Stories in Miniature
Just before the Festivals, Edinburgh Literary Salon’s Anita Govan, who introduced Scotland to the concept of poetry slams, hosted a short story slam at the very lovely Argonaut Book. The first round of the slam showcased seven writers with a drabble - a 100 word story.
Let’s start with the winner, performance poet Musenga Katongo.. Who had travelled from Zambia to take part in the Edinburgh Carnival. Festival cross-pollination at its best.
On the Foot of the Walk
On the Foot of the Walk, the shore line remained the same. What also was the same was Jane and her mother’s walks down Leith Walk. It was beyond their fourth time to walk to the Firth of Forth as daughter and mother. And it was the two of them in this world, because sadly there was no other. Jane started at tender age walking down the walk again and again. With her beloved mother whom was closer than a friend. Jane’s mum would repeat the same jokes, while Jane would repeat the same laugh. The walk was same to Jane, but to her mother it was a new adventure. Especially because Jane’s mum had dementia. Each morning they’d meet would be a new introduction. So the strolls on Leith Walk served a greater function. It was a time Jane could share with her mum an adventure that would never cease. Because no matter how many times they walked, she loved her from the top to the foot of Leith. (For the sake of anyone who believes there are more than 100 words here, you’re right, 176 in fact but it won, so here it is – Ed)
Foot of the Walk
A remarkable beast appeared in Leith one day. A pony-sized creature that resembled a foot. No-one knew where it came from, why or how.
Children loved to play with the Foot of the Walk. Riding it up and down Leith Walk. Artists would paint its toenails and decorate the skin with henna tattoos.
The Foot was a hero, stepping between angry drunks, kicking muggers arses.
One day, as mysteriously as it had come, it went away. That is how the Foot of the Walk got its name, in memory of where this fantastic beastie had first appeared.
A Brief History of Leith to Around 8 Billion A.D.
1128 A.D.: The earliest mention of Leith in official records
26/4/1902: Hibs win the Scottish Cup
1905: Leith Corporation runs Scotland’s first electric trams
1920: Edinburgh Corporation takes over the trams
16/10/1956: The last journey of the Edinburgh Corporation trams
1999: The Council proposes a tram line going through Leith
2009: Leith Walk tram track laying suspended
2015: The Council plans to extend the tram to the Foot of the Walk
21/5/2016: Hibs win the Cup. Again
Eight-Billion A.D.: The Sun engulfs Leith
Eight-Billion-and-One A.D.: The tram extension is scheduled for completion
Ricky Monahan Brown
Sailing from the Foot
of the Walk
Now we are assembled, here’s the plan: The dinghy is packed and ready to launch.
Meet on the roof of Central Bar at midnight. Water lapping at our ankles, Edinburgh is uninhabitable;
We sail for higher ground, fully prepped from Vital Home Essentials. Sailing over the submerged Dockers Club, wave to mermaid Mary.
Water of Leith swans bobbing on rising tides. Passing over Ocean Terminal, fish swimming through tram windows.
Setting forth on the Forth – farewell Leith! Leaving the Port that welcomed us immigrants. Bound for a new land (perhaps Fife),
We persevere, as Leith is a state of mind. Tracy Griffen
The next round was based on a photo, any photo, a broad subject, as you see below.
Hef: On the Foot of My Shoe
Honey toast, tea and the radio. ‘Hugh Hefner has died, surrounded by his loved ones’. I picture Playboy Bunnies grotto-ready, jostling for space around the immense bed. Curvy Vultures outdoing each other with inflations and mascara-streaked faces, droopy ears.
He had a good life, abetted by his safe-space and place, his lair that thousands entered for the fun, the hedonism. His legacy? An end to depravity. An end to palaces that keep ‘sex workers’ in elegant surroundings, providing everything they ever needed. I hope those Bunnies celebrate his death.
Like the rampant militants they really are.
Not competing in the Slam was compere Jamie Sutherland, his enthusiasm for the short story format manifests itself in his abandoned shopping trolleys project: 26 Trolleys in Lockdown Sestudes.
I caught these two behind a wall in a conspiratorial 69,
Sniffing each other’s behinds.
“Why should we keep social distance?
Our proximity has no significance: we’re only the carriers.”
“You’re right”, said the other:
“Our dalliance is nothing compared to our sisters and brothers rammed up against each other.”
“Okay,” the first volleyed, “Let’s go to the park and get trolleyed.”
Musenga Katongo won the last task.
To write a six word story…
When he stretched, the mortician fainted.
(He fulfilled the brief this time - Ed) ■
J. A. Sutherland’s, Linksview House on Tollbooth Wynd: From 26 Trolleys in Lockdown (Sestudes) and Musenga Katongo