Saturday, 8 September 2012

staying alive

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A... banana?

Young Jack stood, slightly trembling, but also trying to slightly hide this fact from the dozens of watching princesses! He was staring the dragon in the eyes, waiting for the smallest hint of movement, ready to draw his sword, strike and then pick a princess from the crowd, maybe he would even be home in time for dinner. It felt good to be a real hero! The dragon's eyes moved, they narrowed ready to attack and jack drew his sword and...KNOCK KNOCK, there was someone knocking at his window. It wasn't until Jack realised that there were no windows in the open field where he was fighting the dragon that he understood he had just been woken from a terrific dream! He looked at his watch, which told him it was 4.05am!! Now he was annoyed for two reasons. First, he was interrupted in the middle of a fantastic dream, before he even had the chance to pick his princess and secondly, the more practical reason, that it was 4.05am and he had an important day at school tomorrow, it was his turn to do a presentation on the endangered white rhino!

Grumbling to himself he got out of bed and peeled back the curtain. This revealed a pair of huge, curious eyes, a nose psuhed up against the window pane so much that Young Jack could see up its nostrils and a long grey beard. Basically it revealed Old Jack, looking just as stupendous as ever!
"What do you want?" Demanded Young Jack sleepily.
"I have something for you, open the window." This made young Jack slightly less agitated, everyone loves recieving presents afterall! He opened the window and was presented with a box, wrapped in golden paper. Hurriedly he opened it, thinking that anything that was wrapped in golden paper had to be something special! Underneath all of this shimmering paper there was a wooden box, with ancient carvings on it, this had to be good he thought! He looked up at Old Jack who was watching him eagerly, waiting for him to see his gift. Filled with excitement Young Jack ripped off the lid to reveal...another anti-climax, this time in the shape of a banana!
"It's a banana..." he said to Old Jack, pointing out the obvious.
"No it isn't" replied Old Jack seemingly hurt by the fact that Young Jack assumed he would give him a gift as rubbish as a banana.
"Yes, it is."
"No, it isn't."
"OK, then what is it if it is not a banana?"
"well" began Old Jack, "it's a type of walkie talkie, moblie phone kind of thing."
"Oh" said Young Jack, suddenly interested, "but why is it shaped like a banana?"
"You see Jack, hundreds of Japanese scientists will spend their entire lives searching for the perfect shape for a mobile phone, they will never find it, because in their love of plastic they neglect nature. They are blind to the fact that the perfect shape for a mobile phone is infact a small banana." Young Jack had to admit that this made sense, he was hoping, however, that this didnt mean he was becoming too similar to Old Jack.
"One more thing," he said, "why did you have to come here at 4.05 in the morning? It's a silly time to go knocking on people's windows!"
"You see Jack, i love this time of day. I like to study the world, to escape the hustle and bustle of rush hour life and be at ease, able to walk as slowly as i please without bothering the angry mob. The world's back is turned at this time of day Jack, it is sleeping, and that is the best time to study it. The stars are like numbers, chalked into the huge blackboard we call the night sky.
"Now, i am going, i wish to spend more time doing the equations of the stars, I shall see you tomoOOOOOOOOOO..." CRASH! Young jack hurriedly looked down, to his amazement Old Jack had neglected the use of a ladder and instead had stacked lots of wheelie bins on top of each other to get to his window, now he was paying the price for his stupidity!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

