Saturday, 30 March 2013

Apple Kiss by Helen Dring

Read by Sin Gwamanda

I saw her first in the mirror. The same old mirror my mother gave me as a child to count the hundred brush strokes of my hair. She was washing, her skin ivory against the sun, her spine a perfect score down her back as she bent to rub soap in to her knees. A dirty kneed girl. A thrill in the watery glass.

You are beautiful, my love. He crept behind me, sneaked his arms around my waist and kissed the curve of my neck. I tilted with him, holding the mirror above my head, craning to see.

Who's in the bathroom? I asked.

He was not my husband, then. Just a man I spent too much time with, a man who had brought me to his home and let me settle in. I had not known he had a daughter. He was afraid, he said, of the word widower and stepmother, of making me a fable. Later, I stroked his hair and told him I did not mind his daughter, or being a fairy tale. 

The Maiden who Outsmarted the Tzar, translated by Jelena Curcic

Read by Harry Oram

Once upon a time there lived a poor man in a cave. He had nothing save an only daughter, who was very wise and who went everywhere to earn a living for them with her words. She also taught her father how to speak well when asking for charity. One day, the poor man went to the Tzar's palace to ask for charity. Hearing him speak, the Tzar enquired where the man was from and where he had learnt to speak so well. The man told him where he was from and that it was his daughter who taught him wise words.

"And who taught your daughter?" the Tzar asked.

"God himself taught her, and our poverty," the man replied.

The Tzar then gave the man thirty eggs and said:

"Take this to your daughter and tell her to have the chicks hatched from these eggs; I shall reward
her handsomely for it. Should she fail to complete this task, however, you shall be faced with a
great ordeal."

Passiflora's Suspension by Hanne Larsson

Read by Saffron Chan

Dear Maleficent,

I hope this letter finds you busy with work. What a peaceful and tidy place your tower must be compared to the explosion of pizza boxes and ice cream tubs that has become my cottage. I felt obliged as your friend to write to you before you heard any of the rumours linking you to evil-doings and pranks.

As I previously mentioned, I've been keeping my eye on this blonde slip of a girl living in dismal conditions in her stepmother's house as an opportunity for new business. One morning,the mice in the kitchen helpfully told me that her stepmother had forbidden her to attend the ball held in honour of all the land's noble ladies. I grabbed my chance, knowing that there is much to be said for making an entrance. Her mouth gaping open and a single tear falling as I materialised in front of her, sparkles and all, told me I'd succeeded.

In time-honoured fashion, I promised she would be allowed to go to the ball, as long as she left before midnight. Dearest Mally, my heart did a little somersault when she nodded, and I gave her a list of items that would need to be ready the evening of the ball.

Lie Detector by Sam Carter

Read by Michael Charles Rogers

Kara. Kara, is it? I know it is. Maybe it’s your real name, maybe it’s not, but it’s the one your colleague gave us, so we’ll stay with it, shall we?

I’m not here to make you talk, Kara. I’m here to make you see it’s better to talk now. You don’t want to be made to talk, Kara, not by us. Not by my colleagues through there. They know what they’re doing, Kara. They’re professionals. Expert. Enthusiastic. Expensive. So am I, of course, but my job’s rather less unpleasant.

Did you know, Kara, research shows women do my job better than men? A man in your position, especially from a patriarchal culture, he'll put up a lot of initial resistance, but he’ll talk to a woman more quickly: the natural inclination to see them as nurturing figures, mother, wife, sister, meets the urge to confess, and … well, we don’t like to use the term break. But they always confide, eventually. Women are harder to crack, you’ll be interested to know, Kara, but they prefer to talk to women, too. It's a comfort thing. I’m a neo-Freudian: it all comes down to our mothers in the end. Trouble is, it’s not easy to find a woman willing to do this sort of work. So you’re stuck with me, I’m afraid. 

There Goes the Fear by Ysabelle Cheung

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

As it turns out, the Men aren’t afraid of us anymore. Mischa swam up to the surface last week, hoping to tear off the white fat of a shoulder or knee ligament for the water babies, but the Men were prepared: they used the grey butts of their weapons to blind her and then dragged her onto their boat. They tortured her and shot her three times in the mouth and then dumped her body on the rocks. As a warning to the rest of us.

Our seaguards brought her back to the deep from the breakwaters where her fins had shredded to tissue on the rocks. Her lavender hair was sticky over her beautiful aquiline nose, which was broken in three places. This was the first time in our ten thousand year history that a mermaid had been murdered by Man.

