Post number one of the song title challenge, in which you suggest song titles and I write a short piece of fiction using the song title but without listening to the song first.
I did change the rules slightly because, well… I am a dj so I do listen to a lot of music and it might be a bit difficult to get songs that I haven’t heard before. I mean, who hasn’t heard my first song title? This song is legendary! I think I’ll do this by saying I will do any song, but I have to try not to let the song influence me in my story telling. Right, so boring stuff out of the way, song title challenge number one is All these things that I’ve done by the killers which was suggested by Xarglebook, thank you for your suggestion! I’ll be honest, this isn’t the best thing that I’ve ever written, but trying not to be influenced by the song was hard, I guess that’s the point of the challenge! Here we go…
All these things that I’ve done.
Tom balled up another t shirt huffily and throw it into the all ready over flowing ruck sack on his bed.
“Fold it.” His mother instructed, “nicely,” she added. Tom ignored her, picking up a pair of jeans this time and flinging those carelessly on top.
“Tom,” mum began, “Please try to be mature about this.”
“Mature?!” Tom exploded. Mature? He was missing out on a festival he had been waiting all year for, one he had forked out £150 of his savings on, savings that he had been collecting since before the last one had even been announced. All things considered, he was taking this very well.
“Your grandfather is very ill,” mum sighed at him, hands on hips, “and well, with your behaviour lately, you deserve much worse than a week out of town.”
Tom didn’t trust himself to say anything so he went back to throwing his clothes into his bag. He should be taking these clothes and this bag to a festival with all his friends, he was supposed to be spending the next few days nicely tipsy whilst swaying to all his favourite bands, and some he didn’t even like. He should be eating over priced carnival like foods, greasy doughnuts, fried onions sandwiched between badly processed burgers and chunks of bread. He should be meeting girls, lots of them, with wicker hats and wavy unwashed hair. He should not be going to a residential retirement home with his mother to spend the week with a grandfather he had never met.
“Screw your clothes up as much as you like, Tom, I won’t be ironing them for you.”
Silently, Tom zipped the bag closed and stomped out of his room towards the waiting car, already loaded up with half his mother’s wardrobe. Just how long she expected them to stay he had no idea. He didn’t want to ask. If he pretended it was only a short term thing, then maybe, if he wished hard enough, it might be just that.
“No headphones, Tom, it’s rude.”
Tom stared at her aghast, “but it’s just you and me in the car and it’s like four hours!”
“It is two and a half at the most, now take those out of your ears. You won’t be able to use it when we get there, so get used to actually talking to other human beings.”
Sulkily, he wound the earphones around his beloved iPod and shoved the device back into the pocket of his jeans.
“You might want to change before we actually get there,” mum remarked, giving him the once over as she put the key in the ignition, “I don’t really think that shirt is appropriate do you?”
“What exactly is wrong with this t shirt?” Tom sighed.
“Well, all that blood on the front, not what an old man wants to see.”
Frowning, Tom folded his arms across the design on the shirt, “better?”
He turned away, glared at the ever decreasing city scenery around him and ignored his mother’s attempts to chat.
The air between them was thick and frosty with tension induced silence by the time they had pulled into the parking bay specifically reserved for number twenty seven. Tom kept his arms folded across his chest, stayed seated whilst his mum busied herself with doors and bags, half carrying, half dragging things away down a poorly lit path towards the home that had sucked away his summer of fun.
He looked up lazily at the rap on the window, didn’t even acknowledge her look of disdain as she tried to cajole him into helping carry things. He could barely hear her through the windows, which was probably a good thing, he could do without her causing a scene and yelling at him in the middle of a half full car park. Begrudgingly, he heaved himself up, let her pile things into his arms and took off down the dingy path himself, pausing only to look up at the thresh hold of number twenty seven.
“Oh, sorry, I thought this was… Never mind,” he stammered nervously at the hulking mass of a man stood in the doorway, tattoos dancing up and down his arms, his neck mottled with peculiar inkings, the lower half of his face coated in a thick, bushy beard.
“You must be Tom?” His voice was gruff, like he’d had a seventy a day habit that he’d only recently given up.
“Me too,” the illustrated man held out a hand, Tom juggled items to take it, “Tom senior. You’re my grandson.”
Tom let go of his hand quickly so that he didn’t end up spilling his armful all over the welcome mat.
“You’re my grandad?” He croaked in disbelief.
“‘Fraid so. You going to bring that in or what?”
“Mum said you were ill?”
“So she thinks. Come in then boy, it’s cold with that door open.” Tom Senior turned and lumbered uneasily back into the house, shuffling on feet that didn’t look quite long enough to support his gargantuan frame. Gingerly, Tom picked his way through, dropping bags on the grey kitchen tiles and following the older man into the other room.
“What’s wrong with you then?”
Tom Senior smiled a wide toothless grin, “Loneliness apparently, your mother does like to interfere.”
“Tell me about it,” Tom sighed, “I’m supposed to be at a festival this weekend.”
“I’m supposed to be on a pub crawl right now, we all have our crosses to bear.”
“You deaf, boy? I have a spare hearing aid around here if you need one.”
Tom shook his head, “you’re just not what I expected.”
The toothless grin returned, Tom senior eased himself into an arm chair, positioned directly in front of a portable television set. The living room was only just big enough to contain those two items of furniture and one squashed looking sofa. Tom glanced around at his new surroundings, if he had to live in a room this small all the time, he’d probably go a bit mad.
“Tom? Tom? Oh, there you are,” mum stuck her head around the doorframe shyly, “you two get to know each other, I’m going to go and unpack.” Her long brown hair swished behind her as she disappeared yet again. Tom rolled his eyes, caught Tom Senior doing the same and smiled involuntarily.
“Sit down, you’re making the place look untidy.” Tom Senior snapped at him, waving an arm towards the sofa and making all the inked pictures move as he did.
“So where have you been all my life?” Tom managed to croak.
Tom Senior raised an unimpressed eyebrow, “don’t get all soppy on me now, junior. I was living, you didn’t expect me to don a pair of slippers and start bottle feeding you did you?”
Warily, Tom shook his head, he hadn’t been wrong when he’d thought this would be an awful way to spend his time. The thought of looking after a decrepit old man he’d never met was bad enough, but this was a whole lot worse.
“Yes,” Tom Senior continued dreamily, staring at his reflection in the television screen, “living,” he pointed to the tattoo of a crying woman on his arm, “doing this and this,” his finger moved up to a motorbike being ridden by the devil, “and this,” he traced another along the crook of his elbow, a shark leaping out of the sea to catch a smaller fish in it’s jaws. Tom gulped, how does one exactly follow up that?
“You… um, have a lot of tattoos….” he mumbled lamely.
“Sure do, these are all the things that I’ve done, and when you get as old as me, you end up having done a lot of things.”
“You’ve done all those things?” Tom gaped, thinking of the crying woman and not entirely sure he wanted to know too much about that, the shark and the devil riding a motorbike however, they seemed intriguing. He was dying to ask about the stamp being licked by a cartoon ice cream too. Seriously though, what on earth had to have happened to make that a viable depiction of an event in your life?
He noticed Tom Senior grinning that toothless grin at him again, “Come over here then, boy, we’ve missed out on what, twelve years of bedtime stories?”
Sixteen, Tom thought through gritted teeth as he slowly made his way over to his grandfather’s chair, he perched uneasily on the arm and played with his sandy coloured fringe not sure what to say next. He could tell now he was closer that his grandfather had the same coloured eyes as his mother.
“Now then, if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll tell you about all these things that I’ve done.”