Crushed Diaries

A blog for Young Adults

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Missing Eyelashes

Julia was one of my best friends at school before the tragedy. She wasn't at all academic, but had the most incredibly long black eyelashes, which she believed compensated for her inability to concentrate on school work. She was extremely proud of them and used to cut off the tips of her lashes every week, announcing that they would grow faster and curlier. She also used to lovingly coat them with layers of Vaseline before she went to bed each night, believing that this bizarre beauty tip would make her lashes look even more luscious than ever. Sometimes, she smeared on too much of the gluck, which gave her a curiously droopy bloodhound look, but she didn’t care. She was too skinny with blotchy freckles on her noses, and had masses of unappetising black frizzy hair, but she sincerely believed that her lashes helped make her look beautiful.

The dim girls at my school were forced to take domestic science classes, but in our first year, all the girls including the committed bluestockings were forced to participate. Julia was my cooking partner, which was unfortunate for her, as although I was in the top stream in Latin, I was an imbecile when it came to doing anything domestic. Poor Julia. During our first domestic science class, the teacher ordered us to turn on the oven and light the gas. Simple, I thought. I turned on the gas full blast, but instead of chucking a match inside, something stopped me. I took my time in sauntering across the room before asking Julia to light the oven for me.
‘Why can’t you light it yourself?’ Julia asked, absent-mindedly stroking her long lashes.
‘I’m scared. You do it,’ I answered.
Julia slowly walked over to my oven, expertly lit the gas with a match, and was rewarded by being blown across the room. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt but the way she screamed, I thought she had been seriously maimed. So did she. Her prize and joy, her precious eyelashes had been blown to smithereens. She lost them all in the blast and tragically for her, they never grew back as long as she lived. She never spoke to me again. It was just as well we were separated soon afterwards. She was doomed to domestic science hell for the rest of her school days, while I was groomed for more studious things. Whenever I did have the misfortune to bump into her in the school corridors in-between lessons, she would would automatically scream full blast at me, accusing me of trying to murder her eyelashes.

Copyright: Frances Lynn 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Midnight Curfew

Midnight Curfew

My father's nickname was 'Good God’, because every time he opened the door to one of my teenage friends, he used to exclaim, ‘Good God!’ That’s because my all my friends were dressed in funny clothes, and had long hair, both the boys and the girls. My friend Tam was the only one who didn't have long hair, so Dad just about tolerated him. He went to the local grammar school and was older than me.

Tam collected me on a Saturday night in his sports car, which his rich dad gave him for passing his exams. He was also wearing a tie.
‘Perhaps you should put on that nice Jaeger suit I bought you for your birthday last year,’ Mum said anxiously. I could have hit her! If she thought I was going to go out with Tam, dressed in that awful tweed suit, she had another thought coming.
‘There’s no need, I think she looks fine as she is,’ Tam said quickly, shielding his eyes from my neon-green, nylon mini dress, which I had recently bought in Carnaby Street with my saved up pocket money.
‘Her curfew is midnight, so bring my little girl back before then,’ Dad ordered.
I cringed. I’d always be Dad’s little girl even when I was fifty, I suspected.
‘You can count on me, sir,’ Tam replied smoothly.
Just when we were halfway out of the door, Mum had a fit.
‘It’s the middle of winter. You can’t go out without your coat,’ Mum screeched.
‘Oh yes, I can,’ I snapped, pushing Tam outside, before she could order me to wear the hideous winter coat she bought for me on one of our doomed shopping trips together.
‘Don’t forget to bring my darling daughter back home before midnight,’ Dad shouted after us with fake good cheer.

