Well. That brightened up our day. Thanks, guys.
As you’ll recall, we asked for 250 word stories on this quote:
Which is, as lots of you knew, a quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
You sent in some brilliant things, about all kinds of people and places, and we loved them all.
But there were a couple which we loved just that little bit extra.
RUNNER-UP: J. P. Horsam
OF NECESSARY THINGS
Well, I still have my panache! I was able to read Rostand’s thing you know, didn’t get to see it played though. You could say I was otherwise engaged… in Reading. Didn’t read too bad, bit weak in the last scenes I felt.
Panache, what is that really? It’s the feather in your cap . . . the great flag of attitude. It was all I needed once. I thought it my only necessity, I’d been able to dispense with almost everything else. I was profligate in love, so needlessly in love! Many times you know, many times. The love that was given to me . . . I discarded that as freely as one loses a glove. There would always be more to come my way, if I kept that frantic feather aloft.
That mad bravado got me where I am. Didn’t work in court though. It was just bluster then. I had everything before that and none of it seemed the least bit essential. Then I was shown what was truly necessary . . . bread and water, a small patch of sky.
What’s left now then? I’ve got that same old ragged feather, but little else Monsieur, little else. I’m a shabby old peacock now sir, but still straining for the bon mot. Probably the last, yes, most definitely the last. Not necessary, you understand, but I feel the obligation.
Have I mentioned the wallpaper? I really can’t see the need for such vulgarity at my time in life.
WINNER: Steven Quincey-Jones
I’d like to say a few words.
Jonesy will be missed. I’ll never forget what he taught me the first day I arrived. We were in a dugout near Mametz Wood. There was a break in the shelling. He swung his drawstring haversack off his back and emptied its contents out onto the patch of dirt between us.
‘What do you see?’ he said,
‘A few things,’ I said. ‘Bayonet. Waterbottle. Groundsheet. Pack of fags. Hip flask. Wash kit. About eighty rounds of ammunition. Then there’s the haversack itself.’
‘Right,’ he said. ‘Now, which are the most important?’
‘It’s got to be the bayonet and ammunition, hasn’t it?’ I said.
‘Nope,’ he said. ‘Think more imaginative.’
I pondered for a minute. ‘Waterbottle and groundsheet?’
Jonesy shook his head. ‘I’ll tell you. Fags; soap; hip flask; and this,’ he said, pulling the drawstring out of the neck of the bag.
‘Could have fooled me,’ I said. ‘Fags, soap and scotch are luxuries. ’
Jonesy smiled, entertained by my innocence. ‘All them other things don’t mean nothing when you’re in a tight spot,’ he said. ‘Look here. Fag ash purifies water for drinking. Soap’s good for lubricating a jammed rifle mechanism.’
‘Drawstring?’ I said.
‘Strangulation,’ he said. ‘Quick and quiet.’
I raised my eyebrows. ‘And the hipflask?’
‘Most important of all,’ he said.
‘Don’t tell me,’ I said. ‘Disinfecting wounds. Making a poor man’s grenade.’
‘No,’ he said. ‘Not that.’
I frowned. ‘What then?’ I said.
‘Easy,’ he said. ‘To forget.’
Congratulations both! And well done everyone who entered – a great effort. Hiding in our imaginations was fun, wasn’t it?
See you again next week. Onwards.