Welcome to Hot Potato!
8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story
Here’s the second fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story this time featuring potato/writer GAIL ALDWIN who is taking Ben’s ‘beginning’ and continuing the story however she likes….. In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s great beginning here. Here’s Gail’s contribution:
Sitting on the beach, the stones lumpy underneath her, Chloe took another lick of ice-cream. The Mr Whippy slid down her throat, cold enough to choke her. Dad pelted pebbles at the empty can. He said the first drink of the day always brought him luck. Clonk, clonk, clonk. Being patient wasn’t in Dad’s nature and Chloe realised she didn’t have long to finish the cornet. Twisting her tongue and swallowing focused her attention. When she was done, she rubbed the sticky remains from her fingers onto her jeans.
‘That’s my girl.’ Dad flung his arm around Chloe’s shoulders and gave her a shake so that her head flopped from side to side. She giggled, it was his way of being friendly. When the sun peeped around the clouds, Chloe enjoyed the warmth. It wasn’t often that Dad brought her to the beach. Sunday’s usually involved trailing after him as he did the round of pubs to see his mates. She got a packet of crisps at each place and by the end of the day, she’d tasted the whole range of flavours.
‘Can we go on the pier?’ She hoped to make the most of this good mood.
‘If you like. I’ll give you a ride on the dodgems.’
‘But I don’t want to go on that pier.’ Chloe remembered the last time. Dad had spun the wheel one-handed and driven the wrong way around the track. He’d collided with every other driver and Chloe was so jolted by the end, that her head ached and her legs wouldn’t work properly. ‘I want to go on the other one.’
‘No-one goes there. It’s all broken and it closed down years ago. Look at it, one big wave and the whole thing will go under.’
‘That means we should go now. I could find a gap in the fence. It’d be much more fun.’
‘Not likely.’ Dad took a second can from the pack and springing back the ring, it hissed. He took a few glugs then turned his face to the sun and he closed his eyes. ‘Think I’ll have a little nap.’ He flopped back onto the stones, and the beer spilt.
Chloe stared at the old pier, hunched above the waves and she listened to the rattle of her Dad’s breathing. It’d be hours before he was ready to move, so Chloe made a plan. Dad wouldn’t mind if she checked out the pier. He might even be pleased if she discovered a secret entrance. He couldn’t complain then. Not that he usually minded jumping over barriers. He did it often enough at the train station to avoid paying the fare. Turning Dad’s wrist, Chloe read the time on his watch. If she came back within the hour, he’d never know she’d been gone.
The stones crunched as she walked towards the promenade and she skipped along the path to the pier’s entrance. Squeezing between the struts of fencing, Chloe wiggled through to the other side. She took pigeon steps along the planks and headed for the first building. With the door swinging off its hinges, it gave a sort of welcome.
Gail Aldwin enjoys writing short fiction as relief from the slog of completing a novel. In What the Dickens? magazine, she has a regular column that answers writers’ questions. Thanks to a competition win, her collection of flash fiction titled Four Buses is available now. You can find Gail at http://gailaldwin.wordpress.com/ and @gailaldwin
Gail's text was passed to aksania xenogrette on Friday. The next instalment of our short story will be on Monday 27th May. It will be exciting to see where aksania goes with what Gail has set up! FYI. The writers are progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. The writers can take the story wherever they want. >>