‘First stop, the Coffee Cup,’ Tam said, after we had escaped. He removed his tie, and I I carefully climbed into his sports car, careful not to show my knickers while I did so. If my parents knew that Tam hadn’t been invited anywhere, but was planning to gatecrash parties all night long, they would never have allowed me to go out with him. I tried not to smirk when pedestrians gawped at Tam’s swank car on our way to the Coffee Cup, a haunt where teenagers gathered outside every Saturday night. Mum was right though. It was freezing, and by the time we zoomed up to our destination, I felt and looked like a frozen ice-lolly. My lips were so blue, I could hardly speak.
'Cat got your tongue?' Tam sneered.

He got 'millions' of addresses from the crowd milling around on the pavement, and off we went, driving around London, looking for parties to crash. I was getting colder and colder by the minute, which was a tragedy as I was trying to read the A-Z, the same time as giving Tam directions. ‘Left, right, right, left – no LEFT,’ I dribbled through cracked lips. Tam skidded to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road, and the car behind us crashed into the back of us.
‘It’s like a domino effect,’ Tam sneered, seeing all the cars behind the one behind us crashing into each other. Luckily, nobody was hurt, including us, and off we drove to a peculiar party in Chelsea, where all the guests were dressed up as vampires and were sloshed.
‘What time is it? I’ve got to be home by midnight, remember?’ I said anxiously. By this time, Tam was having the time of his life, dancing nose to nose with a very tall, female skeleton, who had fangs and was dressed in a black cape.
'Killjoy!' Tam shouted, but I was past caring.
'I'm so cold,' I moaned.
By this time it was half an hour before dad’s deadline, so Tam bundled me into his car, and off we zoomed, him acting like he was participating in the Grand Prix.
‘We’ll easily make it back before midnight,’ he chortled, when suddenly I heard a funny noise. I turned round and saw the back right wheel flying off down the street. Tam swore and yelled, and managed to stop the car in the middle of the empty road.
‘It must have happened when those cars bumped into us,’ Tom said grimly, not seeming at all concerned that we were going to miss my Midnight curfew.
‘Dad’s never going to believe me,’ I wailed as Tam spent ages trying to put the new wheel on.
'Are you being slow on purpose?' I asked.
He didn't reply. I suspected he couldn’t care less if he never saw me again, which was probably just as well because by this time, I never wanted to see him again either.
‘Dad will never believe me,' I moaned, after Tam finally managed to put on a new wheel. I was right.
‘Good God!’ Dad exclaimed when Tam delivered me home well after curfew, minus his tie. Tam didn't even apologise, so I was never allowed to go out with him ever again. I didn’t know who was more relieved. Him or me.

Copyright: Frances Lynn 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Missing China Plates

When Mum and Dad felt they could trust me again, they went away for the entire weekend, leaving me in charge of the house. By this time, I was fourteen and a half, but nobody can turn over a new leaf, especially an irresponsible teenager like me.

As soon as I saw my parents drive down the road, I called up Ricki, my new best friend to tell her the good news. She lived round the corner from me, with her father and step-mother (whom she hated) in a basement flat. She had waist length, white blonde hair and wore mini-skirts up to her chin. All the boys thought she was beautiful, but she didn’t notice as she was too busy worrying about her weight. She used to go on big eating jags, then would starve for a week, existing on a brutal regime of coffee and cigarettes.
'You've got to have a party, especially as I want to try out some of that chicken pie your Mum left for you in the fridge,' Ricky said.
'I thought you weren't eating for a week?'
'I'm not,' Ricki insisted.

I never wanted a party ever again, seeing what a disaster my thirteen birthday party had been. But, as it so happened, I had arranged to meet a gang of boys at the local café – all of whom were Nathalie’s rejects. When I blurted out that I had the house for the weekend, my friends all said it was too good an opportunity to miss.
'Come over for chicken pie, but don't tell anyone else,' I said.
That evening, which was a Saturday night, Ricki arrived at my house, reeking of nicotine. She hadn’t eaten anything for two days and was starving. I was really excited, because I had a crush on one of the boys who was coming, and tried to get rid of my spots by rubbing Ajax on my face - one of Ricki's stupid beauty tips, which made my spots look redder than ever. I smeared a thick crust of Clearasil all over them and dimmed the lights.

