Saturday, 23 October 2010

Beat on the Brat

This prompt from the Big Beat From Badsville blog was to write a short crime story with a Ramones song as title. Impossible to resist:


Eleanor’s three rules: no playing, no talking, no moving. When mummy is watching her programme, you should observe strict obedient silence, or you know what you’ll get!

Sundays are a great day for domestic violence. The desperate search for a motive, a morsel, a mote—some reason to live another week, to get through it without killing someone. Unfortunately, on this winter night, the motives were in short supply. It was freezing out, the taxman wanted his money, no one wanted to hire two thick planks with four kids.

David’s three rules: shut up, get me a beer, don’t speak unless I say so. When daddy is staring at the wall, you should observe strict obedient silence, or you know what you’ll get!

Two people who hate each other stuck in a house with four children they don’t love have two options. The first is to divvy up the kids, move to another country, and wait a few years. The second is to beat the children with predictable regularity, beat each other, then repeat this cycle until someone dies, a lesson is learned, and guilt rusts the soul.

Lucy’s three rules: hide from mummy, hide from daddy, run away.

Smack! Take that second child! Which one was that? What’s her name? Take that! “You useless ****!” Wham! “You ******* ****!” It’s the slapstick of hate! What are brutes if not clowns without the capacity to love? You would laugh, really, if there was anything to laugh about. A bottle to the temple, and someone’s dead. Which is one is that?

Jade’s three rules: lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling, stop breathing.



  1. That is such a brilliant idea. Crime songs with titles from Ramones songs! Haha! I love this!

    Exclamation point!

  2. Crime stories that is. Although, crime songs from Ramones stories would be just as nice.

    I got dibs on Dee Dee's days as a male hustler!

  3. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr - chillingly brilliant! Thanks for playing MJ - love it. I shall put a link to it in my next post in a day or so.

    Oh, and J Chon - the more the merrier! Can I expect a short story from you with the title 53rd and 3rd then? :o)

  4. Donna: It was fun! Just an excuse to listen to the Ramones and deviate from other work, basically.

    Jeff: Yes, you have to write one now. I'm waiting.

  5. Love it. Can I share it with my (Polish, but English-reading) writing group?
    I'm going to do it anyway :)

  6. Kasia: Yes! That would be ace. Let Donna (above) know and she'll link to your stories.

  7. This is kind of a depressing story. Two cruel parents that beat their children, possibly killing one of them. Something tells me this is not a kid's book.

  8. Neat! In the horriblest possible way, of course. Meaning I don't think it's neat that parents kill their children. But I do think it's neat that you managed to do the challenge in such an original and provocative way. Crime fiction meets social commentary can be a lucrative concept, you know. (Or, maybe you didn't know? Maybe I am the bearer of good tidings? Or bad tidings, depending on the level of lucrativity you want to achieve...)

  9. Looney: And usually I'm so bubbly.

    CC: I didn't know this, so you are the bringer of good tidings. Lucrativity is not on my agenda right now, though I did steal Jonathan Franzen's trousers recently.

  10. Oh, Mark-that was great! Horrible, yes, but brilliantly done. I love the glib telling, as it increases the horrificness of it.

    If you were stealing the trousers so he is now trouser free, well done. If you were stealing them to put them on, I will have to protest.

  11. Tart: Great! I mean, erm... not great. I was indeed stealing "The Franz"'s trews to get him nekkid. And it's not even Thursday.

  12. Man that was good. A unsettling kick in the crotch. Great job!

  13. first off, i was worried because i had a story in Needle this summer with the same title.
    the story completely took me away from that. what a fantastic structure to use and what a powerful way to use the structure. outstanding,really.

  14. ^^ Hey Nigel. Thanks!