off, I exaggerated because I am a guy who wants to be a woman, but you get the what I mean. I'd usually start off the day naked and look in the mirror. I'd slide my low cut ladies shorts on, followed by the bra. Soon enough the heels and shirt was on. The make up was next and then finally the wig. I loved this wig, the hair reached past my shoulders, blonde, the light colour showed off my face I found rather than a darker colour. I think I looked good, as a guy I wasn't bad looking either. I had a sharp jaw line I was grateful of, I could have been a stud if I didn't want to be a woman. This reflection was also a curse a religious fanatic cold argue, because my dream ended in that bedroom and the next routine was to take all the clothes and make up off and be a guy again.

"Groundhog Day" was a movie which played on my mind from time to time, as well as that track "A Well Respected Man" by "The Kinks". Right now I was walking up the same road to do the same Thursday evening shopping. The same routine, week in week out. I got to Sainsbury's, that was getting annoying, even just the colour, that fucking orange. However I found Tesco's had shit food, a Waitrose was non existent in this part of South London. I did love Mark and Spencers, but the only one wasn't for miles. I don't know why I did my food shopping on a Thursday evening, I think I will change it, hm!

Some nosy old stuck up bag keeps looking at me. It is so irritating. I feel like saying "yes, my trolley is full with tights, nail vanish, tampons, woman's shavers and Special K in amongst my low calorie foods. And what?" I've seen her three times on three separate isles and every time she peers into my basket and then at me, using her woman's intuition knowing those stuff is for me. She looked weird; she had eyes that were too far a part and wore glasses I hoped were fake to just cover up her childhood torment of being called hammer head. That should teach her if the truth came out. And she held onto what looked to be her husbands arm too tightly, like showing off that she was all happily and in love. Maybe I am being cynical because I am single and would like somebody, but you know what I am on about. The husband looked like the old rich guy that had done well; still married in marriage number one, got the grandchildren, goes on his cruises and still in an active sex life. Fair play to him.

Still, it did get samey sometimes, it would be nice if something I'm not sure what was to happen. Maybe meet a guy, but I didn't know where to start, I couldn't even come out as wanting to be a woman, let alone find another guy who was into the same stuff. Huff huff! However it was warm tonight, this part of South London thankfully wasn't rough, the evening set a cozy warm navy blue in the air. I was looking forward to cooking fish tonight. I had two bags of shopping in each hand, that orange was depressing me though. I got to the lights and waited. There wasn't any cars but I waited anyway, which I never did. There was still nothing so I crossed the road.

However, if you've ever had that feeling of someone among you, when something is with you, lurking. That was happening to me right now. I never get into trouble or attract it so I put this night down to bad luck - a low life thug tried to snatch my shopping, but I wouldn't let go. I was quite proud of that. But he kept tugging and I tugged back.

"No. Please just stop" I said.

He didn't. Then I reconsidered him being a thug when I saw his weak eyes, his chin tucked to his chest, his sloping back and shoulders trying to touch the ground. I found he was just a desperate guy who had no choice but to one day get brave. He wasn't giving up without a fight, I had to give him that, the jolt from his tugs you could feel carried his entire life. I should have been stronger and kicked myself for what happened next; he tugged with both hands in a kind of Buzz Lightyear reach for the sky motion and immediately my wrist snapped. I heard the bone break, so did the brave weak guy, but he went Scot free with all four bags, result he thought probably. I held my wrist, it killed and I howled for a while. That is the last time I double bag! If I single bagged then they wouldn't have given much resistance. Luckily a couple of early twenties young people arrived and had called an ambulance, saying they had seen what happened. I felt like saying "Why the fuck didn't you help then?".

Atmospheres in hospitals are so bleak, I don't like them. The people in the beds around me all ill and maser-crated, then I was there with the big white cast on my arm. The operation happened earlier today and luckily I was leaving tomorrow. I felt out of place there like I was looking for sympathy with a little broken wrist, other people were dying, the overweight lady next to me was suffering from a life threatening illness, she couldn't walk, I felt bad for her. Then a nurse took my whole attention, she walked in with killer legs that seemed to stretch for ages. Her body was so in proportion, almost too perfect, like a lesbian that was too fit to be straight. And then the nurse looked at me and her whole being went straight through my body - she was a man.

"How are you George?" She said. George was my name.
"Good thanks" I replied.

I couldn't believe it, there was another one like me in the world. Her hands were really pretty, they were slim and delicate like a woman's, red nail vanish perfectly painted without a mess. Her name was Colette, that is what the name tag said. She placed the dinner on the trey with care and put it on my lap. I fancied her straight away. It was funny because I sensed a vibe coming from her too, the smile on her face couldn't hide itself, her seek for eye contact was present on a number of occasions. I thought to myself she could be a trans who was still into straight guys. It turned out she had been single ever since she had come out four years prior, so singletoness was over taking her soul like a demon at constant work and the slightest bit of attention wouldn't have taken much. Then I noticed my nails and varnish was still on them, also red, fuck I must have not removed them, I completely forgot. Colette saw this as she resumed a full standing position and she walked away, the tight lipped smile unable to be swayed.

TV dinner had been the same routine for too long. I felt like I was turning into one of those people who would eventually live with animals. The dinner was from Mark and Spencers, I changed the shopping routine the other week. Plus it was a home cooked meal, I was pleased with my discipline to make my own dinners and not become ones of those people who buy ready cooked meals. I was alone, so I wasn't going to make it worse by fucking up my organs too. Tonight it was a chicken casserole, the garlic was jumping onto my taste buds and the celery was a charming crunch in amongst the veg.

Mostly I was thinking of Colette, she was on my mind ever since I left the hospital. I wanted the courage to ask her out if I was ever to see her again. She inspired me, the way she was a woman in the real world, where I hadn't got the confidence to do that yet. My arm was healing and I was due to go back to the hospital to get the cast removed tomorrow. Warm thoughts filled my mind as to hopefully seeing her again, that would be amazing.

I sat on the hospital bed and waited for a nurse to arrive. I couldn't believe it, it was Colette! She walked to me with her medical equipment and trolley. Her tall slim frame chiseled underneath her nurses outfit, the smile had progressed to showing teeth.

"How is your arm George?" Colette said.
"Better" I replied.
"It would have healed"

Then she started to cut the cast off with really big scissors. Every snip I couldn't help to feel nervous, it was all too clear this was the nerves of liking someone. The attention in her eyes to the snipping was focused, but a part of her mind was somewhere else. When the cast came off I wiggled my wrist and it was just like new, and brand new arm.

"Feels normal again, it feels great" I said.
"A success" Colette replied.
"Thanks"
"That is what we are here for"

Then the eye contact connected. I really wanted something to happen and knew she did too. Then she removed a piece of paper and gave it to me. It had her number on it. I thought that was cute, she was thoughtful.

I sat in the bar waiting. "No messing about" I kept going over and over in my head, it was do or die tonight. I was a woman in the world for the very first time and I felt good. I was also petrified underneath I won't lie, guys playing pool and around the bar I felt them - that sense of something haunting over your shoulder like the guy who mugged me for my shopping. All it takes is the slightest set of eyeballs to peer unwelcomingly at you, which then turns to two sets, then three. Soon enough you've got the entire world cup watching you at penalties. I was ready to leave. My now healthy wrist was getting agitated and that hand clutched my bag a little tighter. My drink was nearly finished.

Maybe Colette wasn't going to show. It must have been twenty minutes since we agreed to meet at eight. All the doubts were creeping in. Plus I hadn't come out to her that I was a trans too, I was going to surprise her tonight, see how she took it. Ah fuck maybe that was a mistake, maybe she wont take it well at all, I'm going to leave. But right then Colette arrived by the door in high black boots which covered her skinny jeans. She had a black leather jacket on too and her hair was done in curls, I was impressed how she managed to do that. She waved at me and walked into the bar, I stood up.

"Sorry I am late" She said.
"That's OK" I replied.

I was so nervous I couldn't say anything else. I just wanted the know what the reaction was going to be like when Colette saw me for who I really am. Was she going to stay or was she going to run? But the look on her face seemed like fireworks were going off inside her eyes. Seriously it seemed like me being a trans woman was the greatest thing she could have expected. She looked hot in her rocker side this night, a pleasant transformation from hard days at the hospital.

