Monthly Archives: October 2013

Lost for Words. Many Monkeys but no Mot Juste

this week the what if writing challenge was – This week I want you to tell us your best story (real or fiction) about being lost.

Here goes, con animato.



Lost for Words.

Many Monkeys but  no Mot Juste.

I was looking for the mot juste but all I found was a monkey.  The mot juste escaped me I couldn’t think. I needed to find it. So I stood up in my living room and walked over to the window, pulled the curtains, then searched the three-seater sofa. All I found was a monkey. In the brightness.

I pushed him aside, told him to go and went to the coal-shed under the stairs. I pulled things out, moved them around, walked right in, but all I found was a monkey. I told him to go and trotted into the kitchen to continue my search for this quite elusive mot juste.

If I had possession of this word, then, the world would be my oyster, I was so sure of it. In the kitchen I pulled the blinds and the early afternoon poured into the cramped kitchen urging me on. I opened a window and fresh air and children’s voices playing football outside on the road blew into the room and pushed at the space.

The presses on the walls, and under the sink, I pulled open, and put my eyes and hands into, but the mot juste remained elusive and forever out of sight. In the tea-towel press, I found a monkey and asked him to leave. In the washing press too, a monkey. He left through the front door.

The cutlery drawer realised a monkey too, this one leaving by climbing out the open window. All monkeys were quite genial, they wanted to stay but accepted their fate immediately and left.

In the bedroom I found a monkey under the bed and in the wardrobe and on each bookshelf too. They all marched compliantly out of the house in droves. It seemed I’d never find the word I was looking for however long and hard I searched, so I went out to the back garden shed as a last-resort sort of a stratagem.

I found yet another monkey, and yes, he agreed to go when I indicated to him my wishes. I stood in the middle of my back garden then and breathed in the fresh windy air tossing my hair about gently. There was a small tree to my left, a cherry blossom. And there high in its branches was the mot juste waiting to be rescued. I couldn’t reach it, too high up. There was no ladder in the shed or in the house anywhere for I didn’t have one. I needed a monkey to reach it. A monkey would be able to climb up no bother and pluck the mot juste for me.Then place it into my hand with a friendly wink and – “You’re welcome mate, anytime. Anytime.” But I’d sent every monkey I’d found in the house and in the shed away.

I searched the shed once again but there wasn’t any monkeys in there. In the kitchen, the living room and all the bedrooms, there were no monkeys anywhere now. I looked up longingly at the mot juste on the highest branch of the Cherry Blossom before going back into the house. I locked the back door and pulled the curtains on the day outside in full bloom. I switched on the electric lights and sat down at my PC. Then I tried to continue without it.

Paco’s Poem on Tuesday – Even Better than Ice Cream.


Title: Even Better than Ice Cream.

Saint Patrick’s Athletic 2 Sligo Rovers 0.

We won the league.

At long last.


This feels so good.

Even better than eating ice cream in

the Phoenix Park in summer.

I thought my head exploded

when we scored the second goal.

But it didn’t.

My throat is hoarse.

My bones are dog-tired.

I’ll be swimming in the trophy

this Friday at the Derry match.

Then I must rest.


(Written by Paco aged seven and three quarters on 13th October 2013  from the centre circle of Richmond Park after the match  while eating ice cream. I couldn’t resist! What do you think I am – a monk?).

Planet Mars Bar Man with a Fish Finger for a Brain.

The What If Challenge this week was – What if you could live on another planet?

mars bars 1


Planet Mars Bar Man with a Fish Finger for a Brain.

There were tinselled cherries floating everywhere I looked. I couldn’t get them down and into my sister’s thirtieth birthday card fast enough, before they all popped their clogs in mid-air weasel-like. Right in my face. Pop goes the weasel. Crash. Pop goes the weasel. Bang. Pop goes the weasel. Wallop.


A big planet Mars bar of a man then awoke me out of this happy occupation with three loud knocks on the front door with the obscene notion – diktat more like – of me going to live on planet Mars for good.

I wanted to rip his sweet-wrapper of a head off its hinges, chew it slowly, and then spit it out through the open window and into the compost heap in the back garden. Couldn’t he see that I had a thirtieth birthday party to go to on Saturday? This coming Saturday? Why wasn’t he helping me capture all these about-to-pop tinselled cherries out of the fresh air and into my sister’s birthday card? Why? But big planet Mars Bar of a man wasn’t taking no for an answer.

I was going to Mars whether I liked it or not and he was flabbergasted that I wasn’t overjoyed at this prospect and hadn’t jumped over the moon already in anticipation.

