Monday, July 5, 2010

Land's Edge Contest- 2nd Place- David Barber

David Barber lives, as he described to me in an email, a "stone throws away" from the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland. Being born is Scotland I thought to myself, "How cool, a fellow Scot" only to find in his bio that he was actually born and raised in Manchester. But that doesn't matter...he may as well be a Scot by the way he proudly speaks of his new home and promotes the region by posting regular photographs. Like so many of us trying to make our presence known in the writing world, David works as a self-employed tiler and still juggles the rest of his time with family, blogging and writing short stories.

David regularly posts gritty, noir-type stories to the #fridayflash scene and I have come to enjoy his 'working class-guy' style. I present now The Millennium Princess by David Barber, second place finisher in the Land's Edge flash fiction holiday contest. All I can tell you about this tale is that it occurs on the eve of the Millennium...and a princess is involved. Please give it a read and then talk amongst yourselves.

Note that the princess photo is courtesy of Costumes Inc. and you can link to their website here.

The Millennium Princess

“This is supposed to be a fancy dress party,” the Vampire at the door said, “What have you come as?”

I looked inside and saw all kinds of characters milling around, talking and dancing. I grabbed a woman and told her to jump on my back.

“There. I’ve come as a snail, and this is Michelle,” I said pointing to the laughing woman on my back. “Now get out of the way and let me in.”

The Vampire, speechless, stepped aside and I walked into the party. The woman jumped off my back and I thanked her, only realising as she walked away what a fine looking arse she had.

I made my way through the throng of people. Mary Queens of Scots was chatting to Charlie Chaplin while The Statue of Liberty was dancing with Batman. I’ve got to say, it was one of the best fancy dress parties I’d seen in a long time, probably because it was Millennium eve, though.

Anyway, I wasn’t there to assess the costumes, although one of the characters before me was of importance. You see, I’m in the private security business and, New Years Eve or not, I had a job to do: even if that meant being in the biggest gay club in London.

I made my way towards the bar area, the music bellowing out from the DJ’s platform to my right. Prince was telling everybody it was 1999.

No doubt in another hour or so, Robbie Williams will be telling us it’s a Millennium, I thought to myself as I approached the bar.

“A large whisky on ice,” I asked. The bartender, dressed as a cowboy got me my drink. As he turned to fill my glass from the optic two eyes, tattooed on his bare arse cheeks, stare back at me.

The barman turned and brought back my drink, a flirty smile on his face.

“It’s the tattoo’s mate, not your arse. Don’t flatter yourself.” I said, turning and leaning against the bar.

The place was buzzing, the music was thumping and I had a job to do. I scanned the faces around the room. Everyone was here. Marilyn Monroe was on the dance floor kissing with JFK, albeit two blokes. Elton John was getting down with David Bowie, while Madonna was dancing with the ugliest version of Wonder Woman I had ever seen. The usual fancy dress suspects adorned the rest of the place.

I walked away from the bar, sipping at my drink. I got a few stares from guests, as my attire quite obviously didn’t blend in with the general theme of things. The Village People, one by one, filed out of the toilets to my right. Almost in unison they wiped white powder from their noses, sniffing loudly as they passed me.

‘There’ll be no stopping the music for them tonight,’ I thought, draining the rest of my drink. I left my empty glass on a table I passed.

I knew who I was looking for, but at the moment my target was nowhere in sight. I made my way round the room, rubbing shoulders with every celebrity under the sun. I checked my watch.


Desperate times called for desperate measures. I had to cause a commotion. I walked straight into the main crowd of revellers and started ripping masks off of the people who wore them. Screams and yells of protests were drowned out by the music the DJ was playing. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my target. I should have guessed, the costume was so obvious. Cinderella made her way to the back exit and I followed as quickly as I could. She ran awkwardly in her stiletto’s, holding the huge dress up with both hands. It was a comical sight.

As I reached the back of the club, I saw the emergency exit closing shut. I ran, caught it before it closed and stepped out into the cold night air. Fifty or so yards away a figure stood leaning against the wall on the other side of the alleyway, smoke bellowing from its mouth. I walked towards the person I’d come for.

“It’s getting close to midnight,” I said.

“Yes, and I’m going to turn back into a little slave girl when the clock strikes twelve,” The figure dropped its cigarette and ground it into the concrete with a stiletto clad foot. “OK, Prince Charming, I’m coming.”

“I think that’s best, Prime Minister.” I advised.