"I am very proud of you" She said in her polite females voice.
"Thanks. You too" I replied in my ladies tone I felt comfortable with.





Monday, 7 July 2014

Troublemaker

Troublemaker

All the walls were covered with hot guys like rock stars and yeah, more rock stars. Jamie sat on her bed reading a glossy magazine, the pages showed more rock men. Her eyes grew at the sight of them, but soon the familiar restlessness sprung and she threw the magazine across the room in a rage. She huffed; it was the sound of fed upness or spoilt attention seeking, however she was the type to get bored very quickly. Jamie was fifteen, brunette, slim and pretty sexy. She could have been the perfect girl if she wasn't such a bitch. The monstrous parts of her soul overtook the expressions in her eyes sometimes.

She went to her laptop and opened up Facebook. She typed in a password and an account opened which wasn't hers, it was a girl called Penny. Penny was blonde where most her pictures involved her flute and music friends. Others were close family pictures which suggested she was an 'in door goody two shoes girl' On her timeline Jamie wrote:

I just wanted to let everyone know the truth. I really feel the time has come for me to stop hiding and to start living. I owe it to myself and to everyone who knows me to live freely without boundaries, to live with truth and honesty... I am a lesbian. I feel so much better I have come out and I hope to live happily from this point forward xoxo

Jamie posted the post and had the devilish look on her face. Only that look was found on Jamie, making trouble she got pleasure from, to the depth of possible psychopathism in older age. She closed the account down and then opened her own account. She searched for a boy on her friend list - Luke. Her face changed, like an injection of joy pumped through her veins. Luke was like a baby rock star himself; long dark hair which covered his eyes, trendy slim fitted jeans, festival bands around his wrist. He was the same age as Jamie, most of his photos were basking with 'social proof'. With a smile which gleamed as bright as a light bulb, Jamie typed him a message:

Hey Luke. Was wondering if we are going to meet up next week? xx

She pressed enter. She really liked Luke, no-one made her more excited than him, not even her rock star hero's on her wall. She was in positive spirits right now because the little green light on her message box showed Luke was online. So she waited for his response... and waited... and waited... and waited. Twenty minutes had passed and still no response. Jamie's destructive mind didn't think he may have been busy, she rarely gave things if anything any mercy as she typically always thought the worst about stuff. The box didn't even say if Luke had 'seen' the message, so automatically Jamie thought she wasn't important to him and red filled her eyes and mind.

Chessie was Jamie's best friend. She looked quite similar to Jamie; same hair style, both brunette, same kind of scowled face a lot of the time. She was like the side kick as a lot of things they did were usually Jamie's idea. They were hanging out in a hut right now in a field, looking at glossy magazines and smoking cigarette's. It was early afternoon on a school day, they were in their school uniforms which meant the didn't go.

"That stupid Penny posted her stupid new car on Facebook" Jamie said.
"I know I saw it" Chessie replied.
"I'd like to do damage to it"
"That comment you put on her timeline was brilliant". Jamie smiles devilishly and takes another drag of her cigarette.
"It must piss you off how she likes Luke" Chessie said.
"The stupid cunt" Jamie replied.
"I know, she is soooo spoilt isn't she?"
"I was talking about that dick head Luke"
"What has he done?"
"I messaged him last night on Facebook and he still hasn't replied"
"You need to get him back"
"He's got a new car to, let's do some messing!" They nod at each other and dash out of the hut.

The girls creep into Luke's garden, climb over the fence and sneak up to Luke's car which is parked on the grass. It is a decent looking Mini Cooper.

"He's only just got this" Chessie said.
"I know. He will weep like he has never done before" Jamie replied.
"What are you going to do?" Jamie removes a knife well before Chessie finishes her question and slashes one of the back tyres.
"You bitch. But it is good" Jamie slashes all four tyres, the sound of them hisses out air.
"How is he going to like that?" Jamie said.
"I think he will cry to his mummy" Chessie replied. They then run away enthused with naughtiness and thrilled, hopping the fence and into the high green fields.

Jamie was daydreaming on her bed, looking at the ceiling. She did that quite often when she was on her own, she was a daydreamer. She didn't know it yet, but her ambition was waiting to be channeled some how. Her laptop was open, on Facebook, then that message sound beeped and for some reason Jamie dashed up and thought it was a particular person. As she clambered to the page she knew she was right... it was Luke.

Hi Jamie. Really sorry I haven't got back to you sooner. I really want to see you.

"He really wants to see me" Jamie kept playing over in her head. It was like her dreams had come true. "However there wasn't any kisses or a least a gay smiley face" she thought on. "Could he have suspected her to have something to do with his car?" Jamie got indecisive, but she would keep her mouth shut and lie to him if necessary. So she was willing to just run with it.

Come to mine.

Jamie left out a kiss or smiley face to see what kind of game he was playing. Immediately a message replied.

OK. See you in about 10 x

Jamie didn't buy the kiss. She remained suspicious and perhaps her skepticism was in the right place at the right time this time.

K x

But she put the kiss there anyway not to be rude.

The room glowed like it was a dream or something; lights shone on Jamie as she layed on her bed in a sexy black and red nighty. Luke entered the room and saw her on the bed. He was dressed in nothing but a well fitted pair of Calvin Klein boxer shorts. Electricity ran through Jamie's body, excitement exploding in every part of her soul. She was getting so hot she was moments away from getting wet. She already was if she was honest with herself. Luke's chiseled skinny boys body pounding out of those boxer shorts and he moved to the bed. Every moment seemed to last for a half hour. His big blue eyes made Jamie drown in ecstasy. Then he touched her leg and she put her foot on his chest. She was about to explode.

Then knocks on her door woke her up out of her fantasy. She got up off the bed quite surprised with the fantasy she created.

"Jamie. Luke is here" Jamie's mum said from outside.
"Alright, come in" Jamie replied.

Luke walked in with Jamie's mum, by this time Jamie was pretending to read something intellectual, holding the book in her hand and looking to Luke like she was some kind of swat.

"Hi Jamie" Luke said.
"Hi Luke" Jamie replied.
"You two be good" Jamie's mum added.
"OK mum, get out of my room"

Jamie's mum leaves. Jamie looks at Luke who stands in an image just like Jamie is used too; jeans, and leather jacket - hot she thought, not quite the image in her fantasy, but close enough. He took off the jacket and put it on the chair which was next to the laptop. The page was on Facebook in Penny's account and Jamie's eyes grew with fear of Luke seeing it, but he didn't and he sat next to her on the bed.

"Thanks for coming" Jamie said.
"I wanted to tell you something" Luke replied.
"OK. Go"
"Penny has asked me out"
"What did you say?"
"I said I'd get back to her about it"
"You came here to tell me that!"
"I quite like you too"
"Then go out with me" Jamie said. Then Luke becomes flustered.
"Things have been tough with school, this and my car"
"Your new car! What happened?"
"Someone slashed the tyres"
"Oh my God, that is awful"
"I will break the persons legs when I found out who did it" Rage in Luke's eyes made Jamie hot.
"Also did you see Penny's post about being gay on her Facebook page?"
"Yeah"
"She says it was a prank, that someone hacked her account"
"Who knows"
"You didn't have anything to do with that did you?" Luke said. An imaginary light made Jamie burst one sweat.
"No"
"OK"
"So are we going out?"
"Let's watch a film hey"
"Cool. Pick one"

Luke went to the shelf and started choosing. Jamie used this chance to go to her laptop. She saw all the mockery people were posting on Penny's timeline about her being gay, she smiled darkly then logged out of her account.





Friday, 6 June 2014

Summer Approaching

Summer Approaching

Heat blistered the surface, the crystals in the pool glowed like firefly's in the night. The friends layed on the pool chairs around the water, catching their sun tans like they were a painting or a row of statues. They all had their sun glasses on. Micky was to the far right, he had long hair like a girl, he liked that fact and refused to move on from the core grunge days of 90s Nirvana. He was the groups second guitarist. Next to him was Alan, the really tall Julian from The Strokes resemblance. He was the most nuts and daring, the lead guitarist. In the center was the little queen, Zara, unique for her short and serious bleached white hair. She was the vocalist of the group and she liked being the center of attention, which was ironic because she was in the center of the group sunbathing right now.

