Bridport Prize 2017…..once more into the breach

 

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This year will be my third submission to the competition, albeit just the one entry this time around …..losing is an expensive preoccupation and I`m endeavouring to break this crippling habit.

Since my first short story was published in the Salford Short Stories Anthology 2016, things have ben pretty quite. I have been fortunate enough to receive many fantastic reviews for my debut book, but unfortunately that elusive publishing contract still eludes me.

Anyway back to this years Bridport Prize, which in case you don`t know is regarded as the worlds most prestigious international writing competition and is open to  everybody.

I wish I could say more about my submission and the inspiration behind it, I´m afraid if I did it would most likely be disqualified.

But should you be interested, I can reveal a snippet of my story which is published in the afore mentioned anthology which might give you an idea of what my Bridport short story may look like.

A writers path is not a straight one and he can easily lose himself on the bends, but maybe one day the knock on the door will come.

One can only hope should that day arrive, that I hear that long awaited knock and am not otherwise disposed in the bathroom at the time.

Murray Mints

 

The world passed me by as I watched idly on.

Staying true to the commercial, I was letting the train take the strain.

The grimey window I gazed through had not it seemed, been graced by a window cleaners shammy since the age of steam. I could almost picture Tony Robinson and the Timewatch team conducting an archeological dig upon the window pane.

On the table opposite of me was an unfurled copy of The Times newspaper, beside it lay an open tartan spectacle case . In its confines, a neatly folded cleaning cloth tucked away in the bottom half. I tried hard to guess the various colours in the tartan pattern, but to no avail. My colour blindness reigned supreme yet again.

The owner of these items was a rotund gentleman, his brown turtle shell spectacles had slipped half-way down his nose, had he opened his mouth he would have undoubtledly swallowed them in a single gulp. He sat embedded into his seat, his eyes at half mast.

His look was one of a constipated buddah with a lot on his mind.

He was obviously a London city gent, around 45 years old at a guess, stockbroker or something along those lines.

The look of distain about him when I stepped onto the train and occupied the window seat opposite him did not go unnoticed.

We made eye contact, I nodded.

He didn`t.

We didn´speak….how could we?

The trip home from Peterborough that sunny August day in 1983 was devoid of social niceties.

On occasion when the trolley lady would wheel her wares along the aisles, I would buy a bag of cheese and onion crisps along with a can of Fosters lager.The sound of me devastating those tasty Golden Wonders only deepened the chasm between the city gent and I.

I didn`t sleep on the journey home to Manchester, and the plentiful amount of noise pollution I served up, ensured my table company didn`t either.

“Next stop Manchester” came a female voice over the public address system.

I opened my mouth and emptied the few remaining crisps down my gullet, and then neatly folded the empty crisp bags, before inserting them into the 3 empty Foster`s  cans I had lined up in front of me.

As the train pulled into Manchester`s Piccadilly station, I stood up and removed my holdall from the luggage rack above my head.

The city gent was in nap mode, now that I was all crisped and lagered out.

He slept, oblivious to my departure.

His newspaper, now thinly covered in crisp droppings that had mysteriously made their way over from my side of the table. The only visible sign our paths had ever crossed.

A sign of The Times I thought to myself, before exiting the train.

 

An excerpt from Murray Mints first published in Salford Stories Anthology November 2016

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