When Jack met Jack

Chapter ? Don’t Fear the Rag and Bone Man

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.”-Rudyard Kipling

“BOY!” The rag and bone man suddenly exclaimed.
“Old man” replied Jack, a little scared.
The old man looked hurt when Jack said this. “Don’t call me that!” He said.
“Why not?”
“Because it’s not my name, of course.” He replied grumpily.
“Well ‘Boy’ isn’t my name” Said Jack smartly.
“OK, then what is your name?”
“Wow!” The rag and bone shouted rather suddenly, which, made Jack jump. “That’s my name too!”
The rag and bone man stood up and looked at jack from above the hedge; he looked confused, which made him look like he was trying to chew some very tricky and stubborn toffee. “Well, since we both have the same name I will call you Bill. That way we won’t be confused by it.” He said. He looked very proud of himself as though this was a brilliant idea.
“I don’t want to be called Bill though.” Jack said and the burst the rag and bone mans bubble of pride.
He looked quite upset when he said “But why the devil not? It’s a wonderful name.”
“Because it may be a wonderful name, but it’s not my name. Maybe we could call you Bill?”
“Certainly not” The rag and bone man replied looking offended at the idea. “My name’s Jack, not Bill.”
“Well then Mr, how about if you be old Jack and I be young Jack?” He suggested wisely.
“Yes, it is quite undeniable that I’m the old one, hmm OK then. That will work well.” Speculated the newly titled Old Jack.
Young Jack was wondering to himself whether or not he should mention when he saw old Jack appear from thin air in his shed. He was very interested and wanted to know if it was magic but he was still a little scared of the old, rag and bone man. He was saved from further indecision however, when old Jack asked “I guess you’re wondering how I appeared from thin air in my old shed?”
“Yes” replied young Jack honestly. “Was it magic?”
Old Jack thought about this question for a minute before answering “Well, I guess you could call it magic, in a way.”
Young Jack was so very interested by this he couldn’t wait to hear the end of the answer, but just when old Jack was about to speak again a loud shout stopped him in his tracks.
“Jack?” Came the cry from Jack’s mum. “It’s time to come home now, it’s getting dark and dinner will be ready soon. It’s your favourite, bangers ‘n’ mash.”
This annoyed young Jack very much, his mum had a bad habit of telling him to come home just as things were getting fun or interesting.
Old Jack saw that he looked annoyed and said “Wow, you’re lucky; bangers ‘n’ mash is my favourite too! Can I come to tea? We can finish talking tomorrow if not, at the same time and the same hedge?”
“Erm…” mumbled young Jack looking down at his feet, “I don’t think there will be enough bangers ‘n’ mash for all of us, sorry. But yes, I’d like to meet tomorrow; we should mark the hedge with something so we know where to meet.”
“Good idea” Agreed old Jack, “I’ll mark this spot with my handkerchief.”
After saying this he pulled out a rather disgusting looking red and white spotted handkerchief that looked as though it hadn’t been washed in years.
“Hope I don’t lose this” Said old Jack, “It’s my newest and best one.”
Just when young Jack was about to say that the handkerchief didn’t look new, or like a handkerchief that some one would say is their best, his mum called again. This time she demanded that he come home immediately.

That night felt like the longest of young Jacks life. He was so excited for the next day that he couldn’t take his mind off it, whatever he did! Magic! Could it be that he was going to see and learn real magic? He was so excited that he didn’t even remember to enjoy his bangers ‘n’ mash, which was a shame because he only had it once a week. He didn’t even taste his food because his mind was so busy thinking about the next day. He tried doing many different things. He played the computer, but none of his many games excited him enough to take his mind from old Jack. So he tried reading, but even his favourite book (The BFG by Roald Dahl) couldn’t distract him enough. When his mum shouted up to tell him to do his homework he tried, he really tried, but he just couldn’t concentrate enough. He didn’t care that the square root of 81 was 9; he didn’t even want to learn any more about the Vikings for his History homework. This was strange because he usually loved learning about Vikings and other interesting people in History, especially the Romans, and not even a book about them took his mind off Old Jack and tomorrows possibilities.

His Mum noticed this strange behaviour. Probably because he kept going up and downstairs for no good reason. When his mum asked him why he was doing this he knew he had to lie. He didn’t want to say that he was excited to see old Jack again, because he wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers, and the rag and bone man was very, very strange! So he said “I’m just so excited mum, it’s because tomorrow at school we all get to dress up as Vikings for a whole day!” He felt a little guilty saying this, lying wasn’t a nice feeling. But he had to do it this one time. “I just really wish it was tomorrow!” He added.
“You can’t spend all of your life wishing the time away Jack my boy, if you did that then you would never enjoy anything in life and it would pass you by in an instant.” Said Jack’s mum very wisely.
Jack understood this and he would usually agree, but not this time. This time he was just too excited to think about anything else. His mum seemed to notice his frustration and said “Have your bath and then try to sleep son, after all, it is getting late.” Jack was about to reply that he was no where near tired enough to sleep when his mums mobile phone rang and she answered it, turning her back on Jack as she walked towards her office.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Upon Landing on a new world.

