I never got that joke as a kid. The answer is a newspaper.
What’s yellow and dangerous?
(shark infested custard)
which maybe explains why I enjoy the surreal. But news and headlines and stuff left me cold until my late teens. I guess it is the same with many, isn’t it?
Then, of course, the sort of punning headlines the delight of tabloid journalists appealed more than the content itself. And finally aged 17 I looked beneath the headlines into that content and began to engage with stories.
Charli Mills, over at the Carrot Ranch, has offered us this prompt:
July 29, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is ripped from the headlines. Look at local, regional or global news. You can link to an article if you choose to. Put your own fictional twist on it to make it unique to your story-telling.
I’ve read two blog pieces in the last couple of days that are on the subject of female oppression. I have a daughter aged 22 and every example I read, see, hear about the continuation about the power crazed masculinity of nearly every society grates with me a little more each time. It’s like a piece of grit in my shoe, grinding away at my tolerance levels and leaving me annoyed, then angered and then furious. At me. At those times I’ve walked on, stood by, condoned, engaged – as a younger man – in the ‘harmless’ banter . The blog posts are here, from Serins, about her Namibian experiences, and here, from Suzie at Suzie Speaks. They are largely aimed, I suspect at a listening sisterhood but it is the boy’s club that should pay most attention.
It is the headline Suzie mentions that is my theme. The Empty Chair; check the story here. The chair is for each abused woman who has remained in the shadows of a society that treats her as the problem; a society where daily the experience of the young woman in the video below is commonplace; so commonplace in fact that most of us let the behaviour pass, yet which both as individual acts and in aggregate may leave the recipient nervy, on edge and vulnerable.
An empty chair
‘Don’t sit there.’ Rupert, her half-brother’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. ‘It’s for… It’s her’s.’
Mary knew he meant Sharon, their long missing sister, without him saying. ‘Why Rupert? Are you doing this for me? Because you don’t…’
‘No.’ He spoke sharply. ‘For you, me, her, dad…’
‘He’s a victim, too.’
‘He’s the reason…’
‘No, Mary. We don’t know, do we? Not all the whys and whatevers.’
‘He abandoned her. I know it. I…’
‘You don’t know. You can’t. And until we find her, her story, our story, that chair will remind us not to judge.’
To follow Mary’s story in full click here.