To Zara's left was Jimmy, the bass player, almost as tall as Alan, notable for his really deeper voice. And finally Sam to the far left, the drummer who was the youngest and the pretty boy. The sun kept beating down, all of them were like dead fish flopped on the pool chairs. The exclusive looking fences made of bushes around the garden cocooned the space. The important looking mansion sat behind them, the picture; a perfect Saturday afternoon in a St John's Wood high life surrounded by millions.

Zara was thinking to herself as she took another sip of her Moscow Mule and then rested back on the chair again. She was happy about the band she was in, they were her best friends, her life. Being the lead female in a band, she felt she had found fulfillment and her band were like her brothers. They had just finished the tour of their new album and were having a well earned break. She felt they deserved it and had been waiting all year to enjoy the summer in their home of London.

Sam had his headphones in and was listening to the bands latest album as he layed on his pool chair. His mind rested the least out of the group as drumming and music continued on. Micky was blank, he may have been asleep but he was thinking about his parents. It was their mansion they were chilling in, they were a mega successful band called Winters Skin, sixty years of age and still going strong. They weren't around for the summer, they said to Micky where they were going was a surprise and they would contact him about it when the time was right. In the mean time they left the house to Micky and his friends for the summer.

Still the band never felt such relaxation, it must have been at least thirty five degrees, easily the hottest day since they had been back in London. Their band name was simple Dance. Then, as if God had turned out the lights it started raining. Thunder sounded and it all happened so quickly. The band transformed into cover rather than sun bathing odyssey. They didn't know what the hell was going on. It kept raining and more thunder roared, they retreated into the house.

Rain pounded down outside of the car window. Jimmy was driving, Alan stared blankly out of the window.

"So much for a hot summer" Alan said.
"It's shit" Jimmy replied.
"Let's hope it doesn't rain when we are there" Micky said.
"I wouldn't get your hopes up" Sam replied.

Zara said nothing. She was utterly disappointed with the cats and dogs going on outside. This was their break she thought and they were on their way to Glastonbury. It was all going wrong. It had been raining non stop for about a week. Everyone was gloomy in the car, passing other cars who looked like pissed off festival goers on the way to Glastonbury also.

It continued to rain and the entire fields were like a drenched swamp. Festival goers everywhere were unhappy, trying to do up their tents. The boys were doing up two tents of their own, hiding in their rain jackets like they were defending themselves from the sea. Zara was looking into the distance at the views of Worthy Farm. The landscape was huge, she had never been to Glastonbury before. The stages and attractions was quite a sight, it was so much bigger in the flesh when usually that cliche was the opposite. She looked back at her 'brothers' doing battle with the tents and she wanted to help them, but they told her to leave it to them, a male pride thing she thought. It was the Thursday, the 'checking in' day at Glastonbury. The once hyper charged kids to Zara's left and right seemed like a funeral event. It was the weather, Zara felt their summer was being sabotaged. Glastonbury was ahead, but not as planned.

Friday, the first officially day of music and entertainment. The guys were collecting hot dogs by a stand.

"Who shall we see first?" Micky said.
"I heard there is a secret show on The Park Stage" Alan replied.

The mood was still flat, it was really difficult to really enjoy the excitement of something as great as Glastonbury when one was drenched constantly. Then a group of plucky festival goers walked past the band and said Winters Skin were supposed to be the secret show. Micky overheard this and became alert "What, really??" he thought. Then, like an act of God just witnessed the rain stopped and the clouds disappeared and the sun stared beating through. Practically the entire festival stood still in amazement and looked to the sky. It was kind of an eerie picture, like out of the scene in Shawshank Redemption. Jimmy wanted someone to say something because it was getting a little weird. Then Micky got a text on his phone.

Come to The Park Stage in half hour. We are playing. Surprise :) xx

It was from his mum. It was true, they were playing at Glastonbury.

"Come on, we are going to The Park Stage. My parents are playing" Micky said.
"What!" Sam replied.
"I know. It's true. Come on"

At The Park Stage, a Winters Skin banner was on the stage, it was really happening. The guys had made their way reasonably near the front and were excited. Thousands of Winters Skin fans were around them, it seemed like they were swimming in the bands sperm - loyally crazed fans. The sun was shining down at thirty plus, it was so hot people had their tops off now. The guys didn't know what to make of the sudden change, it was weird, but good weird. Then Micky's parents and the rest of the group walked out onto the stage, waving and an uproar erupted like the only kind you experience at an occasion as massive as Glastonbury. Micky smiled at his family and legends in front of him, the rest of the guys were ready to go festive crazy as the sun took no mercy on the party below.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Oz

Oz

The beach stretched for miles and is was surprisingly quiet he thought. He walked along, pleased to be there in Australia, the change he needed. The crash and bang of London noise had got too much and the open air and scorching heat was the medicine. He walked tall in his tall, gangly frame and had a seat. He looked out to the ocean in front of him. Thinking was what he did most of the time; right now he was thinking of hoping to find himself. That was what moving to Australia was about. Something about him was unfulfilled and he had heard countless times that happiness comes from within. He could have moved anywhere in the world and still be unhappy - that was a fear of his before moving to Australia. However so far he was feeling fine.

A kangaroo was jumping a few meters behind him, then a second one about half the size. It must be a mother and it's cub he thought, they made him smile. They started to chomp on leaves. The mother yanked off a whole branch and passed it to her cub who feasted on the leaves hungrily. He felt at peace when he watched this and loved how nature was so wonderful when you just stopped and looked at it, listened to it. He had never seen a kangaroo before, there surely wasn't any back in England or that he knew of.

He had been in Australia for one week. So far he never wanted to return to London. The heat powered down on all his body; this was another thing you surely didn't get in London he smiled to himself, forty plus baby. Some youngsters appeared with their surf boards and were jogging to the sea. They were about his age; twenty five or so, twenty somethings he corrected himself, that reference easier this day in age. They seemed in an excitable spirit, their trunks were the sort of trouser trunks style he recognized some people wearing when he was on holiday; they were Australians he came to think of it, that was their thing. They were saying things like "Gooday Mayate". He smiled at this as he was trying to pick up the real Australian lingo in the flesh rather than believing they way they were portrayed in those Fosters adverts for example.

They were attacking the waves like missiles. One of the guys took no prisoners; he moved to a wave like it was dual battle, and then whipped back, to and back, to and back. It was entertaining and he was impressed. Then another group of twenty somethings appeared and sat on another part of the beach. They had beer, a portable radio and food. Their Australian accents so bold, he knew you had actually be in the country to experience the one hundred percent authenticity of it. They chatted away. He looked over a few times and something in him had started to feel right. It felt like happiness.

Two years was all his Visa would allow him to stay. He was grateful for that at least and also to have gotten a job on a nearby farm. He didn't care he had traded in a nine till five office job on a good salary for next to nothing as a trainee farmer. London was eating him up, the open peace was piecing something back together - hopefully, he hoped. Then soon enough more people started to swam onto the beach, he wondered if an event or something was going to happen, but remembered it was about 6pm - people had finished work.

Two girls, woman actually, he had a habit for labeling females as girls even if they were women, a habit he swore he'd break, however they were sitting to his right. One of them kept looking at him and he got nervous. He swore not to be shy in his life, so he looked back and she waved him over. He was really nervous now and it felt like one of those moments where you had to not think but act. So he got up and went to them. As he arrived the waver looked strangely familiar, but he couldn't make it out. She had long blonde hair and a smile which glistened, the other was a brunette. He sat.

"Hi" She said
"Hi" he replied.
"I'm Sadie and this is my friend Madeleine"
"Nice to meet you, I'm Danny"
"Nice to meet you" the girls replied.

Danny felt he did well by not greeting with usual London "alright" after a bad experience; he was slapped by an Australian woman because she thought he was suggesting their was something wrong with her. From then he had to remember London and Sydney were different even though they spoke the same language.