Two Crows were sitting on a tree branch discussing tactics for cheating a scarecrow when all of a sudden a mysterious wooden cart landed (or stumbled and crashed) in the field next to them. After the initial shock the wisest of the Crows remarked
“What is?” Replied his not so wise friend.
“Look, old Barry the scarecrow is distracted by that cart, now’s our chance to sneak past!”
“Lovely!” Said the not so wise Crow “ first.”
“He who dares always wins” Said the other as he flew off into the neighbouring field.

When the Jacks had recovered from the rather ‘heavy landing’ and brushed themselves down they surveyed the surrounding area. They were in a field, that was for sure. But that’s all that was for sure. Behind them there was only more field and a scarecrow, beyond this there was a forest that looked dense and uninviting. To the north there were faint signs of life, smoke rising thinly from what must have been chimneys and further north they could see a big blue wobbly, shimmering mass that could only be the sea. This was the way they decided to go. As they started walking, Old Jack whistling an annoying tune that Young Jack thought would become increasingly bothersome they were stopped by a sudden shouting.

“OI!!! Get lost you pesky Crows!!” The voice to their rear screamed frantically. When they looked around they were amazed to find that it was the Scarecrow who was shouting at 2 cheeky Crows that had tried to get past. Thinking that this was some sort of clever machine or piece of magic they went to investigate. When they got close to it the Scarecrow slowly lowered his gaze from the Crows to them and said:

“What do you want?” In an angry and agitated voice.

“You’re alive??” Asked Old Jack, jumping backwards in astonishment.

“Obviously...” came the reply, as though Old Jack had just pointed out the fact that the sky was blue.

“Ohhhh, you poor thing” exclaimed Old Jack. “Though I guess you’re used to being a Scarecrow and don’t know what you’re missing by not been able to move.” He added thoughtfully.

“What a ridiculous thing to say! Do you think I was born like this?” Asked the Scarecrow in sheer disbelief.

“You mean you weren’t? Then how did you become one then?” Asked Young Jack confusedly.

“I was turned into one...obviously; you really do ask the silliest questions you know.” The Scarecrow was beginning to annoy Young Jack; in fact he was starting to imagine a situation in which the scarecrow was turned into his current state by a dark magician, for been so annoying.

“Turned into one by a dark magician?” Asked Old Jack who must have being thinking the same thing.

“No!” Answered the Scarecrow, who was looking extremely annoyed as well. “By the Mayor of course.”

“Erm...” Said young Jack “but why would the Mayor do that?”

“OK, you’re quite clearly not from around here, so let me explain things to you” Said the Scarecrow wisely. “In Silchester, that’s the name of this town, Silchester, when you commit a crime you receive a punishment that fits it. My crime was especially bad...”

“OOOOO!! What did you do?” Interrupted Old Jack, much to everybody’s annoyance. (Except the 2 Crows, who were now tucking into the farmer’s crops greedily and praying for the conversation to go on until they had their fill).

“Well if you didn’t interrupt me I was going to explain! In Silchester we rely heavily on the crops we farm, they are our main source of food. Every year the pesky pirates would come and try to steal our crops because they were too lazy and drunk to farm their own. They were never successful though, in many years of trying, because they couldn’t get through our defences! But one day it was my responsibility to guard the great wall before the beach. During the night the Pirates startled me and I accidently set off the ‘Great Catapult of Doom’ and killed them all! Every single one!”

“Surely that solved all of your troubles then! Serves them right.” Said Young Jack confidently.

“Foolish boy!” Replied the Scarecrow harshly “even you must know that people are even more trouble when they’re dead!”