The body went straight to the necropsy department. My friend Lexi got the call as she was picking anemone for surgical gauze. As a trainee she had only dealt with de-finned sharks and choked dolphins and fish necklaced with plastic rings. She asked me to go with her. Neither of us had seen a dead mermaid before. 

Fairy Tail by Liam Hogan

Read by Lara Genovese

“What do you think?” Lucy said expectantly.

I resettled the glasses on the bridge of my nose. “Well... I love the dress, and ... and the wings are great.”

She pouted, as only a seven year old can pout. “But?”

“But ... I’m not sure about the tail.”

She gave a quick glance behind her at the fluffy cat’s tail velcro’d to her tutu, and then crossed her arms. “What’s wrong with the tail?”

I trod carefully. I’d been warned to do so. “I don’t think fairies have tails.” 

The Third Son by E. P. Henderson

Read by Sean Hebert

The story begins with a prince.

There’s a prince because there’s always a prince. Besides, princes were commoner than raindrops in the old days, when every tiny fiefdom and dukedom and earldom and principality had its own set of squabbling royals, and the neighbouring province usually started over the brow of the next hill.

So. Our prince. Let’s call him Tertius: it’s descriptive, at least, for he’s the third of three brothers. Tertius is in the somewhat redundant position of being neither heir nor spare, but something else, something not of his own choosing. Of the three, he is the adventurer, our youngest princeling, for in the cruel and crude light of practicality, he is the son most dispensable, the least likely to be missed. (The king his father is perfectly benevolent, but not particularly observant).

If this is a fairy tale (and who’s to say it’s not?) it follows that where there’s a prince, there’s also a princess. And if she doesn’t start out as one, but as a beggar-maid or a neglected slavey, she’ll end up one by the end: would-be Cinderellas take note. A princess is essential. As is a quest. 

Fairytales and Nightmares by Richard Meredith

Read by Alex Milner

It starts with me running.

It's dark, of course; it's always dark, and the black buildings loom either side of me, slick with dirty rain. It's wet but the air has a tropical humidity, making sweat spring out all over me as I pound down the street. The surface is shiny and slippery like patent leather, my feet slide, I’m falling to my hands and knees, struggling and scrabbling as what's behind me gets closer and closer –

Other people's dreams. They’re so boring, aren't they? Same with other people's nightmares. Problem is, they’re all about mood and atmosphere. Trying to make people understand why they scare you is the hardest thing in the world. Nightmares make kids of all of us, desperately explaining to our sympathetic, uncomprehending parents that there really are monsters under the bed. Nightlights and cuddles just send them into hiding for a while. They always come back.

Sometimes the place I’m running through is an old European town, sometimes a dark, ancient forest. Sometimes I’m being chased, sometimes I’m chasing something precious I’ve lost. It makes no difference: I’m always terrified. Still, rather me than Sally: us grown-ups know better than to let people know when we're shit-scared.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - recap

Once upon a time...

There was a Liar. And the time we shall talk about is Monday 25th March. This Liar marched up to Les Boules armed with the Book of Lies, a bunch of posters and chalkboard pens.

With a little bit of help from her friends, the Liar transformed Les Boules from a cute pétanque alley into a theatrical den of mystery and intrigue, ready to accommodate the Liars of Hong Kong and all their debauchery. They didn't even need wands and squidgy little forest creatures to speed up the process.

Presently all the other Liars arrived, mostly on time, despite the torrential rain and howling wind wreaking havoc outside. And then the night began. There were stories! Beers! Bag piping! More stories! And a very sweet after party.

And they all (sort of) lived happily ever after.

Alex Milner reading 'Fairytales & Nightmares' by Richard Meredith

Sean Hebert reading 'The Third Son' by E. P. Henderson

Lara Genovese reading 'Fairy Tail' by Liam Hogan

Ann-Marie Taafe reading 'There Goes the Fear' by Ysabelle Cheung

Bagpiper Christopher Lee

Michael Rogers reading 'Lie Detector' by Sam Carter

Saffron Chan reading 'Passiflora' by Hanne Larsson

Harry Oram reading 'The Maiden who Outsmarted the Tzar', a traditional
Serbian  fairytale translated by Jelena Curcic

Sin Gwamanda reading 'Apple Kiss' by Helen Dring

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Themes for 2013!

We have our themes lined up for the rest of the year. Take a gander...

