GANADORES DEL CONCURSO
GEORGE HUTTON POR RIPT-TV
ABIGAIL FERNÁNDEZ AGUIRRE por BLINDFOLDED
ELSA DEL CAMPO RAMÍREZ POR THE DERELICT RACE
In the future there will be a 24-hour rolling news channel solely dedicated to the reporting of the most recent celebrity deaths. It will probably be called RIP-TV, and the logo will just be the name of the channel in a tasteful serif font. The set will be mostly black, with blood-red lilies pouring out of tall, polished vases.
The marketing will roll out in the summer, a month ahead of the channel launch. The print adverts will be very simple, featuring just photographs of recently deceased celebrities (Lindsay Lohan, Elton John, etc.) with the words ‘Where were you?’ beneath. The families of these celebrities will be outraged and will take RIP-TV to court (but the money to pay them off will already have been included in the launch budget).
Most of the national newspapers will be appalled at the idea of the channel, but Twitter will explode with fascination. This dream publicity will ensure that nearly seven million people tune in to the launch show, on the night of Cat Deeley’s death. Ant and Dec will appear via telephone. Dec will choke up and Ant will finish his sentence.
The hosts will always wear black. They must assume a constant tone of gravitas, yet with a warmth coming from well-timed head-nods and poignant pauses. The main ten o’clock bulletin will be hosted by a silver-haired gentleman in his fifties and a beautiful brunette in her late twenties. He will be called Michael Young and she will be called Lucy Pierce. The tabloids will speculate on their relationship. Largely unknown until this big break, they will become the most famous television presenters in Britain.
After a very successful year, one of them will probably get fired when, on the very evening they had just broken the story that Princess Eugenie had died, they are paparazzi’d smiling in a pub on Uxbridge Road, West London. But public outcry – and the unpopularity of the replacement – will ensure that one or both of them are reinstated within one week.
The deaths will be coded and ordered for the bulletins according to the ‘RIP-ter scale’ of importance, proposed by Thomas Po, the channel’s founder. 10 is a big one. The Queen, the President. 1 is not so. A celebrity gardener’s sidekick, for example. All new employees will have to study the scale. It will be noted that the manner of death and the age of the celebrity in question will affect their point score accordingly. A TV theme-tune composer in his nineties who dies in a horrific manner will shoot up the list. As will the enthusiastic YouTube blogger, once a potential star but found hanging from his banister at 28. Being physically attractive will also help the point score, considerably.
The main source of income will come from 0-celebrities. They are technically off the RIP-ter scale, but will make up approximately 96% of the population of Great Britain. For £600, families will arrange for their loved ones to become posthumously famous as RIP-TV produces a special 4-minute tribute to them. Their families will tell anecdotes and cry a little bit. This will soon become normal practice in working class communities, and demand will soar. The producers will find these very useful filler material in ‘wet weeks’ when nobody famous dies. Furthermore, in desperate lulls, there will be a large database for the Read It and Weep section in which, for just £100, customers are given one minute and an autocue to speak about the recent death of a 0-celebrity. The Read It and Weep bus will constantly travel the country, stopping off in shopping centres, to facilitate the mourning.
OFCOM will allow limited advertising. A researcher, in his/her first job after graduating with a 2:1 in History, will be employed with the sole remit of ensuring that the adverts do not clash with the deaths that day. Some will get through the net though, and complaints will soar as the new Pedigree Chum campaign launches on the day Lulu is torn to pieces by a pitbull.
On a rare night off to visit her ill mother, Lucy Pierce will be raped and stabbed in Sheffield. Alone in the studio, Michael Young will pause for a moment and reach to touch his earpiece. He will look to the ground and slowly bring a hand to his mouth. The producers will argue over whether to cease transmission, but with internet rumours gathering speed, the nation will turn to channel 550 to find out the truth. He will soberly announce the savage death of Lucy Pierce. In normal circumstances he would read the biography copy-and-pasted from Wikipedia, but this time Michael will ignore the instructions. Taking out his earpiece, he will tell the story of Lucy Pierce. He will speak of her childhood in Yorkshire, he will speak of her university days (or the few second-hand anecdotes he can remember), he will speak of the time they met (before RIP-TV, apparently). He will speak of that hilarious live blooper which, by that time, will have been viewed nearly nine million times on YouTube (and people will continue to shout ‘Has your bra come undone?’ to him in the street, until the day he dies). He will also speak of their affair. 18 million people will be watching – 18 million – as he speaks for nearly an hour about the only woman he ever really loved. When he finishes, with cameras still rolling, he will put his head in his arms and weep, weep, weep.
Michael will be knighted the following year.
Abigail Fernández Aguirre
He had become the most famous and beloved knight in the land. Victorious, brave and gentle, he had won uncountable battles against monsters and enemies, and he had achieved success in everything a man could wish for. But then Death came, and the Knight found himself trembling with fear.
