This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..



by John Yeo

    Joe Young was 18, the second youngest in his family, his elder sister was at university studying to become a nurse. Joe was a budding painter keen to take up an art course in college. The postman had delivered an invitation to attend an interview and he was excited.  He quickly dialled up his friend Betty to find out if she had received her invitation.

   ‘Hey Betty!’

    ‘Joe! I tried to get you earlier, but your phone was busy. Good news! My interview is next Wednesday at 09;00, in London.’

   ‘Wow! My interview is at midday! Maybe we can go together if you like.’

   ‘OK Joe!  Are you worried about your recent experience when the local police caught you writing slogans with a spray can about global warming and big business?’

   ‘Not really Betty, they gave me an unofficial warning as they caught me decorating a derelict building. I won’t even bother to mention it.’

    ‘That’s great! I’ll meet you at the station on Wednesday, Joe.’

The week dragged along slowly with both Joe and Betty on tenterhooks. They both called each other almost every day, rehearsing their responses to the questions they were likely to face during their interviews.

   Joe actually contacted the local police station to enquire if he should raise the worrying issue and he was assured there wasn’t any problem.

  In spite of this they both arrived late at the railway station. They were soon running down the platform at top speed as the train had been sitting in the station for several minutes before they arrived. 

      “C’mon Betty! Keep up, we mustn’t miss the train, I’ve been waiting so long to get this interview over with. Means a lot to both of us.” Joe said, literally tugging her along.

  ‘Alright Joe, I’m coming! Please don’t pull my sleeve like that. You will ruin my new coat, I bought it especially for this college interview. It will be great to go to the same Art college.’

    ‘Wait, please wait!’ shouted Joe to the Guard who stood on the platform with a flag and his whistle, which he raised to his lips ready to set the train in motion. He smiled as the young couple dashed up and jumped into the nearest carriage. 

   ‘Phew, that was close!’ Joe went on, as Betty collapsed in the nearest seat to the door. The train soon pulled away from the station into the leafy countryside speeding through the rural beauty of England on the way from their hometown of Ware to the city of London. It was then that they took notice of the other two passengers in the carriage, an elderly gentleman with a smartly dressed young lady, both were politely smiling, as Joe and Betty settled back into their seats.

   ‘Look at that wonderful view Joe,’  said Betty. ‘Beautiful farms and country houses set in acres of rolling countryside.’

    Joe grunted in reply, as he put his head down studying his iPhone intently. The closer they got to the city, the more derelict and decrepit the buildings looked as large blocks of flats and terraced houses became views of factories and industrial units. The buildings were covered in graffiti; an amazing variety of shapes and patterns and pictures that seemed to accentuate the general state of urban decay. 

    Betty was shocked at this change of scene. ‘Joe, that’s disgraceful, look at that shocking rubbish and abandoned litter, piled around the buildings and the graffiti all over the walls!’

     Joe looked up from his device and said, ‘Betty, I hate the rubbish and the piles of junk all over the place but I think some of the graffiti is good and actually has the effect of brightening up the urban landscape.’

    Betty then replied, ‘Joe, that graffiti is mostly rubbish and has no meaning, just block initials and hearts and zigzags.’

    There was a polite cough as the elderly gentleman in the opposite corner of the carriage broke in. ‘I beg to differ, young lady, graffiti is an example not only of urban decay it reveals the underlying artistic decay of the population. This is an example of youth expressing themselves in the nearest they can get to pure art.’

    Joe then looked closely at their traveling companion and gasped, ‘You are Sir Larry the television artist, who has made money from urban art! We are off to college to be interviewed for our places.’

   The young lady then smiled and said, ‘Sir Larry will be on the selection panel!’

 Betty said, ‘I hope I haven’t put my foot in it by what I said.’

 The gentleman smiled and said, ‘I am sure you will get a place; both of you, I am a prime example of artistic decay, I was a graffiti artist once a long time ago.’

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved