Speak Easy #7—Worrappened

Well. That was fun.

An absolutely rip-roaring, packed to the seams, to the very rafters, evening of the finest YA writing the UK has to offer. HUGE thanks are due to our wonderful readers – Kim Curran, Mike Lancaster, Laure Eve, Ruth Warburton and Amy McCulloch – and also to lovely James Smythe, who had the frankly brilliant idea of doing a YA special in the first place.

Anyway. The important bit.

At Speak Easy, we like to play a little game with our authors. (Again, I must express my sadness that Ian vetoed my ‘suits of flames’ dress code last night). We ask you, the audience, to choose a theme. We divide our authors into two teams. We make them write something on said theme in a devilishly short time. And we ask you, the audience to vote for a winner.

Last night, the theme was ‘Jellybean eating porcupines’. (I’m not putting a hyphen anywhere in there. You’ll see.)

The results, unedited, are printed for your records below.


(Nicci Cloke, Kim Curran, Mike Lancaster, Laure Eve)

The only sound in the cell was the chattering of Porcupine Personal Assistant™ 3000’s teeth. It had been six short hours since he had tasted the magic of jellybean – and thus his freedom. Bobby, the youngest of the family he served, clumsy little mite he was, had accidentally spilled his sweets on the carpet, and it had been Por-Q-9’s job to tidy them up. Programmed only to ingest the vitamin pills manufactured by his makers, Bad Farmer™, it would never have crossed his mind to eat them. But as his tiny tongue accidentally grazed the sugar crust, it set off a chain reaction of feeling, and before he knew it, he had swallowed the bean. His nerves were still buzzing; his whole circuitry still aflame from the jellybeans. Sugar = freedom, he thought to himself.

But as soon as his cruel master had seen the sugar-crazed autonomy in his metallic eyes, she’d swept him up (being careful of his spines) and locked him in the cellar.
‘No freedom for you, Por-Q-9!’ she’d screeched. And then he was alone in the dark.
But now he heard a scrabbling by the door, and a tiny, childish whisper:
‘Here, Porky…  Wrap your little tongue around this. You should be free.’
And with tears in his eyes, he saw a river of jellybeans pour through the keyhole. He opened up his small mouth and let them fall in. ‘I will eat them til I die,’ he thought. ‘Or until I am free.’



(Ian Ellard, Ruth Warburton, Amy McCulloch)
‘Jellybean Eating Porcupines’

‘I’m hungry’.

The jellybean didn’t know when it had become sentient. You wouldn’t, would you?

It must have been some time after the death of his fellow jellybeans – at the grubby paws of the ravening porcupine. The paws. The paws. [Ian, reading, pauses] The paws.
‘I’m hungry,’ thought Julio (the Jellybean). ‘Hungry for revenge!’
He tracked the porcupine to its lair using a Jellybean’s sophisticated and well-known powers of triangulation.
The short struggle was over almost before it began. There was no struggle, and soon the porcupine lay insensate on the lair floor, on the floor of the lair.
The only question that remained…
‘If I’m to eat this porcupine, where should I start?’ Julio the Jellybean paused.
‘The paws.’

[Ian, reading, pauses]

‘The paws.’


It must be said that the great genius of Team 2’s piece is in the reading, and cannot truly be reproduced here. Regardless – Team One were victorious! Making it Cloke 3 – Ellard 3! I! Am! Very! Excited! About this!

Until next time, challenge fans. And might I say here that that next time will be November 12th. It’s going to be a good one.


One thought on “Speak Easy #7—Worrappened

  1. Pingback: Episode 10 – March 11th – YES PLEASE | That Night Where They Do Writing

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