Pulp.net - A Clockwork Apple

The Online Home of New Fiction

November 2008

Belinda Webb
There is me, [Alex], and my three Grrrlz, Petra, Georgia, and Mid, Mid being really mid, which sometimes makes me mad, though I know tisn’t really her fault, [Poor Cow!]
Extract from the novel A CLOCKWORK APPLE

The four of us Grrrlz are dressed in the height of non-fashion. That is, over our La Perla (me mid-night blue, Petra peach, Mid white and Georgia red) hand embroidered lingerie [a cut above Provacateur], we have identical overalls – like those once worn by mechanics – only we don’t ornate our overalls with fake oil marks – like some of those saddo middling gringos.

Now, let me get this clear, once and for all, these are not jumpsuits, or catsuits, or anything of the sort – these are A1 grade authorentik mechanics’ or engineers’ overalls which, unlike those of a grease monkey man, we keep in impeccable nick.

And ours are khaki green.

The colour of the state sponsored fighter.

But we aren’t sponsored by the state to fight, only by our own HP’s – to fight to honour our Phrontisteries. Or, at the very least, to avenge the dismissal and frustration of said Phrontisteries.

They are straight-legged – not boot cut, nor skinny like skinny snorting piggy wiggie old Moss now on the Side, nor flared like what is Madchester old skool ‘student takeover pretending to be street’ Hacienda days neither, nothing like that – just straight-legged; sitting comfortably over our racing-green ballet pumps which are great for peggin’ down the streets in. Especially a long stretch of road like Oxford, peggin’ our way down past the old picture house, past:
  • The Phoenix
  • Madchester Museum
  • City University No. 3 – Amis Campus
  • City University No. 4 – Eagleton Campus
  • Holy Name R.C. church (Theirmen, not ours)
  • sorry excuse of an art gallery which is The Whitworth and then
  • the body repair shop what is commonly known as the Madchester Royal Infirmary
We never peg it farther than Wilmslow Road though, which is also known as the Curry Mile or what was once labelled The Muslim Ghetto.

We have a pocket over the left breasts of our mechanics, stitched round with a darker green – impeccable needlework it is. A little old man it waz who did it for us.

Us, needles?


Those dayz is long gone, yeah.

The buttons that lead from the neck to the navel are hidden with an unmarked seam.

Great little workman. Collars are equally unadorned.

And our hair? You have to ask. We all wear our locks scraped back off of our faces with a dragon clip which also doubles as a slinky, shiny, sharp, silver blade – not cos it is fashion or anything like that, but because, like the ballet pumps and overalls, is more practical.

Besides, have you tried running with hair flapping on and off of your face? And those girls that saunter down a windy street, and their long flowing superstraight, or fashionably kinky hair that blows in their face – not just blowing, mind, but slaps them across it – slap, slap, slap, and she keeps on moving it out of the way so she doesn’t walk into a lamp-post, but she doesn’t fucking use her Phrontistery and tie it back – they, yeah, get on our wicks like nothin’ else and so deserve the vilipend treatment. Letting their own hair whip their freshly trowelled faces, and who also, [like one of those annoying little yapping bag dogs tsk tsk], let their heels be bitten by shoes that go by the name of Fuck Me, or Fuck that! Or what the fuck ever.

We say, you wear Fuck Me, we say Fuck You.

Nuff said.

Mary Janes though, they, yeah, are worse.

No more shoe talk now though. Only ballet pumps. Without the fucking pirouette bollox, mind. D’ya get me, lah?

Get this!

Mid wants a zip on her mechanics, so she can, well, zip it down halfway or something, but Mid never has much of an idea of anysphinx, what wiv her being dead Mid and all that. But no, what we said is BUTTON IT RIGHT! Otherwize you can just forget it all, and that.

We sit in the Gutshot Rebos bar, wondering where to begin, like, on our dreams an’ ambitions and all that - d’ya get me?


It being Madchester and all, it is raining. And we aren’t so girly that we carry cutie ickle brollie wollies around with us. That.


Just would not happen.


Anyway . . .

I digress. The Gutshot Rebos bar specializes in the provision of health affirmative shots; for us that meanz wheatgrass, and a little spoon of an invigorating tonic, which kind of speedz up me and my sistaz’ glorious Phrontisteries, that is, our minds.

Most of our fellow Gutshot Rebos patrons, girlies and boys alike, are loafing around reading, not proper stuff, but looking at pictures, tabloid bara-thrums that they are, like theyz still in the ickle wickle nursery school. Theyz hypnotised by pictures of girls and boys who have made it and who are saying with their new capped smiles, ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever, don’t you want what I’ve got?’

