Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 16

It was ten thirty by the time Stephen got home. He parked his car in his usual spot at the front of the building and let himself in with his passkey. As he opened the door to his flat he heard a voice from behind.

'You keep stranger hours than me, Stephen.'

Stephen turned, a big smile across his face.

'I've been to a special meeting of my writers club, for some reason they want me on the committee.'

'It's nice to be wanted,' said Charlie. 'You're very much wanted here too, my laptop has lost the plot, could you have a look at it please? I wouldn't bother you at this time of night usually, but there's a report on it that I need tomorrow, I'll be for the high jump if I don't hand it in on time.'

'No worries, I'll take a look at it now.'

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 15

Ted and Jacky helped to shoehorn Margot into the back of Stephen's car. The other club members stood around offering advice, some of it, comic, some of it, (mainly from the student element,) very sound.

'How are you going to get her out, at the other end?' asked Ted.

'I've phoned ahead, Margot's husband, Gordon, will be waiting for me at the front gate, he's done this before, once or twice.'

'It's very kind of you, Stephen,' said Harriet. 'I'd have never managed her on my own.'

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 14

During the drinks break Stephen chatted to a few of the members while Harriet, Ted and Margot discussed the agenda for the second half of the meeting. Margot made frequent trips to the bar to, 'settle her nerves.'

The anger level among the members had lowered from seething, to simmering. Stephen chatted about his writing and work and a few people asked him for a business card. He was listening to a young man's recollection of a university, anti-management demonstration, when Jacky Collins passed him a bottle of lager and nodded towards an empty corner of the room.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 13

Stephen returned to room one to find that Ted and Harriet had finished setting out the chairs. Half a dozen members stood in a group chatting quietly as they waited for the meeting to start. Stephen walked across to join them but was called over by Harriet.

'I have a message for you from Deirdre.' She fumbled in her bag and bought out a folded piece of paper. 'This is her number, could you give her a call?'

Stephen took the note, scanned it quickly and put it in his top pocket.

'Of course I can. Any idea what it's about?'

'I think she is considering climbing into bed with the Devil,' said Harriet.

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 12

At seven fifteen, Stephen pulled into one of the two available spaces in the car park at the rear of the writers club. He was just about to enter the building when he heard a toot from behind. He turned to find Ted Hughes leaning out of his car window.

'Can you move it please, that's my spot.'

'Sorry,' said Stephen. 'I wasn't aware the places were pre-booked.'

'They aren't,' replied Ted. 'It's etiquette, I've been parking in that spot since Hilda died.'

Stephen thought about telling Ted where to stick his etiquette, but decided against it. There was no point in getting on the wrong side of a committee member before the meeting had even started.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Westwich Writers Club.11

Stephen had a pub lunch before making his way back to the shop. He arrived at 2:00pm to hear riotous laughter emanating from the workshop.

'It's been like that all morning,' said Carole with a shake of her head. 'Mel and Mark have really hit it off.'

'As long as the work's getting done.'

Stephen walked into the workshop, the laughter ceased immediately.

'Afternoon, Boss,' said Mel as she wiped her eyes.

'Sounds like I've missed a good joke,' said Stephen.

'Not really,' said Mel. 'Mark was just telling me about the time he lost his shorts at the swimming pool.'

Stephen grinned.

'It's happened to most men at some stage in their lives. The baggier the shorts the easier they come off when you hit the water.'

'Mark's came off half way between the diving board and the pool.' Mel began to laugh again. 'He hit the water as he was trying to pull them up.'

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Westwich Writers Club.10

At ten thirty on Tuesday morning, Stephen punched Margot's postcode into his Sat-Nav and allowed 'Betty' to guide him through the well heeled, suburbs of Westwich. Spring had just about sprung, there were green buds on most of the trees and the snowdrops on the roundabouts had been replaced by tulips and daffodils.

Stephen wound down his window and turned up the volume as the Eagles sang about their night at the Hotel California. At the Sat-Nav's command Stephen turned off the main road onto a narrow country lane, half a mile later he came to a huge, red brick, Victorian farm house and was advised that he had reached his destination. He pulled up at the side of an open, five barred gate, turned off the engine, grabbed the small bag containing his computer toolkit and crunched his way up the gravel drive, still humming along to the Eagles.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 9

By Saturday morning, Stephen had decided he was going to need another pair of hands to help get the new computers built. He thought about contacting the job centre but then remembered Mark. He pulled out his mobile and dialled the stored number.

'Mark? It's Stephen King, the man you rescued the other night. I wonder if you could help me out again? I may have some work for you if you're interested. It would only be a temporary position, but it would give you something to add to your CV.'

He smiled as heard Mark's reply.

'I sort of hoped you'd say that. Look, I know it's short notice and I know it's Saturday, but do you think you could come into town this morning for a chat? I'll show you what we need help with and you can see the set up we have here...You can? Great stuff, I'm here until one. Cat Computers, on Bradfield Road...'

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 8

'Croissant and a coffee to take away?'

Sharon poured the coffee without waiting for a reply and bagged up the pastry. Stephen tried to look glum.

'Am I so predictable? One of these days I'll order something different just to confuse you.'

