‘Number Five’? You intrigue me.
No, nothing to do with a perfume house, a make-up product and definitely not large sticky ribs in a Peking sauce. And everything to do with what you can do with a pen, a note pad and imagination.
Number five. Add a supermarket, a little boy, his father, and stir.
Let me explain the only bit I can. The boy was about six or seven-I’m guessing- with eyes far bigger than his tummy and a roving hand that had to touch everything. The sweetie bars were beckoning. Well, what’s a child to do?
Nothing, according to his father, or more accurately, he’s to leave well alone.
‘Daniel. Here. Stop touching everything.’ I watched Daniel obey. His head bowed, his mind loyal to his dad, but his low blood sugar levels kept spiking his attention and dragging his legs the other way.
‘Daniel, come on, behave. You said you would. That’s why we came out.’
Poor Daniel. How about we do the same to you Papa, only stick you in a Pub. Sit you down to hover over a pint, smell the live hops and dark fruits wafting. Tie your hands back perhaps? ‘Cause there’ll be no supping here, that’s for sure.
Some years back, I remember seeing a little boy suitably dressed for the heavy rain that was bucketing down. His raincoat was fastened up, right to the very top button and he wore camouflaged printed Wellington boots. I was walking towards him. Now just ahead, between the two of us was an extremely large puddle. Every part of his body movements spoke with the energy of an athlete about to compete in the high jump. It looked like his grandmother was accompanying him and she certainly wasn’t having any of that.
‘Resist, Harry, resist! She said with a matron like tone- a tone that even I wouldn’t question. I felt his disappointment.
But back to the supermarket dad. ‘Daniel, I’m warning you.’
Too late. Daniel’s chunky, stubby fingers have curled themselves around a chewy strip bar with bold green and blue robots urging him on.
‘Right. That’s it, Daniel. Number five.’
In a shot, the boy is there, by his side. Finger hooked like an earring loop onto the edge of his father’s trouser pocket, and now being gently pulled along. They move further up the aisle, turn into another and drop from sight.
Now you see where I’m coming from. How many times are we given stuff like this? Every day? Nothing beats the fertile ground that comes from the mouths of folk. A seeded bed from which us writers can grow our ideas on. What on earth is number five? Could there be a ten? What could number one mean? How and why does the mention of number five gain immediate obedience, and in someone so young?
So there you have it. That was a light bulb moment for me. A gentle reminder to embrace creative writing ideas, don’t let anything fall by the wayside. Jot nuggets down before you forget them; like dreams, they will disappear into the ether. If ever you get lost for writing ideas, need that stimulus to get the creative juices going, there’s a whole bunch of ideas out there, right under our noses. Even in supermarkets.
What are your experiences? Have you encountered moments where there is potential for a hotbed of ideas?