(From Daniel — enjoy this guest post by my friend and co-author of the upcoming book ReejectIIon – a number 2)
Finding an idea for a story isn’t too difficult. Finding a really good story idea, however, is harder than a skinhead Rottweiler from Glasgow named Reggie Kray wielding a machete.
Some ideas just come, and as much as they plead with me to be written, they seem unable to evolve beyond that simple germ of an idea. So it is with this short piece entitled Farquhar the Phoenix, which was rejected from the final edit of the upcoming book ReejecttIIon: A Number Two, the sequel to that marvellous writer and all-round good bloke Daniel Clausen’s Reejecttion – which you can read for absolutely free here:
(Hell, if I can write for a sequel when I had nothing to do with the original, I might make it as a Hollywood script writer yet!)
The short tale of Farquhar the Phoenix may not have made the cut for ReejecttIIon, but as is the habit of that particular breed of birds, it has now risen from the dead…
FARQUHAR THE PHOENIX
by Harry Whitewolf
“Oi mate! Are you a phoenix?” a spotty adolescent yelled aggressively.
“Er… no,” lied Farquhar the phoenix, as he began to quicken his step down the dark side street and ignore the bunch of youngsters who were striding towards him. “I’m a pigeon,” he said, pulling his coat collar up.
“He is!” said one of the youths. “He’s a phoenix all right!” And they began to circle Farquhar.
“Oh, won’t you just leave me alone?” Farquhar shouted. “Do you have any idea how hard it is for an old bird like me to survive in such a depressingly divisive and aggravating modern world of bigotry?”
As Farquhar said those words, one of the kids lunged forwards with a rather large knife. He stuck it deep into Farquhar’s jugular and blood cartoonly spluttered out, as the other kids all jeered and cheered their mate on. The phoenix instantly died and dispersed into ash before WHOOSH! – great flames quickly rose up and Farquhar came back to life; as was the habit of phoenices.
The teenager who had stabbed Farquhar leant in to the last of the flames with a cigarette. “Thanks mate,” he said. “I needed a light.”
“Do you mind?” asked Farquhar, very unhappily. The kids just laughed, shouted and called him names before running off.
“Oh… dear….” sighed Farquhar. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…” It was the fourth time he’d been killed this week and Farquhar was fed up with it. There would always be some joker who would spot that Farquhar was a phoenix and spontaneously decide to murder him. Just for a laugh. There were plenty of YouTube videos showing Farquhar being shot, kicked, drowned, trampled on, decapitated, exploded… and any number of other ways you can kill a bird. All done to just see the phoenix rise from the dead in flames of glory; for damn entertainment. “Why can’t people just leave me alone?” asked Farquhar. “I’m not some goddamn toy!” He was fed up. Indeed, Farquhar was more than fed up. In fact, he was way past clinical depression. Actually, Farquhar the phoenix was completely suicidal.
As Farquhar walked down the street, he lit up a cigarette of his own. Some old woman ambled past saying, “You shouldn’t smoke you know! It’s bad for your health.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” replied Farquhar, before crossing the road and disappearing into the corner shop to buy two bottles of whisky and a twelve pack of beer that would accompany his solitary evening alone in his smelly basement flat. Like every night.
Farquhar had had enough of living. He was stuck. Completely trapped. There was no way out.
So if you ever think you’ve had it bad, remember it could be worse. You could be a suicidal phoenix.