“But how can that be?” Young Jack asked in a shaky voice, dreading a certain answer.

“Ghosts! Of course.” That was the answer he was dreading. “Once they died and became ghosts they could just walk through the city walls, float through the town, steal our crops and then just march off with them. All of this was my fault and because I lost the crops I’m doomed to be a Scarecrow until I can do my job properly and stop the pirates from taking them.” Suddenly he burst into tears and started wailing horribly “Ohhhh it’s horrible! They come every year and mock me and thank me for helping them, telling me I’ll be doomed to watch them take the crops for all of eternity! And my poor daughter! She misses me ever so much, she comes to cut my hair and trim my beard sometimes, bless her. Although sometimes it would be nice to have hair that is long so it goes in front of my eyes and I don’t have to watch the pirates win...Ohhh nothing goes my way, all my life it has been the same!!! That’s why my wife left me, ohh it’s all so much...”

“Maybe we can help.” Said Old Jack to shut the Scarecrow up.

“OK, great, you just have to help me stop the ghost pirates stealing the crops. Thanks then, bye.” It was amazing how quickly the Scarecrow recovered from crying, Young Jack was starting to think maybe it was all an act to trick them into helping. And it wasn’t a task he was looking forward to. Pirates were one thing, but ghost pirates?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Chapter 1

It was cold! Too cold for Jack to want to go out. So cold in fact that the thick, dense snowflakes had been falling for 2 days now. This meant Jack didn't want to go out which, admittedly, for an 11 year old was quite remarkable. Sitting on his bed and reading about Vikings he was distracted by the noise been made outside in the street. Most kids Jacks age love snow, as i'm sure you know, and the street was full of children screaming and shouting, hurling snowballs at each other and making snowmen. This was slightly annoying to Jack, but he was just beginning to get used to it (it was to be expected afterall) when all of a sudden he was shocked by the huge "SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECHHHHHHHH!!!!!" of a car quickly braking! He made it to the window just in time to see a fat, little bald man who was red in the face shouting,
"if you throw one more snowball at my car i'll tell your parents!"
Then the inevitable happened, Jack heard another snowball (in fact it sounded more like an iceball, which of course is just a snowball thats been left too long) hit the car, closely followed by the sound of laughing children running away.
"What an idiot!" Jack said to himself "He was clearly asking for that by stopping to tell them off." He shook his head in wonder at the stupidity of some grown-ups, causing his long brown hair to fall in front of his eyes. He quickly tucked it behind his ears and carried on trying to read his book about Vikings.

What great and magnificent adventures Vikings went on! And what a heroic thing war used to be before guns and bombs were invented! Young Jack often thought that he was born in the wrong time. He thought he would make a great Roman Gladiator or a Viking...or even a swashbuckling pirate! Maybe even a knight rescuing damsels in distress or one of Robin Hoods Merry Men helping the poor! With a heavy sigh he stopped day dreaming and settled for second best, picking up his Viking book. Though just as he was getting to a good bit, a fight between Helga the Horrible and Nina the Nice, he was distracted by another "Screeech!" only this time it was coming from downstairs! In his own house! That meant that it muist be his mother, so he rushed downstairs to help her, expecting to have to confront a big hairy spider! Like a Viking he never went into battle unarmed, so he grabbed a piece of card (his shield) and a glass (his sword).

These weapons, however, weren't needed. There was no big hairy spider to battle. All he could see was his mum, jumping up and down on the spot and screaming,
"I'VE WON!! I'VE WON!!" The telephone was laying on the floor off the reciever and on the television and woman was saying to the camera,
"Congratualtions to Hannah Littlewood from York, she has just won our holiday for 2 to South Africa!"
As Jack's mum jumped Jack's heart sank. South Africa..."how lovely" he thought to himself, "if only we didn't have to go on a big piece of floating metal to get there..." He pretended to his mum there was no problem, he didn't want to upset her of course, so how could he tell her he was terrified of flying?

Friday, 5 February 2010

Time to begin...

more to follow as and when