"I have seen you before" Sadie said.
"Really? I was thinking the same about you but I couldn't make out where"
"Do you work on a farm?"
"Yes"
"That's it. It is my dads farm"
"Really, what a coincidence"
"It is. Are you new to Australia?"
"Yes. I've been here for one week"
"Where about's in England are you from?" Danny liked how she presupposed his home.
"London" Sadie's eyes sparkled at the way Danny said this in his paper cut London accent.
"Are you on a long vacation or living here?" Madeleine added.
"Living. Only for two years because that is all my VISA allows"
"Why OZ?" Sadie asked and was determined to take back control of the conversation.
"I don't know?"
"Do you know anybody here?"
"No"
"You must be brave to start a new life in a new country on your own"
"I needed a change"
"Won't you get lonely?" Danny felt the feeling all too well.
"I am on my own, but not altogether lonely"
"Well, you have new friends now"
"Yeah, right one dude" Madeleine said enthusiastically.
"Thanks guys. I am glad to have new friends"
"We'll take you out, you'll see everything Oz has to offer"
"Sounds good"

Sadie kept her eyes on Danny longer once the conversation was settling. He noticed this and it felt like an attraction there. Friends was more than he could ask for as it wasn't easy making new friends. Possibly Sadie could potential be a girlfriend, but something like that was always a bonus and wasn't at the forefront of his ambitions. However her eyes told no lies as eyes never do, and something might just...

Danny waited outside a bar, the bar Sadie and Madeleine suggested they meet at. It was '8pm' and he was still waiting. He wore his light white shirt, straight jeans and loafers; he wasn't in OZ long enough to be converted to flip flops in the evening just yet! He was excited as it was going to be his first night out in Sydney, something he had to do when the time came. And he was pleased he had made new friends, got a job - things were looking promising. Soon enough Sadie arrived - on her own. She wore a pretty yellow skirt and heels, Danny was stunned. He thought she was dressing up just for him to remind him of his home, then, maybe not.

"Hey dude" She said.
"Hey" Danny replied.
"Madeleine can't make it, she got ill" Danny sensed their wasn't truth to that as it was one of the oldest ones in the book. But what could that mean he thought?
"Sorry to hear that"
"No worries. I just wanted to go out with you anyway. You k with that?"
"Yeah, of course"
"Ace"

Australia seemed like a god send and he had only been here for a month. So many things were falling into Danny's space, piecing his life together like a constant snowball. He had friends and it seemed he was on a date with Sadie now. She hooked his arm as they went into the bar and the night still young.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Alone

Alone

Vulnerable, bullied and defenseless. That's all she knew. But she made a decision to try and become a whole person before it was too late.

Inspired by "Carrie"

Arms folded, chin tucked to her chest, her eyes peeping left and right as if she was being nosy at others, but when you looked directly back into her eyes, the emotion in them screamed 'need'. However she would continue to walk on, a gear before running like she was afraid of anything and everything that came her way. Some teenagers looked at her and jeered among their groups, rattling off how much of a weirdo she was. The girls hair looked in need of a wash, her clothes came across as a hundred years old, her hunch was so high it was like a hanger pulled it forward. She was so shy people around her jumped when her shadowy presence took them by surprise.

All her books were around her on the table in the library, most of which were philosophy books. She was deep in concentration at her work, so tense writing on the paper. She always heard her mothers voice in the back of her mind saying "You are at University to work, not to make friends". She let the voice dwell knowing she had always been controlled by her mum but never had the strength to stand up to her. A group of third year girls sat on the same table as Katherine (the girls name) nattering quietly before they got their books out. They caught a glimpse of Katherine and everything about her unconfident presence made them think she was a weirdo straight away. Katherine felt afraid immediately, cradling her books closer to her, fear in her heart pounding stronger.

Katherine felt afraid in the company of others, she had the fearful feeling in her soul most of the time. She looked at the girls very slowly, mindful of possibly being attacked, but ultimately she hoped to make a friend. She didn't know why she always felt scared, the feeling in her chest made her feel like she was dying, it was probably because of her institution type household and her single and strict religious parent she thought. But she wanted friends more than anything and wasn't going to listen to her mother. She thought; she had no friends during secondary school and now she was on her own in Uni, she had to try before it was too late. The group of girls caught 'the witch girl' creeping at them with her dark mysterious eyes and they immediately turned to each other with freaked out faces. Katherine felt hurt, but it was nothing new, she was used to kids being freaked out around her and didn't know why, all she knew inside is she was trying.

Books were put in their places correctly, always, as Katherine liked doing a thorough job. She liked her bookshop part time job, it was quiet, inspiration bouncing off the books in every isle was the image she had of the place. Other students worked there too, the owner was a retired teacher named Flora and she was on the shop floor cleaning would you believe it. She had a lot of energy for her age, cleaning in all directions and Katherine always remembered Flora telling her she quit being a teacher to do her passion - owning a bookshop. Flora sat in her chair behind the counter going over some accounts. The glint or vibe she gave off made you think she loved the shop and all of her students filling the roles of part time assistants whilst at Uni every year.

Katherine looked at Marvin, an animated character who worked their. He was in her year and was talking enthusiastically to customers. Katherine kept re-shelving her books going into thoughts about Marvin. She liked him but he hadn't talked to her since she worked there. None of the students did. Soon enough Katherine was behind the till cashing goods for booky customers. The students next to her kept a familiar distance. When Katherine found the courage from somewhere to actually try and speak to them, their responses was quick and that of wanting the conversation to be over, or it existed at all. Then like night and day they would talk to the other students normally forgetting about Katherine and hoping she got the message.

Rows of bars were behind Katherine and the noise of youngsters were the only sounds coming from them. The sea was in front of her and the long stretch of the Southampton shore, evening was setting. Katherine was eating her Pret sandwich, the Pret carrot cake by her side with a diet Coke. This was dinner or a snack dinner, she hadn't decided yet, but it was a routine she had when on a shift at the book shop and she never got that hungry later in the evening anyway. Plus the Pret was right next to her work so it was convenient and by the time she got their, they were clearing out stock that was going to be thrown out and she got deals - it was a little scheme she conjured and was quite proud of it, it made her smile. Katherine liked the quite of the sea, but the back of her mind only heard the students in the bars. She felt like she needed to blend in with the rest of them, she wanted too, but she was absolutely petrified of social situations.

Usually the dorm room was half tidy and half messy. When Katherine walked in to see that it was all messy and six students having a somewhat party, she knew her tidy side of the room was infiltrated again. Her room mate Megan, a skinny blonde had invited her mutual friends round for one of their occasions, Katherine was intimidated - in her own home. She thought she'd like to try and stay this time and overcome her social hurdle. The kids were taking drugs, drinking and dancing to music, Megan and her jock boyfriend kissing on Megan's bed. The looks Katherine got was that of normal; the kids glanced at her, said something which sounded like a forced "Hello" and carried on with their party like she was a ghost. Megan rolled her eyes at her boyfriend and said "Hi Katherine" and wished she'd get lost. That's when Katherine scurried towards her book on her shelf then scurried to the study room out of their way.

Page two hundred and twenty eight was explaining the climax to the chapter. The party was pounding away in the next room. Katherine flicked through her book. She got used to her space in the study room when Megan had her gang were round, but now she really wanted to join them because she was trying to change. However she remembered her place - that she wasn't wanted there. Then Megan appeared.

"Hey Katherine" Megan said.

It made Katherine jump because she thought a trick was being played on her, she wasn't used to Megan talking to her when her friends were round.

"Hi" Katherine replied.
"Are you OK?".
"Yes".
"How is your book?".
"It's good".
"You and your books. Anyway, the guys are staying over and we will need your bed. You'll be cool if we use it won't you?".

Katherine knew she'd be sleeping on the floor again, which probably meant in the study. She didn't want too, but she didn't have the strength to say no, she's never said no. And she thought this could be a good opportunity to do as Megan says to hopefully gain friends and acceptance soon, so...

"Yes, that's fine".
"Great, you are a star. Thanks cheeks".

And Megan left. An hour or two later, Katherine was crawled on the floor in the study room with some spare blankets, trying to sleep. But the moans and groans of six students next door having sex kept her awake. It being in her bed didn't concern her much, nor did the fact she never had sex and couldn't imagine what it would be like to be a part of the orgy. What kept her awake was the noise. She put her fingers in her ears and that helped.

Attention towards the lecturer was ninety percent, the ones that were jaded away with thoughts were those who were on the way to failing or dropping out. Katherine was listening, hunched, her hair covering a lot of her face, crowding her desk with her arms like she was hugging it. But her attention was razor sharp, listening, taking in the information. Marvin was listening a few seats in front of Katherine. He had a large back and was making notes that he found useful. Katherine's mind for the first time had started to get distracted by him, her eyes were becoming memorized, staring deeper and deeper going into day dreams.

