Week 2 - Bird Mad Girl

SHANE’s 200 

If she had been sober, I don’t think she would have been able to do it. If she had all of her mental and physical facilities working to their full, uninhibited capacity, I don’t think she would have made it that far. Yet somehow, blind drunk, barely able to stand, she snuck past security and then scaled the eight foot high fence, without killing herself. 

Karen liked birds, sure. She certainly didn’t dislike them. But I don’t think she ever really thought that much about them. Why on earth had she ended up here? 

The gates were already open by the time Karen was first spotted by a keeper. It was a Summer Saturday so the zoo was already pretty full.

“Hey! Hey! You! Get out of there!” the keeper screamed. Karen lay dazed in the centre of the main aviary, caked in mud and lined with discarded plumage from above. She looked like she’d been tarred and feathered. “What are you doing in there?!” 

“I’m mad for the birds, so I am,” she slurred. “I’m… bird mad, me.” Bird Mad Girl, the internet quickly dubbed her. Bird Mad Girl, she would forever be known as from here on in.


NÍAL’s 200 

She couldn't remember when it started, but it started early in her life. She was poor and very grateful for the distraction, the fantasy. She wasn't sure if it was the movement that first attracted her, the power, the grace, it could have been anything. She was hooked, that much was for sure.  

Everybody that knew her, or had ever talked to her (or had seen what she wore) knew exactly how she felt, even before the media coverage.

Realistically it was only with the birth of the internet, and the information now freely available to her, that a problem arose. There is a point in time when fandom becomes obsession, and obsession becomes a problem. It is a problem like hers that can land one in trouble. With the Police. And the Courts. 

Her problem meant she was now detained in a safe place. It was well-decorated (of course) with posters and pendants, and she was allowed wear her special t-shirt. But her other activities were restricted. She was no longer allowed out at night. Or in Boston. Or within one mile of Larry Bird. Of course, that's not to say he was ungrateful of the attention...



Week 1 - Accidents and Compliments

NÍAL's 200

'I fear you misunderstand what my department does." Came the terse reply. "Don't be fooled by the name. "Eyeballing each other, both men took the opportunity to fix their cuffs and collars.' No, my dear friend, we are responsible for putting things together, joining the dots.'

'What does that even mean?" replied the older man. The reply came with a vaguely patronising air.
'Royal couples with worthy scandals, unworthy scandals with newspaper men, weapons technology with despots, crashed delivery vans with market stall opportunists. Things that compliment each other make the world go round. In short, we cause change and progress.'
'Oh. I thought the Department of Compliments just, sort of, said nice things to people"

The rest of the cafe remained indifferent, as the mood changed between the two suits. One had the aged hands of a man that had proved his worth in the outdoors, in real life. Opposite was a young patrician. He had the soft skin of a man that believed the best way to dig a hole was with your arms folded, telling another man with a shovel it was their idea all along and what a great idea it was indeed.

'However, I know your job involves. The Department of Accidents make 'things' happen. Often 'to' people.' He took a sip of water before continuing. 'And we appreciate your... discrete assistance in this regard.'
'Actually, um, we do health and safety mostly.'

There was a short pause, before the recently produced large brown envelope was discretely taken off the table.
'Then, it seems we may have our wires crossed.'

The older man paused for thought momentarily before replying, helpfully.
'Well, I could take a look at that if you like?'


SHANE’s 200

Jenny absolutely hated when she got put on shift with Gerry.
“He’s harmless,” she would begin every rant with. “But, oh God, he’s just so annoying.” Every one of Jenny’s friends knew about Gerry. Frankly, they were getting tired of hearing about him. Every conversation would invariably drift back to Gerry; how so infuriatingly nice he was, how uncomfortable he makes her feel, the way he always just… watches her drive.
“Nothing,” he replies. “You’re such an excellent driver. It’s just a pleasure to watch you work. So commanding, yet so unassuming. That’s a tough balance to strike.” But it wasn’t just her driving he admired. He loved how she dressed. “Most people can’t pull off green. But you… you look great in it. It’s definitely your colour. Although I’d imagine every colour is your colour.” He loved how she treated her patients. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a neater bandage. I don’t know how you do it. And with himself swearing and cursing at you? Amazing. You’re a marvel.”
Jenny had been waiting three months for her transfer to come through and, although Gerry had often complimented her on her patience, it was starting to wear thin.