‘I wasn’t expecting you’ said he.
‘That is a welcome phrase I get all the time’ observed the Lady, and urged him to follow her. But the Knight wouldn’t consent, and he implored Death for more time, repeating over and over that he was not ready to go yet. He was married to the woman he loved, he was soon to become a father, and he still had too many battles to fight and too much glory to achieve. In low whispers, he assured that he would give anything in exchange for some more years of life, and Death listened in silence. When the Knight raised his eyes, her look was inexpressive.
‘You are unprepared for this moment indeed, if you can say that without any fear. I will not take you tonight: you shall get one more chance to discover what being ready really means. But it will cost you something’.
Death demanded one of the Knight’s eyes: the one which gave him all his hope, patience and kindness, since it was this eye the one that contained all the sight of beauty and love around his world. Renouncing to it would only leave him with the eye of sorrow and discontent, and damage his view of life forever. The Knight had been advised from his most fair youth that loosing this eye would bring tragedy to him, but he considered that, having faced Death herself, no tragedy could be so terrible. And so he made a quick decision, and an ultimate one. He gave his eye of hope to Death, and she left in silence leaving behind a man who was now incomplete and confused, but still alive, and relieved for that.
All sign of illness disappeared from the Knight’s body from that day on, and at first all the people around him celebrated this with happiness and pleasure. But it soon became evident that a shadow had fallen on the Knight’s heart. Although his strength didn’t leave him and he was still the hero who always conquered victory and protected others, he became much more aggressive and violent, and the admiration that he used to inspire soon turned into fear. The Knight saw the weaknesses and faults in everybody’s hearts, and treated them with anger and pride. Nobody wanted to be around him anymore… except his wife. She couldn’t understand what had happened to the Knight, but she wanted to believe that he was still the same man she loved.
However, not even she could resist a force as strong as her husband’s hatred. His heart, darkened by all the pain and evil that his only eye allowed him to see, was poisoned against everything, even his wife. He forgot all that he used to love in her, and he rejected her with so much aversion that just the sight of her made him sick. And his attitude led the unhappy lady to desperation. She thought that the Knight didn’t love her because she was not beautiful anymore, and in her distress she started to buy all kinds of potions from the witches of the land, drugs that would make her fair again. But although these embellished her features, they also made her weaker, and in the last months of her pregnancy she fell in a fatal illness that slowly consumed her body. The Knight, far from feeling compassion, rejected his wife with more ardour everyday, and this made her feel more miserable and consume even more potions. On the day that the Knight was told that his first daughter had been born, he came into the room and found a shocking picture: the baby was lying on the bed, and her mother was on her knees in front of a mirror, covering her face and crying. Suddenly the Knight realised that Death was standing next to her, and although he felt surprised, he couldn’t ask but:
‘Why is she crying?’
‘She cannot stand her own reflection, because she sees herself in the way you see her know’ answered Death in a low voice. ‘Those potions have acted. Your wife is now the most beautiful creature in the world, but she cannot see that anymore… and neither can you’.
The pain filled the Knight’s heart at this notion, and he would have burst into tears if he had still had tears to shed. He then understood how much destruction his wish had brought to his life, and he asked Death to give him back his eye of hope.
‘Take my life if you want. I don’t want to live anymore’ said he. ‘I only wish to see my beloved as she really is one last time’.
‘I can see that you still have not discovered what it means to be ready to part’ said Death. ‘If I do that you ask me to, you won’t be able to stand the pain of seeing how much evil and tragedy your actions have caused. Knowing what your wife has become because of you will not give you a last minute of happiness, but an infinite sorrow. You cannot follow her today’.
‘But I am a monster now’ cried the Knight. ‘How can you let me live? I will destroy my daughter like I have done with my wife. I will always hate her as much as I hate my actions’.
‘I will give you a gift that will end your pain forever’ said Death, and then she put a blindfold around the only eye he had left.
How much the Knight’s life changed from that day on! It is true that the blindfold protected him from suffering, because he could not see Death taking away his wife nor the grass grow around her tomb with the passing of years. He could not see most of his friends growing apart from him, nor the world becoming older and harder to live in. He didn’t realise his own aging, and he never saw his daughter growing to be a fair and kind young lady who had her mother’s beauty and the same bright eyes that her father used to have. With the passing of time his blindness made him forget his former mistakes, and allowed him to live calmly for many years.
And so, when Death arrived again, she found him sleeping and ignorant of her visit. But when she was about to take him away, the Knight’s daughter came in and recognised that lady who had been in the house the day she had been born. Being a wise and clever young woman, she had always understood which the origin of her father’s ignorance was, and she said with serenity:
‘You are the one who gave my father that blindfold he wears, aren’t you?’