(we're taking a break in July)

THEME: Faith & Fear
DEADLINE: Friday June 28

THEME: Gay & Straight
DEADLINE: Friday July 26

THEME: Pain & Pleasure
DEADLINE: Friday August 23

THEME: Friends & Enemies
DEADLINE: Friday September 20

THEME: Blessing & Curse
DEADLINE: Friday October 18

Get writing!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - March 25th

What's that you say? Time for another event?

Indeed it is time.

Our second Liars' League HK night, themed 'Fairytales & Nightmares', will take place on March 25th at Les Boules, a cute little Pétanque bar (yes! In Hong Kong!) in Sai Ying Pun.

We kick off at 8pm again and have some new actresses under the spotlight, so be sure to come early and grab a seat. Again, it's all free - so there's no excuse not to come...

Monday, 4 March 2013

Fairytales & Nightmares - chosen stories!

Here are the 8 stories we've chosen for our March event - Fairytales & Nightmares:

Apple Kiss by Helen Dring
The Maiden Who Outsmarted the Tzar translated by Jelena Curcic, from the recently published 'Serbian Fairytales'
Lie Detector by Sam Carter
Fairy Tail by Liam Hogan
There Goes the Fear by Ysabelle Cheung
Passiflora by Hanne Larsson
Fairytales & Nightmares by Richard Meredith
The Third Son by E.P. Henderson

Thanks to Katy, Marshall, Marysia and Matt for their stellar judging skills!

We're already accepting submissions for our third event - 'East & West' - so please do submit again (and again and again) if you haven't been chosen this time round.

Happy lying!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Jervis Street by Steve Dodds

Read by Alex Milner

It was the scent of lilies through a florist’s door that brought it all flooding back. Not much anyone can do to stop such a primal trigger.

I remembered how I’d almost slept with Heather in the first year. We were on the same course at uni and she quickly got a reputation when she gave every boy on her floor of the halls of residence crabs. She may not have looked like much, being short and squat with a broad face and her dark hair cut in an unfortunate fringe, but in the parlance of the day, Heather was obviously a goer. I hung around when everyone else treated her like a leper because I figured she’d soon get treatment for the infestation, then I’d be first in line.

When Heather did ask me around for dinner, we were second years and she’d moved into a house with Suzie and Lezzer.

Suzie and Lezzer were a couple of freaks. Suzie wilfully so. A pretty girl from money, she wore charity-chic clothes over tight black body stockings and laughed too loudly at nothing in particular.

Lezzer was just the inevitable nickname the class gave Leslie Wong. A tall, handsome boy with a pony tail and a motorbike, given to long, sulky silences and wearing women’s clothes. 

He Said, She Said, Descriptions of the Sky by E. P. Henderson

Read by Sean Hebert

Semi-Detached by Liam Hogan

Read by Keon Lee

Theirs was a semi-detached planet. She owned the Southern Hemisphere, and he, the North. Which suited him just fine, as he always did like to be on top.

They moved in at the same time, it being a new build, and relations were initially cordial. Better than cordial – they were warm, and rather than squabble over the single island in the single archipelago that the equator bisected, they decided to share it, and to once a year celebrate their co-ownership of this middle class commuter-belt planet by holding a combined party.

It was at one of these parties, attended by colleagues and friends and family, that relations momentarily peaked at a new high. A smile as he filled her champagne glass, a touch of a hand, a glance across the immaculate lawn under the softly setting sun... it is easy to see why, after they had waved their friends into the waiting teleporters, they lingered for a while as the stars slowly turned high above their heads, before calling in the drones to tidy away all evidence of their annual event – and of what had happened after it.

But whether it was because he neglected to phone her within the customary 12 hours, or for some more blatant transgression real or imagined, things quickly soured between them. And this was not a genie that could be put back in the bottle. There is no harsher insult than a cold shoulder from one you have been intimate with. Things.... escalated. 

Oysters by Brindley Hallam Dennis

Read by Ann-Marie Taaffe

Pearl was heavily built and short. People said she cast herself willingly before swine. She was the sort of woman who seemed to invite that titillating speculation about what it would feel like to press various parts of your anatomy against, or even into, various parts of hers.

She had a steady gaze which held you in contempt and seemed to say that if you got the old man out, even if he were standing strictly to attention, she would not be overly impressed. What titillated Jacobson was the thought that she would take it, nevertheless, in her stride, or in her hand, and deal with it efficiently, and without emotion, judging her pleasure, rather than surrendering to it. The thought of being used like that thrilled him to the core.