In no time at all, the house filled up with loads of people, because the boys whom I had invited, had told all their friends I was having a party. To be on the safe side, I took down Mum and Dad’s precious Chinese plates off the shelves in the living room and carefully laid them down on their big double bed, then locked their bedroom door. I didn’t want any accidents, I thought. I couldn’t tell if the party was any good or not, although for years afterwards, strangers would come up to me in the street, and enthuse it had been the best party they’d ever been to. Ricki also thought the party was a huge success because she discovered her favourite packet of Muesili in the kitchen cupboard and gorged herself, devouring the lot in a few minutes only.

Ricki had agreed to stay the night, but even she was shocked the following morning. When I unlocked my parents’ bedroom, I saw with horror that some of the Chinese plates were missing, and the ones which remained on the bed were broken.
'But, I locked the door,' I screamed, terrified at what my parents would say.
‘One of the guests must have got drunk, climbed up the drainpipe, and jumped up and down on the plates,' Ricki reasoned.
We spent the whole day trying to glue the priceless plates back together, before putting them back on the shelves in the exact place where they had been orignally. We also spent hours cleaning the house, which looked like a bomb had hit it, and spent hours wiping all the muck off the walls. I was dreading Mum and Dad’s return and prayed they wouldn’t notice anything was wrong. Unfortunately, they did the moment they walked in through the front door.

They went ballistic when they discovered the house was not how they left it, and when they discovered the glued broken China plates, they called the police who arrived immediately. I don't know why, but the police went through the trash outside and discovered remains of marijuana joints. ‘Arrest her,’ Dad screamed. I had no idea that people were smoking drugs in the house, although I had noticed a peculiar smell in the kitchen. The police drove Ricki and myself to the police station, and although we both stuck to the same story, the police told my parents afterwards that I was the culprit, who had smashed the plates. They also suspected I had stolen the missing plates, which was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard.

Although, I furiously denied the police’s allegations, Mum and Dad didn’t believe me and said they would never trust me ever again, which was a crashing bore, as they never once left me alone in the house for the rest of my teens, even, when I had friends over for tea. And, that's another story!

Frances Lynn: copyright 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My First Teenage party

I used to have a best friend called Nathalie. She lived next door with her funny family – her dad was a V.D. specialist and her mum was the biggest snob that ever walked this earth. She was originally a cleaning lady in the hospital that her hubby worked in. Mum told me 'in strictest confidence' she snared her husband by helping him clean his office after working hours.

My friend Nathalie wasn’t a snob. She was promiscuous, but I didn’t know the meaning of that difficult to pronounce word then. We were the same age but she looked much older than me. She wore French bras that made her bust stick out like a platform, and wore skinny rib polo sweaters all the time so that her bust looked even bigger than it really was. She was very proud of her breasts. 'Boys like big boobs,' she used to swank tactlessly, knowing that I was flat as a collapsed pancake. She used to stick her breasts out whenever she saw a boy she fancied, which was all the time. She was also very sly and secretive, but I didn’t know that then, even though my Mum kept telling me!

Anyway, Mum and Dad allowed me to have a party on my thirteenth birthday, and told me to invite all my friends. I went to an all girls' school, so didn’t know any boys except for the sons of my parents’ friends and they didn’t count. Mum wanted to know how many friends I was inviting, so that she would know how many people to cook for. I had no idea how many people were going to come, as Nathalie had invited loads of boys she kept meeting in the High Street – she didn’t even know them, but promised me they were all good looking. I didn't tell Mum that Nathalie had invited a load of strangers, but lied, saying that ten of my best school friends were coming with their older brothers.

