Short Story: Dementia Pugilistica

flat,550x550,075,fI wrote this one back when I was doing that creative writing course at about this time last year. The assignment was to write a character in action and make him or her compelling enough to make the reader want to read more.

The big catch was you had to show and not tell who your character was through their actions and their surroundings. So I wrote this short piece and it’s one of the few that, reading back over it now, I still like.

That’s the problem with writing, you end up hating at least 90% of your own work, if not more, which makes it difficult to stay motivated.

But anyway, here’s the piece:

His bedside radio alarm jolted him awake, triggering a Pavlovian memory of smelling salts and the cloying taste of ammonia. His mouth agape in silent horror, he blinked hard, his watery blue eyes struggling to adjust to the morning light while he tried to make sense of his surroundings.

Familiar shapes slowly emerged from the fog. The floral curtains Miriam had so loved, the glass-framed poster of him and Jake “The Haymaker” Hagler above his dresser, his ratty red silk gown hanging behind the bedroom door under which he’d neatly laid his trusty brown stoukies.

His heart slowed. Home. He was home.

He lifted his duvet and swung his tree-trunk legs slowly from under the covers, planting them squarely on the creaking yellow wood floors. He rose slowly but steadily, his spine stooped under the weight of his meaty shoulders from which slab-thick arms hung, their swollen knuckles practically dragging on the floor as he lumbered toward the bathroom.

He ran the warm water tap and splashed his grey, grizzled face. His calloused hands scraped over the hard ridges of cuts opened and sewn shut countless times. He mopped his face with a towel and stared unflinchingly at the haphazard wreckage that stared back.

“Whadda mug,” he chuckled.


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