I recall now, as one of those tales of misadventure one often recalls in his age, and I write down now for you, perhaps, a rather humorous beginning to my life in this house, this house that has grown so dear to me…

As I recall, it was quite a rainy Tuesday, and I had just begun to write in the first volume of this, my personal diary, of now forty years. Perhaps, you may think it queer, that I chose to write it now, and not, of course, then, as I was writing in my diary. Perhaps it is because I simply deemed it unworthy of those pages upon which I scrawled in the gibberish tongue of my middle age. I write now of a rather foggy memory of which I fondly remember. It was upon the second day of my residence in this house which would become my home, and I recall being heavily engrossed in my own self-indulgent writing, perhaps a categorisation which could apply to this entry itself in the innumerable volumes of this, my personal diary. I recall that, as I was engrossed in my writings, I heard a sound as though there were a leakage of the roof in the rain, which, admittedly, I thought odd, as both I simply did not want to believe my new house had a leaky roof, and also, as I recall, it was not raining. After a time, I stood to rest my eyes and hands from my writings, and also I determined to feed my hunger, which by this point was paining me. At this time, I recall, out of curiosity, I surveyed my study for the source of the dripping, or rather, the resultant pool of fluid which had resulted from the audibly apparent leakage. To my immediate horror, I noted that the pool was not of a clear, water  fluid such as rain water, or even drain water (how incredible, I’m a poet and I didn’t even…. realise) but had the apparent colour and appearance of rather congealed blood. I’m ashamed to say, but also proud, in a weird, and somewhat contorted manner, that out of some pseudo-scientific—or so was my justification at the time—curiosity I was lead to take a small dip of my right middle phalange into the macabrely blood-like fluid and taste it, as blood was a rather unfamiliar taste to me, for obvious reasons of socially accepted behaviours and whatnot. It makes me chuckle to this day, when I recall the blended mixture of surprise, glee, disappointment, and a rather, perhaps appalling, and rather surprising rage, in my voice when I remarked to myself something along the lines of “No, this is definitely tomato paste”. After my initial confusion, I became somewhat confused. I became further confused, in answer to any queries any future reader of this shall have, as I realised, I did not recall being told of any attic or roof-space in this new house of mine prior to my purchase. As a result, I found myself rather curious, and determined to discover the source of this paste mystery, and to stop it, in order to save myself the cleaning job.

I subsequently left the study and began to wander the house, looking upwards for a possible entrance and it wasn’t long before I saw a square outline on the ceiling with a small, almost unnoticeable hook hanging down, clearly for the purposes of opening and reaching this roof-space. Upon further search I found one other such door to the roof-space, and a small pole, also with a hook on its end, and supposed this was how to open the doors.

I returned to the first such portal to the roof-space, and used the hook-pole to bring down the door, and at this, a rather old but well-polished wooden ladder slid down and thudded rather gently against the floor. In my age the woos of its make escapes me, as I stopped climbing it a number of years ago, however I do remember that first time climbing it, and I must say, it seemed a lot longer than it was in reality, although perhaps that’s simply because first memories always are, or any memory for that matter. I recall being driven for some reason other than simple tidiness, or curiosity, but I could not, funnily enough, figure out exactly what that was at the time. Once at the top of the ladder, I peeked my head through the small opening, and took a quick glance around. This hidden roof-space was surprisingly large, enough so that there were walls and a door leading out of this first chamber. I worked out the orientation of this door to my study before going through it. Upon leaving this door I was astonished to see a phantasmagorical scene of machinery and artwork all incongruously belonging to different eras. Having worked out where in the house I was relevant to the study, I cast my eyes to a dark corner of the room and was delighted to have found the source of my leak. I moved surprisingly quickly for a middle aged man to a stack of what must have been twenty across and twenty high Jars of tomato paste, with one missing from the top right, lying on the floor cracked across, over a crack in the study ceiling. As one would expect, I promptly stood it upright, and made to remove these from their resting place to my still rather empty pantry.

I noticed as I was moving the jars of tomato paste that they were actually blocking the way to a tiny corner alcove of the roof-space, and by the time I came to bring the last few down to my pantry I could see an incredibly dusty old tome lying on a pillow, itself smeared with dust. I made note to return immediately to find out what this book was, however upon my last trip to the kitchen I recalled what it was that had driven me to find the jars. I was writing in my diary at the time of my stupidity in failure to purchase tomato paste for pizzas, my planned dinner for the evening! It was late at night by this time, and so decided the book could wait…

And that is how I came to discover the secret space, and the secret book in my home. Now that was a rather curious book indeed, however its words or contents are not the kind to be discussed on so crude a pages as these ones.





 Lachlan says:

I believe this submission is bad because it contains very poor plot, uninteresting character, and a strong prevalence of excessive preciseness about insignificant details, as well as glances over key facts.

The plot, mixing between the past of a man of his middle ages discovering a leakage of tomato paste in his roof-space and seeking it out, entirely uninteresting in itself, and the present of a man recalling this memory of himself as that middle aged man and writing about himself writing in previous volumes of the diary and even referencing the current diary entry, creates a truly appalling sense of boredom for a prospective reader, and also contains far too many clichés, and attempts at intellectualism.

The character, is a self-indulgent, apparently single, man in his later years remarking upon his middle ages, renowned for being ‘boring’ times of life (admittedly this is coming from myself, a 14 year old boy, so all is relative), and he is the kind of man who attempts to be superior to whom he really is.

Various key facts, and possibly more important things are very briefly seen and glanced over, such as the book, and the actual size of the house, the characters’ name, and profession, and most of their actions, whereas small details such as the ladder or the manner in which he discovered the leak was of tomato paste were far too excessively described.