Rumour in the hotel was that Pearl, who was said to be living out her wild years late in life, following the eventual disintegration of a long standing but too early marriage, would offer relief, of various sorts, to any of the young waiters who were in need.

She can speak with her mouth full in five languages, the handyman said, with a grin.

Tempting Fate by Paul Blaney

Read by Harry Oram

Each morning this week, about half past ten, a woman has phoned and asked to speak to my wife.

I tell her my wife is at work. Would she care to leave a message? But she never would care, this woman who sounds like a different woman each morning. (Or does she disguise her voice?) ‘Just a courtesy call,’ she tells me as I’m setting the receiver back down in its cradle.

So this morning when she called I told her instead that my wife was dead.

It was the woman’s turn to put the phone down on me.

I rolled over in the bed and tried to go back to what I’d been doing, which was nothing much at all. Presently, however, it occurred to me that I’d better give my wife a call to make sure. Just to be on the safe side, as they say.

But then I corrected myself; that thought of mine was pure superstition. Only there it still was just the same. ‘You ought not to say that.’ A voice or the echo of a voice, the way voices sound in your head instead of in your ear. The voice, it now struck me, of my mother who is actually dead, of a stroke in her bathtub. I’m not sure I ever asked her why not, but I’m pretty sure I know what she’d have told me: ‘Tempting fate.’ 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Life Cycle by Michael Spring

Read by Ines Laimins

At first, he didn’t realise that his bicycle was steering itself. He thought ruts in the road must be to blame, or his eyesight. But by the time he unaccountably mounted the pavement, turning through ninety degrees to do it, he had begun to believe that his bicycle might have a mind of its own.

On that occasion, he found himself swooping headlong into a row of bicycle stands, crowded with stationary machines. He was on the floor, painfully, before he knew it. His bicycle alongside him, wheels spinning in the air as though seeking attention.

The following day on his way to the shops, he crashed into a girl and a man standing face to face on a corner. As they gesticulated at each other, he and his bicycle swerved sharply, and lunged between them.

He had just time to shout a warning. He saw the man’s eyes wide. And then bicycle, man, girl and the cyclist were in a heap on the pavement, a ball of arms, legs and bruises. The man was angry, quite reasonably, and had wanted to hit the cyclist, but didn’t seem to be able to rise from the ground. The girl stood gingerly and rearranged her summer dress. The cyclist crouched behind his bicycle, fearing repercussions.

Sounds by David William Hill

Read by Hin Leung and Ann-Marie Taaffe

She whispered something, but he couldn’t hear what she said. Then she spoke louder, but still in a whisper, an exaggerated, breathy whisper.

“I said do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” he answered.

“Shh! . . . There . . . That.”

He lay still beneath the heavy down comforter, on his back, with only his bare head exposed to the chilly autumn air of the unheated room, and listened. He had been thinking, staring into darkness, mulling over the contents of their refrigerator, a jar of mayonnaise, far past expiration, that he really should throw out. A package of hamburger they should have cooked today but didn’t. The milk was probably fine. The mustard, the catsup. Do those expire? he wondered. And then the past-due notice for their water bill that had arrived today. And the back lawn he would need to mow this weekend. For a time as he lay there he imagined himself pushing the lawnmower, criss-crossing the lawn, striking down every blade of grass that stood in his path. But in his mind, he never finished, of course. In his mind, he pushed the lawnmower in one direction, and then another, back and forth, never finishing the job, just going over the same patch of ground in his restless insomnia. But now this insistence that he return to their bedroom, to the present moment, where he lay, on his back, staring, while she, also on her back but not sleeping after all, was hearing something. 

Threesome by Robin Sweet

Read by Michael Charles Rogers

Leila was a complete bitch, and Mick was a total bastard, and that pretty much sums up why Jemima was attracted to the pair of them.

At the time it seemed much simpler than that (to wit, they all wanted to fuck each other) and also much more complicated (it was a beautiful conjunction of damaged souls searching for something-or-other in all the tragically wrong places). But then, threesomes are always tricksy that way: so easy to under- and over-estimate. 

Jemima, our heroine, met Leila and Mick in a seedy club under Vauxhall Bridge. Jemima wasn’t into Mick at all, but she rather liked Leila. Leila had consumed large quantities of MDMA and therefore didn’t fancy anyone in the room except herself (but her self thought she was looking particularly ravishing that night, so that was OK). And Mick fell in love with Jemima as soon as he realised she wasn’t interested in him