'Women like a bit of predictability in a man, it usually means they're dependable too. That can never be a bad thing.'

'I thought you girls like the excitement of unpredictability in men? The bad boys always seem to do better with women than the dependable types.'

Sharon thought for a moment.

'Hmm, you're right. Mind you, I don't think you'd be quite as predictable as you are in your breakfast habits. I reckon you'd be a bit of a challenge, Stephen. That's something else we women like.'

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 7

At ten o'clock, Stephen got up from his word processor and made coffee. The program had been open for forty minutes but the new page was still blank. He had already made a forced start by saving the page with the title, Sir Montague's Squire, Chapter One, but that hadn't been enough to tempt the first faltering words of the novel from his fingertips.

Stephen swore in frustration, it had all seemed so clear in the car. Now the time had come to get it written up, he couldn't think of a way to begin. He had never believed in writer's block but now he was almost convinced of it.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 6

At the end of Redvale Lane Stephen pulled onto the grass verge, picked up Mick's job sheet and entered the address details into his sat-nav.

'After three hundred yards, turn left,' he was advised.

A few minutes later he pulled up in front of a short row of terraced houses. Mick's was right in the centre at number four. Stephen flipped the latch on the wrought Iron gate and stepped up to the red painted front door. There was a choice of a bell push or a brass knocker. He chose the bell push, there was no reply so he beat a rat-a-tat-tat with the door knocker.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 5

It took Stephen the rest of the afternoon to remove the various worms and Trojans that had infiltrated Mick's computer defences. He ran five spyware scans a full virus sweep and rebooted the machine several times before he was confident that the machine was infection free.

At five thirty Carole popped her head round the door of the workshop.

'I'm off now boss, I need to call in at the supermarket on the way home. See you tomorrow.'

'Give me a minute, Carole,' called Paul, 'I'll drop you off, I'm going that way.'

'Night boss,' they called together as they left the shop.

Stephen began the final tests on Mick's PC.

'No home to go to Mel?'

'I've nothing on tonight, so I'm not in a hurry.'

Stephen heard her slide from her seat, a few seconds later he felt her breast press against his elbow. She slid a hand around his waist and stretched to look over his shoulder.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 4

After dinner Charlotte bought her laptop over and went through her collection of digital photographs that she had taken on safari. Stephen was impressed with her detailed knowledge of the animals and places.

'You should write it all down Charlie, I'm sure it would find an audience.'

'Me, write? as in writing something other than an email. I can't see it somehow.'

'I read your emails, they were very descriptive, I think you've got a real talent there. It just needs polishing up a bit. While you were away, I joined the local writers group. They're a strange lot, mainly elderly, but they do have some younger members stashed away in a cupboard somewhere.. Why don't you join too? maybe together we could blow away some of the cobwebs and get it functioning again. What do you say?'

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 3

Stephen walked out of the rear entrance and made his way across the tiny, puddle strewn car park to the street. The car park only had a dozen spaces and they had all been taken by writer's club members. Stephen wondered what time he would have to get there to claim one of the spaces. He suspected he would need to be there a good half hour before the meeting started.

The club was situated at the bottom of a narrow street on a steep hill. Close to town, the street was popular with drivers as it was one of the few places left without yellow lines and parking meters. Pedestrians splashed their way along the pavement eager to get to their destination and out of the gathering storm.

Stephen held his plastic document folder above his head and jogged up the hill to his car. By the time he reached it the rain had begun in earnest. A clap of thunder rattled the windows of the taller buildings, a few seconds later a crazy zig-zag of lightning lit up the night sky.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 2

In the meeting room Stephen returned to his seat on the back row. Mary was chaperoned to a chair nearer the front by the elderly man who had confronted him in the bar. He gave Stephen a warning look before he sat down.

Margot got to her feet and squinted at her list.

'Ted?' she queried.

'You really ought to go back to glasses, Margot,' said Ted, as he picked up his clipboard from the floor.

Margot blushed and sat down.

Ted marched to the podium, nodded to Harriet and addressed the membership.

'Ted Hughes, not the famous one,' he announced.

A gentle titter ran round the room.

'I was going to read a new poem, but as I don't have to share reading time with my grandson tonight, I've decided to read the latest chapter of my novel instead.'

Ted patted his pockets, looked back to his seat, then patted his pockets again before eventually finding his spectacles on a thin chain around his neck. He cleared his throat and read from the clipboard.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Westwich Writers Club. 1

'Will stared down at the lifeless body of Sir Charles Montague and smiled thinly. It was over, his tormentor was dead. He pulled his sword from the neck of his victim, wiped it on the grass and sheathed it. He looked at the brightening sky, the sun said noon, time to make for Durberry Vale, Elizabeth, and the rest of his life.'

Stephen King looked up from his manuscript and surveyed the hall. The audience of mainly elderly members stared back at him. The silence was deafening. Then from the table behind him came a solitary clap.

Margot Sugden, the writers group secretary, rose to her feet.

'Thank you for that, Stephen, I'm sure we all found it very interesting. Not many members read the last chapter of their novel on their first manuscript reading but there's no rule that says you can't.'