The first prose exercise was enjoyable. We were given the first chapter of a serial novel by Jackie Collins, went through it looking at the redundancy and clich├ęs present in the narrative, and our task was to use those elements to parody the pulp novel form; this draws awareness to poor writing technique, and makes inconsistencies more glaringly obvious when you come to write your own work.

"POWER"

second ( and final ) chapter

"Sick bitch," Fitz Bersconi, a stodgy, overweight and balding homicide cop grunted, took a last drag on his equally fat cigar and ground it under his heel against the murder scene pool-side.

The short Neanderthal paused to cough and hack, then continued:

"This woman rubbed semen into her hair, went swimming fully clothed, and caught her handbag in the wave machine outlet vent."

"So there was noo sign of unfair play?" Madison Castelli, the aggressively attractive blonde and full-breasted journalist put to him.

"None whatsoever. Prostitute runs outta hair gel ain't no concern of mine," he patted the wad of hush money in the back pocket of his only pair of vaguely clean work pants.

"Did she have any family?" she fished pneumatically.

"Look, whats it to ya, anyways?" he asked reasonably and leered in what he presumed was an irresistible invitation to intimate activity.

"She was a woman and a—a fellow human being," Madison leant in and towered over him, almost poking out his eyes with her impressive nipples. She pouted, turned and stalked away on her gazelle legs.

"Lesbian," Bersconi opined after the rhythmically swaying backside of the retreating reporter.

Madison drove away in a flashy red sports car with wheels, convinced that something fishy or otherwise aquatic and odorous lay behind Mary Ann's watery demise. She was not long engaged in tiresome cogitation, however, when her new and expensive in-car Motorola rang.

"Helloo?" Castelli's fake Scottish twang cooed as her car, ample buttocks and sundry other pert anatomy accelerated up to 140kph in six seconds. The nodding dog bounced more than the silicone.

"Madison, is that you, darling? This is Mercedes Caprisun from Man Style, and we'd like you to do something ever-so glamorous and important for us, sweetie. Cancel your champagne reception, because we want you to negotiate a special feature with Freddie Leon. Yes, the Freddie Leon. I've got you an appointment for in an hour's time."

Back in her office, Mercedes waved her cell phone around, blew into the receiver and continued, "going through a tunnel dear! Speak soon, kiss-kiss."

She put down the Nokia and paged through to her masseuse. Tony's services were always in huge demand since he was all golden tan and rippling muscle, and courtesy of a childhood infection had gained the remarkably useful ability to breath through his ears.

"Come here, Tony. You kiss-kiss too," she mouthed. Of course, it was a shame he was also consequently deaf, but weren't all men anyway?

* * *

Elsewhere, Freddie Leon looked up from his latest consignment of baby seal snuff pornography.

"What? Again? The Castelli woman?" murmured the black-suited attorney over the noises of whimpering flippered mammals, "Manhattan Style could ruin all our plans. Have her killed immediately."

His secretary, Madison's brunette twin sibling, chuckled along with him as the bank of wide-screen televisions suddenly winked out and a light on his desk flashed red.

"What, she's here already? Damn and blast. Get her later. Madison, how lovely to see you," he smoothly appended as she strode forcefully through the oak-paneled double doors without pausing to unlock them.

"Save the pretty words, fish fucker. You too, sister. I'm taking you both down. Down-market." Sometime during her car journey, Madisons accent had reverted to a Chicago drawl.

"What? You wouldn't dare!" Leon was apoplectic.

"Yes! We're naming you Pipe-smoker Of The Year, unless you confess to the murders of Mary Ann Jones and Emma Louise Barker, and—and collaborating with Dick Van Dyke on Diagnosis Murder!"

"Oh, those? My chauffeur, well, my father too. Daddy likes his ten-cent whores, but he's becoming increasingly messy in his old age."

"Sorry," Madison giggled apologetically, "well, in that case, perhaps we could work something out. How would you like to win Best Dressed Man instead?"

"Ah. Perhaps I shan't have to have you killed after all."

"Well, that's that then. I'll see myself oot," the Edinburgh brogue twanged anew, like the taut elastic of Madison's scarlet suspender belt.

She got back into her car and drove off, the wheels going round and round in the manner of silver dinner plates or the thoughts of a particularly addled student tanked up on coffee.

And everyone (that is, everyone not dead of geriatric antics such as homicidal fetish masturbation, or who wasn't an adolescent seal) lived very happily ever after.

THE END