Me and my girlies, we sneer, yes, sneer, at these picture gazers – hypnotised as they are by pix of people whose Phrontisteries are based on nothing, nish, zilch, d’ya get me? And then they look at the occasional headline ‘Tallulah gets her new plastic tits out for the lads – again – page three’ [hee hee haw haw]. It is saying nothing more than, (in a big Essex accent) aah, little Heidi’s gone and done it again, what’s she like, eh, eh!?

Resounding ha ha he he’s or he he ha ha’s.

It is all widdershins, my dear sistaz, all widdershins.

We get another wheatgrass and dream tonic and allow ourselves to become our own little H.P., that is, not the sauce, but the source; the Power that is Higher, yeah, within ourselves.

We sit here, the four of us, in our regular little brown leatherette booth, connect with our own H.P. source and vilipend. We have little pennies or pounds on us. But, as they say, money isn’t every-thing, a saying we choose to adopt simply because Jordon, skinny ‘posh’ Vikki et al are saying that it’s everything. And they, yeah, are Detritus – with a capital D.

D’ya get me?

To us they are totally De Trop.


Anyway, there are three geezers sitting at the counter all together, as they do. But there is four of us Grrrlz and it is usually like one for all and all four one.

These big ed meatheads though, theyz dressed in the height of their fashion, which is most absolutely certainly no-way not ours. They have multi-coloured wiggies on their biggies – see, they sphinx they can have any bastard fing, but yet they cannot escape the old wiggie for their thinning biggies, pathetic pilgarlicks that they are.

Hee hee haw haw.

They also have the old eyeliner performing sideways brackets round their eyes. They wear these Turkish style black flarey shorts, proper divvie and all that, and they have these little gold episemons all over their Star Trek wide shouldered jacket thingies. And wear big square ’orrible versions of what used to be known as Teddy shoes. Or somesphinx.

What is on these little gold episemons?

It is, dear Grrrlz, (hee hee) the miniature bedpost notches – each badge having like, the name of each, well, isn’t no Grrrl that is for sure, more like . . . Fill in the blank yerself. Anywayz, we is up for a bit and all that. Well, therez long term material, and therez short term material, and then therez ‘don’t even need to know their stinking names’ material.

(Well, I’m not even sure they can be promoted to this latter level). But, they keep looking our way and a few of the Grrrlz look to me, yeah, as their high Leaderette, and then I nods, and they half-smiles, with a sneer on the side. Lah.

Proper snide.

And, being what they are, theyz go for the smile and ignore the sneer, meatheads that they are.


Anyway, like I sayz, we could do with a bit.

But the question is, my dear sistaz, am I yet desperate enough?

One of them deems us worthy enough to come over and leans his arm against the wall beside our booth. I nudge Petra.

‘Power popper pricker,’ she sayz.

We all do our meathead giggle wiggle. He looks at us all with suspicion glaring out of his brackets.

‘Three of us, three of you, what say you little missies,’ sayz he.

We sayz: ‘hee hee haw haw’.

Mid looks at me.

I looks at her.

No need to say it. Punching way above his weight.

Petra looks at Mid.

Then Georgia.

We know who will be the contender for loser-outer.

Poor Mid.

Too mid for words.

But this guy, well he is just too dim for words, and dim, whilst being worse than dumb, is way much worse than mid.

‘Anyway, bring ’em over, line ’em up then,’ I sayz, petit tregateur that I am.

‘Alright then doll,’ he replies and rubs his hands together like a well-stocked shebeen owner in Prohibition. Well, I don’t want to stray too far from the truth now, do I? Besides, this . . . meathead thinks he is some sort of Cock-a-knee bruiser with his ‘alright then doll’ crapola. So he dashes back to the counter and calls over his two mates who looks like theyz just been told it’s Christmas, already anticipating the gleaming of new goldie looking episemons!

Anywayz, by the time theyz strollz, strutz, saunters, whatever it is, over to our table, we have already got up and, noses high in the air we prance, yes prance, right out the door with a hey nonino and all that palaver. And no, no Grrrlz giggle. We don’t need to.

‘Here, love, here, come back, where ya goin’?’ he calls, his poor meathead brain still locked onto what he deems to be a promise.

Hee hee haw haw. No badges for us. No Mid, no Alex, Petra or Georgia for display on their episemons!


Nothin’ less.

We are now speeded up proper stylee and our feet hardly touch the pissing wet grey manky Mancunian concrete, laid by too many poor Irishmen long before who knew nought of Conradh na Gaeilge. So, in






in ballet pump


we glide,



very glad

through Piccashitty gardens where theyz speak nuffink but Piccashitty Palare.

My arse!

Or rather, their arse!

Plural, not singular.

Too damn plural for us Grrrlz. Let em stick it up theirz.

© Belinda Webb 2008

Win a copy - offer closes 6 August 2008