Marvin was dreamy to her, she felt uncontrollable un-settlement inside which she never had done. She didn't know what it was, it could only have been love, but she didn't know such a thing ever. She wanted to talk to him somehow, then remembered an on campus party was happening that night and that would be the perfect chance. A small grin which turned into a sparkling smile appeared on her face. She forgot how pretty she looked when she smiled and knew the party was the opportunity and also for her to beat the social barrier.

Katherine stood by the wall in the hall. She was so close to it she looked stuck to it. She was petrified inside, everything around her seemed like a jungle of fearless beats and she was prey at anytime. But she did her best to stay there for as long as she could. She held her apple juice and looked around, hoping to talk to someone or someone to talk to her, anything to happen rather than being alone in a social situation. Marvin appeared in her sight and her heart started to race. Marvin was chatting away and making animated movements like he was telling a joke and all the people around him were laughing. Katherine kept looking at him hoping he would see her, then he did and she looked away immediately. When she looked back he was still looking at her then she looked away again. She didn't understand why she was looking away when she wanted to speak to him, the nerves took over her. Then when she looked back he was walking towards her and her heart was beating out of her chest. She felt so uneasy she could have run away.

"It's really good to see you Katherine" Marvin said.

Katherine couldn't believe what was happening. She had no control over the smile which wouldn't leave her face. She felt she made an effort; wearing her best pale dress and heels which were starting to break a little. Marvin was dapper in a cool shirt, dark trousers and polished shoes.

"Thank you" Katherine replied.
"You should come out more often, you look really good".
"Thank you. You look good too".

A striking brunette named Elsie appeared and took Marvin's arm forcefully.

"Come on, I've been looking everywhere for you" Elsie said. Then she saw Katherine.
"Really!".

Then she dragged Marvin away and he didn't look back. It all happened so fast Katherine didn't process it immediately, but soon enough she found herself standing by herself again, and it started to feel awful - being by herself. However the party continued and soon enough Katherine was back at the drinks table pouring another apple juice. A boy named Terry stood next to her, he was on the shorter side, came across as slightly creepy and had a really pointy face and the thick glasses he wore made him look like a weasel. He didn't care much about her personal space and touched his arm against hers.

"I don't see you out much" Terry said. Katherine didn't know what to say back.
"I saw you talking to Marvin earlier, so you like him?".
"He's really nice".
"You've got competition".
"I don't like him".
"That's good because I am going to kiss you now. Just see what it is like".

Then Terry tried to kiss her. Katherine was shaken to bits and she pulled away instantly. Then Terry forced himself more and Katherine pulled back so far both almost fell on the table.

"What is it?" Terry said.
"No" Katherine  replied, then a look of attack built in the rat looking boys eyes and he whispered into Katherine's ear.
"Turning me down for Marvin! Go home you bitch. You have no friends, no one likes you, you are a total joke here. Go back to your room where you belong freak".

Marvin stared piercingly into Katherine's eyes. Katherine was so hurt she started to cry and then ran out of the hall.

Katherine sat on her bed crying uncontrollably. Megan and her friends were out, it was just her. She didn't feel any of the confidence she had built up. She wanted to leave University and go home, but the thought of her mother knowing that scared her even more. Her legs pressed to her chin and the tears kept coming, it had been almost two hours. She didn't know what to do, things seemed hopeless. Then she thought about Marvin and her dreams about him seemed impossible.

The hallway was in a usual transitional mode, Katherine was walking along in her shadowy, to ones self way. An arm grabbed her and she turned around to see Terry.

"Katherine I'm really sorry for what I said". He said.

Katherine was about to jump out of her skin with freight. She snatched her arm back and walked away even faster, but Terry caught up with her again and he did the same thing.

"Hey. I mean it, it was a really shitty thing what I said. I'm saying sorry". Something made Katherine listen. Terry sensed he had her.

"Thank you for not running away. I want to make it up to you".
"How?".
"Come to my dorm room tonight, some of us are having a little party". Something didn't sit right with Katherine.
"Why do you want to invite me?".
"We just do, we felt you were really brave for coming out the other night, we want to include you".
"Please, don't do this, you are just going to trick me or something".
"No honestly we are not, we want you to make friends". Katherine thought about this and she became convinced of something possibly good happening.
"OK".
"Great".

Katherine knocked on the door. Something felt strange because there was no noise and nothing sounded like a party. Then Terry opened the door.

"Hi Katherine" He said. And he let her in.

There was only four boys in the room, sprawled on chairs and beds, two of them had their tops off. There was also a funny smell in the room, probably drugs Katherine thought. Terry closed the door and stood in front of her.

"Glad you came" He said.
"Has the party just started?" Katherine replied. Some of the boys sniggered which seemed strange to Katherine.
"It has now" Terry said.

Then all the boys stood up and three walked to Katherine and the other to the door. They started to touch her and she was shaking.

"Stop it" Katherine said.

The boys and Terry didn't. Then Katherine screamed and Terry covered her mouth.

"Shut up or we will make your life hell forever here. Especially if you tell anyone what is about to happen".

Then the boys undressed Katherine  and she cried into Terry's hand, trembling from head to toe. She was so scared she couldn't breath, her mind wouldn't allow her to think because her world was spinning out of control.

Katherine sat on her bed crying her eyes out. She was weak, her body was frail and in pain. Her hair and clothes looked like she had been involved in a rape - she was and the images of it were like black boards of evil in her mind. The endless replay of it seemed like hell. The only thing she thought about was her mum, and as difficult as it was to get her phone out and search for her mums number was the only option she had.

"Mum, I want to come home" Katherine said.
"Why are you crying dear?" Her mother replied.
"I just want to come home".
"Are you hurt".
"Yes".
"By who?".

Katherine didn't want to say by boys or friends because her mum would flip. But she sensed her mum already knew the answer.

"By boys or friends wasn't it?".
"Yes".
"What have I told you? This is your fault. I told you not to make friends or date boys. Not yet. They will hurt you. You are there to get your degree and that is it".
"I'm sorry mum. But I really have to come home".
"No. You are not coming home. You finish your degree first. If you would have listened to me then you wouldn't have got in this mess. And that is all I have to say".

Then the phone went dead.

"Mum" Katherine cried.

But the telephone line stayed dead. Katherine dropped her phone to the bed and cried even more. She had never felt so alone. There wasn't anyone, no-one to turn too, she had no-one. Then she looked ahead and thought about her life.

Megan pushed the dorm room door open drunkenly with her boyfriend, kissing and undressing each other. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something then the eye went as wide as a tennis ball.

"Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh" Megan screamed.

The boyfriend looked at the image and screamed too. Katherine was hung from the ceiling by the sheets around her neck. She was dead and her feet hung just above the ground.















Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Zen

The Zen

They called themselves The Howling Bells and they had a quality that was very rare. They wanted success with their music career so much to the level that was extraordinary. And later understood their quality was known not as The X Factor but The Zen.

Something kept tugging his soul to leave and go back to what he loved doing best, but what kept him was his friends; talking, drinking, doing nothing inspiring. His name was Joel and he was a handsome dark haired Australian. The pint of beer in his hand had an eighth of content left compared to his friends which had the shave of one or two sips. Australian chatter rabbited in every direction in a woodland style bar in the heart of Melbourne. Joel finished his drink.

"I'm off guys" Joel said.

The response was that of disappointment. His friends whined why Joel was leaving so soon, that they had only arrived five minutes ago. But Joel stuck to his decision and said "bye" nicely, turned and walked out the bar. He felt it took strength to do what he did, battling that little uncomfortable feeling whether one should or shouldn't go out when invited for a drink. When he got onto the beaming lights and razzle human activity on the popular Melbourne centre strip, he knew he didn't leave because he was scared of social situations, it was because of something else, but what annoyed him most was God wouldn't bloody tell him exactly what it was. It was a mystery. All he knew was he loved music more than anything else. Back in the bar Joel's friends were onto the next round of beers where their faces became that bit more slurred, their dialogue stretching longer. Content found its way onto Joel, which included things like "he's becoming an outcast, a douche bag, unsociable". In the moment that seemed the case, but in Joel's world something was in the mix of erupting.

