Thursday, 3 January 2008

Writing Competition

About once a month a Forum Site that I sometimes visit, has a writing competition. It is a small community, and there are usually about 4-6 entries. The entries are criticised and praised and there is always a winner that may choose the subject for the next competition. I enjoy writing and like taking part, just to see how good (or bad) my writing is. This time we were given the subject of "The Pipe" and had to use various words such as the devil, and tin hat. I really only take part for the fun of it, and here is my entry for the last competition.

The Pipe

Jim, what’s that noise I can hear“

“I can’t hear anything, Annie, must be your imagination”

“Typical, I think if an atom bomb went off next door, Jim would still think that someone dropped a paper handkerchief”

“Annie, did you say anything”.

“No, no, just talking to myself – as usual”

“Now, don’t be silly, if you worked in a factory all day long, your hearing wouldn’t be so good any more either”.

Annie decided to have another try. There was a metallic clanking noise somewhere in the heating and she was sure things were not normal. It was Summer and the heating had not been switched on for the last three months.

“Jim, there seems to be a noise coming from the pipe leading to the radiator. I am sure there is something moving in there.”

“In other words I should take the whole thing apart just to keep you happy. It might just be a mouse that took the wrong turning and found his way into the heating. Just leave him there, he’ll probably find his way out eventually. I mean it’s just a mouse and not the devil taking a walk to see what things are like outside of hell”.

“Jim, it might be just a mouse, but it sounds like he is armed with a sword and tin hat from the noise he’s making and if he doesn’t find the way out, he will probably take his last breath in our heating, die and start smelling by the time Winter comes”.

Jim was beginning to loose patience with Annie. She could really go on sometimes about things that were just not important. At the moment the first priority in Jim’s life was to study the horses in the newspaper to see who was going to win at one of the race meetings. After all, that was a complicated mathematical equation he had to sort out and he really didn’t want to be occupied with the life and death of a stupid mouse that had taken the wrong turning.

“Jim, are you listening to me, take your nose out of that newspaper and do something”

“Annie, give me a piece of cheese”

“A piece of cheese, now why do you need a piece of cheese?”

“Mice like cheese, so if I put a piece of cheese next to the radiator, the mouse will be tempted to come out and then we can get rid of him” and Jim returned to his newspaper.

“Jim, I think you have made a mistake with your brilliant idea. We don’t know how the mouse got into the pipe, so how do we know where to put the cheese. Perhaps you would shift your …..”

“Shift my what? Woman just leave me in peace. Do you really think I am going to turn my quiet Saturday afternoon upside down just because of a mouse. We don’t even know if it is a mouse, now do we?”

“That’s true Jim, but if you can’t be bothered to do more than just put a piece of cheese next to the pipes, we will never know, will we – at least not until Winter when the house will probably be smelling of fried mouse. It might even be a rat.”

“OK, OK, no peace for the wicked as they say. I will get the spanner, open the heating and see if something runs out.”

“And what are you planning to do when the mouse or rat runs out. You will have to have something else in your hands than the daily newspaper to kill it with. Take a book off the shelf, the dictionary is the heaviest we have. Where are you going now Jim. I thought you was going to do something about the mouse?”.

“First of all I have to go and turn the water off, I don’t think we want our poor little mouse or rat to drown when I open the heating, now do we?”

“There’s no need to get sarcastic.”

So Jim went to the cellar and turned off the heating and came back to the living room with a spanner. He then started to loosen the joint between the radiator and the pipe.

“Where are you going woman, I might need some help”.

“Thought I would put the kettle on for a cup of tea”, said Annie although she did not really like the idea of a mouse, or even worse a rat, running free in the house, so decided it was time to disappear into the kitchen.

“Typical” thought Jim “All I wanted was a quiet afternoon working out my bets on the horses, and now I have to dismantle the heating to find a mouse, which probably doesn’t even exist.”

Jim turned the spanner and with a jerk he dislodged the pipe which crashed onto the floor breaking into two pieces.

“What’s the noise Jim, anything happen?”

“No nothing happened, except that I fell flat on my back with a spanner in my hands and the pipe broke into two pieces.”

“Did the mouse come out?”

“I don’t know Annie, everything went a bit too fast to see if the mouse came out, All I know is that we now have a radiator and a broken pipe which I will have to be replaced by the local maintenance men and my quiet afternoon is one big catastrophe.”

“But you must have noticed if there was a mouse in the radiator pipes, I mean they do leave traces”

“Sorry, Annie, but the only traces I have seen up to now are rusty water stains on the carpet and ,a piece of cheddar cheese squashed by the weight of a heavy dictionary that fell off the shelf.”

“Why didn’t you call me, I could have helped.”

“I didn’t want to disturb while you were making a pot of tea.”

As repair men are, they don’t always come when called, but eventually after a week of waiting the radiator was replaced together with a new length of pipe costing what Jim thought was a fortune.

Two evenings later Jim was filling out his football coupon when Annie called.

“Jim, can you hear that noise in the heating pipe – a sort of scraping sound”

Jim did plead not guilty at the trial, but the jury found that the cause of the injuries on his wife’s skull could not result from the fact that the spanner had only fallen out of Jim’s hands as he had tripped on the carpet on the way back from the cellar after turning the water off. There seemed to be quite a force used to cause her skull to break in two places and Jim was eventually sentenced to ten years for murder. He became quite well known in prison for having the best collection of trained mice in his cell.

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