I recently found this short silly piece I wrote in response to a workshop talk on ‘Clichés. It wasn’t intended to refute the idea that we should avoid cliché, rather it was a paean of praise to those phrases which roll so well off both tongue and pen that they rise to the hallowed heights of universal usage; i.e. cliché. I think this is mildly amusing as it is and it was only ever intended as a short piece to loosen the atmosphere at the next meeting. But as I read it, neatly filed in ‘exercises’ I was filled with an unsettling feeling that this wasn’t really it. The more I ignored it, the more bits of the rest came back to me. There was definitely more. Indeed I can remember bits of narrative; going upstairs, a fight, emerging from the house now surrounded by police. But can I find a longer version?
I’ve given up searching. I’ve checked my file records for this blog, I’ve had a trawl through it online, I’ve searched key sections on Google, I’ve racked my brains for what I might have called a longer version and looked through my electronic files but I can’t find anything even close.
It’s not something I’m going to work on to make a story, the plotting was entirely subservient to the form but I’d quite like to find it if only to see what other clichés I managed to think of and squeeze in.
In the meantime:
In a nutshell, the unvarnished truth was, the place scared the wits out of me. But as my father always said, I’m as stubborn as a mule, so I held my head up high and put my best foot forward. It was my moment of truth and I had to make the best of a bad situation. Girding my loins despite my knees knocking like a pair of castanets I raised the knocker and let it fall with an ominous thud.
Answer came there none, but taking my life in my hands I pushed open the door. It gave an eldritch scream and the hairs on the back of my neck rose on end.
‘Is there anybody there?’ I shouted into the echoing void. A deathly silence greeted my enquiry. ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I thought, and taking the bull by the horns I crossed the point of no return. I let the door swing closed behind me and as I did so the guttering candle that lit my way sputtered into oblivion in the draught.
Icy fingers played along my spine, and an iron fist clenched around my heart, scaring me stiff. Not a second too soon I remembered it isn’t over ‘til the fat lady sings and in the nick of time I found my lighter. The candle once more cast an ethereal glow, chasing the shadows into far corners.
‘That was too close for comfort’ I said to myself and wished I had had the sense I was born with and hit the trail right there and then. It was no good. I was already in too deep and I had to push on. Staying still was going backwards and if I didn’t have the guts to find the cure, going forwards I’d find myself with full blown Acquired Politician Expression Syndrome all over me.