Home was a simple flat in Melbourne. Joel walked in through the front door and put his keys down. The beer was already wearing out of his system. The surroundings was neat, the windows to the far side of the house had a panning view of some hills.

"Juanita" Joel called out.

When he first entered the house he didn't hear anything, but now when he listened close he heard soothing melodies coming from a room. His winning smile appeared on his face because he knew it was his sister doing the only thing she loves to do, just like him. "What else would she be doing" Joel thought. So he went to that room. Juanita was sitting to the side of the room, playing the guitar and singing. Even Joel thought Juanita was one of the prettiest things he had ever witnessed and he was her brother. She had some of the same features as him like the jaw line. They both had the Steins signature dark hair and eyes. She was petite and spoke with the most delicate tone to her voice a person would want to cherish it. She played the guitar and sang with the harmony of an Australian angel, each note painted waves of endless joy. Joel loved the sight and knew this is where he wanted to be.

The room was darkly lit, the walls painted purple, instruments were scattered around the floor as well as pages of A4 paper. Notes scribbled on them which were Juanita's lyrics. Joel picked up his guitar and joined his sister with a song. Their passion for music created an adventurous sound; Juanita's vocals backed with her strings and Joel's lead guitar at the front. As they played they didn't care they had become hermits in a way, they wanted it that way. This room in the flat they shared together was different to every other room, done deliberately. It was their 'creative hub'. When they finished a song, Juanita put her guitar down with care and had a moment to feel mixed emotions. She knew she didn't have many friends, if any, but that didn't waiver her for a second because she had her music and that was the way she wanted it too.

Glenn stood in the doorway and Joel greeted him in. Glenn was a fresh faced honest man. He was the same height as Joel, also Australian. He had the glint in his eye of a man happy with life and lived in the moment. They made their way to the creative hub where Juanita was busy in a chair scribbling more lyrics and reading them aloud after every two lines - a professional habit she taught herself and something Joel found unique. Juanita and Glenn greeted with a kiss on the cheek and hug, warm as they always did. Then Glenn settled at his drum kit by the wall. He got prepared, practicing a few drum sequences, getting warmed up.

"We really need to find a new bass player fast" Joel said.
"I know" Juanita replied. Then Glenn stopped drumming.
"I think Brendan is going to do it" Glenn said.
"Really?" Juanita replied.
"Yeah, I think so"
"That's awesome" Joel and Juanita said simultaneously.

As it stood they were a band member down, but the three of them were happy because the thought of Brendan joining was good news. Joel seemed frustrated though and Juanita knew it was because their previous bass player Jimmy left the band and let them down. Juanita was frustrated also. Glenn started drumming again because he wanted to forget about the topic, but knew Brendan was going to be on board and could be trusted because he was a friend to the three. All he needed to do was say “yes”. Eventually the three started rehearsing. They began with their new single "Here Comes September" taken from their forthcoming album "I'm Already Home". Their playing was in tune to the other, absolutely in time. When they finished the track they were satisfied with their accomplishment, the warmth between them was that of a close family and their music was everything they had.

Faces watched the stage, half concerned and the other half anticipating a show that wasn't well known. When the band members walked out onto the stage they saw the place was half empty. Joel was the first to notice this as his dedication to the band was more on the technical side. His perception was of the analytical. They picked up their instruments; Juanita in the canter on guitar, Joel on her right playing lead guitar, Brendan on the left playing bass and Glenn on the drums. Brendan joined the band and handled his guitar confidently, happy to be there. He was the skinny one, the best looking, the pretty boy, another Australian to fit an Australian band from Melbourne.

"Hi. How are you?" Juanita said.

The response from the half enthused crowd was warm enough, but only just qualified they really gave a shit. They were the type of crowd that wanted to see live music for something to do that evening.

"We are Waikiki" Juanita continued.

As that was the band’s name at this point. She then got ready as the front person and the band started their set. They kicked off sounds from their forthcoming album with "Lucky" "Complicated" and "A Drunken Laugh", then played a few numbers from their EP "Presents" with the songs "Frail" "Love is" and "Mistake in Time". A classic thing was happening with band from the very start of the first song; they sunk into their own world whilst they performed. A power within them consumed them, it drew them to one another, like a wall was in front of the stage and the audience were behind it. By the last third of the set the audience had started to sway from side to side a bit, or it looked like a sorry excuse for they were enjoying themselves, nodding heads were the greatest appreciation. But on stage, it was a different story, Waikiki played liked the crowd wasn't even there. The music instead soothed around the club with the love only total dedicated warriors like these four could provide.

When the set ended, the crowd who were left, all of them were clapping. The ones who whistled could have suggested they knew who Waikiki were where the rest were newbie’s to them. The band waved, Juanita was cute and always greeted her audience, Joel, Glenn and Brendan was the same - they transformed into different people when they weren't playing. The claps continued even when the band left the stage and it seemed they had been infected by a dose of inspiration or something magical.

"We need a change" Joel said, as the band walked back stage.
"Yup" Juanita replied.

When they got to their room, they were spirited that they had been touring for coming up to three years and even though their audiences weren't anything to make Sony come calling, they were doing what they were made for. They looked at each other and without any words knew the fire they held inside them needed new wood and it would be death to them all if they didn't follow it.

Tea and biscuits were around the centre of the creative hub. Catered for by Joel who eventually sat down to his usual tea with no milk and one sugar, Brendan was still practicing bass rhythms imaginary with his hands, almost spilling his tea, Juanita was light humming vocals and Glenn had his eyes closed visualizing drum sequences.

"What is the plan guys?" Joel asked.
"I'm tired of the sound we have" Juanita replied.
"Do you suggest we change it completely?"
"Modify it"
"To what?"
"Well, what do we all like?" Juanita continued.

The four of them thought about that question, and they all thought the same thing; they liked French films and from that they liked dark alternative rock, with a dash of folk and goth. Immediately they started brainstorming ideas on the scattered A4 paper, writing vigorously. They came up with rhythms and the sounds to meet those rhythms. Juanita started on new lyrics and song titles. Soon enough they were coming up with a name for the new band. By the end of the day they had it and it filled one whole A4... "Howling Bells". They all agreed with it, they had a toast to it, they knew that name was their future and it married their new sound with wedding bells.

A gel stuck to each instrument and vocal. The songs brooded a mysterious alternative sound, each member sunk deeper into the new creations they were playing. The creative hub was warm with endless use. Even when the windows were open the humid stayed. Joel, Glenn and Brendan had grown beards, Juanita's face didn't have a speck of makeup emphasizing it wasn't invented. But the four of them kept playing, perfecting, they were obsessed, the concentration to their roles was machine like. They played for hours which lasted for days. Eventually months had past and they noticed they were still in their creative hub, but it didn't faze them for a moment, the songs became tighter, a distinct sound was forming in the area of noir alternative rock, when they finally called break they put down their instruments and reviewed their gems on the cassette. As they listened they watched each other with the same looks; satisfied, and knew months of total self sacrifice and dedication had paid off.

The rising morning sun beamed through the window of the cafe. The band was up early for breakfast and tea and Joel's laptop was out. They were going to be busy all day; the task was to look for producers to help launch their career as Howling Bells.

"We have to go to London" Juanita said.
"I agree, that is where all the best producers are" Joel replied.

Glenn and Brendan agreed. They made a mental note of their favourite bands and artists and researched their producers, an hour later Ken Nelson was on the screen.

"That's it. He is the one" Joel said.

Without a shadow of a doubt the four of them were on the same page, Ken Nelson practically talked to them through the screen. His resume included work with 'Coldplay' 'Badly Drawn Boy' and 'Gomez' artists the four of them liked also. Joel removed the postal package and wrote Ken's office address on it with a marker, put a demo cassette inside and sealed it up.

"No turning back for sure" Glenn said.
"We have to aim for the highest" Brendan said. And the four of them felt the same.

