I was the one of the lucky ones. In-Time were recruiting, my licence was clean, my knowledge of national highways was impeccable. As I charged through the rain and pushed my van to the limit of the law, I considered my fortune. To carry life, or the chance for life, was a privilege. Livers, kidneys – a heart once. A team of surgeons awaited my arrival, and a dying person relied on my concentration.
First time it really hit me, I was chasing down a long ball in the regular Friday night seven-a-side with a load of the lads from work. I had myself a ten-yard start on the bearded one from IT – no youngster himself – and he still got there in plenty of time to have a good think about how to pick out the runner in the box, and that was one-nil.
There was nothing at all I could do about it, and it hurt. I mean I knew I'd lost a yard or two, but ten? When did that happen? If there's one thing I don't want to be, it's a liability.
She has no memory of the accident itself. She remembers flicking her left turn signal and glancing in her rearview mirror, and then nothing until she found herself in a stopped car, sideways at the edge of the road to Lake Titicaca. I must get my daughter out, she thought.
NEE-NAW ... NEE-NAW ... No need to panic! That's just the ambulance delivering emergency supplies of stories to The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, in time for our August event.
If you're suffering from boredom, restlessness, post-holiday blues or simply an insatiable craving for entertainment, stand by for a transfusion of fresh fiction, featuring organ couriers, school bullies, Hollywood stunts, Government-sponsored witches, car crashes, and a man waking from an eight-year coma.
WINNING STORIES FOR ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY Fault Lines by Jennifer Steil *NEW AUTHOR* read by Louisa Gummer Comma Coma by Will Adam *NEW AUTHOR* read by Adam Diggle Problem Child by Phil Berry, read by Tony Bell Fool's Leap by Alan Graham, read by David Mildon His Shane McKenna Voice by Tom Ryan, read by Silas Hawkins Miscellaneous, Spooky, Weird by Liam Hogan, read by Carrie Cohen
As always, doors open at 7pm and your appointment begins at 7.30. Drinks and food of a distinctly non-NHS quality will be available at the bar, and the infamous interval quiz will feature fabulous free books to be won! Entrance is £5 on the door (cash only) and tables for 4 or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.
The moon plays moth-like on the water. Three peaks on three sides hold the lake, high above the distant sea. It is quiet, bottomless and black. It is dark. At the unsheltered edge the water spills gently down through the sedges. It gathers between the folds of the mountain and begins to move towards the trees. It falls under and between them and when it beats against the rocks, the moon is there with it. It races downwards past the Williams farm, the Davies farm, past Yr Hafod until it reaches the village where it grumbles under the old bridge and away.
Here are the rules to my life. The sky rumbles overhead as the gods roll their dice, most commonly the twenty-sided variety. I can hear the most powerful god of all, the Dungeon Master, narrate what’s going on, sounding like the guy that does movie trailers. I basically do whatever the DM says and I can’t resist the commands. Trust me, I’ve tried.
I practised my steps on the deck of the ship that brought me. On the morning we landed I stood with my feet level and my knees bent, toes precisely on the line between two planks. I took a moment to breathe deeply of the salty air and listen to the seagulls. I stepped with my right foot across myself, so that its ball was precisely on the line, two planks ahead of my left foot. I pivoted on that right foot, bringing my left to the same level as its brother as I turned around and faced the way I came. The deck was useful, because in the dusty courtyard outside my house I have to imagine the lines and this can sometimes make my steps sloppy or imprecise. It's important to do things correctly.
Gladys was upset. No, not upset. Angry. Gladys was angry. And when Gladys got angry, people got roasted.
She eyed the cowering messenger, plumes of smoke drifting from her nostrils. “Say that again,” she demanded.
The snivelling messenger snivelled. “Th – there's a ban on smoking, ma'am. You can't have any cigarettes. The king ordered it. He said it was all terribly bad for us and that we would all live much better lives if we partook in some refreshing herbal tea rather than poisoned our lungs with foul smoke and grime – begging ma'am's pardon – so he just...banned them. The city's civilians are no longer allowed to smoke.”