‘You’ve won the lottery Flute Mouth. You’ve been selected to go to Mars. You’ll see another world.’


‘But my sister’s thirtieth is on Saturday!’

‘Mars for God’s sake! And call me Connie Wonnie please, I like you, Flute Mouth, I really do. You’ll travel through time and space. Pack up your gear please. You have to come with me now. Sorry, but you just have to.’

I hadn’t even entered the lottery for this one. I never would have dreamed of even filling out the form. Mars Bar, sorry, Connie Wonnie took his baseball bat out of his holdall and said –

‘Now Flute Mouth, no funny business. Come with me. Right?’

‘But it looks like my football team are going to win the league this year, in a few weeks time – for the first time in 14 years – I can’t miss that! I also need to visit my parents on a Saturday or a Sunday every fortnight for a few hours in the afternoon or else I crack up and start to itch and scratch other people’s faces off. You can’t have the likes of that on Mars now, can you? Me scratching top scientists’ and engineers’ faces into oblivion? That wouldn’t be a society conducive to starting a new civilisation now, would it?’

‘Stop this right now Flute Mouth. Mars! Haven’t you been listening to me at all? You’re getting up and out of this recessionary town and country and floating off into another bloody world! Don’t you get that?’

‘What’s so fantastic about that? Please tell me? So fantastic that I’ll have to give up my family, my friends, my interests, my life and all to colonise another planet and be a lonely skivvy to big-brained scientists and engineers 24-7! For God’s sake Connie-Wonnie you must think I‘ve got a fish finger for a brain. I’ll be wiping their arses on Mars – that’s what they’ll have me doing. I work in an office down here. What use me up there with the intelligentsia? Cop on and smell the roses! I’ll be their slave.’

‘The world is going to end in six months, haven’t you seen the television programmes like the rest of us? You’ll outlive planet earth. You’re getting out. You’re a lucky man, I wish -’

‘No. You wish nothing at all Connie-Wonnie. You’re wrong or a very sad man. I’m not going. When everyone press-ganged is shovelling ‘genius’ shit on Mars, the rest of us down here in reality land are going to be having the biggest party ever invented – or even partly invented -for if you thought about it entirely – you can’t – your head would explode with the blood rush. The party. Wash your exploded head-pieces out of your clothes and the walls of your sitting room with Omo extra strong dazzle.

‘The party down here will make this old world take off and be new again – change everything – and besides – even if we do all burn up I’ll be holding my true love’s hand and listening to my parents tell their stories of when they were growing up and listening to all the symphonies, melodies and literature of all the ages simultaneously as we all pop our clogs in beautiful synchronicity down here on planet earth, licking the flames as the tinselled cherries float around everything, through everything, between everything and ending everything with a popping kiss from my love.’

After this, Connie Wonnie was silent and acquiescent – “For I have a sister I wouldn’t ever want to leave for anything – even deep space. I know that now.”


We ran out the back door and over the back wall on our escape to the green glades of planet woods just out yonder some fifty metres away, but there were about twenty or thirty security planet Mars Bar  men with baseball bats waiting  to crack our heads unconscious and transport us to another planet before we opened our eyes to the light once again.


But love, but mother, but father, but sister, but brother, but friends – I’ll find a way to get back, somehow, if I can – stop myself from scratching down all these walls. Shovelling all this putrescence.  Fuck Mars. – Love and kisses forever. Flute Mouth.

Paco’s Poem on Tuesday – I’m Not Bat Chain Pulling Your Leg

Paco’s Poem on Tuesday.


Tittle: I’m Not Bat Chain Pulling Your Leg

Bray Wanderers 1 Saint Patrick’s Athletic 3.

I wasn’t in Bray on the night.

I was at a literary evening in Trim, County Meath –

Boyne Berries everywhere reading poetry and



My best friend Connie-Wonnie

from school updated me with texts throughout the

evening.  I sneaked a look every time a goal was scored.

Screamed silently.


I’m giving up cake until

the end of the season. I’ll make that

sacrifice for Pats, my team.


The Pats fans had a banner up at the match

Connie Wonnie told me – Fast and Bulbous

– and also a tin teardrop.

That’s what supporting Pats is like.

From Captain Beefheart’s  Trout Mask Replica album.

Pat fans have the best mind-licking taste in music

in the world – by a mile and three quarters.

And I swear I’m not bat chain pulling your leg on this

one ladies and gentlemen.

I swear. Even though I’m not allowed.


We’re still on top.

Four games to go go go go go gooooooooooo!


(Written by Paco aged seven and three quarters on 26th September 2013 in Trim, County Meath, eating smarties and listening to my uncle Eric reading a strange story in public).