So, flash-fiction fun was had by a discerning crowd at midday yesterday in the leafy environs of Barnet, when we took a slimmed down version of our rocking good show to the North London Literary Festival: http://northlondonlitfest.com/2014/03/07/jukebox-story-flash-fiction/
I am pleased to announce that on the day there were several firsts: The first double-whammy-winner in Juke Box Story history. Nick Black took the £50 cash prize for best story as chosen by the audience but also won the ‘best first line competition.’ You’ll be able to read his story in just a sec, but first here’s his winning first line, which will make sense when I tell you that it needed to be the first line of a composite literary genre, a misery memoir written by a celebrity chef – and Nick wrote:
‘My father sold me for a pack of Knorr chicken stock cubes which, I had to concede, was a more than sensible trade.’
Well done Nick!
Here follows his winning story, I Am What I Am, inspired by the Gloria Gaynor gay anthem with the same title. I hope you enjoy reading Nick’s story as much as we all did….
I AM WHAT I AM – Nick Black
I am what I am, I am my own special creation. First editing Nature’s mistype with the white-out of Mum’s make up. Then tonsorial experiments, sartorial over-elegance, a wiggle added to walk and talk that caught people’s breaths like burrs on a bush.
As the millennium burnt itself out and we tiny competitive stars strove to flare with light, cosmetics moved from powders and grease smears to the sharp-tongued touch of the medical and surgical, kissing my skin, my body opening up.
‘I admire your guts’ gasped a client, mouth inches away from them. ‘What imagination’, sighed another, atremble. Credit my clever accountants, I thought.
But the value of investments can go up as well as down. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Gravity tugged. Cells collapsed.
So in came the implants.
I am now in the tiresome process of leaving physical form entirely. Each day, my plastic lungs exhale my voice into microphones while cameras capture, catch what they can. Lasers nib my profile.
All of these files will eventually corrupt, disintegrate. Bits and bytes of me’ll drift through the networks, bright plankton in black oceans. I’ll be everywhere. I can’t wait.
Anyhow, back to the firsts: It was the first time we’d condensed the two and a half hour show into one hour. Which, by the way, we did to the minute. High Five us! And, it was also the first time we had a submission from a fourteen year old storyteller, who also happened to be Macedonian. Yet another first. And one that deserves a bit of recognition, so, here’s a chance to read Adrijana Peicinovska’s story too…
Bad boy and good girl relationship.
Definitely the biggest cliché ever. And the dream relationship for me, the nerd. So when the schools bad boy offers to fulfill my bucket list, I’m ecstatic. The nerdy me that never skipped class in her life, was suddenly introduced in the life of a bad boy. Riding death traps known as motorbikes, and doing the most reckless things ever weren’t as reckless as falling in love with a bad boy named Derek.
He was sweet, charming, a little pervy, and a hell big of an eye-candy.
Life was looking up. My life wasn’t boring and I had a handsome boy by my side, until the day I decided that I should tell my feelings to Derek.
That was the worst day of my existence.
Derek, the bad boy which I spend my last year with, was lying to me all along.
Derek was supposedly dared to make me fall for him, and he succeeded.
My love was suddenly turned to an emotionless jerk. Sleepless nights and flashbacks were filling my days until I decided it was enough. If he could break my heart, then I will break his, as impossible as it sounds.
(Inspired by: Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away”)
After the show…so much going on, being filmed, being interviewed, preparing to read for the keynote speaker David Nicholls at 6pm. YES. DAVID. NICHOLLS. Which meant that my post-Juke-Box-Story period turned into a bit of a blur…. but the reading from One Day at the festival’s closing event went very well indeed, with Mr Nicholls describing it as ‘beautifully done’. Thank you Mr Nicholls. You are an artist and a gentleman. There is a snap of himself and me after the event to prove it really happened and if I can bring myself to, I shall post that in due course too. Now though, time for a rest……