‘Yes’ she answered. ‘It was a gift to help him bear the rest of his existence. But his time has come now’.
‘He’s not prepared to go’ the girl said.
‘He told me that once already, and I gave him a chance to find out what that means. I cannot delay his depart anymore’.
‘But you know that blindfold prevents him from discovering that. Please, give him back his eyes so he can find the answer to his enigma once and for all. I will give you my own life in exchange’.
‘That is a dangerous offering’ Death said. ‘Even if I gave him one more chance and he recovered his eyesight, it would force him to face his past and feel an extreme pain. He would probably never understand what the meaning of being prepared is, and your sacrifice would be worthless. He is a lost soul already.
‘There is still hope that he finds the way, and as long as that hope exists, my sacrifice will be anything but worthless’.
Death looked at her in silence for a while and then whispered:
‘Why do you feel so sure that you are more ready than he is?’
‘Because I know that being ready for Death means to be certain of the direction in which you are going to take that step’ said the young lady.
And those were the words written on her gravestone when the Knight, after which seemed like a very long rest, finally opened his eyes.
Elsa del Campo Ramírez
The men were born alone. They looked around and found nothing else but the things they had destroyed, and felt scared. They wanted something to worship, so that they could blame it for the mistakes they had made. They created their gods. They swept the marshes and with the mud from the swamps, and the waterweeds and the reeds they shaped big figures in the own image and likeness. They used gloves so that they were pure and placed them above in the heights to make them unreachable. They gave them new names to make them sound strange and powerful. But when they looked up and saw what they had done, each man realized that he wanted to worship the god he had created, for it carried his virtues, and they started killing their kind, saying:
‘My god needs the blood of my brothers to keep on growing. He needs to get bigger and bigger, and thus he requires my sisters’ flesh.’
And the gods were nourished with blood and flesh from men’s brothers and sisters, and they became like humans. Not mud but mad they were, the reeds turned into greed. When men discovered their gods were no longer sacred they got bored of them and neglected them. Gods were let on their own to do with the world whatever they would fancy. And this is what they did:
In the end there was light, but Cora-Gubeeshu wanted darkness to commit his evil crimes. He covered himself with a blanket and darkness was created. But his identical twin was jealous, for he wanted the blanket too, and pulled the tip of it to take it off from him, and that is how night and day were created.
In the end gods elected Moan as their queen. She was worried because the oracle had said that her Son would be a tyrant, proud and cruel. Moan, who was pregnant, hid under Cora-Gubeeshu’s blanket, for the oracle said he would snatch the queendom from her and ruin it and Moan wanted to abort her child and she couldn’t do it in broad daylight, where the rest of the gods could see her terrible act. But her attempt of abhor-tion proved fruitless, for Cora-Gubeeshu’s twin pulled the blanket again. Everybody saw that Moan was trying to suffocate her child while giving birth, and they gossiped and laughed. The child was born misshapen: light had burned his delicate body and blinded his eyes; the lack of air had resulted in his stuttering and limping. Moan refused to breastfeed him. The gods didn’t love him either, for he was scorched and cripple, and he didn’t look like one of them, he wasn’t one of ‘their kind’. They banished him from Earth and made him wander forever on the dunes of the sky. The Son departed on a boat, endlessly roaming around the limitless firmament. He was called ‘the ether-nal wanderer’. He could barely see and he was frightened, so he lit a fire to look for a piece of land where to find consolation. His boat shines, and the light is reflected on the waters. When the Son disappears Moan arrives. She observes the waters and she feels ashamed and tries to hide again under the blanket, but she never succeeds, for Cora-Gubeeshu’s twin pulls it again and again.
The water had been created by Akaroo. At last there was Earth, but Akaroo injured his feet, for his skin was too delicate for the pebbles and the nettles. So he took his wife Ilyen and slapped her on the face, for his feet hurt and he couldn’t do anything to prevent it. Pain flowed down Ilyen’s eyes, and it was liquid and crystal-like, for sorrow doesn’t slosh but silently slides and thus it’s difficult to perceive. And Ilyen’s eyes poured out all her pent-up pain, which touched the Earth. Her pain was called ‘woe-tear’ and thus the Ocean was created. But Akaroo wasn’t happy, for his feet still stung, and he went mad. He wanted more and more water for his injured limbs, so he went on whacking his wife. Ilyen’s contempt started sprinkling the ocean, and rain came into existence. Rain will keep on falling until water covers all the Earth, and still Akaroo won’t be happy.
In the end the dwarf Ma-Grahare held the vegetation on his back. His hair was made of hanging vines, his skin covered with carved mossy bark, for he was very modest. The rest of the Gods danced on his limbs, stepped on his chest, and their hands and feet were so filthy that Ma-Grahare fell ill, and pumping pustules started blossoming there were bramble should grow, and ardent, thick red pus spread out of them. The gods called these pustules ‘vulkanoes’, for they looked like gunky vulvas.
