So, I have joined a weekly writing group, and I have been twice. It is the most fun I have had in ages. We do writing exercises with prompts and play writing games. Tonight’s exercise was about structure in 5 bouts of 5 minute writing spurts, but we had to include suggestions, drawn from piles, for two characters, a setting, an event and an object, as well as 5 random prompts for each five minute session. Intense. And really hard. But I was thrilled with my effort, which took about 25 minutes of writing. Here it is, in its raw, unedited form. Let me know what you think.
Koala Dave and Baby
The Koala ran. Down the path with the pink baby bag slung over his shoulder and his big bobble head bouncing up and down on his chest and chin with every clumsy step. In his arms was the baby, swaddled so tightly and silent.
Koala opened the car door and flung the bag onto the passenger seat. He heard a voice. “I am a cactus. Cactus.”
A goddamn soft toy with a voice, activated by the force of the flinging. Koala jumped into the car and his giant koala head squeezed up against the roof and sun visor, the baby held up and towards the steering wheel. It was a disaster.
What first? Koala put the baby on top of the passenger seat and took off his head.
Koala breathed in and took stock. He had been a committed couch potato, getting by on the barest minimum until his neighbours Ed and Eileen had immigrated and Z had moved into their flat which shared walls with his. Before he had been Koala, Dave had just been IT guy Dave. And then he had seen that Facebook post, and the accompanying video. The turnaround had been massive. Dave became a vegan overnight and had joined Voice of the Animals, a guerrilla vegan movement dedicated to upsetting and destabilising the status quo, and publicising the abuse and slaughter of animals. Each one of this small group of extreme activists had a costume, and Dave had inherited the Koala suit because of his size.
Koala Dave checked himself the rear-view mirror. His pupils were dilated. He had no way of knowing when Z would be coming home and was panicked about sitting there for too long. Tiny, gentle snores were coming from the cuddly blanket. Where were the car keys? He had a moment of doubt and fear. What the actual fuck was he doing, especially since it was Survivor night on TV, and he had saved all of The Handmaid’s Tale on his hard drive for binge watching. He felt the sharp prick of the keys under his bum.
The damn car wouldn’t start. He tried again, pumping the accelerator and puffing out in little ‘come on, come on’ breaths. It jumped into life and jerked forward, almost stalling. He heard an intake of breath from the blanket and held his own before putting the car into gear and driving away. Twenty minutes later he arrived at the disused wine cellar at the back of the Green Hotel, HQ of the VoA. He parked the car, turned off the headlights and blinked. Bodies came out of the shadows. Someone opened his door. Someone opened the passenger door. “Be careful” said Koala Dave weakly.
Inside the small crowd of ten people gathered around the table.
The tightly wrapped blanket bundle took centre stage. “Which way is up?” whispered the gentle voice of Ferret Sandy. Koala Dave shrugged. Ferret Sandy moved towards the bundle and gently peeled away the corner. Tiny black eyes in a soft, pink face stared back. “She had left him alone all day again. I couldn’t stand the whimpering. I stole him. Oh god, thank you for helping me, him. Meet Ollie the baby pig.” Ollie’s snout emerged and snuffled Ferret Sandy’s outstretched hand.