The End.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Barber was born and bred in Manchester, England, but now lives in Crieff, Scotland with his wife and two daughters. He wrote some years ago but was inspired to write again by the beauty that surrounds him in Scotland. His writing has been published on Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, A Twist Of Noir, Blink Ink, New Flesh and on his own blog,


Cathy Olliffe said...

Girls just want to have fun and so do prime ministers. Couldn't the security bloke have just let him/her have a few more hours of fun before being thrown back to the righteous political hearth?
And I have to hand it to him for wearing the stilettos - they're hard to find in larger sizes and they hurt like hell.
Congratulations David, your story is La Cage Aux Folles meets Patriot Games. Fun twist at the end, well-written throughout. You are totally deserving of this most honourable honour.

Mike Wilkerson said...

David, you've got one hell of an imagination. That's one the most original stories I've read in a long, long time. Sweet!

David Cranmer said...

I enjoyed the way you described the atmoshere of the party.

Michael Solender said...

Oh My!

Sue H said...

I did wonder if the stiletto heels would be a problem!

Nice atmosphere created - liked the musical references - and a great twist. Never trust politicians!!

Well done, David, a good read, as per usual and
a worthy winner!

David Barber said...

Thanks guys. It's probably not in everyones taste, but it was a fun write. As uusal, I started the story not really knowing where it was going and ended up with the PM. We had a party on Milleniuim Eve and I remembered seeing the worlds celebrations on the TV and was surprised at how 'fake' the smile looked on the, then, PM's face. Saying that, don't all MP's smiles look fake!!

Anyway, thanks all and thanks to Alan and the judges. :-)

David Barber said...

Col, you're too kind mate. Glad you liked it.

Mike Robertson said...

Sweet little tale David. Nicely paced and very colorful setting. Congrats.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I really enjoyed the tale. But felt sorry for the Prime Minister. No one likes a party pooper. You made me believe and laugh at the same time. Great job, Roland

Crybbe666 said...

David, as crackling as this story was, the eyes have it - the tattoos on the bartenders ass had me in stitches, especially the line afterwards "Don't flatter yourself". Lucky he didnt wink at the protag!!

Erin Cole said...

Congrats, David - you're honin' that voice. Great piece!

Glenn Gray said...

Funny flash, David. Congrats...

Chris Allinotte said...

Really fun story David.

I loved the ending - you took an amusing flash, and gave us a finish that was also clever, but gave just a hint of the bitter-sweet wistfulness that so many of the truly powerful must feel from time to time.

Great job.

Bukowski's Basement said...

David... you knocked this one outta the park.

Beach Bum said...

As usual David's stories totally rock!

Lee Hughes said...

Brilliantly funny Dave, great going!!

David Barber said...

Mike, Roland, Paul, Erin & Glenn. Thanks for your kind words and I'm very happy that you enjoyed my story.

Alan Griffiths said...

A cracking tale David, funny and very original.

Sounds like a great party, although typical of our politicians, I bet the whole lot went on expenses! Really well done mate.

Kind regards.

David Barber said...

Mike - Thanks for your comments. I look forward to reading some of your flash fiction.

Roland - Glad you liked it. Thanks.

Paul - "wink, wink". Thanks mate.

Erin - As ever, thanks for you comments.

Glenn - Cheers! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

katey said...

I enjoyed that-- very entertaining, and the voice was a fun one through which to experience it.

Mental_Pictures said...

I was blind sided by this one, very funny I thought it was going in one direction when in actual fact it was racing off in the heels no less!

Loved this story.


K.Hinny said...

Sorry I did not get to this story yesterday. This was GREAT! I loved the ending. I was ginning like crazy! Thanks for the entertainment!

Happy writing!

ganymeder said...

Pure gold!

David Barber said...

Katey, Mental, Kara & Ganymeder - Thanks so much for your comments. I had a lot of fun writing this story and I'm glad you had as much fun reading it.

Jodi MacArthur said...

I'm so late to this whole freakin party aka Contest! Argh. I saw David's name here so I had to come read in on the fun. And FUN describes this story. His voice is commanding and spot on. Great story.

kathryn said...

I'd no idea Cinderella was prone to stilettos. Combines the good/bad girl, I guess. Great story!

David Barber said...

Jodi & Kathryn - Thanks and I'm pleased that you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

MRMacrum said...

Very clever David. Well written. You have a story to be proud of. Reminds me of a scandal in GB from the 1960s.