‘Give me a cure!’ Ma-Grahare begged, ‘for the pain is insufferable.’
But the gods made something better. With the snow on the mountains they created a balm for his wounds; an ointment was made out of the vipers’ venom, and when he raised his hand to take it, the god Far-my-Cyst said:
‘It was very hard to pick up the snow, for we had to kneel down. The poison was dangerous to extract and expensive to keep, and thus you shall pay for the remedy.’
‘I’m Ma-Grahare, the “Humped Holder”. I’ve got blisters on my hands for the world is too heavy and I must crawl. I’ve got scars on my legs for I drag your dwelling. I’ve got sweat drops on my face for my burden is too heavy. But I have no nectar to soothe the cracks on my skin because you, gods, took it from me and drank it. And I have no juice in my roots to quench the flames of my body because you, gods, sucked it from me and spilt it. You enslaved me and wasted my wealth. And I have no money and I’m in pain. So how shall I pay for it?’
Far-my-Cyst answered back:
‘Go, ask the wise Baank. Let us see if your complaints deserve any credit’. But the wise Baank was a ghost whose body could not be touched, and he had no head, so Ma-Grahare could not ask, and thus his pustules kept on growing, and no cure was given to him.
In the end there was noise. Givenah, the god of fortune and charity, wanted it all for him, and with the whirlwinds he created a pipe. He sniffed in the pipe and inspired all the noise, and the music, and laughter, and he rejoiced and silence was created. His daughter Takerah was the goddess of protection, and wanted his pipe, for now that silence was on Earth, rape and murder were the only echoing sounds, and criminals were vulnerable and exposed to foreign, disapproving looks. Givenah wasn’t at all reluctant to share his pipe, for he was charitable:
‘I’ll give you the noise back, Takerah. But you’ll have to blow it out of my pipe.’
Takerah didn’t want to blow the noise out of her father’s pipe, for she was lazy, so she created the ‘lows’, to serve and protect. She kept them in a container made out of clouds and cirrus, which turned black when she filled it, and called other gods to play with her. All of them covered their eyes with a tissue and with clubs and sticks and lightning banged and ripped the container, chanting and dancing. The bangs and rips brought noise back again, and lows flushed out of the container and they were all joyful, for Takerah had succeeded.
Lows fell down to Earth and hit men on their heads. And seeing what gods had done with the world men had created they felt joy, for at last they had someone to blame, and they shouted and yelled at them for their shameful deeds. But the gods shrugged and blurted out:
‘Why are we to be blamed? You created us in your own image and likeness. Let us be, for it is not our fault.’
1) Podrá concursar cualquier estudiante matriculado en la UCM de Grado, Diplomatura, Licenciatura o Máster. Sólo podrá presentarse un relato por autor.
2) Los relatos deberán ser originales, inéditos y estarán escritos en lengua inglesa. La temática es libre.
3) Tendrán una extensión máxima de 1500 palabras. Deberán estar escritos a doble espacio, formato Times New Roman, cuerpo 12, tamaño DIN A4.
4) El plazo para la presentación de los relatos finaliza el VIERNES 30 de MARZO de 2012. Los relatos deberán enviarse por correo electrónico a la siguiente dirección: email@example.com, indicando también nombre y apellidos, estudios en la UCM, teléfono de contacto y DNI. El relato irá incluido en un archivo adjunto que no podrá estar firmado ni por el nombre ni por ningún tipo de pseudónimo. De forma electrónica se confirmará la recepción de los mismos.
5) El jurado estará formado por:
- Eusebio De Lorenzo, Profesor del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- María Goicoechea, Profesora del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- Noelia Hernando, Profesora del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- Carmen Méndez, Profesora del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- Eduardo Valls, Profesor del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- Beatriz Villacañas, Profesora del Departamento Filología Inglesa II.
- Alfonso Sánchez, Colaborador Honorífico Filología Inglesa II.
6) La decisión del jurado será inapelable y se hará pública el 27 de abril de 2012, en el Paraninfo de la Facultad de Filología (edificio A).
7) La totalidad de los premios deberá destinarse a la compra de libros en la librería universitaria Escolar y Mayo (con sede en Filología A):
1er premio: 300 euros en libros
2do premio: 200 euros en libros
3er premio: 100 euros en libros
8) La participación en este concurso supone la plena aceptación de estas bases. El incumplimiento de ellas traerá consigo la descalificación de quien las incumpla.
DEPARTAMENTO DE FILOLOGÍA INGLESA II (Literatura de los Países de Habla Inglesa)
Toda la comunidad universitaria UCM