The inimitable Fat Roland brings us our next scary blog in the lead up to First Draft’s Fright Night!
Fat Roland sits in a wicker chair. He stares into the screen of a laptop computer. The blank word processing document winks its cursor like an irritated eye. The only whir of activity is from the computer’s fan.
There are no words on the screen. It is a canvas of off-white failure. Fat Roland scratches his chest. He rubs his eyes.
He runs through a list of ideas in his head.
One. Some good words.
Two. Something that means something.
Three. Something that is sad but funny like that Blackadder series but not that.
His stomach feels heavy and collapsed. Fat Roland gets up. The wicker chair complains under his weight. He goes to the kitchen. The fridge is empty save for a bulging carton of grey milk and two bags of spilled pasta. He scoops some pasta off the bottom of the fridge. It is crunchy and tasteless.
Fat Roland is back in the chair. The word processing document is blank. His fingers hover over the computer keyboard. Over the R and the J and the square bracket. Over the forward slash. The symbols are bold and white. He taps the number pad. Num lock is off. Everything feels off.
The doorbell chimes.
A dough-faced scout is on Fat Roland’s doorstep. His face seems like plasticine. His mouth gapes open and he proffers a charity box covered in peeling stickers.
The boy has an elastic band for a woggle. That’s a funny word, thinks Fat Roland, and he clicks the door shut.
Fat Roland sits in front of the computer screen. The computer screen is a blank word processing document. Fat Roland tries to think of words that are as interesting as woggle. His bladder feels unusual so he leaves the laptop again.
He aims his penis at the bowl of the toilet and lets out a tired half-wee. The urine is light brown. Fat Roland thinks about the futility of the human condition. This is my liquid dust, thinks Fat Roland, and it is his first original thought in weeks.
When Fat Roland returns to his laptop, he sees the screensaver. It has triggered because the computer has been dormant for too long. Instead of a blank screen, the computer shows him his Glasgow Holidays album from Facebook. Fat Roland and friends, Fat Roland and strangers, raising their kilts, falling over outside bars, gurning for the camera, all play-punches and gang-signs. He looks at himself. He looks younger. Happier.
He thinks about the boisterousness of his scouting days. The barrel roll of creativity when he was a teenager: the books, the comics, the computer games he wrote. His first years in an office, his cheeks still flushed red with youth. The hopes he had. The lists he made. The friends he made, lost touch with then found again. A past now made of ghosts.
Fat Roland hits the touchpad. The screen returns to the blank word processing document.
He tries to think of the original idea he had. The one in the toilet. It was— Something. About something. Not sad. Not funny. Just—
The chair creaks as he leans forward.
Fat Roland taps the keyboard of his laptop computer and some good words appear.
Fat Roland is a fiction writer, music writer and performer. He is one of the hosts of Bad Language and part of the team behind Flashtag. Catch him performing at our Hallowe’en event, First Draft’s Fright Night!, on Monday evening.
Read more from Fats over on his website