Every few weeks when my colleague Máire T. Robinson is away, I jump at the chance to facilitate the Ink Slingers’ creative writing class, which starts at 1.30pm (sharp!) and runs for about an hour/half. It’s free, is taught by volunteers and staff at the Centre and usually includes writing exercises and prompts to get ideas flowing. Open to everyone, it’s suitable for all levels of experience. They are a super bunch of people, very mixed, dedicated…I’m constantly amazed at what they can get done in such a short time. Last week we played around with writing in accents: using A Story About Little Rabbits as inspiration: ‘W’en old man Rabbit say ‘scoot,’ dey scooted, en w’en ole Miss Rabbit say ‘scat,’ dey scatted. Dey did dat. En dey kep’ der cloze clean, and day ain’t had no smut on der nose nudder,’ as well as looking at contemporary writers such as Irvine Welsh and Mia Gallagher, whose book Hell Fire is a really great example of how to write dialect well. The results were hilarious and inspiring. Some (in my opinion) were already on the way to being quirky short stories worthy of publication in any decent literary rag-mag.
I was the first into the Botanic Gardens that day and there she was, her legs wrapped around one of those strange mountainous plants from Borneo with a note around her neck that said:
‘All you that live inside the bin, beneath the lid that keeps you in, beware, the man is coming.’
I thought: ‘That’s odd, you don’t expect to find a dead girl, wrapped around plants in the Botanic Gardens every day. She must have seriously pissed somebody off, or maybe she’s a random killing by some twisted monster. God knows there’s enough twisted monsters about these days”
“I suppose I should report this to somebody” Then I remembered Ownie’s saying “It’s a wise man, who on finding a dead body, says nothing and goes on about his business”.
On the other hand she’s somebody’s rearing as the old Dublin saying goes, so here goes.
Who to report to? The gardeners are hardly the best equipped to deal with this and there’s never a Garda about when you need one. I am struck by a novel idea, ‘Why not call the fuzz on my mobile phone?’
Removing my all singing all dancing new iPhone from an inner pocket I realise the I haven’t turned the damn thing on. What’s even more ridiculous I don’t know how to turn it on.
I know, I’ll ask a passing child, they are good at this sort of stuff. On the other hand what if the kid is switching on my phone and the killer comes back? He or she might take it into their head to add the child, and me, to their macabre collection.
The more I think about this the wiser Ownie’s saying looks. As I look around the immediate area I notice that it is deserted except for me and the corpus delecti. Now feeling terribly exposed I retreat into a nearby green house. Then I notice that it has only one door. If the killer returns I’ll be trapped in here. Suddenly there’s the sound of something coming along the gravel path outside. Peering over the sill of the window, whilst attempting to keep undercover I see a figure approaching, pushing a wheelbarrow. This might be the killer returning to take the body and dispose of it in a safer location. The androgynous figure is wearing a voluminous, hooded rain coat and limping heavily.
Now seriously concerned I commence to stab all the buttons on the phone in a hopeless attempt to spark it into life.
Suddenly it breaks into a very loud rendition of Ravel’s bolero. I gaze at it in horror, only to find that by some miracle, comparable to the monkeys typing Shakespeare, the bloody thing is now awake.
Being kind of well struck in years I tremblingly type 999 into the phone. Nothing happens, is the blasted thing acting up or malfunctioning in some way. Oh yes I need to press send, I remember now.
The voice at the other end says: ”What service may I connect you to?” I reply “There’s a dead body in the Botanic Gardens”. The voice at the other end says, “You’ll have to speak up, I thought you said something about a dead body?”
“I can’t speak up he might hear me”.
“I thought you said he was dead?”
“Not him, her. I think he’s the killer”.
“Sir, I’m about to terminate this call. It’s a serious offence to make crank calls you know, and we have your number on our call recognition system”.
“No don’t do that, he or she is just outside the door and I might be next!”