He had no idea how long they’d kept him captive in the village.
From the great stone prison they’d built for him, high on an earthen mound overlooking the centre, he could sense the bustle all around him in the huts, latrines and cookhouses; the sounds and smells from the foodstores and the pens where they kept their animals. Dozens, maybe hundreds of animals – so many for a settlement of that size. At night, the silence was total. No feasting or music. No muted grunts of pleasure from human or beast. A deadness reigned over everything, as it had in the metamorphic womb of the mountain where they’d come upon him, resting.
You find yourself in a low tavern, surrounded by all manner of disreputable, strangely-dressed cityfolk sweating profusely as they order tankards of the head-spinning local ale. Suddenly a thin, intense-looking man strides on stage and cries "WELCOME to Liars' League!" And your breathtaking quest begins ...
On your journey, you will encounter Welsh chimaeras, monster-haunted labyrinths, well-endowed Amazonian swordswomen, feisty princesses and probably the scariest literary dragon since Smaug. Hang on to your polygonal dice, brave adventurer - it's going to be quite a ride ...
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS - WINNING STORIES
- BENEATH THE PALACE by Daniel Key *NEW AUTHOR* - LIFE AFTER 20 by JJ Jordan *NEW AUTHOR* - HOW GWYDION ELLIS CAME TO BE BORN by Morgan Davies *NEW AUTHOR* - STOCKHOLM SYNDROME by Jim Cogan
- GLADYS'S STRANGE HOSTAGE by Jennifer Rickard
As ever, our talented professional actors will be reading the stories, and our mighty compere/quizmaster Liam will be asking the questions at the infamous interval book quiz. There will be books to be won, dice to be rolled and fun to be had, so if you're thinking of coming along, please join our Facebook event - it really helps us plan!
WHEN & WHERE?
Tuesday 14th July, 2015 - Doors open at 7pm, show begins at 7.30.
Admission: £5 (on the door) Cash only, no advance sales but tables for 5 or more can be reserved by phone (see below)
Downstairs at The Phoenix 37 Cavendish Square London W1G 0PP Info & reservations: 07808 939 535
I find myself in someplace scary: a living room. It’s nothing like the sparse-save-for-spiderwebs tatami mat cottages I’ve squatted in my whole life — it’s nicer, but nowhere as grand as the Emperor’s Palace I once frequented … no longer do.
I feel my kimono on me; gentle, like a shy woman’s embrace … I miss my iron armour. I swerve my right hand to my left side: I still have my sword. I draw it, scan the opaque room for danger: an ugly sofa with a stain that actually adds character, a mantel with smiling foreign faces, two slices of pizza, a can of soda and four fallen bottles of beer float in their own puddle on a mahogany coffee table, and beyond that, against the wall, boxes with flickering lights, and above those … a portrait of … me … on the TV.
At the stroke of midday, Madame Florizel burst into my bedroom and demanded I sneer at a dildo.
“Help yourself,” I mumbled pitifully from under the duvet, sliding a hand out to gesture feebly towards my wardrobe. The previous evening I had attended my friend Binky deWinter’s media launch party and the usual combination of alcohol, chemicals and generous expense accounts had left me feeling somewhat frazzled.
Let me tell you something about me. I'm knockout. 100% pure man. I bone for fun. I mean, I don’t have to work for it. If I told you I used to work at a gym, you might not be surprised. But it wasn't just any gym; it was exclusive. A place where they hired the best instructors.
The flat came furnished with the bare essentials and the sofa was hardly even that. It was short and firm and sat in the corner. It took up only a small portion of the wall, leaving the rest exposed – an ocean of white, apart from squares of pale darkness where pictures must have hung before. There was a flimsy layer of padding covering the sofa and as one began to sit down, the illusion of softness would immediately give way to stiff rejection, a refusal to bend.