Week 4 - Porno



She stood there, paralysed. They only came in for the laugh. To pick up a few bits for Ciara's hen. She wasn't expecting this. Now, she can't let go of the box - unable to breath. She stares. The girls are an aisle away, fiddling with handcuffs. "You alright, Emer? You look like you've seen a ghost." 

She stares on. Every wink in the street, every confusing "it's you isn't it?", every single bastard that undressed her with their eyes, the predators that told her she has even bigger tits in real life; all began to make perfect sense.

It was her. But it wasn't. How can two people look so similar. There was only one possible answer and she knew it, deep down. As she stared for the first time at what could only be her sister, her stomach turned at the inappropriate images of her violation. And for the first time in her 34 years, Emer's desire to find her birthparents consumed her to the point of tears.

"One hundred and seventy euro please." Christ, porno is expensive. But if it means nobody else in this town would see her sister degraded, it was a worth every penny

Week 3 - Flawless

NÍAL'S 200


Taking a sip of coffee he leaned back in his chair, normally the highlight of his day. It was the kind

of job that would make your friends very jealous, straight out of college. Leering young men with 


But today had changed everything. He'd never seen one in real life, they rarely came into 

the office. 

He liked the look he got when he told someone for the first time, he even enjoyed some of 

the jokes they made in the office. But today his head was spinning and he could hardly 

concentrate. He had actually seen it up close. 

People say they're sympathetic when they have no direct experience of something. 

Today was a day for reflection. That's about all it was good for now. Reflecting on his life, 

and hers. Yes, he wasn't as strong or as cool or as rich as he'd like (or as his family would like) but 

he was good at Photoshop. And she wouldn't get any more work for the magazines and the 

websites, if he didn't get rid of the bruises and the cuts. None of them would. He put the coffee 

down, sat up straight, and got back to work.



The front door is allowed slam on it's closer.

- Fucking lawless, Joe and I'm sick of it. 

- Yeah? What now?

- And it's gettin' weirder. I just saw a man pick pocketed on the tube. I was just about to 

confront the little shit but I didn't have to. And I know it sounds selfish, right, but I'm glad it 

wasn't me 'cause I'll bet you anything he's wishing he kept his mouth shut now.

- Why, what happened?

Plucking a glass from the draining board, he fills it four times over before gulping down half a 

pint; he'd have swallowed it all if he didn't have to catch his breath.

- The kid skipped off at Kilburn, and so did your man. He must have felt something.

- Yeah?

- He grabs the kid's shoulder "Give me back my wallet". But as he looks up, there's these 

three proper bobbies, with the hats and all. And the main one goes "Is this the man?" the kid 

goes "Yeah." And they hop him.

- What?

- I've no idea why, man. 

- Must be more to it than that?

- Your guess is as good as mine, man.



Flair. Scissor. Circle. Effortlessly out of the Kehrswing. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m going to have to give him a ten. I really think this is ten material. Him and the horse. The horse and him. They’re one. There’s no doubt about it. We’re in ten country here. Not on the border. Slap bang in the middle of ten country.

Nine point four. That’s the highest I’ve ever given. I saw a guy give a ten once, but that routine was nothing compared to this. Oh my goodness. Look at that Wendeswing! I have to give this guy a ten.

That judge who gave that ten. He was a laughing stock after that. No one took him seriously. You can’t give just out tens. We might as well pack up and go home if we’re just doling out the tens. But this is a ten. Isn’t it? I mean, if it isn’t I don’t know what is.

Please fuck up. Please don’t make me give you a ten. I can’t. Oh, fuck! Perfect dismount. They’re looking at you. Do something. You have to do something.It was flawless. But I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t.

AMY'S 200


There comes a point at which you can pause, observe what you've done and stop. Sophie had passed this point a good 3 minutes ago. The point of no return had been and gone. 

Her skin had never been particularly bad. In fact, Sophie had been relatively blemish free as a teenager. It wasn’t until her late twenties that the sebum increased, the red lumps pulsed and the acne began. So on the eve of her 30th birthday, Sophie decided she had had enough. She spent the day going from chemist to chemist, acquiring washes, scrubs and various implements necessary for the immanent removal.

She didn't stop when her skin became red raw from the exfoliating cream, nor did she stop when it burned from the glycolic peel. She continued through the deep, digging extractions, despite the blood trickles that ran from her forehead beginning to blur her vision. Finally, with a scalpel in her hand, she began to cut. From one ear to the other. Most of the skin peeled away quite easily eventually coming off in one large, face-sized piece.

Sophie wiped the blood from her eyes with a towel. She looked into the mirror and smiled.