Belfast Writers Group at Tullycarnet YarnSpinners and Prose: The Littlest Internet

I’m just back from a very squee evening with the Belfast Writers Group at Tullycarnet Library, part-home of my teenage years, the christening font of my years in adult work. Bruce Logan, who set the gig up pictured below reading from his adrenalin pumping horror freak-out:


Sweet Ellie Rose McKee, who has a whole lot of web presence:


Folk wizard Lynda Collins:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A member of the Tullycarnet Yarnspinners, Malcolm, who had us all in stitches with the best Paddy jokes I’ve ever heard (and of course the worst)


And myself. I got off a few pieces, including Tenement Tao, and new works Five Scenes, and this one:

The Littlest Internet

The East Rainy Courier and Advertiser was the most important publication, and it was free
too, weekly and probably funded by the NHS. Fourteen year old Alpen Jones knew this, because
manning the route broadened his mind. The job bought him the 1985 Kick! annual and there was
responsibility in it too. All of Old Upper Kingcastleroad Road would have been an island if not for
his diligence.
His parents were unaware that he left at 6 a.m. It was impossible to deliver in one day after
school. As per his calculations, three days were likelier. Rosemorrow Park and Templechurchmore
Road this morning. One side of the Parade marched into the Park while the other stood at a distance,
rolling its deep lanes off the hill, closer together as it got further away into the black mouth lipped
by trees.. It always started easy – three steps for climb-overs , back, then a two-house climb-down,
down the path for a bend of the calf and a copy for Danny Panana and his wife, Mrs. Brianna
Panana. A dog answered a door and he had to go all the way back up the stone path, unhook the
anchor, creak it round, gather it closed (minding his toes) and drop the hook. Leaflets were an extra
half-penny and he spread them on like filler, rolled like a wrap for dinner. Eight, he knew instantly,
down, and to go this side. He looked at his watch again. There was time to finish it before school.
Number Nine was Seventeen, the age of his brother Terry, born in September. This thought never
crossed his mind, though there were many. No. He was mostly concerned with the collection of
garden gnomes, rocking horses, pink windmills, weeping angel statues, cardboard cut-out black cats
on a black metal strip, the plastic sun in the window and the fat spotted three foot big mushroom of
the pensioner he never saw. The mythical pensioner of Templechurchmore. And while you and I
might be thinking of this, with it’s chequerboard path-way bordered at angles by pink plate tiles
fronting plastic weeds, the lad has already slotted the paper and gotten onto Nineteen. There, he’s
minding his fingers around the axe-wielding letterbox. Next door, a loud dog, and angry dog, a dog
that knows you’ve touched the gate-post and you will be caned for it. So Alpen rolled the paper and
rolled it into the rosetta frame of the gate to be found by the dog’s owners on their way to work.
Next door was the friendly house. A pull-back gate, garden path cut friendly for feet and steered just
out of Angry Dog’s X-ray radius. He wondered sometimes if the editor had run a political expose of
that mutt. The paper flapped quietly and the hatch was gently replaced. Next door was were Lydia
Smith lived. She was from school and he liked her, but he wasn’t sure why. They’d never talked. She
wasn’t one of the spide girls. She was even kind of pretty maybe. Their house reminded him of
Christmas (the sofa looked like a labrador), and Lydia’s mum was a jam maker. Twenty-Seven was
Kevin and Devlin, the twins aged eleven who seemed pre-occupied with bread leaven and
unleavened. Their father was a pastor, sometimes radio broadcaster and Terry’s friend Richard said
he was Grant Master. He went to a lodge, not the Wine Lodge were Auntie Phyllis worked but but
one involving owls and something to do with metalwork. Alpen didn’t know what a pastor was: he
could hear the milk-man coming though. In the future, the truth would be past your eyes Grant
Master, he thought. There was nothing special about the letter-box, it was even disappointing.
Aaron wondered if he knew Mr. Withers who had made them make shoe-horns last term. A gate was
closed like cement but if Alpen walked further on, he could do Thirty-One, Twenty-Nine and exit
Thirty-One without ever having to get stuck on the climb-over, and he did these. Across the road,
gates led to Scotland and the longest most gravelly driveway. When he’d been there, the house was
shaped like a castle, and a man who looked Scottish was there. He was Scottish because he had a
Tartan blanket and a large beard like Uncle Bulgaria. He never spoke. That’s all Alpen Jones could
remember, like trying to remember black and white Doctor Who from teevee. The dog he
remembered. It was not of Scotland – it was the smallest, so evil with mechanical butchering jaws,
so unspeakable in it’s ability to hurt – that it didn’t have a name. The lad like so many times before,
made there an exception in his conscience. I’m only telling you about it because the East Rainy
Courier and Advertiser was the most important publication in the world as Alpen Jones maintained,
but most notably the other side of Templechurchmore Road and Rosemorrow Park, every week.

Me at Tullycarnet

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