One of the great practices awarded me by the Belfast Writers Group is that of having a go at flash fiction, 15 minute writing exercises. Last week I uploaded ‘Locked Doors’ which I will tell you nothing more about. No. Forbidden. I wrote this:
The boys rolled the wooden wheel twelve feet all of it speedier and somehow keeping pace another three in front carted grid pallettes: stacked half dozen. Another the same ahead of them. Muscled up and aged between eight and ten, some acted as guards, waving them along. Or maybe they were like startled pigeons or the car passengers which ran alongside.
And they’ll drop them off and get them in another factory and the adults will stack them tall in the field and then everything will burn. The lush green land of Antrim, burn! The blue skies of Down, burn, smoke and flame! Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone —
“IF YOU BURN IT, Will it grow again?”, I yelled.
The boy whirled to look at me, then pushed his wheel again. My distraction would not help it stop. The two teams of carters did the same and escaped narrowly their own wounding. An ox-man and four-boobs bleacher turned to look at me, her saggy plastic bag even, piercing the area with it’s haunting.
I selfishly expected not to make it home by desk.
That night, the freedom fighting guardians urinate: our country-men undressed to Scientologist pyjamas, Westboro Baptist night-gowns, number 20Q the woman-beater. As they slept or did not, I took my reprieve, and crept out into the darkness. Jay met me among the criss-cross of back alleys and the graffiti exhorting warfare. It hadn’t seen a spell-checker.
‘Cameron Go, Game of Thrones Style!’
Then the pair of us moved the brushes and sprays onto the next blank wall. There we painted a large iris overlooking a yellowed union flag underpants, that dripped down into a coffee cup on fire.
‘Radio 4 – For God and Ulster’
That was on the next street over already.
‘Daily Fail Wordsearch – Today: Indians’
We took our time there because Jo wanted to make it ‘Canadians’.
By 3am we’d become annoyed, so returned home to a flask. He wanted to expose the negligent junkie dad at 3 G.S.E, I thought it would be good for us to de-weed the bus stop.
“Yeah, we’ll be putting up a timetable next.”
Forty new pieces of cross-discipline graffiti went up that night and there was a spate of copycat acts later that month with old world maps re-created, and classical music notes on the Albertbridge. Inked hyperlinks adorned Knockbreda, a mosaic appeared one night on the Castlereagh Road. In Dee Street, a minimalist man, Chad Kilroy peered over a wall, and asked, “Where’s Banksy?”.
Only four of these were burned in the July 12th bonfires, painted on the walls by people’s homes. Within two years, literacy was up.