Couch to 80k Week 4 ends, Week 5 begins…

Ok, I’m a little behind on posting about this. But, just to reassure you, on schedule I did week 4 days 5 & 6. These were both, as the other days in the week, about rewriting one little snippet in various ways.

Day 5 was a choice (choose your own adventure, if you like) of three options offered (I can’t remember the other two, sorry!) I decided to rewrite the snippet as though it was about an assassin. I’ll post that text at the end.

Day 6 was another choice (I cleverly wrote these ones down) rewrite it as either a) A post-apocalyptic campfire tale. B) As though a tale told by a braggart. Or C) as a fairy tale. If you read it, I think it’ll be obvious which option I went for.

Week 5 Day 1 was moving on to a different theme for the week. It was an interesting but difficult one. There is, I think, a need to call upon your own personal experiences for writing (‘write what you know’) I don’t think that means you can only, for example, write stories about a middle aged comic artist who used to work in comics, but it does mean you can write stories where the emotional reality can translate. So, for example, I can’t ever experience the joy of being the first man on the moon, but I know the joy of being told for the first time that 2000AD will give me work which is an emotional truth I can parlay in to other areas. To spare my own blush, I’ll skip that, but it was an interesting.

I’ve come to find finding the little 15-20 minutes required to do the writing a nice breather from drawing Tanks, mind you – and a generally neat way to escape from the current chaos of my studio.

Excerpt 1 (Week 4 Day 5 – the assassin)

The assassin watched from across the street. It was a simple matter to forge the letter. It was a simpler matter to deliver it. Holden was the sort that would simply accept an official letter head and do whatever he was told. The perfect mark, really.

Even so, this was an elaborate plan, requiring weeks of preparation. He’d discovered an entire wing of the hospital that would be unused, he’d hired people who thought they were actors, it had cost a small fortune, but this would work out so perfectly the people who pay him should be delighted.

He checked the monitoring equipment, he heard the letter hit the ground – there was a micro bug inside the letter, actually as part of the logo, the assassin had laughed at himself for this – hiding it in plain sight. The heard the envelope rip open. And nothing. Was he checking? Was he reading. He lifted his binoculars and looked from his vantage point. He saw Holden reading the letter and sit down.

It’d be another week before he would be in the same room as him, and there was much to do before then.

The appointment arrived. The staff were all keyed and ready to go, they greeted the mark, sat him down to wait. We’ll let him stew for 10-15 minutes.

He’s called in, and this is my favourite part, made to disrobe and change. There’s nothing protecting him at all. It’s almost too easy. Though, of course, the real job is to plant the bomb.

Gastroscopy the docs call it, Holden didn’t know enough about it to know what exactly was involved, and like an idiot turned up on his own. He was supposed to bring someone so he could be knocked out. What if the asshole stops me planting the bomb? Gah

On the plus side, it’s just him, no need to worry about keeping someone else placated. If I’d known he was gonna turn up on his own I probably wouldn’t have needed as much staff.

Planting the bomb took seconds, once the tube was down, but I gave him a good thirty minutes of wriggling the tube round, said some big doctor words I’m sure he thinks are real and watched as he winced in reply. Pretty funny really. Slowly withdrew the tube. Good and slow. Let him feel every second of it. Should teach him a lesson for the next time (haha! What next time, press button, Holden go boom).

He redresses, says some pleasantries to the staff and walks out. I follow him home, he’s been ordered to take it easy for 24 hours, and take it easy, though he can return to work.

Of course, the bomb isn’t for him. The bomb is for his boss and anyone else who’s working in MI6 that day.

Excerpt 2 (Week 4 Day 6 – the Braggard)

As you’re aware, I’m an astonishingly perfect physical specimen, as perfect inside as out. Of course, even as a child my parents would comment on my remarkable good looks. “Gosh, aren’t we lucky” they’d say to themselves as they pushed me from home to park as the other parents looked at this gift from god and thought “why is my little Eric/Erica not as cute as this tiny perfect thing”

It wasn’t until I was much older that, to my horror, I discovered the my insides may not be as perfect as my outsides! At least that’s what I presume “Gastroscopy” meant, haven’t felt less than 110% – hovering closer to around 101%-102% a good fraction less than my usual better than awesome, I’d been to the doctor and he told me they wanted to take pictures of my interiors. I wouldn’t blame, I said, given how good the outside was.

Now, as you may not be aware, in my exquisite arsenal of skills, driving and being fearless are pretty much up there. So, come of the day of the operation – despite the docs recommendation that I bring a driver so they could knock me out for the procedure, I came on my own. God alone knows what would happen to my hair if I was unconscious!

I was asked to undress (those sly dogs, desperate to see more of me) and put on a robe, which, frankly, would be more suited to dressing a butcher’s dog’s meal than a prime hunk of all-American beef. But, I demurred, I don’t mind being seen as a slab of meat – it’s what’s happened to me most of my life.

I lay on the table and was unbothered, how bad could it be? Well, pretty gosh darn bad. Probably the worst- and I mean absolute worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone. But I didn’t cry. Not even a little bit. Rather lay down and took it like a man (I’d’ve stood up and took it like a man, but they were VERY insistent I stay lying down).

I could feel the tube bump bump bump down in to my throat, and from then on it was a desperate race to maintain composure long enough for the tube to be removed.

My eyes watered, I’m assuming from the large amount of obnoxious smelling Euo de toilette that the doctor was wearing – I mean, it could have been a reaction to the tube, but there’s few that can maintain a stiff upper lip like me, though, ironically if I’d kept a stiff upper lip I doubt they’d’ve be been able to get the tube down my throat.

Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.