Glenn and Brendan were asleep in their seats. Juanita was writing lyrics in hers next to Joel who was looking out of the window, far away in his own world of thoughts the way his brain always did out of the four. The high skies was what he saw, the plane was taking them away to London. He was so excited he couldn't rest, Ken Nelson liked their demo and wanted to work with them, his smile confirmed a dream had come true. The identity God was making him wait to understand seemed to be revealing itself. But it wasn't full circle yet, he was still searching. Juanita was writing lyrics about experiences, which is all she ever did. Right now the experience was moving to London and she called the piece "London". She finished it and read it to herself; every word hit home as to how happy she was. She could see London coming, Australia was in the past, gone. She didn't feel bad about it, as there was nothing back there for her anymore, or any of them for that matter. Joel touched his sister’s hand.

"Excited" Joel said.
"Yes" Juanita replied.

Joel kissed his sister on the head and they relaxed in their chairs. They weren't twins but they thought the same thing at this point; their parents, who were against them leaving. They were a homely family and wanted their children to conquer their lives only in Australia. But Joel and Juanita dreamed of bigger things, the fire inside was set alight when London came to the fore. They felt they would cast away if they stayed in Australia. Glenn and Brendan were the same whilst a million miles away in sleep in the seats behind them. The four of them would not be stopped, London was calling.

It had been six months and nothing had happened. Juanita was festering over this as she was making scrambled eggs on toast. The space in the house was average. Luckily nothing creaked or was falling apart. Martha, a polish traveller walked into the kitchen and said "hello" to Juanita, which Juanita exchanged warmly. Martha had long blonde hair and walked with a care free brisk. She took some cheese from the kitchen and made a sandwich with the ease of somebody that didn't know what they wanted out of life. Juanita thought about this and it became apparent to her as to how different they were. But Martha had a clever mind which is why worked a really good office job in Canary Wharf. Juanita left the kitchen slightly angered by this because she worked harder than Martha and she was the one living off eggs and toast.

Juanita walked into her room and there was four sets of people's stuff everywhere, the room was living in some much stuff. She sat down and ate her late lunch/early dinner and took in her surroundings; it was awful. The four of them were living in this room. Being gentlemen the guys let Juanita sleep in the bed and then took it in turns to share the bed each night. Two were always on the floor. Juanita knew it was only meant to be temporary, but Ken Nelson hadn't taken the band on because he was busy working with Coldplay's latest album at that point "X&Y". Once he was done with that he promised the band he would come to them. It was six months and nothing had happened. Juanita finished her plate and picked up her guitar. She felt heavier inside because the move to London wasn't what it seemed, their surroundings were terrible because the band were so poor. Confidence in Ken was waning and she sang her vocals with a touch of pain.

Cow crap was to his left and right, everywhere he bloody turned. The "mooing" sound was starting to grate him, but Joel kept it together because his job on the farm was only for the money as the band had become so destitute, they had to take up normal jobs. He shovelled hay, there were mountains of it in front of him and it was raining, but he got on with it, shovelling back and forth. He was angry inside, angry at Ken, but also upset for his friends. The more the months carried on it seemed like their music career was fading. Each shovel seemed like the effort of double. Then he stopped and had a moment to himself. His strength was being tested and it was of the highest ever asked of him in his life.

The four of them were in their room rehearsing the songs from Howling Bells. The music had the magic, but the person. Each of them was playing on empty. When they came to the end of a track, for the first time ever in their lives they didn't wish to carry on.

"It's been a year. Maybe we should go back home" Joel said.
"Why would he lead us on like that?" Brendan said
"Because he is too busy working with Coldplay and doesn't have time for little people" Glenn said with a bit of venom.
"It isn't fair" Juanita added.
"Maybe we should go back to OZ and find our feet as Howling Bells there" Joel said.

All of them hung their heads and decided in themselves that that was the best thing to do. A year was too long and their poxy normal jobs were soul destroying them, Glenn couldn't take the pub anymore and neither could Brendan with his call centre. BUT. Something told them to stay. Subconsciously and totally unintentional Joel held Juanita's hand and then Joel held Brendan's and Brendan Glenn's and Glenn's back to Joel's, so the four of them were connected. Then something like a spiritual current travelled through all of them. None of them had the slightest idea what it was, but it was happening and something spoke to them, it told them to stay. No-one wanted to speak because they wanted to be sure the other was thinking the same thing. Then Joel's mobile rang and it was Ken. Joel looked at it and was so surprised and happy at the same time he couldn't make up his mind what to choose.

Awake as morning bells were the four of them as the bus travelled across Europe to the next destination being Amsterdam. Juanita was humming the rhythm their new lead single "Low Happening", the guys were playing cards. In front of them were ‘The Editors’ watching program's on their laptops. Juanita couldn't help to snap her brother’s hand with triumph emphasizing they were alive and kicking again. Joel was thinking. Scanning over the completed recording session they did for their first album as Howling Bells titled "Howling Bells". It was at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, and he found the experience amazing, a real studio for a real band set up by a real producer, Ken Nelson. Joel was happy. Now they were on tour with The Editors before the release of the album. The card game got more competitive.

Faces watched the stage, waiting. Most of the language that was shouted was in Dutch. It was close to a sell out. Then the Howling Bells walked out and the arena started to clap. They picked up their instruments, Juanita greeted the audience and they responded positively enough, but the band knew the reaction was only to be polite, hardly anyone knew who the Howling Bells were. The flyers advertised The Editors, but Howling Bells were there. Then they kicked off their set with "A Ballard for the Bleeding Hearts" then went into "Wishing Stone" "Broken Bones" and "Velvet Girl". As the set continued the audience were wired into the stage, they never heard the band, but something outstanding was going on.

The four were only playing songs from the album, and then carried on the set into "Blessed Night" "Setting Sun" "Across the Avenue" and towards the end aired the single "Low Happening" which created a jump up of applause. The four of them sunk deep into the states, they way they did when performing live, total marriage to their art. Then finished the set off with "The Bell Hit" and took their bows afterwards. The mainly Dutch crowd clapped, nodding to their friends on their left and right with looks that spoke "this band are good" "I like them". The four were backstage and The Editors congratulated them too. The Editors were nice guys, very neatly dressed all the time and clean shaven skin. Howling Bells took a beer each from a fridge and took a well deserved sip. They hugged each other and felt like they were flying.

High ceilings and cleaner rooms were placed in this house, the light shone through the windows and the view out of them was the leafy greens of North London. The four of them were in the music room, practicing new sounds. An injection of life was in all of them, it brought them higher. It glowed off their bodies and the finesse in their sound. Records of their debut album were all around the room, along with music magazines which displayed its reviews. They were all positive; five out of fives and a nine out of ten from ‘NME’. The album was stated that it had received critical acclaim. The four of them couldn't seem happier; Joel's fierce dedication got fiercer on his guitar, Glenn's drumming got easier, Brendan's attention to bass got easier and Juanita's playing and vocals resonated more velvet.

Dan Grech-Marguerat stood in his booth and watched the Howling Bells perform through the sound proof window. His head bopped back and forth like he was a wind up doll which didn't have an off button. Something seemed to stimulate him about this band and is the reason why he was so excited to see them perform. They were recording the song "Cities Burning Down" from the new album "Radio Wars", when the thunderous chorus came in, the darkly lit studio shook on every corner. The band was so in the zone to every moment, an unstoppable force-field came off them and went through the bodies of every bystander. Dan was excited because his vision as the producer of the album was manifesting before his eyes. The track came to an end and the band had a few moments to relax out of performance. Then Dan pushed a button and talked into a microphone.

"Well done guys, that was amazing. Have five and we'll run it again".

The band had five and drank from their water bottles. They discussed the album and its new direction and agreed likewise comments. It was a new sound and stuff they had never done before, like using synthesizers and drum machines, this was an input from Dan's vision which the band agreed to work with.

"I think we made the right choice by working with Dan, I think it is the right direction to take" Juanita said.

The guys agreed. They discussed Ken was excellent, but they had to move on because the man was too busy and they couldn't wait another year for the next album to be put into production. Also this new album wasn't going to be as dark as the first and knew that in the brief Dan had sent them.

This was the only time an uproar of cheers happened when the Howling Bells where on stage and hadn't begun to play yet. Joel looked out to thousands of people, seeing the sun beating down on their flesh happy bodies. He knew the reaction came from people that finally knew who the band were and it seemed God was slowly revealing Joel’s purpose to him. Brendan and Glenn watched each other and achievement were on their faces. Juanita stood face on at the crowd, the reaction made her realize what an acclaimed album can do to ones profile.