I wasn’t Arthur Wilton’s first partner. That honour belonged to a chimpanzee called Jethro. But Arthur’s relationship with Jethro had ended before I came on the scene. I wasn’t aware of the details – all I knew was there had been some unpleasantness, ending with Jethro being burnt to death. The only hint I ever got of what had happened was much later on, when young Darren picked me up and started playing with me. Arthur snatched me out of Darren’s hands, yelling at him that he should never, ever mess with that thing (he called me that thing!) until he’d had some proper training. It was all too easy for them to get inside your head.
I have served many masters over the centuries. Each encounter began the same, with a touch against the golden surface of my prison. It was that shiver of contact that awakened me from the sleep of my captivity. This time was no different. I flickered into being, resisting the urge to pop from my vessel like the cork from champagne. There would only be one chance to make that first impression. So instead I rose like vapour from the ancient bottle. Freedom!
The interviews have been conducted, the references checked and the uniforms ordered: Liars' League is pleased to announced that the domestic staff for our Master & Servant event on Tuesday 12th May* are as follows:
Sunny Teich, author of FOOTSTOOL *LL debut* - read by Beverley Longhurst Gotham Mamik, author of SAMURAI SAM *LL debut* - read by Kevin Shen (in his LL acting debut) Rhuar Dean, author of WORK OUT *LL debut* - read by Alex Woodhall Lisa Stout, author of SLAVE TO THE BOTTLE - read by Susan Moisan Jonathan Pinnock, author of VENTRILOQUISM FOR DUMMIES - read by Tony Bell Alan Graham, author of TARTS AREN'T GENTLEMEN - read by Helen Belbin (in her LL acting debut)
*Above is a link to the Facebook event. Please do click and join if you plan on coming, as Facebook no longer automatically sends invites to our 800-strong group, which makes it very hard to anticipate numbers :/
These hardworking writers have impressed us with tales of human furniture, sadistic gym instructors, ruthless politicians (how apt!) sentient puppets, TV samurai, vengeful genies and, naturally, a lesbian take on Jeeves & Wooster. You'd have to be locked in the scullery at Downton to miss it!
As ever, doors open at 7 for a 7.30 start and tickets (cash on the door only) are a mere £5. Turn up earlyish to get a good seat and make sure you shout loudly to win FREE BOOKS in our infamous interval quiz! Tables for parties of 5 or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535 and asking nicely.
We got nominated, we canvassed, we voted, we hoped, we prayed. Then we went down to Oxford - along with our publishing partners Arachne Press Arachne Press - for the Sabotage Awards and came away with a gong each! We're Best Regular Spoken Word Night 2014 and Weird Lies won Best Anthology.
LL IN GUARDIAN TOP TEN
Liars' League is one of The Guardian's 10 Great Storytelling Nights, according to the paper's go-out-and-have-fun Do Something supplement, that is. And they should know. The article is here and mentions several other live lit events well worth checking out.
ARTICLE ABOUT US IN WORDSWITHJAM
Journalist Catriona Troth came along to our Twist & Turn night, reviewed it and interviewed Katy, Liam, Cliff and author/actor Carrie. See what she said in her article for WordsWithJam here.
BUY OUR AUTHORS' BOOKS!
Longtime contributors Niall Boyce, Jonathan Pinnock & Richard Smyth all have books out which you'd be well advised to buy, then read, then buy for others. All genres are catered for, from novels (Niall's Veronica Britton) and short stories (Jonathan's Dot Dash) to nonfiction (Richard's Bumfodder)
KATY LIAR'S DEBUT NOVEL
Liar Katy Darby's debut novel, a Victorian drama called The Unpierced Heart (previously titled The Whores' Asylum) is now out in Penguin paperback. It's had nice reviews in The Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times & Metro (4*).
OUR INTERVIEW WITH ANNEXE MAG!
They came, they saw, they asked us a bunch of interesting questions. Interview by Nick of Annexe Magazine with Katy of LL: here