Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Point of view exercise: ‘the children were bored’

Third person narrator with limited omniscience

Benjamin, trying always to look cool and bored, walked round and round the room, never for an instant recalling the indiscretion in front of his father which had landed them all in this prison (Quentin and George had been sentenced along with him for laughing).  Quentin picked up a toy fire engine and began hitting it randomly against the edge of the table.  Benjamin found that this noise, which would normally have irritated him, helped to drown out the oppressive ticking of the antique clock on the playroom wall, which was driving him insane.   George languished in the corner, regarding the clock on its high nail above the fireplace.  “It’ll be out of harm’s way there,” Benjamin recalled their mother had said.  That was what she thought.  George stuck the muzzle of his spud-gun into his ‘ammunition’ with a vehemence that Benjamin thought was impressive.  Benjamin silently observed George’s experiments with differing trajectories.  George eventually locked onto one  that aimed slightly higher than the clock, and found he could hit it as often as he wanted.  Soon there was a satisfactory pattern of smears of potato-juice on the clock’s face, and a scattering of miniature, uncooked frites on the carpet.

Benjamin observed the contents of the room, evaluating everything for its potential.  Table, chairs, old-fashioned record-player, toy box, dressing-up box, bookcase, two bicycles, hamster cage.  Quentin and George were only allowed to cycle round the garden, and so their bikes were kept next to the playroom door.  Quentin’s was a kid’s trike with solid tyres, but George’s had pneumatic tyres and a bicycle-pump fixed to the frame.

Benjamin dipped his hand deep inside the waistband of his baggy trousers, and reached into the secret pocket he had sewn himself.  He took out a box of matches (padded with a cotton wool ball to stop them from rattling), a penknife, and a small lump of cannabis resin wrapped in cling-film.  He cut a small piece off the lump and inserted it into the nozzle of the bicycle-pump.  He melted the resin with the flame of a match, and got it to the point where it was beginning to smoke.  He inserted the nozzle between the bars of the cage, lovingly labelled “HECTOR” in parti-coloured, resin letters by Quentin.  He slowly pushed the plunger of the bicycle pump, trying to get the nozzle as close to Hector’s snout as possible.  Hector blinked, but did nothing more.   Benjamin was disappointed: he hankered for evidence that the rodent was off its face.

First person narrator

What the hell have they locked them up with me for?  What have I done?  My eyes will be popping out if that bastard Benjamin gets hold of me.  You know what a sadist he is.  Sick in the head that kid is, if you ask me.  Just because these looney tunes are wealthy and middle-class, it doesn’t mean they’re non-violent.  I was better off in that bloody pet shop.  At least it was always warm there, not like this stupid refrigerator of a ‘play-room’.   What the hell’s he doing now?  I do wish that idiot would pull his bloody trousers up.  You can see half his furless arse, most of the time.   He’s got something out of his “secret pocket”.  Secret pocket!  It’s not a bloody secret to me – he put me in it, once.  I was not amused, I can tell you.  Oh, please, no.  You cannot be serious.  I am in a cage in a substantial house in a supposedly respectable suburb of North Leeds, and I am being administered cannabis via a bicycle-pump.


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