Mum had just learned to cook chicken pies – not the frozen kind you buy in a supermarket, but yucky French ones she had learned to cook on her fancy Cordon Bleu cooking course, which she went to with Sally’s snobby Mum. Although I kept telling Mum I didn’t like French food - I liked baked beans and fish fingers and scrumptious stuff like that, but Mum insisted that my friends would love it. Five chicken pies later, the day of my birthday party arrived. Nathalie was so excited about all the boys she had invited, that she spent hours on the big day, doing a dress rehearsal in front of her bedroom mirror, sticking her breasts out to kingdom come. I was surprised she didn't stick tassles on them and swirl them around like bejewelled girls in the circus do.

Mum and Dad decided to go out to the cinema for the evening, so that they wouldn’t embarrass me. At first, it was really nice with all my school friends arriving, but then – all these strange boys kept ringing the doorbell. They must have all been about fourteen (most of them were covered in zits) and weren’t interested in Mum’s chicken pies at all. They were more interested in Nathalie. She was like a vivacious magnet, surrounded by all her new admirers. I didn’t mind, because the boys who couldn’t get near her, spoke to me out of politeness, I suspect.

Then, some more boys came and more and more boys, until the party was so crowded you couldn’t breathe. That's because everyone was smoking cigarettes and stubbing the fag ends out on the furniture. I tried to stop them, but they ignored me. 'You don't have any ashtrays,' they sneered, grinding their smelly butt ends on the floor. That's because my parents stopped smoking after seeing a TV programme which said that smoking gives you cancer.

Naturally, Nathalie was in her element playing Postman's Knock, and kissing all the besotted boys. All my school friends were thrilled. They hadn’t seen so many boys in their entire lives, ever! But, then the party got out control. Some of the boys helped themselves to a whisky bottle in my parents’ cupboard and glugged away like it was tap water. One girl pretended she was a whale, and gargled the booze into a fountain, then threw up chicken pie all over my parents’ priceless rug they had once brought back from Morocco.

I was so frightened at what my parents would say, that I ran away and hid in Nathalie's garage next door for the rest of the party. When my parents returned home, they were so shocked at seeing their home invaded by spotty drunken strangers of the opposite sex, they called the fire brigade! 'Everybody out!' They screamed. Then, they grounded me for a year, advising me to become a nun, because they would never allow me to speak to a boy ever again.

Everyone said it was the best party of the year, except for Nathalie. She was too busy dating all the boys to even speak to me. Mum was right about her after all. She was sly - a vixen.

Frances Lynn: copyright 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Crushed Diaries


My friend’s daughters were forced to participate in a hectic extra-curriculum existence of piano lessons, dancing lessons, saxophone lessons, horse riding lessons, archery lessons - you name it – they had every useless lesson imaginable on top of their all-day school lessons.

If the girls had their own way, they would have just chilled out in a heap of exhaustion after school.
'I get out of breath, trying to blow down the saxaphone.'
'I can't shoot an arrow,' they both used to moan.
But, their mother was determined that they wouldn’t be left out of London’s thrusting social swim. There was nothing strictly social about doing all these daft activities after school, but all the mothers were very competitive when it came to their offspring. They would rather emigrate to Siberia than not enrole their precious children in the current fashionable past-times.

The mothers were all frothing with concealed social ambition, anxious that their kids wouldn’t be left out of anything. More to the point, the mothers didn’t want to be left out of anything themselves. Through their children, they had a busy social life, inviting all the other like-minded parents (whom they carefully cultivated at the school gates) to innovative dinner parties, so that they could all boast and swank how well their children were doing at school.

The girls couldn’t care less if they never saw another extra-curriculum activity for the rest of their lives. For, when did either of them have an interest in archery? And, what with all these expensive past-times their mother insisted upon driving them to all over London, they were exhausted 24/7, for they had to fit their home-work in too. 'It's all very well being dragged around to all these stupid things after school, but we have to pass our exams too,' they whined. Their mother tried to help them with their school work, but as far as she was concerned, it was all gobbledegook! And, as for maths, it had all changed out of recognition since she had been at school.

