PRESS 2 FOR ENGLISH
Published in the Roath Writers' third annual anthology, 'To the Pub and Back Again: A Roath Writers' Anthology, Volume III', 'Press 2 For English' follows Llifon, a hapless North Walian, as he seeks a new life in Cardiff. The short is linked to the author's book 'Free House', and features some of the same characters. Unfortunately, the author no longer retains the rights for this short story, but you can read a short extract below:
New Year’s Traditions
The three of us gather around the open casket like a pack of starving hyenas, giggling hysterically and nipping at each other’s egos.
“Whoop!” Rhodri adjusts the tiny light that shines from his mobile, struggling to keep it steady. His mullet curls outward, drenched in sweat. Rhodri’s proud of his mullet, but doesn’t take it to heart if you take the piss. Good on him; I can’t stand it when people take the piss of my hair. I’m not even ginger, I’m strawberry blonde!
Gwynfor, our other mate, looks just like Rhodri. Sometimes I think Rhods grew that mullet just to distinguish himself from him. People are always asking them if they’re brothers, no matter where we go. Gwynfor doesn’t smoke, it has a strange effect on him. Someone spiked his first one with acid you see, since then he won’t smoke for fear of being attacked by Oompa Loompas. He stands with a stiff back and a puffed-out chest, holding his pint firmly. Trying to suss out the village bike, no doubt…
A short distance away, a crowd of people suddenly erupts and the night sky bursts into flames. The fireworks light up the entire village, their magnificence reflected on the surface of Afon Colwyn which, on this rare dry New Year’s Eve in North Wales, runs unusually low. The lights also shine on me, sitting on this stone wall, picking delicately at my illegal little green bag... I glance around nervously, hoping the show doesn’t last too long.
“Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, boys!” a man shouts from somewhere behind us.
Rhodri turns to look at him. “Start as you mean to go on, ynde?!” he shouts back, raising his pint and gesturing with his head in my direction. I flash the man a smile, cursing my drunken friend. The man smiles and shakes his head, walking by without stopping.
He’s alright, he is.
Sorry… I’m crap at introductions, yeah. Name’s Gwion Williams; currently between two jobs, last one being a labouring job along the Welsh Highland Railway, expanding the line. Wasn’t a bad job; worked with my cousin, who picked me up in the morning in his van. We’d always smoke a… (roll-your-own)… on the way to work, and on fag breaks. And sometimes during work. Then on the way home. But the work was hard, and the weather disgusting.
Thing is I’m not built for labour, but the Hospitality Industry during winter in North Wales is depressing and beggars can’t be choosers. I’m a tall guy yeah, tallest in school… and thin. Rhodri often takes the mick and says that I look like ‘Slender Man’ or someone… anyway, being so tall meant I had to arch my back to look down at the tracks, flipping killed my back aye!
But this latest job is a handy call-centre role; nine-til’-five sitting in a comfy office down in Cardiff. Can’t smoke on the job, but I don’t mind waiting until I get home. And what a home I’ve sorted for myself..! Living with two single Latvian girls… anything could happen cont!