Elisa Webb wrote this 500 word story for a competition …


Dylan is an unpleasant man. He’s become bitter since he died. Well, I say since he died, I didn’t know him when he was alive. He has taken to turning up uninvited at 2 a.m. the worse for wear, is a polite euphemism for pissed and he annoys me, torments me even. He has become a patron saint for writers apparently, albeit a saint that stinks like a pub carpet. He’s frustrated, he says. He’s dead; he can’t write where he is. I asked if that was because the pubs were open 24/7, where he was. He called me an ungrateful cunt. You would think a writer saint could do better, then again maybe not. I suspect it’s actually about lack of recognition. After all very few writers get to publish books from beyond the grave. Dylan’s annoyed, see, by the living’s lack of faith and hard graft.

“You’re alive, girl, get up and get it down,” he says leaning over the bed.

I was flattered at first imagine being visited by Dylan Thomas and urged to write.

I did get up and reach for a W.H. Smith A4 wide lined pad and biro. Even though get it down meant something else last week to us both.

But tonight he feels like a stalker.

“You’re wasting time, see,” he says looming over the footboard, scattering fag ash on the sheets.

“Dylan, for the love of god,” I say as loudly as I can without waking anyone up. He winces at Americanisms; they’re like Deet to him. “I’ve children to feed, jobs to do, a MORTGAGE to PAY”.

That’ll shut him up. He got let off some of that in his life time. I’ve seen the film of his life.

Dylan’s not going there tonight.

“Yes, yes,” he hisses,“but d’you have to do the pots as well?” He points a stubby, yellow finger towards my sleeping husband.

“Get the lazy bastard to do it, give us half an hour pet,” he winks.

“Jeez, it’s 2. a.m.” Am I really supposed to work, raise a family, shag my husband AND DYLAN THOMAS and write? Was Nigella Lawson haunted by Mrs Beaton? “Fuck off,Dylan.”

“I will, I will,” he mutters, squeezing my toe through the sheet. “Just write me a page, love, just a page.”

I roll over and grab the paper, knocking over a highball; water runs across the floor. My husband stirs and turns over. I write giant letters ‘FUCK OFF, DYLAN!’

Dylan peers through the moonlight, not angry, not amused, just sad. I feel bad and ashamed of the exclamation mark- that was beneath us both. He shuffles off, shoulders sagging. I lie awake, hot and stewing, until the clock glows 3.01.

“I’ll get up then,” I mutter. I sit on the stairs, a space neither here nor there, and write.

Twelve manic pages later it’s getting light outside and I realise fag smoke is no longer drifting up from the kitchen. He’s gone.