The girls didn't realise how privileged they were, but the reason why their parents had the finances to enrole them in all these useless classes after school, was because they saved themselves thousands and thousands of pounds a years, having their kids educated for free. 'Why pack them off to expensive boarding schools and be poor?' my girlfriend said to anyone who would listen. At times, the girls would have given anything to go away to school, just to get some peace and quiet.
'I forbid you to come home with a cockney accent,' my girlfriend ordered the girls. They couldn't care less if they spoke in Hindu like a lot of the Asian girls at school did. They were just thankful that they lived in Central London, and were able to participate in clubbing without their mother's cloying supervision during the weekends.

Copyright: 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Crushed Diaries

I used to be very friendly with an eccentric family who lived in London. The father was a normal businessman, but the rest of the family were very artistic. My friend, the mother didn't have to go out to work but loved to paint at home for fun. As a result, she was always splattered from head to toe with oil paint, even when she went out for dinner to smart restaurants with her husband.

Her daughters were always drawing, painting or making jewellery out of wire coat-hangers and beads. In the summer, they even used to cover an orange box with florescent coloured paper and put their home made jewellery on top of it. They used to sell their home-made, fake jewels to friendly passers-by who willingly gave them coins for their pretty peculiar stuff. The grown-ups didn't seem to mind either when their newly purchased earrings deteriorated as soon as they inserted them in their ears. They admired the girls' initiative. They also respected the girls for being so creative and not wasting their youth glued to the television like a lot of their friends did. The girls would loved to have watched TV all day long if they had their own way, but as their mother wouldn't allow a televison in the house, they had no choice but to be artistic at home.

The youngest daughter looked like an angel, but she was a Leo with a terrible temper. If she didn't get her own way which was most of the time, she used to stramp her feet and scream. When she wasn't being bad tempered, she used to dress up in little spangled skating costumes and ice-skate in the local ice-rink, that her mother drove her to every weekend. She wanted to be a professional ice-skater when she left school.

The eldest daughter was unusual looking, was a good-tempered Libra and wanted to be a cartoonist. But, unlike her younger sister who used to love dressing up and put on makeup, she was a bit of a tomboy and couldn't care less what she looked like. Similar to Door in "Crushed" she was tall and thin, and could easily have been a teen fashion model if she had wanted. But, she couldn't be bothered to look tidy. Maybe, it was because her Mum kept nagging her all the time to make an effort with her appearance, but the eldest daughter wasn't interested in clothes and would have been happy to go to parties in a food-stained plastic bin-liner if she had been allowed to.

Both girls were completely different. They had different interests, went to different schools and didn't share the same friends. But one thing they did have in common was having crushes on pop stars. Their bedroom wall was splattered with posters of their favourite idols.

I used to play tennis with the mother, and often used to go to her house afterwards for a meal. One day, while the whole family and I were eating a Chinese takeaway, my friend suggested - wouldn't it be wonderful if I wrote a book based on her family? What a genius idea I thought, and felt so inspired, that I went away and wrote "Crushed" very quickly - in the space of a few months only. And, considering the book is 250 pages long, that was quite an achievement, believe me.

"Crushed" was definitely inspired by this family, but I made the girls in the book completely different. First of all, in real-life, there wasn't any sibling rivalry between the girls, and in the book they are non-identical twins. Also, in the book, Door loves to play the drums, while Dee in the book is a ballet dancer.

Even though the Brevington family in "Crushed" is completely different from the family in real life, the charachters in the book seem realistic, even though I made them rather mad and eccentric. I think it's always best if you write about what you know, even though it's not the exact truth. After all, writing fiction is a bit like being a fantasist. However, I couldn't resist putting real stuff about the family in the book, like the girls going to different schools, and detail stuff about their bedroom walls being covered in pictures of their current pin-ups. I suppose that's why the girls recognised themselves in the book, even though I was very careful to make them appear completely different.

Copyright: Frances Lynn 2006