"Hi, how are you?" Juanita said. The crowd responded warmly.
"We are the Howling Bells and we have a new album coming out called Radio Wars".

There was some stand out reactions which suggested they knew that and it also suggested the band now had geeks and dedicated internet followers. The stalkers were on their way! The band kicked the set off with "Treasure Hunt" a new number from their new album, then "Nightingale" "Golden Web" and "Into the Chaos", all songs from the new album. The old favourites from the first album were aired and created an upbeat vibe from the crowd. The new songs were well received, but it was the old ones which got the crowd going because the looks on most of their faces showed they were familiar with them. Then the band continued with "Digital Hearts" "It Aint You" and the lead single "Cities Burning Down" all from the new album. When the band announced the end of their set and introduced the headliners they were touring with, Coldplay, the crowd had a new favourite little band. When Coldplay were on the stage and the crowd was sent into stratosphere, before they began Chris Martin said:

"Let's please make some noise for our friends the Howling Bells. Their set was marvellous". And the crowd followed suit because they felt the same.

Dazzle came from the lights as then shone in the night. Joel looked at them through the plane window, it was Las Vegas. The band was excited, which came from the fact they had never been to America let alone Las Vegas. However they were apprehensive as they quieter than usual when travelling. It was because the reviews on Radio Wars were mixed. They talked about it on the plane; they were trying new things to develop the bands growth, but the reviews were flimsy. Now they were venturing out even further to record in Vegas with Mark Stoermer as the producer in "The Killers" studio, Battle Born Studios. They felt risk, fear of failure, believing “What if venturing out got mixed reviews again, or God forbid bad reviews?” But they were going anyway because they were fearless and had been their whole lives, and agreed they had left home to go to London once, they could do it again in The States.

To the bands surprise Mark was relaxed and hands off. The studio was sharp with its glass frames and metal finishes. The equipment was brand new like and expensive. The band handled everything with care as they had never worked in a studio as expensive as this before. Mark was in the booth and didn't do much other than watch. He restrained himself from giving too many directions as he just let the band get on with it. So the band commenced recording for the new album titled "The Loudest Engine" and started with the lead single "Into the Sky". The song oozed the elements from the first album but mashed in country folk, which was the new direction on this album. The heavy handed "The Wilderness" was next. Then Juanita's vocals raced oceans with "The Faith". "Live On" left a happy joyous experience when it ended and "Sioux" swam melodic wonders on its chorus. Then "Invisible" created a soul searching but satisfying end the recording. 

Mark gave the band a thumbs up through the window and then band had a well deserved break. They were happy with the sound and discussed how raw, organic and country it sounded. Joel was especially happy with the less use of technology and gadgets on this album than that was so heavily focused on with Radio Wars. And all four of them sang praise for Mark as their producer for how he left them to it, and as a result made the band less concerned about pleasing others and instead played the music they wanted to play.

Joel sat down next to Juanita in the front room of their house in North London. Juanita had her new born baby in her hands feeding the little girl her milk.

"What now sis?" Joel said.
"We will keep going" Juanita replied.
"I agree" 

They sat like a close family; Juanita feeding her brightest sunshine in her hands, the baby girl nicknamed "Baby Bell". Joel the proud uncle stroking the new born on her fighting to come out of its head hair showing, Joel and Juanita found peace at this moment and really needed it because the band had been on a hiatus for two years. Joel thought about the mixed reviews they received again for their third album The Loudest Engine and it had stunted the bands confidence. It got to Brendan the most and he left the band, that upset Joel and it made him and the other three mad. Juanita feared those things could have been the end of them which is why they were out of action for so long. Now she had her baby in her hands and the father away on business most of the time, making a comeback seemed tough. Glenn entered the house with bags of shopping, full with products he was cooking that evening for the trio. He eventually sat down with the Joel and Juanita.

"We are going to do another album Glenn" Joel said.
"At last, we gotta get back out there, when?" Glenn replied.
"Immediately" Juanita added.

Then the three of them sat and held each other’s hand. It felt lighter at first because Brendan wasn't there, but the missing piece was replaced with exploding currents that travelled from Baby Bell. Right then they knew they weren't going to give up, they were a three now, but their desire was going to carry on.

Raw was the drive in every sense of the word, the band were obsessed. They were recording the new album "Heartstrings" in the Assault and Battery Studios in London. The producers Alan Moulder and Catherine J. Marks watched in amazement and didn't dare get involved. The band’s music was back to basics. Energy lasting longer than any Duracell, the power was ferocious coming off their presence. The sounds echoed their first album with a touch a maturity and urgent venom. The bystanders didn't know what the hell they walked into, or where it all came from, but the smiles on their faces danced about how much money they were guaranteed to make. However the less shallow bystander was just pleased to see the real Howling Bells again. The band finished recording and they didn't speak to each other straight away, their yet to be explained quality wouldn't let them. The new bass player Gary Daines fitted right in, he was like part of the original furniture. He was the quietest out of the four, also because he was new and looked like a taller version of Joel with longer hair.

Internet was on the screen and Joel pressed upload. An hour later it was live on the web and for the world to see, their new single "Slowburn".

By the end of the month the internet had gone into a Howling Bells frenzy. Most music sources were raving about the band and the track. BBC Radio 6 said "Slowburn" was their track of the week. The band looked at this and was excited ahead of their tour for the fourth album. Baby Bell added a gem to the moment with her first baby word as she rested in Juanita's arms.

They swaggered onto the stage and it was a sell out crowd. Faces waited in anticipation for their beloved and now well known Australian outfit, hooting and cheering in the darkly shade of Oslo Venue in Hackney. There was a discreet face in the crowd wearing shades flocked by what looked like important industry moguls around him. Some ‘normal’ people next to them were so shocked they could have passed out and the word going around their groups of friends was that it was Simon Cowell. And it was. The man literally was standing there. Fuck only knows why and is what they eager bystanders thought, but Simon was cool with his vodka and lemonade knowing he needed a little night out in his brief stay in London. And he ended up here in an unknown music occasion for his standards on a rainy Monday night.

The band didn't know he was there, but started their show with urgency that suggested they were in no mood to mess about this night. Their performance was so true to themselves the truth went into the eyes and hearts of every audience member. The tracks, but the people as well, were one hundred percent honest. And the band were enjoying themselves; Joel was like a master at work on his lead guitar, Gary the addition was solid, Glenn was cool on the drums as every and Juanita had her little swagger going, which is what she became known for whilst performing. The songs that were aired were mostly from their first album and the audience appreciated that was a smart move. Then the songs mixed with numbers from the new album and were appreciated of the same accord, even though the audience hadn't heard them before, what they were offered was electrifying. Then the new single played and it painted a distinct mark on the evening "Slowburn" echoed to the back of the arena. Then the band finished up with the favourites "Low Happening" and finally "Broken Bones". The audience lapped it up and felt satisfied.

When the band took their bows and waved, they looked in front of them and knew they had done it. All the years of hard work and obstacles set them sail. They had found their place in the world. Joel felt it the most and God at that moment told him that was where he was meant to be; with the Howling Bells and at a stage of success with them. Simon Cowell had his growing grin.

Backstage, the band celebrated with a beer in their room. Then there was a knock on the door. They told the person to come in and it was Simon Cowell. They didn't know if they were being pranked or what, but the man himself stood there.

"Guys, that was OMG! Simple excellent. I didn't know who you were before tonight but I had come backstage to say to you that I finally found you" Simon said. 

The band didn't know what he meant, that he had 'found them', but their hearts were on a treadmill turned up full. It obeyed them to keep listening now.

"I started X Factor to find the unique power inside a musician, which I call the X Factor. But the X Factor is for the glossy stars that are made into factor made zombies for me to make money out of”. Simon continued. And the band appreciated the tycoon’s honesty.

“However, there is a place for the raw stars, which in my opinion are more powerful than the glossy stars, and those stars are so pure they will never be touched. I have been searching my whole life to find it or them, and today the search has come to an end. It is you. And what I call your gift is The Zen”.

Then he left and that was it, he was gone. The band looked at each other and didn't know what to say, but understood what they heard from the most powerful person in the music industry, was like being knighted by God. They always knew they had something special but didn't know what it was or if it had a name, Simon explained it and the sense of complete is how they felt from that point forward.