Creative writing task 2
How to write fiction in two easy steps:
“construct a great big confection of fibs and use it to get to the truth”
“elicit common human experience from something that is imagined – largely lies”
So, with the instruction largely “to concretise a lie and turn it into a story” here’s what I came up with. Oh, I should also add that the bones of the narrative were very kindly provided by the Brothers Grimm (The Companionship of the Cat and the Mouse).
Better together in post-Brexit Britain
An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Italian were looking for a flat in London. The rents were so expensive they eventually came to the conclusion that the only way to find a place would be to share. As much as they hated the idea of having to live with an imperialist master, a jock or an itai (delete as appropriate), the three went ahead and signed the rental contract, agreeing that they would each contribute in equal parts to the household bills, would share their food but would also cough up before they scoffed up.
It certainly wasn’t an easy time for the three to be sharing a flat. Despite sharing the British Isles for over 300 years, the English and the Scots still couldn’t agree whose turn it was to take the rubbish out and, while the Italian used to be friends with everyone, he wasn’t sure whose side to take now that the English had decided to leave Europe but the Scots had voted to stay.
Clinging to their national customs, each brought something traditional with them for the dark, winter months ahead. They were supposed to be sharing their food with each other, in fact, they had signed an agreement to split everything right down the middle. The Englishman brought a crate of craft ale but decided it was too great to share with the others. So, instead, he stashed it in his Range Rover and hid the key in the union jack teapot on the mantelpiece. The Italian brought some red wine that his mamma had made him and hid it in his nonno’s battered old suitcase, a 1950s leather model like the one Mastroianni had carried in La Dolce Vita. The Scotsman had brought a supply of square sausage, black pudding and a bottle of Irn Bru. Again, he decided it was far too expensive to share with the others and hid it all in shortbread tins under the bed.
It wasn’t long before they started feeling homesick. The Englishman went to the Scotsman and the Italian and said, “As a world power, I have to go and make world peace. It’s a difficult task but someone must do it. I’ll be back in a few days.” Oh, that sounds very humanitarian, see you soon, the Scotsman and the Italian replied. The Englishman went away, dropped some bombs, toppled a dictator, killed a million people, destabilized a continent then sneaked into the garage on his way back to drink all his I-made-Britain-great-again beer.
Time passed and the Scotsman started thinking more and more about the sausage and Irn Bru under his bed. He said to the Englishman and the Italian, “I have to go to Glasgow for a very important meeting. Everyone I know will be there.” “Well,” said the Englishman and the Italian, “if it’s important then you’ve got to go. You can’t let your friends down.” Off the Scotsman went, and when he was done marching for independence in George Square, protesting outside BBC Scotland about anti-Scots bias on the television and stacking shelves in the local food bank, he felt quite hungry. So when he got back to London, he headed straight to his bedroom where he scoffed all the sausage and black pudding and washed it down with greedy gulps of Irn Bru.
The Italian was doing all right until he caught the Euros on television and started thinking about how he used to play football with his cousins in the square as a child while the grown ups crushed grapes in their bare feet in the cantina. He rushed straight for nonno’s old suitcase, gulped down three bottles of mamma’s red wine while singing O Sole Mio and dreaming of Italy.
When winter set in, money had started to run out, and the three flatmates were getting hungry. The time had come to draw on the supplies they each knew the others had brought with them. On finding that there was nothing left in his Land Rover, the Englishman immediately cried that his beer was gone and it must’ve been the immigrants. He’d heard that foreigners were coming to the country to steal their jobs, so they’d obviously stolen his ale as well. When the shortbread tins under the Scotsman’s bed also turned out to be empty, the Scotsman turned and pointed his finger at the Englishman, accusing him of stealing not only his Irn Bru but also his country’s future, imposing on Scotland his unionist will and imperialist dictatorship. Not to mention having bribed the Scottish nobles and tricked them into signing the 1707 Act of Union. While the Englishman and the Scotsman argued over whether to blame the immigrants or each other, the Italian finally finished his phone call, put down his mobile phone and invited them all over to dinner at his mamma’s. After all, London was so expensive, they’d run out of food, and they really were going to have to sort out all that Brexit business. Why not over an Aperol Spritz and some dolce vita?